Rocky Mountaineer WestJet update travellers on BC wildfires

first_imgTags: Rocky Mountaineer, Travel Alert, WestJet VANCOUVER — Both Rocky Mountaineer and WestJet have released new updates to service in light of the ongoing wildfires in British Columbia and Alberta.Due to the wildfires in the Caribbo area, Rocky Mountaineer’s train departures on the ‘Rainforest to Gold Rush’ route have been affected. “We have put in place alternative plans for guests travelling on this route that involved travelling by both motorcoach and train,” said the company.The schedules for the trains travelling via Kamloops on First Passage to the West (between Vancouver and Lake Louise/Banff) and Journey through the Clouds (between Vancouver and Jasper) are not affected. However, due to hazy skies in some areas, the visibility of scenery and air quality may be impacted at some points along the journey due to the wildfires.Passengers are asked to stay up to date on the situation by going to rockymountaineer.com/alert.WestJet has extended its discount offer to those impacted by the tragedy. The airline is offering 25% off for bookings between YXS and all Canadian and U.S. destinations, as well as 25% off for bookings between YLW/YYF/KYA and all Canadian and U.S. destinations.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckTravel dates run from Aug. 4-Aug. 21, 2017. Bookings must be made by Aug. 14.For both GDS bookings and WestJet Agent (TA Web) bookings, use account code DEWF4WT. For SIREV/Revnet/Contact centre bookings, agents are asked to call the Travel Support Team at 1-877-664-3205.WestJet has also decided to waive change and cancel fees for all existing bookings made to/from and via YLW/YXS/YYF/YKA to/from Canadian destinations on or before July 9 for travel through Aug. 21, 2017.For GDS bookings, there is no need for agents to call to receive a waiver code for clients. Simply add the generic waiver code 201707yxs in the endorsement field and process the exchange or refund in the GDS. Friday, August 11, 2017 Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Rocky Mountaineer, WestJet update travellers on BC wildfires Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Costa Rica Panama to discuss border issues

first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry announced Monday that the government will send a high-level delegation to Panama this week to seek solutions to a dispute arising from the presence of several Panamanian vehicles in Costa Rica without proper registration.The Presidency Ministry also formed a working group involving representatives of various institutions to discuss several border issues. The group includes officials from the public security, immigration, foreign and finance ministries.Officials from the two countries held talks on Sept. 17, and a follow-up meeting is scheduled for Oct. 23. Among the topics to be discussed are immigration, security, territorial disputes, borders, drug trafficking, smuggling and social development, among others.According to a press release by the Foreign Ministry, Costa Rica and Panama “maintain excellent bilateral relations, and any situation will be addressed through friendly conversations.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

UN General Assembly set to adopt arms treaty

first_imgUNITED NATIONS, New York – The UN General Assembly is expected to adopt the first global treaty on the conventional arms trade Tuesday after the 193 member states failed to reach consensus on it last week, diplomats said.After 10 days of arduous talks, Iran, Syria and North Korea on Thursday blocked the accord to regulate the $80 billion annual industry despite widespread support from Western, African and Latin American states. Costa Rica has been a strong advocate of the treaty.Kenya, with the backing of 63 other countries – including the United States, Britain and France – proposed that the General Assembly take up a resolution containing the blocked text.If adopted, the treaty would then be open for signature.The vote requires a simple majority, which practically guarantees adoption of the accord. The General Assembly session is set to start at 10:00 a.m. local time.Once adopted, every country would be free to sign and ratify the treaty. It will take effect after the 50th ratification, which could take up to two years.The first major arms accord since the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would cover tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, as well as small arms and light arms.It would aim to force countries to set up national controls on arms exports. States would also have to assess whether a weapon could be used for genocide, war crimes or by terrorists or organized crime before it is sold.The U.S. – the world’s biggest arms dealer – is ready to sign the treaty, but its ratification by the U.S. Congress is not assured.Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for International Security Tom Countryman predicted last Thursday that other countries would join the objectors in voting against the treaty at the General Assembly.But he added: “We think an overwhelming majority of states will vote in favor. I am happy to vote the opposite direction of such states as Iran, North Korea and Syria on this text.”Two major players in the arms trade market – Russia and India – have left others guessing how they would vote and could very well not sign the treaty.Moscow, a major exporter of weapons, has said there are “omissions” in the treaty and “doubtful” provisions, such as the failure to control arms transfers to non-state groups.Russia is particularly worried about weapons getting into the hands of Chechen rebels.New Delhi, a major buyer, also heavily criticized the text. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Uruguays Mujica to Obama Tobacco is murder

