Posted by WASHINGTON, DC — CLIA says its Meetings & Events at Sea Certificate Program, now available online, will help travel professionals become experts in booking events onboard cruise ships.The certificate program, designed in partnership with Meetings Professional International (MPI), explores the advantages of hosting groups and events on cruise ships as opposed to traditional venues.Agents can get insight into incentive trips and examine logistics and variables to consider when hosting an event at sea, from the comfort of their own computers, says CLIA. The program also explores the types of meetings or events that should be conducted onboard, in addition to offering valuable cost comparisons.“At CLIA, we are always looking for ways to make our training more accessible for our travel agents across North America,” said Stephani McDow, Director, Membership & Professional Development. “We’ve already had great success delivering this certificate program at our live training events and we are excited to be able to offer agents the opportunity to take this course online, and at their own pace.”More news: Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoThis is the first certificate program to be offered as an online course for CLIA Travel Agent Members, and has been previously offered as live-training. CLIA members receive US$100 member savings on the online version, which is available at $199 for non-members and $99 for members.CLIA Certificate programs supplement CLIA’s existing Certification Programs to help travel professionals expand their knowledge of travel and cruise specific topics to grow their clientele and sales.For more information about CLIA Certificate and Certification Programs visit cruising.org/careerseascape. Friday, May 19, 2017 Share Agents get online access to CLIA’s Meetings & Events at Sea program Travelweek Group Tags: CLIA << Previous PostNext Post >>
ACAPULCO — Tourism to Acapulco is up 11% over last year, according to the Secretary of Tourism of the State of Guerrero.Acapulco received 770,000 visitors July 10 – Aug. 19, an 11% jump over the same period last year, while city hotels were reporting an average occupancy of 65%, reaching peaks of up to 93.9% over certain weekends.“Local and international visitors continue to chose Acapulco as their preferred vacation destination. We are seeing that every year the number of tourists Acapulco receives increases, which corroborates that the city is back in the game, and ready to be, once again, one of Mexico’s premier destinations,” said Ernesto Rodriguez Escalona, Secretary of Tourism for the State of Guerrero. He adds: “We expect this improvement in tourism influx to continue in the coming years as Acapulco makes important updates to serve the visitor demand, such as the modernization of the infrastructure.”Over the last few years Acapulco has undergone extensive renovations of its tourism infrastructure. In May 2018 it inaugurated a new terminal of the international airport (ACA), increasing its arrival capacity to 1.3 million passengers. The new building was created with an eco-conscious concept that aims to reduce its environmental impact, and features the latest in airport technology, say officials. The city has also received a billion-dollar investment from Grupo Autofin, a private conglomerate that includes the launch of XTASEA, the world’s largest over-the-ocean zipline, the building of an eco-amusement park, a tennis stadium and a medical centre. Many of Acapulco’s best-known hotels have undergone renovations as well. Travelweek Group Posted by Acapulco sees double-digit jump in tourism numbers Tags: Acapulco, Mexico, Statistics Share Friday, August 31, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>
No related posts. SAN SALVADOR – A delegation of 11 Argentine businessmen and government officials met on Tuesday with Foreign Minister Hugo Martínez to explore investment opportunities in productive sectors of El Salvador.The group, led by vice secretary of investment and trade promotion in Argentina, Carlos Bianco, includes representatives from companies in the areas of naval, agricultural and refrigeration equipment, coffee processing, and natural gas industries.Minister Martínez said El Salvador investment opportunities are offered to Argentina in agricultural business, textiles, tourism, aviation, electronics and medical services, among others.Trade between El Salvador and Argentina reached $26 million in 2011, according to official sources. Facebook Comments
This is the Dec. 4 view from near the mass graves in La Barca where 64 bodies have been unearthed in the past month. The area is a site of violence between rival drug cartels. Washington Post photo by Joshua Partlow The official count is 64 bodies unearthed from 35 graves in and around a vine-entangled brick building along a dirt road toward the riverbend known as “The Great Corner.” The dead have not been identified.“It hits you in the chest,” Jiménez said.“It’s just our bad luck,” Reina Villanueva said, as people started to assemble outside her cellphone shop to watch the parade. “Guadalupe is the most important event of the year for us. We’re a small town but very linked to our traditions and our roots. And now people are afraid to come here.”The first 12 nights of December, residents of La Barca honor Mexico’s patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe, with theater and concerts and a procession down Calle Hidalgo from one Catholic church to the other. It is a time for immigrants to come home to their families; neighbors to visit their friends. To offer the virgin a token and ask her for a miracle.“The lights, the color, the happiness of the people, the music — it all combines to give ourselves and our visitors a demonstration of what is best in us,” the mayor, an art teacher by profession, wrote in the program for this year’s festivities.And so one sundown in this difficult time, the people of La Barca lined up for their parade. It was a thin, rather grim-faced crowd. But the night was warm, and there were balloons and cotton candy. Mothers blew bubbles for their children, who waved their arms and spun trying to catch them before they fell.Then from behind the police truck, a bugler and his marching drummers led acolytes and their virgin statue through the town. Once the residents fell in behind them, the street was full. It was dark by they time they passed the priest flicking holy water and entered the chandeliered brilliance of the cathedral, Santa Monica de La Barca, where the drumming echoed against the stone walls with martial thunder.The townspeople walked toward the altar to pay their respects and offer their secret wishes.Villanueva, from the cellphone shop, didn’t mind sharing hers.“I asked for the people to come back,” she said.© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments LA BARCA, Mexico — The town motto, “a city alive,” feels like a stretch for this corn-farming crossroads, with its flaking paint and rutted roads and long afternoon shadows.But now the old men are wheeling out their churro carts and little girls are prancing in sequined Virgin Mary capes. The priest has swept his hair back for the occasion, his vestments white as teeth. Nissan pickups are decked out with plastic flowers. Shiny-suit musicians are testing their clarinets.Mass grave or no, this little town will be having its annual parade.“Not many people this year,” Rogelio Gómez said, as he sold slushies and surveyed the crowd. “People don’t know if they should go outside.”Last month, when police found the first bodies among the broken cornstalks along a bend in the Río Lerma, it was a few more scratches in the sad tally of Mexico’s drug war. “Another day, another mass grave” read one headline. The investigation netted 22 policemen accused of participating in the killings. They came from across the river, marking the Jalisco-Michoacán state line, where cartels have been fighting.Then the numbers kept rising — 18, 31, 42, 60 — and the newspaper vendors outside Claudia Ponce’s hair salon began shouting, “They found women and children in the graves!” Her father asked her to stay home after dark.The lawyers who used to drop in for cappuccinos at Monique Jiménez’s cafe stopped coming around, leaving her to sit alone at a back table reading her gold-leaf Bible.“And you know what I learned?” she asked. “They were at war back then, too. They needed someone to bring rules and order and God gave that to them.”Jiménez found order in her life by opening Cafe D’Monique after her divorce, and she loves La Barca for the life it afforded: “I can work, exercise, study and be independent, which is the most beautiful thing for a woman.” She volunteers at a Catholic church, where the mayor’s father plays piano Sundays and where she started to see little notes a few years ago about parishioners who went missing.That’s how the violence arrived. Out of the air like bad weather or low corn prices. As easy to stop as relatives leaving for the states. Someone else’s problem, becoming yours. Restaurants emptied out. Shops closed early. Worry blew into town.“We’ve never seen anything like this type of crime before in our town,” Mayor Eduardo Espinoza Salazar said. No related posts.
