HK drops plans for Chinese patriotism classes

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Public anger over the classes has been growing for months. Many feared they were a ploy by Beijing authorities to indoctrinate the city’s young into unquestioning support of China’s Communist Party, though Leung and other senior officials denied it.China regained control of Hong Kong from Britain in 1997 after more than a century of colonial rule, but the city has been allowed to retain a high degree of autonomy, a separate legal system and civil liberties not seen in mainland China, such as freedom of speech.Leung’s retreat follows a week of protests by thousands in front of government headquarters coinciding with the start of a new school year. Organizers said 120,000 took part on Friday evening, though police put the number at 36,000, local news reports said.The decision comes a day before elections for the city’s legislature. Sunday’s vote will be the first time the public will be able to choose more than half the seats. Deepening opposition to the education plans could have undermined support for pro-Beijing candidates.The protesters worried the new subject would be an attempt to indoctrinate the city’s young with nationalist education classes similar to ones used in schools all over China to inculcate support for the Communist government. How do cataracts affect your vision? The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The fears rose after a pro-Beijing education group published a pamphlet earlier this year extolling the virtues of one-party rule. The government stressed that the booklet, called “The China Model,” was not part of designated teaching material.According to curriculum guidelines, students would learn in the classes about China’s political leaders, the contributions they have made and the difficulties and challenges they face. They would also learn how to “speak cautiously,” practice self-discipline and get along well with others in a rational and respectful way.The controversy is the latest sign of increasing discomfort with mainland China’s growing influence on the city. Hong Kongers have also been perturbed about stunted democratic development and an influx of wealthy mainlanders buying up property and driving up prices.___Follow Kelvin Chan on Twitter at twitter.com/chanman(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 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Associated PressHONG KONG (AP) – Hong Kong officials backed down Saturday on plans to make students take Chinese patriotism classes following a week of protests in the former British colony sparked by fears of pro-Beijing “brainwashing.”The semiautonomous Chinese city’s leader, Leung Chun-ying, said it would be up to schools to decide whether to hold the classes. They were to have become a mandatory subject in 2015 after a three-year voluntary period.last_img read more

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  • Fairmont VIA Rail launch new crosscountry package for Canada 150

    first_imgTags: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, VIA Rail TORONTO — To celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial, Fairmont Hotels & Resort has teamed up with VIA Rail Canada to launch a new 20-day luxury train trip that travels from coastal Vancouver all the way to Quebec.Inspired by both brands’ unique Canadian heritage, ‘The Great Canadian Railway Adventure’ includes quintessential Canadian experiences such as cycling through Stanley Park in Vancouver, attending performances in the ‘Cultural Cradle of Canada’ in Winnipeg, visiting the CN Tower in Toronto, touring the National Art Gallery in Ottawa and exploring the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal. Guests will also take in the majesty of Niagara Falls and stroll along the beaches of English Bay.Accommodations will be at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ historic castles and iconic properties, many of which have hosted landmark moments throughout the history of Canada. Participating properties include Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Winnipeg, Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, and a choice of Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth (upon reopening in June 2017) or Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile in Montreal.Credit: Daniel Kelleghan Photography‘The Great Canadian Railway Adventure’ starts at $11,988 per person and includes overnight accommodations at Fairmont hotels, four nights’ accommodation on VIA Rail’s The Canadian train, in a private cabin from Jasper to Winnipeg to Toronto plus three dinners, two lunches and three breakfasts, Business Class daytime journeys on VIA Rail’s Corridor train between Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City, tours and airport and train station transfers.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?Guests will also receive a VIA Rail commemorative bundle, which includes a Fairmont Hotels & Resorts gift card, passport holder, luggage tag, Human Rights Museum pass, CN Tower pass, half bottle of Veuve Clicquot, Canada by Train book, and a maple chocolate box.This package is valid for travel through Dec. 31, 2017. Suggested 2017 dates, starting in Vancouver: May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; June 7, 14, 21, 28; July 5, 12, 19, 26; Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27; Oct. 4, 11.Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is also celebrating Canada’s anniversary with special promotions. The ‘Canada 150 Credit Offer’ includes a $150 credit for stays of three nights or more at participating properties in the U.S. and Canada, valid towards food and beverage, spa and golf outlets, for travel booked by May 8 for stays through Dec. 31. Also available is the ‘150 Ways to Celebrate Canada Sweepstakes’ in which Fairmont will give one grand prize winner a three-night getaway to Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal and 150 instant winners a one-night stay at any Fairmont property in Canada. Travelweek Group Wednesday, April 26, 2017 Fairmont & VIA Rail launch new cross-country package for Canada 150center_img Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

  • Austria promises a premium experience for clients

    first_imgTags: Austria, Austrian Airlines The city of Vienna is looking forward to the rest of 2018 with ‘100 years celebrating Viennese Modernism’. The city will also welcome four new hotel developments in the four to five-star range, with Hotel Das Tries recently completing an expansion to 100 rooms, Palis Hotel currently looking to renovate, Mooons opening in spring and Andaz Am Belvedere Vienna opening in the fall. The trade is encouraged to learn more about the city through its specialist program at viennaexpertsclub.at.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upFor clients visiting the destination, day trips to Bratislava can be booked with Twin City Liner, which can also charter ships for groups. Clients looking to take part in a Vienesse Ball will also be luck, with 450 balls taking place each year.Outside of Vienna there are plenty of options for winter and summer travel. In Salzburg, there¹s a 6-week music festival in the summer and Christmas markets in the winter. Known for river cruises, the city is hoping to encourage people to stay in town. At one accommodation option, the Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron, clients can enjoy the palace’s famous setting seen in The Sound of Music.For ski fans, the tourist board points out that a flight to Austria is comparable to a flight to western Canada. And who can resist the bragging rights of saying you skied in Austria? Two areas for alpine enthusiasts to consider are Innsbruck and Alberg.Innsbruck has seen a rise in Canadian travellers looking to ski, enjoy their Imperial heritage and the Christmas market. Recentinvestments include a new cable car system plus three new hotels with dasMei, Stage 12 and Hotel Mooshaus.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthThe area of Alberg is made up of five ski towns and is collectively known as ‘The Cradle of Alpine Skiing’. The area is home to the most championship skiers and is a great suggestion for serious skiers. << Previous PostNext Post >> Austria promises a ‘premium’ experience for clients Posted by Share Wednesday, January 31, 2018 Michael Smith TORONTO — Advantage Austria was in Toronto last night in style, with a gala for trade partners that included an opera and dance performances. Partners from the country were on hand to offer updates and to showcase a destination where clients with higher tastes will be at home.Austrian Airlines kicked off the luxury theme with its announcement of a new Premium Economy product coming to the Canadian market and all long-haul flights. Also, the Toronto to Vienna summer service will offer flights every day except Wednesday. The airline is also expanding internationally with 18 new routes on offer.last_img read more