first_imgRelated posts:6 Guantanamo detainees turned over to Uruguay US prepares to ramp up transfers from Guantanamo Uruguay plan to sell pot at pharmacies slammed Obama seeks $1.9 billion to combat spread of Zika virus WASHINGTON, D.C. – Uruguay’s President José Mujica warned U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday of the mass “murder” of smokers across the world, highlighting his nation’s legal battle to preserve tough anti-tobacco laws.Mujica met Obama in the Oval Office for talks focusing on wider U.S.-Uruguayan relations and issues including education and trade.But he made a point of bringing up Uruguay’s tough restrictions on smoking, which have led to it being sued for $25 million by U.S. tobacco giant Philip Morris at the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).Mujica told Obama, a reformed smoker, that eight million people a year were dying from tobacco-related illnesses, as the two leaders held a photo-op in the Oval Office.“That is more than World War I, [and] World War II,” he said.“It’s murder. We are in an arduous fight — very arduous — and we must fight against very strong interests,” Mujica said through a translator.“Governments must not be involved in private litigation, but here we’re fighting for life.“Nobody must be distracted in this fight for life, because out of all values, the most important one is life itself.”In March 2006, Uruguay became the first Latin American country and the fifth nation worldwide to implement a ban on smoking in enclosed public places.It also enacted some of the world’s toughest tobacco laws, requiring large health warnings on packages and banning advertising and the use of multiple products for one brand.Philip Morris, owner of the Marlboro brand, is the largest cigarette manufacturer in the United States. It has huge global business interests and its case against Uruguay is being closely watched.The company, which is headquartered in Lausanne, contends that the anti-smoking rules infringe Uruguay’s investment treaties with Switzerland. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica launches skin cancer prevention campaign

first_imgThe Costa Rican Social Security System (Caja) has launched a campaign to combat skin cancer, the most prevalent type of cancer in Costa Rica.According to the Caja’s records, every year approximately 100 cases are diagnosed and the disease claims 40 lives.The campaign, launched Friday on the Internet and social media, aims to inform people about preventive measures. Some messages encourage people to “get naked for their lives” and perform full body checkups at least once a month to detect any changes in their skin.Roxana Gaspar Taylor, a dermatologist at Calderón Guardia Hospital in San José said that early detection of skin cancer increases chances of survival. She also noted that people of all skin types should take adequate measures to prevent overexposure to sunlight.“Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause skin cancer, regardless of a person’s skin color. Previously, we believed that only light-skinned people were prone to develop skin cancer, but today we know that everybody, regardless of their ethnicity, can be a victim of cancerous lesions,” she said.According to Caja records most cases in the country develop among residents of the highlands in the provinces of San José, Heredia and Alajuela, and it happens mainly because people do not take adequate precautions against the sun, believing that cloudy skies prevent its effects.Ultraviolet radiation affects the skin even when the sun is covered by clouds. “Radiation is absorbed by the body and it can be stored for up to three hours, even if a person is indoors,” Gaspar said.The Caja’s campaign urges people to check their entire bodies until they are so familiar with it that they will notice the slightest change in every mole or birthmark. “That’s the best way to detect skin cancer’s early symptoms, as early stages do not cause any physical discomfort such as pain or itching,” she said.The Caja’s Cancer Experts Group warned that the risk of skin cancer increases after the age of 45. Although the age range of Costa Rica’s largest group of patients is between 50 and 74, cases of adolescents with skin cancer have been reported.RecommendationsThe campaign recommends that people protect themselves by wearing clothes and accessories to act as shields against radiation including hats and sunglasses with ultraviolet protection.Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher should be applied at least 20 minutes before direct sun exposure and reapplied every two hours after swimming or sweating.Experts recommend to avoid direct sun exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m – the hours when ultraviolet rays are perpendicular to exposed skin, even on cloudy days.They also urge people to avoid smoking as it consumes the skin’s oxygen and nutrients. Smoke also constricts blood vessels in the outer skin layers and severely decreases blood flow.Finally, they recommend to avoid tanning beds as several studies show that they are sources of ultraviolet radiation. The Caja urges people to visit a doctor if they notice a change in the shape, border, color or size of a mole or birthmark.Related: 6 people die every month in Costa Rica from skin cancer  Facebook Comments Related posts:Faulty electrical system forces closing of all operating rooms at San José’s Hospital Mexico Mandatory prices for medical procedures rankle public, politicians Costa Rica reports lower cancer mortality rates Number of obese Ticos has almost quadrupled in four decadeslast_img read more

Art City Tour returns to San José for Chepe in the Rain

first_imgRelated posts:Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Cities filled with art: A visit to the 10th Central American Biennial 2017 International Design Festival to feature wide range of guests 5 questions for a U.S. painter and writer in Costa Rica Don’t just hide under the covers on the couch when the rainy season gets you down. (You know, as in this 1997 portrait of Costa Rican writer and performerAna Istarú, on display on tonight’s Art City Tour.) A portrait of Costa Rican writer and actress Ana Istarú, in Paris in 1997. Daniel MordzinskiRather, get out there and sample free offerings from museums, galleries and other cultural institutions throughout San José’s Barrio Amón, Barrio Otoya, Barrio Escalante, Los Yoses and Sabana. Surrounding restaurants and design shops keep their doors open and often offer specials.The usual hop-on, hop-off shuttles will be available, or flit from gallery to design shop to restaurant on foot or by bike. The event runs from 5-9 p.m.“Grab your umbrellas and coats and enjoy this cultural night,” Henry Bastos, director of GAM Cultural, which organizes the series, said in a statement.Highlights of this edition of the popular San José tours include exhibits by Guatemalan artists Alfredo Ceibal and Moisés Barrios at the Museum of Art and Contemporary Design; the National Museum’s “Insects of the Museum,” showcasing the largest etymological collection in Central America, with more than 3 million specimens, some more than 125 years old;  and, at the Calderón Guardia Museum, more than 200 photos by Daniel Mordinski featuring portraits of giants of Spanish-language literature, including Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar.The full agenda of the evening is available here. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Without Navas Costa Rica to face Chile and Peru in friendlies