Facebook Comments Two weeks ago, before a trip to the distant Costa Rican territory of Isla del Coco, President Laura Chinchilla stood before the press at the Caldera Coast Guard base on the central Pacific and discussed her legacy in marine conservation.“We can definitively say that we finished what we started,” Chinchilla said during her speech. “Thanks to the work of many different people we have moved forward with the political situation of our oceans.”But though Chinchilla’s administration has pushed through a fair amount of environmental policies during her time as president, conflicting interpretations among the different branches of government threaten to undermine the changes made in the last four years.Environmental progressNot everyone believes that President Chinchilla’s environmental management was as good as it could have been.In 2012, Costa Rica’s most well-known environmental lawyer, Álvaro Sagot, critiqued the president for making environmental decisions politically rather than scientifically in Spanish-language newspaper El País. Others accused her of implementing changes too slowly.Still, a number of changes greatly anticipated by the conservation community were made.Since taking office, Chinchilla promised to complement Costa Rica’s world-renowned green agenda with a blue one for the nation’s seas. She created a Cabinet-level National Marine Commission and a Vice Ministry of Waters and Oceans, passed a blanket ban on shark finning and sent a bill to the legislature to reform the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute.Beyond marine conservation, during Chinchilla’s tenure her environmental administration also declared the closing of two state-run zoos, which have long been criticized for their inhumane conditions.These moves won her friends in the conservation community. Animal rights groups applauded the decision to close the public zoos. In 2011, she won the Peter Benchley Award for Excellence in Ocean Stewardship, followed by the Shark Guardian of the Year award in 2013 from the international shark conservation organization Sharkproject.“This administration has done a lot for marine conservation,” said Randall Arauz, president of ocean conservation group Pretoma, during his speech at the Shark Guardian of the Year award presentation. “We want to see it go out on a high note.”Judicial un-doingLast month, an administrative court ruled that the country’s public zoos would remain open for another 10 years due to the Environment Ministry’s (MINAE) failure to notify zoo administration by the contractual deadline. Although MINAE has appealed the decision, for the incoming administration of President-elect Luis Guillermo Solís – who takes office May 8 – it seems all but certain the zoos will remain open.“We supported that decision,” Patricia Madrigal, environmental spokeswoman for Solís’ party, the Citizen Action Party, told The Tico Times when asked about the zoo closures. “It’s unfortunate, but now it is in the hands of the courts.”Then, just days before Chinchilla’s press conference in Caldera, a court in the Pacific fishing hub of Puntarenas acquitted a businesswoman for her boat’s haul of 652 shark fins. The judge’s verdict opens the door for legalized finning in Costa Rican waters.In her speech, Chinchilla listed controlling shark finning among her legacies as president. She did not mention the court’s verdict. As the president headed out the door to catch her boat to Isla del Coco, The Tico Times asked her what she thought of the court’s decision.“It bothers me a great deal,” she said. “We have advanced significantly in the measures we have passed through legislation. I believe we have advanced a great deal in policing these types of activities, but what we haven’t done is translate our efforts into the consciousness of our judicial system.” Related posts:Judge’s ruling opens the door to legalized shark finning in Costa Rica, conservation groups say President Chinchilla pushes for elimination of Incopesca’s board of directors Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson turns to human rights commission to block Costa Rica’s legal chase Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson files human rights lawsuit against Costa Rica
KATHMANDU — Rescuers on Mount Everest found the body of a 13th Nepalese guide on Saturday as authorities ruled out hope of finding any more survivors from the deadliest accident ever on the world’s highest peak.Three sherpas remained missing from Friday’s avalanche that struck after a large party of guides left Everest base camp carrying tents, food and ropes to prepare for international clients ahead of the main climbing season.Towards the evening, rescuers suspended the search until Sunday.“We have suspended the rescue operation for today. It is risky to continue searching the mountain as evening sets in,” Tourism Ministry official Madhusudan Burlakoti told AFP.The avalanche smashed into the sherpas early Friday at an altitude of about 5,800 meters (19,000 feet) in an area nicknamed the “popcorn field” due to ice boulders on the route leading into the treacherous Khumbu Icefall.Dozens of guides were on the move when a huge block of ice broke off from a hanging glacier, before splitting into smaller chunks and barrelling down into the icefall, one of the most dangerous areas on the route to ascend Everest.The ice “tumbled for several thousand feet, resulting in debris that came further out into the icefall”, according to an account by the International Mountain Guides climbing company, which has a team stationed on the peak.Veteran climber Alan Arnette, who reached the summit of Everest in 2011, said mountaineers usually tried to go through the icefall “as quickly as possible.”The hanging glaciers “are by definition unstable, sooner or later they are going to break and fall, making the icefall very dangerous,” Arnette told AFP from his home in Colorado.“You first hear the sharp crack of ice and then you can try to shield behind another block of ice, but in this case, they really had nowhere to hide.”