5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist “A realistic analysis of the facts leads to the conclusion that there are no real hopes for either resolving the Cyprus issue or achieving substantial progress in the remaining months of my presidency,” he said in a nationally televised address.The 66-year-old, Soviet-educated Christofias is the first incumbent president not to seek re-election since the island gained independence from British colonial rule in 1960.His decision ends weeks of speculation and caps a dismal final two years of a five-year tenure that saw his popularity plummet amid the faltering peace talks and an economy hard-hit by Europe’s financial crisis.Cyprus was split into a Greek-speaking south and a Turkish-speaking north in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters who wanted to unite the island with Greece.Turkish Cypriots declared an independent state in 1983, but only Turkey recognizes it and stations 35,000 troops there. Although the island joined the European Union in 2004, only the internationally recognized south enjoys EU membership.Christofias’ 2008 election buoyed hopes that reunification, which had eluded numerous rounds of peace talks, would become reality.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories The vital role family plays in society Comments Share Associated PressNicosia, Cyprus (AP) – Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias says he will not seek re-election because there is little hope the ethnically split island will be reunified by the time his tenure expires in February.Christofias said Monday his decision fulfills an earlier promise not to run for a second term if long-running talks with breakaway Turkish Cypriots weren’t close to a resolution. Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates
Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Associated PressSANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – There’s a new group of nations in Latin America: the Pacific Alliance, uniting Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile.Presidents of the four nations formally launched the economic integration pact Wednesday, and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says their first big move will be to drop visa requirements so citizens of all four countries can travel freely between them. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Chilean President Sebastian Pinera chose a remote mountaintop in northern Chile for the signing. The event was held at one of Earth’s most powerful deep space observatories, and Pinera said the point was to show how their countries are looking far into the future.He says the group’s goals include free trade and economic integration, with a clear orientation toward Asia.Observers at the meeting included King Juan Carlos of Spain.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments Share
New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments Share Men’s health affects baby’s health too A 45-year-old Greek man was arrested and charged with accidentally starting a fire in the Tripoli area.Forest fires are common during Greece’s typically long, hot summers. In 2007, more than 60 people died in a series of huge blazes in the Peloponnese and central Greece.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) – A large forest fire that broke out at a remote monastic community in Greece where women have not been allowed for a thousand years spread Thursday to a nearby resort area, forcing the evacuation of a seaside vacation village and sending up a thick pall of smoke over the area.It was not clear how the fire started Wednesday on the Mount Athos peninsula, a World Heritage site and self-ruled community of Orthodox monks that bans women _ and even female animals _ from entering. Officials said no damage was caused to the northern Greek peninsula’s 20 medieval monasteries, which visitors can only access by sea. Top Stories Firefighters managed to prevent the flames from sweeping through Ouranoupolis, a resort village north of the rugged, densely-wooded northern Greek peninsula, on Thursday, although the fire damaged outlying building and elderly people and others were taken to a nearby beach as a precaution. The fire brigade said in a statement that 130 firefighters, assisted by dozens of volunteers and soldiers, water trucks, five water-dropping aircraft and two helicopters were trying to contain the blaze.The fire brigade said the conflagration started in a remote area in the vicinity of the Serbian Hilandar Monastery, the peninsula’s northernmost monastery and one that was badly damaged by fire in 2004. It was unclear how it started, and no immediate estimate was available on the extent of the burned area.Greece is in the grips of a heat wave, and wildfires have been burning around the country.Elsewhere, firefighters were trying to extinguish two big fires in the areas of Tripoli and Corinth, in the southern Peloponnese area, which broke out Tuesday and destroyed thousands of acres of forest and shrubbery. Officials said no inhabited areas were under threat, and the blazes seemed to be on the wane Thursday. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home
Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments Share 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day HAVANA (AP) – Colombia’s main rebel army has marked the arrival of its Dutch combatant in Cuba for peace talks with two YouTube videos. One shows Tanja Nijmeijer arriving. In the other, the 34-year-old sings and plays guitar.A delegate of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in Havana alerted The Associated Press to the music video. In it, Nijmeijer raps about how she’s earned the trip.The video segues into a ballad she sings about FARC field marshal Jorge Briceno, who was slain in a 2010 government bombing raid that Nijmeijer survived. Last month’s inauguration in Norway of talks to end Colombia’s half-century-old conflict was delayed when the rebels insisted Nijmeijer attend. She didn’t.Nijmeijer is wanted in the United States on hostage-taking and terrorism charges.The Cuba negotiations commence Nov. 15.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top Stories
Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Chile imports most of its fossil fuels and depends largely on hydropower for electricity. This creates a crisis when droughts drain reservoirs or far-away disputes affect fuel imports.HidroAysen supporters say the economic benefits of the project in southern Chile justify carving access roads through an area of Andean glaciers and deep green valleys and fjords and running transmission lines through national parks and private properties all the way to the capital, Santiago.Environmentalists say construction of the transmission lines could open remote Patagonia to much more development, and they fear the area’s abundant water could attract even more dams once the lines are built.The HidroAysen venture is 51 percent owned by European energy generator Endesa and 49 percent owned by the Chilean company Colbun SA. Endesa is a Spanish subsidiary of the Italian energy company Enel SpA.___Associated Press writer Luis Andres Henao contributed to this report.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top holiday drink recipes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments Share Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober “It’s easy to say no to a project,” HidroAysen Executive Vice President Daniel Fernandez told foreign correspondents. “But I’d like see the energy policies that candidates have planned for the years to come for Chile.”Fernandez added that the $8 billion project is feasible as long as there’s “nationwide agreement” that the planned transmission line must go forward. The project has been approved by the Supreme Court and is now under review by a special Cabinet committee.Bachelet, a center-leftist who ended her 2006-10 presidency with high popularity ratings, is leading in polls ahead of the Nov. 17 presidential election. Her opposition to HidroAysen could kill the project if she returns to office.“It’s not viable. It shouldn’t go on,” Bachelet said late Sunday during a televised debate with other candidates who are competing to represent the center-left coalition in the election.With its energy-intensive mining industry demanding more power, Chile must triple its power capacity in just 15 years, despite having no domestic oil or natural gas, experts say. The dams together could generate 2.75 gigawatts, almost a third of central Chile’s current needs, within 12 years. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – A controversial plan to power central Chile by damming Patagonian rivers is doable, the project’s head said Monday, dismissing criticism from leading presidential candidate Michelle Bachelet that HidroAysen is not viable.Chile is strapped for energy, but most Chileans oppose the proposal to tame two of the world’s wildest rivers and build more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of power lines linking hydroelectric plants to the grid that powers the nation’s capital. Some mass marches against the project have turned violent. Top Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories
Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility An article in the constitution says anyone whose spouse or children owes allegiance to a foreign power cannot become president or vice president. Suu Kyi was married to the late British scholar Michael Aris, and her two sons are foreign citizens. Critics complain that many other provisions are also undemocratic.Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party announced last weekend that it would contest the 2015 general election. It boycotted the 2010 election but successfully contested by-elections in 2012 after electoral reforms were implemented, with Suu Kyi winning a seat in the lower house.“In every country, wherever it is, all the citizens have the right to elect their president, the ministers and the prime minister as they want because this is for the good of the country,” said the organizer of Friday’s protest, Zaw Win. “But as there are lots of restrictions, we have to come out onto the streets to protest to say that these articles in the constitution are not appropriate for the country.”Myanmar is a republic where the president is chosen by Parliament rather than directly elected. The NLD expects to do well enough in the 2015 polls to offer its own presidential candidate, and Suu Kyi has expressed an interest in running. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How do cataracts affect your vision? Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Suu Kyi’s party has recently stepped up its calls for constitutional amendments to meet democratic norms. In a speech broadcast on radio Thursday, President Thein Sein said he supports amending the constitution, and his ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party has suggested changing the clause that bars Suu Kyi from becoming president.Several other provisions are also under scrutiny for revision, and some proposed changes would strengthen self-government in regions of the country dominated by ethnic minorities.For Western nations that have encouraged Thein Sein’s democratic transition, amendment of the constitution is crucial to lending credibility to the 2015 elections.Myanmar’s Parliament formed a Constitution Review Committee in July last year to recommend changes to the constitution before the 2015 polls. The 109-member committee includes lawmakers from all parties, including Suu Kyi’s and Thein Sein’s, along with the military’s allotted representatives.The committee is collecting suggestions from individuals, organizations and political parties to be submitted to Parliament by the end of January.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosterone YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Several dozen activists rallied peacefully in Myanmar’s biggest city on Friday to call for changing the constitution to allow pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to serve as president.The small demonstration in Yangon came as demands have grown louder among politicians and lawmakers for amending the constitution.The charter was drafted and adopted under the stewardship of Myanmar’s previous military government to ensure that the military retains a major voice in administering the country. The military’s appointed seats constitute a quarter of the total in Parliament. Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments Share
Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Photographs from the scene showed bodies, some with semi-automatic rifles and others without weapons, lying in fields, near farm equipment and on a blood-stained patio strewn with clothes, mattresses and sleeping bags. Video obtained by The Associated Press showed federal police coming under fire and bodies strewn throughout a ranch.Rubido said the suspects were members of “a criminal organization operating in Jalisco state,” but did not mention the Jalisco New Generation, the drug cartel that dominates the area where the battle erupted and has grown rapidly in recent years to become one of Mexico’s biggest organized crime groups.Rubido said the confrontation started Friday morning in the municipality of Tanhauto on the border between Jalisco and Michoacan states when soldiers, federal police and state and federal investigators responded to a report of the sudden appearance of armed men on a ranch. During the operation, federal forces encountered a truck full of armed men who opened fire and when they chased the gunmen onto the ranch, they came under heavy fire by others, he said.“The rest of the presumed criminals on the property started to attack with intensity,” Rubido said. Jalisco New Generation has mounted several large-scale attacks on federal and state forces in recent weeks.In April, gunmen believed linked to the cartel ambushed a police convoy in Jalisco, killing 15 state officers and wounding five. Earlier this month, New Generation gunmen shot down a military helicopter with a rocket launcher in Jalisco, killing eight aboard.In just a few years, New Generation has grown from a small faction of the powerful Sinaloa cartel to one of Mexico’s strongest criminal groups in its own right, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, whose Office of Foreign Assets Control maintains a “black list” of drug trafficking organizations.New Generation’s quick rise reflects a rapidly changing organized-crime landscape in Mexico as the government targets top leaders of established cartels. More than any other criminal group, New Generation has taken advantage of the government strategy, strengthening and grabbing territory as its rivals are weakened.___Associated Press writer E. Eduardo Castillo reported this story in Ecuandureo and Katherine Corcoran reported from Mexico City. AP writers Maria Verza, Christopher Sherman and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report. ECUANDUREO, Mexico (AP) — At least 43 people died Friday in what authorities described as a fierce, three-hour gunbattle between federal forces and suspected drug gang gunmen on a ranch in western Mexico, the deadliest such confrontation in recent memory.All the dead were suspected criminals except for one federal police officer, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said. He said the officer died trying to help a colleague wounded in the shootout. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches The federal force called for air and ground support, which included a police helicopter. The size of the ranch, 112 hectares (277 acres), complicated the battle, which lasted for three hours, Rubido said.He said the investigation continued but that so far authorities had detained three people and confiscated 36 semi-automatic weapons, two smaller arms, a grenade launcher that had been fired and a .50-caliber rifle.The lop-sided results were similar to a controversial case last June 30 in which Mexico’s army said its troops had engaged in a shootout with alleged criminals in which 22 suspects were killed but only one soldier injured. An investigation by The Associated Press revealed that many of suspects had been killed after they surrendered.Rubido emphasized that both state and national human rights teams were dispatched immediately to investigate Friday’s bloodshed at the ranch, which residents of the area said is called Rancho del Sol.The border of Michoacan and Jalisco states is an area dominated by the Jalisco New Generation cartel and it has been the scene of numerous incidents of cartel violence in recent years.In the nearby town of La Barca, authorities in 2013 found more than five dozen bodies in mass graves linked to the Jalisco cartel. In 2014, gunmen killed the mayor of a nearby town, Tanhuato. Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How do cataracts affect your vision? New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies
It may also take time for foreigners to develop enough trust in China’s court and regulatory systems. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, in special report to Congress in April, said businesses continue to express concerns about pressure from Chinese government entities to reveal technologies.Many foreign companies have successfully used Chinese courts to prosecute trademark infringement, but trade secret theft cases remain rare, said Rui Wenbiao, an intellectual property judge at Shanghai’s high court.It is more difficult to collect relevant evidence in China, and companies fear their trade secrets could become further exposed during litigation, Rui said.___AP Writer Erika Kinetz in Shanghai and news assistant Yu Bing in Beijing contributed.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall China’s economy, the world’s second biggest, has slowed from double-digit growth as it tries to reduce overreliance on trade and industrial investment. Its likely 7 percent growth rate this year is still much higher than developed economies such as Japan, Germany and the United States.To ensure continued European participation during China’s economic slowdown and its “paradigm shift” toward more value-added industries, the government must more uniformly enforce business rules without unduly targeting foreigners, improve Internet access and guarantee protection of intellectual property, the European Chamber said.Only a quarter of the 541 European companies surveyed have research and development centers in China, and among those the focus is primarily on how to localize products for the Chinese market rather than developing new technology that could be vulnerable to theft.“There seems to be great reluctance now to put up an R-and-D section in China, because of distrust,” Joerg Wuttke, chamber president and China chief for German chemical giant BASF, said in an interview.The chamber found that 23 percent of companies are pessimistic about the outlook for profitability in the coming two years, up from only 16 percent last year. Some 28 percent were optimistic. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology BEIJING (AP) — China needs to better protect trade secrets and fairly enforce business rules to ensure European investment and hiring at a time when Chinese leaders are trying to foster a more innovative economy, the biggest European business group in China said Wednesday.Optimism about continued profitability is waning and nearly a quarter of European companies doing business in China plan to cut staff, according to an annual survey by the European Chamber of Commerce. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Top Stories About 24 percent of the companies planned staff reductions, especially in industries such as energy. The least likely to be considering layoffs were IT and food-and-beverage companies, Wuttke said.“Pessimism about profitability is at an all-time high,” Wuttke said. “It’s clear that the slowdown is hitting companies’ expansion plans.” He said the most surprising finding of the survey was that companies are planning to cut staff.China’s leadership says it is making it a priority to cut red tape and clarify business rules, both perennial issues with most foreign businesses. In the past year, the government has established three courts to deal specifically with intellectual property issues in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.As China’s own innovation-based companies increase in number, the protection of intellectual property has become a national strategy, though it will take time for legal protections to fully develop, said Liu Yuanchun, an economist at Renmin University’s School of Economics.“A revolutionary change has been taking place in China,” Liu said. “It is normal for the developing countries to have an imperfect legal environment when catching up with the developed countries. “ 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Comments Share
