Canadian numbers are up 29 new hotels this year for Hong Kong

first_img Friday, February 17, 2017 Share Tags: Asia Pacific, China, Hong Kong Posted by Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — At its ‘Year of the Rooster Appreciation Reception’ in Toronto last night, the Hong Kong Tourism Board announced a 3% increase in tourist arrivals from Canada in 2016 compared to the previous year.The destination welcomed 369,363 Canadians last year. Overnight visitors had an overall 2.9% increase while same-day visits increased by 3.3%. Hong Kong welcomed approximately 56.655 million tourists in 2016, a decrease of 4.5% from 2015, even though international tourism is up.The overall number of mainland same-day tourists decreased in 2016 by 6.7%, most likely due to the implementation of the ‘one week per visit policy’. There was an increase of 3.1% from international visitors from both short- and long-haul markets. International overnight arrivals also increased by 5.7% with short-haul markets increasing by 8.4%.Hong Kong has a released a new global tourism campaign, ‘Best of All, It’s in Hong Kong’ featuring a series of commercials starring famous locals with different topics highlighting food and gourmet dining, fashion and entertainment, family adventures and the great outdoors. New tours and events will be featured for each theme.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesThe destination expects to open 29 new hotels by the end of 2017, increasing the current number of over 250 hotels available by 74,000 rooms.“We want visitors to see, feel and have a taste of the best Hong Kong can offer through the eyes of locals through this campaign,” said Michael Lim, Hong Kong Tourism Board Director for Canada, Central & South America. “This new brand campaign will take Hong Kong to new heights as a destination by connecting and inspiring people to travel here and experience the best and most authentic Hong Kong moments.”Travel to Hong Kong is getting easier with an average of 19 direct flights in service. New flights and routes to Hong Kong and other Asian destinations are increasing with airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airlines, Air Canada, China Southern, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines.William Wang, Business Development Manager for Cathay Pacific, told Travelweek that there will be three new flights direct from Vancouver to Hong Kong, starting March 28. Between June 24 and Sept. 4, four double-daily flights from Toronto will be in service.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTHong Kong is also encouraging multi-destination travel with their partners in China, Thailand, and its newest partner Taiwan. Canadian numbers are up, 29 new hotels this year for Hong Kong << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Travelports Trip Assist gives travel agencies branded mobile app within weeks

first_img BOSTON — Travelport says its new mobile product for travel agencies and TMCs, Travelport Trip Assist, “enables travel agencies to meet the expectations of today’s mobile-first customer” with mobile travel capabilities such as flexible itinerary management, real-time communications and day of travel assistance.Already available in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Traveport Trip Assist is getting its North America launch this week. “Customer engagement via mobile is now critical for agencies of all sizes and we believe that the business travel industry and business travelers are not yet well-served,” said Fergal Kelly, CCO of Travelport Digital. “We are delighted to offer Trip Assist to TMCs and travel agencies as part of Travelport’s continuously expanding range of services. The increasingly connected traveller expects support throughout their trip.”Travelport, parent company of Worldspan and Galileo, cites an eMarketer study that shows digital travel sales in the U.S. this year reaching $189.62 billion, 40% ($75.85 billion) of which will come from mobile devices, up 16.7% from 2016. By 2019, digital travel sales will surpass $200 billion for the first time, and by 2020, mobile travel sales alone will surpass $100 billion.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalKelly says Trip Assist provides agencies with more opportunities to connect, support and engage end-travellers at every stage of their journey, providing a seamless, trusted and personalized mobile customer experience in line with the expectations of today’s ‘always-on’ traveler.Trip Assist provides:Personal digital travel concierge serviceSmart itinerary managementDay of travel assistancePush-notification remindersReal-time alertsAbility to call an agent from within the app“These features ensure continuous engagement throughout trips with more opportunities for the agencies to guide, influence and connect with their customers en route,” says Travelport.Trip Assist also includes Travelport Engage, a flexible mobile messaging tool which delivers personalized travel updates during and after every trip.“Real-time assistance is always at hand – with the tap of a finger, travelers are connected directly to a support agent. Traveller engagement is the main focus with later features planned to encourage user control via the ability to request flight changes, select preferred seating and the ability to synch trip information with personal calendars from within the app.”More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backTo view a live demo of Travelport Trip Assist and find out more about the product, agencies can request more information and a one-to-one demo at: Posted by Tags: Technology, Travelport Monday, July 17, 2017 Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Travelport’s Trip Assist gives travel agencies branded mobile app “within weeks”last_img read more

This popular Indonesian attraction is set to close for one year

first_imgThis popular Indonesian attraction is set to close for one year Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, January 31, 2019 Travelweek Group center_img JAKARTA — The Dinosaur Age may soon come to an end – again.According to The Jakarta Post, Komodo National Park, one of Indonesia’s most popular attractions, will close for one year to increase the local population of Komodo dragons and the deer they prey on.The exact dates of the closure have yet to be announced.Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat, Governor of the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) administration, said that the temporary closure will allow the provincial administration to more effectively manage the park and develop the dragons’ habitat.He also said that dragons in the current population aren’t as big as they used to be, which he blames on a decline in the local deer population due to poaching.With fewer deer to eat, Viktor also said there’s a chance that the lizards could start preying on their own kind to survive.“It’s natural instinct will emerge when [the population of one of the animals] in the komodo dragon’s food chain declines,” he said. “If food is abundant, the Komodo dragons will [use] a different instinct. This is why the administration wants to manage the Komodo dragon’s habitat by temporarily closing the area to visitors for one year.”More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerKomodo National Park is located between the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara, and comprises three large islands – Komodo, Padar and Rinca – as well as 26 smaller ones. It was founded in 1980 to protect the prehistoric-looking Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard that can grow as large as 150 kilograms. Share Tags: Animals, Jakarta, Komodo Dragon, Komodo National Parklast_img read more