‘Everyone is heartbroken’More than 300 people, most of them local guides, have died on Everest since the first summit by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.The death toll underscores the huge risks taken on by local guides who ascend the icy slopes, often in pitch-dark and usually weighed down by tenting equipment, ropes and food supplies for their clients.The nature of their work means that sherpas will usually make many more trips up the mountain and expose themselves to far greater risk than foreign climbers who pay tens of thousands of dollars to scale the 8,848-meter peak.While helicopters buzzed overhead, plucking snow-blanketed bodies out of the mountain using cables suspended from the aircraft, climbers said they would pause all expeditions until rescue operations conclude, according to police official Kumar Timilsina.“People have lost friends they’ve worked hand in hand with. Everyone is heartbroken,” Timilsina told AFP from Everest base camp.As news of the accident sent shockwaves among mountaineers, most of the sherpas on the mountain gathered their belongings and left, with some saying they would not return at all this season.“My sherpa said he won’t be returning — he has a wife and a two-year-old son and the love of his family outweighed any financial reward,” Australian climber Gavin Turner told AFP.The 38-year-old, who had set out for his first Everest summit just days ago, said the accident had left “many climbers asking themselves if they should go ahead.”Pray for me’In Kathmandu, anxious families waited for the bodies of their loved ones to arrive ahead of funeral rites at the city’s Buddhist monasteries.Teenager Phinjum Sherpa said her 36-year-old father, Ang Kaji Sherpa, had been on five Everest expeditions.“He used to say that…after the 10th expedition, he will stop,” she told AFP, while waiting for his body to arrive at a monastery in the capital.“I spoke to him on Thursday evening. He said he was going up the next morning, but the weather was not very good…He said, ‘pray for me.’”“We are six siblings and our grandparents are old. I am worried about how we will take care of each other,” said the teenager.Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, a national body representing tourism promoters, said guides’ families would receive life insurance payments amounting to $10,000.“It’s very difficult for families when the main breadwinner dies, but the association will look after their children’s education,” he said.The previous worst accident on Everest occurred in 1996 when eight people were killed during a storm while attempting to summit the mountain.In the past, some accidents have been blamed on overcrowding or on ill-prepared foreign climbers taking unnecessary risks to reach the summit before returning home.Every summer, hundreds of climbers from around the world attempt to scale peaks in the Himalayas when weather conditions are ideal.The government has issued permits to 734 people, including 400 guides, to climb Everest this summer.The impoverished Himalayan country, home to eight of the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 meters, counts tourism as a key revenue-earner. 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Facebook Comments Tico Times reader Margaret Burton wrote to us from the United States to share this photo taken by her brother-in-law Michael Giampetroni in Monteverde in the days following the passage of Tropical Storm Nate through the area. The photo depicts La Trocha a San Luis.“I was very grateful for the coverage you provided, especially the article by Marshall Cobb,” Burton wrote. “My brother-in-law sent this picture to show how the locals had cleared a path for walking and quads.”Thank you, Margaret and Michael, for sharing this image.Read more from Tico Times columnist Marshall Cobb about the impact of the storm in Monteverde and how the community has recovered. And for more information about how to help the victims of Tropical Storm Nate, read our story here.Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series – the view from your home or favorite Costa Rican spot, or any other image you care to share? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to see the sights with you. Related posts:Espressivo brings ‘Battlefield’ to National Theater for iconic building’s anniversary A helping hand in La Cruz, Guanacaste U.S.-bound – and delighted Ocean-gazing under the dome
President Nicolas Maduro hit out at the United States on Friday for “stealing” billions of dollars and offering “crumbs” in return as humanitarian aid, as Washington sanctioned five officials close to the Venezuelan leader.Tons of US aid is piling up in Colombia close to the border with Venezuela as opposition leader Juan Guaido has vowed to defy Maduro’s efforts to block the supplies from entering the country.“It’s a booby trap, they’re putting on a show with rotten and contaminated food,” said Maduro, speaking at an event in the southeastern town of Ciudad Bolivar.“They’ve stolen $30 billion and are offering four crumbs of rotten food,” added the beleaguered socialist leader, referring to the United States.Later Friday, Maduro asked the military to prepare for a “special deployment” to reinforce the border with Colombia — and make it “impregnable.”“I am not exaggerating. In the White House, Donald Trump and Ivan Duque announced plans for war against Venezuela,” he said, referring to a meeting on Wednesday in which President Donald Trump reiterated that “all options” were on the table with regard to Venezuela.The country is in the midst of an economic crisis that has left millions in poverty and facing shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine.Guaido, who is recognized by 50 countries as the interim president, accuses Maduro of causing economic hardship through mismanagement.Among those countries is Costa Rica, whose foreign affairs ministry on Friday gave three Maduro-appointed diplomats “60 calendar days” to leave the country.Maduro meanwhile blames Venezuela’s woes on US sanctions.The 56-year-old, the hand-picked successor to socialist firebrand Hugo Chavez, branded it the “war of the oligarchy.”US sanctions mostly target regime individuals and state oil company PDVSA, the government’s main source of income, but the US Treasury announced Friday that it was imposing sanctions on five intelligence and security officials close to Maduro.