Raul O Garces AP correspondent dies in Uruguay

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   He also covered the fall of Argentine President Arturo Frondizi and in one of many scoops, beat the competition by six hours with his report that Uruguayan President Juan Maria Bordaberry would be toppled by his own military. Later, when Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner blocked telex cables, Garces went out of his way to take dictation in Buenos Aires from his colleagues in Asuncion.Garces served as correspondent until April of this year when his position was eliminated as part of a restructuring.“I would like to be remembered as someone who always tried to do the best for the AP,” Garces said in 2009 when he was asked about his career. “Despite the passage of so many years, I still keep at it with the same enthusiasm.”His survivors include his mother Carmen Cabrera, wife Maria Teresa Nunez, daughter Maria del Carmen Garces, son-in-law Marcelo Viscarret; and three grandchildren: Tania, Yamila and Imanol Viscarret Garces.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories “When they interrogated me for many hours they tried to get me mixed up in some situation, but I could always demonstrate it wasn’t so, because it wasn’t so: My only guide was my obligation to inform,” Garces said. “I was never an activist of any kind; I didn’t belong to any cause. I went to jail because of my news coverage … for my refusal to agree to censorship.”With AP’s help, Garces fled in 1977 to Buenos Aires, where he continued to write for the agency until the Montevideo correspondency reopened and he moved back home in 1991.Raul Omar Garces Cabrera was born in Montevideo on May 7, 1939, and joined AP as a 17-year-old office boy in 1956, picking up journalism skills along the way. He also kept up side jobs writing for the Uruguayan newspapers El Diario, Sport, Busqueda and La Manana before focusing his work on AP.Garces reported on countless presidential visits, beginning with France’s Charles de Gaulle and Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and developed sources throughout Uruguay. When Ernesto “Che” Guevara came to town, rather than wait in a packed stadium for his speech, Garces knew the real news would happen at the airport, where he talked his way onto the tarmac and witnessed police hustling the Argentine revolutionary out of town. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) – Raul O. Garces, a veteran Associated Press correspondent who defied military censors and leftist guerrillas as he covered many of the tumultuous events of South America for more than a half-century, died on Saturday from a massive heart attack. He was 73.Garces died at the city’s Spanish Hospital, where he had gone for a checkup, his son-in-law said.For nearly 56 years, Garces covered the top stories in Uruguay and Argentina, where he was forced into an unhappy exile after his determination to report the facts clashed with military censors during Uruguay’s 1973-1985 dictatorship. He also had faced death threats from the country’s leftist Tupamaro guerrillas, and after six arrests, the military told AP managers they would not guarantee his safety. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

Building workers briefly blockade Panama newspaper

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements About 20 trucks and bulldozers prevented delivery vehicles from leaving the newspaper’s Panama City offices to distribute papers. The blockade was lifted a few hours after it was installed late Thursday.The Inter-American Press Society said Friday that the blockade is an attack on press freedom.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) PANAMA CITY (AP) – Journalists are condemning a blockade in Panama by a group of construction workers who parked heavy equipment in front of the offices of the newspaper La Prensa to prevent distribution of its papers.The workers were protesting a series of stories by the newspaper about how their company appears to have been favored in government contracts. Employees of the company Transcaribe Trading said the paper’s expose threatens their jobs. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Comments   Share   center_img Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Men’s health affects baby’s health too Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

