Airlines consumer groups ready for fight over proposed bill

first_imgAs summer vacationers start to pack up and head home, Congress is considering a sweeping tally of proposals that could affect travellers, from dictating seat size and legroom to rolling back rules that require airlines to advertise the full price of a ticket.The current law authorizing operations of the Federal Aviation Administration expires on Sept. 30. Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, is working to bring his panel’s bill for a five-year reauthorization to the Senate floor after a series of delays.The House passed its version of the same bill in April.Consumer advocates see victories and setbacks among the provisions in the two bills.— Airline seats: The House bill would give the FAA a year to set minimums for seat width and length and the distance between rows, although it didn’t set specific measurements. The version approved by a Senate committee would only direct FAA to study whether there should be minimum requirements for the distance between rows.The room between rows — measured from a point on one seat to the same point on the seat in the next row — has been shrinking for many years as airlines squeeze more seats onto their planes. It was once commonly 34 or 35 inches, and is now under 30 inches on some planes.Some safety advocates say the tighter fit makes it harder for passengers to evacuate in an emergency. The FAA has declined a consumer group’s request to impose regulations, putting the issue in Congress’s hands.— Advertised prices: Consumer groups scored a hard-fought victory in 2012, when the Obama administration required airlines to include government taxes and fees in the advertised price of a ticket. Airlines opposed the rule then, and they lobbied the House to include a provision in its FAA bill that would roll back the requirement.“Consumers need to know the full cost of travel,” said Charles Leocha, president of Travelers United. “Taking a step back to allowing the airlines to advertise airfares without mandatory taxes and fees will be a major step toward allowing deceptive and misleading airfares.”— Extra fees: The Senate bill would prohibit airlines from charging “unreasonable” ticket-change or cancellation fees. The Transportation Department also would set standards for other fees to make sure they reflect the airline’s actual cost for providing extra service. Airlines raised more than $7.4 billion last year from fees on checked baggage and cancellations.The restriction was proposed by a pair of Senate Democrats over strong objections by the airline lobby. Sharon Pinkerton, a senior vice-president at the trade group Airlines for America, called it a first step toward returning to the pre-1978 era when the federal government set airline prices.— Overbooked flights. The House would ban airlines from bumping passengers from overbooked flights once they have boarded the plane. The provision was inspired by the 2017 incident in which a passenger was dragged off a United Express plane to make room for a late-arriving airline employee. In response to the criticism, airlines have cut overbooking to their lowest level in at least two decades.— Online travel agencies. Both the House bill and the Senate’s committee-approved version would require online travel agencies like Expedia and Orbitz to tell consumers about things like extra fees and changes in airline schedules. Vaughn Jennings, a spokesman for the airline trade group Airlines for America, said the online agencies “shouldn’t be exempt from consumer-protection standards that customers experience on airline websites.”Steve Shur, president of a trade group that includes the online ticket sellers, said airlines don’t always give his companies that kind of information. He called the proposals a veiled effort to drive them out of the air-travel business and reduce competition for the airlines.— Disruptive passengers. The House bill would let airline employees block passengers from going through security screening or getting on a plane if the employee accuses them of verbal or physical assault. Passengers would be held up until police could sort things out. A union that represents airline employees lobbied for the provision.There are many other provisions in the bills, including some that are opposed by safety experts. Pilot unions are fighting against a trial to test the idea of letting cargo airlines use one pilot instead of two. The unions say that in an emergency, one pilot could be more easily overwhelmed.An even more controversial idea would reduce the number of hours that someone must fly to become an airline co-pilot. It’s in the bill approved by Thune’s committee but not in the House version.Congress raised the minimum from 250 hours to 1,500 hours after 50 people died in a 2009 accident near Buffalo, New York. The Regional Airline Association, whose members operate smaller planes flying under the banners of American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express, say the requirement has created a pilot shortage.The RAA supports Thune’s proposal to let pilots count time on certain types of training in a classroom or a flight simulator toward the 1,500 hours.Families of those who died in the 2009 Colgan Air crash have fought against the RAA. They note that after Colgan, there were no fatal accidents involving U.S. airliners until a woman was killed on a Southwest flight in April.“The RAA and others will continue to try any manoeuvr to water this down. It’s sad,” said Scott Maurer, whose daughter Lorin was on the Colgan plane. “In their eyes it’s not about safety, it’s about their business profits.”If the Senate acts on the FAA bill, any differences from the House version would need to be settled before a final measure goes to President Donald Trump. If Congress can’t agree, lawmakers could pass a scaled-back, short-term extension to keep FAA functioning.___David Koenig can be reached at http://twitter.com/airlinewriterlast_img read more

