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first_img TORONTO — It was a year of major accomplishments for TICO, all of which were highlighted at its Annual General Meeting in Mississauga.Taking place at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre on June 20, the AGM was chaired by Jean Hébert, who introduced special guest Tracy MacCharles, Ontario’s Minister of Government and Consumer Services. She opened the meeting with congratulatory words for the organization in its 20th anniversary year.“Over the last two decades, TICO has served Ontarians with dedication. Your organization has helped to create high standards of practice throughout the industry, and has contributed to a strong travel industry in Ontario by administering registration, inspection, supervision and disciplinarian measures for travel retailers and wholesalers when needed,” she said. “Consumer protection as well as consumer education within the travel industry has definitely increased under TICO’s watch. Twenty years is such an accomplishment and I congratulate you.”MacCharles highlighted several key accomplishments made in the past year, most notably the introduction of all-in pricing on Jan. 1, which requires registered businesses to display the total price to consumers, including all fees, levies and other charges, when advertising travel services.“Whether consumers are coming into the office to book or are booking online, with the all-in pricing, they know exactly what they’re going to get. This helps to remove undue stress and potential disappointment, and it really goes to show how small changes can have a huge impact on people’s lives,” she said.But MacCharles was quick to note that this wasn’t the only milestone for TICO this year. As part of its efforts to increase consumer protection in the industry, it began a detailed review of the Travel Industry Act, “the first one in over 15 years,” she added. A three-phased approach to the review is currently underway following in-person consultations in cities such as Thunder Bay, Sudbury, London, Ottawa, Markham, Toronto and Mississauga.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA Sales“I’m confident we’ve been able to collect thorough and detailed feedback from the travel industry and consumers about the challenges they face and how we can collectively improve,” she said, adding that the full report will be posted online by the end of this month.Also in attendance was Richard Smart, President and CEO of TICO, who noted a dip in registrants this year but remains hopeful for the industry at large. On March 31, 2017, there were a total of 2,418 registrations with TICO compared to 2,435 the previous year, an approximate 1% dip. However, said Smart, TICO also approved 139 new applications, which were offset by 169 registrations that were either revoked, voluntarily terminated or otherwise expired.“Six years ago we had approximately 2,500 registrations, only 82 more than today. While the number of registrants continues to decline, the overall travel market continues to grow,” he said. “The decline in challenges of the traditional agency model each year reflects the ongoing evolution of the market and the overall heightened pace of change, a harbinger for the continued shift of the provision of travel services. I’m pleased to report that good progress has been made towards our strategic priorities.”Other key accomplishments and findings at yesterday’s AGM include:TICO’s 2016-2017 Consumer Awareness Campaign strategy included the development and production of two new 15-second animated icon story commercials, which were aired on all major Ontario television networks in January-February 2017.Of the consumers surveyed in Ontario, 33% indicated awareness of TICO in 2016-2017, which matched the awareness in the previous year.TICO attended 12 consumer trade shows throughout Ontario and conducted eight speaking engagements with consumers to increase awareness of the organization and the consumer protection available in Ontario.TICO migrated its IT platform to a safe and secure Cloud-based infrastructure, including the upgrade of key operating systems.TICO resolved 172 written consumer complaints against registrants in 2016/2017 compared to 240 in the previous year. Some of these complaints related to files that were opened in the previous fiscal year. The number of new complaints received during 2016/2017 was 177 compared to 256 in the previous year. In processing these complaints, TICO successfully assisted consumers in obtaining $86,948 in restitution compared to $126, 475 the previous year. TICO also handled 1,165 telephone complaint inquiries and 583 email complaint inquiries.As of March 31, 2017, the assets held for the Compensation Fund were $20,644,930. In 2016/2017, a total of 80 claims were paid, compared to 31 in 2015/2016.For the third consecutive fiscal year, TICO generated a positive net surplus, slightly above break-even for fiscal year 2016/2017. Like recent years, this was another year where claims against the Compensation Fund were low by historical standards.As of March 31, 2017, total Net Assets at year-end were $22,282,737 compared to $22,274,594 for the year ended March 31, 2016. This increase in Net Assets was the result of total revenues exceeding all expenses net of claims by $8,143 for the year, compared with a slightly larger surplus of $94,837 in the prior year. Total revenues increased by $317,342 (7%), while operating expenses, before net claims, were higher by $522,362 (12%).To read more about TICO’s AGM, check out the June 29 edition of Travelweek! Click here to subscribe for free. Share Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Tags: TICO << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img A year of accomplishments highlighted at TICO’s Annual General Meeting Posted by Travelweek Group last_img read more


