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first_imgAfter attaching the device to the teen, Peters fled to the U.S., but police used an email address he left on the ransom note to track him down. Authorities arrested him two weeks later at his ex-wife’s home in Louisville, Kentucky, and extradited him to Australia. He pleaded guilty in March to aggravated break and enter and committing a serious indictable offense.Defense attorneys had argued that Peters was depressed, drinking heavily and exhibiting wild mood swings before committing the crime and had no memory of the attack. He had recently split from his wife, was separated from his children and had become obsessed with a book he was writing about a villain out for revenge, his lawyer Tim Game said during earlier sentencing hearings. A psychiatrist for the defense testified that Peters may have tried to become the evil protagonist in his book. Peters told the psychiatrist: “It’s not about money, it’s about revenge.”But prosecutors said it was exactly the opposite.During an earlier hearing, prosecutor Margaret Cunneen said that Pulver was never the intended target of Peters’ crime. The investment banker was having financial problems and originally traveled to Mosman _ the wealthy Sydney suburb where the Pulvers live _ to hunt down the beneficiary of a multimillion-dollar trust fund he had learned about, she said. When he arrived in Mosman, he bumped into a neighbor of the Pulvers whom he had met while doing business in Hong Kong. That man, who lived next door to the Pulvers, then became Peters’ new target, Cunneen said. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Associated PressSYDNEY (AP) – An Australian investment banker who admitted chaining a fake bomb to a Sydney teenager as part of a bizarre extortion plot was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison on Tuesday.Madeleine Pulver, then 18, was studying at home alone in her family’s mansion in August 2011 when Paul Douglas Peters walked in wearing a rainbow-striped ski mask and carrying a baseball bat. He tethered a bomb-like device to her neck along with a ransom note and then slipped away, leaving the panicked teen alone. It took a bomb squad 10 hours to remove the device, which contained no explosives. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Peters, 52, failed to convince the judge that his made-for-Hollywood crime was the result of a psychological meltdown sparked by the breakdown of his marriage and a failing career. Instead, the judge said, the once-successful businessman and father of three had shown no remorse, lied to police and was largely motivated by one thing: money.“The offender intended to place the very young victim in fear that she would be killed,” New South Wales state District Court Judge Peter Zahra said. “The terror instilled can only be described as unimaginable.”Pulver hugged relatives after the sentence was read. Her father, Bill Pulver, wiped away tears. Peters remained stone-faced and said nothing.“I’m pleased at today’s outcome and that I can now look to a future without Paul Peters’ name being linked to mine,” Madeleine Pulver said outside court. “For me, it was never about the sentencing, but to know that he will not reoffend. And it was good to hear the judge acknowledge the trauma he has put my family and me through.”Zahra gave Peters less than the maximum sentence of 20 years, acknowledging he’d pleaded guilty and was likely depressed at the time. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Men’s health affects baby’s health too But on the day of the attack, Peters walked into the wrong house. Madeleine Pulver was, in the end, just the unwitting victim of Peters’ incompetence, the prosecutor said.Embarrassed by his bungled extortion bid, Peters concocted a story about being delusional and not remembering the crime to save face, Cunneen said.The judge largely agreed with the prosecution’s version of events, saying the attack was precise and premeditated, and dismissed the defense’s arguments that Peters was delusional and in a psychotic state during the crime. Zahra did accept that Peters was likely depressed, but said it did not explain or excuse his behavior.Peters, who will be eligible for parole in 10 years, cried in court when the judge detailed the problems the banker had been facing with his marriage and his career. He showed no emotion when the judge described the trauma Madeleine endured as a result of the attack _ a point which did not escape Bill Pulver’s notice.“Mr. Peters has actually, from our perspective, shown no clear remorse for this entire event,” Pulver said outside court. “There has still been no apology nor any explanation for his behavior, which is disappointing. But the man was just told he was going to be in jail for 10 years, so he has reason to be upset.”last_img read more

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories PARIS (AP) – PSA Peugeot Citroen says its losses mounted in the first half as Europe’s recession ate into car sales just as it attempts to battle back from last year’s record 5 billion euros ($6.6 billion) loss.The maker of Peugeot and Citroen sedans, hatchbacks and light trucks says it lost 426 million euros in the first half amid a continued slide in car sales and disruption at a key car plant near Paris where workers went on strike over the group’s plans to shut factories and shed up to 8,000 jobs. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society Earlier this month, the European automakers’ association ACEA said the car industry had its worst June in 17 years, with demand falling 5.6 percent from a year earlier to 1.1134 million cars. Over the entire first half Europe’s car sales sank 6.6 percent.Peugeot Citroen forecasts the European market to shrink by 5 percent this year.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement In a statement Wednesday Peugeot Citroen boss Philippe Varin said he “sees the first signs of the group’s recovery,” with the automotive division trimming its operating loss even as sales continue to shrink.Investors were encouraged by the progress Peugeot had made in controlling costs with shares in the company up 6.5 percent at 9.59 euros in morning trading.News of Peugeot Citroen’s continuing push to contain losses comes a day after European authorities OK’d the French government’s 572 million euros aid package meant to prop up the troubled automaker.The European Union Commission’s competition regulator said Tuesday that the plan will help return Peugeot to profitability while keeping damage to competitors who aren’t receiving government money to a minimum.Peugeot Citroen is being forced to sell assets to help fund a restructuring program that will see the company cut 8,000 jobs and close its Aulnay-sous-Bois plant as it struggles to compete in Europe’s morose car market.While unions and the government have called the plan unacceptable, the plant looks likely to shut next year. In May workers at the plant ended a four-month walkout. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