first_imgThe Costa Rican men’s national team will be without its star goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, when it faces Chile and Peru in friendly matches this month, according to Thursday’s announcement from interim coach Ronald Gonzalez.The coach explained that Navas asked not to be summoned to the team for the FIFA dates of Nov. 16 and 20 in order to focus on his club, Real Madrid, where the goalkeeper fights for the starting role with Thibaut Courtois.“Keylor had reached a previous understanding because his situation has been unstable […] and it is a moment for him to stay at Madrid and make decisions,” the interim coach said.In his place, Gonzalez summoned Darryl Parker, goalkeeper for the local C.S. Cartaginés, who is considered a rising star and could make his debut with the senior national team.Parker is part of an innovative roster announced by Gonzalez to face Chile on Nov. 16 in Rancagua, and Peru on Nov. 20 in Arequipa.Those will be the last matches during which Gonzalez will lead La Sele. In January, the Uruguayan Gustavo Matosas will assume the managerial position. Matosas has been in Costa Rica during recent weeks observing local club matches.The novel call-ups include striker Jonathan McDonald, the dangerous Alajuelense attacker, and midfielders Dylan Flores and Deiver Vega.Under the leadership of Gonzalez, Costa Rica has four defeats: against South Korea (2-0), Japan (3-0), Mexico (3-2) and Colombia (3-1).The following is the list of summoned players:Goalkeepers: Esteban Alvarado (Trabznospor, Turkey), Darryl Parker (Cartaginés), Leonel Moreira (Herediano)Defenders: Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps, MLS), Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United, MLS), Giancarlo González (Bologna, Italy), Oscar Duarte (Espanyol, Spain), Yostin Salinas (Saprissa), Ian Smith (Norrkoping, Sweden), Ronald Matarrita (New York City, MLS), Joseph Mora (DC United, MLS).Midfielders: José Miguel Cubero (Alajuelense), Celso Borges (Coztepe, Turkey), Allan Cruz (Herediano), Elías Aguilar (Incheon United, South Korea), Deyver Vega (SK Brann, Norway), Randall Leal (Saprissa), Bryan Ruiz (Santos, Brazil).Strikers: Mayron George (Midtjylland, Denmark), Joel Campbell (Frosinone, Italy), Jonathan McDonald (Alajuelense). Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica returns with full-strength lineup in last step toward World Cup qualifying Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying PHOTOS: Costa Rica comes up empty-handed in clash with Panama Mexico defeats Costa Rica 3-2 in international friendlylast_img read more

UN urges Jordan to open camp for Syrian refugees

first_imgJordanian government officials had no immediate comment.Jordan has not opened a refugee camp it built this spring in the hamlet of Ribaa Sarhan, near its border with Syria. It could house 1,000 Syrian families.Although the 30,000 square meter (36,000 square yard) area has been paved, and electricity and water facilities have been installed, it has not been used.Government secrecy has limited information on the camp to avoid angering Damascus and dragging Jordan into the conflict. Syria is one of Jordan’s largest Arab trade partners, with bilateral trade estimated at $470 million last year. Also, 60 percent of Jordanian exports of mainly fruits and vegetables are routed through Syria for onward shipping to Turkey overland or to Europe.The refugees fleeing the fighting receive aid from friends, relatives and the Jordanian government.Syrian refugee families often share rooms in apartments or stay in houses with family or friends, mainly in the northern towns of Ramtha, Mafraq and Irbid along the frontier.They receive medical and educational assistance from the Jordanian government, as well as aid from private groups and the U.N.’s refugee agency.The U.N. has urged the international community to boost financial support to countries like Jordan that host the refugees. The U.N. has set the goal for contributions at $192 million. “We will have to do something pretty soon, because we’ve had 1,000 people arrive (Monday) night,” Harper said in a telephone interview. “Over the past four days, the numbers have doubled every night.”He said most are fleeing violence in and around the northern city of Homs, and from Daraa just across the border. Refugees report Syrian troop movements around Daraa and fear a military offensive is about to begin.Both the U.N. and Jordan’s Interior Ministry estimate an average of 400 Syrians were crossing into Jordan daily before the sudden surge.Harper said a camp must be built to accommodate recent arrivals because of overcrowding at the government’s Bashabsheh holding facility. More than 2,000 Syrians are being housed there while their information is being processed.“We are looking to reduce the numbers at Bashabsheh and spread the current population to other sites,” Harper said.“We’re also looking at a longer term facility that can accommodate many more people, because it doesn’t make sense to have a whole range of smaller sites. We need to be looking at something which is much larger and can accommodate many more people,” he said. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Comments   Share   Associated PressAMMAN, Jordan (AP) – Jordan must open a refugee camp for thousands of Syrians fleeing the fighting in their country, a U.N. official said Tuesday, just hours after another 1,000 crossed the border.The appeal from Andrew Harper, the U.N. refugee agency’s representative to Jordan, came during a sudden spike in numbers, adding to 140,000 Syrians already in the country.For now, though, a new camp remains unused because of Jordan’s desire not to anger its powerful Syrian neighbors.center_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Jordan hosted about 1.5 million Iraqis during the height of the violence there in 2003-2008. The refugees were a huge drain on the country’s resources, and hundreds of thousands remain in the resource-poor kingdom.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Daughter of late SKorean leader eyes presidency