first_imgNo related posts. Five armed robbers forced their way into Hotel Samasati, in the Caribbean province of Limón, and held up some 18 tourists in the early hours of Thursday, local news station Telenoticias reported.According to reports from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), the thieves went straight to the rooms in which the tourists – most of them U.S. citizens – were sleeping, herded them into a single room and locked them in. OIJ estimates the crooks stole some $6,000 in cash, digital cameras and other personal belongings.They also took a car from the hotel’s owner, and then slashed the tires of all vehicles in the parking lot, before fleeing.One of the tourists was taken to a local clinic after receiving a punch in his face, Telenoticias reported.OIJ preliminary reports state that the hotel’s security officer was not at his post at the time of the assault.The hotel is located in the southern region of Limón, near the border with Panama. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


first_imgNo related posts. A Legislative Assembly commission last week approved the amendment of two articles of the country’s Penal Code to further criminalize child pornography. Articles 173 and 174 were modified to apply a broader definition of child pornography offenses and to increase prison penalties.Data from the statistical department of the Judicial Branch show an increase by more than 50 percent in child pornography complaints in the last four years. However, loopholes in the law allowed many suspected offenders to go unpunished.In one example, judicial records used as briefing materials for the legislative sessions show that only 1 of 38 defendants accused of producing child pornography between 2007 and 2009 was convicted. Even in that single case, the offender received parole. One of the most important changes to the Penal Code is the removal of the words “image and/or voice” in order to extend the description to any kind of representation of a minor.The new description establishes punishments for the use of minors engaged in sexual situations in video, audio, photographs, illustrations and any kind of print or electronic media. It also forbids any representation of a minor’s genitalia for sexual purposes.Modifications to Article 173 set penalties ranging from four to eight years in prison for those convicted of producing or reproducing pornographic material containing minors. The previous law established three-year prison sentences.It also establishes a penalty of one to four years in prison for any person in possesion of this type of material, and a three- to six-year penalty for people transporting into the country any kind of child pornography.Article 174 states that defendants found guilty of selling, financing, distributing or exhibiting child pornography will serve convictions of four to eight years.Those caught selling, distribuiting or exhibiting pornography to minors could receive three to seven years in prison.Lawmakers also added a new section to the same article to include as a criminal offenses virtual (online/digital) pornography and any form of child exploitation. The change aims not only to punish those exploiting minors but also those producing materials of adults portraying children in sexual situations.The changes set penalties ranging from six months to two years for those who own, produce, reproduce, distribute or display any kind of pornographic material of adults representing a minor, and punishes any form of child representation with sexual intentions in drawings, cartoons or comics.The reforms also include a modification of Article 61 of the Immigration Law (Law #8764) to ban from entering the country all foreigners convicted of sexual offenses against minors or even those pending legal proceedings.The prohibition includes people with pending criminal proceedings for sexual offenses against minors or any person who has been convicted of any crime against minors in the past 50 years.The amendments now await President Laura Chinchilla’s signature and publication in the official newspaper La Gaceta. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


first_imgCosta Rica’s Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) smashed an international gun and drug running operation supposedly linked to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the San José neighborhood of Barrio Escalante – just a few kilometers from The Tico Times office – on Thursday night, according to OIJ Director Francisco Segura.The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration alerted authorities two months ago that criminals had been ferrying heavy arms through Costa Rica, including AR-15 rifles. An OIJ agent successfully infiltrated the criminal organization, leading to the arrests.Authorities confiscated 27 rifles, seven pistols, one revolver and a silencer. OIJ agents also seized 492 kilograms of cocaine during one of the raids that took place in capital neighborhood of Sabana Sur, Curridabat, and Barrio Escalante Thursday evening.Five Colombians and a Nicaraguan, who have been in Costa Rica legally for between eight months and four years, were arrested. Segura said an alleged connection existed with the FARC, an armed leftist guerrilla organization in Colombia that has alleged ties with drug trafficking, but would not elaborate. The U.S. government considers FARC a terrorist organization. The guns originated in Germany and arrived in Costa Rica, where the suspects filed off the weapons’ serial numbers and possibly made other modifications, including alternations to make them automatic weapons, before sending them on to Mexico, according to Segura. The Chiribogo gun store in Barrio Escalante, where the gunrunners operated, had legal permission to sell weapons.“Let’s not kid ourselves, these weapons are here for illicit reasons,” Segura told reporters during a press conference on Friday.Acting Costa Rican Attorney General Carlos María Jiménez said the suspects could face up to 20 years in prison if charged and found guilty.Segura added that the DEA did not have a police presence in the raids and only participated in intelligence-sharing.OIJ said the investigation is ongoing. Correction Nov. 1, 2:22 p.m.: This report originally misspelled the name of the gun store as “Chiripago.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more