Syrian opposition pushes for interim government

first_img“We are in desperate need for an interim government, a recognized civilian entity that can restore law and order and secure basic services to liberated areas,” said Walid al-Bunni, a spokesman for the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition. “Otherwise we are headed toward a very bad situation.”State institutions have all but collapsed in areas where the Syrian military withdrew, leaving many communities to fend for themselves with little electricity and sometimes no running water. Islamic courts have been set up to resolve local disputes, often one of the few vestiges of any sort of administration.The idea of an interim government that would help administer the large swaths of land in the north and northeast that has been seized by the rebels has been floating around for more than a year, but divisions among members Assad’s foes have kept it from happening. Opposition groups and even members of the same groups disagree over fundamental issues such as whether to hold negotiations with the regime or whether Assad should be allowed to be part of the transition.It is unclear how much sway, if any, interim opposition leaders would hold over the rebels in Syria, where local units made up of tens of thousands of autonomous fighters have very little central organization or command structure. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Al-Khatib provoked a backlash last month when he offered to hold talks with members of the regime if it would help end the bloodshed, which the U.N. says has killed more than 70,000 people. His offer marked a departure from the mainstream opposition’s insistence that Assad step down before any talks. That angered some of his colleagues who accused him of acting unilaterally.Ahead of the Istanbul meeting, American and French diplomats said that the U.S., Russia and France are working together to try to bring the Syrian government and the SNC to the table together, hoping to reach agreement on a government with wide executive powers that would pave the way for a peaceful transition.On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. was trying to help foster a “preliminary conversation” among Syrians about how to fill a transitional government.“We are not going to decide. The Syrians are going to decide,” she told reporters. “We are encouraging the Russians to see if the Syrian government can put forward anybody who would be acceptable.”French Foreign Ministry spokesman Vincent Floreani echoed the U.S. position Thursday in an online briefing. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) BEIRUT (AP) – The main Syrian opposition group is pushing to form a breakaway interim government to rein in chaotic rebel-held areas in the north. But it faces objections from within its own ranks amid fears that such a move is premature and could lead to the fragmentation of the country.The differing views will be put to the test at a two-day meeting starting Monday in Istanbul, where supporters hope to name a prime minister to oversee the formation of an interim government. Two previous attempts were postponed over seemingly intractable differences. Organizers say consensus has been building as the Syrian civil war enters its third year. Parents, stop beating yourself up Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project “The Syrian drama can only be solved by putting in place a political solution that passes by dialogue between the opposition and members of the regime who do not have blood on their hands,” he said, adding that Assad himself could “not be a party to these discussions.”The comments came as French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France and Britain are ready to help arm Syrian rebel fighters even if other European Union countries disagree.Some international diplomats warn that more weapons are the last thing that Syria needs after the bitter violence that has wracked the country since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011 and eventually escalated into an armed rebellion in response to a brutal government crackdown of protests. Others believe that only when Assad feels militarily cornered would he agree to come to the negotiating table.Fabius said France and Britain are pushing for an urgent EU meeting to try to persuade the bloc to lift an arms embargo on Syria. “Lifting the embargo is one of the only means left to make things move politically” in Syria, he said on France-Info radio.While they welcomed the French and British comments Thursday, some Syrian opposition leaders accused the West of trying to “impose” an interim government that includes members of Assad’s regime and said this should hasten formation of their own government. Top Stories “This is a very dangerous thing,” said Bassam al-Dada, a Turkey-based Free Syrian Army official. “By agreeing to have any member of Assad’s regime in an interim government, we would be giving the killer legitimacy.”But Mounzir Makhous, a coalition member who was appointed as ambassador to France in November, said an interim civilian government would not only help restore law and order, but it could work on freeing up frozen regime and state assets to help provide the rebels with weapons and pay their salaries.It could also work on securing income and other support from strategic facilities recently seized by rebels in the north and east, including oil fields in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour and Hassakeh provinces near the Iraqi and Turkish borders, the country’s biggest hyrdroelectric dam and grain silos.Most war weary Syrians were skeptical, saying the Syrian opposition has lost credibility because of the constant bickering.“For God’s sake I beg you, for once agree on something, this is not the time for disputes. People are dying,” said one response to the meeting’s announcement on the SNC’s Facebook page.___Associated Press writers Bradley Klapper in Washington and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report. Sponsored Stories But SNC officials say that as the opposition seizes more territory, the need for an interim government has become more pressing and consensus has been building on the need to control the growing chaos and lawlessness.The U.S. has in the past been lukewarm to the idea of a unilateral announcement of an interim government by the divided Syrian opposition, saying the focus should be on uniting in a transitional government that could facilitate a handover of power and take over if Assad steps down. The international community endorsed a broad and ambiguous proposal last year calling for Assad supporters and opponents to propose representatives for the government, with each side able to veto candidates.SNC leader Mouaz al-Khatib, a 52-year-old preacher turned activist has suggested that he himself is opposed to the formation of an interim government, fearing that it would deepen Syrian divisions.“He and others are worried that a breakaway interim government would consecrate the country’s divide between two governments, one in liberated territories and another in areas under Assad’s control,” al-Bunni said. “Either we convince him or he convinces us at the meeting in Istanbul.” Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