first_img Top Stories Mohamud, who also was known as Tima’ade, had undergone surgery after being shot six times in the neck, chest and shoulder, said the Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ. Unidentified gunmen in a car shot at Mohamud as he drove to work early Tuesday in the Wadajir district of the capital, Mogadishu, the journalists’ group said, citing local reports.Mohamud reported for the private U.K.-based Universal TV, which covers news for the Somali diaspora, said the CPJ.Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries for media workers. At least 18 journalists were killed in Somalia last year.It’s not entirely clear who has been targeting journalists. But militants, criminals, and even state agents all could have reasons to want journalists killed in Somalia, according to the CPJ.The killings of media workers often happen in the government-controlled areas that journalists generally consider safe, and reporters must watch their backs for attacks from extremists and criminals as well as possible hostility from the government.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – A Somali journalist died in hospital after being attacked by gunmen, a colleague said Sunday, bringing to seven the number of journalists killed in Somalia this year.Journalist Mohamed Mohamud, 26, died in hospital Saturday night, said fellow journalist Ahmed Nor Mohamed. “We have lost a precious life once again. Doctors were not able to save our colleague,” he said.Mohamud was buried Sunday. Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technologylast_img read more

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate rejected a liberal-led move Monday to increase aid for workers who lose their jobs to imports, pushing for passage by week’s end of major trade legislation sought by President Barack Obama.The 45-41 vote was well short of the 60 needed, and reflected the unusual political forces at work on a bill to strengthen Obama’s hand in negotiating global trade deals.In remarks on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the trade legislation and two other bills — one to renew the Patriot Act, the other to keep federal highway funds flowing — would receive final votes by week’s end or senators would have to delay a scheduled Memorial Day recess. The vital role family plays in society Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The president has campaigned energetically for the measure, and Secretary of State John Kerry arranged to dip into domestic politics Tuesday with a pro-trade speech at a Boeing Corp. factory in Washington state. As a senator from Massachusetts, he supported trade measures.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “I know we became used to hearing these types of statements in the past, but senators should know I’m quite serious,” he said. He referred to frequent threats from Nevada’s Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, the former majority leader, who frequently threatened to cancel vacations if bills weren’t passed, but rarely if ever followed through.The anti-terrorism Patriot Act and the highway measure are both controversial in their own right. But the trade measure has dominated the Senate’s agenda for several days, with Republicans nearly unanimous in working to give a Democratic president new authority and union-backed Democrats opposed.Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who opposes the legislation, led the effort to increase the amount of retraining assistance in the bill from $450 million a year to $575 million. He said Congress had agreed to the higher figure the last time it voted on the program, and added it was the level contained in Obama’s budget. A large majority of workers who receive retraining are able to find and keep new jobs, he said, helping them “compete in the global economy.”But Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said increasing the amount of money could make it harder to pass the overall trade bill because it could increase Republican resistance. All Democrats supported the move except Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, and all Republicans except for Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Susan Collins opposed it.Separately, a proposal by Sen. Jim Lankford, R-Okla., requiring U.S. negotiators to take religious freedom laws into account in any country taking part in trade talks, cleared on a unanimous 92-0 vote. “Let’s start exporting the values that we hold dear,” he said.The trade bill would permit the administration to negotiate trade deals that Congress could approve or reject, but not change. Previous presidents have wielded the same authority, and supporters of the bill say it is it is essential if other countries are to negotiate seriously with American officials. The White House wants the legislation as it tries to wrap up a proposed 12-nation deal among countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. A separate agreement with European Union nations is also a possibility.While the bill appears to have the 60 votes needed to assure passage in the Senate, combined opposition from union-backed Democrats and Republicans distrustful of Obama make its path more perilous in the House.In an evident bid to reassure rank-and-file Democrats, Republican congressional leaders and Wyden issued a statement during the day pledging to send Obama separate legislation to enforce trade deals by the end of June. Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

first_imgThe federal government have released the long awaited aviation white paper today in Canberra outlining the needs of Australia’s aviation industry for the next decade.Speaking at the National Press Club today, Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said there needed to be investment in state-of-the-art air space management technology, including satellite technologies, to cope with ever growing air traffic. Such ever-growing traffic has been recognised at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport, prompting the government to look for a second airport site.However, the white paper did not recommend a second airport site and instead ruled out the anticipated site of Badgerys Creek. “[Badgerys Creek] has been overtaken by years of urban growth in the area and is inconsistent with future NSW spatial planning and land use development for the south-west region of Sydney” the paper said.In regards to security, the government will implement less stringent rules, allowing passengers to take “low-risk” items on to planes such as knitting needles, crochet hooks and nail filesIt will also allow the use of metal cutlery knives on aircraft and at airport facilities.The new rules will allow security screeners to focus on items of real risk, it said. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.Llast_img read more