first_imgRelated posts:Arts Festival in Jacó, and other happenings around Costa Rica A jungle concert, St. Paddy’s Day, and other stuff happening in Costa Rica India Fest, San Ramón run and other happenings around Costa Rica Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Paddle Fest 2014Have paddle, will travel. Paddle Fest 2014 is a massive tournament for every kind of hand-powered water sport – from sea kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding. Athletes will compete as individuals or in groups, covering the coast of Playa Agujas in watercraft. Sponsored by Kayak Jacó, Paddle Fest is gathering of skilled athletes and a chance for fans to get their feet wet.Paddle Fest takes place May 24 at Playa Agujas, Jacó, Puntarenas. 5:30 a.m. onward. Participants ₡5,000-60,000 ($10-120), spectators free. Info: 2643-1233.Book Sale in San RamónThe Community Action Alliance offers thousands of new and used books to raise money for Tico scholarships.The book sale takes place May 24 & 25, Museo Regional de San Ramón. 9 a.m. To learn more or to donate books, write to booksale@actionalliance.com.Theater: “The Merchant of Venice”A Spanish adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy performs at the National Auditorium. See Shylock’s mischievous plotting in a whole new way.“El Mercader de Venecia” plays through May 25 at the National Auditorium, Children’s Museum, San José. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. General, ₡3,500 ($7); students ₡2,500 ($5). Info: RedCultura site.Music: Selah ReggaeGet down to Caribbean beats in Barrio Amón.Selah Reggae takes place May 23 at El Soltano, Barrio Amón, San José. 9 p.m. ₡2,000-3,000 ($4-6). Info: GAM Cultural site.Music: School for the Arts GalaCatch some of the University of Costa Rica’s finest talent at this free gala.Gala takes place at the National Theater, downtown San José. 7 p.m. Free. Info: GAM Cultural site.Youth Symphony OrchestraA concert by the maestros of tomorrow, performed int he National Theater.El Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil performs July 28 at the National Theater, downtown San José. 7 p.m. ₡7,000 ($14). Info: National Theater website.Music: La Maquina del TiempoHear favorite classic rock covers at JazzCafé.La Maquina del Tiempo performs May 27 at JazzCafé Escazú. 8 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). Info: JazzCafé website.Film: “Through a Glass Darkly”A family drama involving vacation, Schizophrenia, and unraveling relationships, by the inimitable Swedish director Ingmar Bergman.“Como en un Espejo” screens May 24 at the Joaquín García Monge Museum, Desamparados. 6:30 p.m. ₡2,000 ($4). Info: GAMCultural website.Exhibit: “Tintin”A retrospective on the dashing young journalist, his pup Snowy and his friend Captain Haddock. Visit the Alianza Francesa to see the works of Belgian cartoonist Hergé.The Tintin exhibit takes place May 2-31 at the Alianza Francesa, La Sabana. Free. Info: Alianza Francesa website.Art: “Mayo en Verde”Celebrate the coming of the green season with these colorful landscapes, painted by a variety of Costa Rican artists.“Mayo en Verde” takes place at the López Ecarré Gallery, National Theater, downtown San José. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Free. Info: Gallery website.Multimedia: “Micro-Theater” at Casa IberoA series of 15-minute plays, plus a half-dozen other avant-garde activities, take place this weekend at the Casa Ibero artists’ collective.Performances take place May 22-24 at Casa Ibero, Los Yoses. Thu. & Sun., 6 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 7 p.m. Info: Casa Ibero website.Art: “A Family Portrait of Helvetica”This dual exhibit features a fascinating exploration on the typeface Helvetica, by artist Mimiam Hsu.“Retrato Familiar en Helvética” and “Ojalá el Sol Me Esconda” display through June 28 TEOR/éTica Gallery, Barrio Amón. Free. Info: TEOR/éTica website.Art: Great Painters ExhibitPaintings by Picasso, Matisse, Renoir and Andy Warhol arrive in Costa Rica. Presented by the National Gallery, this collection incorporates 158 artworks and celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture, based in the former penitentiary.“Herencia del Arte” takes place April 28–June 28 at the National Gallery in Barrio Mexico. Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free. Info: National Gallery website.Enamorate de tu ciudadYes, you can get gaga for San José – especially when the Culture Ministry is sponsoring Enamorate de tu ciudad, or Fall in Love With Your City, a year-long celebration of art, culture and urban parks. Check back for games, workshops, presentations and surprise performances.Fall in Love with Your City takes place on Saturdays in various parks in downtown San José. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Info: Enamorate de tu Ciudad website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


