Soggy Jamaica cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Authorities said Sandy didn’t cause as much damage as they initially feared when it crossed the island Wednesday as a Category 1 hurricane. Still, the full extent of damage was unknown in Jamaica, where some major roads were still impassable. It would likely be days before life in many residential areas returned to normal.Sandy was blamed for the death of an elderly man in Jamaica who was crushed by a boulder. In Haiti, officials said there were nine deaths, including a man and two women who died while trying to cross storm-swollen rivers in southwestern Haiti.In Jamaica, about 70 percent of the island lost power during the storm and many towns and cities were left without water service. Schools in the capital of Kingston and eastern parishes were closed until next week.The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association said resorts in Montego Bay and Negril sustained no major damage. North coast cruise ship terminals reopened to vessels.In the impoverished Kingston community of Maverley, Eliter Barkley swept up tree branches, leaves and pieces of metal roofing scattered outside the tiny rum bar where she and her relatives spent Wednesday night after Sandy destroyed their shack. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Comments   Share   Associated PressKINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – Work crews in soaked Jamaica cleared debris and downed power lines left in Hurricane Sandy’s wake while trying to restore electricity to more than half of the Caribbean country Thursday.Curfews were lifted and international airports reopened under cloudy skies, which unleashed occasional downpours. People in hard-hit shantytowns struggled to repair battered homes after sheet metal roofs blew off. Parents, stop beating yourself up Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories “Everything I own is wet and in the mud,” said Augustin, a 32-year-old unemployed mother of a 3-year-old.In Jamaica, all of St. Thomas, Portland and St. Ann parishes in eastern Jamaica lost power during the storm, said Winsome Callum, spokeswoman for the islands’ electricity provider, Jamaica Public Service Ltd. Numerous customers in Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine also lost service.The storm’s aftermath may be most difficult for the island’s farmers. The agriculture ministry said early reports estimate more than half the island’s banana sector was damaged.After an aerial survey of lush Portland parish, Parliament member Daryl Vaz said there was extensive roof damage to hundreds of buildings and the rural area’s cultivated fields were devastated.“There is no banana tree standing and all crops have been wiped out,” Vaz said, adding that the government should declare the rural eastern parish a disaster area.___Associated Press writer Trenton Daniel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Barkley said she and her sister were trying to calm their terrified children when Sandy ripped most of the corrugated metal off their small home’s roof shortly after it made landfall with sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph) about five miles east of Kingston. Minutes later, a tree fell on part of the house, sending the entire family screaming into the street.“The front and the side got mashed up good. We just ran here in the storm all wet,” Barkley said outside the Uptown Inn bar, where about a dozen adults and children huddled together until morning.In Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince, where many people still live in tents and other temporary shelters since losing their homes in the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake, entire streets gave way to rushing waters. Many people carried belongings on their heads and in suitcases.Rose Ducast, a 28-year-old mother of three, said she would stay in her tarp-constructed home despite offers from foreign aid groups for shelter. The structure was leaking Thursday and her belongings were wet, but she said evacuation shelters were “unlivable.”It was wet and uncomfortable for Mariefrance Augustin, a resident of the Cite Soleil shantytown, where Sandy caused flooding just as Tropical Storm Isaac did when it passed over southern Haiti two months ago. How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Inquest Journalist killed by Thai armys bullet

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Elisabetta Polenghi, 48, his younger sister, was among 13 witnesses who testified in the court case. She was accompanied by her mother and her elder sister to hear the court’s order on Wednesday.“It was positive but it’s not the solution,” Elisabetta Polenghi said of the inquest’s results. “The solution will come when the responsible will be asked to go out of their duty, away from position that can hurt people.”The Polenghi case is the eighth inquest initiated by Thai authorities to seek the cause of deaths of those killed in the violence. The court previously ruled that five people were killed by guns used by military personnel, while two inquests were inconclusive on who committed the killings.Abhisit’s government approved the use of live ammunition under limited conditions and deployed sharpshooters and snipers during the demonstration.The Red Shirt-allied government that succeeded Abhisit’s agreed last year to pay compensation to all the victims of violence in order to promote political reconciliation.Rights groups have repeatedly called for the government to hold the army accountable.“It’s the first step towards achieving justice in this case and we’re encouraged that the judges effectively acknowledged that the bullet came from state security forces,” said Shawn Crispin, a Southeast Asia’s representative of the non-profit Committee to Protect Journalists. “It’s clear that the family of Fabio is going to fight this and will effectively try to establish and hold to account those at the highest ranks of the chains of command that ordered soldiers to shoot that day.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches BANGKOK (AP) – An Italian photographer killed while covering the Thai military’s crackdown on anti-government protesters in Bangkok three years ago was shot by a high-velocity bullet like those issued to soldiers, a judge said Wednesday.The inquest said it was unknown who fired the bullet and stopped short of outright blaming the military. Rights groups have repeatedly called for Thailand’s government to hold the powerful army accountable for its part in the violence. A Bangkok South Criminal Court judge said that the inquest into the death of 48-year-old Fabio Polenghi showed the fatal shot “was fired from the direction of security forces” who were mobilized to quash the demonstration in central Bangkok.It was likely Polenghi was killed by a bullet from the .223 cartridge which was used with M-16 and HK33 rifles issued to soldiers on the ground that day, the inquest said.The findings were a stark reminder of a battle fought between the Red Shirt protesters and the government under then-Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, which led to at least 91 deaths during the two months of demonstrations on the streets of Bangkok in 2010, and of a political divide that remains in the country.Polenghi was shot as he tried to take pictures of the army’s assault on the Red Shirt encampment.Testimonies from the inquest that began last July showed the bullet went in Polenghi’s back and came through his left chest. The judge said the bullet went through his heart, lung and liver, causing excessive bleeding until he died at the hospital on May 19, 2010.Born in Italy in 1962, Polenghi had been a fashion photographer for many years but was transitioning to news.center_img Quick workouts for men Thai authorities have a long history of shielding military personnel from prosecution in political bloodsheds in recent decades.Polenghi’s lawyer Karom Polpornklang said Wednesday the inquest will be used in a future court case against Abhisit and his then-deputy Suthep Thaugsuban, who controlled a joint government-military center that ran the operation ending the protests.“It has to be proven that the orders for the security forces to move in … came from Mr. Suthep and Mr. Abhisit. They cannot deny their responsibility and cannot be dismissed in this case,” Karom told reporters. “Or else an incident like this will happen again.”The Department of Special Investigation began a murder investigation of Abhisit and Suthep last year, but charges have not been brought to court.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Venezuela govt claims sabotage in deadly blast