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Australia’s only national cruise retailer Cruiseabout has confirmed plans to open more than 10 new stores during the next financial year.Cruiseabout brand leader Joell Ogilvie said the exact store locations haven’t been confirmed but would include new shop fronts in Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and a few spots across South East Queensland.“At this stage we’re looking at opening most of the new stores in the first half of the 2010/2011 financial year, which will significantly expand our retail footprint across Australia,” Joell said. “The expansion will provide a massive boost for consumers as we’ll be able to offer a significantly larger pool of dedicated and specialist cruise experts across Australia. “Cruise is a rapidly growing sector of the travel industry with the number of Australian travellers taking domestic and international cruises skyrocketing every year. “By strengthening the Cruiseabout brand we’ll be able to better service this broadening market with more cruise deals and a bigger team of consultants.”Over the next few years, cruise capacity and the selection of cruise itineraries with domestic departures will increase with three new ships set to homeport in Australia during the 2011/2012 summer.“New ships to homeport at our shores in 2011 include Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Radiance of the Seas and a yet to be named ship from Holland America Line. “The new QM2, which has started taking registrations for interest from customers, is circumnavigating Australia in 2012,” she said.“These new ships will add to the likes of some of the superliners already gracing our shores including Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Rhapsody of Seas and Holland America Line’s Volendam which are in Australia for the summer cruise season, Princess Cruises’ Dawn Princess and Sun Princess. “And in addition P&O’s fleet of three ships that home port here all year round will be boosted by a fourth vessel, Pacific Pearl, in December 2010.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

first_img:: Travel Counsellor wins Avis scholarship :: For the first time in Avis’ history, a mobile travel agent has taken out the 2011 Scholarship at the Four Seasons in Sydney. Holding back tears as she accepted the award, Travel Counsellor, Claudia Silk is now the fifteenth consultant to be honoured for her excellence in customer service with the prestigious award.  Ms Silk was selected over four other finalists at the awards dinner that hosted a number of big names in the industry.”It was clear Ms Silk was someone who truly excelled in terms of her delivery of outstanding customer service,” Avis travel industry manager, Russell Butler said. “I think what impressed the judges just as much was her obvious desire and determination to keep on developing and improving those already impressive skills.” The scholarship this year offers an educational and travel package valued at more than $40,000, including Qantas business class travel for two to New York, six nights of accommodation, Avis car rental for a week and visits to the Avis world headquarters in New York and local travel agencies.  Ms Silk will also receive a first-year tourism scholarship at Southern Cross University and four ICCA cruise training modules. With such a scholarship package, last year’s winner Nigel Rodighiero said to the winner “get ready for the ride”. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wlast_img read more

first_imgLAN A340 flying Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Chilean carrier, LAN Airlines reported a net income loss of up to 23.7 percent for the full year last year compared to 2010 citing travel disruption caused by Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano for impacting its profits. In a report released earlier this month, the carrier announced the fall from US$419.7 million in 2010 to US$320.2 million last year was driven by volcanic ash, higher fuel prices as well as its startup of operations in Colombia.  For the full year last year, the airline said its operating income fell by up to 13.4 percent from US$622.9 million in 2010 to US$539.7 million while its operating margin fell 4.3 points to 9.4 percent.Despite the fall, the carrier noted its passenger revenues climbed for the year by 28.9 percent to US$4,008.9 million, mostly driven by traffic growth of up to 15.9 percent. Making up 68.1 percent of the carrier’s operations, international traffic shot up for the year by up to 12.6 percent compared to 2010 while its domestic passenger count increased by 23.7 percent. Earlier this month the carrier released plans to co-operate with American Airlines out of Terminal 8 at New York’s JKF Airport. For more information click here. last_img read more

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P TripAdvisor the world’s largest travel website has launched a series of Master Class events designed to assist hospitality managers thrive while providing methods to drive more direct bookings.Speaking to E-Travel Blackboard, TripAdvisor Head of Industry Brian Payea said conducting Master Classes was just one of the ways that the company communicates with the hoteliers to ensure that they are aware of all the tools available to them.Mr Payea said The Management Centre serves as the hub for hoteliers to communicate with TripAdvisor and offers free access to videos, how to guides and tips, while providing hoteliers with strategies for engaging with travellers. Additionally, it also has engagement stations set up where people are given the opportunity to ask specific questions.“The Master Class is really focused on making sure that hoteliers are aware and unlocking the resources available to optimize their presence on TripAdvisor,” Mr Payea said.“It also covers how to figure out what’s important to the travellers, responding to reviews and how to stay on top of all the changes and developments.”The Master Class series is being launched in key markets including Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, India and China.The free Sydney Master Class is being held today, followed by Melbourne on Thursday, 23 February 2012 with more classes expected for later in the year for Queensland and Perth.Mr Payea explains it doesn’t matter what channel people are choosing to make a transaction they are going to look at reviews at some point in the shopping process. “It doesn’t matter if your calling on the phone, booking online or through a travel agent people confirm or research at some point in that process with reviews, so you want to make sure your engaged with that audience and of course aware of what is being said,” Mr Payea said.Mr Payea said that although 72 percent of reviews are positive there are still the occasional negative reviews which you want to know about and quickly respond to or contact TripAdvisor if you believe the review should be removed. He added that this is when the management centre can assist to ensure the hotelier is effectively managing the situation.“The whole reason TripAdvisor has become the biggest travel site in the world is because people want to reassured that people are making the right decision.”“People want to find the right property for them and make sure that if there is a situation they want to know the hotel will deal with it. How the hotelier respond to the issue is key to how the consumer responds to booking that property,” Mr Payea added.TripAdvisor boasts more than 50 million unique monthly visitors and over 60 million reviews and opinions.  The site operates in 30 countries covering 550,000 accommodations plus has 30 different domains in 21 languages. last_img read more