The frustrations of allied warfare alQaidastyle

first_img“If you still can, then this is your last chance to remedy the Jihad breakdown that is about to take place in Iraq,” the letter warns bin Laden.Al-Qaida did reject the splinter group, but the Islamic State kept growing, and after bin Laden’s death it went on to seize a swath of Syria and Iraq, killing Muslims and Christians, beheading Westerners and drawing warplanes from a U.S.-led international coalition to the region.At one point, an undated “Report on External Operations” presented bin Laden with a litany of excuses for failure to reach al-Qaida’s violent goals for the year, including orders to kill Jews.“First of them was bad luck and God wasn’t on our side,” it says, before running through complaints about a lack of well-trained personnel, poor communications, trouble with transportation, insufficient weapons and difficulty evading security forces.Among the terrorists’ goals was an operation targeting Americans in Denmark.Three European men were sent to carry out the plan, they report, “but we have lost our communication with them,” and they may have been captured.Their plan to overcome these obstacles was to “use new methods like using house knifes, gas or gasoline or diesel tanks, and other means, such as airplanes, trains, cars as killing tools.” FILE – This undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. U.S. intelligence officials have released more than 100 documents seized in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, including a loving letter to his wife and a job application for his terrorist network. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence says the papers were taken in the Navy SEALs raid that killed bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. (AP Photo, File) Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement In a video to one of his wives, also described as bin Laden’s “last will,” he tells her “you are the apple of my eye, and the most precious thing that I have in this world.” Bin Laden says he has no objection to her remarrying after his death, “but I really want for you to be my wife in paradise” and reminds her that a wife who has married twice “is given a choice on Judgment Day.”___Online:Bin Laden documents: http://1.usa.gov/1ScFGXhCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The information was declassified and made public after a review by government agencies, as required by a 2014 law. Hundreds more documents found at the compound will be reviewed for possible declassification and release, the office said Wednesday, four years after bin Laden’s death.The documents, as translated by U.S. intelligence officials, mix the mundane language of business — personnel training, budget matters, financing for “workshops and collaborating groups” — with fervent religious appeals and updates on terrorism plots.Drone strikes against al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan, the near-suffocation of the group’s affiliate in Iraq beginning in 2007, and other developments severely undercut bin Laden in the years before his death. The terrorist threat shifted to al-Qaida affiliates in other areas, including in Yemen and North Africa. U.S. officials have said that at the time of bin Laden’s death al-Qaida no longer exercised the same level of control he once had.A May 2007 letter to bin Laden from “the Jihad and Reform Front” implores him to disavow “the ongoing catastrophes and disasters” committed by al-Qaida in Iraq, the forerunner of today’s Islamic State group, which strayed from al-Qaida’s orders with its brutal attacks on fellow Muslims. “Unfortunately, there is so much chaos on the ground,” he wrote. “In general we suffer from unjustified divisions and alliances, which I call the ‘fake commandants.’”Broadly, the dozens of documents released Wednesday by the Obama administration portray bin Laden as a leader cut off from his underlings, disappointed by their failures, beset by their complaints and regretting years of separation from much of his family. He went into hiding after al-Qaida was chased out of Afghanistan by U.S. forces after the 9/11 attacks.Focus your fighting on America, not each other, the al-Qaida chief exhorts his followers. In a videotaped will, he urges one of his wives, should she remarry after his death, to still choose to live beside him in paradise.Despite some surprising quirks in the collection, the overall message of the 103 letters, videos and reports made public Wednesday hews to the terror group’s familiar mission: In the name of God, find a way to kill Americans. Kill Europeans. Kill Jews.“Uproot the obnoxious tree by concentrating on its American trunk,” bin Laden writes in a letter urging al-Qaida affiliates in North Africa to not be distracted by fighting local security forces and to avoid Muslim infighting. Sponsored Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — If President Barack Obama or his predecessor thought fighting a war with coalition partners was hard, they might consider Osama bin Laden’s frustrations.Among documents gathered from his compound in Pakistan after U.S. Navy SEALs stormed the building and shot him to death is a lengthy complaint by the al-Qaida leader about working with Arabs, Uzbeks, Turks, “Russians of all kinds,” Germans and others in his global jihad. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The infighting, however, clearly annoyed bin Laden, as did the success of American drone strikes against many of his lieutenants.“The problem of the spying war and spying aircrafts benefited the enemy greatly and led to the killing of many jihadi cadres, leaders, and others,” bin Laden wrote in an undated letter. “This is something that is concerning us and exhausting us.”He also complained about freelancers and hotheads in al-Qaida.“They just refuse to be ordered and refuse to listen, obey, or stay where they were placed and insist on being the head,” he wrote. “There are many examples of this, and if you add to them our visible mistakes, shortcomings, and weakness, you get the ingredients for divisions.”The document collection is sprinkled with telling tidbits. One says that the homemade bombs that Americans call improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are “anti-crusader devices,” or ACDs.The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the documents, released as online images, were among a collection of books, U.S. think tank reports and other materials recovered in the May 2011 raid that killed bin Laden at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Iranian official Held US citizens discussed at nuke talks

first_img Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility In the Iranian capital, Tehran, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told reporters on Wednesday that cases of “imprisoned citizens” were discussed with their American counterparts during the nuclear talks.He said “humanitarian” reasons had motivated the discussion but did not elaborate.It was the first confirmation by the Iranians of any talks that may have involved the fate of former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, and retired FBI agent Robert Levinson.Araghchi spoke on the first anniversary of Rezaian’s arrest on espionage charges.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday that Iranian diplomats discussed the case of Americans still held captive by Tehran. The issue was raised on the sidelines of negotiations in Vienna earlier this month that led to the landmark deal on curbing Iran’s nuclear program.Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had said that U.S. officials raised the issue of captive Americans with Iran every day during the recent nuclear talks, but did not make it part of the negotiations because they feared it would scuttle any deal.center_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Men’s health affects baby’s health too Sponsored Stories Top holiday drink recipes The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Obama urges Ethiopia to curb crackdowns on media opposition