High borrowing costs can push a country to need a bailout package of rescue loans, as happened with Greece, Portugal and Ireland.The ECB’s offer was challenged by a conservative German lawmaker and others who argue the ECB overstepped its legal powers and strayed into using its monetary powers to lend financial aid to governments.The court disagreed, saying the bond-purchase offer “falls within monetary policy and within the powers” of the European system of central banks with the ECB at its head.Blocking the program could have dented market sentiment as the eurozone struggles to overcome slow growth and figure out how to help Greece avoid defaulting on its debts. But worries over the upcoming decision largely faded after a court official in January issued a preliminary opinion upholding the program.Under the offer, dubbed outright monetary transactions, or OMT, the ECB could buy bonds to drive down an individual country’s excessive borrowing costs, in an effort to transmit the ECB’s interest rate policy across the eurozone. Countries that got the help would have to sign written promises to reform their finances.The OMT program, which was never used, is different from the ECB’s current bond-buying program, in which it is purchasing 1.1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) in government and corporate bonds through September 2016 in an effort to boost inflation from current low levels and help promote growth and employment. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Sponsored Stories Comments Share Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Copyright © 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 FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Court of Justice has upheld a key financial backstop that helped calm Europe’s crisis over high government debt.In a decision Tuesday in Luxembourg, the court said the European Central Bank was legally permitted to buy the bonds of countries whose governments face excessive market borrowing costs.The ECB’s 2012 offer to carry out such purchases if needed helped reassure markets — even though no country has used it. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall European Central Bank Governor Mario Draghi waits for the start of a meeting of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee at the European Parliament in Brussels on Monday, June 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 The difference between men and women when it comes to pain
Tsipras thanked Greeks for making “a very brave choice.”___11:35 p.m.Germany’s vice chancellor and economy minister says the Greek government is leading its people “onto a path of bitter austerity and hopelessness.”Sigmar Gabriel told German daily Tagesspiegel that Alexis Tsipras had claimed a “no” vote would improve Greece’s negotiating position. In fact, the Greek prime minister had “torn down the last bridges, across which Europe and Greece could move toward a compromise.”He added: “By saying no to the eurozone’s rules, as is reflected in the majority ‘no’ vote, it’s difficult to imagine negotiations over an aid package for billions.”___11:25 p.m.Greek opposition leader Antonis Samaras announced his resignation after suffering a big defeat in Sunday’s referendum.Samaras, the 64-year-old former prime minister, has announced his decision to step down in a televised address after campaigning for a “yes” vote.Samaras said that “I understand that our great party needs a new start.”He urged Greeks to put divisions behind them and hold the government to its promise to find a quick agreement with creditors. There was no indication that the violence was connected to the political campaigns involved in the vote.___12:45 a.m.A somber European Parliament President Martin Schulz says a summit of eurozone leaders planned for Tuesday should discuss a “humanitarian aid program for Greece” after Greeks voted to reject demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans.Schulz says in a statement that Athens should make “meaningful and constructive proposals” in the coming hours to get the talks with the other 18 eurozone nations going again. He says: “If not we are entering a very difficult and even dramatic time.”Schulz says ordinary citizens, pensioners, sick people or children in kindergarten should not pay a price for the dramatic situation the country is in, which he blamed the Greek government for. He says the country needs a humanitarian program immediately.___12:30 a.m.The euro has fallen sharply as investors get a chance to react to the results of the Greek referendum.The European currency slumped to $1.0993 late Sunday, when spot trading resumed, from $1.1110 late Friday.Greeks have voted overwhelmingly against a proposal of economic reforms that Greece’s creditors had offered in exchange for loans. ___9:30 p.m.Belgium’s finance minister is one of the first eurozone ministers to react to an official projection and opinion polls that the “no” vote will win in the Greece referendum, saying it will complicate matters.Johan Van Overtveldt insists, however, that the door remains open to resume talks with the Greek government “literally, within hours.”He told VRT network on Sunday that the eurogroup of 19 finance ministers can again discuss measures “that can put the Greek economy back on track and gives the Greeks a perspective for the future.”Greeks voted on its financial future, choosing in a referendum whether to accept creditors’ demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans or defiantly reject the deal. Final results are expected later Sunday.