Delta introduces worlds first allsuite business class

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> ATLANTA — Lay back, relax and enjoy the flight in the comfort, privacy and exclusivity of your own suite. Delta Air Lines is redefining international business class travel with the introduction of the Delta One suite, the first business class cabin to feature a sliding door at each suite.Designed with an emphasis on exceptional customer comfort and privacy, the Delta One suite offers each customer a private space accessed by a sliding door with thoughtfully designed personal stowage areas, an advanced in-flight entertainment system and premium trim and finishes to create an unparalleled business class experience with a comfortable, residential feel.In addition to full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access, which the airline introduced eight years ago, the Delta One suite features:A full-height door at every suiteSliding privacy dividers between center suitesIn-suite, customizable ambient lightingDedicated stowage compartments for shoes, headphones and laptopsContemporary design featuring premium trim and finishesMemory foam-enhanced comfort cushionAn 18-inch, high resolution in-flight entertainment monitor, the largest among U.S. carriersA universal power outlet and high-powered USB port at every seatMore news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the team“Delta constantly listens to customers and responds with products that deliver what they want. After setting the standard with the introduction of full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in 2008, Delta is again elevating the international business class experience,” said Tim Mapes, Delta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “Added comfort and privacy are important to business travelers, and that drove the design of the all-new Delta One suite.”Delta completed installation of full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access on all of its widebody aircraft operating long-haul international flights in 2014. Delta One service includes the features Delta customers have grown to expect, such as chef-curated meals, wine pairings by Delta’s Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding, noise-canceling headsets, TUMI amenity kits featuring Kiehl’s Since 1851 premium skincare, and in-flight loungewear on select flights.Following the A350 debut, the Delta One suite will progressively roll out on Delta’s Boeing 777 fleet. Delta will be the first U.S. airline to take delivery of the A350, which will primarily serve routes between the U.S. and Asia.More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agency  Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Travelweek Group center_img Delta introduces world’s first all-suite business class Posted bylast_img read more

Dubai opens Marvel theme park with minor hiccups

first_img DUBAI — As summer temperatures soared outside, the world’s largest indoor theme park, featuring popular Marvel and Cartoon Network-branded rides, opened its doors to the public on Wednesday in the Middle East’s tourist hub of Dubai – the latest in a myriad of new attractions here.The first visitors at the 1.5 million square-foot (140,000 square meters) park reflected the diverse crowds that visit and live in Dubai, home to the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Middle East’s largest mall and a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree that is dotted with luxury hotels.Saudi women dressed in abayas, the traditional loose black robes, and full face-veils, rode alongside tank-top wearing British tourists and Indian families on the park’s roller coasters and attractions.Several families with young children complained that some of the rides stalled. Others said they were thrilled by the adventure park’s indoor boulevard, which leads visitors through Marvel and Cartoon Network zones, a “Haunted Hotel” and a Lost Valley Dinosaur zone.The IMG Worlds of Adventure park recorded about 3,000 visitors on Wednesday as temperatures rose to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 C) outside.Ali al-Subai, a visitor from Saudi Arabia, said he was happy the Gulf region has a place like this to visit during the summer. The 26-year-old said he visits Dubai at least four times a year and hopes his country too can one day open similar theme parks.“It’s very, very nice. Better than I imagined,” he said. “We wish for this in Saudi Arabia – the rides, the cinemas.”Dubai ruler and United Arab Emirates Vice-President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid toured the more than $1 billion park earlier on Wednesday.More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksThe adventure park is one of two major theme parks opening this year in Dubai, part of an effort to attract 20 million tourists annually by 2020, when the emirate is to host the World Expo. Last year, some 14 million people visited Dubai, according to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. The highest share of visitors came from neighbouring Gulf countries, with Saudi Arabia topping the list.Teens Abdullah Jameel and Sultan al-Suweidi, both from Dubai, said they enjoyed the park more than Universal Studios in Singapore. They said the IMG Worlds of Adventure park wins because of shorter lines and more exciting rides.They beamed after riding the Velociraptor roller coaster, which swoops through the indoor park, then juts out into the Dubai desert before going back inside. Another main attraction is the Predator roller coaster, with its sharp, vertical drop.Spider-Man too has his own ride, a spinning roller coaster that propels riders through a New York City skyline, soaring much like the fictional superhero would as he fights to save the city from the sinister Doctor Octopus. A Cartoon Network-themed Powerpuff Girls scrambler glides and spins riders upside down, while a 5-D theatre experience takes guests through an animated Ben 10 battle scene.The park aims to attract up to 30,000 visitors on peak days. Along with its 22 rides and attractions, the park offers visitors 25 retail outlets and 28 food and beverage outlets that are expected to contribute to nearly a quarter of the park’s overall revenue. At the high-end Marvel Vault store, an extravagant Hulk-inspired gold display that holds a pen with precious stones costs almost 115,000 dirhams ($31,300 USD).More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalDespite thrills at every turn, British tourist Tariq Collins said the entry ticket cost of 300 dirhams ($82) for adults and 250 dirhams ($68) for children was “a bit pricey.” He said there were not as many attractions for his five-year-old daughter as he’d hoped there would be.“Apart from that, great. Very nicely done,” he said, before adding that some of the rides were not working.The park’s Chief Executive Officer Lennard Otto said this is not uncommon in the theme park industry.“No theme park today, whether it’s Disney or Universal, has 100 per cent upkeep time on their rides,” he said. “Rides will break (down). They’re the same as any other technology. The key for us is to try and manage the experience after that.”Otto said the park plans to add five more attractions in the coming five years. It’s “definitely a new feather in Dubai’s cap,” and helps fill a gap in the Gulf market for quality entertainment destinations, he said.In October, a $2.8 billion theme park is slated to open on the main highway connecting Dubai with Abu Dhabi, the UAE seat of government.Dubai Parks and Resorts will feature a Six Flags, a Legoland waterpark and roller coaster, Bollywood-themed rides and shows, and a Motiongate movie-themed park with a Smurfs village.Abu Dhabi is already home to Ferrari World and is planning a Warner Bros. themed park. By: Aya Batrawy << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Thursday, September 1, 2016 Dubai opens Marvel theme park with minor hiccups Tags: Dubailast_img read more