– Struggle over aid –Those targeted are “aligned with illegitimate former President Nicolas Maduro, who (continues) to repress democracy and democratic actors in Venezuela,” a Treasury Department statement said.Among the five men is Manuel Quevedo, described by the Treasury as the “illegitimate” president of PDVSA.Humanitarian aid has become a key issue in the power struggle between Maduro and Guaido.The opposition leader, who last month declared himself acting president, has promised to bring in the aid on February 23.Maduro refuses to let it in. And his loyal military has barricaded a border bridge between Venezuela and Colombia.The socialist leader insists the aid is just a cover for a planned US military invasion, while Guaido says 300,000 people could die without the desperately-needed aid.Speaking on Friday, Maduro said six million families had benefitted from subsidized food boxes and claimed to have bought 933 tons of medicines and medical supplies from China, Cuba and Russia, his main international allies.“We paid for it with our own money because we’re beggars to no one,” he said.Guaido accuses Maduro of being a “usurper” over his controversial reelection last year in polls widely branded as fraudulent.Maduro says the 35-year-old National Assembly speaker is a puppet to the US, which is trying to secure access to Venezuela’s gold and vast oil reserves — the largest in the world.He said Guaido’s challenge to his authority is “treason.”“The worst thing is stimulating the imperial madness of an extremist Ku Klux Klan government in the White House,” said Maduro.US national security advisor John Bolton announced on Thursday that 25 countries had “pledged $100 million in humanitarian assistance.”A US defense official said Friday that the United States military will transport some 200 tons of humanitarian aid for Venezuela to Colombia in the coming days. Facebook Comments Related posts:Venezuela accuses Costa Rica of ‘subordination’ to U.S. Costa Rica will not recognize Venezuelan government under Maduro Costa Rica, EU and Latam contact group on Venezuela will meet Thursday Guaidó-appointed ambassador takes possession of Venezuelan embassy in Costa Rica
The Tico Times is proud to highlight individuals and organizations that are creating change in Costa Rica. Send us your stories: email@example.com.Today, we are featuring a reader story from Grace Bachmann, a campaign coordinator for Fondo Comunitario de Monteverde.* * * *Community alongside economy.Costa Rican gems like Santa Elena and Monteverde must create spaces for the people in their communities, not just attractions for their tourists.When I make my daily commute to Santa Elena’s center, wind gusts from tour buses and shuttles greet me as I stroll by the innumerable hotels, restaurants, and tour offices lining the roads toward the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Tourism, owing to the area’s world-class nature reserves, fuels the town’s growth. And we celebrate the opportunities that a tourism economy offers this community.But as people who make this special place our home, we have an obligation to foster the advancement of our most precious assets—Santa Elena’s youth and the future generations who will safeguard the special character of this place. For them, we must leverage the opportunities that come with a prospering industry. Investing in them will help ensure Santa Elena retains its unique small-community nature.Young people need places to grow their creativity, to enhance their social development, and sometimes just to bask in the joy of youthfulness. If you are a young person in Santa Elena your options for recreation are limited: there are two playgrounds nestled around town, and bus stop benches sprinkled throughout town offer places where some youth congregate. Of course, nature trails and strangler fig trees provide recreation and fun for many. But centrally located, public places dedicated to fostering educational resources and hosting youth gatherings and activities? They don’t exist. There is no public park or recreation center.Fortunately, this can change.The Monteverde Community Fund is one of our community’s vehicles for effecting change. So, when urban planning and well-meaning local governments fall short, locally-led initiatives like the Monteverde Community Fund hustle to fill the gaps. Ample organized groups with big ideas in Santa Elena and Monteverde have solutions but lack seed funding. The Monteverde Community Fund exists to help drive their ideas forward with funding, legal support, and capacity building.One such local group is the Santa Elena Pro-Library Commission. They opened the area’s first public library in 2015. The Monteverde Community Fund works closely with them to make their vision a reality.By appealing to tourists, private donors, local and global businesses, and international foundations for donations, the Monteverde Community Fund and the Pro-Library Commission have raised more than $170,000 since 2018. Those funds will secure a permanent space for the public library and for the Monteverde Community Fund. Together, they will help steward activities that Santa Elena youth are sorely missing. More is needed.Creating opportunities for youth and purchasing a home for itself and the Public Library are just two current priorities of the Monteverde Community Fund. It is also supporting a women’s artisanal soap enterprise, an integrated and eco-friendly waste management system, bike transportation, and soil quality improvement, to name a few.Not every Costa Rican town has a community foundation to lead the creation of civic spaces. But Santa Elena and Monteverde show what happens when neighbors take their town’s development into their own hands. One step at a time.To share editorial ideas, comments or news tips, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook Comments No related posts.