___8:25 p.m.A senior Greek opposition official says the expected “no” vote win in Sunday’s bailout referendum will increase pressure on the government to reach a deal with creditors.Vangelis Meimarkis says “if we don’t have an agreement within 48 hours as the (prime minister) promised, then we are being led to a tragedy.”Meimarakis, a former parliamentary speaker and a senior conservative lawmaker, tacitly acknowledges that the government has won the critical vote, but says Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is likely to make further concessions if the talks restart. ___1:45 p.m.Opinion polls this week have shown a generation divide in the Greek referendum — with the “no” vote against more austerity measures far more popular among younger Greek voters than older ones.Retired school teacher Themis Hatziyannaki, 84, voted ‘yes’ Sunday at an Athens high school, saying she wants to continue enjoying the privileges of her Greek and European citizenship.But she also says she understands that many young people want to vote “no” to express their anger at Greece’s creditors. Unemployment in Greece for young people under 25 stands at a whopping 51.9 percent.Hatziyannaki says “I understand them, because when I was young I was a rebel.” But she said young people also have to consider what’s best for Greece’s future and look at what older generations have endured.____1:15 p.m.Greece’s finance minister says the referendum gives Greeks the opportunity to decide on the austerity “ultimatum” they were handed by other countries in the 19-nation eurozone.Yanis Varoufakis says the eurozone’s “massive failures” led to demands for more austerity measures that Greeks themselves needed to express their views on. He said the vote on Sunday “gives hope to Europe that a common currency and democracy can coexist.” The win of the “no” vote puts Greece in uncharted waters and markedly increases the risks of the country falling out of the 19-country euro currency union.Greece and its creditors are expected to try to restart negotiations on a financial rescue package for the country, but it is unclear what scope there is for compromise.___12:15 a.m.European Council President Donald Tusk says he’s called a eurozone summit for Tuesday to discuss the situation in Greece.Voters in Greece resoundingly rejected creditors’ demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans Sunday.The opposition accused Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of jeopardizing the country’s membership in the 19-nation club that uses the eurozone and said a “yes” vote was about keeping the common currency.Germany and France asked for the summit after the “no” vote won.___11:45 p.m.Greece’s prime minister says the “no” result in the bailout referendum shows that “democracy won’t be blackmailed.”Alexis Tsipras says Greece is willing to return to talks, but “this time the issue of debt will be on the negotiating table.”He was speaking in a live TV address on Sunday after the government-backed “no” side won by a wide margin in the referendum. Meimarakis said Sunday that “I think the government has got the message that the time is over for game theory and gambling.”___8 p.m.Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is conferring with the country’s bankers over what to demand next from the European Central Bank, a ministry spokesman has confirmed.The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity pending official announcements. It wasn’t immediately clear where the talks were taking place.According to the head of the Greek Banks’ Association, cash is only going to last until Monday.Although banks are expected to re-open Tuesday, it is almost impossible to have banks open without a large infusion of cash. Greek financial media have reported the Bank of Greece will ask the ECB for 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in emergency assistance.Meanwhile, a close aide to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said a “no” vote win should not be regarded as an intention by the government to leave the euro.It is wrong to link a “no” result to an exit from the eurozone. If a “no” prevails that will help us get a better agreement,” Minister of State Nikos Pappas told private Alpha television. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Comments Share 5 treatments for adult scoliosis –By Demetris Nellas.___7:30 p.m.German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Paris on Monday to discuss the outcome of the Greek referendum with French President Francois Hollande.Merkel’s office said Sunday that she will fly to Paris in the evening for a “joint assessment of the situation after the Greek referendum and to continue the close German-French cooperation on this issue.”Soon after polls closed, Hollande made a similar announcement, saying he would have a working dinner with Merkel on Monday evening to “evaluate the consequences” of the vote.Earlier in the day, the French economy minister said the German and French leaders had no disagreements when it came to dealing with the situation in Greece.