first_img Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Park Geun-hye told supporters Tuesday she would focus on establishing trust with North Korea and defusing tension on Pyongyang’s nuclear program if she becomes president.President Lee Myung-bak is barred by law from seeking re-election.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates ErrorOK ErrorOK Sponsored Stories SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The eldest daughter of a late military-backed South Korean president has declared her presidential bid by promising to try to promote peace with rival North Korea.A former leader of the conservative ruling Saenuri Party, Park Geun-hye is the front-runner in opinion surveys ahead of December’s presidential elections.Her father Park Chung-hee ruled South Korea for 18 years with an iron-fist until he was assassinated by his intelligence chief in 1979. But his supporters respect the elder Park for leading South Korea’s meteoric economic rise from the ashes of the 1950-53 Korean War. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

USborn kids of migrants lose rights in Mexico

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Many of the Mexican parents of U.S. children were not aware of Mexico’s paperwork requirement before they came back, so now tens of thousands are struggling to get their children’s documents to the United States to be certified, and then returned to Mexico to be officially translated.They get little help from the Mexican government, but a lucky few get aid from groups like the Corner Project, a nonprofit organization for migrant families in Malinalco. It arranged for state government workers to travel to the town recently to meet with families and then send packages of documents to different U.S. offices. Returnees living in small towns without government offices otherwise have to make long journeys to deal with officials.“The government doesn’t care about what happens to the people who are coming back,” said Maria del Rosario Leyva, who came back with her two U.S.-born children, a 3-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl, from Santa Ana, California, last year after their father was deported.She and other returnees have gone to schools and to education offices seeking to enroll their children. Some were sent to Malinalco’s records office, which suggested they hire a lawyer. Top Stories “The mothers have come to us for help after multiple frustrations,” said Ellen Calmus, director of the Corner Project. “I’ve literally had a series of mothers in tears coming to the office.”Her group arranged for two state clerks to help about a dozen families at the recent session in Malinalco, and both Leyva and Hernandez were able to send their children’s birth certificates to get the official stamps in California. They were given a special permit to show schools that the paperwork is in progress.Leyva’s husband was among 46,000 people deported from the United States in the first half of 2011 who had U.S.-born children. He worked as a chef at a steakhouse in Santa Ana before he was arrested and pleaded guilty to drunken driving and was deported.After nearly 17 years in the U.S. and with two small children, Leyva worried she would get caught, too, so she left their rented townhome in California. Her older daughter in her mid-20s stayed, but Leyva brought back her 19-year-old son. Both immigrated illegally as children.A majority of migrants’ American-born children stay in the U.S. with relatives, or are taken into state foster care after their parents are arrested for crimes. Demographers say only about 10 to 15 percent of the U.S.-born youngsters are taken to Mexico. Associated PressMALINALCO, Mexico (AP) – As a cold drizzle washed over this town of narrow cobblestone streets in the forested highlands of central Mexico, mothers waiting outside the colonial-era cultural center wrapped wool blankets around the infants snuggled in their arms. Other parents tightened plastic bags around folders filled with U.S. passports and birth certificates from California, Ohio and Texas.One by one, the parents filed inside, sat down before a Mexican government worker and told stories of lives that had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border twice. First, they crossed illegally into the United States for work, found jobs, and had children. Then, they were caught and deported, or left on their own as the work dried up with the U.S. economic slump. Now they are back in Mexico with children who are American citizens by virtue of being born on U.S. soil. Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths “These are children who are kind of stateless in both countries,” said Hirokazu Yoshikawa, academic dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of “Immigrants Raising Citizens: Undocumented Parents and Their Young Children.”“Each generation is undocumented in one country,” he said.In Washington, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said that the U.S. government worries about U.S.-born offspring of migrants. “Where are the children? What’s going on with the children?” she said in an interview with The Arizona Republic newspaper.The U.S.-born children who are brought back to Mexico have birth certificates and American passports, so they don’t need anything else to prove they have citizen rights if they should go back to the U.S.Leyva says her U.S.-citizen children will not stay in Mexico beyond childhood.Her eyes moistened as she told of how they often ask when they will return to the United States.“When they are old enough, they will leave,” she said. “Their future is not here. Their children will have papers; the children of their children will also have papers. The problems will end.” Sponsored Stories center_img Rogelio Hernandez Sanchez is another parent who is back. He lost his job as a construction worker in Oakland, California, last year and decided to bring his family to Mexico in November. He was told that not only was he missing official seals on the birth certificates of his two U.S.-born children, but that the documents were no good because they were issued by a health department rather than a government records office, as is done in Mexico.“They won’t give me my kid’s grades. I won’t be able to take them to a doctor,” Hernandez said.Responding to questions from The Associated Press, Mexico’s health officials said in a statement that they offer a temporary care plan for U.S.-born children, but families must certify the youngsters’ documents within 90 days to continue receiving health care. An education department spokesman said each Mexican state, and sometimes individual school administrators, can temporarily waive requirements and let children into school despite the lack of official paperwork.Many parents don’t understand what administrators and clerks tell them. Official procedures are often confusing even for college-educated Mexicans. Misconceptions are widespread: Hernandez said he’d heard from other families that if he didn’t get the children’s documents stamped, U.S. officials could take the youngsters from him, even in Mexico. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates ___Adriana Gomez Licon on Twitter: http://twitter.com/agomezlicon Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Because of the byzantine rules of Mexican and U.S. bureaucracies, tens of thousands of those children without Mexican citizenship now find themselves without access to basic services in Mexico _ unable to officially register in school or sign up for health care at public hospitals and clinics that give free check-ups and medicines.At issue is a Mexican government requirement that any official document from another country be certified inside that country with a seal known as an “apostille,” then be translated by a certified, and often expensive, translator in Mexico.It’s a growing problem in Mexico as hundreds of thousands return home because of the sluggish U.S. job market and a record number of deportations. Illegal migration of Mexicans to the U.S. is at its lowest level in decades, with more Mexicans now leaving the United States than entering it each year.More than 300,000 U.S.-born children have been brought to Mexico since 2005, out of a total of 1.4 million people who moved back from the U.S. during that period, according to the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center.The number of U.S.-citizen children living in Mexico with at least one Mexican parent reached 500,000 in 2011, according to one demographic study. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Editor Brooks says she paid UK officials for leaks