first_imgLangham Hospitality Group is introducing a new upscale global hotel brand: Cordis Hotels and Resorts.Cordis aptly derives its name from the Latin term meaning “heart” and the hotel brand will provide a holistic concept focusing on the core pillars of intuitive service, connectivity, sophistication and a sense of community.Langham Hospitality Group chief executive officer Robert Warman, said it is very exciting to introduce the new hotel brand to the world.“Building on the successes of Langham Hotels and Resorts, we saw the need to create a collection of international upscale hotels and resorts that will deliver what our guests desire: personalized and efficient services, seamless technology, and authentic experiences in the best locations around the world, Mr Warman said.”The Cordis portfolio will include new built designs, resorts and contemporary residences and the brand will be developed through a combination of new-build and conversion projects in key cities in Asia and North America, with the first hotel expected to fly the Cordis flag this year in Hong Kong.Cordis has already signed management agreements and letters of intent to open eight hotels in seven cities within the next three years.The portfolio will include five hotels in China, and one each in Bali, and Colombo, with plans for other cities such as London, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, Dubai, Singapore, and Bangkok.“We are very optimistic about the growth of this particular brand, as there are financial, cost-efficient benefits to developing hotels in the upscale tier. We see Cordis as complimentary to our existing portfolio and a real opportunity to have multiple properties in new markets in the coming years,” Mr Warman said.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

first_imgAs challenging as 2014 was for Fiji in general, the tourism industry finished with success as Fiji’s annual Visitor Arrival number reached a new high of 692,630.Visitor arrival numbers confirmed by the Bureau of Statistics show a significant increase of 5.3 per cent in visitor numbers from Fiji’s major key markets.This reflected the efforts of the Tourism Fiji team in offshore offices, as well as the Nadi-based head office.The most significant increases from specific markets are arrivals from New Zealand, which exponentially grew from 15,729 to 123,968, followed closely by Australia which saw a growth from 9,066 to 349,217.These are new records for both our traditional source markets, equating to an average daily arrival of 340 and 95 respectively.Other key markets which saw a healthy growth in visitor arrival numbers are the USA, China, Continental Europe and South Korea.Tourism Fiji acting chief executive officer Wayne Deed, said that the industry ended 2014 on an all-time high.“Challenging targets have been set for 2015 which the team here at Tourism Fiji have embraced and are already implementing through the activities in various markets. The key in ensuring we continuously meet our targets lies in the spirit of working together, which our team are great at doing. I have no doubt that 2015 will prove to be another fantastic year,” Mr Deed said.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

first_imgCarnival Corporation today announced it has signed a multi-billion dollar contract to build four next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the world.The contract with Meyer Werft is part of a larger previously announced strategic MoU with shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri S.p.A for nine new ships between 2019 and 2022.The four new ships will also feature a revolutionary “green cruising” design, being the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).The company said two of the ships will be manufactured for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft’s shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.Each of the four next-generation ships will have a total capacity of 6600 guests, feature more than 5000 lower berths, exceed 180,000 gross tons and incorporate an extensive number of guest-friendly features.Carnival Corporation chief executive officer Arnold Donald, said the contract is consistent with the company’s measured capacity growth strategy to replace ships with less efficient capacity.“We are looking forward to executing on the next step in our fleet enhancement plan, at a cost per berth in line with our existing order book, these new ships will enhance the return profile of our fleet,” Mr Donald said.“They are exceptionally efficient ships with incredible cabins and public spaces featuring a design inspired by Micky Arison and Michael Thamm and developed by our new build teams.”Each new ship will be specifically designed and developed for the brand and the guests it will serve, underscoring the company’s goal to consistently exceed guest expectations and provide first-time and repeat guests.As part of each shipbuilding company’s long-term strategic partnership with Carnival Corporation, additional new ship orders are being explored over the coming decade.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