  • ACVs new Europe flash sales are good for 1 week only

    first_img Tuesday, January 15, 2019 Travelweek Group Tags: ACV, Air Canada, Air Canada Vacations, Ireland, Sales Share ACV’s new Europe flash sales are good for 1 week onlycenter_img Posted by MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations has introduced new Flash Sale weekly offers featuring discounted packages on its top destinations in Europe. ACV says the limited time deals will be accessible every Monday, for a week at a time.This week’s deal must be booked by Jan. 20 and highlights Air Canada Vacations’ Taste of Ireland package, leading in at $1,399 per person with taxes and other fees covered.With April 1, 2 and 3 departure dates available for seven night durations, this promotion includes flights from Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal or Halifax to Dublin, 3-star hotel accommodation, sightseeing in Dublin, Co. Galway, Co. Clare, Co. Kerry, Limerick, an 8-day automatic compact car rental, Heritage Island Touring Guide and Explorer Coupon, daily Irish breakfast and the opportunity to earn Aeroplan Miles.More details are at aircanadavacations.com/agents. Air Canada Vacations is reminding agents that the earlier they book, the better. This is the last chance for clients to save up to $1,000 per couple on a Europe escape this summer, for bookings made 180 days prior to departure. When they book 120 days prior to departure, clients can save up to $500 per couple, and when booking 90 days prior, clients can save up to $300 per couple. Valid on bookings made until Dec. 31, 2019 for travel from January 1 to December 31, 2019. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

  • China to finance expansion of highway to Limón

    first_imgThe widening of Route 32, a highway connecting San José with the Caribbean province of Limón, will be financed with the support of the Chinese government, according to a press release from Casa Presidencial.President Laura Chinchilla confirmed that the financing agreement was reached during her recent Asian tour, and that a Costa Rican delegation of members from the National Roadway Council and the Finance Ministry will visit China next week to formalize the details of the loan to expand the route to a four-lane highway.Chinchilla also said that this effort “is part of a plan to build a corridor that starts at the Moín Container Terminal in Limón and then continues through a network of roads to avoid having trucks pass through downtown San José.”Project funds will come from those approved for the construction of a new oil refinery to be built in Limón by China, for which a group of officials from that country will visit Costa Rica in coming days. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

  • Vivancos Aeternum very impressed with itself

    first_imgThere were times at the Vivancos “Aeternum” performance when I felt like I was at a rock concert. During other instances, it seemed like a ballet. Here and there, it also smacked of a classy male strip show. There were very few moments during the show, however, when I felt sure of what exactly I was watching. One of the Vivancos brothers dances his way through an act during their performance at the National Theater. Lindsay Fendt The seven Spanish brothers who make up the Vivancos each graced the stage in tight pants and no shirts, exuding the manly overconfidence of Isaiah Mustafa in an Old Spice commercial. The flashing lights and fast-paced music seemed to fuel their ever-evident egos as they performed stunt after cheesy stunt.The dancing was surely impressive, as each one of the brothers stomped out rapid-fire rhythms in perfect time, but the talent was often marred by poorly executed aerobatics and gimmicks.Each brother seemed to posses a hidden talent other than dancing, and it seemed to be important that all of these artistic dalliances be incorporated into the show. Whether it was unimpressive box drumming or playing the violin while in the splits, the Vivancos performed as if they were the world’s greatest gifts, pausing after each stunt, arms raised, waiting for applause.Cheap tricks aside, parts of the show were impressive. One of the dances was done with the performers blindfolded and careening around the stage, spinning wooden sticks and miraculously avoiding a crash. Cirque du Soleil choreographer Daniele Finzi Pasca was an artistic advisor on the show, and the innovative choreography helped make up for some of the show’s weaker moments. Lindsay Fendtcenter_img  Joshua Vivanco of Los Vivancos shows off his musical “talent” by drumming on a box with his feet. Traditional flamenco dances were infused with a bit of masculinity and modern flavor, making each dance different from the last. Tap shoes smacked against every surface of the set, and Castinets worked in time with laser lights to create a unique spectacle.As fascinated as the audience was by some of the Vivancos feats, surely no one in the theater was as impressed with the show as the Vivancos themselves. The final performance was less of an actual act and, instead, consisted mostly of the brothers parading up and down the aisles flashing their bare, sweaty chests at swooning women.  But the Vivancos did not leave quietly, and following their “final” bow, returned on stage for one more stunt. As middle-aged women gasped, that the seven brothers took hold of a metal pole and swung themselves upside down for a final, unremarkable stunt. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