Jacó Happenings

first_imgTattooing has been practiced for centuries in cultures throughout the world, and Jacó features some of the best talent in the industry. Award-winning international artist Keely Tackett opened Anchor’s End Tattoo six years ago, and her unique shop features passionate artists who tattoo free hand, one-of-a-kind designs.With more than 33 years of experience, Keely is a National Tattoo Association member. She’s also Red Cross certified. Joining her is Sean Rains, who has been designing art for the skin for 17 years. Anchor’s End piercers Jessie Tackett and Cyndi Milano offer a combined 20 years of piercing expertise in all aspects of body modification.The shop creative assistant Siony Muñoz always has a smile and a creative way of assisting Anchor’s End clients. The team offers the finest in sterile procedures in a comfortable, relaxed environment and their motto is, “Design the skin you’re in.” Anchor’s End is located on the second floor above Big Ron’s Pizza and is open Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday from noon-close. For more info, call 2643-1523. Just down the way, you will find the Tattoo House owned by Dafne Pérez from Argentina. This shop is located in the Centro Comercial Ureña, next to Books & Stuff. It features guest artists from around the world and currently has L.A. Meyers in from the U.S. She will be here until the end of October. The Tattoo House not only offers permanent tattoos, but henna and piercings, as well as artwork, purses, T-shirts, hand pipes and jewelry. Shop hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. For more info, call 8811-3375. More than 5,000 designs in addition to custom artwork are available.Mark your calendar for next week’s Surf Torneo de La Independicia in Esterillos, starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. Also, the Car Demolitions are scheduled in Herradura for Sunday, Sept. 30.–Christina Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

The specialist called Joshua

first_imgJust to look at him, Josh Higgins was about as ordinary as you can get: 5-foot-10, a somewhat paunchy 180 pounds, clean-shaven, brown eyes, brown hair, brown suit, he could never be picked out in a crowd. But under that cloak of invisibility he was something else again: a repository of information gained by incessant reading of forgotten documents. Jack O’Brien For example, if you need to know the structure of the chlorophyll molecule, you naturally go to Wikipedia on the web and you get an informed answer in seconds. But if you happen to composing a monograph about the Roman Emperor Justinian and decide that for the sake of verisimilitude you should mention his favorite breakfast food, your only hope is to download, and you’ll get the answer within minutes, at a price of course (oatmeal porridge with goat’s milk, washed down with Falernian wine, because the water supply was undrinkable and coffee or tea hadn’t been invented).That in fact was precisely why it was so dangerous to consult Josh; you had to wade through a mountain of irrelevant detail to get to the bit you needed. Of course, on the web you could simply delete everything beyond the first 20 words, but Josh had a nasty habit of saying he needed time to research, and would be glad to deliver the answer over lunch. I have had many a three-hour lunch and emerged without an answer, simply because Josh couldn’t stop talking. Amongst well-brought-up people, when someone seems to be dominating the conversation, you break in when he pauses to draw breath, but Josh never seemed to need air. It seems that he had once trained as a baritone, and latched on to the trick of never seeming to draw breath, thus depriving his audience of their only weapon short of walking away.One time when Josh trapped me into a lunch, I unthinkingly complimented him for being on time, and got a 60-minute dissertation on Timekeeping, starting with the sundial, the water clock, the spermaceti candle, the escapement, springs versus weights, the Chronometer, the piezo-electric crystal, the argon laser and its descendants etc., until I let out a scream and left the scene, without ever getting an answer to my original question.I did, however, eventually learn how to stop the flow. I poured an extract of rotting catfish in formalin into an after-shave spray bottle, and under the cover of the table pressed the plunger at the height of his peroration. The atrocious smell stopped him for the precise second it needed to break the flow, and I didn’t give him an opportunity to interrupt for the rest of the meal.Of course, he never again responded to my e-mails, much less invited me to lunch, so I was the loser in the end, but I never really regretted that glorious moment when he stopped talking for a second. Facebook Commentscenter_img No related posts.last_img read more

Costa Rica launches catalog of premium food products

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican food producers look for new buyers at international fairs Ticos abroad: Which Costa Rican products do you miss the most? Intel’s exit still affecting Costa Rica export figures Costa Rican company begins exporting wood-burning stoves Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER) this week presented the Costa Rica Food Specialties Catalog, a publication that brings together 39 companies from the local food industry and a sample of 57 premium quality products.The catalog aims to become a promotion tool to show buyers from international markets the high added value of Costa Rican products, and is part of the strategies of the country’s brand, “Essential Costa Rica,” PROCOMER officials said.The publication includes information on Tico specialty products in six categories: Beverages and Liqueurs; Ready to Eat Meals & Frozen Products; Jams, Marmalades and Fruit Preserves; Pastas; Bakery, Confectionery & Sweeteners; Sauces, Condiments & Canned vegetables; and Snacks.Each product includes pictures, descriptions, and company information both in Spanish and English.Members of PROCOMER, the Costa Rican Food Industry Chamber (CACIA), the Chamber of Exporters, the Costa Rican Chamber of Industries, and Lafise Bank formed an interagency committee in charge of making the final selection of the featured products.In choosing the goods committee members qualified each of the product’s strengths in attributes such as: packaging, exclusiveness, innovative manufacture processes, high quality and Costa Rican origin, among others.CACIA president José Manuel Hernando said the document will be a useful tool for associates, and he promised that positive results will be evident in the short term.Print and digital versions of the catalog will be distributed starting this week. Print issues will be sent in coming days to supermarket chains in the U.S., Canada, and other countries in Europe, Asia, South and Central America and the Caribbean.Digital versions (flipbooks) will be distributed through Costa Rican embassies, consulates and PROCOMER offices in other countries.See the flipbook at: Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Who was Juan Santamaría Five debated things you should know