first_img300,000 more promotional tickets on Vietjet’s Southeast Asia Routes300,000 more promotional tickets on Vietjet’s Southeast Asia RoutesAnother 300,000 promotional tickets priced from USD0 (terms and conditions apply) are up for grabs from Vietjet, Vietnam’s new-age airline. The promotion is for online booking from 23 to 25 November 2016 under the “It’s time to Vietjet” campaign at travel period is from 1 December 2016 to 31 December 2017 (excluding public holidays) and the promotion applies for all international routes from Vietnam to Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.Promotional tickets can be booked between 12noon to 2.00pm (Vietnam time) at (also compatible with smartphones at or at (just click the “Booking” tab). Payment can be easily made with debit and credit cards of Visa, MasterCard, JCB, and American Express.With its high-quality services, special low-fare tickets and diverse ticket classes, Vietjet offers its passengers enjoyable flights with dynamic and friendly flight crew, comfortable seats, amazing hot meals and special surprises from the airline’s inflight activities.Source = Vietjetlast_img read more

first_imgSource = Tourism Authority of Thailand Your Wedding paid for: and the winner isYour Wedding paid for: and the winner isThe recent competition launched by Tourism Authority of Thailand, Sydney office, “Tourism Authority of Thailand is offering to pay for your wedding” via ETB Travel News social media has announced a winner.We have all dreamed of the perfect wedding and honeymoon, especially if the wedding and honeymoon was to take place on the beautiful Koh Samui in Thailand.The Tourism Authority of Thailand was offering one lucky couple the opportunity to have their special day taken care of and paid for.Thailand has been named as one of dream wedding destinations for many couples because of the best scenery for wedding ceremony and party including the beach wedding. Thus, The Tourism Authority of Thailand was very pleased to invite the couples in Australia who are planning to celebrate their memorable wedding moment ever to Thailand.Thailand has been named as one of dream wedding destinations for many couples because of the best scenery for a wedding ceremony and party including the ever popular beach wedding. Thus, The Tourism Authority of Thailand is very pleased to invite couples in Australia who are planning to celebrate their memorable wedding moment in Thailand.The promotion consisted of two components for entrants:Send us your best couple moment picture and also describe your interesting couple storyTell us why Thailand is your dream wedding destinationTourism Authority of Thailand is delighted to announce the winner of this incredible fully paid for wedding, and the winner is, Alex Brennan and his bride to be, Account Manager for based in Brisbane, Congratulations Alex and Yaz.Here is how Alex and his bride to be Yaz won this fantastic opportunity:Hi Tourism Authority of Thailand!Please accept this email as my formal application for the Thailand Dream Wedding competition, as promoted through ETB Travel News.Our Couple MomentI’ve included below one of the more interesting couple moments that myself and my partner Yaz have experienced together when travelling through the south of Spain last year. We were backpacking from San Sebastian to Seville and while spending some time in Valencia, thought we would explore the nearby town of Bunol. Little did we remember, but we had inadvertently arrived in this tiny Spanish town on their biggest day of the year… La Tomatina. While walking through the streets crowded with travellers from all over the world, Yaz in a brand new dress and myself dressed as best a guy who’d been backpacking for a 4 months could muster, we it began raining tomatoes from the sky as locals in their terrace houses began to throw buckets of water and tomatoes on anyone walking below. The next thing we knew, we were in La Tomatina ground zero, with trucks and trucks of tomatoes rolling down the streets and party-goers hungry for some fruit-fighting warming up their throwing arms. As a result, this was how our scenic day out in Bunol turned out and while it was the most disgusting bus ride back to Valencia that I could ever imagine, we were absolutely buzzing from what we’d just experienced…Why Thailand?We have always dreamed that our perfect wedding would be something magical, something symbolic and something that is infused with culture, experiences and a beautiful scenery.Sounds a lot like Thailand doesn’t it?My partner Yaz reflects on one of her most influential life experiences being in Thailand when her and her mother released a lantern on the beach in Koh Samui together when she was a child, and has been allured back to that same spot once or twice since to reconnect with that moment. It would be truly special for us, for our special day to take place on the same island where she had that life experience so many years ago. We recently bought our first house (pictured below) and are looking forward to 2017 being the year that we start a family, so a wedding experience in Thailand would be a dream come true and the perfect way to make next year a truly life-changing time that we will never forget.Many thanks for allowing me the opportunity to apply for this amazing prize, and should you wish to contact me at all, please don’t hesitate to reach me on the below details. (details withheld)Your Wedding paid for: and the winner isKhun Rujiras Chatchalermkit, Director for Tourism Authority of Thailand in Australia and New Zealand said she was delighted with the response via the ETB Travel News social media platforms and it was a tough decision to select a winner. Koh Samui and Thailand in general has always been a destination of choice for newly weds booking their honeymoons and for holding wedding ceremonies also.  ETB Travel News has long been established within Australia and New Zealand and offers a very powerful reach and delivers results, as a Tourism Board we rely on delivering our messages to the trade, we could not be happier, Khun Rujiras said. Hug Thailand Amazing Weddings Amazing Thailandyour dream wedding and honeymoon starts herelast_img read more

first_imgATAS accreditations cancelled with immediate effectATAS accreditations cancelled with immediate effectToday the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has taken action to cancel the ATAS travel accredited status of a number of ATAS.Accredited Participants as a result of a failure to renew by the required timeline.The cancellations are:Cruise Addict Pty LtdCheck Us Out TravelJapan Snow AccommodationHelping Hand GroupWombat TripAFTA warn that further cancellations are imminent where ATAS Accredited Participants fail to demonstrate that their business meets the criteria set out in s2.5 of the ATAS Charter including for failing to renew, supply the required documentation or demonstrate solvency.ATAS Participants whose accreditation has been cancelled must immediately take steps to remove any logo or reference to AFTA or ATAS from their website, business cards, any ancillary internet or social media sites you may use (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) any printed material used to promote your business like brochures, flyers or newsletters and any other in store promotional materials used like certificates, stickers or window decals.A notice has been posted to this effect on the AFTA website pursuant to s6.2 of the ATAS Charter.Source = Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA)last_img read more

first_imgL-R: Lionel Yeoh, Daniel Tay, Charlotte Ong, Bob GuyDestination Asia Singapore awarded Best Meetings/Incentives OrganiserWe are delighted to announce that Destination Asia Singapore’s Corporate Meeting and Events (CME) team received the highly regarded award of Best Meetings/Incentive Organiser for their Philips Asia Pacific program delivered in 2017.The award was presented by Lionel Yeoh, chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board on stage at the Singapore Tourism Awards ceremony in the Fairmont ballroom on 8 May 2018. Receiving the award on stage from Destination Asia were Daniel Tay, Charlotte Ong and Bob Guy.Destination Asia Singapore was responsible for co-managing all aspects of the event jointly with Philips Asia Pacific marketing team. Their role included, developing the creative concept, sourcing all set designs, launching and managing an app (to reduce paper wastage) and implementing event management teams to oversee and deliver activities.TTG Asia, a regional travel trade newspaper wrote, “For Destination Asia Singapore, which clinched the Best Meetings/Incentives Organiser award for Philip’s Asia Pacific Customer Event 2017, its goal was clear; to have a dedicated team that continually exceeds the expectations of the client and its attendees, keep the customer satisfied and maintain the relationship for years to come.”Daniel Tay, Director, Corporate Meetings & Events at Destination Asia Singapore commented, “We are honored to receive this prestigious award from the Singapore Tourism Board. To successfully execute the Philips Asia Pacific program, the entire team had to align and focus their efforts, working around the clock to ensure every minor detail was covered. It is certainly morale boosting and will inspire us to deliver above and beyond expectations moving forward.”Source = Destination Asialast_img read more

first_imgSource = Louis T Collection Louis T Collection debuts Quay Perth HotelSingapore-based hotel management and building solutions company Louis T Collection are set to officially open the doors of the much-anticipated Quay Perth hotel today, Monday 10 June 2019. Quay Perth is a new 80-room boutique hotel on the site of the former New Esplanade hotel and the city’s newest addition to the picturesque Elizabeth Quay development.This latest hotel to join Louis T Collection’s hotel portfolio is steps away from the city’s central business district and overlooks Elizabeth Quay and the Swan River. Quay Perth’s multi-million-dollar redevelopment is a top-to-bottom transformation of the former hotel, which includes all guest rooms and public areas, the addition of a stylish, all-day sidewalk eatery, sophisticated rooftop bar and kitchen, and innovative co- working spaces with sweeping views of Elizabeth Quay and the Swan River.“We believe Quay Perth will play an important role in the lifestyle of this exciting city,” said Adam Simkins, managing director of Louis T Collection, Quay Perth’s Singapore-based hotel management and building solutions company. “Our intent was to create a hotel with an independent, boutique character that would capture the essence of the city in a new space designed for co-living, co-working and co-playing.”DESIGNQuay Perth’s interiors are inspired by Western Australia’s natural landscape and Perth’s laid-back vibe, with an earthy colour palette that uses natural local materials, such as Victorian ash wood. Upon entry, the spacious lobby connects with the property’s sidewalk eatery, Community at Quay, providing a sense of residential chic and ensures the hotel feels more like a home away from home, than a traditional hotel.The design was a collaboration between industry-leading architects and designers including renowned Western Australian residential interior designer Malvina Stone, architects Nicola Gibson and Daniel Bailey, and Perth-based architectural firm Alda Consultants, led by Andrew Lian. Robert Batrick, director of project services for Louis T Collection, was the lead on the redevelopment project.The original building has been stripped back to its bare bones, allowing the designers to create a space that is modern, stylish, and distinctly Australian.“We wanted to honour the original building as best as we could whilst pushing the boundaries in terms of style and design,” said Stone.Quay Perth is Stone’s first foray into commercial property and her homely, yet simplistic style effortlessly shines throughout the property. In 2018, Habitus Living Magazine named Stone one of Australia’s leading interior designers.The hotel carpark entry has been brought to life by local WA artist, Chris Nixon. Nixon’s eye-catching piece incorporates abstract shapes, balanced with loose forms and pops of colour that reference the architectural form of the building. The letters QUAY has formed the outline for the patterns. This statement art piece connects the property’s internal vibrancy with its surrounds.GUEST ROOMSThe 80 guest rooms are highlighted by the continuation of the natural timber features, large windows and earthy tones that exude a modern, home-like feel to the interiors. Sleek, well-appointed bathrooms are finished in slate grey tiles with rain showers; bedrooms feature plush beds and linens, coffee and tea service, in-room safes, Smart TV, bar fridge and complimentary Wi-Fi. Upper Quay-facing rooms feature bay windows with relaxing window seats from which to enjoy the waterfront’s spectacular views.Each room has a queen or king size bed, with twin beds optional in studio rooms. The Quay-facing rooms feature bay windows with relaxing window seats from which to enjoy waterfront views. The Esplanade Studio rooms overlook the Quay through the lush tree line. The entry level room, Perth Essential, and the Perth Loft room types on the upper floors face north with views of the city skyline.Rooms range in size from 17-square-meters (183-square-feet) to 41 square meters (441-square-feet), with rooms beginning at AUD114 per night.DRINK & EATQuay Perth’s top (10th) floor is home to HQ Bar & Kitchen, a chic rooftop bar and kitchen featuring uninterrupted views across the iconic Elizabeth Quay and promenade below. HQ’s open-air terrace beckons guests to enjoy the city’s idyllic climate and unparalleled vista.HQ Bar & Kitchen serves some of Western Australia’s best locally grown wines and craft beers as well as artisan cocktails. A resident DJ provides the soundtrack at the city’s hottest new rooftop venue.HQ’s kitchen features a modern Chinese-inspired menu with twists on the regions’ classics. From bar bites, bao buns and platters to share, to mains that transcend farm to sea. A uniquely handcrafted selection of desserts rounds out the dining experience.Quay Perth’s all-day sidewalk eatery, Community at Quay connects the riverfront Esplanade and its century- old Plane trees with the hotel’s lobby through a spacious outdoor terrace that leads into the hotel. This warm and inviting café services hotel guests and the people of Perth, and is a place where everyone is invited to be part of the community. Soft polished concrete floors, Victorian ash battens and lush booth seating provides the perfect backdrop for lively social gatherings.As the large floor to ceiling glass windows slide open, patrons can enjoy their casual dining experience with a true sense of connection to the heart of Perth and the Quay. The menu is fun and quirky, with twists on some old favourites.Community at Quay’s menu might be offbeat, but Executive Chef Jay Tesorero is serious about his food. Tesorero joins the Quay Perth team from Scarborough’s award-winning Drift Kitchen, where he was instrumental in the outlet’s culinary success.Specialty premium coffees by Margaret River Roasters, an array of local pastries from Swan Valley-based French cafe and patisserie, Maison St Honore, and handcrafted sandwiches, burgers, healthy salads, organic juices and smoothies are also available all day. A selection of Western Australian wines, bottled beers and ciders are the drink of choice as the sun goes down. Community offers all day breakfast and lunch.CO-WORKING SPACELEVEL NINE is Quay Perth’s full-service, 24/7 co-working space with 180-degree views of Elizabeth Quay and the Swan River. It’s a place where hotel guests and locals can find a flexible, comfortable and inviting space to work and connect, while enjoying many of the hotel’s amenities. LEVEL NINE features two meeting rooms (accommodating five people individually or up to 10 combined) for private meetings and presentations, 10 individual offices, eight window desks that offer a floor-to-ceiling vista of Elizabeth Quay, and a long communal workstation designed as dedicated desks. Comfortable chairs and lounges throughout the open areas round out the work space.Private phone booths, printing, scanning and other business services are also offered. Co-working customers can order barista-made coffee and fresh food from Community at Quay and have access to offers and discounts throughout the property. A kitchenette with tea and coffee making facilities are also available.QUAY PERTH HOTEL18, THE ESPLANADE PERTH 6000OPENS MONDAY 10 JUNE 2019E: enquiry@quayperth.comT:+61893252000W: quayperth.comF: QuayPerthHotelI: quayperthlast_img read more

first_imgRight to left: Ana Paula Martins, Cabin Crew; Ramiro Alfonsín, CFO; Oscar Aguayo, Fleet Director; and Margarita Medina Riveros, Onboard Service Manager, receive the award in ParisLATAM is named the ‘Best Airline in South America’LATAM Airlines Group was named as the ‘Best Airline in South America’ in the Skytrax World Airline Awards, at a ceremony held during the Paris Air Show yesterday 18 June.The awards are organised annually by aviation research organisation Skytrax and are based on a passenger satisfaction survey of the world’s airlines. This year’s survey included over 21 million eligible entries from passengers representing more than 100 nationalities.LATAM was also awarded for the ‘Best Business Class’ and ‘Best Economy Class’ in South America.“This is one of the airline industry’s most prestigious accolades because it reflects the opinions of millions of passengers worldwide. In recent years, we have focused on strengthening the company and maintaining our position as industry leaders in Latin America in a new competitive environment. We have worked to offer an unparalleled travel experience for the 70 million passengers we transport each year, significantly improving our punctuality, investing in the transformation of the cabins of over half our fleet, as well as incorporating technology and digital tools to provide greater autonomy. Without doubt, this award encourages us to maintain this course and continue listening to our passengers to be their preferred choice,” said Ramiro Alfonsín, Chief Financial Officer, LATAM Airlines Group, who received the award in Paris. Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax, added: “We are delighted to see LATAM being so well recognised in the World Airline Awards. The airline was well supported by customers in this year’s survey and has shown good progress in the global ranking. In what has been a challenging market, LATAM management and staff should be very proud of this great achievement.”LATAM’s awards in 2019This year, LATAM has received other important accolades for its travel experience and operational performance, including: ‘Best Global Airline in South America’, ‘Best Seat Comfort’, ‘Best Cabin Service’, ‘Best Entertainment’ and ‘Best Wi-Fi’ in South America in the APEX Passenger Choice Awards; ‘Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier South America’ in the PAX International Readership Awards 2019; and the most punctual ‘Mega Airline’ in the 2018 Official Airline Guide (OAG).Annual Skytrax World Airline SurveyThe Skytrax World Airline Awards are based on the results of its World Airline Survey, which is recognized as the main reference tool for satisfaction levels among global airlines, serving as a single, independent analysis of passenger opinion. Between September 2019 and May 2019, more than 21 million passengers, representing over 100 nationalities, were surveyed.The ceremony: Paris Air Show 2019The award ceremony was held during the 53rd Paris Air Show, which takes place June 17-23 at the Le Bourget Parc des Expositions in the French capital. Founded in 1909, it is the world’s largest and longest-running aerospace trade show. At this year’s event, more than 2,300 exhibitors from 48 countries will convene in meeting space of 192,000 m2.For more information about LATAM’s in-flight experience visit latam.comSource = LATAM Airlines Grouplast_img read more

first_img Lawmakers seated on the “”Senate Banking Committee””: convened a hearing Wednesday to determine just how radically draft legislation should lift barriers to refinance opportunities for homeowners and lenders.[IMAGE]The message from those testifying: More refinance modifications would help, but beware of the impact for investors and lenders.””Debra Still””:, chairman-elect of the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:, said that the trade group “”strongly supports”” any expansions that could widen the reach of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) as a result of legislation before the committee.She underscored support for the removal of loan-to-value ratio restrictions and “”arbitrary”” requirements regarding who services loans.””Such features only serve to increase borrower and lender confusion, and reduce the number of qualified borrowers who could benefit from the program,”” she told lawmakers in introductory remarks.””Chris Mayer””:, a professor of real estate and finance at “”Columbia Business School””: and an early proponent of refinance expansions that helped facilitate HARP 2.0, said that the refinance program would help homeowners but nodded at barriers, including rules that limit servicer buy-in.””These adjustments were supposed to be focused on aiding underwater borrowers and increasing competition between servicers, but the results so far have failed to live up to this promise,”” he said.[COLUMN_BREAK]The Obama administration moved on expansions to HARP last fall by working with the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””: (FHFA) to sign off on lower loan-to-value ratio requirements, remove obstacles for lenders and servicers, and allow homeowners to trade up on their mortgages at today’s record-low rates.Critics continue to find fault with the program by citing apparent problems with other loan modification programs, including the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP).””Anthony Sanders””:, professor of finance with “”George Mason University””:, nodded at 14 federal loan modification programs currently in place, including HAMP and others under the “”Federal Housing Administration””:, “”Treasury””:, and the “”Department of Veterans Affairs””:””At some point, the collective impact of these programs could drive our banks into bankruptcy,”” he told lawmakers. “”This possibility must be included in the analysis before any further steps are taken.””The cost to investors in mortgage debt and securities remains a critical issue on Capitol Hill. The FHFA generated criticism from the left earlier this year by resisting calls for principal reductions.Mayer faulted the FHFA for resisting principal write downs, estimating that as many as 2 million to 3 million homeowners could refinance and prevent foreclosure if given the opportunity. “”Obviously the losers here are investors, but the investors have had an enormous windfall associated with this program,”” he said, referencing the explicit federal guarantees for mortgage debt owned by the GSEs.He also cited a “”lack of competition”” as the most “”serious problem”” under HARP 2.0. He said that current HARP policies force lenders to assume liability for loans originated by others, discouraging lenders from refinancing loans accordingly.The debate over refinance expansions takes place amid election-year politics. Speaking before Congress in January, President “”Barack Obama””: pledged to roll out new refi modifications, together with new consumer financial investigations and a Homeowner’s Bill of Rights.It was not immediately clear when the Senate Banking Committee would move on legislation to widen HARP’s reach. Share April 26, 2012 448 Views Senate Hearing Fields Praise, Criticisms About New HARPcenter_img in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Barack Obama Fannie Mae FHA FHFA Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac HARP Housing Affordability HUD Investors Lenders & Servicers Loan-to-Value Ratio Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Debt Mortgage-Backed Securities Politics Refinance Senate Banking Committee Service Providers Treasury Department 2012-04-26 Ryan Schuettelast_img read more