  • Meet Fabiana Granados Costa Ricas star at Miss Universe

    first_imgCourtesy of Miss Universe Organization What’s this I heard about controversies with Miss Costa Rica? Miss Costa Rica faced two wholly stupid and rather minor controversies. When Granados was named Miss Costa Rica during the summer, her initial reaction was to yell “Oh My God!” Yes, in English. This offended some jingoistic types, who we suppose expected her to say “Dios mío,” or “¡Que tuanis, mae!” For the record, Granados speaks flawless Spanish. Don’t hate.The other controversy was two-pronged, and centered around Granados’ outfit for the National Costume event of Miss Universe. Granados wore a feather-heavy pink costume that was designed to honor the espátula rosada (roseate spoonbill), a wading bird that inhabits her native Guanacaste. Several critics bashed the costume for being over-the-top and gaudy. In general, most of the outfits looked absurd (Miss USA dressed as a Transformer; Miss Curacao as a gecko).But the other infinitesimal polemic honed on how the costume was recycled from a previous event. In 2011, the ensemble was worn during the annual Festival of the Lights Christmas parade. San José Municipality loaned Granados the hand-me-down costume for her trip to Moscow. Not a big deal at all. Here’s the outfit, by the way: Does she embody the image of the Costa Rican environmental activist?Costa Rica has a history of supermodel/environmentalists. And Granados seems to follow that line of thinking. On her Miss Universe profile she says:“I believe pollution is the biggest problem facing the world today. We need to come together to reduce our energy consumption to power our lives in the future.”We approve!How does Fabiana feel about exfoliating with coffee and honey?She enjoys it.How did Miss Costa Rica do in the pageant? Many of the Latina participants received hype coming into the pageant. Granados was probably one of the most praised. A former Miss Universe even considered her one of the five favorites. Overall, she did well, reaching the semifinals (Top 16 out of 86 participants). Counterpart Venezuela won Miss Universe (the country’s seventh win, second to the United States. The U.S. won last year). What’s the best way to get a date with Fabiana? Please help.Wow, um, that’s a blunt question to ask. This is getting a little uncomfortable. All these questions about this woman whom we’ve never met.Here, according to her bio, Granados likes to ride motorcycles, four wheelers, horses and mountain bikes. So maybe if you like those activities then you have a chance (ed. note: You do NOT actually have a chance with Miss Costa Rica). Do you have anymore photos of her?*sigh* Here are the images you’ve been waiting for: Fabiana Granados, a 23-year-old Tica from the northwestern province of Guanacaste, represented the country as Miss Costa Rica at the Miss Universe pageant. The Tica attained a spot in the Top 16 on Saturday. It was an impressive showing from a country that’s never won Miss Universe before and has had little past success.Here’s what you need to know about Miss Costa Rica 2013: What is there to know about this year’s Miss Universe pageant?The event took place at Crocus City Hall in Russia on Saturday morning (Costa Rica time). Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler and figure skater Tara Lapinsky were among the judges, and Mel B, aka “Scary Spice” from the Spice Girls, was one of the hosts. Pageant experts (there are a lot, surprisingly!) considered Granados one of the favorites among the 86 participants.  Granados flew all the way from Costa Rica to Russia for a beauty pageant. That’s some trip. Did she get to do anything else while there?She and the rest of the Miss Universe contestants went sightseeing of course! They took a tour of the Red Square and the Kremlin. Here is a photo of Granados posing outside St. Basil’s Cathedral, an illustrious church commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in 1552, in case you were wondering. And yes, Granados’ scarf, hat and gloves match the facade of the cathedral. She came prepared. No related posts. All photos courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization Facebook Comments Courtesy of the Miss Universe Organizationlast_img read more

  • Construction of Central Americas biggest hydroelectric dam is nearly finished in Costa

    first_imgRelated posts:Delays, excuses and gripes mark approaching deadline for distributed electricity generation in Costa Rica Costa Rica’s electricity mostly from renewable sources in 2016 ARESEP announces pricing proposal for consumer-generated electricity ICE could sell surplus electricity to neighboring countries Workers from the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) on Thursday finished placing the last layer of rock and earth that will support the Reventazón hydroelectric project, which when completed will become the largest in Central America.The 130-meter-high dam contaings 9 million cubic meters of material and will handle up to 118 million cubic meters of water from Reventazón River in the Caribbean community of Siquirres.ICE Executive President Carlos Obregón called the completion of this stage of the project a significant moment for Costa Rica’s energy sector. Work began in 2010 and is now 83 percent complete.“We are nearing the end of intense work that lasted almost five years and provided social and environmental compensation, employment and economic support to the Caribbean region,” Obregón said during a ceremony in which he drove a dump truck that poured the last of the material on the dam.“Reventazón will bring clean energy to the national electrical system that will be key for the country’s development,” he added.Pending work includes pouring concrete to shield the dam and setting several supports. Once that is finished, ICE will begin filling the reservoir with water from the Reventazón River.ICE estimates the project will be ready to begin supplying electricity for Costa Rica’s dry season in 2016. The 305.5-megawatt plant will provide electricity to about 525,000 homes.Built by 400 ICE workers, Reventazón is the second largest infrastructure project in the region, after the Panama Canal.Energy market shareHistorically Costa Rica has met 95 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources. But in recent years, the country has had to increase thermal generation using fossil fuels. Currently 88 percent of the electricity in the country comes from clean sources, ICE reported in April.Hydroelectric plants provide 68 percent of the country’s electricity, while geothermal plants provide 15 percent and thermal plants generate 12 percent. Other renewable sources supply a smaller share of the national electricity system, including wind power (5 percent), biomass (less than 1 percent) and solar energy (0.01 percent).State-owned companies produce about 85 percent of the country’s electricity, and national laws limit private generators’ participation to a maximum of 15 percent of the country’s energy market.Last month Presidency Minister Melvin Jiménez and ICE’s Obregón asked lawmakers to table Bill 18,093, known as the “Contingency Power Bill,” which sought to raise private generators’ participation to 30 percent.“Hiring more private power generators or increasing their share of the market is unnecessary, as the country’s electricity demand is covered through 2019,” Jiménez at the time told legislators on the Agricultural Affairs Commission.Last week, President Luis Guillermo Solís said that as long as he is in office, he would not support proposals to produce geothermal energy in national parks, a contentious issue that has politicians divided. At least three proposals to allow power generation in protected areas are currently under study by the Legislative Assembly.Two – Bill 18,182 and Bill 19,339 – were drafted by Libertarian Movement Party legislators and call for the exploitation of geothermal sources throughout the country, both by ICE and by private generators.A third – Bill 19,233 – presented by ruling Citizen Action Party lawmakers Ottón Solís and Javier Cambronero, proposes geothermal exploitation inside protected areas by ICE only and under strict environmental guidelines.President Solís’ statement does not necessarily mean that new geothermal projects will be prohibited. But his lack of support will affect the chances of approval of those bills in the full Assembly. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