first_imgPresident Barack Obama is give a bouquet of flowers as he arrives at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, on Sunday, July 26, 2015, in Addis Ababa. Obama is the first sitting U.S. presidents to visit Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)n Obama’s trip marks the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to Ethiopia, a fast-growing economy once defined by poverty and famine.Later Monday, Obama was to convene a meeting with African leaders on the crisis in South Sudan. The world’s newest nation has been gripped by violence as warring factions in the government fight for power.“The conditions on the ground are getting much, much worse,” Obama said. He said if a peace agreement isn’t reached by an Aug. 17 deadline, the U.S. and its partners would have to “consider what other tools we have.”Options under consideration include deepening economic sanctions and an arms embargo.Obama arrived in Ethiopia late Sunday following a stop in Kenya, the country of his father’s birth. The crisis in South Sudan and the human rights challenges on his agenda punctured a trip that had otherwise been a celebratory visit of the first black U.S. president to Africa.Despite Ethiopia’s progress, there are deep concerns about political freedoms on the heels of May elections in which the ruling party won every seat in parliament.Obama said he was frank in his discussions with Ethiopian leaders about the need to allow political opponents to operate freely. He also defended his decision to travel to the East African nation, comparing it to U.S. engagement with China, another nation with a poor human rights record. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosterone Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — President Barack Obama urged Ethiopia’s leaders Monday to curb crackdowns on press freedom and political openness as he began a visit that human rights groups say legitimizes an oppressive government.“When all voices are being heard, when people know they are being included in the political process, that makes a country more successful,” Obama said during a news conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous ofcenter_img ___AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report.___Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleapCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. “Nobody questions our need to engage with large countries where we may have differences on these issues,” he said. “That’s true with Africa as well.”Ethiopia’s prime minister defended his country’s commitment to democracy.“Our commitment to democracy is real — not skin deep,” he said. Asked about his country’s jailing of journalists, he said his country needed “ethical journalism” and reporters that don’t work with terrorist organizations.Ethiopia is the world’s second-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, after Eritrea, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.Ahead of Obama’s arrival, the Ethiopian government released several journalists and bloggers it had been holding since April 2014 on charges of incitement and terrorism. Many others remain in detention.Sarah Margon, the Washington director of the organization Human Rights Watch, said Obama’s visit undermines the president’s goals of good governance on the African continent.“In many ways, I guess it’s a reward,” Margon said. “Ethiopia at this time doesn’t deserve that.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top Stories Despite differences on human rights, the U.S. sees Ethiopia as an important partner in fighting terrorism in the region, particularly the Somalia-based al-Shabab network. Ethiopia shares intelligence with the U.S. and sent troops into Somalia to address instability there.The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab claimed credit for a suicide bomb at a luxury hotel in Somalia’s capital Sunday that killed nine people and injured nearly two dozen more. The Jazeera Hotel was considered the most secure in Mogadishu and is frequented by diplomats, foreigners and visiting heads of state.Obama said the attack was a reminder that “we have more work to do” in stemming terrorism in the region.Ethiopia has also been an important U.S. partner in the effort to end South Sudan’s civil war. The prime minister was among the leaders joining Obama in Monday’s meeting on the crisis.South Sudan was thrown into conflict in December 2013 by a clash between forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, and President Salva Kiir, a Dinka. The fighting has spurred a humanitarian crisis, throwing the country into turmoil four years after its inception.The U.S. was instrumental in backing South Sudan’s bid for independence, which was overwhelmingly supported by the country’s people.last_img read more

Skytrax Finnair is the best Nordic airline

first_imgSource = Finnair Skytrax, the international airline survey company, has renewed Finnair’s four-star rating on the grounds of the audit report conducted as part of the World Airline Star Rating programme. The rating is based on an impartial and thorough assessment of all the services the airline offers.“We are delighted about this rating,” says Anssi Komulainen, Senior Vice President, Customer Service. “This is a recognition of all our joint efforts. We have determinedly renewed our customer service and the whole chain of service works better than before. Thanks for this great achievement belongs to our whole personnel.”Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Geoff Stone, went on to say “We are very proud of this achievement and are always striving to better our service to our customers. This has shown through in more and more passengers choosing to fly Finnair to Europe”.Finnair is the only Nordic airline with a four-star Skytrax rating. In 2010 and 2011, airline passengers also voted Finnair the best airline in Northern Europe in the Skytrax World Airline Awards. World Airline Awards™ are the global benchmark of airline excellence.last_img read more

Travelports Damian Hickey travel industry has cost base challe

first_imgThe travel industries in Australia and the Asia Pacific more broadly face many challenges and opportunities, according to TravelPort  vice president global distribution and sales, Damian Hickey.“One of the challenges is that it is a very cyclical industry, our industry just because of the complexity of it, is very rigid, it does not have a lot of flexibility, especially in terms of its cost base,” Mr Hickey told ETB News.“Take airlines for example, a lot of them are fixed or they are not under control, you’ve got fuel and labour costs and outside of that the rest is not very manageable and for the airlines and other service providers in the market, this means that they are trying introduce a lot more flexibility so they can be more competitive and reactive to the market.”Mr Hickey also said on the other side of the ledger there are consumers that are very savvy with technology and this can help drive down the cost base and yields.“At the same time, you have travelling consumers that are much more sophisticated, very demanding, they have access to a phenomenal amount of information and content, a lot of it thanks to the internet,” Mr Hickey said.Additionally, Mr Hickey said that this is where Travelport as a travel commerce provider can act as a bridge  to allow airlines and consumers to do business.“We see our role as enabling more flexibility in travel business model, we asked what can we do to help travel agents, low cost carriers and full service airlines to help them build their market share and customer satisfaction, however it is not a matter of focussing on just one group, ” Mr Hickey said.On the Asia Pacific front, Mr Hickey said that most of Travelport’s business is going on in Asia and that this is primarily being driven by low cost carriers.The final trend that Mr Hickey mentioned was the travel industry being way behind in terms of engaging with mobile savvy and digital native consumers.“Mobile first will become the norm, travellers will expect consistency from buying an experience to the post-booking platform on TripAdvisor but our industry is still using back-end systems that are nearly 60 years old.”“When these carriers first came to market, they had a commercial advantage and a first to market first advantage, however, now they are competing against themselves and downsized full service airlines,” Mr Hickey said.“Increasingly now these low cost airlines are going after as many customers as they can through as many channels as they can and are trying to enter less price sensitive markets because their margins are already very low.”Mr Hickey said that the fact that so many airlines has signed up before the Travelport Rich Content and Branding component of the platform went to market is a sign that they like the technology.Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