first_imgBrooks said the definition of public interest was “very subjective” and varied with each media organization.“Each newspaper has its own interpretation,” she said.Brooks said she didn’t know the name of a defense ministry source The Sun had paid for stories over a period of eight years. The Sun is part of the Murdoch news group she headed and she served as the tabloid’s top editor from 2003 until 2009.She denies conspiracy to hack phones, bribe officials and obstruct police, charges that stem from the phone-hacking scandal that led Murdoch to shut down the best-selling News of the World in 2011.Six other defendants also deny a variety of charges.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies LONDON (AP) – Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks admitted in court Thursday that she sometimes paid public officials for information, but insisted she only did so when it was in the public interest.The ex-chief of Rupert Murdoch’s U.K. newspapers had authorized payments “half a dozen” times.“My view at the time was that there had to be an overwhelming public interest to justify payments in the very narrow circumstances of a public official being paid for information directly in line with their jobs,” she said. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   center_img Top holiday drink recipes Top Stories Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

NTSB Amtrak engineer wasnt talking texting on cellphone

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall In its updated report Wednesday, the National Transportation Safety Board said an examination of the cellphone of the engineer, Brandon Bostian, also indicated he didn’t access the train’s Wi-Fi system while he was operating the locomotive.Bostian suffered a head injury in the May 12 crash, and his attorney has said he doesn’t remember anything after the train pulled out of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, the last stop before the derailment.Bostian provided investigators with his passcode to the phone, allowing them access to the data, the NTSB said.While investigators have ruled out the most obvious uses of the phone before the crash, they have not eliminated some others such as the use of an app, NTSB board member Bella Dinh-Zarr said at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on train safety Wednesday. The agency says that to determine whether the phone was powered off, investigators in its laboratory have been examining its operating system, which contains more than 400,000 files of metadata.Investigators are also obtaining a phone identical to the engineer’s and will be running additional tests to validate the data. Bostian’s phone was used to make calls and send text messages the day of the accident, but inconsistencies in phone records presented difficulties, NTSB Chairman Chris Hart told Congress last week. The voice and text messages were recorded in different time zones and may not have been calibrated to the times of other equipment on the train, such as a camera focused on the tracks and a recorder that registers how fast the train was moving and actions by the engineer, he said. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Accident investigators have said previously that they have not found any mechanical problems with the train. The track had been inspected not long before the crash.On Tuesday, the House passed a transportation spending bill that includes $9 million for Amtrak to install inward-facing cameras in locomotive cabs. Five years ago, the NTSB recommended that the Federal Railroad Administration require railroads install the cameras so investigators would have a video and sound recording of what was going inside the cab in the event of an accident.Regulators convened an industry-labor advisory committee to work on possible regulations last year. But the committee has been unable to reach a consensus, and the railroad administration has said it will pursue regulations without the committee’s endorsement. However, it could be years before regulations are proposed and then made final.Rather than waiting for regulations, Amtrak will install the cameras on trains in the Northeast Corridor on its own, the railroad’s president and CEO, Joseph Boardman, said recently.The NTSB recommendation on cameras was made as the board wrapped up an investigation into the Sept. 12, 2008 head-on collision between a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train in Chatsworth, California. The Metrolink train ran through a red signal. Twenty-five people were killed and scores injured. The NTSB faulted the Metrolink train’s engineer for the collision, saying that he was distracted by text messages he was sending while on duty. However, that was a deduction because investigators didn’t have a complete record of the engineer’s actions that a camera would have provided. Sponsored Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — The engineer in last month’s fatal Amtrak crash wasn’t using his cellphone to talk, text or download anything just before the train sped off the tracks, investigators said Wednesday, addressing one big question about what might have caused the accident but only deepening the mystery of what did.Eight people were killed and about 200 were injured in the crash in Philadelphia. For reasons still unknown, the train accelerated to 106 miles per hour in the minute before it entered a curve where the speed limit is 50, investigators have said previously. In the last few seconds the brakes were applied with maximum force, but the train was still traveling at over 100 mph when it left the tracks.center_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 0 Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories At Wednesday’s hearing, Dinh-Zarr also urged the swift installation by railroads of positive train control, a technology that can prevent trains from derailing because of excessive speed, as well as collisions between trains. NTSB first recommended trains have the technology in 1970, and has since investigated 140 accidents that it could have prevented, she said.Congress mandated in 2008 that Amtrak, commuter railroads and freight railroads install positive train control by the end of this year. Amtrak still has to do extensive testing of the system but will meet the deadline in the busy Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, officials have said.Most railroads, however, will not make the deadline. Robert Lauby, the railroad administration’s associate administrator for safety, said 29 percent of commuter railroads will make the deadline and about half of the rest estimate they will be ready by 2018. But the nation’s largest freight railroads don’t expect to be ready until the end of 2020, he said.___Follow Joan Lowy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ApCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