UN nuclear agency seeks ways to boost nutrition among worlds poor

15 August 2008The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been exploring avenues to tackle the issue of nutritional deficiencies in the world’s poor. The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been exploring avenues to tackle the issue of nutritional deficiencies in the world’s poor.Biofortification – a fairly new tactic to improve nutrition through conventional plant breeding techniques – was the focus of an IAEA meeting held this week with a group of scientists and institutions called HarvestPlus.IAEA “uses nuclear techniques to evaluate bioavailability and efficacy in humans,” said Lena Davidsson, who heads the Agency’s Nutritional and Health-related Environmental Studies Section.Unlike traditional means to add nutrients to food in the processing stages, biofortification seeks to do this while staple plants are being grown, and these new crops could reach those who lack access to centrally processed fortified foods.“With our biofortification strategy, we try to put more vitamins and minerals into the foods staples that the poor are already eating in large amounts, said Howarth Bouis, Director of HarvestPlus.IAEA has teamed up with the scientists in a four-year project in Asia and Latin America: HarvestPlus develops biofortified foods, while IAEA tests the body’s ability to use the nutrient-packed crops.Under this scheme, some women in Bangladesh have replaced the typical white-coloured sweet potato with a biofortified orange one that is higher in beta-carotene. A sophisticated stable isotope technique will measure their vitamin A levels to determine how the biofortified products could combat nutritional deficiencies.Compared to more traditional tests, stable isotope techniques allow more sensitivity and specificity in their measurements. read more

UNP holds mass rally in Colombo disrupting traffic

The United National Party (UNP) staged a mass rally in Colombo this afternoon disrupting traffic and causing severe hardship to the general public.The rally which began with a march at Town Hall in Colombo saw several roads being blocked, mostly affecting children returning home after school. The protest was staged against the joint opposition with the UNP supporters demanding that the UNP led Government be allowed take the country forward. (Colombo Gazette)

Parts of Malabe and Athurugiriya in the dark since yesterday

Parts of Malabe and Athurugiriya had been in the dark for several hours since yesterday owing to a breakdown in the electricity supply.Residents of the area told the Colombo Gazette that when contacted the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) breakdown team in the area had refused to attend to the repairs. The CEB staff had said that an employee had been assaulted and as a result they will not attend to the repairs. Parts of Malabe, including Raja Uyana, had been without electricity since 11pm last night while parts of Athurugiriya has been without electricity since 8pm yesterday. The electricity supply was eventually restored this evening. It was reported that a suspect had been arrested over the assault on the CEB employees. (Colombo Gazette) read more

UN blue helmets in South Sudan use Sustainable Development Goals to help

“For us to open a new chapter, forgiveness is needed,” said Abuor Gordon, a representative of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.  From the Sudan African National Union Party, Achoul Garang Deng thought the forum was fruitful because it taught how to resolve political differences peacefully.  “We should have one view, whether we are ordinary citizens, military or politicians, for the sake of peace,” she said. All agreed that peace is paramount for the security and development of the nation. “It is a forum for all the political actors, including the political parties here, to reflect on the peace agreement itself,” said Khalif Farah, who serves with UNMISS.  For his part, the deputy governor of Aweil East, William Ater Lual, welcomed a six-month extension of the pre-transitional period, calling it “an opportunity for the country’s leaders to get the peace process back on track”. Forum participants all held firm that durable peace would lead to fair distribution of resources, a restored social fabric and the professionalization of the army. Getting the judicial process on track Meanwhile on Friday in the Jonglei state, UNMISS’ Human Rights Division held a one-day judicial training workshop in Bor to strengthen traditional courts’ members and to facilitate a discussion between formal and traditional justice systems.  Discussions focused on the existing competencies and jurisdiction of each body, and the necessary cooperation needed for the town’s judiciary to function well. “Training in judicial processes is critical to ensure fairness and professionalism in what we do”, said Daniel Deng, the Bor High Court Magistrate. “We don’t have such opportunities often”.  UNMISS Human Rights Officer in Bor Alfred Zulu said that they identified many challenges in dispensing justice caused by existing conflicts between customary and formal law, lack of knowledge of some legal aspects and the overlapping of competencies within the judicial system. “The workshop was designed to bring all partners involved in the process, from detention to investigation, trial, defense and custody, to facilitate an enriching dialogue that would result in better cooperation, and clarify areas of concern,” explained Mr. Zulu. By Friday, UNMISS Bangladeshi peacekeepers in Wau, a city located in the country’s north-west, had treated more than 100 civil servants suffering from a variety of health issues. “My problem is my kidney because it hurts too much,’’ said 21-year-old Sodinia Edward, who went to a hospital in Juba where she was told that “they did not have medicines”. We have been engaged in humanitarian assistance, especially the medical and veterinary services – UNMISS commanderHowever, she left the UNMISS clinic with the prescribed drugs in her possession, just like many of the other patients suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and other ailments.  The commander of the Bangladeshi peacekeepers detailed that their work in Wau is not limited to providing force protection to UN facilities and aid convoys. “Since our arrival, we have been engaged in humanitarian assistance, especially the medical and veterinary services but also some other social programmes,’’ said Colonel Majhuri Heque.  Since the onset of the crisis in 2016, most of the city’s health facilities have faced shortages of medication, leaving their clinics brimming with patients.  The local agriculture minister, who lives with diabetes and blood pressure issues said that the government would like UNMISS to extend their medical services to villages in the area. “We have little chance of being able to afford the medicines needed,” Simon Akot explained, adding that many villagers resort to leaves and roots that may, or may not, have medicinal properties. A new chapter of ‘forgiveness’ UNMISS outreach does not exclusively focused on health, as illustrated by its recently concluded forum aimed at promoting harmonious relations between political actors, embracing SDG 16’s focus on participatory democracy and governance. As politicians in Aweil East, also located in the north-west, pondered how best to achieve durable peace, the UNMISS’ Civil Affairs Division organized a two-day reconciliatory meeting in Wanyjok town, where 50 participants from four different political parties commitment to reconcile and work together in accordance with the revitalized peace agreement. Politicians in Aweil East #SouthSudan participating in a rapprochement forum organized by #UNMISS say they are ready to make “sacrifices” to achieve “paramount” peace. Find out exactly how far some would go to make this happen: https://t.co/GgujokEY7s pic.twitter.com/Y2tA8ggsiz— UNMISS (@unmissmedia) May 17, 2019 read more