0 Comments Share More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) – Authorities say a 6-year-old boy died when he triggered a landmine while collecting wood with his father in the forests of central Bosnia. The father was wounded in the blast.Aldina Ahmic, spokeswoman for the police in central Bosnia, says the area the two were exploring Friday is a marked minefield some 50 kilometers north of Sarajevo.Ahmic says the boy died instantly. His father, 37, is being treated at a Sarajevo hospital for serious shrapnel wounds. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war turned it into one of the world’s most mine-infested countries. Clearing the explosive devices is costly and complicated.According to Bosnia’s Mine Action Center, 1,674 people have been killed or injured by mines since the war ended.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Sponsored Stories Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up
Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – South African President Jacob Zuma, the chief regional mediator on Zimbabwe, has arrived in Harare for talks with the leaders of the nation’s troubled coalition government.South African officials said Wednesday that Zuma immediately began talks with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in a suite at a downtown hotel.Zanele Mugadi, an official in Zuma’s office, said the South African leader will wind up discussions overnight with Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and a smaller party in the coalition. Sponsored Stories 0 Comments Share Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Mugadi said Zuma will travel to neighboring Mozambique on Thursday for a summit of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, the region’s political and economic bloc.The Harare talks are expected to focus on internal disagreements on a new Zimbabwe constitution and a timetable toward new elections.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Check your body, save your life 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center
Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) – NATO’s supreme commander says France is pulling out of the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo because of commitments in Mali and Central African Republic.U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove says the decision to remove most of the 320 peacekeepers was a national decision taken by Paris and the withdrawal won’t impact the mission. Breedlove said Thursday that some French military staff will remain in Kosovo. No timing for the withdrawal was given. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home French peacekeepers, which serve as part of the 5,000-strong NATO-led mission, were often caught in violent clashes between minority Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo’s volatile north.NATO sent 50,000 soldiers into Kosovo in 1999 after a 78-day air war forced Serb troops to withdraw and end a brutal crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians.(Copyright 2013 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 Sponsored Stories Comments Share Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies They were named Wednesday in a U.S. indictment alleging they bribed soccer officials for rights to international tournaments. Argentine prosecutors later charged the three men with tax fraud, racketeering and money laundering.The United States has requested their extradition.A lawyer for the Jinkis, Jorge Anzorreguy, says both men are still in Argentina. Burzaco’s whereabouts are unknown.___11:42 p.m. (2142 GMT; 5:42 p.m. EDT)Former FIFA presidential candidate Luis Figo slammed Sepp Blatter’s leadership again after his re-election on Friday and said the Swiss official “can’t remain in charge of world football.”Figo dropped out of the race this month, denouncing FIFA as a dictatorship. After this week’s arrests of senior FIFA officials, Figo said “football is not guilty but is the governing body’s leaders, who should regulate it, that have no integrity or honesty.”The former Portugal great says “Mr. Blatter knew and was aware of the acts of corruption, influence and racketeering or, if he did not know – as he says – it’s because he has no skills to lead FIFA. There is no other way to analyze the problem.” Figo says “today was another dark day in Zurich. FIFA has lost, but above everything, football has lost and everyone who truly cares about it has lost too.”___9:58 p.m. (1958 GMT; 3:58 EDT)A sports marketing executive from Florida has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and other charges stemming from the FIFA corruption scandal.Aaron Davidson entered the plea through his lawyer on Friday in federal court in Brooklyn. He’s the first defendant to be arraigned in a U.S. court since the case was announced earlier this week.Davidson was among 14 people named in racketeering indictment accusing soccer officials of accepting more than $150 million in bribes. Prosecutors say they took the cash in exchange for rigging marketing contracts and the selection of the host country for the 2010 World Cup.Davidson is president of a Miami-based Traffic Sports USA Inc.___8:49 p.m. (1849 GMT; 2:49 p.m. EDT)Several South American nations joined European countries in voting for Jordan’s Prince Ali in the FIFA election against Sepp Blatter.Rodolfo D’Onofrio, vice president of the Argentine Football Association, told Argentine media that CONMEBOL members met Friday morning and decided to vote for Prince Ali. He said he doesn’t know if all members went through with it, but that Argentina voted for the challenger. Blatter won a fifth term after Prince Ali conceded before a second round of voting.“In Argentina we clearly thought that we needed a change and we voted for a change. I think CONMEBOL too, that was the previous agreements. I don’t know what happened in the booth.”___8:20 p.m. (1820 GMT; 2:20 p.m. EDT)Michel Platini, the president of the European soccer body UEFA, has issued a defiant statement after Sepp Blatter beat Europe’s preferred candidate to capture a fifth term at the helm of FIFA.Platini says “I am proud that UEFA has defended and supported a movement for change at FIFA. Change which in my opinion is crucial if this organization is to regain its credibility.”Most European delegates had backed Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan to be FIFA’s next president. Prince Ali withdrew from the race Friday after forcing the balloting in Zurich to go to a second round. Blatter became the winner after capturing 133 of the 206 valid votes cast.Platini said “I congratulate my friend Prince Ali for his admirable campaign” and thanked all the national soccer associations who supported the 39-year-old challenger. Blatter admitted “I am not perfect, no one is perfect” but promised to hand over FIFA in better shape to a successor four years from now.“Together we go! Let’s go FIFA!” he exhorted.___7:15 p.m. (1715 GMT; 1:15 p.m. EDT)Prince Ali bin al-Hussein has withdrawn from FIFA’s presidential race, leaving incumbent Sepp Blatter to capture a fifth term in office.The prince from Jordan pulled out only minutes after Blatter captured 133 of the 206 valid votes cast in a secret paper ballot in the first round of voting. Ali had won 73.Since neither man had won 140 votes, the voting had been primed to go into a second round.