  • Costa Rican tourism cop locked up and robbed at police station

    first_imgRelated posts:Michigan fugitive John Saatio to be extradited Saturday Park rangers arrested in drug bust Costa Rican prosecutors investigate luxury condominium fraud in Central Valley Men caught with one ton of drugs in Costa Rica allowed to walk free, police say A Costa Rican tourism police station in Santa Teresa, on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, was robbed on Friday after two men locked up an officer at the station in the Pacific beach town.According to Tourism Police Director Fulvio Fernández, the two men on motorcycles lured the cop out of the building by asking for help before they pulled a gun on him and led him into a room where they locked him up.The subjects then proceeded to steal three pistols before fleeing, Fernández said.For reference, a standard Glock pistol normally used by police officers costs more than $500, according to a search on gunbroker.com. Fernández said that though he couldn’t estimate the exact costs of the stolen weapons, he said the guns’ value lies in more than just their dollar amount.“The true cost is that our police forces are now temporarily without guns to conduct their daily civic duties,” he said.Authorities have not reported any robberies or crimes against tourists since the three guns were stolen.Fernández said that, as far as he was aware, it was the first time in the country’s history that a police officer has been locked up and robbed inside his own station.At the time of the robbery, approximately 7 p.m. on Friday night, there were five National Police Force officers in service throughout the Santa Teresa/Malpaís area, the director said, although none were near the station.Jose Garrilo Azofeifa, the Chief Investigator for the canton of Cóbano, said he couldn’t discuss the case but did confirm that the Cóbano Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) delegation was investigating the alleged armed robbery. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

  • From Curri to China Irene Aguilar talks traveling and studying performing arts

    first_img Stairway to Heaven in China. Photo courtesy of Irene Aguilar Photo courtesy of Irene AguilarI even remember this one time, when I had just arrived in China. I was having too many problems with my passport and just settling in. I was feeling alone and got sick in a hotel. I had to make a big effort to take myself to the hospital because I was feeling awful. While I was there, I just started to cry. After that experience, for some reason, I felt capable of doing it on my own. It made me a lot stronger. That does not have anything to do with a particular place, but the whole experience of getting here is what I can call life-changing.What are the main differences between Ticos and Chinese?In Costa Rica, we are big-time procrastinators. In China, when you know that you have to get something done, you do it as soon and as efficiently as possible. That’s really the only way to keep up with how this country works.Also, feeling safe. In China, you could be a woman taking the subway at midnight. You could be walking down the street with any type of clothes, and no one would scream vulgar phrases about your body.What are some places in Asia that you’d recommend to every traveler?The Stairway to Heaven. I knew that place was going to be exceptional, but once I got there it exceeded all my expectations. Also, the temples. I have lost count of how many temples I have visited, but they still amaze me every time I visit them. The elephant’s sanctuaries in Thailand. Most of the elephants that live there have been rescued from circuses or places where people pay to ride them. In these sanctuaries, they roam free, with no chains and no violence. Facebook Comments Irene Aguilar, 29, has been living in China for the past five years and says she’s still not ready to come back to Costa Rica.Aguilar went to study art and stayed for the fast-paced rhythm, effective transportation, and safe streets. She says that as soon as she arrived in China, she noticed how efficient everything is there.“You can purchase things just using your cell phone without taking cards or cash with you. And the technological field keeps growing more each day,” Aguilar said. She also likes how well the economy is doing and how her salary easily matches most of her expenses.Aguilar grew up in Curridabat and practiced cello since she was 7 years old. Her parents always wanted Aguilar and her siblings to take classes and learn new skills. Aguilar then started taking acting lessons in ninth grade and quickly realized it was the best part of her week.After high school, she decided to pursue a career in the performing arts. Aguilar got her degree at the Universidad Nacional and took Chinese as an elective. She took her learning seriously and her teacher recommended some Mandarin scholarships.Aguilar then traveled to China for the first time on a nine-month scholarship. Aguilar enjoyed the culture shock and took a bus to Hunan’s capital, Changsha, and started asking about scholarships at local universities.Aguilar finally got a spot at Hunan Normal University’s art, film, and television master’s program. She says to get a scholarship like hers, all you have to do is follow the steps and go through a few interviews. Aguilar added that the information you need about available scholarships is on the Casa Amarilla website.Aguilar graduated from her master’s program this year and she’s full of hopes of future trips around Asia, as well as projects related to her career. Photo courtesy of Irene AguilarWhat did you enjoy most about your master’s program in China?There are a lot of things I enjoyed a lot. I even have a list. When it comes to my master’s, like going to classes and that type of stuff, it was a fact that at some point I was able to interact with my classmates and teachers fluently.But the beginning was hard. I had to take two semesters of Chinese, and it was still not enough. I had to record all my classes and go to my dorm to listen to them a couple of times. Once I was finally able to understand what was going on in classes and around me in general, everything changed. I was the only foreigner in the classroom, being able to exchange feelings and thought with my classmates was certainly interesting.The second part that I enjoyed the most, was just living in China. I know it sounds cliché but it is true. Just being able to call it your home and visit all these beautiful places is great. When you can take part in their culture, you feel different. Not only for their big events and celebrations but also daily life in China. Small things like being able to talk to someone while taking the subway or while buying something at the market.Before getting your scholarship to study abroad, did you ever have a clear goal when traveling?I always knew I wanted to travel. I did some traveling before this China experience, and it just made me want to keep doing it. Now that I have traveled to several places around Asia, I am absolutely sure that I want to keep traveling.With this master’s program, you are not allowed to work, so I had a lot of free time to visit places. What I would do was just save as much money as possible and then make long trips to other cities. I really hope I can continue traveling because I think this lifestyle is a like medicine. Traveling is one of those things that the more you do it, the more you like it. It opens your mind and changes you for the best.Was there a life-changing place that you visited in Asia?Well, the first place would have to be China. This is the place where I got to meet a lot of new people from different backgrounds and countries. You become more empathic and comprehensive.To be honest, I am so dramatic, and over the top with my emotions and feelings about this experience that I think every place I have visited in Asia has changed me in some way. In every place that you visit you can smell, see, hear, or touch something new. All of these small details are what make you change while traveling from one place to another. Related posts:How the Tamarindo Labyrinth was created The growth of the Tamarindo Diria Hotel Inside a Costa Rican microbrewery – at the beach A piece of paradiselast_img read more