Natalie Portman I have 100 stories of abuse in Hollywood

first_img‘But that was super not OK, you know? That was really unacceptable and manipulative. I was scared.’  Credit:Cass Bird, courtesy of PORTER magazine Natalie Portman for Net a Porter  She said she had come to realise that experiences she “took for granted as like, this is part of the process”, were actually instances of harassment and sexism.  “I went from thinking, ‘I don’t have a story’ to ‘Oh, wait, I have 100 stories.’ And I think a lot of people are having these reckonings with themselves,” she said. Ms Portman, an experienced actress whose first film role was as at the age of 12 in Luc Bresson’s thriller Léon: The Professional, also paid tribute to those who had come forward to disclose their experiences of sexual abuse. “First of all, I think it’s really important to recognize all the people who have come forward,” she said. “They have created this cultural shift. A lot of people have been speaking out for a long time and not been heard, particularly women of color, so it’s very important the industry listens.”She has previously spoken about her experiences of “sexual terrorism” following her debut role, revealing at the Women’s March in Los Angeles last month that her first fan mail, received when she was 13, had been a rape fantasy written by a man. The Black Swan Oscar winner, who is married to French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, and has a son and a daughter, also challenged the perception that women’s careers were damaged because they chose to have children.  ‘What’s interesting about this harassment conversation is, maybe it has nothing to do with being a mother.’Credit:Cass Bird, courtesy of PORTER magazine Her comments came as fellow Hollywood star Jessica Chastain made her own comments about sexual harassment. The actress, who co-starred with Portman in upcoming film The Death and Life Of John F. Donovan, commented on Uma Thurman’s allegation that she had been sexually assaulted by Weinstein. “I keep imagining Tarantino spitting in Uma’s face and strangling her with a chain for Kill Bill. How many images of women in media do we celebrate that showcase abuse? When did this become normalized ‘entertainment’?” she said, adding “When violence against women is used as a plot device to make the characters stronger then we have a problem. It is not empowering to be beaten and raped, yet so many films make it their ‘phoenix’ moment for women.”In an interview with the New York Times last week Ms Thurman claimed Weinstein had attacked her in a hotel room at the Savoy in London. In a statement given to the newspaper Weinstein’s spokesman said he admitted “making an awkward pass 25 years ago at Ms Thurman in England after misreading her signals” and added “her claims about being physically assaulted are untrue”. To see the full interview, buy the latest issue of PORTeR, on sale globally on Friday 9 February, 2018. Also available as a digital edition. Natalie Portman has “100 stories” of sexual harassment in Hollywood, she has said. The 36-year-old Oscar winner told PORTeR magazine that she had experienced manipulative studio executives intimidating and harassing her during her career. In one case, she said, a producer invited her onto his private plane.She said: “It was just the two of us, and only one bed was made up. Nothing happened, I was not assaulted. “I did make a point of saying, ‘This does not make me feel comfortable,’ and that was respected.”But that was super not OK, you know? That was really unacceptable and manipulative. I was scared.”Ms Portman played her part in the growing outrage over sexism in Hollywood when she took to the stage in January for the Golden Globes. Announcing the category for Best Director, she said: “And here are the all-male nominees”.  “But what’s interesting about this harassment conversation is, maybe it has nothing to do with being a mother,” she said.”Maybe women are dropping out of the workplace because it’s a hostile environment for them and they are choosing not to be a part of that. It’s been proven that once you change the power differential and reach a 50/50 ratio of men and women, you see fewer issues.”Her commitment to the sexual harassment campaign also compelled her to join Instagram, persuaded by the Hollywood-driven Time’s Up campaign, launched earlier this year in response to allegations of sexual harassment against Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein.  Natalie Portman for Net a Porter ‘They have created this cultural shift. A lot of people have been speaking out for a long time and not been heard, particularly women of color, so it’s very important the industry listens.’ Credit: Cass Bird, courtesy of PORTER magazine Natalie Portman for Net a Porter Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Triple play la Sacem regrette laugmentation de la TVA