___6:57 p.m. (1657 GMT; 12:57 p.m. EDT)There will be a second round of voting in FIFA’s presidential race.At the FIFA congress in Zurich on Friday, President Sepp Blatter captured 133 of the 206 valid votes cast in a secret paper ballot. His lone challenger, 39-year-old Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, won 73 votes.Since neither captured two-thirds of the vote, there will be a second round of voting Friday in which the winning candidate must get a simple majority of the votes.The voting result is considered a rebuke to Blatter, who has led FIFA for 17 years. The world soccer body has faced a storm of criticism this week after U.S. officials charged 14 people linked to FIFA with corruption. “Prince Ali ran a strong campaign and the manner in which it was conducted has done Jordan proud,” said HRH Prince Feisal al-Hussein, his older brother.Prince Ali won 73 votes to incumbent Sepp Blatter’s 133 votes, but neither won the 140 needed Friday to capture the first round of voting in Zurich. The prince then withdrew before the second round, handing the victory to Blatter and allowing weary FIFA delegates to get to dinner.The prince gave a stirring speech before the voting began, saying FIFA in the future must create “a culture that empowers transparency, inclusivity and accountability.”“I give you my word I will honor the game,” he declared.___7:30 p.m. (1730 GMT; 1:30 p.m. EDT)Sepp Blatter has won a 5th term as FIFA president after his lone challenger forced the balloting to go a second round and then graciously pulled out.Speaking to FIFA delegates in Zurich on Friday, the 79-year-old Blatter promised “we will bring back FIFA. We will do it!”There were weak claps and even some boos in Zurich’s Hallenstadion when Blatter was announced as winner. FIFA has been rocked by serious corruption allegations this week by U.S. and Swiss judicial officials, which they said go back decades. Blatter has led FIFA for 17 years. Blatter on Friday acknowledged a tumultuous week — one in which 14 FIFA officials were indicted for corruption by U.S. authorities and seven of them arrested in Zurich. In addition, Swiss authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.Blatter says these events “have unleashed a true storm.” Still he says “I am appealing for team spirit and unity so we can move forward together.”___11:50 a.m. (0950 GMT; 5:50 a.m. EDT)A small group of protesters are demonstrating in Zurich outside the FIFA Congress hall, chastising FIFA for not doing more to prevent the abuse of migrant workers as Qatar builds infrastructure to host the 2022 World Cup.Signs reading “fans against apartheid” were put up by fans of Premier League champion Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham, among others.Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, says FIFA President Sepp Blatter should resign amid all the corruption charges and Swiss authorities should place FIFA under judicial supervision.But she also said in a statement this week that despite the FIFA corruption charges “the world also mustn’t forget that migrant workers in Qatar are still being worked to death … FIFA has failed to make labor rights a condition of Qatar hosting the World Cup and impoverished workers there are paying the price.” Sponsored Stories The election comes only two days after U.S. officials charged 14 people — including nine senior FIFA officials — with corrupting world soccer for decades in a $150 million scheme to line their pockets. Blatter was not among those charged but has promised to clean up “the storm.”He is strongly favored to win. In 2011, when Blatter was the only candidate, he got 186 of the 203 valid votes cast.___5:05 p.m. (1505 GMT; 11:05 a.m. EDT)Voting has begun to choose FIFA’s next president.Delegates from the world soccer body’s 209 members were handing over secret paper ballots in alphabetical order at the FIFA congress Friday in Zurich. Afghanistan kicked off the voting.They can give the incumbent, 79-year-old Sepp Blatter, a fifth, four-year term in office or pick his 39-year-old challenger, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.A second round of voting will take place immediately if neither gets two-thirds of the votes cast.___5:00 p.m. (1500 GMT; 11 a.m. EDT)Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan has told FIFA delegates in Zurich that “it will take a committed leader to fix this mess we are in.”He spoke Friday to the congress before voting began to choose FIFA’s next president. The Palestinian soccer federation has withdrawn its motion asking FIFA’s congress to suspend the Israeli soccer association from FIFA and world soccer.Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian soccer body, said he decided upon that after many of FIFA’s 209 members urged unity over discord.The Palestinians say Israel restricts the movement of players in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel has cited security concerns, especially regarding movement in and out of Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas.Israel said it was delighted at the move and would work together with the Palestinians in the best interests of world soccer.__2:55 p.m. (1255 GMT; 8:55 a.m. EDT)Ahead of a FIFA debate, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly defended his nation.On FIFA’s agenda Friday in Zurich is a proposal by the Palestinian soccer federation to suspend the Israeli soccer federation from FIFA and world soccer. FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said he does not support the request.Netanyahu says on his Facebook page that the dispute “stems from their very objection to our existence.”The Israeli leader says “if FIFA harms Israel, it will be harming itself. Other countries, too, will use FIFA to settle scores with their adversaries, and instead of the spirit of international sport that is supposed to transcend politics, we will get the destruction of soccer.” Top Stories ___2:30 p.m. (1230 GMT; 8:30 a.m. EDT)British Prime Minister David Cameron says FIFA president Sepp Blatter must resign and “the sooner that happens the better.”Asked about the FIFA scandals at a joint press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Cameron said it was “unthinkable” that Blatter was the right person to take the world soccer body forward after this week’s corruption accusations.Cameron added: “Frankly, what we have seen is the ugly side of the beautiful game.”Merkel called for FIFA to make a clean break with corruption but stopped short of saying that Blatter should resign.___2:10 p.m. (1210 GMT; 8:10 a.m. EDT)Qatar is defending its integrity in its first statement since Swiss police on Wednesday opened a criminal investigation into FIFA’s awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar.Qatar’s World Cup committee says “our aim through hosting the FIFA World Cup is to utilize the positive power of sport to unify people” and to show the region’s passion for soccer.The statement said Qatar has “fully complied with every investigation that has been initiated concerning the 2018/2022 bidding process and will continue to do so.” It added “we conducted our bid with integrity.” Qatar, which is building a huge amount of infrastructure to host the World Cup, has been strongly criticized by worker’s groups for its poor treatment of foreign workers.___1:45 p.m. (1145 GMT; 7:45 a.m. EDT)Swiss police say a bomb threat has been made against the venue where the FIFA congress is being held.An AP reporter at the scene says the Hallenstadion’s concert hall auditorium was cleared but the building itself was not evacuated.The meeting then resumed after lunch.___1:25 p.m. (1125GMT; 7:25 a.m. EDT)Britain’s Serious Fraud Office says it is assessing “material in its possession” relating to allegations of FIFA corruption.It said Friday it stands ready to “assist ongoing international criminal investigations” related to FIFA corruption. On Wednesday, U.S. officials indicted 14 people in a FIFA corruption probe that arrested seven FIFA officials in Zurich.The Serious Fraud Office would not comment on the material it is holding. Several British-based international banks, however, are mentioned in the U.S. indictment of FIFA officials.