ACV offers airinclusive Cuba cruise packages with Celestyal

first_imgTags: Air Canada Vacations, Celestyal Cruises Travelweek Group ACV offers air-inclusive Cuba cruise packages with Celestyal MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations has partnered with Celestyal Cruises to offer seven-night air-inclusive Cuba cruise packages out of Montego Bay, onboard Celestyal Crystal.The program starts Nov. 18 and runs until the end of December 2017 with sailings every Friday. The itinerary includes two days in Havana; a day in Punta Frances; a day in Cienfuegos; a day in Santiago de Cuba and one day at sea.All packages include flights, seven-day cruise, three included shore excursions, onboard meals, an unlimited beverage package, transfers, gratuities and all taxes and fees. Flights are operated by Air Canada Rouge out of Toronto with connections available from 64 Canadian cities. Travelers can also earn and redeem Aeroplan Miles on their cruise package booking.Bookings made by Sept. 30, 2016 qualify for an instant savings of $200 per person plus a reduced deposit of $100 per person (normally $500). Agents also receive 2% bonus commission for a total commission of 12%.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaThe new air-inclusive cruise packages are available for agents on Sirev, Amadeus and Galileo. Sharecenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Monday, September 26, 2016 last_img read more

15 commission on Sandals Beaches bookings with ACV

first_imgTags: Air Canada Vacations Share Posted by 15% commission on Sandals, Beaches bookings with ACV << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Monday, September 18, 2017 TORONTO — Agents will earn 15% commission on all Sandals and Beaches Resorts bookings made by through Air Canada Vacations by Oct. 1, 2017, for travel Oct. 1, 2017 through Oct. 31, 2018.ACV is reminding agents of its bonus commission offer after announcing the deal at its recent series of #ACVDreamMakers events.Also as part of the promotion, clients will get the CareFree Plan included in their packages. CareFree includes free seat selection, year-round Price Drop Guarantee, StormGuard and a $50 waiver on administrative change fees, a total value of $339 in savings.Travellers can also get an early booking bonus on Sandals and Beaches Resorts reservations. If they book by Sept. 30, 2017, for travel between Nov. 1, 2017, and April 30, 2018, they save $200 per adult ($400 per couple) and $100 per child ($600 per family of four).For travel next summer, travellers save $150 per adult ($300 per couple) and $100 per child ($500 per family of 4) if they book by April 30, 2018, for travel between May 1 and Oct. 31, 2018.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsSome conditions and restrictions apply.With the ACV&ME loyalty program, travel agents who book hotels, cruises and groups to sun destinations will receive 600 points per room for packages of 7+ nights; 400 points per room for packages of 3–6 nights; 600 points per stateroom for air and cruise packages; and 300 points per passenger for Group bookings. ACV&ME loyalty points can be redeemed for Aeroplan Miles, travel vouchers or VISA cash cards. Travelweek Group last_img read more

Air Canada gives clients easy access to the western side of Ireland

first_imgAir Canada gives clients easy access to the western side of Ireland Tags: Air Canada, Ireland, New Routes Wednesday, March 21, 2018 Michael Smith Posted bycenter_img Share TORONTO — Air Canada prolonged St. Paddy’s Day celebrations from the weekend with an event in Toronto last night, during which the airline promoted new routes to the Emerald Isle.New flights and extra capacity include Air Canada’s new nonstop Toronto-Shannon and Montreal-Dublin routes starting this summer, and the Vancouver-Dublin and Toronto-Dublin routes moving to the mainline Air Canada product.“It’s been a long time, almost 10 years since Air Canada last flew into Shannon from Toronto,” said Declan Power, Head of Aviation Development, Shannon Airport. “Even by Irish standards, that’s a long courtship.“We’ve been engaged with them for the last 10 years and now we’re delighted to know that the wedding will finally take place on the 4th of June when Air Canada will come back into Shannon.”Jim Kelly, Ambassador of Ireland to Canada was also in attendance, and was credited with creating stronger ties between Ireland and Canada in both business and travel. “Connectivity is the lifeblood of trade, connectivity is the lifeblood of tourism, and both have flourished more than ever in recent years,” he said.More news:  Experience Ireland: the Emerald Isle’s mythical talesThe new routes will continue to expand the capacity that Ireland has been enjoying from airlines in recent years. The Shannon route, in particular, will add convenience to many tours that start and/or end on the western side of the island.For more information, go to << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

FIFA may move World Cup games as Brazil struggles with building

first_imgNo related posts. LONDON – Soccer’s governing body warned that it would move World Cup matches should Brazilian cities fail to complete construction projects in time for next year’s event.FIFA’s general secretary, Jerome Valcke, is examining some of the venues being used for the Confederations Cup, an eight-team competition seen as a warm-up for the World Cup, sport’s most-watched event. He said the stadium in São Paulo, which will host the opening match, will be ready, after Tuesday saying delays could mean Brazil’s commercial hub would miss out.“We can’t reduce any requirement: On any competition that would be fine except at the World Cup,” Valcke told reporters after inspecting the Maracana Stadium, the Rio de Janeiro venue that will host both the finals of the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. “The World Cup is 99 percent of the FIFA system. The World Cup has to be perfect. The World Cup is the diamond of FIFA.”FIFA, based in Zurich, makes almost all of its $1.2 billion in annual income from the quadrennial tournament through sales of television rights and sponsorship agreements with companies including Adidas, Coca-Cola and Visa.Several cities have struggled to meet deadlines imposed by FIFA. Valcke, who was joined on Wednesday’s visit by the country’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and Rio Governor Sergio Cabral, was asked several times about the Arena Corinthians in São Paulo, which beat competition from national capital Brasilia and Belo Horizonte to stage the World Cup’s first game.Valcke Wednesday said the São Paulo site would be ready by December, even though construction company Odebrecht said installing the temporary seating needed to increase the 48,000- seat facility to the required 70,000 for the World Cup would take until at least February. The World Cup opens June 12, 2014.Valcke, who oversees the World Cup for FIFA, said his organization would meet with politicians and other stakeholders, including Odebrecht, in the next few days to ensure the stadium is ready.“I can tell you this stadium will be delivered in December 2013,” Valcke said.FIFA is also facing delays with World Cup stadiums in Natal, Coritbia and Cuiaba. Valcke described the Maracana as a “Mecca” of soccer and congratulated workers on their efforts to get it ready before the Confederations Cup. Construction missed several deadlines and the facility will only have one match at capacity — a June 2 exhibition between Brazil and England — before the June 15 start of the tournament.The Maracana was built for the 1950 World Cup, the only other time Brazil hosted the tournament. Its three-year refurbishment at a cost of more than $500 million has faced criticism over delays in construction, costs and plans to privatize the venue.“I know that the refurbishing of Maracana to a certain extent was faced with controversy compared to the first construction of the stadium,” Sports Minister Rebelo said. “I think the visit to Maracana in this last phase after refurbishing the stadium gives us the conviction that Brazil and Rio de Janeiro in fact do have the stadium back with a stage that will be at the right standard for the final match of the World Cup.”FIFA faced similar delays and problems with construction when South Africa in 2010 became the first African country to stage the tournament. Valcke reminded reporters that then, unlike now, one of the Confederations Cup venues, Port Elizabeth, had to be withdrawn over concerns it wouldn’t be ready.“It created a lot of noise and tension between the city and us,” he said. “But this different here, we have been active, we have been helping, often criticizing and pushing. I have to recognize the marvelous job which has been done by the different cities in order to deliver the stadiums beyond deadline but definitely before the Confederations Cup.”© 2013, Bloomberg News Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Will you vote for me Im on a horse

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Where is the environmental discussion in Costa Rica’s presidential campaign? Johnny Araya to launch ‘gratitude tour’ next week Non-career politician Luis Guillermo Solís wins Costa Rica presidential runoff in a landslide Winning on the cheap: Solís campaign spent a quarter of what Araya spent in the last election Rodolfo Piza stumps for the presidency on a horse. (via Instagram)center_img The raucous Palmares Festival kicked off Thursday with the tope, a traditional horse parade. Not surprisingly, some of the country’s presidential candidates made appearances there. If taking the equine vote can determine a country’s president, ruling party candidate Johnny Araya has just moved into the lead. Araya and fifth-place candidate Rodolfo Piza asked for votes while on horseback at the event, not an uncommon method of stumping here. Yes, from atop a high horse. Araya – who is from the northwestern Central Valley coffee town of Palmares – has been doing the tope circuit for years, though this is the first time the ex-San José mayor has done so as a presidential candidate.In late December, Araya participated in the Tope Nacional in the capital. There he was joined by candidates Piza, Oscar López, José Manuel Echandi and one of his top rivals, Otto Guevara.Guevara, atop the horse Rómulo and ever the heartthrob, rode through a crowd of swooning women. La Prensa Libre sighingly described the scene, saying “As per usual Guevara took the catcalls of hundreds of women.” The Libertarian Movement Party candidate is tied with Araya and José María Villalta, of the Broad Front Party, in the latest presidential poll.The tope is a captivating tradition. Candidates are wise to show up there. But what about discussing your platform.  Is a horse parade the right place to be taken seriously when speaking about an issue, like say, abortion?  López thought so last month.“The tope was very pretty, very well organized and I got to ride the horse La Curul, while promoting my message ‘No to Abortion,’” López told La Prensa Libre.Piza, of the once-strong Social Christian Unity Party, attempted to gain ground in the race by riding again at Palmares.  In an interview during La Nación’s live broadcast of the Tope, Piza pleaded for votes while on a steed named Caché.Piza proudly posted his ride to Instagram as a photomontage. Maybe the maneuver will endear himself more with Costa Ricans. Showmanship can work in any election in the world. Still, there’s something farcical about a candidate posting a collage of himself on a horse, as if he were a teenager pasting them into a diary, and appending the photos with the pointless phrase: #UnPresidenteSerio. “A Serious President”last_img read more

Photos of Costa Rican dogs showing off their politics

first_img Facebook Comments Ashley Harrell/The Tico Times No related posts.center_img Dogs may not have the right to vote, but that doesn’t mean they can’t show off the colors of their favorite candidates.last_img

UK minister of state makes first visit to Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Intel to open new ‘mega-lab’ and hire 350 more Ticos President Solís seeks meeting with Intel reps during US trip Regulatory hurdles, inexperience contribute to China-Costa Rica trade imbalance Costa Rica, China to explore creation of ‘special economic zones’ British Minister of State for Latin America Hugo Swire made his first official visit to Costa Rica on Monday, signaling the United Kingdom’s desire to re-engage with the region.Swire characterized relations as positive between the two nations and said that the U.K. hopes to cooperate with Costa Rica in areas like education and renewable energy.“My visit here is to show Costa Rica and surrounding countries that the British are here, we want to do business, we want to share out know-how, help in educational matters and we want to be friends,” Swire said during a press conference Monday afternoon.“I’m pleased to say that our thinking on matters [that confront both countries] is closely aligned, and we look forward to working closely with this new government in the future,” Swire added.The minister met with Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Mora, Public Works Minister Carlos Segnini, and Foreign Minister Manuel Antonio González, along with Vice President and Finance Minister Helio Fallas during his brief stay in Costa Rica.The British minister highlighted public-private partnerships (PPP) as a way to leverage private sector involvement in public works projects. Swire proposed PPPs as a possible avenue to fund and manage public works projects, like highways or sewers, that Costa Rica desperately needs. Mismanagement of private concessions for public infrastructure projects was a key theme of Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís campaign.Swire offered the U.K.’s experience attracting foreign investment as an example for Costa Rica. The minister said that predictability, anti-bribery rules, the rule of law, and separation of power were key to the U.K.’s ability to attract investment from abroad.President Solís recently returned from a foreign investment tour of the United States.The minister of state also visited the Rahab Foundation, a Costa Rican organization dedicated to stopping human trafficking that has received financial support from the U.K. Embassy in San José. The embassy recently worked with Rahab Foundation to publish a book of testimonials from human trafficking victims as part of its global initiative to combat human trafficking and the use of sexual violence as a weapon in war zones.Swire travels to Guatemala on Wednesday and then to Colombia before returning to London.Recommended: Solís outlines plans for Costa Rica in first Washington appearance as president Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rican held in deplorable conditions in Nicaragua granted house arrest

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican businessman held in ‘deplorable’ conditions in Nicaraguan jail, says foreign minister Dueling stories behind shooter at Nicaragua protest reveal sharp divide over Sandinista government US travel alert for Nicaragua comes amid string of detentions, upcoming elections Nicaragua’s Isabel Urcuyo de Somoza dies in exile at 90, Nicaragua Dispatch reports The Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday that a Costa Rican businessman arrested and held in “deplorable” conditions in Nicaragua for six weeks has been moved to house arrest.Nicaraguan authorities arrested José Daniel Gil Trejos on May 26. Authorities said they were acting on an Interpol alert from Mexico to arrest Gil, who is wanted on fraud charges there.Costa Rica claimed that Gil had been held in inhumane conditions that were not proportional to the fraud charge. Foreign Minister Manuel González accused Nicaragua of keeping Gil from seeing his lawyer and blocking consular services from the Costa Rican Embassy in Managua in violation of the Vienna Convention.“We’re very pleased that the Supreme Court of Nicaragua has issued a resolution that grants house arrest for the Costa Rican Gil Trejos. We have given all the consular support that was possible, however, up until this moment we have only received silence on the part of Nicaraguan authorities,” González said in a statement.According to the Foreign Ministry, Mexico has yet to request Gil’s extradition. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Heavy winds turn deadly as fallen tree kills Guanacaste driver

first_imgOvernight Tuesday and on Wednesday morning firefighters cleared 16 different trees that had blown over and responded to 12 emergencies related to damaged power lines. The daily La Nación reported that 150 power outages were caused by heavy winds that also damaged roofs and blew over shipping containers.Gusts up to 100 km/h Un hombre falleció esta mañana, luego de que un árbol cayó sobre su vehículo.Barrio Cerros, en Liberia, Guanacaste.— Bomberos Costa Rica (@BomberosCR) February 10, 2016 What started off this week as complaints about unseasonably cold and blustery Costa Rica weather has turned deadly.A man was crushed to death in Liberia, the capital of the northwestern province of Guanacaste, on Wednesday when a sudden gust of wind blew a tree on top of his vehicle, according to the Costa Rican Firefighters Corps. Strong winds blowing across Costa Rica this week have downed power lines, knocked over trees and sparked maritime warnings over high winds and rough seas. Related posts:‘Extreme’ Pacific winds create dangerous conditions for boaters, swimmers Strong winds to hit Costa Rica again Thursday Big waves expected at Costa Rica’s northern Pacific, Caribbean beaches Strong winds expected over most of Costa Rica this week The National Meteorological Institute forecast gusts between 60 km/h and 100 km/h in the Central Valley and along the northern Pacific coast of Guanacaste this week.The Firefighters Corps recommended people make sure their roofs are well secured, especially if the roof is made with zinc sheets or tiles. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Mubaraks sons face new corruption allegations