  • Europe proposes suspension of Zimbabwe sanctions

    first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Associated PressHARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – A credible referendum on Zimbabwe’s new constitution will be “an important milestone” toward the suspension of sanctions targeting many leaders and businesses linked to long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, the European Union said MondayEU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell Ariccia said in Harare the 27-nation bloc was encouraged by reforms in Zimbabwe after years of violence and economic turmoil. Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Check your body, save your lifecenter_img Zimbabwe needs to be rewarded to maintain the pace of reforms, but individual travel, banking and business bans imposed in reaction to violations of human and democratic rights will stay in effect at least until after a referendum, he said.A draft of the new constitution was completed on Friday. It must be put to a vote months before parliamentary and presidential elections proposed for mid-2013.Mugabe, 88, joined a fragile coalition with the former opposition after violent elections in 2008.“A peaceful and credible referendum will justify suspension of the majority of listed people” facing bans, Dell Ariccia told reporters.About 110 politicians and Mugabe loyalists are banned from traveling to Europe and doing business there. EU officials say the bans on Mugabe and his closest associates will not be immediately affected by any easing of sanctions policy.Dell Ariccia said European countries were pleased that Zimbabwe recently hosted the first visit by U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay. Lawmakers also passed new legislation on electoral reforms and the formation the country’s first Human Rights Commission.Zimbabwe was trying to become “like normal countries” but there was more work to be done, he said. “`We are taking stock. There are some elements in our view which still need to be encouraged,” he said.Development aid, frozen for nearly a decade, will resume immediately after consultations with the coalition government, he said.Humanitarian aid was never stopped. Britain, the former colonial power, the European Union and the United States remained the country’s biggest donors in a decade of economic meltdown.Mugabe’s party on Monday scoffed at the EU announcement.“That’s all hogwash. There is no reason why they must keep any of those sanctions. They have an agenda. I don’t think their decision will make any difference,” said Rugare Gumbo, the spokesman for Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.European foreign ministers said in a statement released in Brussels on Monday they applauded what they called recent “constructive dialogue” between the EU and Zimbabwe and said the bloc will adjust its Zimbabwe policies to recognize steps taken to implement a roadmap to free and fair elections set out by regional leaders in southern Africa.Mugabe was forced by regional mediators to join the fragile coalition with the former opposition party of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai after the last violent and disputed elections. The EU ministers called on all parties to seize the momentum gained so far to resolve outstanding disputes in the coalition government to pave the way for the upcoming elections.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img

  • HK drops plans for Chinese patriotism classes

    first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Public anger over the classes has been growing for months. Many feared they were a ploy by Beijing authorities to indoctrinate the city’s young into unquestioning support of China’s Communist Party, though Leung and other senior officials denied it.China regained control of Hong Kong from Britain in 1997 after more than a century of colonial rule, but the city has been allowed to retain a high degree of autonomy, a separate legal system and civil liberties not seen in mainland China, such as freedom of speech.Leung’s retreat follows a week of protests by thousands in front of government headquarters coinciding with the start of a new school year. Organizers said 120,000 took part on Friday evening, though police put the number at 36,000, local news reports said.The decision comes a day before elections for the city’s legislature. Sunday’s vote will be the first time the public will be able to choose more than half the seats. Deepening opposition to the education plans could have undermined support for pro-Beijing candidates.The protesters worried the new subject would be an attempt to indoctrinate the city’s young with nationalist education classes similar to ones used in schools all over China to inculcate support for the Communist government. How do cataracts affect your vision? The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The fears rose after a pro-Beijing education group published a pamphlet earlier this year extolling the virtues of one-party rule. The government stressed that the booklet, called “The China Model,” was not part of designated teaching material.According to curriculum guidelines, students would learn in the classes about China’s political leaders, the contributions they have made and the difficulties and challenges they face. They would also learn how to “speak cautiously,” practice self-discipline and get along well with others in a rational and respectful way.The controversy is the latest sign of increasing discomfort with mainland China’s growing influence on the city. Hong Kongers have also been perturbed about stunted democratic development and an influx of wealthy mainlanders buying up property and driving up prices.___Follow Kelvin Chan on Twitter at twitter.com/chanman(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 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Associated PressHONG KONG (AP) – Hong Kong officials backed down Saturday on plans to make students take Chinese patriotism classes following a week of protests in the former British colony sparked by fears of pro-Beijing “brainwashing.”The semiautonomous Chinese city’s leader, Leung Chun-ying, said it would be up to schools to decide whether to hold the classes. They were to have become a mandatory subject in 2015 after a three-year voluntary period.last_img read more

  • Brazil new military campaign launched at borders

    first_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help This is the sixth such operation this year. Three more are expected in 2013.The operations are meant to combat a range of crimes, including trafficking in animals, drugs, arms and illegally harvested wood.These military actions also take medical and dental care to remote populations.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Brazil’s government is launching a new military campaign to combat crime along the country’s borders with Peru and Bolivia.Tuesday’s announcement by the Ministry of Defense says that 7,500 troops have been sent to patrol the area in an operation that is expected to last two weeks.Defense Minister Celso Amorin says that the neighboring countries were invited to send observers. Comments   Share   center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Patients with chronic pain give advice Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