Australias new initiative for business events

first_imgMinister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb has launched a new initiative to attract more international business events to Australian shores.Building on the success of the recent China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) in securing greater opportunities for the local tourism sector, Mr Robb said the ‘Attracting Business Events to Australia’ initiative, will further enhance Australia’s thriving tourism market.“Business events in Australia have a global reputation for being first-class, stellar events; they’re extremely important in terms of promoting Australia to the world,” Mr Robb said.“They showcase Australia’s business capabilities, foster trade and investment outcomes, facilitate stronger people-to-people links and make a significant contribution to our economy.”‘Attracting Business Events to Australia’ sets out a framework for the Australian Government, through Austrade and Tourism Australia to work with industry during the bidding and event-delivery process.Under the new framework, Austrade will coordinate ministerial support for an event and will organise onshore and offshore promotion, while Tourism Australia will partner with industry to provide marketing and promotional materials.“This new framework demonstrates the common sense approach this Government has taken to the tourism portfolio, by moving it under the trade umbrella; allowing closer alignment between the work done by Austrade – our export promotion agency – and Tourism Australia,” Mr Robb said.With the tourism sector already worth more than $13 billion a year, this new initiative will make a significant contribution to the Tourism 2020 goal, of increasing overnight visitor expenditure to between $115 billion and $140 billion by the year 2020.Australian Convention Bureau play a critical role in securing international business events for Australia and under this new framework they will serve as the first point of contact for event organisers.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Sometimes karma does come around

first_imgSometimes karma does come aroundroomsXML were one of a few wholesalers who really had substantial losses throughout the liquidation process of CTS travel.Arguably, roomsXML were too accommodating in over extending credit and support to the agent and lost out but luckily a little karma has come back their way. roomsXML were contacted directly by the parents of Paige Toner to query on the status of the accommodation that Paige had booked through the agent.The bookings were live but over AUD$1800 was unpaid, however the travellers had already paid the agency, with no funds flowing to roomsXML.In his weekly agent support piece, on Monday in ETB Travel News Mark wrote in reflection , “the 18-year-olds and the dream holiday, lots of saving, a few thousand dollars. Probably hurting the most.”So roomsXML gave them a discount and incurred a further AUD$500 loss on the booking, and took the background approach by not telling anyone.Luckily for them, the travellers, Paige Toner and her family, did mention roomsXML in what will no doubt be a Facebook page heavily referenced by the travel media in the coming days. Sometimes karma does come around.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Travel Elite Club Christmas Party 2015 a great success