QF pays agents fuel commission

first_imgQantas announced late last month it will pay travel agent commissions on fuel surcharges after six years of agents fighting for international airlines to pay-up.Leading the call action on behalf of agents Slater & Gordon’s Steven Lewis said he welcomed the commission and is hoping other international airlines will follow its step and “fall into line”.“Our legal efforts will now be focused on the other international airlines including Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airlines and Singapore Airlines, which are part of this class action,” Mr Lewis said in an online statement.“We will now double our efforts to ensure these other airlines also start to pay full commissions to travel agents without the need for further and costly court hearings.“The Qantas decision leaves no place for the other airlines to hide.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.last_img read more

New code standardises holiday rental market

first_imgPromoting self regulation in holiday rental management, industry operators have compiled a new industry code of conduct that will meet the needs of local communities, property owners and guests.Launching from 31 May this year, the new set of standards has been designed to address the impact of property amenities and factors from noise, over-crowding, garbage and car parking.Implemented as a “self regulatory” system, Stayz Group business development director Justin Butterworth said it will ensure rental properties provide a “real net benefit to the community while also enabling this important part of the tourism industry to develop sustainably”.“The short term rental of houses and apartments to holiday makers, business and educational visitors makes an important contribution to the local as well as the broader State and national economies,” Mr Butterworth said. Working with NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure as well as DestinationNSW to develop the new Code, REINSW chief executive Tim McKibbin added that it will not only encourage responsible self regulation as well as strengthen the tourism sector.Local Councils, tourism organisations or other related bodies that are interested in becoming Participating Organisations are invited to call: 1300 550 251. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

NZ Cruise sector a top performer

first_imgNZ Cruise sector a top performerThe cruise sector is looking forward to record seasons ahead, but is warning of the need to address several big challenges if it’s to achieve its potential.At Cruise New Zealand’s recent annual general meeting in Auckland (30 July), Chairman Kevin O’Sullivan said a bullish approach had resulted in some good wins for the sector.“We are a well-established cruise destination, benefitting from the continued growth of Australia as a source market, as well as leveraging off the big growth we are seeing in the Chinese cruise market.“Our continual work to encourage the cruise lines to bring more and larger ships to New Zealand ports was strongly reinforced by the decision to base the new Quantum-class Ovation of the Seas in our region from December 2016.”At 348 metres long, with capacity for almost 5000 passengers and 1300 crew, this will be the largest cruise ship to visit New Zealand – each visit will be the equivalent of 12 Airbus A380s arriving at the same time.However, Mr O’Sullivan said the lack of berthing for larger ships means Ovation can’t be accommodated at Auckland port.“Ovation is still coming to Auckland but will be using tenders – small ships to ferry passengers between the ship and the port. This can impact negatively on the visitor experience, including limiting the amount of time they spend on shore.“We will continue working with the ship’s owners, the council and port and other interested parties on this issue.”He said Cruise New Zealand is advocating for improved cruise infrastructure in all ports, and reduced barriers to ensure New Zealand is ‘cruise friendly’.The Government’s ‘new and unheralded’ travel tax was an unexpected and unwelcome barrier that will detrimentally affect the whole of the tourism sector, and cruise in particular.“We estimate this ill-conceived ‘border levy’ could knock almost $90 million off cruise sector earnings in 2018-19, compared to the $7 million – $8 million the government expects to collect from this new tax.“We are proactively fighting this tax as part of a tourism and travel coalition led by the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand.”One of Cruise New Zealand’s goals for the coming year will be to significantly raise the profile of the sector with decision makers and the public.“The cruise sector is a fast growing and valuable part of the New Zealand economy – contributing $436 million in value added earnings in the 2014-15 season and supporting 8365 jobs. We have the potential for huge growth over the coming decade, however to achieve that will require the support of central and local government, ports and communities around the country.”Source = Cruise New Zealandlast_img read more