  • Family of Benin poison suspect denies confession

    first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Quick workouts for men Soumanou’s family said he is now being held in a 1-square meter (yard) cell without access to food or daylight. Family members also have not been able to bring thyroid medication to the 53-year-old.His son-in-law denied the prosecutor’s assertion that Soumanou already had confessed to involvement in the attempted poisoning.“He told us, `Look I did not confess to anything. I have nothing to confess,’” said Franck Gomez, Soumanou’s son-in-law, who lives in Washington. “One thing he said was that if he didn’t confess, they would kill him.”Government officials in Benin did not immediately return calls seeking comment about the case.Last week, Prosecutor Justin Gbenameto told journalists that Soumanou had picked up the drugs that were intended to poison the president at the Cotonou airport on Oct. 19.Authorities allege Soumanou then gave them to the president’s doctor, Dr. Ibrahim Mama Cisse, who also has been arrested in connection with the case.The prosecutor charges that the doctor and the president’s niece each were promised a payment of 1 billion CFA ($1.9 million) if they carried out the poisoning.Soumanou’s family, though, said he is simply caught in the middle of a dispute between the president and businessman Patrice Talon, whom authorities also have implicated in the case. Top Stories Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Talon is the main shareholder of a company called SODECO, which Soumanou has headed since 2008.In a recent interview with Radio France Internationale, Talon said he had become the president’s “Enemy No. 1.” Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Talon, who said he would respond to the accusations “but without putting my life in danger.”“What is surprising is not the fact they’re accusing me of an umpteenth coup attempt against Boni Yayi,” he told RFI. “What is surprising is the extremely ludicrous nature of this scenario.”Yayi was first elected in 2006 in a landslide vote, and won re-election in 2011 in the tiny West African nation.In 2007, a spokesman said the president’s convoy had come under attack, with assailants firing machine guns. Yayi was not harmed in that incident, officials said.___Associated Press writer Virgile Ahissou in Cotonou, Benin contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 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 Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Associated PressDAKAR, Senegal (AP) – The family of a man charged with attempting to poison the president of Benin says authorities are trying to force the suspect to sign a confession by keeping him in a tiny cell without food.Moudjaidou Soumanou, a former trade minister, was one of three people arrested earlier this month and charged with conspiracy and attempted murder.The suspects are accused of plotting to swap President Boni Yayi’s medicine with a toxic substance in exchange for millions of dollars. The plot allegedly unraveled when one of the three suspects told her sister who then alerted authorities. Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img

  • Cameramen deaths by Israeli fire raises questions

    first_imgThe Foreign Press Association for Israel and the Palestinian territories urged both sides Wednesday to do their utmost to protect journalists.“In recent days, Israel has struck a number of buildings housing the offices of major international news organizations, while Palestinian militant groups have fired rockets from nearby office positions,” the FPA said.The FPA said it believes the Israeli military is aware of the locations of the media offices in Gaza.At the same time, the Israeli military has refused to offer assurances that buildings housing foreign media outlets would be avoided, or that warnings would be provided.Fred Abramhams of Human Rights Watch said that “journalists in a war zone are putting themselves at risk and have very little to complain about if they are near a legitimate target.”However, “it would be an absolute violation if they are being targeted,” he said.___Associated Press writers Lauren E. Bohn in Jerusalem and Sarah El Deeb in Gaza City contributed reporting.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – The unprecedented killing of two cameramen for Gaza’s Hamas TV station in a missile strike raised questions about whom Israel considers to be militant operatives, and thus legitimate targets.Israel said the expanding Hamas media empire is part of the Islamists’ “terrorist operations,” although it stopped short of branding everyone working for it as a potential target in its offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers. Sponsored Stories Under the rules of war, media can only be targeted if they contribute to combat, such as relaying military orders, according to the international group Human Rights Watch.“However, civilian broadcasting facilities are not rendered legitimate military targets simply because they broadcast pro-Hamas or anti-Israel propaganda,” the group said. “Just as it is unlawful to attack the civilian population to lower its morale, it is unlawful to attack facilities that merely shape civilian opinion; neither directly contributes to military operations.”The Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders condemned the killing of the Gaza journalists as a “clear violation of international standards.”Soazig Dollet of the group noted that at the time of their deaths, the two cameramen were working.“Even if Al-Aqsa TV is close to Hamas, those two journalists should not have been targeted because they were not involved in hostilities (at the time) and not contributing to the military effort,” she said.Meanwhile, growing numbers of foreign journalists found themselves ducking for cover in recent days as Israeli airstrikes hit uncomfortably close to their offices and hotel. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technologycenter_img Early Wednesday, a missile blast pulverized a Gaza government compound about 100 meters (yards) away from a high-rise building where the office of The Associated Press is located. Debris flew onto the roof terrace, sending a reporter and a cameraman diving to the ground. Several windows were shattered, but no one was hurt.Around the same time, a missile hit an empty lot across the street from a road lined by seaside hotels where many foreign reporters are staying.Matt Bradley of The Wall Street Journal said the blast broke a window in his hotel room, but a heavy curtain protected him.“It was more upsetting and shocking than it was dangerous,” he said. “I don’t have any war experience. … So this is all new for me. … But I can’t reasonably say I was surprised. This was inevitable.”Bradley said he was surprised at how precise some of the Israeli airstrikes have been.Regev, the Israeli spokesman, alleged that Gaza militants seek out foreign journalists as unwitting human shields.He noted that earlier this week, an Islamic Jihad militant was killed by a targeted missile strike in an apparent hiding place in a high-rise that also houses local and foreign news outlets. He said that in such cases, Israel was trying to be as surgical as possible with its airstrikes. Comments   Share   Al-Koumi and Salama were on assignment Tuesday at Shifa Hospital, the central intake for serious injuries, said Al-Aqsa TV chief Mohammed Thouraya. They left in the late afternoon to head to a feed point to hand over their material when their car was struck, he said.Israeli military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said Wednesday the two were targeted as Hamas operatives, but would not elaborate.Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said those working for Hamas media cannot be considered journalists.“They are an integral part of the Hamas structure and no one can deny that fact,” he said, adding: “All those involved in targeting Israeli civilians directly or indirectly should not feel that they have impunity.”Regev stopped short of saying all Hamas media employees were potential targets, but would not say where Israel drew the line.During the offensive, Israel has steadily widened the range of Hamas-affiliated targets. Over the weekend, it began striking homes of Hamas operatives, causing a spike in civilian casualties, and it also fired missiles that damaged the offices of Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Quds TV, a Lebanon-based broadcaster sympathetic to Hamas. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Al-Aqsa TV, which employed the two journalists, said they were killed on the job, and it accused Israel of trying to silence those documenting the suffering of Gaza’s civilians.On Wednesday, the funeral procession for Mohammed al-Koumi and Hussam Salama set off from Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, just a few hundred meters (yards) from where the Israeli missile had struck their car a day before. Several dozen Al-Aqsa TV staffers marched behind the bodies. A wreath sent by Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas read: “With blood we write. With blood we film. They will not be able to silence the truth.”Al-Aqsa TV is the centerpiece of Hamas’ increasingly sophisticated media operation, launched in 2004 with a small radio station. By the start of Israel’s Nov. 14 Gaza offensive, Al-Aqsa TV and Radio had about 400 employees, including a network of reporters closely covering the Israeli airstrikes.Al-Aqsa reporters do not pretend to be objective and clearly work in the service of Hamas, using its lingo and loaded terms in on-air comments. The station has generally been accurate in reporting casualties in the past week and does air some other views within the Palestinian political spectrum. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milklast_img read more