first_imgLeft Andrew Denman WAS/Hawaiian Airlines, Tom Goldman, Goldman Travel Group, Les Cassar, Aviation Online / Breakaway Travel Group /Air Malta Tourism NSW, Barry Brown, Emirates Australasia, Ron Rosalky, former Qantas/Tourism NSW, Brian Deeson, Deeson Hospitality /Air Marketing Asia Pacific, Col Hughes, JITO -Online Travel Recruitment Co /Aviation Online, Avril Northridge, Marriott Interntional, Fiona Rose, L.E Hospitality Group, Catherine Mancuso, CCM Corporate Travel/Events Group Source = Bill McNamarra – Air Marketing Asia Pacific – TEC Bill McNamarraTravel Elite Club Christmas Party 2015 a great successBill McNamarra is no stranger to the travel and tourism industry and like most of the industry executives is highly networked and an old school professional.Bill, knows how to hold a successful event, in fact, he arranges four events each year for the travel industries elite senior management, one of the most popular being the Christmas Event. With numbers growing at each event, senior management view these superb get togethers as a great opportunity to not only catch up with old friends but to also do a little bit of business. In today’s hectic world, senior management rarely have the opportunity to catch up with their friends and colleagues, the Travel Elite Club lunches are the perfect vehicle for such gatherings said Mr McNamarra.Left Peter Podesta Classic Voyages Terri Ann /John Cruwys Elite Travel Events Jeanette Kritilech / Sally Anne Wilson Travel Logistics Group Adrian Miller Pacific Star Airlines Manila History of Travel Elite ClubIn September 2010 a Senior Group of Travel Industry Executive Managers got together over lunch to form a new Travel Club Luncheon Group that would give former / existing and aspiring Senior Travel Managers a forum and opportunity to network and meet other members and guests in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere for discussions on what’s new in our Travel Industry and discuss possible business opportunities.Access to the TEC Club is by invitation only through TEC committee based 10 years of Senior Travel Management experience covering all aspects of our Travel Industry eg TMCS ,PCOS ,Airlines Cruising ,Hospitality, Travel Media, Tourism bodies Boutique Travel Agencies, Tour Wholesalers and Travel Marketing Companies.TEC Club now has 120 members and growing. At each TEC Luncheon all TEC members and guests individually are formally introduced by Bill with an opportunity to network during the luncheon and of course exchange business cards.The TEC Formula is working very well following excellent feedback from members /guests saying this years Christmas Travel Elite Club Luncheon was the Best Independent Travel Club Event /Forum in Sydney for many years said Mike Hatton Former President AFTA and Bill Mc Namara Managing Director, Air Marketing Asia Pacific – The Preferred Travel Representation Company /President TEC Club.On behalf of all your friends within the industry Bill, we say “THANK YOU”, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2016.Next TEC Luncheon event will be at Luna Park on March 4th offering progressive dining experiencing Luna Parks key dining venues coordinated by Gary Manuel TEC Member Note: TEC Luncheons held every 4 monthsLeft Len Edmonds, Edmonds Travel Autos, Bruce Morton Former P&O, Barry Mayo House of Travel/Travel Managers, Gary Manual, Luna Park Convention Centre, Imre Gomes, Student World Travel, Charles Shaw, Travel Sales Group, Adam Watson, APAG/World Reps left Jennifer Gorrie, Right Directions Travel, Julian Good Featherdale WildLife Park, Tony Dear former Comprehensive Travel Insurance, Alan / Janet Collingwood The TIC Travel Group/Travel Mentor program former Qantas Holidays/Thai Airwayslast_img read more

TAT steps up marketing drive to attract upmarket golfers from China

first_imgTAT steps up marketing drive to attract upmarket golfers from ChinaTAT steps up marketing drive to attract upmarket golfers from ChinaMore than 120 golfers and 10 media representatives from five cities in China participated in a golf tournament organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) as part of a strategy to boost Thailand’s profile amongst one of China’s most rapidly-rising customer segments.The golfers from Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming, Chengdu and Guangzhou enjoyed several rounds of their favourite sport on 9 May, 2018, at the Alpine Golf Club, Pathum Thani province and later participated in a golf clinic as well as a one-to-one exchange with Mr. Thongchai Jaidee, Thailand’s number one Golf Ambassador.Ms. Runjuan Tongrut, TAT Executive Director of the East Asia Region, presided over the reception and closing ceremony and presented trophies to the winners. The golfers also enjoyed a demonstration of Thai massage and Thai cooking at the event.The tournament was the highlight of a special five-day package organised by TAT under the “Amazing Thailand Golf Paradise 2018” campaign to boost awareness of Thailand’s world-class golf courses and facilities, boost visitors’ expenditure and enhance the sales of Thai golf packages in China.Thailand boasts more than 280 international standard golf courses nationwide. The sport can be enjoyed all year with high standards of service and facilities available at value-for-money prices.The campaign to grow the number of golfers from China is an extension of similar TAT campaigns conducted in Japan, Korea, India and Europe in recent years. It is an important part of the strategy to attract more high-spending visitors to Thailand with the potential to generate spin-off business in other niche-market sectors; such as, Weddings and Honeymoons, Health and Wellness, and Gastronomy Tourism.TAT will also be holding its annual Thailand Golf Travel Mart between 23-26 July, 2018, at the Duangjit Resort and Spa in Phuket.China is Thailand’s leading source market of visitor arrivals. Of the 9.8 million Chinese arrivals in 2017, TAT estimates 90,000 were golfers generating 450 billion Baht for the Thai economy.Source = Tourism Authority of Thailandlast_img read more

Netherlands Cobra Museum teams up with a museum in Mumbai

first_imgIn order to make stronger the bonds between the two nations, Netherlands Cobra Museum has partnered with India’s Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum. Cobra Museum is a link between modern art and contemporary art and is the only museum to have a diverse collection of Cobra art movement.  Where else, Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum showcases the city’s cultural heritage and history through its rare collection and fine arts.Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, Managing Trustee and Director, Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum said, “We are extremely happy to partner with the Cobra Museum. This is the beginning of exchange of culture between Amsterdam, Amstelveen and Mumbai. This partnership will see exchange of exhibitions, workshops and education programmes for the youth across both the countries.”Els Ottenhof, Executive Director, Cobra Museum of Modern Art said, “We are the first and the only museum which is entirely dedicated to Cobra art. The Cobra art movement started somewhere in the mid 1900’s. We are delighted to partner with Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum as both these museums inspire society and will continue to in the future.”The collaboration was witnessed by Eberhard Van Der Laan, Mayor, Amsterdam; Mirjam Van ‘t Veld, Mayor, Amstelveen; Geoffrey Van Leeuwen, Consul General, Kingdom of the Netherlands and Frans Van Der Avert, Chief Executive Officer, Amsterdam Marketing.last_img read more

Lufthansa hosts Startup Expo to encourage potential entrepreneurs

first_imgLufthansa recently organised the Startup Expo, 2016, in partnership with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE). The largest initiative of its kind, the Expo brought startups, mentors, investors, industry partners and government to the same platform, supported by a corporate in partnership with TiE, a leading entrepreneurial organisation.The expo provided an opportunity to 200 aspiring entrepreneurs to showcase their ventures, attend insightful workshops, expert talks, mentoring sessions.The event witnessed participation from entrepreneurs ranging from women entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, student entrepreneurs, service providers, technology and food entrepreneurs.  The participating startups interacted with 30 investment decision makers in investor zones where 700 meetings between the investors and startups took place. They also got the opportunity to network with top business experts like Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Vice Chairman, Naukri.com, Deep Kalra, Founder and Group CEO, Make My Trip India Pvt Ltd, Alok Mittal , Founder, Indifi Technologies, O P Manchanda, CEO, Dr Lal Path Labs Pvt Ltd and more, besides investors, VCs, accelerators, industry associations, service organisations and corporates to be successful entrepreneurs.The Startup Expo received a widespread support and participation from organisations such as Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, GOI, Department of Science & Technology, Nasscom, CII, PHD Chambers, NEN, Indian Angel Network, SheTheStory, Yourstory, LetsVenture, SIDBI, PadUp Ventures, IvyCamp, AWS, CIIE, Microsoft Ventures etc.Wolfgang Will, Director, South Asia, Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, highlighted, “The Startup Expo pays tribute to the entrepreneurial energy in India driving one of the largest startup systems in the world. It is another link in Lufthansa Runway to Success, which has grown over the past four years into one of the biggest SME platforms in the country. We are delighted with the overwhelming response to the initiative, an affirmation of the fact that India is very close to our heart and that as a brand we are more Indian than you think.”last_img read more

Visit ASEAN50 Golden Celebration campaign promoted at ITB Berlin 2017

first_imgThe Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand by the founding fathers of the original ASEAN countries; namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The nations of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam have since joined this regional grouping.This year in 2017, ASEAN will reach its 50th Anniversary since formation. In celebration of this remarkable milestone, the ten ASEAN national tourism organisations have jointly developed a tourism programme under the campaign theme ‘Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration’ with the objectives of commemorating the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and embracing ASEAN as a single and united tourism destination.‘Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration’ will highlight ASEAN’s best 50 festivals and 50 most unforgettable travel experiences, whereby visitors will enjoy a wide range of ASEAN tourism products through diverse destinations, culinary, events and engagements with local communities. Special offers and travel promotions in affiliated with partners will be rolled out for travellers to enjoy the richness of cultural, heritage, nature and to feel the warmth of ASEAN hospitality, at the value deal.Targeting major regional and long-haul source markets such as China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia, UK, Germany, Russia, the UAE, USA and Canada, ‘Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration’ hopes to achieve 121 million international visitor arrivals to the region by the end of 2017; increase tourism receipts to USD 83 billion; and extend tourist visitations’ average length of stay to 6-7 days and to more than two ASEAN countries.‘Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration’ promotion campaign was presided over by ASEAN Tourism Ministers and leaders at ITB Berlin 2017 on March 9, 2017 at the Philippines pavilion. As part of the promotion campaign activity, ASEAN has organised cultural shows on March 11-12, 2017 in rotation at Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand pavilions.last_img read more

Travelport secures partnership to expand ground transport bookings

first_imgTravelport has secured a new partnership with Ugo Transfers to expand the number of ground transport services offered to travel agents.Ugo Transfers, which aggregates ground transfer content will provide more than 68,000 travel agents globally with access to a wide range of ground transport services in over 100 countries. Bookings will be available on the Ugo app via the Travelport Smartpoint agency desktop solution.Tony Hopwood, Travelport’s Senior Director for Products & Solutions in Asia Pacific, said, “Ugo Transfers will provide our agents with more content and booking choices for ground transportation. We hope that making this app accessible to travel agencies using Travelport’s Smartpoint will allow agents to create a faster and more efficient workflow, improving the response time for their customers.”In addition to individual bookings, Ugo Transfers recently launched a specialised ‘service centre’ that allows for requests to cater to larger groups and other customised options.“This will add another layer of reassurance and personalised service delivery for our customers. We are looking forward to providing more travel agents with a seamless solution to search and book for ground transportation. Travelport has been a very supportive partner and we look forward to continuing our great relationship with the team,” said Brad Wicks, Managing Director of Ugo Transfers.last_img read more

NewDay Exec Added to Chrysalis Board of Directors

first_img “”Chrysalis Holdings, LLC””:www.chrysalisholding.com/, has added a new member to its board of directors, with the announcement that Maylene Tan Khieu will join the company’s leadership. Khieu is the chief credit officer and senior vice president of compliance for “”NewDay Financial, LLC””:www.newdayyes.com/, which is a key holding for Chrysalis.[IMAGE]Khieu is well prepared for his role on Chrysalis’ board of directors, thanks to her experience heading up NewDay’s risk management department. Additionally, Khieu is responsible for personnel management, training, and investor relationship management for the company, making her a strong asset for the new position with Chrysalis. Rob Posner, NewDay’s CEO, said of Khieu’s addition to the board, “”During May’s tenure as chief credit officer at NewDay Financial she has been responsible for a risk management team [COLUMN_BREAK]that has an impressive record of loan performance. As an FHA direct endorsement and VA approved underwriter with significant experience underwriting FHA, VA and reverse mortgages, May’s contributions have been a cornerstone in our company’s ongoing success and continued growth as one of the nation’s leading originators of government mortgage loans.””Prior to taking on her executive duties with NewDay, Khieu was the company’s vice president of underwriting. Additionally,she has also served as the operations manager for Federal Funding corporation.Chrysalis’ director and chairman of the board, Paul Thomson III, noted of Khieu’s appointment, “”May will be a valuable asset on the Chrysalis board, bringing a wealth of hands-on experience and a detailed perspective on loan performance to our deliberations and decision-making.””NewDay is the exclusive provider of mortgage lending for Veterans of Foreign Wars members, and the entity is an approved “”Ginnie Mae””:www.ginniemae.gov/ seller and servicer. As a “”Department of Housing and Urban Development””:www.hud.gov/-approved reverse mortgage lender, NewDay boasts branch offices in Chicago, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, D.C.; and Austin, Texas.Chrysalis operates primarily as an investment entity in the financial services industry, focusing on early stage capital, infrastructure development, and management expertise. The company’s holdings include NewDay, “”LendingSpace Partners, LLC””:www.lendingspace.com/, and “”Chrysalis Analytics, LLC””:www.canalytics.com/. NewDay Exec Added to Chrysalis Board of Directors in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology November 1, 2011 484 Views center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-11-01 Abby Gregory Sharelast_img read more

FHFA IG Addresses Senate Banking Committee

first_img Speaking before the “”Senate Banking Committee””:http://banking.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Home.Home Tuesday, the inspector-general of the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov/ (FHFA) portrayed the agency as one beset by failures to adequately monitor and validate controls for executive compensation, examinations, and more.[IMAGE]IG Steve Linick referenced a recent report from his office that found the FHFA needs to improve by taking measures to independently validate executive compensation packages.He said that “”reports also have identified deficiencies in FHFA operations, and these deficiencies appear to reflect two significant and related trends. First, FHFA often relied [COLUMN_BREAK]on determinations of the Enterprises without independently testing and validating them, thereby giving undue deference to Enterprise decision-making. “”Second, FHFA was not proactive in oversight and enforcement, and accordingly, resource allocations may have affected its ability to oversee the GSEs and enforce its directives,”” he added.Compensation approval methods proved controversial last month when multiple news outlets publicized $13 million in bonuses for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac senior-level executives.He said that he felt concerned failures to mitigate bad controls would lead to more excessive compensation packages for GSE executives in the future.The inspector-general also said that his office would continue to examine every step of the mortgage underwriting process, “”from the beginning of servicing to the end of servicing.””Linick further faulted the FHFA for failure to properly provide for examiners by allocating resources in the most sufficient manner.””FHFA was not proactive in its enforcement,”” he told lawmakers. December 13, 2011 451 Views in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing FHFA IG Addresses Senate Banking Committeecenter_img Share Agents & Brokers Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Lenders & Servicers Processing Senate Banking Committee Service Providers 2011-12-13 Ryan Schuettelast_img read more

NAR Projects Record High for Housing Affordability in 2012

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing January 9, 2013 410 Views NAR Projects Record High for Housing Affordability in 2012 Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Home Prices Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates National Association of Realtors Processing Service Providers Underwriting Standards 2013-01-09 Esther Chocenter_img The year 2012 is on its way to becoming the most affordable year housing has seen since recordkeeping began in 1970, according to data from the “”National Association of Realtors””:http://www.realtor.org (NAR).[IMAGE] In November, the NAR’s Housing Affordability Index reached 198.2, down 2.5 index points from October, but up 1.5 points from a year ago. The index determines affordability based on the relationship between median home price, median family income, and average mortgage interest rate. The index also assumes 25 percent of gross income is devoted to principal and interest and a 20 percent down payment would be made. [COLUMN_BREAK] Based on data up to November, NAR also projects the index will set a record high of 194 in 2012, beating the high of 186 in 2011. However, record affordability doesn’t necessarily translate into more homeowners. “”Although 2012 was highest on record, the excessively tight underwriting precluded many would-be homebuyers from locking-in generational low interest rates,”” explained Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. NAR president Gary Thomas, added, “”A more sensible lending environment that makes it easier for other financially qualified buyers to get a mortgage would allow many more households to enter the market, boosting home sales as much as 10 to 15 percent.””While affordability is expected to see a new high in 2012, NAR expects affordability in 2013 to drop to 160. NAR noted an average of 160 means a median-income family would have 160 percent of income necessary to buy a median-priced existing single-family home. “”Rising home prices and a gradual uptrend in mortgage interest rates will offset improvements in family income, but 2013 likely will be the third best on record in terms of household buying power,”” Yun noted. Sharelast_img read more