first_imgRelated posts:Life in Juan Santamaría’s Costa Rica: A look back Automotores Orletti: Memories of the Argentine dictatorship Latin America between Kennan and Obama Cuba marks Castro uprising anniversary with call for US embargo end Costa Rica fetes its first and most-loved national hero, Juan Santamaría, on Saturday, April 11. His name adorns the international airport in his native Alajuela, and schoolchildren across the country learn his story. But how much of that story is legit?In the Battle of Rivas, Nicaragua, on April 11, 1856, the humble drummer boy set fire to a garrison lodging mercenary troops who sought to take control of Central America for the United States. His selfless act of bravery changed the course of the war and saved Costa Rica from becoming a slave depot.Or so the legend goes.As with most legends, people have debated the veracity of the details since shortly after the event took place. Costa Rica officially takes great pride in having made a working-class campesino its national hero rather than a military or political leader (Costa Rica claims to be the only Latin American country to have done so). However, some historians and sociologists say the original construction of the Juan Santamaría myth was, well, convenient.In the second half of the 1800s, Costa Rican leaders were looking for something around which to form a national identity, and particularly something — or someone — that would engage the lower and middle classes and secure their loyalty.That someone was Juan Santamaría.Five things to know about Costa Rica’s national hero:1) A Panamanian started Juan Santamaría’s path to heroism.The first time Juan Santamaría’s name was mentioned to a wide audience was in a speech and in pamphlets authored by Panamanian-Colombian politician José de Obaldía in 1864. (The two countries were several times united under the same flag.)De Obaldía was exiled in Costa Rica at the time, and as part of the September 15 Independence Day activities that year, he delved into the details of the 1856 Battle of Rivas and wrote:“Gentlemen, the humble hero…is named Juan Santamaría, known as Gallego. Honor his memory!”The reference to Gallego is unclear, though Juan Santamaría’s mother may have had the last name Gallegos.Despite de Obaldía’s prescience, the nation’s political leaders basically forgot about Santamaría until 1885, according to Costa Rican historian David Díaz Arias. That’s the year Guatemalan dictator Justo Rufino Barrios decided to revive the idea of uniting the isthmus in a single Federal Republic of Central America — by force, if necessary.Costa Rican leaders decided Juan Santamaría was the perfect figure around which to consolidate a national identity they hoped citizens would fight to defend.2) Juan Santamaría was mixed race.Santamaría’s nickname was “El Erizo,” which could mean “burr” or “sea urchin” — he had curly hair, a testament to his partly African heritage.But Costa Rican leaders at the time weren’t at all interested in emphasizing the country’s mixed heritage; they wanted the country to be seen as “white.”Part of the politicos’ plan to elevate Juan Santamaría to hero status was to build a statue, the one that currently stands in Alajuela. They hired a French sculptor to craft it, and when it was unveiled, in 1891, Santamaría looked a lot like a French soldier.Then, in 1897, Costa Rican painter Enrique Echandi Montero, threw a wrench in the hero’s identity. He painted a scene of Juan Santamaría’s legendary fire-setting deed, and in it he showed the hero as an exhausted-looking peasant with mulatto features.The image was more of a “fallen hero,” along the lines of Jesus on the cross, than a determined warrior, wrote historian Guillermo Brenes Tencio.The owner of the daily La República, Juan Vicente Quirós, did not like it. On Jan. 25, 1897, he wrote an article saying the painting was “worthy of the flames.”He called the work “reproachable from an artistic point of view” and “a caricature that sacrilegiously makes fun of the hero and makes the entire country look sadly ridiculous.”Look for a likeness of Juan Santamaría today and you’re likely to find one based on the French-made statue.3) Juan Santamaría was actually the third person to try to set fire to the mercenaries’ garrison.Santamaría was the guy who finished the job, not the one who started it. The first two to attempt to set fire to the garrison were a lieutenant from Cartago, who was wounded, and a Nicaraguan soldier, who died.In a paper, Alejandra Murillo Goussen postulated that the first two wouldn’t have worked as national heroes: the lieutenant because he didn’t actually die for the cause, and the soldier because he wasn’t Costa Rican. That left Santamaría.4) No one knows where Juan Santamaría is buried.In 1981, then-Sandinista commander Daniel Ortega made a big show of meeting Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo Odio at the border to hand over the supposed remains of Juan Santamaría and other Costa Rican soldiers killed in the Battle of Rivas.The story was that the remains of Juan Santamaría had been found buried underneath an atrium in Rivas in a box marked with the initials “JS,” historian Díaz Arias recounted in a 2014 article in La Nación.Díaz suggests that politicians from both countries used the event to attempt to renew the symbolism of Juan versus foreign meddlers (ahem, the United States) and to turn Santamaría into a Central American hero, not just a Costa Rican one.But some Costa Ricans were suspicious — both of the motives and of the contents of Santamaría’s supposed coffin.They were right: several months later, a commission of Costa Rican scientists formed to evaluate the authenticity of the remains issued a report saying that the promised sacred bones weren’t even human.5) Costa Rica’s reputation as the Switzerland of Central America may have started with Juan Santamaría.You might think the whole Switzerland comparison is about Costa Rica’s political neutrality and relatively high standard of living. But here too, Santamaría might have a role.In his scathing 1897 review of Enrique Echandi Montero’s painting of Santamaría, La República owner Quirós called the hero “the Guillermo Tell of our mountains.”Guillermo (Wilhelm in German) Tell is a 14th century Swiss folk hero who was ordered by a tyrant to shoot an apple off his son’s head. Tell, as legend has it, drew his crossbow and split the apple without so much as brushing the boy.The tyrant, Albrecht (or Hermann) Gessler, was impressed, but hauled Tell off anyway to spend his life in a dungeon. On the way, Tell made a daring escape, assissinated Gessler and went on to help lead a rebellion that eventually resulted in Switzerland.Or so the legend goes.Correction: The original version stated that Wilhelm Tell was ordered to shoot an apple off the head of a tyrant’s son. The text has been corrected to reflect that it was Tell’s son. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Specialists in Costa Rica Ship found at Punta Uva could be the