first_imgTriple play : la Sacem regrette l’augmentation de la TVAFrance – La Sacem s’est montrée très préoccupée des conséquences d’une hausse de la TVA appliquée aux offres dites triple play. Selon elle, celle-ci pourrait pousser les internautes à télécharger illégalement.Les offres triple play (internet, téléphone fixe et télévision) devraient augmenter d’ici peu suite à une hausse de la TVA appliquée à ce type de services. Cette décision inquiète la Sacem qui voit ici un argument supplémentaire pour les internautes de télécharger de la musique illégalement : “Face à l’augmentation probable du coût de l’abonnement à l’ADSL, les consommateurs seront tentés de faire des arbitrages qui pénaliseront le développement des offres légales en ligne.” De plus, l’organisme estime que c’est la lutte contre le piratage qui paiera les pots cassés : “Alors que la lutte contre le piratage est balbutiante et incertaine, ce secteur économique qui cherche encore ses marques risque d’être regrettablement fragilisé, et avec lui les rémunérations des créateurs.”Le 14 septembre 2010 à 11:59 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Cancer Treatment Milestone at Scripps MD Anderson

first_imgCancer Treatment Milestone at Scripps MD Anderson 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center has reached a milestone with a new drug.The center has become the first in the county to administer what’s being described as new targeted cancer therapy.The drug is called Lutathera which uses radioactively charged proteins that attack and destroy neuroendocrine tumors of the digestive tract. According to doctors after being infused intravenously, the drug attaches to a receptor in the tumor cell like a magnet. Once inside the cells, it emits radiation, killing the cancer cells and shrinking the tumor.Lutathera treatment is available to patients at the Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center, where medical oncologists Dr. Darren Sigal and Dr. Marin Xavier serve as the therapy’s ordering physicians. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this year. Posted: December 4, 2018 KUSI Newsroom, KUSI Newsroom December 4, 2018 Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Health, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Slumping Canadian dollar means big loss for Haines Skagway

first_imgDownload AudioThe Canadian dollar continues to hover around $0.72 U.S. That means locals in Haines and Skagway might not see as many Yukon license plates this summer. With the lagging loonie comes the loss of Canadian business for local shops and tour operators, who are now trying to figure out how to cope.The Canadian dollar has been in a steady decline for years. It reached its lowest point in more than a dozen years last month, and, depending who you ask, it’s going to worse before it gets better. Haines and Skagway are already feeling the effects of our friendly neighbor’s slumping dollar, and the summer tourist season is still months away.Mountain Market in Haines has been serving Canadian guests for 25 years. Owner Mary Jean Sebens says the business from Yukoners is a large part of the market’s income.“I guess I would say that we didn’t have a bad year last year, we had a good year, but if the Canadian dollar had been stronger, we would have had that much more of a good year,” she says.Sebens says she thinks the big holiday weekends, and events like the Chilkat Kluane International Bike Relay and BeerFest, will still lure Canadians, but when the dollar was stronger, Haines and Skagway saw an influx of visitors almost every weekend, all year long.“We were seeing a lot of Canadians almost every weekend just a few years ago, so, yeah, I think it’s a concern for Haines.”Places like Mountain Market, that sells food and groceries might have a slight advantage as the dollar threatens to bottom out at around 60 cents. People need to eat, after all. And so, elective activities like tours might feel the pinch even more.“It’s going to be noticed a lot in Haines and Skagway this summer, the downturn in them visiting,” says Alison Jacobson, the CEO of Alaska Fjordlines. The tour business offers scenic boat rides between Juneau, Haines and Skagway and has been on the water for 25 years. It’s one of many tour businesses and shops in the Upper Lynn Canal that relies heavily on summer Canucks. Jacobson says she’s still considering the business’ tradition of taking Canadian money at par during the slower times of the season.“But we probably won’t do it for as long because it’s really hard for us to take that hit. I think it’s still possible for us to get those folks in Haines and Skagway if we run some specials.”Jacobson says her bookings are filling up at a good rate, though there are noticeably fewer Canadian customers.Haines Borough Tourism Director Leslie Ross says a lot of people here take the Canadian contingent for granted. That is, until they stop coming.“With the cruise ships, we kind of know those numbers and we can anticipate what’s going to happen. With the Yukon tourism, we kind of just expect it to be there,” Ross says. “It is something that people are watching now. Just the few businesses that I’ve spoken to, they’ve seen a significant loss already.”Last week, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon canceled its annual convention slated to be held in Haines. That event lasts a few days and brings in around 150 visitors in April, typically a slower month. Ross says it’s a huge disappointment.“We won the bid this year for hosting and just in the last two weeks, they’ve called and canceled that. Mainly due to the low Canadian dollar and a push for them to spend locally, which is very understandable.”Blake Rogers is the director of the association in Whitehorse. He says they just couldn’t take the risk of the dollar sinking even lower. Now, he says, Canadians are being encouraged to stick closer to home.“Canadian destinations are seeing a bit more of an opportunity to try and encourage more Canadians to do domestic travel and visit places in Canada that they may not have visited before, but also opportunities to try and encourage Americans to come to Canada,” Rogers says.Rogers says despite having to cancel the event in April, he’s looking forward to continuing the symbiotic relationship with both Haines and Skagway.“It was disappointing for all of us, but we haven’t seen the last of Haines, let’s just say that. We will come in full force in the years to come.”Haines tourism director Ross says she’s hearing from tour operators that bookings are down overall while Canadians wait to see if the dollar will rebound. The weak dollar is attributed to several factors including plummeting oil prices. But, Ross says it’s not all bad news. Low fuel prices are likely to bring in more Alaskans on road trips, and more RV travelers from the Lower 48. Fjordlines’ Jacobson also tries to look on the bright side. She says offering cash at par or other discounts will solidify the strong relationship between Haines, Skagway and Whitehorse.“I know that it will be so popular that the word will spread fast up in Whitehorse if you can offer any kind of a special rate,” Jacobson says.There is no way to predict exactly what the Canadian dollar will do next, but according to the long term outlook from the National Bank of Canada, it’s supposed to hold steady before slowly creeping up in the fall. However, a forecaster at the global investment bank Macquarie told the CBC last month he expects the loonie to reach an all-time low of 59 cents by the end of the year. For now, Ross says, all we can do is wait it out.last_img read more

IS 100 per cent defeated in Syria Trump

first_imgUS president Donald Trump. File PhotoUS president Donald Trump said Friday that the Islamic State jihadist group has been “100 percent” defeated in Syria.Trump made the comment as he showed reporters maps of the region — one showing the large areas once held by the group and a second that showed the situation on Friday with no presence.”There’s ISIS, and that’s what he have right now,” he said, pointing at the two maps.Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said “the territorial caliphate has been eliminated in Syria.”The White House declaration came after days of bombing and other attacks by Kurdish-led forces to clear the final tiny pockets of resistance by Islamic State fighters in the village of Baghouz, where they made a last stand.US-led coalition warplanes have been supporting local ground forces in the onslaught on Baghouz that began 9 February, meeting fierce resistance from the jihadists and an unexpectedly large number of civilians hunkered down alongside the fighters.IS, as ISIS is also known, declared a “caliphate” in June 2014 after seizing a vast swathe of territory larger than Britain straddling Iraq and Syria.The loss of the Baghouz enclave would signal the demise of the “caliphate” in Syria, after its defeat in Iraq in 2017.The jihadists still retain a shadowy presence in eastern Syria’s vast Badia desert.last_img read more

Jealous vs Hogan Leaves Unanswered Questions

first_imgBy J. K. Schmid, Special to the AFROThe first and only Maryland Gubernatorial Debate concluded Monday morning with many unanswered questions from the moderator, the panel, and even the candidates themselves.Maryland Public Television (MPT) hosted the Republican incumbent Governor Larry Hogan and Democratic challenger Benjamin Jealous in its Owings Mills studio at 11 a.m. The AFRO and other publications were invited to the MPT visitor’s center and observed remotely via closed circuit television.Candidate Benjamin Jealous (left) took Gov. Larry Hogan to task over numerous issues. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)The candidates took questions from Ovetta Wiggins, The Washington Post, Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun, Tamela Baker, The Herald-Mail, and Ryan Eldredge, WMDT-TV; and Jeff Salkin, MPT, as moderator.Hogan lost the debate.In Hogan’s defense, it was lost before he took the podium. Ahead in the polls, with recent high-profile endorsements from trade unions and representatives in the public safety sector, and the incomparable power to promote his brand and agenda as governor, Hogan risked a great deal in opening himself to questioning from the panel, and direct criticism from Jealous.Jealous took full advantage.The contender came at Hogan from every angle. On education, Hogan was criticized for his inability to keep schools heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. On public safety, Hogan was assailed over Maryland’s opioid crisis, the rising murder rate across the state-not just in Baltimore City-and failing public transportation. On fiscal policy, Jealous came after Hogan on the looting of casino funds earmarked for education, subpar teacher pay and flagging economic growth compared to local and national averages.Hogan touted his administration’s record funding (budgeted by the General Assembly and Senate) as sign of his commitment to education, blaming the decline in test scores on misrepresentations in Prince George’s County. Hogan acknowledged his delay on a campaign promise to act immediately on the opioid crisis, but considers himself still the first governor to take state-level action. Hogan laid the casino funds issue at the feet of the legislature, the teacher pay issue on individual local board of educations, and enumerated his raw numbers of jobs added to Maryland’s economy.“There’s still much work to be done,” the governor said.“I came here with a simple question,” Jealous told reporters at the end of the debate. “On issues like transportation, and education, if we have record funding, why don’t we have record results?”last_img read more

Awarding outstanding Indian poets and novelists

first_imgRabindranath Tagore Literary Prize, existing since 2018, has been founded as a platform for World Peace, Literature, Art, Education and Human Rights. It has two-fold purpose: as honourable legacy to Rabindranath Tagore Literature Prize for the finest in Indian literature, and to recognise positive and lasting impact on society and its change with ‘Social Achievement Prize’.Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2019 winner will be announced at an award ceremony to be held on April 23, at India International Centre. The winner is entitled to $10 000. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfBy their unvarying support for literature and children rights, the organisers have started initial 10,000 book donation to schools of their first winner ‘One Hundred Poems of Kabir’. Tagore Prize is one of the most anticipated literary award presentations, where they will accommodate 300 high profile attendees, authors, intellectuals, diplomats, ambassadors, executive directors and representatives of major publishing houses. Eminent people including Ayushman Jamwal, Master of Ceremony, a Senior Output Editor at CNN-News18, a columnist and a poet; Peter Bundaldo, Founder of Tagore Prize; Bidhan Chandra Singh, Executive Director at Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation; and others will be present at the event. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe shortlist for Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2019 consist names like Amit Chaudhuri for ‘The Immortals’, Rana Dasgupta for ‘Solo’, K Madavane for ‘To Die in Benares’, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi for ‘The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay’, Jeet Thayil for ‘The Book of Chocolate Saints’ and others. Tagore Prize 2019 – Social Achievement Prize will be awarded to Yohei Sasakawa, a Japanese philanthropist, for his remarkable work in leprosy elimination.Furthermore, Tagore Prize will announce building and launching of its first Satellite in Space – first literary prize in space.last_img read more