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies A former PDVSA security chief questioned Ramirez’s explanation, calling it speculative and saying it raised questions about why the leak wasn’t detected.Shortly after the Aug. 25, 2012, conflagration at the Amuay refinery, reports emerged of faulty maintenance at the facility including dozens of accidents in the months before the disaster.Ramirez alleged the blaze was caused by the loosening of seven bolts at a pump, releasing gas that exploded when National Guard troops stationed at the refinery started up vehicles nearby to evacuate.He said the disaster caused $1.1 billion in damage. It took four days to extinguish the fire, and 42 people died and five were reported missing by official count. Only recently has the refinery restored production to 645,000 barrels per day of crude.The former PDVSA security chief, Gustavo Benitez, said he found it difficult to believe that insurers would pay for damages caused by the disaster based on Ramirez’s explanation.Benitez said that “the pump would have had to have been damaged, the sensors (that detect leaks) would have had to have been damaged” and mitigation systems as well. He said it appeared, rather, that “maintainence had been highly inefficient.” Patients with chronic pain give advice Maduro’s claim that the opposition was involved in alleged sabotage follows his repeated blaming of political rivals for Venezuela’s ills. Since winning election in April by a razor-thin margin, the hand-picked successor of the late President Hugo Chavez has accused the opposition of sabotaging the overstrained power grid, causing food shortages through hoarding and mounting four alleged plots to assassinate him.In no instance has Maduro substantiated the claims.Last week, he claimed opposition sabotage was behind a failure in the country’s main electrical transmission line that caused about 70 percent of the nation to lose power for more than a half day.Maduro on Monday predicted that “a war plan against the country will increase” in coming weeks. Elections are to be held Dec. 8 for mayors and municipal councils.Political opponents led by Henrique Capriles, who insists Maduro stole the April 14 presidential election through fraud, scoff at his claims of sabotage. They say he is making them a scapegoat for his government’s inadequacies and his waning popularity _ and to cover up corruption in this country with the world’s biggest proven oil reserves. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The Amuay disaster has raised questions about whether PDVSA has neglected maintenance while funneling revenues into the social programs that have made the socialist Chavistas popular with the poor.A report done for an insurance carrier published widely right after the disaster and obtained by The Associated Press found failures in the complex’s maintenance and listed dozens of accidents.It said the refinery had 222 accidents in 2011, including 100 fires mostly caused by breaks and leaks in pipes carrying combustible liquids.Lawmaker Maria Corina Machado, who belongs to an opposition commission that is investigating the Amuay disaster, said via Twitter on Monday that PDVSA’s accident rate is 12 times the world average.Critics say that in addition to refinery failures, PDVSA’s operations have suffered from the firing of nearly 18,000 oil workers in 2003, which was about 45 percent of the payroll, after they joined a strike called by Chavez’s political opponents to press demands that the president resign.Chavez died in March after 14 years in power.___Associated Press writers Christopher Toothaker in Caracas and Frank Bajak in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuela’s oil minister said Monday that sabotage caused an explosion and fire last year that killed more than 40 people at the country’s main oil refinery, saying someone deliberately loosened bolts and released highly flammable gas.The minister, Rafael Ramirez, did not say whether anyone specifically was suspected and ruled out employees of the state-owned PDVSA oil company. Separately, President Nicolas Maduro blamed the political opposition, although without providing evidence. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Nigeria 579 soldiers and officers on trial

first_img Comments   Share   Last year, three courts-martial condemned 72 soldiers to death by firing squad for alleged cowardice, mutiny, aiding the enemy and other charges related to fighting Boko Haram extremists.Human rights lawyer Femi Falana said the trials were “a travesty” and held in secret because evidence provided by his clients was a condemnation of Nigeria’s military establishment, indicating corrupt officers often divert money meant for salaries and arms.“Instead of bringing such unpatriotic officers to book, the military authorities have engaged in the diversionary tactics of wasting the lives of innocent soldiers by sentencing them to death without any legal justification,” he charged.Falana said the army was making scapegoats of inexperienced soldiers — his clients were aged between 21 and 25 — sent into battle with little training and insufficient weapons.At the time, soldiers told The Associated Press that many fled the battlefield because they ran out of bullets. They said Boko Haram was better armed than Nigerian troops.Since then Nigeria has acquired new weapons and this year a multinational force of troops from Nigeria and its neighbors has driven the extremists from the towns and villages where Boko Haram had declared an Islamic caliphate. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nearly 600 Nigerian officers and troops faced charges before a court-martial Wednesday, the army said. An unprecedented number of soldiers is believed to be on trial for alleged offenses related to the ongoing fight against an Islamic uprising in the northeast.Army spokesman Col. Sani Usman said 579 officers and troopers are before two courts-martial taking place in Abuja, the capital, to ensure a “quick dispensation of justice, discipline and professionalism.” He gave no details to journalists, including when the trials began. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Falana and other lawyers have appealed to the Federal High Court to overturn the convictions and death sentences, arguing the courts-martial were unconstitutional because they were not fair trials.The fate of the soldiers may be decided by the new administration of former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, a disciplinarian who takes office as president next week.___Associated Press writer Bashir Adigun contributed to this report from Abuja, Nigeria.___This story has been corrected to say that three courts-martial were held last year, not two as stated previously.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Northern Ireland leader blames heart attack on bad lifestyle