first_imgRelated posts:Osa Peninsula organization promotes human development, conservation Costa Rica’s Epsy Campbell speaks out against Venezuelan elections Unaccompanied Costa Rican child ‘doing well’ after being found in Arizona desert The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Jan. 14, 2019 The Ambassadors group, a nonprofit community initiative to promote purposeful diving among southern Caribbean youth in Costa Rica, said it is already working with the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and local residents to safeguard the find, both from theft and from high tides that could wash the hull back out to sea.Salvador Van Dyke, a student of underwater archaeology at East Carolina University, and the Punta Uva Dive Center were listed as key players in the weekend’s findings. Courtesy of the Sea Ambassadors Community Dive Center Facebook Comments Specialists who have been working to identify remnants of shipwrecks in Costa Rica’s Southern Caribbean say that a ship’s hull brought ashore by the tides this weekend at Punta Uva could belong to the Daisy Gray, built in 1936.The Ambassadors of the Sea Community Diving Center (Centro Comunitario de Buceo Embajadores y Embajadoras del Mar) said in an email statement that the ship was abandoned in 1954 when was en route to Cuba from Honduras.Archaeological diver Gloriana Brenes had found parts of the shipwreck last year as seen in this video, but the hull was floating throughout the area and disappeared, the email said. The piece of the hull that washed up this week is approximately 12 meters long.See the video of previous expeditions here:last_img read more

A US ally Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi dies

first_imgDuring Meles’ election win in 2005, when it appeared the opposition was likely to make gains, Meles tightened security across the country, and on the night of the election declared a state of emergency. Opposition members accused Meles of rigging the election, and demonstrations broke out. Security forces moved in, killing hundreds of people and jailing thousands.In 2010 Meles won another five years in office while receiving a reported 99 percent of the vote in an election that the U.S. and other international observers said did not meet international standards.Meles was the leader of a political coalition known as the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. He was also the longtime chairman of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and has always identified strongly with his party.“I cannot separate my achievements from what can be considered as the achievements of the ruling party. Whatever achievement there might have been, it does not exist independent of that party,” Meles once said when asked what he thought would be his legacy.Under Meles, Ethiopia saw strong gains in the education sector with the construction of new schools and universities. Women gained more rights. And in the mid-2000s Ethiopia saw strong economic growth, which won Meles international praise. The International Monetary Fund in 2008 said Ethiopia’s economy had grown faster than any non-oil exporting country in sub-Saharan Africa. Top Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Despite those gains, Ethiopia remains heavily dependent on agriculture, which accounts for 85 percent of the country’s employment. Per capita income is only about $1,000, or roughly $3 a day.Human rights groups have long denounced Meles’ government for its use of arbitrary detention, torture, and surveillance of opposition members. The ONLF, an opposition group that mostly consists of ethnic Somalis, has openly clashed with the government, including in 2007 when Ethiopia sent troops to Somalia to fight al-Shabab militants.The ONLF said Tuesday that Meles’ death is an opportunity for a new government to “initiate a new era of peace, stability, freedom and justice for the people of Ogaden and not to pursue the failed policies of the past.”At the end of 2006, Somalia’s U.N.-backed government asked Ethiopia to send troops into Somalia to try to put down an Islamist insurgency. Ethiopian troops moved into the country and captured Mogadishu, but the Somali population rebelled against what it saw as an occupation and Ethiopian forces withdrew in 2009.Ethiopia again sent troops to Somalia in early 2012 as part of an increased international effort to pressure al-Shabab. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Hailemariam Desalegn, who was appointed deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs in 2010, became acting prime minister and will be sworn in as prime minister after an emergency meeting of parliament, said Bereket Simon, the communications minister. Parliament is controlled by Meles’ ruling party and governing coalition, ensuring Hailemariam will be approved. No new elections will be scheduled, Bereket said.The death is not likely to have an impact on the strong U.S. diplomatic and military relations with Ethiopia, given the hand-picked nature of the transition of power.A European Union spokesman said that Meles died in Brussels. Officials had expected Meles to return to Ethiopia but a sudden complication reversed what had been a good recovery, Bereket said.Meles hadn’t been seen in public for about two months. In mid-July, after Meles did not attend a meeting of heads of state of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, speculation increased that his health problems were serious. Ethiopian officials gave no details and said the prime minister was in “very good” health and would return to office, but international officials said quietly it was unlikely he would recover. Associated PressADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s long-time ruler and a major U.S. counter-terrorism ally who is credited with economic gains but blamed for human rights abuses, died of an undisclosed illness after not being seen in his East African country for weeks, Ethiopian authorities said Tuesday. He was 57.Meles died in a Belgian hospital Monday just before midnight after contracting an infection, authorities said. Earlier in Meles’ tenure, from 1998-2000, Ethiopia fought a border war with Eritrea, a conflict that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.Meles grew up in the northern town of Adwa, where his father had 13 siblings from multiple women. He moved to the capital, Addis Ababa, on a scholarship after completing an eight-year elementary education in just five.Meles was the third African leader to die in office this year, following deaths in Malawi and Ghana. He is survived by his wife, Azeb Mesfin, a member of parliament, with whom he had three children.State TV said funeral arrangements would be announced soon.___Straziuso reported from Nairobi, Kenya.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix State TV on Tuesday showed pictures of Meles as classical music played in the background. Simon called the death shocking and devastating and the country’s council of ministers declared a national day of mourning.On Tuesday afternoon in Belgium, an Associated Press Television News crew saw a car containing a casket being driven from Saint Luc Hospital in Brussels. After stopping to pick up personnel at the Ethiopian Embassy, the car drove to a private airfield where an Ethiopian plane waited on the tarmac. Meles’ body was expected in Ethiopia later Tuesday.Opponents of Meles accuse him of killing and jailing opposition members and of rigging elections. Ethiopia’s Somalia community in particular has suffered under Meles, who won his last election in 2010 with a reported 99 percent of the vote.Reaffirming the U.S. commitment to Ethiopia, President Barack Obama said Meles deserved recognition for his contributions to his country’s development, including “his unyielding commitment to Ethiopia’s poor.” But Obama also encouraged Ethiopia to enhance its support for democracy and human rights.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Meles “will be remembered for his exceptional leadership and advocacy on African issues within and outside the continent, as well as for overseeing his country’s economic growth and development,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said.center_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Former U.S. president and Nobel peace laureate Jimmy Carter called Meles “a committed supporter” for two decades of the Carter Center’s work to improve the lives of Ethiopians that led to increased crop production, the training of 30,000 health workers, and programs to help prevent the spread of horrific diseases such as Guinea worm, river blindness and malaria.Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, offered his condolences and praised Meles’ development work, calling him “a respected African leader.” But he also expressed concern about the state of democracy in the country.“I sincerely hope that Ethiopia will enhance its path of democratization, upholding of human rights and prosperity for its people, and of further regional stabilization and integration,” Barroso said in a statement.Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga appealed to Ethiopians to “remain calm, maintain law and order and ensure the constitution is adhered to at this moment of transition.”Born on May 8, 1955, Meles became president in 1991 after helping to oust Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Communist military junta, which was responsible for hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian deaths. Meles became prime minister in 1995, a position that is both the head of the federal government and armed forces. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean The U.S. has long viewed Meles as a strong security partner and has given hundreds of millions of dollars in aid over the years. U.S. military drones that patrol East Africa _ especially over Somalia _ are stationed in Ethiopia. The U.S. goal for Somalia _ a stable government free of radical Islamists _ is in line with Ethiopia’s hopes.Though a U.S. ally, Ethiopia has long been criticized by human rights groups for the government’s strict control, and Meles’ legacy is likely to be mixed: positive on the economic development side and negative on the human rights side, said Leslie Lefkow, the deputy director for Human Rights Watch in Africa.Meles brought Ethiopia out of a difficult period following Mengistu’s rule and made important economic progress, she said, but the ruling party has been too focused on building its own authority in recent years instead of building up government institutions.“I think on the human rights side his legacy will be much more questionable. The country remains under a very tightly controlled one-party rule and this will be the challenge for the new leadership, to take advantage of the opportunity that his death presents in terms of bringing Ethiopia into a more human rights-friendly, reform-minded style of leadership,” Lefkow said.last_img read more

Brazil bridegroom bleeds to death at his wedding

first_imgRIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Media reports say a Brazilian bridegroom bled to death at his wedding reception when he tripped and fell on an empty glass of beer.The G1 news website says the freak accident occurred early Monday morning some six hours after navy sergeant Fabio Jefferson dos Santos Maciel and Geise Guimaraes tied the knot.Citing wedding guests, G1 says Maciel was dancing with one of the bridesmaids when he lost his balance and fell to the ground shattering the glass he was carrying in his left pants pocket. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Comments   Share   5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistcenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement G1 says a piece of glass severed his femoral vein, causing a massive loss of blood.He died shortly after being rushed to a nearby hospital.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Patients with chronic pain give advice Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img read more

2nd Uber office in China under investigation

first_imgBEIJING (AP) — Chinese police have visited Uber offices in a second city in a widening investigation into the company’s operations in China.An official at Chengdu’s city transportation commission said the visit Wednesday was part of an investigation into Uber allowing private drivers to offer their services via the taxi-hailing app, which has established a presence in about 10 Chinese cities.The Chinese government in January banned drivers of private cars from offering such services through apps. Police last week raided Uber offices in the southern city of Guangzhou, seizing thousands of iPhones and other equipment used to run the business.The city’s transport commission said it suspected Uber was operating an illegal taxi service without a proper business registration and threatened fines of 30,000 yuan, or about $4,860, to those operating such services.Uber faces multiples legal and regulatory challenges as it expands in the United States and abroad. In India, it has been banned in New Delhi, the southern technology hub of Hyderabad and the entire southern state of Karnataka.The Chengdu official, who like many Chinese bureaucrats identified herself only by her surname, Ren, said she had no further information about the investigation there.In a brief news release, Uber described the Wednesday incident as a “routine visit” and said there had been no disruption to the company’s operations.“We maintain open channels of communications, cooperating proactively with the authorities to help answer their questions on our local operations,” the release said.The company, which is valued at $40 billion, allows passengers to summon taxi drivers in more than 250 cities around the world. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Top Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How men can have a healthy 2019 Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Such services have become hugely popular in China’s congested cities, particularly those such as the capital Beijing and the financial hub of Shanghai where hailing a taxi on the street during rush-hour can be all-but-impossible.A late arrival to the China market, Uber faces heavy competition from more established local apps backed by major investors. Most estimates put its share of the Chinese market at about 1 percent.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Pentagon chiefs take on Iraqis undercuts Obamas strategy

first_imgPresident Barack Obama speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s blunt assessment that Iraqi forces lack the “will to fight” undermines a central premise of President Barack Obama’s strategy for defeating the Islamic State: that Iraq’s military can effectively handle ground operations so American forces don’t have to. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Obama’s strategy reflects both his aversion to deploying American combat forces overseas again and his belief that the U.S. cannot fight a war on another country’s behalf. Yet from the very start of the campaign to defeat the Islamic State group, there have been concerns both inside and outside the administration about the viability of relying on local forces.In Syria, a country ravaged by civil war, such forces are virtually nonexistent. After months of delay, the U.S. began training about 90 rebels at a camp in Jordan, well short of the administration’s goal of a 5,000-person force.In Iraq, the U.S. is focused on bolstering the same military it sought to strengthen during the war pursued by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush. Officials say the Iraqi forces were weakened after the U.S. withdrawal in 2011 in part because Sunnis didn’t want to fight on behalf of then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government.Al-Abadi, who succeeded al-Maliki last year, has taken steps to better empower minority Iraqis and reduce their support for Sunni extremists, U.S. officials say. But al-Abadi’s decision to include the Shiite militias in the campaign to retake Ramadi could exacerbate the very tensions he’s been pressed by the U.S. to ease. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   “What apparently happened is the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight,” Carter said Sunday on CNN. “They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force. That says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves.”His comments echoed Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, who said the Iraqi security forces were “not driven out of Ramadi. They drove out of Ramadi.”Iraqi officials disputed Carter’s characterization of the military’s strength, saying he had received “incorrect information.” Vice President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in an apparent attempt to ease his concerns about the U.S. commitment to his security forces, while administration officials quietly tried to clarify the Pentagon chief’s comments.On Tuesday, the Iraqi government announced the start of a major military effort aiming to drive the Islamic State from western Anbar province. The operation involved Iranian-backed Shiite militias, sparking fears of potential sectarian violence in the Sunni heartland.The White House has cast the loss of Ramadi as a setback but not a reason to revamp Obama’s strategy. Since last summer, a U.S.-led coalition has been launching airstrikes against Islamic State targets in both Iraq and Syria. While more than 3,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq to advise and train the military, the president has insisted Americans will not be engaged in combat and will instead rely on local forces to carry out ground operations under cover of the airstrikes. Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img ___AP National Security writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.___Follow Pace at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. “The failure, it’s not one of courage,” Marina Ottaway, a Middle East analyst at the Wilson Center, said of the Iraqi military. “It’s one of politics.”For now, Obama is showing no sign of significantly shifting his strategy or easing his opposition to sending American forces back into combat in Iraq. Instead, the White House is essentially pleading for patience and even more time to train Iraqis.“That’s a training process that can’t be done in a week,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday. “That’s not a seven-day training course. This is going to require a more sustained commitment.”The U.S. already has spent years and billions of dollars trying to position the Iraqi military to take charge of the country’s security. As the U.S. military withdrew from Iraq in 2011 after more than eight years of war, Obama declared that local forces were indeed ready to take on that mission.With a fresh infusion of American trainers last year and a new Shiite government pledging to be more inclusive to Sunnis, Iraqi forces had made apparent progress against the Islamic State in recent months. But the rout in Ramadi, the strategically important capital of Anbar province, highlighted the military’s weakness anew. Fleeing the city, Iraqi forces abandoned U.S military vehicles, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery pieces. Patients with chronic pain give advice WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s blunt assessment that Iraqi forces lack the “will to fight” undermines a central premise of President Barack Obama’s strategy for defeating the Islamic State: that Iraq’s military can effectively handle ground operations so Americans don’t have to.Carter’s comments in a weekend interview reflect deep concern within some quarters of the administration about the capabilities of Iraq’s security forces. Despite outnumbering Islamic State forces, the military suffered a major defeat this month in the city of Ramadi. And some officials question whether it can overcome the same sectarian divisions between Sunnis and the Shiite-dominated government that gave the Islamic State space to thrive. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 treatments for adult scoliosis How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Tourism all that jazz for New Orleans postKatrina

first_imgTourism in New Orleans – the birthplace of jazz – is starting to swing like it did before Hurricane Katrina silenced the Louisiana city five years ago. Since then, the tourism sector has led the city’s economic recovery, said economic development officials in a Deseret News report.New Orleans’ long-term goal is to have a diversified economy, but the city is not there yet, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, Stephen Perry said.”In the short term and in the mid-term, it was clear the culture and tourist industries would be the big difference in getting back on our feet.”It not only put a lot of middle class people in the city back to work, it had a tremendous impact on the tax revenue.”Mr Perry estimated that tourism had regained about 82 per cent of its pre-Katrina momentum, when it was a US$5 billion industry. The industry contributes close to 30 per cent of the city’s operating budget through hotel occupancy taxes and sales taxes.New Orleans received 7.5 million visitors in 2009, compared to a typical pre-storm year of 8.5 million, according to Mr Perry’s agency. This translated to hotel occupancy for January through May being up 13.1 per cent from last year, according to Jan Freitag of Smith Travel Research.The biggest challenge for the city is overcoming negative perceptions that have been perpetuated by videos of the 2005 flooding and the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.”People thought we were still flooded long after the hurricane, long after the flood waters were gone,” Perry said.”We were having the best six months we have had since Katrina, and then the oil spill came along … and now we’re battling an image problem again.” Royal Street, New Orleans. The city’s recovery following Hurricane Katrina has been led by tourism. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C. Clast_img read more

Flood damage shuts Thai airport

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J All flights in and out of Thailand’s second largest airport, Don Muang have been redirected or cancelled after flood water flowed onto the runways earlier this week.The airport announced in an online statement that from 25 October at 7.00pm water damage as well as affects from lightening forced the airport to cancel its operations until further notice.Nok Air announced that it had suspended all services to the airport, while Orient Thai said it would move its flights to Suvarnabhumi airport.The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) retained its ‘high degree of caution’ advice for travellers heading to or already in the country.In the online advice DFAT recommended holiday-makers contact their airlines to see if flights are running on time and while the majority of tourism regions remain unaffected, the region of Ayutthaya has received damage.“There is extensive flooding in outer parts of the greater Bangkok area,” the DFAT advice read.“The Thai authorities have warned that further flooding, including in inner Bangkok, is possible.”Meanwhile the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has stressed that mainly provinces in central Thailand have experience flood damage and main tourist regions such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Sukhothai, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Pattaya, Ko Chang, Rayong, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, and Ko Samui remain safe and unaffected by floods. TAT said while flood waters drain out via canals, tourists travelling to regions including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Sukhothai should consider air travel as some road leading in have been closed off and some railways terminated for the time being. Click here for more TAT updates on Thailand’s flooding. last_img read more

NZ Southern Lakes tops sites to see

first_imgQueenstown landscape The Rugby World Cup will not be the only reason visitors will be flocking to New Zealand after the Southern Lakes region was selected as one of the Top Ten Region to visit next year.Sitting at Number Eight on Lonely Planet top attractions list, New Zealand’s Queenstown, Lake Wanaka and Fiordland are the only NZ based regions to be selected to feature in book alongside Borneo, Sicily, Northern Kenya and Coastal Wales.Lonely Planet New Zealand spokesperson said the new is not a shock to anyone who knows the region enough to recognise its “breathtaking” beauty. “Words like breathtaking, jaw-dropping, exhilarating and stunning are grossly overused in the tourism industry but the Southern Lakes region has a right to them all,” the spokesperson said.While Destination Queenstown chief executive Tony Everitt added that the top ten spot is likely to benefit the area which experience a slight down fall in arrivals after the Christchurch quake. “To receive this kind of endorsement by Lonely Planet is priceless for Queenstown and the Southern Lakes as well as New Zealand,” he added.Renowned for its diversity and tranquility, an excerpt from the book highlighted that the region has a wide-range of activities as well as locations to relax.“There isn’t a bad time to turn up in the world’s top adventure playground,” the book read. “There’re nonstop outdoor activities year-round in the resort towns of Queenstown, Wanaka and Te Anau, as well as the surrounding mountains, lakes and parks… Where else can you ski in the morning and golf or water ski in the afternoon? “Add excellent wineries and superb restaurants and what more is there to say?”What do you think of the selection? Is the Southern Lakes on your list of things to do next year? Wanaka landscape Fiordland Mitre Peak reflection at Milford Sound Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Air travel flies over September

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J More travellers took to the sky in September this year compared to the corresponding months last year with up to 5.6 percent more air passengers.According the International Air Transport Association (IATA), international picked up to levels reached in July and was a pleasant break from the “dip in August”.North American travellers were the busiest in September this year with load factor reaching 82.6 percent followed by European carriers reaching 82.4 percent. While the US topped load factor, Latin American carriers welcomed that largest growth, with demand sitting at 10.6 percent in September compared to 6.7 percent in August.European carriers saw demand dip down to 9.2 percent while capacity increased 9.5 percent and Middle Eastern airlines saw popularity rise to 9.1 percent in September this year while capacity shot up 8.5 percent.Domestic also picked up during the month compared to August with 3.8 percent more travellers, up from 2.2 percent the prior months.India lead domestic travel with an 18.4 percent growth while capacity shot up by 20.1 percent.China followed in domestic visitors with demand at 9.7 percent while Brazil saw a 7.5 increase in demand and capacity jump up by 14.6 percent.“September’s strength in passenger demand was a pleasant surprise,” IATA director general Tony Tyler explained.Despite the rise the transport Group is expected yearly figure to fall as we reach the year’s closing with its Airline Business Confidence survey finding profitability expected to decline from $6.9 billion in 2011 to $4.9 billion in 2012.  Mr Tyler said economic uncertainty plays a role in a weaker airline industry and aviation taxes do not help an airline’s cause. “Last month the UK recognized the harm that its GBP2.5 billion Air Passenger Duty was doing in Northern Ireland and announced a major cut,” Mr Tyler explained.“It’s time to apply that lesson at a more global level. “Increasing the cost of doing business by making air transport more expensive destroys competitiveness. “Governments should protect the 33 million jobs and $3.5 trillion in economic activity supported by aviation with a sound policy framework—not by suffocating the industry with taxes.” last_img read more

ICAO moves against emissions system

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The European Union (EU) has called the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) pitch against a proposed emission trading system “disappointing”, stating that the organisation should encourage States to work towards curbing aviation emissions.The move comes after the Aviation Organisation accepted a working paper compiled by up to 26 countries that urges the Group to deny the proposal that would see airlines purchasing permits to reduce greenhouse emissions from planes operating in, to and from Europe, Air Cargo reported.Expected to come into action from 1 January next year, airlines have said the tax would see them lose out at a particularly poor economical period and expect to see the system cost them up to EUR1.2 billion next year alone.However, EU member Connie Hedegaard stressed the tax would be a viable solution to help reduce emissions.”It is disappointing that ICAO discussions once again focus on what States should not do instead of what they should do to curb growing aviation emissions,” Mr Hedgegaard told the source.last_img read more

Macau a hit with Australian travellers

first_imgMacau’s recently opened Sands Cotai Central The island of Macau has become a popular holiday destination for Australians with the regions tourism board expecting the trend to increase in 2012. According to the Macau Government Tourist Office, in the first quarter of 2012, the number of Australians visiting the region increased by over 15 percent year on year. Recent statistics reveal that for the month of March, Australian visitors to Macau increased from 8343 in 2011 to 9994 this year, an increase of almost 20 percent. Additionally, already 31,731 Australians have visited Macau this year compared with 27,537 visitors during the same period in 2011. Overall, Internationally Macau has welcomed a record 28 million visitors. Macau Government Tourist Office for Australia and New Zealand general manager Helen Wong attributes the growth to new attractions, new world class entertainment and shopping centres plus the quality international hotels. “Couple these features with a solid marketing plan in Australia and a healthy Australian dollar and we can look forward to even better times ahead,” Ms Wong said. “There’s little doubt such promotions as last year’s Macau Festival in Sydney’s Darling Harbour helped to not only bring awareness of Macau to Australians but to also highlight its many star attractions such as the UNESCO World Heritage sites as well as the new additions.”The recently opened US$4.4billion Sands Cotai Central, which includes 636 room Conrad Hotel and the 1224 room Holiday Inn Hotel will undoubtedly further boost the Islands economy and visitor arrival numbers. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

Anantara Medjumbe Island reopens with refreshed style

first_imgAnantara Medjumbe Island reopens with refreshed styleSecluded on a pristine private island in the Quirimbas Archipelago off the northern coast of Mozambique, Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort has reopened following an extensive refurbishment. The 12-villa, adults-only African island hideaway now features refreshed décor, luxury villa upgrades and new signature experiences, including a Robinson Crusoe-style star bed for the ultimate romantic escape.Naturally intimate, Medjumbe Island is a mere one kilometre long and 300 metres wide. Tranquil seclusion in paradise is matched by convenient access, just a 45 minute light aircraft transfer from Pemba International Airport, which can be reached from Mozambique’s capital Maputo or international flights from Johannesburg or Dar es Salaam. Now, with a host of enhancements, the resort has reopened to offer more unique signature experiences and natural attractions and will soon be the only African island resort to use 100% solar energy.Refreshed décor gives Anantara Medjumbe a distinctive African island identity. The resort has been extensively restyled using colourful patterns to depict the vibrancy of local culture.  Shades of blue and aqua reflect the evolving hues of the Indian Ocean. All of the 12 thatched Beach Pool Villas, which open onto soft powdery sands, exude a sense of natural luxury, including newly designed private splash pools with an aqua mosaic finish, and a built-in Champagne step to sip bubbles while admiring the Indian Ocean view. In the guest villas and public areas, the majority of furniture and lighting was custom designed by interior designers, Savile Row, and produced in Indonesia and South Africa with incredible attention to detail. Various accessories were sourced from around the African continent and framed artworks were created using traditional wax printed capulana fabrics that were sourced from local markets.Surrounding Medjumbe Island, Quirimbas National Park boasts an impressive number of pristine coral reefs that attract an abundance of marine life, making it one of the world’s best snorkelling and scuba diving destinations, as well as a prime haven for dolphin and whale watching boat trips. The turtles which are frequently sighted in the water also come ashore to lay their eggs – often right in front of Anantara’s beachfront villas. Water sport thrills range from water skiing to wake- and knee-boarding. Romantics can travel by dhow sailing boat to picnic on a deserted island, or set off at dusk for a Champagne sunset cruise.Adding to the wide range of ocean experiences, the resort’s new dhow sailing boat lesson offers couples a bonding 90-minute experience on the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, with the option of both taking up the challenge of mastering traditional techniques, or one relaxing onboard and cheering on their partner. Guided by a team of three experienced local skippers, guests learn how to work the ropes, check for wind direction, control the sail and steer. The brand new Robinson Crusoe-style star bed experience invites couples to spend a night sleeping in a king size four-poster bed surrounded by lanterns, underneath a twinkling night sky.Source = Anantara Medjumbelast_img read more

RIO 2016 Reasons why you should take the next flight to Brazil

first_imgRIO 2016: Reasons why you should take the next flight to BrazilRIO 2016: Reasons why you should take the next flight to BrazilWith the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro approaching on Friday, August 5th, the athletes are making their way to the ‘Marvelous City’. Fans from every country in the world are heading to Brazil as well. It’s a huge party to celebrate and promote peace and diversity through sports, and a great opportunity to explore Rio de Janeiro, its beaches, culture, and lifestyle.The United States will bring to Rio one of its biggest Olympics delegations in years, with 555 members that will represent Team America in 27 sports (40 disciplines). They will participate in 244 of the 306 medal events, and certainly will make their fellow Americans proud.Audiences from around the world will be watching daily the sporting events that will take place in Brazil, but only visitors to Rio de Janeiro will be able to experience the atmosphere of the Games in its totality, with thousand of cultural events, Olympic Houses, and the energy of fans from all over the world.For those of you who haven’t planned in advance, there are still tickets available for many events. Check out for availability, and book the next flight!Below you will find some of the reasons you should not miss this opportunity:Historical Event. For the first time in history the Olympics will take place in South America. It has major significance for the continent and the Olympic movement. The games will take place in one of the most spectacular sceneries in the world, surrounded by hospitable people, and amazing culture and cuisine. Rio de Janeiro has been transformed to host the games, and it is even more attractive to visitors, with new public spaces, museums, hotels, and a transportation system that facilitates travel.The Party. It is already clear that Brazil, and particularly Rio de Janeiro, knows better than anyone how to organize a great party. With several events in recent years, such as the 2007 Pan American, 2013 Confederations Cup, and the 2014 World Cup, and without forgetting that every year Rio host the famous carnival event that receives millions of revelers, Brazil has proved to be a master organizer. Add to that the Brazilian cheerful and relaxed lifestyle, and this makes this Olympics an unforgettable experience.Cultural Effervescence. In addition to the Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro will have a marathon of cultural events in the city, with hundreds of concerts, exhibitions, and street performances. The Olympic Boulevard, located in the newly renovated city center, the Porto Maravilha, will be the center of celebrations organized by the city during the games. The Boulevard is one of three “live sites” during the Olympics and it will have three stages with live shows, large screens that will broadcast sporting events, and over 230 performances.Olympics International Houses. More than 30 countries have confirmed locations for their official residences during the games. There will be hospitality houses all over the city and in the main beach districts. About half of them will be open to the public, while entry to some country houses will be restricted to athletes and invited guests only. Brazil’s house will be located in the city center, in Praça Maua, where Rio’s Olympic entertainment zone will be located. Here’s the complete list of the international houses, with address and attractions.Brazil Experience. Although mostly concentrated in Rio de Janeiro, the Olympics are all over the country. Tourists that go to Rio or any city hosting Olympic football games (Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Manaus, Salvador or São Paulo), should take the opportunity to also visit other regions in the country, and experience Brazil’s cultural and gastronomic diversity and the beauty of this great country.Visa Waiver. It is worth reminding that Americans do not need visas to enter the country. Just buy your tickets and board the plane! The visa exemption is also valid for citizens of Canada, Japan and Australia. The visa waiver period goes from June 1st to September 18th. Visitors do not need to have tickets for any Olympic event to take advantage of the visa waiver program. RIO 2016About Brazil TourismWith its spectacular beaches, lush rainforests, rich culture, exotic cuisine and exciting nightlife, Brazil is one of the most compellingcountries to visit today.  Travelers are invited to explore Brazil’s incredible geographical diversity – from the wetlands to the beaches. With a beautiful, tropical climate, Brazil is an easily accessible, exotic get-away for couples, families and business travelers. Source = Brazil Tourismlast_img read more