first_imgLOS ANGELES, California — Pink Floyd, the 1970s rock band known for its lush musical textures and meditative take on existence, is working on its first new album in two decades.The project is based on unreleased recordings made in 1994, according to a Twitter post by Polly Samson, wife of guitarist David Gilmour. The album will be the first new one from the band since “The Division Bell,” which was released that year.“Pink Floyd album out in October is called ‘The Endless River,’” Samson said in a tweet. “Based on 1994 sessions is Rick Wright’s swansong and very beautiful.”Wright, a founding member of the band, died in 2008. So far, no word on whether original Pink Floyd co-founder, bassist and songwriter Roger Waters will participate, although the timing of the recordings makes it unlikely. Waters and Gilmour were tangled up in court for years over the latter’s use of the name Pink Floyd, after the original group split up in 1985.Pink Floyd achieved worldwide fame with the 1973 album “The Dark Side of the Moon.” The album had a place on the weekly U.S. Billboard 200 charts for 14 consecutive years.Durga McBroom-Hudson, one of the band’s touring singers, confirmed the upcoming release on her Facebook page, saying the recordings on the new album began during “The Division Bell” sessions as a side project.“It was originally to be a completely instrumental recording, but I came in last December and sang on a few tracks,” McBroom-Hudson wrote in the post.Shortly after, Pink Floyd’s website confirmed the news, revealing few more details.© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:Yusuf/Cat Stevens back with album, rare North America tour Swedish police briefly hold US rapper Snoop Dogg New York hip-hop legend AZ gets ‘back to himself’ in new video filmed in Costa Rica Radiohead announces 2016 world tour ahead of possible new albumlast_img read more


first_imgRelated posts:Ortega will ask Costa Rica to hand over refugees Nicaragua expels UN human rights mission Nicaraguan opposition has little chance of defeating Ortega Dueling stories behind shooter at Nicaragua protest reveal sharp divide over Sandinista government GENEVA, Switzerland — Nearly 23,000 people fleeing turmoil in Nicaragua have sought asylum in neighboring Costa Rica, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday, as it announced a beefed up presence in the region.Three months of protests against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s rule and the brutal response by security forces and paramilitary groups have killed more than 300 people, according to rights groups.“The number of asylum applications by Nicaraguans in neighboring Costa Rica and other countries has increased exponentially,” UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told reporters in Geneva.Costa Rican authorities have registered nearly 8,000 asylum claims since April and given future appointments to 15,000 other asylum seekers, a delay needed because the processing system is “overwhelmed,” Spindler said.“UNHCR is strengthening its presence in Costa Rica’s northern border region and… is gearing up its response capacity to provide immediate protection and assistance to thousands of Nicaraguan refugees and asylum seekers,” he added.While Costa Rica has endured the brunt of the influx, Panama, Mexico and the United States have also seen an increase in Nicaraguan arrivals, UNHCR said.Ortega, 72, headed a left-wing Sandinista government during the Cold War, and returned to power in 2007.Protesters have demanded that he and his powerful vice president, wife Rosario Murillo, resign. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


first_img Comments   Share   The island, which has a permanent population of about 650, sits off the west coast of the Jutland peninsula and north of the German border.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories Check your body, save your life Quick workouts for men More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementscenter_img Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Some 60 people have been evacuated from a 0.7-mile (1.4-kilometer) zone around a construction site on a Danish island where a possible World War II bomb was found.Police say the bomb was found on the island of Roemoe, which is popular among German tourists in the summer months.Police said Monday residents and tourists in the evacuated area have been offered shelter in a local school. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more


first_imgGENEVA (AP) – The U.N. refugee agency is more than quadrupling its aid appeal for Africa’s Sahel region to deal with a surge in the number of civilians fleeing conflict in Mali.The Geneva-based office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says it now needs $153.7 million for its operations this year in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.UNHCR said in a statement Thursday that the Tuareg uprising in mid-January, followed by a coup in March and a growing number of armed groups have prompted almost 320,000 Malians to flee their homes. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories It now expects to have to help 440,000 Malians inside and outside the country this year.The agency’s previous appeal in February had estimated it would need to help some 85,000 people until July.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments   Share   How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more


first_imgLONDON (AP) – British Foreign Secretary William Hague says talks with Ecuador over the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remain deadlocked.Assange, who is seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over sex crimes allegations, has been sheltering inside Ecuador’s embassy in London _ beyond the reach of British police _ since June 19.Ecuador has granted Assange asylum, but he will be arrested if he steps foot outside the small, central London mission. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Hague told lawmakers on Tuesday that talks are continuing.Assange claims the Swedish sex case is part of plot to make him stand trial in the United States over his work with WikiLeaks, which has published large troves of secret U.S. documents. Sweden and Washington reject the claim.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Top Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more


first_img Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Police said Ndreca’s injuries were not life-threatening. He had been jailed for six years for anti-Communist activities.Protest coordinator Skender Tufa said a second striker who tried to put out the fire Monday also suffered burns.About 100,000 Albanians were executed, imprisoned or sent to labor camps by the former communist regime that ruled Albania from 1944-1990.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 0 Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daycenter_img TIRANA, Albania (AP) – A former Albanian political prisoner has been hospitalized after setting himself on fire to demand quicker payment of compensation for victims of the former communist regime.Gjergj Ndreca, 53, is among a group of some 20 former political prisoners on hunger strike on a street in central Tirana. They are demanding that the government meets its pledges to pay victims of the former regime 2,000 leks ($18.32; (EURO)14.05) per day of imprisonment. Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img read more


first_imgWestern countries have questioned Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s right to govern the country, following a series leaked wiretaps that the opposition claims prove high level corruption and murder cover-ups. An anti-government rally has been called by the opposition on May 17.___Jovana Gec contributed from Belgrade, SerbiaCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Last weekend 14 gunmen and eight police were killed and 37 wounded in clashes in the northern Macedonian town of Kumanovo. Another 26 people, most from Kosovo, are under arrest for the clashes.Details about the fighting remain murky. Authorities claim the armed group stashed away weapons to launch attacks in a bid to unify Albanians living in Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia into one country. Some suggest authorities in Skopje sparked the clash, seeking to shift attention from corruption scandals that threaten to oust the ruling conservatives.Some gunmen are former rebels who fought against Serbia in 1999 and Macedonia in 2001.The weekend shootout has upset fragile relations in the Balkans and caught the eye of Europe’s heavyweights.Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov branded the clashes acts of terrorism and criticized the European Union’s handling of the crisis.“The EU must not take a cowardly position and pretend not to see, while trying to present this situation as an isolated episode,” Lavrov said in Belgrade after talks with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. His comments were translated from Russian into Serbian.Lavrov even suggested that “events in Macedonia have been developing in the context” of the Macedonian government’s pro-Russian policies, including its refusal to join the EU sanctions. 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo police raided several households across the country Friday, including the families of ethnic Albanians involved in last week’s deadly clashes with police in neighboring Macedonia.Police spokesman Baki Kelani confirmed several raids were underway. The raids follow accusations from Macedonian leaders that Kosovo gunmen plotted terrorist attacks aimed at destabilizing Macedonia. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more


first_img“The use of water as a tool of war is to be condemned in no uncertain terms,” the spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters. “These kinds of reports are disturbing, to say the least.”He said the U.N. and humanitarian partners will try to “fill in the gaps” to meet water needs for the affected population.In Brussels, U.N. officials said Thursday that the needs of Iraqis affected by the fighting are huge and growing, with more than 8 million people requiring immediate support, and potentially 10 million by the end of 2015.Lise Grande, the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said the aid operation, which she called one of the most complex and volatile in the world, was hanging by a thread.“Humanitarian partners have been doing everything they can to help. But more than 50 per cent of the operation will be shut down or cut back if money is not received immediately,” Grande told members of the European Parliament, according to a U.N. news release.The consequences of such a reduction in aid, Grande said, would be “catastrophic.”“While we search for solutions to end the violence, we must do everything in our power to help,” said U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-Wha Kang, also in Brussels. “The people of Iraq need our help, now.” Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis At a one-day conference in Paris this week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had pressed his case for more support from the 25 countries in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militant group, asking for more armament and ammunition.“We’re relying on ourselves, but fighting is very hard this way,” al-Abadi said before the conference Tuesday.The coalition has mustered a mix of airstrikes, intelligence sharing and assistance for Iraqi ground operations against the extremists. Al-Abadi said more was needed, with Iraq reeling after troops pulled out of Ramadi without a fight and abandoned U.S.-supplied tanks and weapons.___Associated Press Writer John-Thor in Brussels contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Quick workouts for men BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State militants have reduced the amount of water flowing to government-held areas in Iraq’s western Anbar province, an official said Thursday, the latest in the vicious war as Iraqi forces struggle to claw back ground held by the extremists in the Sunni heartland.It’s not the first time that water has been used as a weapon of war in Mideast conflicts and in Iraq in particular. Earlier this year, the Islamic State group reduced the flow through another lock outside the militant-held town of Fallujah, also in Anbar province. But the extremists soon reopened it after criticism from residents. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home The IS captured Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar, last month, marking its most significant victory since a U.S.-led coalition began an air campaign against the extremists last August. Earlier last year, the Islamic State had blitzed across much of western and northern Iraq, capturing key Anbar cities and also Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city that lies to the north of Baghdad.Also Thursday, U.N. officials urgently called for almost $498 million in donations to provide shelter, food, water and other life-saving services for the next six months to Iraqis displaced or affected by the fighting between government forces and the Islamic State group.The reduced flow of water through the militant-held dam on the Euphrates River will threaten irrigation systems and water treatment plants in nearby areas controlled by troops and tribes opposed to the extremist group, provincial council member Taha Abdul-Ghani told The Associated Press.Abdul-Ghani said there would be no immediate effect on Shiite areas in central and southern Iraq, saying water is being diverted to those areas from the Tigris River.The United Nations had said on Wednesday that it was looking into reports that IS had reduced the flow of water through the al-Warar dam. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more


first_imgUNITED NATIONS (AP) — International donors pledged $3.4 billion Friday to help Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone recover from the Ebola epidemic which has killed over 11,000 people and devastated the three West African nations. The amount is more than the $3.2 billion their presidents sought.At the end of a high-level meeting, U.N. development chief Helen Clark announced that the new pledges, together with previously announced pledges of around $1.8 billion, will give the hard-hit Ebola nations about $5.2 billion to rebuild, which will be “incredibly helpful.” Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments   Share   Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Top Stories Clark said the tally was preliminary and stressed that the U.N. will follow up to ensure that the money is actually delivered, which isn’t always the case.Among the major new pledges were $745 million from the African Development Bank, $495 million from the European Union, $360 million from the Islamic Development Bank, $340 million from Britain and $266 million from the United States.Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, speaking on behalf of the three countries, said another $4 billion will be needed to finance a regional recovery plan.Sirleaf said the international support will enable the countries to revive their economies, restore their damaged social fabric and promote regional stability and world trade.“The world as a whole has a great stake in how we together respond to this global threat,” she said, adding that “virus diseases, just like terrorism, know no national boundaries.”Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma said making the national plans work “has the urgency of a life and death situation for over 20 million people in our countries.”Dr. David Nabarro, the U.N. special envoy on Ebola, told the meeting that “the end of the outbreak is tantalizingly in sight,” with about 30 new infections a week in the three countries and intense detective work under way to trace the chains of transmission. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories He told reporters Thursday that there are fewer than six transmission chains in each country, far less than two months ago.But he said the virus is surviving in some people longer than the 21 days of quarantine — including for months in the prostate gland, the eye and fetus — which makes keeping track of those who have been exposed critical.Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, speaking as chair of the African Union, said the meeting was “a clarion call to the international collective to up-scale its preparedness and capacity to handle and manage disasters, particularly health epidemics.”World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, speaking by videoconference, pledged to create “a pandemic response team” to respond to pandemics in every country.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Check your body, save your lifelast_img read more


first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Sportsnet looks to capitalise on global growth with the launch of its new media arm, Mummu Media Sportsnet Corporation has restructured its organisation, with a significant portion of its activities to be managed under the newly created entity, Mummu Media. Sportsnet, a pre-eminent dedicated sports travel group, transferred selected activities and rights to the new entity on 13 September 2010. Sportsnet CEO at the time, Adam Jacoby, stepped down from the position to assume the role of managing director of Mummu Media. Mummu Media will operate the global media, rights and advisory activity for the Sportsnet group of companies and assume independent commercial activities, particularly in the white label online travel sector, a statement from the company said. The white label and pipeline business activities of Sportsnet, which include: Polo World Travel, Racing World Travel, FuelTV World Travel, Eezego1, Phil Anderson Cycling Tours and UCI Travel, have been transferred to Mummu Media, as have major rights activity and a new advisory service for the media and sport industries.“The board of Sportsnet Corporation has made an insightful and exciting decision to allow the core business to run in parallel to its entrepreneurial and market leading media activities and both will now have the freedom and support to flourish in their own right,” Mr Jacoby said.last_img read more