___12:30 p.m. (1030 GMT; 6:30 a.m. EDT)FIFA President Sepp Blatter is calling for unity among FIFA’s 209 members as the world soccer body holds its annual Congress in Zurich and prepares to elect a leader for the next four years. ___09:10 a.m. (0710 GMT; 3.10 a.m. EDT)FIFA President Sepp Blatter seemed to be ahead in a small straw poll of soccer officials arriving for the FIFA congress.Most delegates seemed to be loyal to Blatter, the FIFA president of 17 years, despite the latest slew of corruption allegations rocking the sport. Delegates from Curacao, Belize and Malawi said they were supporting Blatter.Blatter’s opponent, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, has promised a fresh start for FIFA and can expect strong support from Europe. Still, he must pick up votes from the Caribbean and Africa to post a serious challenge.Prince Ali’s supporters hoped to gain momentum in the fallout from the U.S. and Swiss federal probes of soccer corruption which were unleashed in Zurich on Wednesday.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day The 39-year-old prince is running against incumbent Sepp Blatter, who is seeking a fifth, four-year term at the helm of the world’s soccer body, which has been hit by U.S. corruption allegations this week.Prince Ali said “I know FIFA is not just about one man.” He promised to “fight racism and discrimination in all their forms and uphold human rights” as he turned FIFA into a more democratic, transparent and open organization.He says FIFA “is hungering for the world’s respect.”___4:10 p.m. (1410 GMT; 10:10 a.m. EDT)It took several awkward minutes, but finally there was a handshake between the Israeli and Palestinian soccer chiefs at FIFA’s congress in Zurich.Applause broke out after the handshake Friday between Jibril Rajoub and Ofer Eini, the respective soccer association presidents of the Palestinians and Israel.Eini made the offer after Rajoub withdrew a motion to ask FIFA to suspend Israel from world soccer and both sides pledged to work together. But Eini had to wait for several minutes while FIFA debated voting procedure, before walking over to Rajoub’s seat to get the handshake done.___3:45 p.m. (1345 GMT; 9:45 a.m. EDT) ZURICH (AP) — The latest on FIFA developments:12:04 a.m. (2204 GMT; 6:04 p.m. EDT)Argentine federal police and Interpol agents have raided the businesses run by three Argentines who are fugitives after being charged in the FIFA scandal.Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio ordered the raids on the sports marketing firm Tournaments and Competitions SA and on the sports media business Full Play Group SA.Authorities are seeking Alejandro Burzaco, president of Tournaments and Competitions, and Mariano and Hugo Jinkis, owners of Full Play. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober ___10:30 a.m. (0830 GMT; 4:30 a.m. EDT)Germany’s Justice Minister has been quoted as saying that FIFA’s decision to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar can’t stand if it turns out that votes were bought.Swiss authorities announced this week that they have opened a criminal probe into alleged wrongdoing by soccer officials during the 2010 vote on who should host those two World Cups.Justice Minister Heiko Maas told the German daily Bild “the awarding of a World Cup shouldn’t depend on who pays the highest bribes.”Maas also said FIFA President Sepp Blatter is the wrong man to investigate alleged graft inside his own organization, saying that FIFA needs “a fresh start.”___09:56 a.m. (0756 GMT; 3:56 a.m. EDT)A pro-Palestinian activist briefly disrupted the FIFA congress after President Sepp Blatter’s opening address.An activist held up a red card and shouted “Red card to racism!” to draw attention to a campaign that aims to stop Palestinian players from being detained by Israeli security forces. Blatter called for security to remove the demonstrator.Item 15 on the FIFA agenda is a proposal by the Palestinian soccer federation to suspend the Israeli soccer federation from FIFA and world soccer. Blatter has said he does not support the request. Israel says the Palestinians are trying to politicize soccer. Platini on Thursday had urged Blatter, 79, to resign because of the wide corruption allegations hitting the world soccer body this week.___8 p.m. (1800 GMT; 2 p.m. EDT)Victorious FIFA President Sepp Blatter has warned European soccer that it faces losing influence on his executive committee.After defeating challenger Prince Al bin al-Hussein on Friday, Blatter said FIFA “must have a better representation of the confederations and the number of members” on its executive panel. The prince had been backed by most members of UEFA, the European soccer body.UEFA has eight of the 25 voting seats on FIFA’s executive committee, a legacy of its position as the most influential region in world soccer. It has also three of FIFA’s eight vice presidencies.UEFA President Michel Platini sat still and did not applaud after Blatter’s acceptance speech on Friday. Blatter had rejected Platini’s demand to resign when the former allies had a private meeting on Thursday.___7:50 p.m. (1750 GMT; 1:50 p.m. EDT)Jordan is praising the performance of its soccer chief, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who forced voting in FIFA’s presidential election to go to a second round before withdrawing. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility ___6:30 p.m. (1630 GMT; 12:30 p.m. EDT)Voting has finished in the first round of balloting to choose FIFA’s next president.Delegates from the world soccer body’s 209 members can give President Sepp Blatter a fifth, four-year term in office or pick his 39-year-old challenger, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.A second round of voting will take place if neither gets two-thirds of the votes cast Friday.The voting comes two days after U.S. officials charged 14 people, including nine FIFA officials, with participating in a vast, decades-long bribery scheme tied to the awarding of soccer tournaments. Swiss officials have also announced a criminal investigation into how FIFA gave the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.___6 p.m. (1600 GMT; 12 noon EDT)Sepp Blatter has told FIFA delegates “I don’t need to introduce myself to you” just minutes before they began to vote in Zurich to pick the next FIFA president.He’s right about that. The 79-year-old Swiss has led the world soccer body for 17 years and is seeking another four years in office. His challenger Friday is 39-year-old Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, Jordan’s soccer chief. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona
Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology “I know that’s a very touchy word to use,” said Dillon. “But there’s a very ominous feeling here.”“I’ve been to some places where the threats of violence seemed more imminent,” said Dillon, who has also visited refugee camps in Sudan, the Congo and elsewhere. “Here it’s something else. It feels more like people are going to be left to wither away and die.”Dillon said he decided to come to Myanmar following a desperate, urgent appeal by Rohingya activist Thun Khin at a Refugees International fundraiser in Washington, just over a month ago. In Japan to promote his new television series, “Wayward Pines,” he decided it was a good time to make the trip.“There are people working here, people who know a hell of a lot more about it than I do,” Dillon said after hearing grumbling from some aid workers about what he hoped to achieve. “But listen, if I can use my voice to draw attention to something, where I see people suffering, I’ll do that any day of the week. I’m happy to do that.”He spoke to two teenage boys who tried to flee by boat, only to find themselves in the hands of human traffickers, and was chased away by armed security guards when trying to snap pictures of the last standing Rohingya neighborhood in the state capital – a ghetto surrounded by tall walls topped by rolls of heavy barbed wire. Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up But what really choked him up were the camps: “It affected me more than I thought it would.”While there were clear signs humanitarian agencies are active – new latrines, well-placed hand pumps, concrete open sewers – he noted in contrast to camps he’s visited in Sudan and the Congo, he didn’t run into a single Western aid worker during his two-day visit.Nor were NGO trucks rumbling through with medical equipment, food or other supplies – due primarily to severe restrictions placed on aid agencies by the government following pressure from Buddhist extremists.“A lot of people are suffering,” he said. “I’m really glad I had a chance to come, to see for myself what’s happening here.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies SITTWE, Myanmar (AP) — American actor Matt Dillon put a rare star-powered spotlight on Myanmar’s long-persecuted Rohingya Muslims, visiting a hot, squalid camp for tens of thousands displaced by violence and a port that has been one of the main launching pads for their exodus by sea.It was “heartbreaking,” he said after meeting a young man with a raw, open leg wound from a road accident and no means to treat it. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mothers carrying babies with clear signs of malnutrition stood listlessly outside row after row of identical bamboo huts, toddlers playing nearby in the chalky white dust.“No one should have to live like this, people are really suffering,” said Dillon, one of the first celebrities to get a look at what life is like for Rohingya in the western state of Rakhine. “They are being strangled slowly, they have no hope for the future and nowhere to go.”Though Rohingya have been victims of state-sponsored discrimination for decades, conditions started deteriorating three years ago after the predominantly Buddhist country of 50 million began its bumpy transition from a half-century of dictatorship to democracy.Taking advantage of newfound freedoms of expression, radical monks started fanning deep-seated societal hatred for the religious minority. Hundreds have been killed by machete-wielding mobs and a quarter million others now live under apartheid-like conditions in camps or have fled by boat – hundreds of dehydrated, hungry Rohingya washing onto Southeast Asian shores in recent weeks.Denied citizenship, they are effectively stateless with almost no basic rights. As they become increasingly marginalized, several groups are warning that the building blocks of genocide are in place. Comments Share A Myanmar navy boat, with migrants-onboard, tows a boat with migrants off Myanmar’s Thameehla island, south of Irrawaddy division, Sunday, May 31, 2015. The wooden boat was one of more than half-dozen that have either washed to Southeast Asian shores or been rescued in the last month following a massive, regional crackdown on human trafficking networks. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe) Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center
As part of its vast plan to return to profitability, French carrier Air France has presented their strategic business project to the Central Works Council.Under the airlines new framework, the changes in staff numbers from December 2011 to December 2013 will result in a staff reduction of 5,122 jobs by 2014.However, the airline has said that all departures would be voluntary if the new framework agreement can be signed with unions.“Air France has chosen to work in complete transparency and to privilege social dialogue to find structural and sustainable solutions, included in corporate agreements,” An airline statement read.The airline stressed that the new framework agreement is “a major condition of the company’s recovery.”Air France said the Central Works Council would have draft agreements for signing by unions on 28 June 2012.If employees sign the new agreements, Air France has pledged not to make redundancies and to implement various measures to support the necessary reduction in employee numbers.By the end of 2014, the airline plans to increase economic efficiency by 20 percent by not replacing staff that leave, improving efficiency of time worked and by improving processes.Air France chairman and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac, said the airline is “facing a fundamental choice about its future”.“If we all make the necessary equitably distributed efforts, there will be no forced departures,” Mr De Juniac said.“The signature of the agreements in the next few days will involve all AirFrance staff and will illustrate everyone’s determination to put Air France back on the road to recovery. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P Air France finalises its strategic plan
Investigation launched into aircraft incident at Newark. An investigation has been launched into a runway incident involving two planes at Newark Liberty International Airport earlier this week.A Scandinavian Airlines aircraft’s wing clipped the tail of a United Airlines plane on Wednesday night as they were preparing for take-off at one of the nation’s busiest airports, Yahoo! News reported.Photos and video show a significant portion of the United aircraft’s left wing torn off.Following the incident, passengers from both planes were disembarked and given alternative flights.The Federal Aviation Administration said no one was injured during the accident.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T.
Depending on the type of accommodation, the fee will range from AUD $2.13 to AUD $6.10, per night and is due to come into effect 31st March 2014. Source = ETB News: L.B. It is estimated the intoruduction of the Tiourist Dirham could raise annual revenues of up to USD 90 million, an amount which could increase with the growing number of visitor arrivals expected to rise by 11 percent this year and double by 2020. The decision is based on global benchmarking and the funds raised will go towards promoting Dubai as a desirable tourist destination and global business hub, as well as fund projects for Dubai’s 2020 World Expo convention. Dubai is set to introduce the “Tourism Dirham” tax, a minimal charge that will apply to all guests staying at all types of holiday accommodation, including hotels, hotel apartments, guest houses and holiday homes.
American Express have released the annual Global Business Travel Forecast 2015 and the findings suggest Asia Pacific’s subdued economic growth is likely to impact the business travel market in 2015.Australia is expected to experience modest economic growth next year however decelerating growth in China and combined with a slowdown in the resources sector.Domestic airfare prices are predicted to be flat to slightly higher, and international fares are likely to experience small declines in 2015 in Australia and Asia Pacific.This is a different position from the 2014 Forecast, which saw Asia Pacific set to record the highest rate increases, compared with North America and Europe.Hotel rates across Asia Pacific are expected to be mixed throughout 2015, with capacity remaining a key driver of room rate prices across countries.Hotel occupancy in Australia is high, especially in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, which sees many of their hotels fully booked on weekdays.The report states that “savings across hotels in some parts of Asia can be challenging due to ongoing high occupancy rates, however businesses that broaden the range of hotel properties within their policy can reduce costs.”This, combined with few new properties coming on the market, could lead to room rate increases of up to 5 percent, leaving little negotiation space for travel managers.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman