Book cruises with ACV and earn 17 commission until Dec 31

first_img TORONTO — Selling cruises is more lucrative than ever with Air Canada Vacations’ bonus commission offer.The tour operator is offering travel agents the chance to earn 17% commission on cruise bookings. This offer applies to every Norwegian Cruise Line or MSC Cruises itinerary booked online until Dec. 31, 2016 (new bookings only).Offer is valid from Nov. 1-Dec. 31 for travel anytime, and is not applicable to groups. Book cruises with ACV and earn 17% commission until Dec. 31 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tweetcenter_img Tags: Air Canada Vacations, Commission, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line Travelweek Group Wednesday, November 2, 2016 last_img

Two guests contract Legionnaires disease at Rio Las Vegas

first_img LAS VEGAS — Two people who made separate trips to Rio Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in March and April contracted Legionnaires’ disease.Mark Bergtholdt, environmental health supervisor, says the hotel began using chlorine at high temperatures on Thursday to disinfect its rooms and water system.Health officials say environmental testing of the hotel’s water system was ordered after the first illness was reported. And according to the Southern Nevada Health District and Caesars Entertainment, the testing came back positive for traces of the bacteria.Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory disease that spreads when water droplets infected with Legionella bacteria are inhaled. Symptoms are similar to that of pneumonia, including coughing, shortness of breath, muscle aches and fever. Monday, June 12, 2017 Share Two guests contract Legionnaires’ disease at Rio Las Vegas << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by The Canadian Press last_img read more

TL Network conferences encourage agents to Stay in the Lead

first_img Share TORONTO — More than 450 agents and 175 supplier representatives attended the TL Network’s 19th annual Canadian Fall Regional Events, held recently in Markham, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.This year’s theme, ‘Stay in the Lead’, was part of a push to show TL Network agents how to leverage the tools and training available to help grow their business and stay in the lead. There were also networking opportunities, supplier partner roundtable discussions and a sold-out trade show. Events focused on the technology, marketing and selling tools available to members, frontline agency training, and TL Network program updates.TL Network’s Fall Regional event, Toronto“Our Canadian Fall Regional Conferences provided excellent opportunities for both our owner/managers and frontline agents to maximize each program and to learn how to tailor them to their own business needs,” said TL Network’s Vice President Christine James. “Each city’s events offered a memorable day of learning and networking that has proven both popular and successful, year after year, and will help agencies get the most out of their valuable TL Network membership.”More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsTravelPack CEO Lionel Rozario said the TL Network’s Eastern Conference “was valuable and stayed in true form to provide agencies with the tools needed to really ‘Stay in the Lead’.” Rozario added: “I found the training and trade show very important in terms of growing our business. I’m very excited to introduce my team to the new learnings from this conference so that we can continue to grow and keep one step ahead of the competition.”Led by the flagship Travel Leaders-branded Associates, the 6,800 travel agencies of TL Network combined generate more than $17 billion in annual sales volume, making it the travel industry’s largest travel agency organization. Tags: Travel Leaders Network << Previous PostNext Post >> TL Network conferences encourage agents to ‘Stay in the Lead’center_img Travelweek Group Wednesday, December 6, 2017 Posted bylast_img read more

Best of LA restaurants to kick off 10th annual dining program

first_img Wednesday, January 3, 2018 Posted by Best of L.A. restaurants to kick off 10th annual dining program LOS ANGELES — Eat up, Los Angeles! The City of Angels is gearing up for Winter dineL.A. 2018, taking place from Jan. 12-26.The 15-day dining event kicks off a celebratory year commemorating the program’s landmark 10th anniversary, which has been showcasing the city’s diverse culinary talent for the past decade.“The focus of Winter dineL.A. aims to reflect upon the remarkable growth and accomplishments of Los Angeles’s dining scene over the past 10 years,” said dineL.A. Director, Stacey Sun. “During our Summer 2017 program, we saw a record number of new restaurants participate and learned that three out of four diners tried a restaurant that was new to them. We’re seeing locals and visitors embrace the city’s geography, year-round seasonal ingredients, and multiculturalism—all of which contribute to L.A. becoming the country’s most exciting food city in 2018.”Winter dineL.A. 2018 will showcase 10 notable restaurants and chefs that have played a large role in the evolution of the city’s dining scene over the past 10 years. Among the list of more than 300 restaurants participating in the program are Border Grill, which has participated from the very first season, and Mélisse, which was among the first to join dineL.A.’s Exclusive Series.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthTo commemorate the anniversary year, American Airlines is introducing a dineL.A. Golden Dish Contest, awarding one winner 100,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. During the course of the event, one lucky diner will discover a special course served on a gold commemorative plate to signify that they’ve won. The more dineL.A. restaurants a diner visits, the more chances of winning. The contest is valid from Jan. 12-26.Visitors and locals can enjoy specially-priced lunch and dinner menus at more than 300 participating restaurants. Prices range from US$15-$25 for lunch, while dinner menus are priced at $29, $39 and $49. Exclusive Series, presented by American Express, start at $95 at L.A. most luxurious restaurants, including Providence, Spago Beverly Hills and The Royce.“The 2017 U.S. Tourism Quality Index reported that Los Angeles holds the second spot among the top 20 cities domestically valued for culinary experiences,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president and CEO of Discover Los Angeles. “We can’t help but feel a renewed sense of pride about the city’s food scene, thanks to authentic, inspired, and multicultural influences seen across the city’s kitchens with chef talent cooking up dishes from their heritage and heart.”More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalFor more information go to Travelweek Group center_img Share Tags: California, Culinary Tourism << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

MSC cuts first steel of MSC Seashore coming in 2021

first_img Monday, November 26, 2018 Tags: MSC Cruises, New Ship MSC cuts first steel of MSC Seashore, coming in 2021 GENEVA — MSC Cruises cut the first steel of its new MSC Seashore today, kicking off the countdown until its spring 2021 launch.The cruise line hosted an official ceremony at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, where MSC’s Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer Giuseppe Bono launched the cutting of the first steel.The MSC Seashore is the first of two MSC Cruises Seaside EVO ships currently on order at Fincantieri. It will be the first in its kind, as an evolution of MSC’s Seaside Class of ships.“With the Seaside Class, we introduced to the market one of the more innovative cruise ship prototypes all-around – our fifth out of six to date – thus setting a new industry standard for others to follow,” said Vago. “Today, only one year after MSC Seaside entered into service, we are taking this award-winning concept to the next level by starting the construction of a further evolved and even richer ship.”More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionNew features onboard include an additional lounge at the aft of the ship, an enhanced MSC Yacht Club covering three forward decks, specialty restaurants at the promenade level on deck 8 for dining al fresco, and more whirlpools across the ship. Plus, there are 200 additional staterooms as well as the latest in environmental technology, including a selective catalytic reduction system, state-of-the-art waste management and recycling systems, and an advanced energy and heat recovery system.The MSC Seashore is part of the cruise line’s 10-year development plan for 17 additional new mega ships, with four new ships currently under construction at the same time. MSC Seashore is the seventh ship to be built under this plan, and will become the 19th ship MSC Cruises has built since its inception in 2003.MSC Cruises’ Seaside EVO ships will feature greater dimensions, more generous public spaces, more staterooms, a larger MSC Yacht Club and will be able to accommodate up to 5,632 guests (approximately 4,540 double occupancy).More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoMSC Seashore will be joined by a second Seaside EVO ship in autumn 2022. << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Travelweek Group Share Posted bylast_img read more

Brand USAs Hear the Music Experience the USA plays on destinations strengths

first_imgTags: Brand USA << Previous PostNext Post >> Brand USA’s ‘Hear the Music, Experience the USA’ plays on destination’s strengths Friday, May 10, 2019 Posted bycenter_img TORONTO — The 37th edition of Canadian Music Week proved an appropriate platform for Brand USA’s ‘Hear the Music, Experience the USA’ campaign, showcased with a travel industry event yesterday hosted by Brand USA and several of its tourism board partners.‘Hear the Music, Experience the USA’ was launched earlier this year across digital and social platforms in Canada, to showcase music-themed journeys in 10 cities across the U.S.Taking inspiration from its second IMAX film, ‘America’s Musical Journey’, released in 2018, the new campaign highlights the incredible diversity, history and talent that has created American music. The U.S. is the largest music market worldwide, representing one third of recorded music revenue globally. It also offers a diverse range of world-class music themed events and attractions that bring visitors from around the globe. The focus on Canada is logical, as the leading source of international visitors to the U.S.Also at the event, which took place at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Brand USA highlighted the recent launch of GoUSATV, a streaming video app available on iOS and Android that delivers premium travel and music content to smartphone users globally.Brand USA, Air Canada, and U.S. exhibitors were on hand to showcase their destinations through musical performances and presentations.Jackie Ennis, Senior Director of Global Development at Brand USA, introduced Colin Skerritt, the newly appointed Regional Director, Canada. He is the first Brand USA employee outside of the U.S., which Skerritt says highlights the importance of the Canadian market to the organization.Skerrit commented on music as the choice of focus for the new campaign: “One of the key ways that we interact is through music, so we saw this as a great opportunity looking at our culture and at the same time supporting Canadian culture and the Canadian music industry.”More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTBrand USA is expecting another growth year for visitors from Canada. “In terms of overall numbers, our official data is showing we are currently at a good place – between 2017 and 2023 we are showing an increase in overall projected travel to the U.S.,” said Skerritt.Yesterday’s event also welcomed local tourist board representatives from Visit California, Virginia and Georgia, all music heavyweights in the U.S. tourism scene.CALIFORNIAIn introducing California and its variety of music attractions, Ally Carlson, Account Manager for Visit California, highlighted notable venues and festivals of interest to Canadian travellers.Ashley Kotar & Ally Carlson, Account Manager, Visit CaliforniaVenues include Fillmore Auditorium (now known as The Fillmore) in San Francisco, famous for artists including Jimi Hendrix and James Brown; the Troubadour in West Hollywood; and Whisky a Go Go, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.Highlighted events include Coachella, a two-weekend event that takes place in Coachella Valley and incorporates music, art and food; the Monterey Jazz Festival which features over 500 artists and is the longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world; and the Concord Jazz Festival planning to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. Also notable is Stagecoach, a large country music event hosted in the same location as Coachella.Carlson closed her presentation by letting everyone know there are still a few spaces left for agents to register for this year’s IPW, taking place in Anaheim June 1-5. Special performances include L.A.-based DJ Jason Bentley and Natasha Bedingfield.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA Salesvisitcalifornia.comVIRGINIALeah Ross, Executive Director for The Birthplace of Country Music, a non-profit organization located in Virginia, says Bristol, VA is the official birthplace of country music. The non-profit includes a museum where guests can interact with displays, texts and artefacts that showcase the story and evolution of country music. The award-winning Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion festival that takes place along State Street in Historic Downtown Bristol includes more than 120 live music acts over the course of a three-day weekend in September.Ross also mentioned Radio Bristol, a network of channels featuring original programming through recordings and live sessions from the Birthplace of Country Museum and the surrounding region. Radio Bristol reaches the world through online media players and mobile app, showcasing the diversity of American roots music from the early recording era to today.And here’s something you might not have known: the slogan ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ celebrates 50 years this year.virginia.orgbirthplaceofcountrymusic.orgGEORGIAGeorgia is home to more than 75 annual music festivals, from Shaky Knees and Music Midtown to Imagine Music Festival and ONE MusicFest, says Lisa Love, Division Director for Georgia Department of Economic Development. Georgia’s music history museums include the Ma Rainey House and Blues Museum in Columbus and The Allman Brothers Band Museum in Macon.Command SistersIncluded was a short performance from The Command Sisters, who covered multiple Georgia performers such as Outkast, James Brown and The Allman Brothers Travelweek Group Sharelast_img read more

Nicaragua demands navigation rights on Costa Rican river

first_imgNo related posts. The Nicaraguan government has petitioned the International Court of Justice in The Hague to grant the country navigation rights on Río Colorado, located entirely within Costa Rican territory.The request was presented by Nicaragua as part of its defense in a trial at the world court over an ongoing conflict with Costa Rica over Isla Calero, a small territory bordering the two countries.Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega claims the right to navigate the river by arguing that 90 percent of the river’s water comes from sources in Nicaragua, the daily La Nación reported.Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo told the daily that the petition is an example “of the expansionist intentions of the government of Daniel Ortega, … part of a hostile and aggressive policy against its southern neighbor.”“The Río Colorado is located 100 percent within Costa Rican territory. The river is completely inside the border, [and] we must not allow navigation of Nicaraguan officials or citizens, unless they have a visa,” Castillo said.The court will study Nicaragua’s request and issue one of three possible rulings: The court could fully reject it, admit it and start a new case, or include the complaint as part of the Isla Calero case, which “could delay by several years a resolution of the lawsuit filed by Costa Rica in December 2010,” Castillo said.The Colorado River crosses an important protected area in the Wildlife Refuge of Barra del Colorado. It is used for transportation and sportfishing, and could become an important tourist destination. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Special Olympics star gives mom a golden gift

first_imgSomehow, Jeannette Gamboa didn’t cry.When her daughter Catalina Cervantes won a pair of gold medals in tennis at the recent Special Olympics in Los Angeles, California, the athlete’s impressive feat was nearly matched by her mother’s incredible ability to contain the tears.“People ask how could I not cry and its because I was too busy smiling,” she said. “I’ve already seen enough tears.”For Gamboa and her daughter, who was born with Down syndrome, the struggles have been plenty. When Catalina was born with heart and respiratory complications, doctors said she probably wouldn’t live past 10 months. One of Gamboa’s own sisters, who works as a doctor, told her to prepare for the worst when the girl was just three months old and complications continued.Now Catalina is 26, and she was recently part of a historic medal grab at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, which saw Costa Rica set a national record with 207 medals. Gamboa went to the United States with her husband, Edgar Cervantes, and older daughter Mariela Cervantes to cheer on Catalina as she snatched medals in singles and doubles tennis competitions.“When you’re the mother of a special needs child all battles turn into achievements,” Gamboa said. “It all becomes worth the pain.”From their living room in Escazú, where paintings from well-known Costa Rican artist Rafa Fernández adorn the walls, mother and daughter reflected on an emotional past year. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesA car accident took the life of Gamboa’s 18-year-old niece in April, making Saturday her sister’s first Mother’s Day without her daughter.“I said to dad that I don’t want to say Happy Mother’s Day to my aunt when her daughter is in heaven and not here,” Catalina said. Despite the recent family tragedy, the tennis star wears a smile that opens up the faces of everybody around her in sparkling chain reaction. Gamboa said the family has been able to learn more from Catalina’s attitude than anything else.“We’re not her motor, she’s our motor,” Gamboa said.Catalina works five hours a day on weekdays at Luleid Kindergarten in Escazú, getting up at exactly 5:30 a.m. (She is the most punctual person in the world, her mother likes to say.) But Catalina has a mischievous side, too. Gamboa called her star athlete, “the family party girl,” and said if she goes out on a Friday night, she’ll sometimes leave a note saying, “I’m going out. I took beers from the fridge. Don’t wait up for me.”On top of work and a busy social life, Catalina also practiced tennis at a local academy for four hours each day leading up to the Special Olympics, which ran from July 25 to Aug. 2. Considering her dominance at the Games, its astonishing to learn that she starting playing tennis at age 21. And she started getting private lessons less than two years ago.Catalina hopes to compete again in the 2019 games, which will be in Germany and Austria.Gamboa said the process of qualifying for the games, let alone winning them, is much more demanding than outsiders assume. From her smartphone, she showed a picture of Catalina’s foot covered in bruises while competing in the recent Olympics.With the worried mother in the stands in Los Angeles, Edgar and Mariela had to calm Gamboa down so she wouldn’t hover over Catalina’s coach with questions about her daughter’s health.Through that pain, Cervantes’ haul of gold medals at the games just weeks before Mother’s Day made her mom all the prouder. Gamboa smiled widely, seated next to her daughter.“There is no better gift.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Mom raises family by day, studies crime fighting by night Brazilian street artist creates World Cup’s first viral image All 32 World Cup national slogans, graded and (in some cases) improved World Cup fervor begins winning out over opposition in Brazil as tournament beginslast_img read more

Pope Francis meets the Castros after mass on iconic Havana square

first_imgHAVANA, Cuba – Pope Francis met Sunday with Fidel and Raúl Castro, the brothers who have ruled Cuba since its 1959 revolution, after celebratingan outdoor mass attended by hundreds of thousands.In what is sure to become an emblematic moment of his tour of Cuba and the United States — the Cold War enemies whose reconciliation he helped bring about — the pope chatted with former leader Fidel Castro at his home in Havana, then held a closed-door meeting with current president Raúl at government headquarters.Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said Pope Francis had a “very informal and friendly” conversation with 89-year-old Fidel that touched on various topics, including the environment.Pope Francis, 78, gave the former Cuban leader four books, including two on theology.Castro reciprocated with a copy of Brazilian priest Frei Betto’s book of interviews with him, “Fidel and Religion,” which he signed, “With admiration and respect from the Cuban people.”Video of the meeting aired on Cuban state TV showed the men sitting and chatting, the visibly voluble Castro clad in a tracksuit — his trademark in retirement.After years of hostility between the Church and Castro’s communist regime — which was officially atheist for more than three decades — relations began to slowly improve in the 1980s, culminating in a historic visit to Cuba by pope John Paul II in 1998.Francis, who arrived Saturday, is now the third pope to visit the island, after his predecessor Benedict XVI traveled there in 2012 — a remarkable amount of papal attention for a country where only 10 percent of the population describe themselves as Catholic.The pope later met with Castro’s brother, President Raúl Castro, 84, who took power when Fidel stepped down amid a health crisis in 2006.Before the meetings, the pope gave a homily on Havana’s Revolution Square calling on Cubans to serve the downtrodden and warning them that “service is never ideological,” in what appeared to be a veiled critique of the communist regime.“Christians are constantly called to set aside their own wishes and desires, their pursuit of power, and to look instead to those who are most vulnerable,” he told the crowd, speaking beneath a towering sculpture of his fellow Argentine Che Guevara’s iconic silhouette.“We need to be careful not to be tempted by another kind of service, a ‘service’ which is ‘self-serving.’” Pope Francis stands next to a mosaic during a meeting with Cuban President Raúl Castro at Revolution Palace in Havana, on Sept. 20, 2015. AFP/Pool/Alejandro ErnestoDissidents arrestedThree Cuban dissidents were arrested as they approached the pope shouting “Freedom!” when he arrived for the mass.An AFP photographer said the activists — two men and a woman — yelled anti-government slogans and resisted arrest as plainclothes agents detained them when they tried to get near the popemobile.The pontiff, who was busy grasping the outstretched hands of well-wishers on the other side of his vehicle, did not appear to notice.The protesters were from the Cuban Patriotic Union and “went to the square to condemn repression,” said Jose Daniel Ferrer, the leader of the dissident group.Cuba bans opposition groups and routinely arrests dissidents who try to protest — typically releasing them after a few hours, at least in recent years.Several leading dissidents have criticized the pope for not accepting their requests to meet him during his visit.The mood was otherwise jubilant on the packed square, where excited Cubans and foreign visitors camped out overnight to see the first Latin American pope.“We’ve been here since 2 am, but it wasn’t hard at all. We are so very happy to welcome the pope to Cuba,” said 43-year-old Yaniurka Hernández.Off scriptThe pope later presided over evening prayers at Havana Cathedral, abandoning his prepared speech to urge hundreds of local priests, nuns and seminarians to embrace poverty.“Wealth makes us poor,” he told them sternly, warning they risked “ending up mediocre” if they forget “the smallest, the most abandoned, the sickest” to focus on budgets or management principles.He then addressed a throng of young Cubans gathered outside in a light drizzle, turning down an umbrella and urging his audience — a demographic feeling the pain of the island’s difficult economic transition — not to give up hope.“Don’t forget to dream,” he told them.The pope will travel Monday and Tuesday to the Cuban cities of Holguín and Santiago, before heading off to give landmark addresses to the U.S. Congress and U.N. General Assembly. Facebook Comments Related posts:In Castros’ home region, Pope Francis praises Church ‘sacrifices’ When Pope Francis visits Cuba, he’ll find many priests aren’t Cuban Cuban Americans make pilgrimages to see Pope Francis in their native land Pope Francis tells bishops that clergy abuse must not be repeatedlast_img read more

FIFA corruption probe Michel Platini vows to fight injustice

first_imgPARIS – Michel Platini told AFP in an interview Tuesday that he is determined to fight for the FIFA presidency and to clear his name after being banned for eight years.Platini and FIFA chief Sepp Blatter were suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee over a 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment made to Platini in 2011 for work carried out between 1999 and 2002.Corruption charges against the two men were dropped by the FIFA court, but they were found guilty of “abusive execution” of their powers and a conflict of interests.The Frenchman was informed by FIFA on Tuesday evening that he must take any appeal to them first before being able to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.That means, even if he does clear his name, his chances of meeting the Jan. 26 deadline to submit his candidacy for the FIFA presidency are extremely slim.Excerpts of the interview follow:AFP: How do you feel after the ban?MP: I am thinking about it, I am struggling to understand. Why? How did we get to this? I did some work, I asked to be paid, I sent an invoice, I was paid, I paid taxes on that. That was in 2011. It was a debt that was settled, full stop. Then in 2015, the Swiss justice wanted more information. Then it took off at FIFA and a lot of people at FIFA are happy that this issue happened, this story. And here I am suspended from all football-related activity for eight years. What was the FIFA ethics commission doing between 2011 when I was paid and 2015? Was it asleep? All of a sudden, suddenly it woke up? Oh yes, it woke up in a FIFA election year when I am a candidate. It’s amazing.You are in the middle of a fight?I am fighting against this injustice. Nothing else. What I don’t understand is that it is the same company that paid me, with a bill in 2011, that in 2015 is dragging me before its ethics commission. And it is stopping me today from doing my work at UEFA, taking part in the draw for Euro 2016 in Paris and preparing for this tournament. A cloud hangs over Michel Platini, the former French football captain and one of the greatest players of all time. Lionel Bonaventure/AFPWhat are the next steps?I am fighting against this injustice from court to court. There you go. But in the meantime, my name has been dragged through the mud in the press. Whatever happens my reputation has been sullied. I have been kicked in the teeth. I have been put in the same bag as Blatter.Your two names are linked in the ethics commission decision.The people on the ethics committee are more focused on a timetable question — to stop me from standing in the FIFA presidential election — and scandal-mongering than in ethics. They are not ethical, they are pathetic.The corruption charge was dropped.I’m so happy! There is no corruption in this affair. I am proceeding on the basis of the principle that the truth will come out and my innocence will be acknowledged.You did not like to lose as a footballer. Did you feel that what happened on Monday was a defeat?No defeat. It is more a victory when you consider that the prosecutor dealing with the case at FIFA had demanded a life ban. A life ban! And why not? Go ahead while we are at it! What a joke.What action will you take?Later I will go to the civil courts in Switzerland to demand damages. But first there is the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It is the real match starting. Before the dice were rolling in front of the ethics commission. How could someone who defends FIFA go against the interests of this body? These FIFA judges are so-called independents, but it is FIFA who pays them, for example. What do they hold against me? Oh yes, I should have told the FIFA executive committee ‘by the way, FIFA owes me money and it is going to pay me.’ And they would have replied: ‘Yes, and so what?’ And today I am condemned for not saying that. It is shameful. Everyone looks after their own business. It was not for me to tell the executive committee, but for those who paid me. UEFA President Michel Platini answers questions Dec. 8 as he leaves the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. Fabrice Coffrini/AFPIsn’t the timetable too tight now for you to stand in the FIFA election?What is troubling is that I have no certainty about the timetable ahead. As long as I have not had the reasons for the suspension I cannot appeal before the CAS. Without certainty on the timetable, I don’t know how the match will play out. I said about the FIFA scandals and Blatter in May that ‘enough is enough.’ Now I say go step-by-step. I will fight to clear my name.Is clearing your name more important than standing for FIFA?I still have my honor. My conscience is clear. There are a lot of people who say bad things about me, that’s all. But I also get a lot of support from a lot of federations who tell me to fight, not to give up. The question is what is the timetable for getting out of this trap? And if I win I will have to submit my candidacy by Jan. 26 before Domenico Scala [the head of the FIFA electoral commission]. Another obstacle, … I will fight. But then I will take my responsibilities according to what happens. I know what I want but there are others to take into consideration. All these stories do a lot of damage, particularly to the credibility of institutions. And I have always said that institutions are more important than people. Facebook Comments Related posts:FIFA ethics tribunal bans Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini for 8 years Blatter fights ban amid FIFA turmoil Top US sponsors of FIFA urge football body to enact reforms Honduras ex-President Rafael Callejas goes to US to face FIFA corruption chargeslast_img read more

Arts and culture in brief the week ahead in Costa Rica

first_imgCelebrate International Jazz Day at El Sótano in Barrio Amón, which for the fourth year running will celebrate the big day with a star-studded lineup headlined by New York-based pianist Theo Hill in a trio rounded out by Max Esquivel (Costa Rica) and Sotiris Ntouvas (Greece), as well as Dr. Soul, Olé Jazz and more. The official UNESCO Jazz Day concert at the White House in Washington will also be screened as part of the celebrations (Saturday, April 30).Frankenstein takes San José: an innovative staging of Mary Shelley’s classic tale will take place at the National Theater, focusing on the psychological and physical violence the character suffers (Friday, April 29).Feel like catching a show, but not buying tickets or making arrangements? Sometimes it’s as easy as walking down the street: check out the National Dance Company’s al fresco performance on Avenida Central, next to the clock by the Plaza de la Cultural, today at 11 a.m. (Friday, April 29). Facebook Comments Related posts:Nrmal Festival, Expo Tattoo, and other happenings around Costa Rica ‘Abominable Creatures,’ contemporary dance, and other happenings around Costa Rica India Fest, San Ramón run and other happenings around Costa Rica Palmares Fest, Live Opera Screening, and other happenings around Costa Ricalast_img read more

Only half of Costa Ricas roadway network is in good condition study

first_imgRelated posts:President Solís pledges to repair road to Monteverde by next year Work to begin on new road to Costa Rica’s Monteverde cloud forest community Road to Monteverde to be paved President Solís demands explanation for spike in traffic jams The percentage of Costa Rican roads in good condition increased over the past two years, theUniversity of Costa Rica‘s National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models (LANAMME) reported Wednesday. However, the laboratory’s “Seventh Report on the Status of the National Roadway Network” also characterized the country’s roadway maintenance strategy as reactive and poorly planned.The National Roadway Council (CONAVI) repaired and maintained nearly half of the national roadway network during the period covered in the report. However, the number of roads in very bad condition also increased, researchers found.The coordinator of LANAMME’s Transport Infrastructure Program, Luis Loría, said at a press conference that, in general, the national roadway network is still unstable, “because CONAVI mostly repaves roads instead of making in-depth repairs.”The new layers of asphalt or cement are laid over damaged roads, so they are quickly destroyed.“It’s pretty much like putting on make-up,” Loría said.ResultsCosta Rica has 5,053 Kilometers (3,140 miles) of paved roads. Of these, 1,913 Km (1,189 miles) were in good condition in 2015.Two years later, the figure of roads in good condition rose to 2,456 Km (1,531 miles). This means that good roads increased from 38 to 48 percent of the total, LANAMME found.However, the number of miles in poor condition, that is, requiring deep repairs or total rebuilding, increased by 71 percent, from 279 to 478 Km (173-297 miles).Of the 48 percent of roads that are in good condition, 36 percent are in regular condition, while 5 percent require minor repairs.Roy Barrantes, the coordinator of the study, said that the most significant result is that the number of roads in regular condition decreased.“That means road conditions either improved or got worse in the past two years,” he said.Public investmentThe LANAMME study concluded that the government lacks a coherent policy for the maintenance or improvement of the country’s roadway network.The laboratory noted that CONAVI maintains a reactive road policy: they work on a road only when crews find a pothole or other damage.During the past two years, CONAVI allocated ₡14 billion ($24.6 million) for repairs along 907 Km (564 miles) of roads “without achieving the expected results,” the report says.That figure represents 11.5 percent of the ₡122 billion ($213.7 million) invested in maintaining all the country’s paved roads for a year.CONAVI invested that money mostly in fixing potholes and correcting irregularities on the surface, “but those roads actually required major repairs,” the report adds.LANAMME investigators also found several cases of roads where asphalt or cement layers did not have the required thickness to withstand vehicle traffic, so that “those layers deteriorated faster than expected.”Loría said LANAMME recommends that CONAVI change the way it creates contracts for building or fixing roads. Lab experts believe the agency should assign contractors a certain number of routes, and require them to keep them in good condition for a certain period of time.Currently, CONAVI only signs maintenance contracts when crews find potholes or other problems on a road. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Ortega will ask Costa Rica to hand over refugees

first_imgRelated posts:23,000 Nicaraguans seek asylum in Costa Rica: UN Two dead in Nicaragua protest violence as Ortega calls for ‘peace’ US warns Nicaragua as more killed in unrest Nicaraguan student leaders meet with former President Oscar Arias Ortega also said that Nicaraguans that haven’t committed crimes can return and won’t be prosecuted or attacked.“Those who feel free of sin can come back with the assurance that no one is going to detain them,” Ortega said.The Nicaraguan president said that between April and June some 26,000 people had left to Costa Rica “not because they’re criminals,” but because of the political situation in Nicaragua.Since the protests started on April 18, more than 300 people have died and more than 2,000 have been injured. There is still an unknown number of detained and missing people.The United Nations said 23,000 people have fled to Costa Rica to seek asylum due to the political crisis in Nicaragua. An anti-government protester makes a graffiti reading “Daniel out”, referring to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, during a march dubbed “United Nicaragua will never be defeated” in Granada, Nicaragua on August 25, 2018.Thousands marched Saturday in different cities in Nicaragua demanding the freedom of political prisoners and the removal of President Daniel Ortega, as Ortega’s supporters demonstrated for him. AFP Photo / Inti Ocon Facebook Comments “We’re going to tell them with all clarity and if the [Costa Ricans] want to leave them there, that’s their problem,” Ortega said during a party function.After his statements, the minister of foreign relations of Costa Rica said via WhatsApp that they “can’t give information about asylum seekers or refugees” because that information is confidential. Daniel Ortega said on Wednesday that he’ll ask Costa Rica to hand over Nicaraguan refugees that committed crimes during protests and political crisis in Nicaragua. Costa Rica responded that information regarding refugees is confidential.Ortega said he’ll ask Costa Rica for “a list of people seeking asylum,” to point out who committed crimes during protests and should face justice. Facing terrorism charges and death threats, thousands of Nicaraguans flee to Costa Ricalast_img read more

Faster path to 2022 World Cup for Costa Rica United States

first_imgNew-look North American qualifiers for the FIFA Men’s World Cup in 2022 will retain a six-team hexagonal round-robin showdown in the final round while revamping the path for others, CONCACAF said Wednesday.A two-part system will take place during FIFA match windows in 2020 and 2021 with the region’s six highest-ranked teams in the June 2020 FIFA rankings playing for three direct berths, the governing body for football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean said.Costa Rica is currently CONCACAF’s third-ranked team, behind Mexico and the United States.CONCACAF nations ranked seventh to 35th in the region in those same rankings will be divided into five groups of four and three groups of three and play round-robin matches in 2020.The eight group winners advance to a knockout phase with matches in March, June and September 2021.The knockout winner will face the fourth-place finisher from the hexagonal group in a two-game home and away playoff in October 2021 to decide CONCACAF’s spot in an intercontinental playoff for a World Cup berth.“The love for the game in this region is growing rapidly and our diverse and dynamic communities want a clear pathway to world-class football,” CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani said.“Through our freshly designed formats … we are staging more competitive international matches than ever-before to help these communities fulfill their potential.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica returns with full-strength lineup in last step toward World Cup qualifying Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying Costa Rican Men’s National Team hopes to make history again in Mexico Costa Rica’s La Sele stays on World Cup track with 1-1 tie against Honduraslast_img read more

Aussie PMs stock rises a bit with smack at rival

first_img Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix “Many women are familiar with the fact that complaining about sexism is often ineffective or just leads to further criticism,” McLaren said. “Gillard’s speech was a long time coming and I think long overdue.”McLaren said degrading cartoons of Gillard and criticisms of her dress and figure reflect expectations that women be judged by their appearance.She added that the speech resonated for many Australian women who are “feeling increasingly frustrated _ whether they agree with her policies or not _ by the level of contempt directed to Julia Gillard.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “Every now and again, a prime minister has a great moment in the Parliament when they absolutely demolish their opponent, and she had one of those,” said Nick Economou, a political scientist at Monash University.“What’s been interesting about Gillard is it’s taken her such a long time to get to the point where she suddenly looks like a leader,” he added.Abbott later dismissed the criticisms as part of a smear campaign.“The Australian people are sick and tired of the kind of personal attacks that we see again and again from the prime minister and her senior ministers,” Abbott told reporters.“I’ll leave the personal attacks and the cheap grubby smears to the Labor Party,” he said.A poll by Sydney market researcher Newspoll, published in The Australian newspaper on Tuesday, found that more than three in four respondents (78 percent) said Gillard’s response to the sexism issue had been “about right,” including 83 percent of women and 72 percent of men. Only 16 percent accused her of overreacting, while 5 percent said she had underreacted.Voters were more divided over whether Abbott truly had behaved in a sexist way toward Gillard recently: Most Labor Party supporters said he had; most backers of Abbott’s conservative coalition said he hadn’t. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Comments   Share   Abbott, who turns 55 on Sunday, is a former journalist and one-time seminarian who gained a Rhodes Scholarship through his boxing prowess. He has led the Liberal Party since 2009, when he deposed Malcolm Turnbull by a single vote of party lawmakers.Turnbull, Australia’s richest lawmaker and a former merchant banker, remains popular with the public but is loathed by many party colleagues.“A lot will depend on the extent to which the Liberal Party room panics,” Economou said. “If I was in the Liberal Party room, I would be saying: `Look, just hold firm, because the indications are that the government will be defeated.’”Gillard, a 51-year-old former law firm partner, is Australia’s first woman and first atheist prime minister, as well as the first to live with a common law partner.She also leads the country’s first minority government since World War II. The compromises and deals she has been forced to make to keep independent and Greens lawmakers in her coalition are seen by many Australians as weakness or expedience, but her speech against Abbott may have tempered those perceptions.Kirsty McLaren, an Australian National University researcher of feminism in Australia, said that although many women welcomed the speech, it had been risky for Gillard to deliver. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img The poll was based on a random telephone survey of 1,218 voters nationwide on the preceding weekend. It had a 3 percentage point margin of error.Newspoll CEO Martin O’Shannessy said he does not expect Gillard’s speech to have a lasting impact on the political landscape.“It may have had some impact, but my sense is that it’s been a very divisive influence and only entrenched the views of people on both sides,” O’Shannessy said.Economou expects Abbott’s coalition will win the next election convincingly, but blames Abbott’s poor strategies for allowing Labor back in the game.The Labor Party has been hobbled by its approval of an unpopular carbon tax on major polluters that took effect in July _ a tax that Gillard had previously vowed not to introduce. But the effects of the tax on the cost of living have so far fallen short of Abbott’s dire predictions.Abbott has branded it a “great big tax on everything” and warned that it would have an “almost unimaginable” impact. Inflation rose by 1.4 percent in the three months since July 1.“The problem for Abbott at the moment is that all his tactics are backfiring on him really badly,” Economou said. “He’s really lucky that there’s no alternative to him in the party.” The vital role family plays in society Gillard, who lives with a common-law partner, said she also was offended when Abbott once suggested she should “politically speaking, make an honest woman of herself” by taking the country’s carbon tax to voters.Given those comments, she said, it was too much when Abbott tried to oust House of Representatives Speaker Peter Slipper over crude and sexist terms Slipper made in text messages.“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not,” Gillard said. “And the government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever.”It was a convincing blow against Abbott, who has had trouble appealing to women voters. Gillard’s 15-minute onslaught on Oct. 9 quickly became an international Internet sensation, and pleased many women who thought Australia’s first woman prime minister had long been too quiet on the issue of sexism.Voters are increasingly favoring her over Abbott, and the popularity of her center-left Labor Party has risen from recent record lows. But the party remains well below the 38 percent support that saw it scrape through elections to form a fragile minority government in 2010, and analysts doubt that her newfound fire will turn around Labor’s prospects. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressCANBERRA, Australia (AP) – For a moment on the floor of Parliament, Australia’s political landscape seemed upside down. Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whose party is widely expected to lose elections next year, was eviscerating the man who seems destined to replace her.As opposition leader Tony Abbott sat stony-faced and silent, she ran down a list of comments he had made. She complained he once questioned whether it was a bad thing that men had more power than women in Australian society, and that he had described abortion as “the easy way out.” He once stood beside protesters carrying banners that said “ditch the witch.” Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top Stories last_img

Behind tough talk on Russia G7 leaders face tough reality

first_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Republicans have accused Obama of putting his interest in the Iran nuclear talks above supporting Ukraine. GOP White House hopeful Jeb Bush is set to arrive in Europe just as Obama departs, with stops in Germany, Poland and Estonia. Bush is expected to pledge broader U.S. backing for the region if elected president.White House officials defend the engagement with Russia on Iran and other matters, and say the U.S. can work with Moscow on issues of mutual interest while also confronting Putin over Ukraine.But experts say Secretary of State John Kerry’s meetings with Putin in Russia last month raised questions in Europe about whether Washington might be pursuing a new policy toward the Kremlin. Kerry’s trip was the first time a senior U.S. official has traveled to Russia since Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.“It created this cloud of controversy around what is the U.S. strategy: Why did he go?” said Julianne Smith, a former Obama White House official who is now a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security. “So I think there’ll be a little bit of mopping up from that trip.”European nations are watching whether the U.S. commitment to isolating and penalizing Russia is weakening. Europe has far stronger ties to Russia than the U.S. and some leaders face pressure from the business community to ease off penalties that have affected their finances. WASHINGTON (AP) — Behind the tough talk on Russia expected from President Barack Obama and other leaders gathering in Germany this weekend is a stark reality.None of the world powers believes the economic and diplomatic punishments levied on Russia for its alleged aggression in Ukraine are changing President Vladimir Putin’s calculus, yet there are no plans to shift strategies.At most, leaders hope to emerge from two days of talks in the Bavarian Alps with an agreement to keep U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia in place, and perhaps a pledge to enact deeper economic penalties if the crisis escalates. While there is little expectation that a show of unity will lead to a quick resolution in Ukraine, officials hope it will at least give Putin pause if he is considering ratcheting up Russia’s moves. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 In this photo taken June 1, 2015, President Barack Obama speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Beneath the tough talk on Russia expected from President Barack Obama and other leaders gathering in Germany this weekend is a stark reality. None of the world powers believes the economic and diplomatic punishments levied on Russia for its alleged aggression in Ukraine are changing President Vladimir Putin’s calculus, yet there are no plans to shift strategies. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Also on Obama’s schedule was a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose party is coming off an unexpectedly strong election victory. The president also planned to see Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who was invited to the G-7 meeting to discuss the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State in his country, as well as in Syria.___Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.___Follow Julie Pace at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Still, the European Union is expected to renew expiring sanctions later this summer.Thousands of people gathered Saturday in a town a few miles from the summit venue to protest a range of causes, including a proposed trans-Atlantic trade deal, before the leaders’ arrival.Obama departed Washington Saturday evening after delivering an emotional eulogy at the funeral service for Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau. Joining Obama on Air Force One for the trip to Germany were four House Democrats who support his efforts to win special authority to negotiate a Pacific Rim trade deal.The trade debate on Capitol Hill is being closely watched by G-7 leaders. While Obama has Senate backing to seek fast-track authority of the Trans Pacific Partnership pact, he faces a steep challenge in getting his own party’s support in the House. Japan and Canada are both part of TPP.European nations are not part of the pact, but the congressional debate could affect whether Obama has the political capital left to pursue a trans-Atlantic trade deal with the EU before leaving office.After his overnight flight to Munich, Obama was to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, then join other leaders for talks at Schloss Elmau, a one-time Bavarian artist retreat turned luxury spa. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility A fresh outbreak of violence between government troops and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine is threatening to derail an already tenuous cease-fire.The fact that sanctions have not altered Putin’s military posture is “a sign of how heedless the Russian government seems to be about the long-term welfare of its own people that it has not yet resulted in a change, in a reversal at least, of course, which is what we want out of Russia,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters after a Friday meeting in Germany with American military and diplomatic leaders.The Group of Seven summit marks the second year in a row that leaders from the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan will assemble without Putin. After Russia annexed territory from Ukraine last year, the world powers kicked Russia out of what had been called the Group of Eight, a move aimed at isolating Putin and signaling the West’s united opposition to his provocative actions.Yet Putin remains a major player on pressing issues.Russia is a partner of the U.S. and other nations in the nuclear talks with Iran, an Obama priority. Putin is a linchpin in any discussions on resolving the civil war in Syria, given Russia’s status as President Bashar Assad’s biggest benefactor. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more