Hawaiian Airlines to add daily Long BeachHonolulu service

first_imgHawaiian Airlines to add daily Long Beach-Honolulu serviceHawaiian Airlines to add daily Long Beach-Honolulu serviceHawaiian Airlines today announced it will begin daily non-stop flights between Long Beach (LGB) and Honolulu (HNL) in the summer, offering Southern California travelers another convenient option for direct service to Hawaii. The new route, being inaugurated May 31 out of Honolulu on Hawaiian’s new Airbus A321neo aircraft, complements the carrier’s popular daily flights at nearby Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).“Long Beach is a perfect gateway for travelers in Los Angeles and Orange County to ease into their Hawaiian vacation,” said Peter Ingram, Hawaiian’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer. “We look forward to welcoming our guests onboard, where they will enjoy our award-winning Hawaiian hospitality in the comfort of our newest aircraft.”Starting June 1, Hawaiian’s Flight 69 will depart Long Beach at 8:30 a.m. and arrive in Honolulu at 11:40 a.m., giving travelers the afternoon to explore O‘ahu or connect to a neighbor island. The return flight, HA 70, departs Honolulu at 12:30 p.m. and arrives in Long Beach at 9 p.m.Hawaiian, Hawai‘i’s largest and longest-serving carrier, is deploying a new fleet of narrow-body A321neo aircraft to provide U.S. West Coast guests non-stop flights to more islands. The airline today is celebrating its first scheduled A321neo flight, between Kahului (OGG) on Maui and Oakland (OAK), as it prepares for service between Portland (PDX) and OGG on Jan. 18, followed by flights between OAK and Līhu‘e (LIH) on Kaua‘i on April 11, and Los Angeles (LAX)-Kona (KOA) on the Island of Hawai‘i in the summer.The highly efficient, mid-range A321neo aircraft complement Hawaiian’s fleet of wide-body aircraft currently used for service between Hawai‘i and 11 U.S. gateway cities, along with 10 international destinations. Hawaiian’s 189- passenger A321neo includes 16 luxurious leather recliners in First Class, 44 Extra Comfort premium economy seats, and 129 Economy seats. In addition to Hawaiian’s warm hospitality, including complimentary meals, guests will enjoy wireless streaming in-flight entertainment, access to USB outlets, and additional overhead stowage space.Source = Hawaiian Airlineslast_img read more

Qantas releases more reward seats to Hawaii

first_imgQantas releases more reward seats to Hawaii Qantas Frequent Flyers now have more opportunities to use their Qantas Points on redemption seats for flights between Sydney and Hawaii (Honolulu). From August, Qantas has put the larger Boeing 747 aircraft on the route, replacing the Airbus A330 aircraft which currently flies between the two cities. This means there are additional redemption seats available for booking. Between Sydney and Honolulu there are currently 1,900 Economy, 370 Premium Economy and 200 Business redemption seats available to book as Classic Flight Rewards in each direction between 20 August 2018 and 15 April 2019: that’s an average of 55 redemption seats per week in each direction for Economy, 11 for Premium Economy and six per week in the Business cabin.AVAILABILITY ON OTHER ROUTES There is also good availability of Economy redemption seats on flights to the United States and London between September and November 2018.o Los Angeles has over 10,500 Economy redemption seats available, or 800 per week o San Francisco and Dallas both have close to 5,000 Economy redemption seats available, or 350 per weeko Sydney/Perth to London has over 3,000 Economy redemption seats available, or 250 per weeko London to Sydney/Perth has over 1,500 Economy redemption seats available, or 120per week Availability is current as at 8 August 2018 and only available on selected flights.Comments – to be attributed to Qantas spokesperson“We know our customers love using their Qantas Points to book flights or upgrade to Business.“Hawaii is one of our Frequent Flyers’ favourite holiday destinations so we expect these seats to be snapped up quickly.“Flight redemptions are the most popular way for people to use their Qantas Points, with members using their points to purchase a staggering 4.6 million seats each year for the past five years.”Source = Qantaslast_img read more

BMO and Harris Private Bank Release 2011 Study

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-01-25 Abby Gregory The uptick in existing home sales to end 2011 is, obviously, a positive industry trend, and a new study released by “”BMO Economics””:www.bmonesbittburns.com/economics/ and “”Harris Private Bank””:www.theharris.com/ indicates that the sales pace is likely to continue upward, based on data that shows increasing numbers of potential buyers are moving into the marketplace.[IMAGE]Introducing the findings within the collaborative study, Doug Porter, deputy chief economist for BMO Economics, said, “”December’s gain was the third rise in a row and is the highest number of sales since January of last year. It is now up 40 percent from the lows hit in July 2010.””According to estimates from the report, sales during 2011 climbed a total of 2.5 percent, landing at 4.29 million units to end the year. The rise in sales is believed to “”erase”” the 3.4 percent drop shown during 2010.Single-family home sales reached an 18-month high in December, and additionally, statistics showed that the tally of condos sold hit an eight-month high. The accumulation of existing homes felt some year-end relief as well, with the inventory of single-family units declining by 10 percent in December.The share of first time buyers, however, is flagging, and only 31 percent of those purchasing homes in December of 2011 were making their initial entry into the housing market. Numbers of repeat purchasers rose to 48 percent of the total market share.Porter continued his commentary on the survey, noting, “”The combined effects of record low mortgage rates, near record high affordability, a more promising economic recovery, job creation, and low prices are beckoning homebuyers out of the woodwork.””Harris Private Bank’s chief investment officer, Jack Ablin, also weighed in on the results of the study, saying, “”While some buyers may believe that better deals will be available for those that wait, stable prices and increased activity will go a long way to instill some urgency into buyers’ psyche.””The financial institution’s senior vice president of retail lending extended his thoughts on the findings, stating, “”We are seeing some very encouraging signs in the housing sector and rising consumer confidence all of which is helping to drive this positive trend. With interest rates at historic lows and housing prices appearing to be stabilizing, more consumers have been contacting our branches and mortgage loan officers to determine which of our various mortgage loan products best meet their financial and home ownership goals””. BMO and Harris Private Bank Release 2011 Study January 25, 2012 449 Views center_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Sharelast_img read more

MetLife Exits Reverse Originations Selling Portfolio to Nationstar

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Federal Reserve Investment Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers MetLife Mortgage Applications Processing Regulation Reverse Mortgage Service Providers Shares Stocks 2012-04-27 Ryan Schuette in Government, Origination, Servicing April 27, 2012 506 Views MetLife Exits Reverse Originations, Selling Portfolio to Nationstarcenter_img Share Life insurer “”MetLife””:http://www.metlife.com/ announced Thursday that it will exit the reverse mortgage origination business, with plans to sell the division responsible for these loans to “”Nationstar Mortgage LLC””:https://www.nationstarmtg.com/.[IMAGE]A spokesperson with MetLife did not immediately return requests for comment.It was not immediately clear how much Nationstar paid to buy the reverse mortgage portfolio from MetLife. A statement said that the transaction will need to clear certain regulatory hurdles and “”other customary closing conditions”” before it moves forward.The life insurer also said that it would cease receiving any new reverse mortgage loan applications and registrations. MetLife said that retail banking, including reverse mortgages, accounted for less than 2 percent of operating earnings for the company last year.In divvying up its share in mortgage originations, MetLife continues a process of divestiture from the banking holding business. The company sold off its stake in deposits to[COLUMN_BREAK]””General Electric Capital””:http://www.gecapital.com/en/ in December last year and transitioned warehouse finance operations to “”EverBank””:https://www.everbank.com/ in February.MetLife said that it was advised by “”K&L Gates LLP””:http://www.klgates.com/ and “”Deutsche Bank Securities Inc””:http://www.db.com/us/. in wrapping decisions to sell off its mortgage originations units.The decision to shut the door on reverse home loans marks another turn away from mortgage originations for the life insurer. MetLife “”exited””:https://themreport.com/articles/metlife-departs-forward-mortgage-origination-business-2012-01-11 its share of the forward mortgage origination business in January.Citing an “”uncertain marketplace and regulatory environment,”” a spokesperson with the company told _MReport_ in October that MetLife planned to “”continue our reverse mortgage origination operations, but… that, as a public company, we continuously evaluate all of our businesses based on market conditions.””Analysts say that tough federal oversight helped expedite the company’s departure from forward and reverse mortgage originations. In the same month that it announced plans to stop originating residential mortgage loans, the “”Federal Reserve””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/ “”rejected plans””:https://themreport.com/articles/fed-rejects-metlife-plan-likely-speeding-mortgage-exit-2011-10-26 by MetLife to move forward with stock repurchases and capital redistributions that aimed to shore up annual dividends for investors. The Fed had cited a “”revised adverse macroeconomic scenario”” in the decision.At the time, “”_Bloomberg News_””:http://www.businessweek.com/ quoted Dan Theriault, an analyst with “”Portales Partners LLC””:http://portalespartners.com/, as calling the rejection “”an embarrassment for the company.”” He said that he expected MetLife to “”accelerate its plans”” to leave the origination business.It is uncertain how many jobs will filter out of MetLife as the company leaves reverse mortgage originations. The decision to close down forward mortgage originations led the life insurer to “”axe””:https://themreport.com/articles/leaving-forward-originations-metlife-plans-to-axe-804-jobs-2012-02-06 804 jobs in Texas in February.last_img read more

Housing Affordability Climbs Higher in Q4

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Home Prices Home Values Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates National Association of Home Builders Processing Service Providers Wells Fargo 2013-02-22 Krista Franks Brock in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Housing Affordability Climbs Higher in Q4 Sharecenter_img February 22, 2013 423 Views Even as prices rise in many markets across the country, affordability remains high. In fact, housing affordability rose close 1 percentage point up to 74.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the Housing Opportunity Index released Friday by the “”National Association of Home Builders””:https://www.nahb.org/ (NAHB) and “”Wells Fargo””:https://www.wellsfargo.com/. [IMAGE]NAHB attributes this continued high affordability amid rising prices to “”exceptionally low interest rates.”” Nationally, the median price of a home sold in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $188,000, down from the three-year high of $189,000 reached in the previous quarter, according to NAHB. “”The most recent housing affordability data should be encouraging to many prospective home buyers, because it shows that homeownership remains within reach of [COLUMN_BREAK]median-income consumers even as most local markets appear to be on a recovery path,”” said Rick Judson, chairman of NAHB. Fairbanks, Alaska, topped the affordability chart in the fourth quarter as 99.6 percent of homes sold in the city over the period were affordable with the area’s median income of $92,000. While Fairbanks outranked all other markets, NAHB pointed out Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, was the most affordable major metro market in the fourth quarter. Families earning the median income of $71,500 could afford 93.7 percent of the homes sold in the market over the quarter. At the bottom of the chart was the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City area in California, where just 28.4 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to those with a household income matching the area’s median income of $103,000. The California market displaced New York-White Plains-Wayne, New York-New Jersey, which ranked as the least affordable market on the NAHB index for the previous 18 quarters. About 29.6 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter in the New York-New Jersey market were affordable to median-income earners bringing in $68,300. Six of the 10 least affordable markets are located in California. No California markets ranked in the top 10 most affordable metros.last_img read more