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Robinson said he had his heart attack after sending emails at 4 a.m. on what was a holiday. He said his exercise involves being driven from door to door.“If you looked at my diet you would cringe. It’s all around snacking and fast foods and all the things that you shouldn’t do,” he said.Robinson said doctors placed stents in three major arteries to improve blood flow.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishescenter_img Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility NEWCASTLE, Northern Ireland (AP) — Northern Ireland’s leader says he suffered a heart attack this week because he lives on junk food, gets too little sleep and no exercise.In his first comments since being released from hospital, First Minister Peter Robinson said he blames “myself and nobody but myself” for Monday’s brush with death.The 66-year-old spoke Saturday at the Irish Open golf tournament. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Human rights court allows ending treatment of comatose man

first_imgPARIS (AP) — Europe’s top human rights court has allowed doctors to stop treatment of a French man left comatose after a car accident seven years ago, a case that has drawn nationwide attention amid debate about end-of-life practices.The European Court of Human Rights on Friday confirmed a decision by a French court last year that Vincent Lambert had been clear he did not want to be kept in a vegetative state. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Top holiday drink recipes Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Quick workouts for men Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Terminal or palliative sedation doesn’t actively kill patients. It involves medicating patients until they die naturally of their illnesses or until they starve. But critics say it means patients can be sedated for weeks before they die and that it may be more humane to euthanize.All recent polls have shown that a large majority of French people favor legalizing euthanasia.Euthanasia is currently legal in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona The court’s ruling said withdrawing artificial nutrition and hydration would not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.Lambert’s family members disagree on whether to keep him alive artificially. His wife wants doctors to stop life support for him but his parents disagree.“There’s no relief, no joy to express. We’d just like his will to be done”, Lambert’s wife, Rachel, told journalists following the ruling of the Strasbourg-based court.The lawyer for Lambert’s parents, Jean Paillot, expressed “great disappointment” and called on doctors to reassess Lambert’s condition and “make a new medical decision” — stressing that the initial decision had been taken in January 2014.“We’ll continue to fight”, said Lambert’s mother.Euthanasia — which involves an act to kill the patient– is not legal in France. But end-of-life legislation allows doctor to stop treatments in certain cases, following a complex process that includes consultation with the family.Vincent Lambert’s case has prompted political movement on the issue.A new bill, backed by the Socialist government, is currently under discussion in Parliament to allow doctors to keep terminally ill patients sedated until death comes.last_img read more

Hits at Paris Air Show Vertical liftoff tiny satellites

Hits at Paris Air Show Vertical liftoff tiny satellites

first_img Check your body, save your life New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies ___SWIPE NAVIGATIONOne American company thinks pilots should operate their cockpit controls as they might their smartphone, with a simple swipe of the finger.Esterline displayed their all-glass cockpit, featuring an open architecture touchscreen, for military and light attack planes. The company said the screens can help pilots track of critical data, allowing them to tailor their views and streamline intelligence-gathering.The screens can make it easier for pilots to avoid losing their lunch, said company marketing vice president Steven Luys.“With a single touch of your finger, you can basically take the route and reroute your airplane to avoid this area of turbulence, just like that,” he said.___BOEING EN POINTEAnd a final bonus: Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner did an encore performance of its near-vertical takeoff Monday, dramatically lifting its 200-foot (61-meter) frame into the sky with acrobatic grace.It was the kind of move more often associated with roller coasters than airplanes, and had passengers been aboard they surely would have felt queasy. But the maneuver has made the plane an Internet sensation, garnering more than 9 million YouTube views.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ___WHEN CARS FLYSick of traffic-clogged commutes or island-hopping via slow ferries? Travelers may soon be able to fly their own single-seat private jet, small enough to fit in a garage.Polish company Metal Master showcased its single-engine Flaris jet, an experimental plane that weighs just 700 kilograms (1,540 pounds), less than half of an average car. It’s about the size of a car but rings up at 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million).Test pilot Maciej Peikert said the company expects the jets will “commute between areas where the infrastructure is relatively poor, or between islands or in mountains.”The plane’s glass cockpit fits a single pilot and it flies below the normal cruising height of regional commercial altitudes. It requires no more than a 600-meter (650-yard) grass airstrip to take off.Many companies are working on similar models, but few have begun making deliveries. Aircraft companies including Cessna and Eclipse, both in the United States, and Brazil’s Embraer have released small jet aircraft onto the market.___PUTTING THE ‘LITE’ IN SATELLITESometimes it pays to be small: At a tenth of the cost of their larger counterparts, nanosatellites from the University of Montpellier weigh as little as a kilogram (2.2 pounds) and can reach otherwise inaccessible places. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Four benefits of having a wireless security system Sponsored Stories Top Stories The student-built nanosatellites cost up to 300,000 euros ($340,000) each, in contrast to large satellites that go for hundreds of millions.Commercial nanosatellite developers and manufacturers include Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., a spinoff of the British University of Surrey, and California’s Planet Labs Inc.Montpellier’s Space Center and nanosatellite program receives support from the Van Allen Foundation so students can collaborate with researchers and industry professionals to build the miniature devices. So far, scientists have launched nanosatellites to monitor places like the Andes to better understand global warming.___THE TESLA OF THE SKYAirplanes have a sizeable carbon footprint — but Airbus is trying to change that, developing aircraft models with zero carbon dioxide emissions.Its E-fan plane is fully electric — using no oil or water — instead operating exclusively on batteries that pilots can recharge within an hour.The focus on models kinder to the environment is on trend, especially considering that the air show’s venue Le Bourget will host the U.N. Climate Conference this November. Boeing, Airbus’ primary competitor, is also working on creating greener aircraft models, collaborating with NASA on experimental hybrid electric designs.center_img An Efan 1 electric plane performs its demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Friday, June 19, 2015. The Efan is a two-seat experimental electric aircraft developed by Airbus Group and partners. Some 300,000 aviation professionals and spectators are expected at this week’s Paris Air Show, coming from around the world to make business deals and see dramatic displays of aeronautic prowess and the latest air and space technology. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere) LE BOURGET, France (AP) — Planes you can park in your garage. Satellites that fit in your backpack.Some of the coolest experimental technology showcased at this week’s Paris Air Show is about thinking small — though it’s easy to get distracted by the huge aircraft performing overhead, from thundering fighter jets to the surprising near-vertical liftoff of a Boeing passenger jet.These innovative ideas may change the way we travel, wage wars or explore space. Here are five that stood out at this year’s show, which runs through Sunday: For now, Airbus is only building these E-Fan jets for entry-level pilot training — the two-seater should go on the market in 2017 — but eventually the aircraft manufacturer is aiming bigger, said Chief Technical Officer Jean Botti.“Our objective here is to make a hybrid-electric 100-seater” in the next 15 years, Botti said.___REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLEAfter its February jaunt into space, the Intermediate Experimental Vehicle (IVX) was back on solid ground at the air show to boast of its successful flight.The European Space Agency (ESA) built the spaceplane to gain insight into developing vehicles that could safely leave and re-enter the atmosphere — a potentially less expensive means to explore space. Researchers are experimenting with technologies that involve new vehicle flaps and thrusters to better control flight patterns and new thermal protection materials.After a 100-minute journey that included 18 minutes in sub-orbit earlier this year, the IVX descended 8,000 kilometers (4,800 miles), broke through the atmosphere, and dove safely into the Pacific Ocean with the help of a parachute.NASA is also experimenting with re-entry vehicles that use an inflatable heat shield to slow and protect the vehicle. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

South Sudan military is accused of widespread abuses

first_imgIn another case, witnesses alleged that armed men gang-raped a 17-year-old girl and then fatally shot her, according to the U.N. report.“The government was in charge of this operation completely. They designed it, they implemented it, and they are claiming victory because of it,” said Wheeler of Human Rights Watch.South Sudan’s civil war has inflamed the country’s ethnic tensions. The Dinka followers of President Salva Kiir are pitted against the Nuer allies of former vice president Riek Machar. In Unity state, however, the fighting is mostly between the Bul, who have remained loyal to Kiir, and other Nuer groups aligned with Machar.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Parents, stop beating yourself up Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “They are trying to destroy our lives,” said survivor Angelina Nyaboth Chap Tang, who fled to a U.N. base in the state capital of Bentiu. “I lost my son. I lost my grain. I lost my cattle. Everything has been destroyed.”Tang said armed men killed her son in an attack two weeks ago in which her village was torched, grain stocks destroyed and cattle looted.Another survivor, Theresa Nyakama, said she lived off wild plants for a month before seeking shelter with the U.N. in Bentiu, where some 28,000 civilians have fled since the start of the offensive in May.Although both warring factions in South Sudan’s current conflict are accused of carrying out widespread abuses against civilians, government troops are increasingly reported to have committed large-scale atrocities in conflict zones where the rebels are perceived to have support.The pattern of attacks on “village after village” amounts to a “widespread and systematic” campaign by government forces to displace civilians, Human Rights Watch researcher Skye Wheeler told AP in Bentiu.“The opposition forces are dependent upon the civilian population for their livelihoods, so what the government has done in Rubkona, Koch, and Guit counties we know for sure, and perhaps in other areas as well, is implement a very large scale pattern of attacks on the civilian population, undercutting the (armed opposition’s) ability to live in those areas,” she said. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan’s army has burned people alive, raped and shot girls, and forced tens of thousands from their homes, according to interviews with survivors by The Associated Press and corroborated by human rights groups.The scorched earth campaign is apparently aimed at driving civilians out of the rebel-controlled parts of an oil-rich state, according to Human Rights Watch. South Sudan’s military is trying to depopulate the rural areas of Unity state through violence and hunger, said the group. The tactics, which include the alleged burning of grain stocks and the looting of life-sustaining property like cattle, are believed to be part of efforts to drain the rebels of their support base. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Humanitarian aid to the hardest hit areas has been “blocked” by the violence, according to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning System Network, which said in a report last week that “an increasing number of households are likely to face catastrophe,” or famine conditions in which people starve to death.Evidence of “serious” human rights abuses that represent a “new brutality and intensity, including such horrific acts as the burning alive of people inside their homes,” was presented in a report released this week by the human rights division of the U.N.’s mission in South Sudan. The U.N. report also alleged widespread sexual violence.South Sudan military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer denied the allegations, saying the army’s strategy is not to drive out civilians to undercut the rebels. He called for a full investigation including representatives of the U.N., the government and the opposition.Yet survivors of some horrific attacks in South Sudan believe government troops are responsible.In a recent interview in the U.N. base, survivor Chan Wang said he watched from a river where he hid as soldiers threw two women, his male neighbor and children into a hut and set it ablaze, killing all those inside. “If they don’t shoot them with a gun, they throw them into the burning house so that they die there,” he said.center_img Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Michael Jackson Gallery unveiled in Macau

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Michael Jackson fans, media and exclusive guests poured into Macau’s Ponte 16 resort on Monday night for the launch of the Asia exclusive MJ Gallery. Featuring 40 plus Michael Jackson memorabilia, The Gallery is expected to help boost visitors to the casino-entertainment resort. The red-carpet launch also included performances by International pop diva Coco Lee and singing sensation, Shaheen Jafargholi. “The MJ Gallery at Ponte 16 adds to the many reasons for visitors to come and enjoy Ponte 16, the only resort destination in Macau’s historic inner Harbour District. It is a great example of Macau’s ability to offer visitors innovative attractions against the backdrop of a city of unique culture and history, of interaction of East and West,” Chairman of Ponte 16, Macau, Dr. Ambrose So said.First of its kind in Asia, The Gallery’s most popular items were MJ’s famed Swarovski studded glove and socks featured when he first performed his hit Billie Jean.last_img read more

APPEA wins prestigious national conference award

first_imgSource = APPEA The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) is thrilled to have won a major national award for its 50th anniversary National Conference and Exhibition held in Brisbane last May.The winners of the 2010 Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) National Awards were announced at a gala dinner at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre last night. The MEA event was attended by around 1000 conference and event industry professionals. Having already won the state award, APPEA also won the national award for best Association or Government Meeting of the Year.APPEA Chief Executive, Belinda Robinson, said: “This award recognises the experience, talent and dedication of the APPEA staff in ensuring that the annual APPEA conference is the best it can possibly be.”In commending all those involved in the conference’s organisation and planning, Ms Robinson paid particular tribute to APPEA’s Events Director, Julie Hood, for her leadership and commitment to excellence.“In terms of organisation, attention to detail and determination to keep the APPEA conference at the forefront of a cluttered conference environment, the APPEA events team, led by Julie Hood, is without peer,” Ms Robinson said.APPEA 2010 was held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre from 16-19 May. Almost 2600 delegates attended, including international delegates from 25 countries. Delegates enjoyed a plenary and concurrent programme of high-calibre speakers from around the world. The associated Exhibition showcased more than 150 oil and gas exploration, production and business service companies, and provided a free wi-fi communications lounge and several networking lounges where delegates could mingle and do business.Other highlights included the launch of a history of APPEA and Australian oil and gas politics by industry author Rick Wilkinson, and the attendance of many of APPEA’s founding directors at an APPEA Hall of Fame function.“Winning the MEA award for the 2010 event was particularly gratifying as it was APPEA’s 50th Anniversary Conference,” Ms Robinson said.“The event not only addressed the challenges and opportunities of the present and the near future, but also celebrated the achievements of the last five decades in which Australia’s oil and gas industry has grown from fragile infancy into robust maturity. It was a memorable event and winning this MEA Award makes APPEA 2010 even more special for our association and our industry.”The 2010 conference would not have been possible without APPEA’s regular and loyal partners. These included Sane Event Group, Execugifts, Victor Goldsztein Event Management, Field Public Relations, Media Dynamics, Octavo Design, Exponet, the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, the Meetings Manager managing director Rosemary Ryan, Matt Farthing, and the technical team led by Tony Poynter (Poynter Productions) and Mark Algie (Blugreen).“I would like to extend my thanks to all our partners who assist us year after year in making our conference so successful,” Ms Robinson said.“The APPEA secretariat creates the framework for the event, but the conference and exhibition only comes to life when the people who know and are engaged in our industry come together to share ideas, network and socialise.“The APPEA Conference and Exhibition owes its success to the support given to it by the extended family of Australian oil and gas.” last_img read more

Concordia death tally rises CPT on house arrest

first_imgFive more bodies were retrieved from the half sunken Costa Concordia overnight, bringing the total death poll up to 11.All five bodies were located in the rear of the ship close to the emergency evacuation point, according to Italian Coast Guard commander Cosimo Nicastro who said the deceased were all wearing life jackets, The Australian reported.Overnight the Coast Guard also increased the total missing persons count from 14 to 25 passengers and possibly four crew members.Costa Cruises’ parent company Carnival Corporation chief executive Micky Arison said in an online statement that the Company was saddened by the news of further deaths and was still committed to “rescue and recovery efforts… along with securing the vessel to ensure there is no environmental impact”.“While this is a terribly sad time for everyone involved, we want to recognize the tremendous efforts of Concordia’s crew, who along with the Italian Coast Guard and authorities, helped to evacuate more than 4,000 passengers and crew members from the ship in very difficult conditions,” Mr Arison said. “And we continue to offer our deep gratitude to the Italian authorities for their support and ongoing efforts.”Meanwhile the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, who has been accused of manslaughter and abandoning the ship before assisting in evacuation, has been ordered to house arrest by a local court after audio emerged of the captain refusing to follow Coast Guard’s orders to return to the ship and help passengers.According to media, the tape retrieved has recorded Italian Coast Guard Captain Gregorio De Falco demanding Captain Schettino return to the ship for a head count of how many passengers were on board.The Captain responded by insisting that he could not return to the ship because it was too dark and the ship was tipping.”And so what?” Captain De Falco shouted back.“You want to go home, Schettino? It is dark and you want to go home? “Get on that prow of the boat using the pilot ladder and tell me what can be done, how many people there are and what their needs are. Now!”The Coast Guard Captain continued by telling Captain Schettino that it was an order and to quit making excuses.“You have declared ‘Abandon ship’, now I am in charge,” he continued. Although eventually agreeing to return to the ship, Coast Guard said he never did.According to media, Captain Schettino could face up to 12 year imprisonment for abandoning the ship alone.  Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

BLUE Sydney included in Luxury Travel Gold List for 2012

first_imgThe results are in for Luxury Travel Magazines’ prestigious Gold List for 2012 and BLUE Sydney, A Taj Hotel, is right up there with the very best of them. BLUE Sydney has been listed as number 4 in the Best Australian Hotel category and number 3 in the Best Australian Boutique, Villa or Lodge category.  Ben Johnson, Director of Sales and Marketing for BLUE Sydney, is thrilled with the outcome saying ‘We are very proud of these results. It’s a true achievement that BLUE is recognized in these categories as the Luxury Travel Magazines’ Gold List is voted by its readers. Source = Blue Sydneylast_img

Oman drives bookings back to agents

first_imgOman Tourism has reinforced its commitment to the industry, utilising its new consumer campaign to drive potential travellers to book with agents across the country.Speaking at the new campaign and website launch yesterday at Embers Mezze Bar in Darlinghurst, Sydney, Oman Tourism Australia and New Zealand manager Mona Tannous unveiled the new site that not only allows travellers to sort through various Omani experiences but hit the ‘Talk to an Agent’ tab for bookings and further information.Ms Tannous explained that for the past two years Oman Tourism has focused on promoting awareness to trade but the new campaign was aimed at informing and updating the public on the destination.She said despite moving into the consumer field, the ‘agents’ tab on the site was a conscious decision to continue building its relationship with agents.Once a potential customer has hit the tab, Ms Tannous said they will then be re-routed to tourismoman.com.au where they can sort through the Oman Preferred Agents Network.Setting the network up 18 months ago, Oman Tourism’s head said agents can be certified as a ‘preferred agent’ by completing the online Oman training and experiencing the destination.“Travellers can then sort through agents by name or distance and they’ll be ranked by how far away they are from your location,” she said.Click here for more information on Tourism Oman’s new campaign and site. Dr Hamed Al Alawai, Mona – Tourism Oman, Musallam Al Amari & Jacqui – Walshe Group Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Online booking sites under threat

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T When it comes to booking international holidays, Australians are stepping away from the online environment and reverting back to traditional travel agencies, says Wotif head.“People have tended to go back to bricks-and-mortar agencies (when travelling overseas) and that’s been very much our view as to how the market will play out,” Wotif chief executive Robbie Cooke told AAP.According to Mr Cooke, while travellers are happy to book domestic travel online, they had “some hesitation” doing so for international travel.Pointing to an increase in package holiday bookings and the strength of the Australian dollar, Mr Cooke expects a flat first half profit for the online travel company.Wotif recently announced plans to lift its commission by one percentage point from January, with a second increase expected to follow next year, enabling the company to continue investing in sales and product initiatives.The online travel company recently expanded into the realm of holiday home rentals and added domestic and international flight booking capabilities to its portfolio.last_img read more

AEA Luxury Tours relaunches website

AEA Luxury Tours relaunches website

first_img“The site can be accessed by links www.aealuxury.com.au OR www.ozeco.com.au.”            Late last month the company announced that for the second time in 23-years, an intruder had gained access to their online site, and made the decision to shut down www.ozeco.com.au and rebuild the website for its clients. All company email address remain unchanged. Tour group rebuilds website after hacking. AEA Luxury Tours has rebuilt and relaunched its online space after the company’s website was hacked five weeks ago. Source = ETB News: NJ “We certainly apologise for any inconvenience caused to yourselves and respective clients and appreciate your patience during this recent process,” the company’s international sales and marketing manager Tane Evans said in an update.  last_img read more

CLIA Cruise Week a success

CLIA Cruise Week a success

first_imgAustralasia’s third annual Cruise Week has been called a phenomenal success by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and its member cruise lines and agents, with positive feedback flooding in.Cruise Week ran from 1 – 8 September in the lead up to another record cruise season, showcasing exclusive CLIA member cruise lines deals and for the first time, also included strong mainstream print coverage and an AUD $100,000 promotion.“Each year, Cruise Week is making a bigger splash and with a focus on new-to-cruise this year, the campaign helped spread awareness among a broader range of consumers,” CLIA Australasia general manager Brett Jardine said.“When we launched the event in 2012, we knew it would take a few years for the industry to get onboard with the concept but the vision is a lot stronger now than two years ago and we still have a lot of room to grow, and as cruise lines and retailers make a greater effort to support the national campaign, we’ll see more and more positive results.”Cruiseabout reported a dramatic increase in enquiries, with 30 percent more traffic to its website during Cruise Week as well as an increase in bookings and record attendance to events, deeming Cruise Week as a great promotion.CLIA member cruise line Princess Cruises experienced Monday as one of its biggest booking days on record, while Uniworld Boutique River Cruises reported a great number of enquiries and bookings.Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovich Phil Hoffmann Travel at Cruise Week 2014last_img read more

Oaks debuts in Northern Territory

Oaks debuts in Northern Territory

first_imgLeading accommodation provider Oaks Hotels & Resorts, a division of Minor Hotel Group (MHG), is set to make its Northern Territory debut, today announcing the acquisition of Elan Soho Suites, its first property in the territory’s capital city of Darwin, in a deal worth AUD$57.1 million.Rebranding as Oaks Elan Darwin, the 301-room hotel, which was completed in 2014, will officially launch on 1 September 2015, marking the 52nd property in operation for Oaks Hotels & Resorts.The opening will also see the company make its first foray into a sixth Australian state and territory as it expands its Australian presence, joining properties in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South and Western Australia in addition to its overseas properties in the UAE, Thailand and New Zealand.Chief Executive Officer of Minor Hotel Group, Mr. Dillip Rajakarier, said the acquisition of Elan Soho Suites comes as MHG continues to make strategic investments in Australia, “As part of our business expansion strategy both in Australia and abroad, we have been focused on accumulating quality assets in a number of regional locations alongside extending our portfolio of management properties in both city and resort destinations.“Darwin has always been on our wish list and we are thrilled that Minor Hotel Group will now be represented in the Northern Territory.”Since acquiring the Oaks brand in 2011, MHG has continued to grow the brand with major acquisitions including Oaks Oasis on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in 2011, Cypress Lakes Resort by Oaks and its onsite Golf & Country Club in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley in 2013, and the new-build Oaks Grand Gladstone and neighboring Grand Hotel, which opened in early 2014.“The decision to purchase Elan Soho Suites in Darwin is a natural progression for the Oaks Hotels & Resorts brand as we continue to expand our foothold in key Australian markets,” Mr. Rajakarier said.“We also saw a major long-term growth opportunity with Darwin’s domestic leisure market, which grew more than 10 per cent over the past year.“As a gateway to South East Asia, Darwin is also an increasingly popular destination with international visitors, so we welcome the opportunity to target these inbound overseas markets, underpinned by Minor Hotel Group’s strong international brand presence.”Located on Woods Street in the CBD, the 4.5 star Oaks Elan Darwin will rise over 27 floors and offer the choice of 301 hotel rooms, studios and one and two bedroom self-contained apartments.The acquisition also includes onsite restaurant, Seoul Food, a unique dining experience with fusion Korean cuisine, which will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.Oaks Elan Darwin is located just 17 minutes from the Darwin International Airport and is within close proximity to a number of local attractions and the city’s dining, entertainment and shopping hub. Stay at an Oaks hotelSource = Oaks Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

airberlin marks milestone to refocus its business with sale of NIKI

airberlin marks milestone to refocus its business with sale of NIKI

first_imgSource = airberlin airberlin marks milestone to refocus its business with sale of NIKIairberlin marks milestone to refocus its business with sale of NIKIairberlin today announced the sale of its share in NIKI to Etihad for a total consideration of 300 million euros. The divestment marks an important milestone in the implementation of the company’s restructuring plan announced in September. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals. Etihad will not majority own or effectively control NIKI.Stefan Pichler, CEO of airberlin: “We are delivering a decisive step towards our new strategy. This transaction simplifies our business, reduces our exposure to seasonal destinations and improves our financial position. Step by step, we are transforming airberlin into a network carrier focused on domestic and European traffic to feed our two long-haul hubs in Berlin and Dusseldorf.”As part of the transaction, airberlin is building and adjusting its existing European city network to concentrate on year-round business travel in the German market, Italy, the Nordics and Eastern Europe. airberlin will from the start of the summer 2017 flight schedule, and prior to the closing of the sale of NIKI, transfer slots for certain touristic destinations in Southern Europe (excluding Italy but including the Canary Islands and Madeira), North Africa and Turkey to NIKI. The transaction also includes the discontinuation of airberlin’s wet-lease agreement for 14 TUIfly aircraft.The long-haul business including the eight destinations airberlin currently serves in the US, as well as the Caribbean destinations and Abu Dhabi – the home base of airberlin’s partner Etihad Airways – remain a vital part of airberlin’s route network.The current schedule remains valid and available for booking. airberlin will inform its customers in due course should the scheduled flights be operated by NIKI.Mr Pichler added: “We are on track to adjust our capacity and simplify our fleet. Our new flight schedule will rest on the strength of our existing network and build on our current plan. We will invest further in the development of airberlin’s business travel offering, in the connectivity of our network and in the expansion of our profitable long-haul programme, particularly to US destinations.”About airberlinairberlin is a major European network airline focused on high frequency flights throughout Germany and many leading European cities to its hubs Berlin-Tegel and Dusseldorf. From its hubs airberlin operates long-haul routes to the USA, the Caribbean and the Middle East. The airline flew more than 30.2 million passengers in 2015 and operates one of Europe’s most modern and eco-efficient fleet. airberlin is part of the oneworld® alliance, a founding member of Etihad Airways Partners and a strategic partner of Etihad Airways, who holds 29.21 per cent of airberlin’s shares. More than four million travelers from around the world are member of airberlin’s loyalty program topbonus.last_img read more

Qantas Cash makes overseas spending more rewarding

Qantas Cash makes overseas spending more rewarding

first_imgQantas Cash makes overseas spending more rewardingQantas Frequent Flyer members will be able to earn more Qantas Points when they spend money overseas using the card, as well as access more competitive exchange rates when they pre-load currency onto their Qantas Cash card.Qantas Cash users will earn 50 per cent more Qantas Points than they did previously, earning 1.5 Qantas Points for every $1 they spend in foreign currency (previously it was 1 Qantas Point for every $1 spent in foreign currency).For example, spending $7,500 overseas would deliver a reward of 11,250 Qantas Points (up from 7,500 points previously), which is enough for an Economy Classic Flight Reward from Sydney to Melbourne.Qantas Cash is built into their existing Qantas Frequent Flyer card, making it a convenient way for members to carry cash while they travel and one less card to carry.“As Australia starts to experience cooler climes, we see more Qantas Cash users escape overseas in search of some summer sun so we’ve increased their opportunity to earn more points and access better exchange rates on preloaded foreign currency,” said a Qantas spokesperson.“Going on holiday overseas can be expensive with most of us generally spending more than we would at home. We want Frequent Flyers to know they can get great value using their Qantas Cash card. They have the flexibility to lock in their exchange rate before they go or simply load it with Australian dollars and use it worldwide.”The improvements come in time for the peak travel season when Australians head overseas to enjoy summer in the Northern Hemisphere. From June to September, there is an increase of more than 50 per cent in foreign currency spend on Qantas Cash cards compared to the previous three months.The top destinations where Qantas Frequent Flyers are spending the most using theirQantas Cash card are:US,UK,Italy, andFrance. Qantas CashSource = Qantaslast_img read more

Wyndham Worldwide announces plan to become two public companies

Wyndham Worldwide announces plan to become two public companies

first_imgWyndham Worldwidewyndham-worldwide-logoWyndham Worldwide announces plan to become two public companiesWyndham Hotel Group to Become Pure-Play Hotel CompanyWyndham Vacation Ownership Will Be World’s Largest Publicly Traded Timeshare BusinessWyndham Worldwide (NYSE: WYN) today announced plans to spin off the company’s hotel business resulting in two separate, publicly traded companies. Wyndham Hotel Group, with headquarters in Parsippany, NJ, will become a new, publicly traded pure-play hotel company with a portfolio of renowned brands. Wyndham Vacation Ownership, with headquarters in Orlando, Florida, will be the world’s largest publicly traded timeshare company and will be joined with Wyndham Destination Network, home to RCI, the world’s largest timeshare exchange company. The Company will also explore strategic alternatives for its European rental brands.The two public companies intend to enter into long-term exclusive license agreements to retain their affiliation with one of the industry’s top rated loyalty programs, Wyndham Rewards, as well as continued collaboration on key inventory sharing and customer cross-sell initiatives. The corporate names of the post-spin public companies have not yet been decided.The transaction is expected to increase the fit and focus and strategic flexibility of the two post-spin companies, allow each company to maintain a sharper focus on its core business and growth opportunities, facilitate future capital raising as needed for the two companies, and position each to be better able to make the changes necessary to respond to developments in its markets. Following the planned separation, both companies will have significant scale and leadership positions within their industries, strong cash flows, rich portfolios of trusted brands, and the existing relationships in place to drive attractive growth and shareholder value.“After a comprehensive review process, the Board of Directors has determined that a spin-off of the hotel business and the combination of Wyndham Vacation Ownership with RCI is the best structure to unlock shareholder value and enable strong growth across the businesses,” said Stephen P. Holmes, Chairman and CEO, Wyndham Worldwide. “We will work with the leadership of our European rental organizations, which have outstanding brands in their regional markets, to explore options to fully realize their future growth potential.”Holmes added, “Over the past decade, we have attracted incredible teams of dedicated professionals who have built these businesses and brands into industry leaders which are now connected by the industry’s top rated loyalty program. With this strong platform in place, our businesses are now able tomove forward individually, each positioned for a very strong future, based on a shared history and culture and an ongoing affiliation with Wyndham Rewards.”The transaction, which is expected to be tax-free to Wyndham Worldwide and its shareholders, will be effected through a pro rata distribution of the new hotel company’s stock to existing Wyndham Worldwide shareholders. Wyndham Worldwide expects the transaction to be completed in the first half of 2018.MANAGEMENTAs two separate public companies, the vacation ownership company and the hotel company will have separate boards of directors. Holmes will serve as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors for both companies.Geoff Ballotti, current CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, will continue to lead the hotel company as President and CEO. With more than 30 years’ experience, Ballotti is well positioned to continue advancing Wyndham’s leadership in the economy and midscale hotel segments, while growing the company’s upscale portfolio and management business.Michael Brown, current CEO of Wyndham Vacation Ownership, will continue to lead the timeshare company as President and CEO. A 25-year industry veteran, Brown was appointed to lead the timeshare business earlier this year, bringing a strong combination of strategic vision, people-centric focus, and industry knowledge.Gail Mandel, CEO of Wyndham Destination Network, will continue to lead that business through this transition, and Tom Conforti, CFO of Wyndham Worldwide, will move into an advisory role, working with the Company through the transaction.“Tom has worked closely with the Board and me to get to our announcement today. He has been a passionate leader for our business and a vocal champion of our culture and values. His contributions to the Company and for our shareholders are significant, and our gratitude to him runs deep,” said Holmes. “As we begin this next chapter, Tom and I agreed that now is a good time to make this change to support a seamless transition to the leadership of the new companies.”David Wyshner will assume the role of Wyndham Worldwide CFO and will become CFO of the hotel company upon spin. Wyshner was most recently President and CFO of Avis Budget Group, the global vehicle rental service provider, and served as Avis Budget’s CFO for more than ten years. Prior to that, Wyshner served as Executive Vice President and Treasurer of Cendant Corporation, a global diversified services company with approximately $20 billion in annual revenues, where Wyshner led the execution of that company’s separation into three publicly traded companies.Michael Hug will serve as CFO of the timeshare company. Hug has been Executive Vice President and CFO of Wyndham Vacation Ownership since 2005. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President and Controller. Prior to joining Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Hug spent 11 years with EY.HOTEL COMPANYWyndham Hotel Group is one of the world’s largest and most diverse hotel businesses, with a global portfolio of 18 brands and over 8,100 hotels – more than any other company in the world – with approximately 705,700 rooms in over 80 countries and 2016 revenues of $1.3 billion.The pure-play, publicly traded hotel company is expected to have:A strong and resilient, fee-for-service, global franchise model High margins Significant free cash flow A growing pipeline of 150,800 rooms A proven and experienced management team“We have spent the past three years on a transformation focused on improving the quality and awareness of our hotel brands, moving our legacy hotel and central systems to cloud based technology on an unprecedented scale, and building one of the top-rated hotel loyalty programs in the world,” said Ballotti. “We are excited about moving forward as one of the largest pure-play hotel portfolios anchored by iconic hotel brands in the economy and midscale segments. With a proven asset-light, fee-for-service model and attractive opportunities to grow and further diversify our brand portfolio, we are well positioned to drive value for our shareholders.”VACATION OWNERSHIP COMPANYWith over $2 billion in gross timeshare sales in 2016, Wyndham Vacation Ownership is the world’s largest developer and marketer of vacation ownership products. Wyndham Vacation Ownership develops and operates a portfolio of over 220 resorts throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America and the South Pacific, managing vacation ownership sales, marketing, consumer financing operations and property management.RCI is the world’s first and largest vacation exchange network, which introduced trading flexibility to vacation ownership more than 40 years ago. With over 4,300 affiliated properties in more than 100 countries, RCI members can choose from a variety of accommodations and vacation experiences.The post-spin, publicly traded timeshare company is expected to have: Unprecedented scale as the largest timeshare company in the world with a strong sales and marketing platform The largest timeshare exchange network Significant free cash flow A diversified timeshare business model A proven and experienced management team“By joining the largest timeshare company in the world with the largest timeshare exchange network and connecting them seamlessly to the Wyndham Rewards platform, we will be positioned to provide the widest variety of vacation opportunities to our owner base and network affiliates,” said Brown. “Wewill focus on building on our proven strengths and unmatched scale to meet evolving consumer vacation needs while continuing to drive value for shareholders.”ADDITIONAL TRANSACTION DETAILSWyndham Worldwide will disclose more details of the proposed separation upon the filing of a Form 10 registration statement with the SEC, including financial and other details. The separation is subject to final approval by Wyndham Worldwide’s Board of Directors, execution of intercompany agreements, arrangement of financing facilities, the effectiveness of the registration statement, and other customary conditions. The Company intends to seek a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service with respect to certain aspects of the transaction. The separation will not require a shareholder vote. Wyndham Worldwide expects to complete the separation in the first half of 2018 but there can be no assurance regarding the timing of the separation or that the separation will ultimately occur.ADVISORSDeutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Goldman, Sachs & Co. are acting as financial advisors to the Company, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as legal advisor.SECOND QUARTER RESULTS AND CONFERENCE CALL INFORMATIONWyndham Worldwide Corporation will issue its second quarter 2017 earnings release post market on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 and will hold a conference call with investors to discuss today’s news as well as the Company’s second quarter 2017 results, outlook and guidance on Thursday, August 3, 2017 at8:30 a.m. ET. Listeners can access the webcast live through the Company’s website at http://www.wyndhamworldwide.com/investors/. The conference call may also be accessed by dialing 800-862-9098 and providing the pass code “WYNDHAM.” Listeners are urged to call at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. An archive of this webcast will be available on the website for approximately 90 days beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET on August 3, 2017. A telephone replay will be available for approximately 10 days beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET on August 3, 2017 at 800-695-2533.ABOUT WYNDHAM WORLDWIDEWyndham Worldwide (NYSE: WYN) is one of the largest global hospitality companies, providing travelers with access to a collection of trusted hospitality brands in hotels, vacation ownership, and unique accommodations including vacation exchange, holiday parks, and managed home rentals. With a collective inventory of nearly 130,000 places to stay across more than 110 countries on six continents, Wyndham Worldwide and its 38,000 associates welcomes people to experience travel the way they want. This is enhanced by Wyndham Rewards®, the Company’s re-imagined guest loyalty program across its businesses, which is making it simpler for members to earn more rewards and redeem their points faster. For more information, please visit www.wyndhamworldwide.com.FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTSThis press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are those that convey management’s expectations as to the future based on plans, estimates and projections at the time Wyndham Worldwide makes the statements and may be identified by terminology such as “will,” “expect,” believe,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “goal,” “future,” “outlook,” guidance,” “target,” “estimate” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Wyndham Worldwide or the post-spin companies to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release include statements related to the Wyndham Worldwide’s current views and expectations with respect to the spin off and related transactions, as well as the post-spin companies’ future operating, financial and business performance.You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include general economic conditions, the performance of the financial and credit markets, the economic environment for the hospitality industry, the impact of war, terrorist activity or political strife, operating risks associated with the hotel, vacation exchange and rentals and vacation ownership businesses, uncertainties that may delay or negatively impact the spin off or cause the spin off to not occur at all, uncertainties related to the post-spin companies’ ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the spin off, uncertainties related to Wyndham Worldwide’s ability to successfully complete the spin off on a tax-free basis within the expected time frame or at all, unanticipated developments that delay or otherwise negatively affect the spin off, uncertainties related to Wyndham Worldwide’s ability to obtain financing for the two companies or the terms of such financing, unanticipated developments related to the impact of the spin off on our relationships with our customers, suppliers, employees and others with whom we have relationships, unanticipated developments resulting from possible disruption to our operations resulting from the proposed spin-off, the potential impact of the spin-off and related transactions on Wyndham Worldwide’s credit rating, uncertainties relating to Wyndham Worldwide’s exploration of strategic alternatives for its European rentals brands and the outcome and timing of that process, as well as those factors described in Wyndham Worldwide’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, filed with the SEC on February 17, 2017, and inWyndham Worldwide’s subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. Except for Wyndham Worldwide’s ongoing obligations to disclose material information under the federal securities laws, it undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements, to report events or to report the occurrence of unanticipated events.Source = Wyndham Worldwidelast_img read more