first_img Top Stories The MENA news agency on Thursday quoted judge Osama el-Saidi as saying the two bought the land at a fraction of its market value.Mubarak, ousted last year in a popular uprising, is serving a life sentence.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) CAIRO (AP) – Egypt’s official news agency says an investigative judge has questioned Hosni Mubarak’s two sons over new corruption allegations.The two _ onetime heir apparent Gamal and wealthy businessman Alaa _ are on trial for insider trading. They were acquitted on June 2 of separate corruption charges. They have been in detention since April 2011.The latest charges arise from their 1993 purchase of a plot of land from a housing association led at the time by Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister and longtime friend who unsuccessfully ran for president earlier this year. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   center_img Parents, stop beating yourself up New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

Putin leads young Siberian cranes in flight

first_img Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Some of Putin’s adventures have purported scientific connections, such as when he fired a crossbow at a gray whale while being tossed around in choppy seas to collect tissue samples.He also once shot a Siberian tigress with a tranquilizer gun so he could place a tracking collar around her neck. He patted the sleeping tiger’s cheek affectionately as if she were a pet. A Russian environmentalist claimed later that the tigress died because Putin’s security insisted on increasing the dose of the tranquilizer.After leading the cranes, Putin said he didn’t know what he would do next with animals. “That’s for the specialists to decide,” he said. “It shouldn’t be just for fun, but should have some use.”Last year, Putin was caught short when one of his scientific events was revealed to be a set-up. He was shown scuba diving and bringing up fragments of ancient Greek amphorae, but his spokesman Dmitry Peskov later admitted the artifacts had been planted on the sea floor for Putin to grab.The stunts irritate Putin’s opponents, who regard them not as benign political entertainment but as part of an establishment of a cult of personality lionizing an authoritarian leader. Putin has charmed many Russians while disgusting others with his feats, starting from 2000 when he flew into Chechnya in the back seat of a fighter jet. Over the years, he has ridden a horse bare-chested through the mountains, driven a Formula One race car and taken the controls of a firefighting plane to dump water on wildfires.The flight in the hang glider proved to be a test of Putin’s leadership skills. Only one crane followed Putin on his first flight, which he attributed to high winds that caused the hang glider to travel faster than usual, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. On the second flight, five birds followed Putin, but after a few circles only two had stuck with him for the full 15-minute flight.Putin stopped off at the Kushavet ornithological research station on the Yamal Peninsula in the Russian Arctic on Wednesday en route to an international summit in Vladivostok, on Russia’s Pacific coast. Once at the station, he paired up with a pilot, who sat behind him on the hang glider as they took the birds for a spin.It was a scene reminiscent of the 1996 movie “Fly Away Home,” in which an estranged father and daughter use an ultralight plane to help a flock of geese migrate. The movie was based on a real-life Canadian, who spent a decade teaching orphaned geese how to fly south. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   How men can have a healthy 2019 Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Putin’s moment dimmed, however, when a biology student at the station claimed online that two chick cranes died and several others were hurt in the hurry to be ready for Putin’s arrival.“One of the chicks got into a hang glider’s propeller while training and waiting for” Putin, Mariya Goncharova wrote on her page on the Russian social netwroking website, “One more broke a beak and stripped its claws off on bad netting, and many simply flayed themselves” while being transported in boxes to the flight venue.Goncharova deleted the post several hours after posting it, but it remained available on Russian search engines.A researcher confirmed the death of a three-month-old chick before it was transported to the research station.“An autopsy will give us the exact cause of death,” Tatyana Kashentseva told The Associated Press. She said other birds arrived safely, although it was not clear how many there were.Russian biologists say there are less than 20 Western Siberian white cranes left in the wild worldwide.Putin’s flight, given many minutes of airtime on Russian television, provoked an array of contemptuous jokes on the Internet, one of the most popular being “So Putin is off to wintering with cranes. Does this mean he’s not going to be back before spring?” Top Stories Associated PressVLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AP) – Vladimir Putin flew on a motorized hang glider to lead a flock of young Siberian white cranes in flight, a characteristic stunt for Russia’s action-man, animal-loving president that was tarnished by reports that endangered chicks had died while scientists were setting up the trip.Dressed in a white costume meant to imitate an adult crane, Putin was taking part in a project to teach the endangered birds who were raised in captivity to follow the aircraft on their southern migration to Central Asia. Marat Guelman, one of Russia’s most well-known art gallery operators, wrote in a blog on the Ekho Moskvy radio station website that the flight shows Putin “has lost faith in us. He sees our treachery, greed, cowardice and cruelty. There’s nothing to love in us anymore. Dolphins, cranes, horses _ that’s a different thing.”Masha Gessen, author of a book critical of Putin, left her post as editor of the travel and science magazine Vokrug Sveta (Around the World) this week, saying she was fired for refusing to send a reporter to the Yamal Peninsula, 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) northeast of Moscow, to cover Putin’s flight with the cranes.A statement from the magazine Tuesday said Gessen left by agreement with management because of “differences” on the separation of editorial and publishing powers.Vokrug Sveta works closely with the Russian Geographical Society, whose board of trustees is chaired by Putin.____Mansur Mirovalev contributed to this report from Moscow.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