first_imgRecommendations for added efficiency will be applied by Perth Airport. Image: PerthNow Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Reduced arrival spacing has been suggested as a means to minimise delays, enhance operations and increase capacity at Perth Airport.Airservices Australia and the United Kingdom’s air navigation service provider, UK NATS, released findings from their July 2012 jointly-funded study, indicating measures necessary in maximising the airport’s efficiency.Perth Airport has responded positively to the 45 recommended amendments.“Perth Airport is well advanced in implementing the 13 recommendations relating to our operations”, Perth Airport chief executive Brad Geatches said.“We are confident that if Airservices Australia implement the 25 recommendations relating to their procedures and airlines cooperate with the remaining seven recommendations, significant improvements can be made at Perth Airport.”Perth Airport will employ a schedule coordination system by early 2013, allocating landing and take-off slots at the airport and aiding in airport management during peak operational periods.“At the moment, we have a significant peak morning departures period, from 6am to 8am every Tuesday to Thursday… There is more than sufficient airfield capacity to meet demand, however, the practices of some airlines and Airservices Australia have not seen optimal usage of the infrastructure,” Mr Geatches said.“The report highlights that mid-week morning congestion, driven by first-in first-out departures, can only be addressed by continuing to spread airline schedules, or by constructing a third runway.”last_img read more


first_imgSource = ETB News: Lewis Wiseman The chair of Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), Mr Tony South, has announced that he will step down as chair in the lead up to the formation of a new, unified organisation.Mr South’s announcement follows the resignation of TAA Managing Director of Rodger Powell, who left the organisation at the end of September.Australian Hotels Association president, Peter Burnett has thanked Mr South and Mr Powell for their contribution in establishing TAA as a powerful and highly effective advocacy body.“Together, Rodger and Tony have worked tirelessly to achieve the best outcomes for the accommodation sector, they are widely respected across the industry for their insight and drive, and during their time at TAA, they made significant progress with Government,” said Mr Burnett.Tony South was chair of TAA for nearly three years, and will retain his involvement in the industry through his recent appointment to the Board of Tourism Australia.The pair leave TAA as the organisation works towards a new joint venture with the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) to create a single organisation to represent the accommodation sector.A Steering Committee, established by the AHA and AAoA, is currently drawing up plans for the new organisation, with a board and new chair for the organisation expected to be appointed by the end of the year.last_img read more


first_img Join TravelManagersbecome a PTM today Japan National Tourism OrganizationVisit Japan Source = TravelManagers Australia About TravelManagers TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 480 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases.center_img Victoria-based TravelManagers’ Business Partnership Manager Scott Hallo joins Tatsuya Tanaka (Kumamoto Prefectural Tourism), Judy Luxton (GM, Japan Holidays), Ken Takenaga (Kumamoto Prefectural Tourism) and PTMs Naomi Liss, Theresa Kwong, Tanya Barker and Claire Kilcullen for a teppanyaki lunch and destination update.Japanese Spring Fling for Personal Travel ManagersThe opportunity to enjoy an authentic Japanese meal and meet with Japanese tourism industry delegates was too enticing to pass up for a group of Victoria-based personal travel managers (PTMs) from TravelManagers.The group were hosted by Japan Holidays, which is a specialist destination partner supplier to TravelManagers, and lunched at Melbourne’s Kobe Jones Riverside Teppanyaki restaurant before a detailed presentation on Kumamoto, a prefecture (province) on Japan’s third largest island, Kyushu.TravelManagers’ Theresa Kwong, representative for Hughesdale, Victoria, says she was very impressed with both the lunch and the presentation.“I was already reasonably familiar with the major Japanese cities and the ski resorts, but I didn’t really know much about Kyushu which is Japan’s third largest island,” she explains. “The main city, Kumamoto, has a population of around 650,000 and we learned that it is most famous for its castle, which is one of Japan’s largest and most complete. The castle itself is home to around 800 cherry trees, making it a popular spot for the Japanese spring pass-time of hanami, or cherry blossom viewing.”For Kwong, the presentation offered her the opportunity to learn more about a part of Japan with which she was less familiar.“Japan is such a great destination for Australians: it’s in the same time zone as the East Coast so there’s no need to worry about jetlag, it’s safe, the people are very friendly and the food is amazing!”Executive General Manager – Michael GazalMichael Gazal, Executive General Manager for TravelManagers, says the company understands that its ongoing success relies in large part on its PTMs having regular access to product training.“We are fortunate to have such a strong relationship with Japan Holidays, who are able to provide our PTMs with access to organisations like Kumamotu Prefectural Tourism. This allows them to tap into the specialist destination knowledge and expertise they need to create fantastic holiday experiences for our clients.”With almost 260,000 Australian tourists visiting Japan in 2014, and numbers expected to rise further over the next few years, Gazal says TravelManagers is looking forward to continuing its close and successful relationship with Japan Holidays.last_img read more