  • Aids cuts delays hit Ugandas poor health sector

    first_img Sponsored Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Days before he signed the bill, Museveni said he was ready to fight what he called “the homosexual lobby” and urged lawmakers with the ruling party to support him. In signing the law, he said he wanted to stop the west from promoting homosexuality in Africa. Critics say Museveni, who has held power since 1986 and is up for re-election in 2016, may have calculated that the political benefits of enacting the bill outweighed any losses on the international front.Homosexuality is criminalized in many parts of Africa. Nigeria last month passed an anti-gay law. But the Ugandan law _ an earlier version of it included the death penalty for some homosexual acts _has become notorious around the world for its severe punishment of gay sex. The law sets a life term for those convicted of engaging in gay sex. It also creates the offenses of “conspiracy to commit homosexuality” and “aiding and abetting homosexuality,” both of which are punishable by seven years behind bars. Those convicted of “promoting homosexuality” face similar punishment.Uganda’s law has been condemned by the United Nations, the United States, and several rights watchdog groups. How men can have a healthy 2019 Top Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img Ugandan officials insist the law has wide support at home.Ofwono Opondo, a spokesman for Uganda’s government, said in a series of Twitter posts Friday that the West “shouldn’t force homosexuality on Uganda.”Western aid cuts over the anti-gay law, he said, amounts to “blackmail.”(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Now the World Bank is delaying a $90 million loan to Uganda’s Health Ministry _ money intended for a project to strengthen the country’s health systems _ because it wants to ensure that the development objectives of the project would not be adversely affected by the anti-gay law.The $144 million project focuses on maternal health, newborn care and family planning _ public health areas whose grim figures have long attracted the attention of foreign donors.At least 16 Ugandan women die in childbirth daily, a shocking statistic that made the project critical in this East African country that depends on donors for about 20 percent of its budget. Announcing the project in 2010, the World Bank noted that without “significant investments” Uganda was “unlikely to achieve the Millennium Development Goal targets related to reducing child mortality and improving maternal mortality.”The project is set to close in 2015.Sheila Gashishiri, a spokeswoman for the World Bank in Uganda, said Friday that the project will continue despite the postponement.Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who enacted the law Monday amid Western pressure to veto the bill, may have anticipated the international backlash his government now faces. KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) – The health project in Uganda for which the World Bank is delaying a loan does not face an immediate shortage of money, an official said Friday, allaying concerns that work to improve maternal and child health services could stall because of the country’s new anti-gay law.The Ugandan government’s decision to strengthen anti-gay legislation has upset the East African country’s relationship with development partners, part of the unfolding fallout from the enactment of a bill over which Uganda had been warned there would be consequences. At least three European countries are withholding millions in aid to Uganda’s government, the United States is warning of similar action, and the Ugandan shilling has been losing its value amid reports of substantial aid cuts. Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

  • UK lawmaker defends making 14 cent expenses claim

    first_img Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Quick workouts for men LONDON (AP) — A British lawmaker is defending claiming 9 pence ($0.14) on expenses for a short car journey, saying such claims may look “odd” but the mileage adds up.Conservative lawmaker Rob Wilson said the 322-meter (352-yard) journey in March 2014 was a “constituency engagement.” He also made several other small claims for short journeys, including 13 pence for a trip in his car to attend a business meeting. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Sponsored Stories Wilson told Metro News on Tuesday he was an active lawmaker who often met with local voters. He said many of his trips are fairly short, but add up because he takes a number of them each week.Beginning the end of July, British lawmakers will get a 10 percent pay increase from 67,060 pounds ($104,271) to 74,000 pounds ($115,000) a year.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img read more

  • QF adds services to Perth Dallas

    first_img‘Responding to passenger demand’, Qantas has announced it will increase services between Perth and Melbourne as well as Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth.Commencing 15 October this year, the airline will replace flights currently operated by the Boeing 767 aircraft to the A330 – adding 24 extra A330 services between Perth and Melbourne, from 44 to 68 per week.The carrier will also reintroduce the Boeing 747 on services between Sydney and Perth from 9 July.The carrier’s domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi said the extra service would meet increasing demand for premium travel for business and leisure travellers flying to Perth.Meanwhile commencing 1 July the airline is hoping to tap into the growing US visitor market with extra flights between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth.Launching services to the region with four flights per week, the airline added two extra services in January this year and will move to daily next month. Qantas executive manager Stephen Thompson said extra services were in response to “a successful first year of operation on the route” and will help build a stronger international business.“As a perfectly located hub airport less than four hours from every major US city, DFW offers excellent connections to Australia for American visitors,” Mr Thompson said.   “With additional capacity on the route we look forward to bringing even more US visitors to Australia and onward throughout Qantas’ unmatched Australian domestic network.”In other Qantas news, last week the Australian flag carrier launched its new aircraft maintenance system that will see planes inspected on demand.Click here for more information. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

  • Wotif riding a 58 million high

    first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Online agent Wotif has announced a record-breaking full year result, lifting 14 percent to an all time high of $58 million.The company outperformed previously predicted figures at all levels, seeing total transaction values and revenues up five percent, operating profits up 11 percent and after tax profits up $7 million (14 percent).Wotif’s managing director and CEO Robbie Cooke said the results display Wotif’s return to form in an operating environment still every bit as challenging as previous years.According to Hitwise, Wotif.com is the number 1 online travel agency in Australia, selling around one in every ten hotel rooms in the country.  In total, 7.04 million room nights were sold in this financial year.“This was a very credible performance given the continuing appetite of leisure travellers for offshore travel, fuelled by the strength of the dollar. It also highlights that there is still substantial distribution in Australia that we have not yet captured,” Mr Cooke said.The introduction into the flights market produced strong growth of 30 percent, representing nine percent of all travel transactions.  Mr Cooke said the flights market was a standout result for a measure which is still in its infancy. Success in cross selling flights to the Australian market is promising for the recently launched holiday homes range that exclusively offers instant bookings of holiday homes.Wotif’s mobile site and app for iPhone attracted 14 percent of traffic to the company, converting bookings to account for nine percent of the total room night sales.Mr Cooke forecasts the company’s international flights business will continue to grow and be a beneficiary of the cycle, while accommodation bookings will remain robust.last_img read more

  • Virgin tries to fill Qantas pouch doubles TA deal

    first_imgTourism Australia MD expects extra funds to “go to good use”. Image: skyscrapercity.com Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Following Qantas’ decision to terminate its joint partnership with Tourism Australia, rival airline, Virgin Australia has agreed to double its current agreement with the tourist bureau.Earlier this month, the Australian flag carrier announced that due to a “conflict of interest” and concerns the bureau’s director was out to sabotage the airline Qantas could no longer support Tourism Australia or continue with its joint three-year $44 million marketing agreement.Although far from Qantas’ contribution, Virgin Australia has since agreed to increase its participation with Tourism Australia, doubling its joint commitments from AU$6 million to AU$12 million over the next three financial years.The new agreement will cover marketing activities including major sporting and business events and focus on key inbound visitor markets – the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe and Asia.Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said the decision was “great news” for Australia’s tourism sector and expects extra funds to “go to good use”.Meanwhile, Qantas is obliged to continue working with the tourist bureau until its three year contract expires mid-2013.Despite pulling funds from Tourism Australia, Qantas has reassured the industry it will continue to promote Australia on a domestic and international level, keeping every dollar within marketing the country.last_img read more

  • Partnership approach offers model for airline competition

    first_imgPictured from left are: His Excellency Majid Al Suwaidi, Consul General United Arab Emirates in New York; Mary Ellen, The Wings Club President and Vice President Sales for Asia Pacific and China, Pratt & Whitney; and James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, at the Wings Club luncheon held at The Yale Club in New YorkPartnership approach offers model for airline competitionThe partnership approach adopted by Etihad Airways offers a new model for airline competition, said President and CEO James Hogan, speaking at The Wings Club in New York this week.In an industry dominated by legacy airlines, and with such high barriers to entry, no new network carrier could hope to compete effectively on its own, he said. Yet without new competition, consumers around the world would suffer.Delivering the keynote address at the monthly Wings Club meeting, Mr Hogan said:“Global air travel is a business with incredibly high barriers to entry – not just in terms of cost, but in market access, infrastructure requirements and the challenge of competing against such entrenched mega-carriers.“The highest barrier is network. You can’t build a global network overnight – in fact, you’d need decades, and billions of dollars, to build networks that could compete against the major airline groups.“That’s where partnership comes in.  From day one, we’ve taken an open partnership approach, working with scores of airlines on codeshare agreements.  Then we took that a step further with minority equity investments in strategically important airlines.“Together, we have been able to create a new competitive choice for air travellers in key markets around the world.  That’s good for consumers, good for tourism and good for trade.”Mr Hogan said Etihad Airways’ equity investment strategy was a key element of that approach.“We have a two-pronged approach. From a strategic level, we are looking for the equity partners to bring network connectivity, generate additional revenues and create economies of scale.  All our partners are delivering on this level.“That has helped to create the seventh largest airline group in the world and is delivering hundreds of millions of dollars to our business.“Each partner then has its own business plan, which is the responsibility of their own management and Boards of Directors.  Many of these, such as Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Jet Airways and Virgin Australia, are now delivering on this level too.  We are supporting the restructuring of businesses that require it, such as Alitalia and airberlin.”Mr Hogan said Etihad Airways’ entry into the United States market had also brought major benefits to the country.“We are a tiny player in the US air travel market, with less than 0.01 per cent of daily international departures. However, we have been able to offer major benefits to the United States.“We connect the US, through our hub in Abu Dhabi, with scores of markets which are simply not served by other carriers.  That means we are feeding hundreds of thousands of travellers, leisure and business, into the US.  Hundreds of thousands of those get fed onto the US carriers.“We’ve also been a close business partner with US corporations – most obviously with Boeing and other aerospace suppliers, but we’ve also created major partnerships with Sabre, Honeywell, IBM, Adobe and many others.“Our total impact on the US economy is more than US$ 440 million a year.”Mr Hogan said he believed many of the issues raised about Etihad Airways by the Open Skies campaign stemmed from a lack of understanding of the airline’s business model.“There are many myths about our business. But the truth is that we run as a commercial organisation, with a shareholder that demands a clear return on its investment.  We get no subsidies or state support.  We have a well remunerated, highly satisfied workforce.“What we have had is the investment required to compete in such a capital-intensive business. That’s a smart investment when you consider the many advantages Abu Dhabi offers as the focus for a global network airline – as long as there is a return.  That’s where our unique partnership model comes in.”About Etihad AirwaysEtihad Airways began operations in 2003, and in 2015 carried 17.4 million passengers. From its Abu Dhabi base, Etihad Airways flies to, or has announced plans to serve, 116 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. The airline has a fleet of 120 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, with 204 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787s, 25 Boeing 777Xs, 62 Airbus A350s and 10 Airbus A380s.Etihad Airways holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, and Swiss-based Darwin Airline, trading as Etihad Regional. Etihad Airways, along with airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways and NIKI, also participate in Etihad Airways Partners, a brand that brings together partner airlines to offer customers more choice through improved networks and schedules and enhanced frequent flyer benefits. Etihad Airwaysview airfare promotions hereSource = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more