AR heats up QF competition to South America

first_imgDays after Qantas launched its inaugural flight from Sydney to Santiago, Aerolíneas Argentinas has announced new non-stop direct flights between Sydney and Buenos Aires. Effective 1 July 2012, the airline will operate three weekly frequencies between Australia and South America with two additional frequencies commencing in December of this year. The carrier said it made the decision to commission these direct flights after careful assessment of their long-haul network, and according to the airline’s president Mariano Recalde, the new routes will play an important role in the airline’s engagement in the South Pacific. “Aerolíneas Argentinas is committed to continue serving the South Pacific, becoming the best option for passengers flying to Argentina and other South American destinations, focusing our main efforts in increasing nonstop frequencies,” the carrier’s head said. Aerolíneas is also seeking to capitalise by reallocating capacity to markets that have been garnering immense traffic figure increases in recent years, such as the Latin American markets. Qantas Airlines Group executive commercial Rob Gurney said Santiago is one of the region’s most dynamic business centres and acts as a perfect hub for connecting Australians to the rest of the continent.“There are strong ties between Australia and South America, with growing visitor numbers, mutual investment and an Australia-Chile free trade agreement in place,” Mr Gurney said.What do you consider to be the best option for air travel to South America? Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

Dear London City named priciest for night out poll

first_imgWhat’s the difference between a night out in London and a night out in Hanoi? Around $377, says a recent survey.Comparing the cost of an evening on the town for two people in popular tourist cities throughout the US and the world, the TripAdvisor TripIndex 2012 found London to be the most expensive destination for travelers, with an after dark sojourn in the Olympic city costing US$518.Vietnamese capital Hanoi was considered to be the best value international city, with an index cost of $141. The TripAdvisor TripIndex was based on the combined costs for two of an overnight stay in a four-star hotel, one cocktail per person, a two-course dinner with a bottle of wine, and round-trip taxi transportation (two journeys of two miles). The dates applied to this summer. According to the index, Europe is the most expensive continent for US travelers, with seven of the world’s priciest cities appearing on the index (London, Oslo, Zurich, Paris, Stockholm, Moscow and Copenhagen), while Asia was deemed the most affordable region, boasting six of the ten cheapest cities (Hanoi, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Taipei, Jakarta).Among American cities, Las Vegas was found to be the least expensive town, costing $263, while unsurprisingly, New York edged Boston as the dearest US city, with a TripIndex tally of $457.Featuring four of the top ten most affordable cities (Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta and Orlando), the Southern US ranked as the top region for travelers looking for domestic deals.The international TripIndex destination list comprises cities from 48 of the 50 countries that receive the largest number of international visitor arrivals (according to data compiled by the UNWTO). The U.S. TripIndex list comprises 15 highly visited US cities, focusing on large and popular tourism markets.Best Value International Cities:-Hanoi, Vietnam ($141.12), Beijing, China ($159.05), Bangkok, Thailand ($161.90), Budapest, Hungary ($193.78), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ($194.43)Most Expensive International Cities: -London, UK ($518.01), Oslo, Norway ($499.91), Zurich, Switzerland ($485.82), Paris, France ($480.76), Stockholm, Sweden ($472.36)Best Value US Cities: -Las Vegas ($263.46), Dallas ($283.10), New Orleans ($283.44), Atlanta ($289.80), Orlando ($309.10)Most Expensive US Cities:-New York City ($456.50), Boston ($450.27), San Francisco ($429.28), Washington, DC ($413.66), Honolulu ($398.23) Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

Holiday Inn Melbourne On Flinders Earns 2012 Tripadvisor Certificate O

first_imgHoliday Inn Melbourne on Flinders exterior Honoured as a Highly Rated Hotel as Reviewed by Travellers on the World’s Largest Travel SiteMelbourne, Victoria – Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders is proud to announce that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistentlyachieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Approximately 10 percent of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, usinesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.“Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders is honoured to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Garry Beadel, Hotel Manager. “We strive to offer our guests a welcoming and memorable experience, and this accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive guest experiences which they feel proud to share on TripAdvisor for everyone to see.”“TripAdvisor is pleased to honour exceptional businesses for consistent excellence, as reviewed by travellers on the site,” said Christine Petersen, president of TripAdvisor for Business. “The Certificate of Excellence award gives highly rated establishments around the world the recognition they deserve. We want to applaud these businesses for offering TripAdvisor travellers a great customer experience.” Source = Holiday Innlast_img read more

Rail link to connect Laos China

first_imgThe stalled train link project between Laos and China will commence next year after receiving a financial lifeline from a Chinese bank.Initially agreeing to jointly fund the link, Beijing pulled out earlier this year, citing concerns of profitability, The Malaysian Insider reported. However, receiving the necessary funding earlier this week, the US$7 billion link is expected to be up and running within five year and will run from the Chinese border to Vientiane, according to The Malaysian Insider. A Chinese firm has been called in to carry out construction, which will link Chinese city, Kunming to Singapore.   Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img