DUI tragedy forces Russian road safety rethink

first_imgAssociated PressMOSCOW (AP) – It took a weekend road tragedy to jolt Russia into action over one of its most deadly threats: a chronic culture of drunken driving.Five orphaned teens were waiting for a bus with their guardians in Moscow on Saturday when a car careened into them, killing all seven. Grief turned to outrage when it emerged that the driver was heavily drunk and had a string of traffic violations on his record _ including a DUI arrest two years ago. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Parents, stop beating yourself up Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The same survey showed that Russians pay the greatest amount of bribes for medical treatment. Paying off traffic police came in at a close second.“Of course it’s important to propose new laws, they need to be stricter,” said Natalya Agre, president of Road Safety Russia. “You can increase the fine to $2,000, but once again, who is going to keep track of whether that fine is given, and who is going to pay it?”Agre’s company has run a sleek social advertising campaign against drunken driving, and has begun attracting attention from big talent. A feature-length film by the company titled “There’s No Hurry” was made with the help of some of the country’s best directors and actors.More important than police enforcement may be fundamental change to the car culture in Russia, where drivers are notoriously aggressive and fast.“The driving culture in our country plays a key role,” said Agre.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and lawmakers have reacted with proposals to stiffen penalties on drunken drivers, and parliament debated the measures on Tuesday. But with bribery so commonplace and road laws rarely enforced, many wonder whether even the toughest response can change a deep-set culture of reckless driving.After the crash, police video shows, Alexander Maximov stumbled out of his Toyota sedan, which he had been driving at 200 kilometers (125 miles per hour), bloodied and barely able to stand. He appeared in court Monday with his head wounds dressed, but still wearing the blood-speckled sweatshirt from the day of the accident.The punishment for killing while drunken driving in Russia is stiff: The 30-year-old Maximov faces up to nine years in prison. But lawmakers are currently debating whether to make jail sentences even harsher, matching laws in the West.Even President Vladimir Putin weighed in Tuesday, demanding tougher punishments and condemning Maximov’s apparent blithe indifference after the crash.“This criminal, he’s a killer in fact, when speaking to investigators just said: `I always do what I want,’” Putin said. “There are some things for which people just must be punished.” Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Many Russians are furious that Maximov, who already had a DUI penalty on his license from 2010, was allowed back onto the roads in the first place. Drunken driving is punishable here by suspension of the driver’s license for up to two years. In much of the West, by comparison, drunken driving is punished with jail time, heavy fines and re-education courses.It isn’t only irresponsible drinking that makes Russia’s roads dangerous.Russia’s cities are struggling with fast-growing traffic density, which spurs drivers into pulling crazy stunts to get home as early as possible, such as jumping lights, squeezing through every gap in traffic and opportunistic trailing of racing ambulances. According to a 2007 survey, the number of cars on Moscow’s roads had increased threefold since the early 1990s, while road capacity has increased by only 30 percent.Each year, approximately 30,000 Russians die in road accidents _ about the same as in the European Union, which has three times as many people and about six times as many cars as Russia. According to official statistics, only about 1,000 of those deaths are attributable to death by drunken drivers, but given the laxity of police enforcement and investigation, many in Russia doubt those figures. Sponsored Stories Top Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Medvedev, who championed a no-tolerance policy in 2010 against drivers with even the slightest amount of alcohol in their blood, spoke out in favor of tougher penalties.“Most of (our accidents) are committed by drivers who are completely drunk, and in this regard our country is in a worse state than any other,” Medvedev said Monday, adding that it was necessary to think about “toughening the legal responsibility for such a crime.”In the wake of Saturday’s tragedy, Moscow police have scrambled to show they are doing their bit, announcing that they had arrested over 130 drunken drivers on Sunday alone, according to Interfax news agency.Over the past few days, lawmakers from the pro-Kremlin United Russia party have come forward with various proposals to tackle drunken driving. One plan suggested a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($3,200), while another more drastic bill calls for life imprisonment for anyone convicted of killing someone while under the influence.Pervasive bribery, and its acceptance among much of the population, will make implementing any such measures an uphill struggle, however.According to a Levada Center poll in 2010, only 10 percent of those questioned said they thought negatively of people who gave bribes, whereas the majority considered it “necessary” in dealing with public officials. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img

Prominent Syrianborn Palestinian actor killed

first_img New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like “The reason was not difference of opinion. Mohammed Rafeh was a commander of a shabiha group,” the caption read referring to pro-government gunmen who are known in Syria as shabiha.The same page also posted a copy of a weapons license issued to Rafeh by the powerful Air Force Intelligence Agency. The license for a pistol had a Feb. 1, 2013 expiry date with his picture on it. The authenticity of the copy could not be verified.It is not uncommon in Syria for actors to have a license for weapons from authorities to defend themselves in case they are in danger. It was not clear whether Rafeh had a pistol when he was kidnapped.A video posted on YouTube by anti-government activists showed Rafeh on state TV saying that Syria “is protected by God, its people and the command.”The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, a Palestinian faction that strongly backs Assad, condemned the killing saying it was carried out by the “gangs of criminals in Syria.”Hussam Arafat, a member of the group’s political bureau, said in a statement that Rafeh’s murder “is a black mark of shame” of the killers.Rafeh had played roles in several Syrian TV series but became famous throughout the Arab world five years ago for his role in the Bab al-Hara program that depicted life in Damascus in the 1930s under French colonial rule. Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Associated PressBEIRUT (AP) – Prominent Syrian-born Palestinian actor Mohammed Rafeh, who was believed to be a supporter of President Bashar Assad’s regime, was kidnapped and then killed by anti-government gunmen, activists and his family said Sunday. He was 30.Ahmad Rafeh, Mohammed’s father and also a well-known actor, said the family received Mohammed’s body Sunday.“My son was killed in cold blood,” Rafeh said by telephone from Damascus, adding that his son’s body bore gunshot wounds to the head, neck and shoulder. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img The vital role family plays in society The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Rafeh was kidnapped Friday night in the tense Damascus neighborhood of Barzeh, which has been hit by fighting between rebels and government troops. The Observatory said Rafeh was killed for apparently giving information to the regime about rebels and anti-government protesters.Rafeh’s killing comes days after a video posted online showing gunmen shooting dead captured soldiers _ some of whom were wounded _ raised concerns about rebel brutality at a time when the United States is making its strongest push yet to forge an opposition movement with which it can work.U.N. officials and human rights groups believe President Bashar Assad’s regime is responsible for the bulk of suspected war crimes in Syria’s 19-month-old conflict, which began as a largely peaceful uprising but has shifted into a brutal civil war. But investigators of human rights abuses say rebel atrocities are on the rise.Activists say that more than 36,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March last year.Rafeh’s death comes after a campaign began on social media calling for actors who support Assad to be punished.A Facebook page titled “The black list of Syrian artists” carried a picture of Rafeh standing next to a wall with “Assad only” spray-painted on it. Rafeh played the role of Ibrahim, the son of a wealthy textile merchant, who fights against French forces in defense of Syria.Rafeh was not married. The family said a funeral is planned for Monday.(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 Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

Ultranationalists angry over SerbiaKosovo meeting

first_imgBELGRADE, Serbia (AP) – Serbian ultranationalists held a rally on Tuesday to accuse their country’s president of treason for agreeing to hold talks with the president of Kosovo.The talks between Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Kosovo leader Atifete Jahjaga _ scheduled to take place in Brussels on Wednesday _ are part of an EU-brokered effort to improve ties between the former foes. The war ended in 1999 when NATO used a bombing campaign to chase Serbian troops out of Kosovo. Today the mostly ethnic Albanian province is recognized as an independent country by some 90 countries, including the U.S. and most EU members, even though Russia continues to back Serbia’s claim on the territory.Serbian nationalists still consider Kosovo as the medieval cradle of the Serbian state and the Orthodox religion, and they have pledged never to give it up.But Serbia’s government knows it must normalize relations with Kosovo to advance its bid to join the European Union.On Tuesday, dozens of followers of the extreme nationalist Serbian Radical Party rallied outside the Serbian presidency building in downtown Belgrade, waving flags and anti-EU banners. “Nikolic’s decision is clear and obvious treason,” said senior party official Nemanja Sarovic.An elderly man, who identified himself only as Luka, added: “I came here to protest against Kosovo being handed over to the Albanians.”Nikolic is a former ultranationalist who backed the onslaught by Serbian forces on separatists that NATO stopped in Kosovo, but he toned down his rhetoric and proclaimed himself pro-European Union before becoming Serbia’s president last year.In another sign of progress, Serbia’s government on Monday night named its first liaison officer to Pristina. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Sponsored Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments   Share   (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Iran says it sets up space monitoring center

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Iran says it wants to put its own satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters in the earthquake-prone nation, improve telecommunications and expand military surveillance in the region. The U.S. and its allies worry that the same technology could also be used to develop long-range missiles.Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said the center was for Iran’s space-related security but that Tehran would also share the acquired data with other countries, the official IRNA news agency reported.Iran frequently announces technological breakthroughs that cannot be independently verified. It has long pursued space ambitions aimed at putting its own satellite into orbit as well as a manned space flight.“The base is aimed at securing the country’s space facilities and monitoring space objects especially satellites that pass overhead,” Vahidi was quoted as saying.The country has nine command and control ground stations for its space program including one in Syria, the country’s main Arab regional ally. The rest are located mainly in the central and southern parts of the country.Vahidi said the Delijan center used radar, electro-optic and radio tracking.In one of its most recent high-profile space announcements, Iran said in February that it send a monkey into space. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Quick workouts for men Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran said Sunday that it set up its first space tracking center to monitor objects passing in orbit overhead, the breakthrough claimed by the Islamic Republic in its space program.President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who inaugurated the facility near the town of Delijan some 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Tehran, said the center will help the country to manage “activities of satellites” but was also capable of monitoring “very remote space,” according to the official IRNA press agency.last_img read more