first_imgTIME Hotels appoints new Corporate Director of RevenueTIME Hotels appoints new Corporate Director of RevenueUAE-headquartered TIME Hotels has announced the appointment of Laurent Barelier as its new Corporate Director of Revenue Management and E-distribution as the company looks to develop its strategy and implement growth plans.A graduate of the American College of Greece and holder of an MBA in International Hospitality Management from Cornell University, Paris, French national Barelier has over 17 years’ corporate hospitality experience having worked for a number of successful international hospitality chains both in the Middle East and globally.His career includes senior management roles with Intercontinental in Athens, Greece, Accor Hotels, Dubai, Wyndham Hotel group, Dubai and latterly as a management consultant for the Majestic Tower Hotel, Dubai.“Laurent has a wealth of experience and an in-depth understanding of the requirements of a hotel chain of TIME Hotels stature combined the technical ability from a corporate revenue perspective. These skills, paired with good knowledge of pre-opening strategies and implementation, will be crucial as we look to add to promote our business in Q4 2016 and throughout 2017,” said Mohamed Awadalla, CEO, TIME Hotels. “It’s an extremely exciting time to join the TIME Hotels team as growth plans for the region are gaining momentum as the company looks to expand into new markets. In line with the aspirations of the CEO, I want to support our goals of becoming a major player within the hospitality industry by making the transition into new key gateway destinations in the UAE and across the Middle East easier,” said Barelier.In his spare time Barelier is an active member of AIESEC, the world’s leading youth leadership development organisation, and the Dubai chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). He is also a member of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). TIME Hotelsbook your room hereSource = TIME Hotelslast_img read more


first_imgONYX marks first entry to Laos with three Amari hotelsONYX marks first entry to Laos with three Amari hotelsAs part of its growth strategy to introduce its brands across Asia-Pacific, leading international hospitality management company, ONYX Hospitality Group, announces the signing of a partnership agreement with Tang Charoen (TCR) Group Co., Ltd. to manage three Amari hotels in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. This agreement will mark ONYX’s market entry into Laos with the first property set to begin operations in 2017.The Amari property in Vang Vieng is due to welcome its first guests in 2017 while the other two properties in Vientiane and Pakse are both scheduled to open in 2020. Amari’s signature Amaya Food Gallery, Breeze Spa and creative meeting venues will be featured in each property.Commenting on the project, Peter Henley, President and CEO of ONYX Hospitality Group said,“Laos is emerging as one of Southeast Asia’s fastest growing destinations, with the ongoing introduction of new flight routes and tourism infrastructure enhancements. We are excited to enter this market with not one but three Amari properties as part of our continuing regional expansion plans. We look forward to a successful collaboration with Tang Charoen Group to bring Amari to life in this market.”Thai-based ONYX Hospitality Group currently manages 63 properties; 22 projects are under construction; and aims to reach 81 properties by the end of 2018. These three hotels will be added to the Group’s growing Amari portfolio, which presently consists of 14 operating properties and another eight under development. Amari Hotels & Resortsbook your stay hereAbout ONYX ONYX Hospitality Group operates several diverse yet complementary brands –Amari, Shama and OZO – each catering to the distinctive requirements of today’s business and leisure travellers. ONYX reaches beyond its Thai roots to offer innovative management solutions across the Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf and Asia-Pacific regions. Visit www.onyx-hospitality.com.About Tang Charoen (TCR) GroupTang Charoen (TCR) Group is based in Pakse, Laos, and involved in diverse businesses including construction, entertainment, food and beverage and retail. The Group manages one of the largest construction companies in Laos with experience leading various infrastructural mega projects. The Group’s subsidiary companies include the largest home appliances agent and retailer in Pakse, distributing brands such as Toshiba, Hafele, Dremel, Bosch and Aconatic. TCR also operates a cinema complex in Pakse, and brought the N&B Pizza Crepe franchise from Thailand to Laos. Source = ONYX Hospitality Group – Amarilast_img read more