Analysis How to market Las Vegas in the Oct 1 aftermath

first_img Share LAS VEGAS — In the weeks after the Oct. 1 Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy, can the travel industry expect visitor volume to decrease, hold steady or continue a steady increase? Whether your firm is a travel agency, a tour operator or an airline, thoughts must be given to how marketing resources are allocated for this destination.It was just over six weeks ago that Las Vegas experienced the greatest tragedy in its 112-year history. Travellers from around the world saw the news reports of the shooting tragedy at the Route 91 Harvest Festival: 58 people killed and 489 injured, the worse mass shooting in American history.While our hearts go out to all those affected by this terrible event, as an industry we need to know what this means for Las Vegas as a destination going forward. Close to 43 million people a year visit Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.In an interview with Las Vegas Review-Journal, University of Central Florida economic professor Sean Snaith compared the mass killing with one that occurred in Orlando: the Pulse nightclub shooting attack in 2016.“At that time, tourism experts voiced concerns about the Orlando area facing a decline in tourism. Orlando has the second-most hotel rooms of any U.S. city behind only Las Vegas. But in the year following Pulse, the Disney and family-oriented area didn’t see any change to its overall visitation numbers.”While the long-term effect of the Pulse shooting on Orlando may have been muted, statistics from STR, a US based data analytics firm specializing in hotels, showed a slight decline of 1.3% in hotel occupancy in Orlando, a city with about 124,000 hotel rooms, for the first 11 months compared to the same period in 2015.Looking at Las Vegas, we are just over six weeks past the tragic day and resort companies in Las Vegas are beginning to discuss initial findings regarding bookings.Last month Caesars Entertainment CEO Mark Frissora told a group of investors in New York that business levels were returning to normal. “It’s fair to say we are cautiously optimistic about the rebound,” he said. “We think that occupancy rates across the Strip took a little bit of a hit the first day, the first week into the second week, but then every week it seems to change and improve.” He went on to further describe the MICE segment: “The meeting business itself is solid. There hasn’t been any cancellation of meetings that we’ve seen really for the rest of the year.”More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJCaesars Entertainment operates nine Las Vegas Strip area properties including the iconic Caesars Palace and the Flamingo.During an earnings conference call Penn National Gaming weighed in on the situation. Penn National owns the Tropicana Las Vegas, which was the closest resort property to the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Jay Snowden, Penn National President, said; “Of the 35% increase in cancellations year-over-year (at the Tropicana), 80% of those were isolated to October and November.”He went on: “If you add in December, it goes to 90%. At this point, it appears there will be very little impact going into 2018, but it’s still the first month post-event. It’s hard to say exactly how it’s going to play out.”He also pointed out that group and MICE business remained strong, saying it was leisure visitors that made the most cancellations.“The cancellations were largely in the leisure-online travel agency segment,” said Snowden. “In our group business, we didn’t have any cancellations and our casino block has held out very well. It’s really that leisure business that decided to cancel in the fourth quarter. We’ll see how it plays out in Q1.”Boyd Gaming, operators of 11 Las Vegas valley hotel/casinos spoke to Wall Street analysts during a conference call as well. CEO Keith Smith told analysts that Boyd properties near the Strip experienced a slight uptick in cancellations in the days after the shooting, however, business quickly returned to normal.Another indication of the possible strength of tourism to Las Vegas are plans announced since the shooting regarding either new construction or activity in long stalled projects.The long-delayed Resort World project, being built on the site of the old Stardust resort, announced last month that they finally hired a construction management firm, W.A. Richardson for the project. Previously, Richardson was the general contractor for Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, the LINQ and the Cromwell. The project has received the initial construction permits from Clark County and construction cranes should be up and running by mid-December. When completed this should add 3,000 room to the Las Vegas Strip.MGM Resort International has announced that they had purchased the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars and will be moving the team to Las Vegas. They will become Las Vegas’ second major league sports team as the NHL’s Golden Knights just started their first season at the T-Mobile Arena. The Stars will play in the 12,000-seat Mandalay Bay Events Center. Construction is also underway just west of the Strip on the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders new stadium, which should be ready for the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas in 2020.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureDuring Caesars Entertainment’s investor meeting the company announced they are starting work on a new convention center behind the Flamingo and the LINQ resorts. The 300,000-square-foot facility will be built on 39 acres that is currently a parking lot and will cost in the range of US$300 to $350 million dollars. This project should be completed in two years, depending on permitting and coordination with Caesars’ new board of directors.Additionally, Wynn Resorts announced that its famed Golf Club will close Dec. 22 to make way for construction of its new Paradise Park, the lagoon development will include a new hotel planned for behind the Wynn and Encore. The carnival-themed new development will have a 103-foot diameter carousel rotating over the man-made lagoon, electric bumper cars that light up when bumped and a nighttime parade with 10-12 floats that guests can pay to join in on the fun. The development will also have a new 47-storey, 1,500-room hotel with its own convention space, casino and restaurants. It will sit roughly between the Encore and the Wynn Las Vegas.In preparation for this article, I contacted the Nevada Commission on Tourism for their input. They said that traffic to their website, regarding Las Vegas, dipped right after the shooting, which they attributed to the cessation of all promotions, advertising and paid search terms immediately following the shooting. They said that when normal marketing resumed, website traffic returned and they did not see any lingering downturn in visits to their website.Considering the anecdotal evidence presented by the major Las Vegas resort companies it would seem that the best way forward would be to follow their lead and promote Las Vegas with the idea that while business may slip a bit in this first calendar quarter after the tragedy, the long term view suggests that business will, after a short period, return to its historical booking patterns.Michael Schoenberger is a freelance travel writer who lives and works in Las Vegas. Analysis: How to market Las Vegas in the Oct. 1 aftermath By: Michael Schoenberger << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Las Vegas Wednesday, November 15, 2017 last_img read more

Captain Cook Cruises Sydneydinner cruisespecials

first_imgCaptain Cook Cruises Sydneydinner cruisespecials Book a table for ten aboard a Captain Cook dinner cruise and save up to 40% and receive a free upgrade to a private room onboard flagship vessel MV Sydney 2000, when booked by 31 August 2018. Prices start from $65 per person and the offer is valid until 30 September 2018.The MV Sydney 2000 has three dining decks, a 360-degree open top deck and two private function rooms, The Sirius Room and Endeavour Lounge. Both rooms feature private dining and balcony creating the perfect setting for a celebration or simply a great night out with friends. The offer is available on the Sunset Dinner, Starlight Dinner, Brilliant Dinner & Drinks and the Gold Penfolds Dinner cruises.Dinner cruises depart Wharf 6, Circular Quay at 7.00pm returning 10.30pm Friday to Saturday and 9.30pm Sunday to Thursday. Dinner cruises also depart No.1 King Street Wharf at 7.30pm, returning 11pm Friday to Saturday and 10pm Sunday – Thursday.last_img read more