Filipino China oil firms eye deal in disputed sea

first_img Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Philippine Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said Wednesday that talks between Forum Energy plc and China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or CNOOC, to develop an area of the Reed Bank were at a preliminary stage. Both China and the Philippines would have to approve a deal, but Petilla expressed hope that a commercial agreement could be reached despite the long-raging disputes over the Reed Bank, a vast offshore area claimed by both countries.The majority owner of London-based Forum is a Philippine energy company, Philex Petroleum Corp. The talks were being held abroad, most recently in Hong Kong, Petilla said.The alternative to entering into a business partnership “is not to drill _ probably forever.” Petilla said.President Benigno Aquino III told foreign correspondents that any such deal with China would have to conform to Philippine laws. The Reed Bank, northwest of the Philippine province of Palawan, lies clearly within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, Aquino said.Territorial spats between China and the Philippines over parts of the South China Sea have worsened in recent years, straining ties.Chinese ships tried to drive away a Philippine exploration vessel at the Reed Bank in March 2011. A Philippine general deployed two air force planes but the Chinese patrol ships had left by the time the aircraft reached the contested area. Aquino said Wednesday that he briefly met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian summit in Brunei two weeks ago and discussed the territorial rifts.“We still maintained both our positions,” Aquino said. “But at least we’re talking.”(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) MANILA, Philippines (AP) – A Filipino-British company has begun talks with China’s state-owned offshore oil producer for an oil- and gas-exploration deal in part of the South China Sea where Philippine and Chinese vessels were involved in a confrontation just two and a half years ago.If a deal is struck, it would be the first between China and the Philippines involving territory in the sea that both countries claim. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Men’s health affects baby’s health too Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milkcenter_img The territorial conflict has hampered oil exploration in the offshore area, Petilla said, but he added that the Philippines needed to find a way to tap its potentially huge oil and gas deposits to meet his country’s growing energy demand. Natural gas deposits at a nearby offshore field called Malampaya are expected to run out in 2024, he said, adding that it takes about a decade to develop such a gas field.China and the Philippines, along with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, have been contesting ownership of mostly barren islands, islets, reefs and surrounding waters in the South China Sea for years. There have been fears that the disputes could spark Asia’s next major armed conflict and block free passage in the busy sea lanes, where the bulk of the oil and cargo that fuel Asia’s bustling economies are transported.This year, Aquino’s government challenged Beijing’s claim over virtually the entire South China Sea before an international arbitration tribunal. Aquino canceled a publicly announced trip to China to attend a trade fair last month after Chinese diplomats demanded that his government withdraw the legal challenge, Philippine officials said. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Kerry to hold talks with Russian president Putin this week

first_img Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day The State Department said Kerry will meet Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday. It’s Kerry’s second trip to Russia since taking office.The announcement said Kerry will “discuss a full range of bilateral and regional issues, including Iran, Syria, and Ukraine.”The trip is part of an ongoing U.S. effort “to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure U.S. views are clearly conveyed,” the State Department said.After his brief stop in Russia, Kerry will travel to Turkey for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers and return to Washington for a summit of Gulf Arab leaders that President Barack Obama is hosting at Camp David.Kerry last visited Russia in May 2013.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. How men can have a healthy 2019 How do cataracts affect your vision? Top Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Russia this week for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kerry’s first visit to Russia since the Ukraine crisis began, the State Department announced Monday.Relations between Moscow and the West have been badly damaged over Ukraine, with Western nations accusing Russia of supporting separatists there with arms and manpower — a charge Moscow denies. Russia, meanwhile, has bristled at Washington’s pledge to provide Ukraine with military assistance in the form of hardware and training. Sponsored Stories center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility FILE – In this May 6, 2015 file photo, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf at the Presidential Palace, in Dijbouti, Dijbouti. The State Department says Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Russia this week for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Pending US home sales jump to strongest level in 9 years

first_imgFILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015 file photo, a “sale pending” sign is posted atop a realty sign in front of a home in Surfside, Fla. The National Association of Realtors releases its January report on pending home sales, which are seen as a barometer of future purchases, on Thursday, May 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) Top Stories Sponsored Stories 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 WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans signed contracts to buy homes in April at the fastest pace in nearly nine years, evidence that steady job growth is strengthening the real estate market.The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index climbed 3.4 percent to 112.4 last month. It’s the fourth consecutive monthly gain. The index now stands at its highest level since May 2006. How men can have a healthy 2019center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies On average, existing homes sold in 39 days last month, versus 52 days in March and 62 days in February, the Realtors said.Employers have hired 3.1 million new workers over the past 12 months. But wages are rising at a 2.1 percent annual clip, about four times slower than prices of existing homes.Nationwide, the median price of an existing home surged 8.9 percent over the past 12 months to $219,400.Unless home values level off because more supply comes onto the market, economists warn that buyers will be priced out of the market and sales will suffer.Still, there is tremendous pressure on buyers to find homes quickly, since average rates for 30-year, fixed mortgages may start to climb from the relatively low sub-4 percent level.A new analysis by indicates nationwide that waiting one year to buy will subtract $18,672 from the benefits of owning over the course of 30 years.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. “The confidence has returned to housing, not only as shelter but as a good long-term investment,” said Ron Peltier, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway’s real estate affiliate, HomeServices of America.The upswing comes after a year of strong hiring, which has heightened demand to buy houses. Increased sales should help bolster the economy, but the surge could potentially destabilize the housing market, Peltier cautioned. Inventories remain low, causing home values to rise at a pace that is eclipsing wage growth.Signed contracts are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.Pending sales increased in the Northeast, Midwest and South, while barely edging upward in the West. Greater demand has fueled sales growth this year after a lackluster 2014. Still, there is evidence that limited inventories are beginning to weigh on the market.Sales of existing homes fell slightly between April and March to an annual clip of 5.04 million last month, the Realtors reported last week. The decrease may reflect complications in finalizing sales in addition to the shortage of listings.The inventory of homes listed for sale has declined 0.9 percent over the past year, so would-be buyers have fewer choices and may face bidding wars. Comments   Share   last_img read more