Forbes Travel Guide FTG has unveiled its annual

first_imgForbes Travel Guide (FTG) has unveiled its annual Star Rating list, which revealed that The Peninsula Hotels had achieved Five-Star status across all ten of its properties. The announcement results in The Peninsula Hotels being the first and only hotel brand to achieve the highest possible FTG rating for all its hotels.The Peninsula Hotels had all ten properties listed in the FTG last year – nine of which were Five-Star rated, while The Peninsula Manila was bestowed with a Four-Star rating. With all nine hotels retaining their Five-Star status in 2019, and The Peninsula Manila joining them with a Five-Star rating this year, The Peninsula Hotels have today made FTG history.“This exceptional result is the culmination of an immense amount of hard work from colleagues across our ten hotels,” said Peter Borer, Chief Operating Officer of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, owner and operator of The Peninsula Hotels.“Our employees dedicate themselves to providing our guests with the best possible standards of luxury service, and to be bestowed with such an exclusive award is testament to this.”In recognition of employees’ hard work and to reflect the Five-Star status, The Peninsula Hotels will provide teams at each hotel a range of rewards over a five-day period, including complimentary massages, Afternoon Tea experiences and special menus. The Peninsula Hotelslast_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Luxury cruise line Cuna

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterLuxury cruise line Cunard‘s flagship liner Queen Mary 2 had a rare meeting with sister ship Queen Elizabeth on 26 July 2019 in Halifax, Canada – the birthplace of the company’s founder Sir Samuel Cunard.The encounter was arranged in celebration of Zita Cobb and Sandra Greer, this year’s recipients of the Samuel Cunard Prize for Vision, Courage and Creativity and The Innovative Spirit Award, respectively.The Samuel Cunard Award for Vision, Courage and Creativity was inaugurated in 2015 to celebrate the company’s 175th anniversary in the ancestral home of its founder Sir Samuel Cunard. Created in partnership with the Canadian Maritime Heritage Foundation, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and Cunard, the award acknowledges an extraordinary individual who demonstrates the qualities exemplified by Samuel Cunard throughout his life. The Innovative Spirit Award was created to honour an individual who stands out as having a pioneering spirit similar to Sir Samuel Cunard.From Halifax, Queen Mary 2 sails to New York and then on to England with Cunard historian John G. Langley, Q.C., director and chairman of the Cunard Steamship Society aboard. Langley will be donating a significant portion of his Cunard collection to the Cunard archives at the University of Liverpool after his voyage. Guests onboard Queen Mary 2‘s transatlantic crossing will have the opportunity to see select pieces from the collection and attend talks given by Langley.Go back to the enewsletterlast_img read more

Government debt rises after Coop sale

first_imgThe general government deficit rose to €1.050bn in the third quarter of 2018 as a result of the state’s divestment of the ‘good part’ of the Cyprus Cooperative Bank, the statistical office has reported.The €1.050bn deficit compared to a surplus of €366.7m posted in the third quarter of 2017.According to CyStat, the sale of part of the assets and liabilities of the Cyprus Cooperative Bank Ltd (CCB) to Hellenic Bank resulted in the establishment of two new entities, the Cooperative Asset Management Company Ltd (Sedipes) and the Cyprus Asset Management Company Ltd (Kedipes), which received assets with a book value of €8.34bn in return for a liability of €3.54bn.The fiscal burden of €1.5bn in the revised fiscal accounts of the third quarter that resulted from the above transaction is analysed as follows:Non-performing loans (NPLs) of nominal value amounting to €6.97bn are an asset of the new entities. The real economic value of these NPLs has been estimated by CyStat to be 20.94 per cent of the nominal value.Therefore, the estimated real economic value of the NPLs received by the new entities is valued at €1.46 bn. According to this valuation, a negative investment of €710m is observed and recorded in fiscal accounts, which is the result of the acquisition value (€2.17bn) minus the real economic value of NPLs (€2.17bn – €1.46bn = €710m).In addition to this negative investment, an expenditure of €625m, corresponding to the share of the collateral received from the former CCB and concerns its fixed assets, is recorded as investment. This investment increases the capital assets and hence the net worth of the general government by the same amount, CyStat said.CyStat also recorded as expenditure the guarantee of €155m (contingent liability) received by Hellenic Bank.Meanwhile according to data released Monday by the EU statistical office Eurostat, Cyprus’ government debt to GDP ratio at the end of the third quarter of 2018 was at 110.9 per cent, among the highest in the European Union.By comparison, in the second quarter of 2018 Cyprus’ debt to GDP ratio had been 104 per cent, or €20.932bn.In the EU, the highest government debt to GDP ratios at the end of Q3 2018 were recorded in Greece (182.2  per cent), Italy (133.0 per cent), Portugal (125.0 per cent), Cyprus (110.9 per cent) and Belgium (105.4 per cent).“At the end of the third quarter of 2018, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area (EA19) stood at 86.1 per cent, compared with 86.3 per cent at the end of the second quarter of 2018,” Eurostat said. You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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