___7:20 p.m.The governing left-wing Syriza party’s European member of parliament says that “Greek people are proving they want to remain in Europe” as equal members “and not as a debt colony.”Dimitris Papadimoulis said that the country should wait for the official and final results of Sunday’s referendum, and called on his fellow countrymen to remain calm. Three opinion polls conducted during the voting indicate a tight race with a likely win by the “no” vote. High turnouts are normal in Greece because voting is mandatory — although that law has not been enforced in recent years.In the country’s first referendum since 1974, Greece’s 9.8 million voters are choosing Sunday whether to accept demands by international creditors for more austerity measures in return for bailout loans.___2:10 p.m.Germany’s foreign minister says a ‘no’ vote in Greece’s austerity referendum won’t make a future compromises with the country’s creditors easier — “on the contrary.”Still, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says Greeks have a right to vote on the future of their country and Greece will remain a member of the 28-nation European Union even if the referendum rejects the austerity demands being made of Greece by international creditors.Steinmeier told Berlin’s Tagesspiegel am Sonntag newspaper that the debt situation in Greece, the unsolved problem of how to handle tens of thousands of migrants flooding in across the Mediterranean and Britain’s demands for EU reforms are straining the EU’s foundations.He warned Sunday that a “Grexit” — Greece dropping out of the common euro currency used by 19 nations– would harm Europe’s credibility in the world. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called Sunday’s referendum last weekend, urging voters to reject creditor reform proposals. Opposition parties and many European officials have warned that a “no” vote, however, could endanger Greece’s position in Europe’s joint currency, the euro.“A new effort is beginning,” he said, adding that Tsipras would move fast to conclude a deal with Greece’s creditors.___6:55 p.m.Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says that whatever the result in Greece, its future will be a difficult one.Rajoy says the eurozone has rules and regulations “to ensure its own survival.”He says that “Europe has always shown its solidarity with Greece, but the euro cannot be an ‘a la carte’ club in which you can pick and choose.”Rajoy also said Sunday that “Greece needs to grow, create jobs, and to do so it must have policies that work to that effect. Demagogy always ends up crashing into reality.”__4:40 p.m.Even if Greek voters strongly favor “yes” or “no” in the bailout referendum, neither result leads to a clear answer for what Greece should do about its overstretched finances. ___1:35 a.m.The president of the eurozone finance ministers’ group, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, calls the outcome of Sunday’s referendum “very regrettable for the future of Greece.”The Dutch finance minister has over the past five months of negotiations resisted Greece’s attempts to get easier terms for its bailout program. He says that “for the recovery of the Greek economy, difficult measures and reforms are inevitable. We will now wait for the initiatives of the Greek authorities.”He says the 19 finance ministers will discuss the outcome of the Greek referendum on Tuesday, the same day a summit of the eurozone leaders will be held.___1:25 a.m.Upon the request of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has convened a meeting of the leaders of the seven parties represented in Parliament.In a meeting with Pavlopoulos, Tsipras was expected to have presented his plans for negotiating a new bailout deal with the country’s creditors.Pavlopoulos says he accepted Tsipras’ demand, saying that the referendum was not about staying in or leaving the euro.___1:00 a.m.Police say about 100-150 anarchist protesters have started throwing firebombs at riot police and setting trash cans on fire in the central Athens neighborhood of Exarcheia. This is far from the place where celebrations are taking place by supporters of the “no” vote in Sunday’s referendum. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Varoufakis spoke as he voted along with his 90-year-old father Giorgos in the southern Athens suburb of Faliro.This is the first Greek referendum since 1974, when Greeks voted to abolish the monarchy.(This corrects the spelling of Varoufakis’ first name to Yanis).___11:40 a.m.Greece’s prime minister says the country’s austerity referendum is sending the message that Greeks are embracing a united Europe but want to live “with dignity.”Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said after casting a ‘no’ ballot Sunday that the vote demonstrates the Greek people’s right to choose their own future. He said although many Greeks may pick a different choice than the government, “no one can ignore the will of the people to take their lives in their hands.”Tsipras said the referendum “defeats fear and ultimatums.” Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. He acknowledged the international lenders would also have to show a new approach.Pittella said Sunday that “it will also be time for some member states and ministers to stop with unacceptable rigidity, national selfishness and domestic political games.”___10:10 p.m.Thousands of government supporters have gathered in celebration in Athens’ main square, waving Greek flags and chanting “No, No” after returns show their side leading in Sunday’s referendum.Vendors have set up stalls to sell kebabs, sandwiches, whistles and Greek flags in Syntagma square in front of parliament.Athens resident Yiannis Gkovesis, holding a large Greek flag, says “we don’t want austerity measures anymore. This has been happening for the last five years and it has driven so many into poverty. We simply can’t take any more austerity.”The 26-year-old Gkovesis says “if the Europeans really wanted Greece to stand on its feet, then they could have done so without imposing such harsh measures.”Supporters of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party staged the rally two days after he drew massive crowds to his final campaign rally — also in front of parliament. ___10:40 p.m.Greece’s finance minister says the country’s citizens have said “no more” to continued austerity as returns show the “no” side leading in the bailout referendum.Yanis Varoufakis, wearing a T-shirt while speaking live to TV cameras, says that creditors had planned from the start to shut down banks to humiliate us and to force us to make a statement of contrition for showing to them that debt and loans are unsustainable.Varoufakis said “the Greek people said ‘no more’ to five years of austerity.”Greeks voted on its financial future on Sunday, choosing in a referendum whether to accept creditors’ demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans or defiantly reject the deal. Final results are expected later Sunday.___10:25 p.m.The head of the socialist grouping in the European Parliament has called for new negotiations with Greece in a spirit of “solidarity and cooperation” after returns show the “no” side leading in the bailout referendum.Gianni Pittella says that the socialists would “expect the Greek government to come back to the negotiations with a renewed responsible attitude.” An Evzone of the presidential guard passes by a poster of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble reading ”For five years he is drinking your blood, now tell him NO” in central Athens, on Saturday, July 4, 2015. Whether Greeks decide in Sunday’s referendum to accept their lenders’ bailout deal or reject it, the government’s hold on power may be shakier than its brash prime minister has calculated, analysts say. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Samaras, who served as prime minister between 2102 until January this year, did not say how long he intended to stay on as leader of his center-right New Democracy party before a new leader is elected.Germany and France, meanwhile, have called for a eurozone summit on Tuesday to discuss the Greece financial crisis after the “no” vote won the bailout referendum.___This item has been corrected to show that Germany and France called for a eurozone summit, not a European Union summit.___11:05 p.m.Poland’s prime minister says that if final results in Greece’s bailout referendum are confirmed as “no,” she believes that Greece will have no choice but to leave the eurozone.Ewa Kopacz spoke on Sunday as a partial count showed a significant majority of Greeks voting “no” in Sunday’s referendum.Kopacz said that she suspects that if official results confirm a “no” victory, “the path of Greece can be only one: leaving the eurozone.”Poland has not adopted the 19-member joint European currency. Though it has pledged to adopt the euro in the future, the prospect is very unpopular among Poles and politicians continue to postpone euro adoption. A “yes” result would likely produce a national unity government with a new election to follow — but that would take time, and without financial assistance, the chances of a full, chaotic default would increase.Since Greece is no longer in a bailout program, it has to negotiate a new one with creditors that involves even more money for its debt-ridden government and the banks and new economic austerity measures. That means banking restrictions on money withdrawals and transfers may remain in place even longer than anticipated.Despite the Greek government’s assertion that a “no” vote will not lead to a “Grexit” — a Greek exit from using the common euro currency — most experts agree it would open up more uncertain financial outcomes.A number of European politicians, including Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the top eurozone official, have said a “no” vote would jeopardize Greece’s place in the 19-nation eurozone.___3:05 p.m.With four hours of voting to go, Greeks are turning out in solid numbers to vote on their financial future.Private Mega TV channel says turnout has been markedly high, now standing at 35 percent, and lines have been seen at polling stations in Athens. Turnout must be above 40 percent for the referendum to be valid. Quick workouts for men 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The latest on the bailout referendum in Greece (all times local):___3:35 a.m.The final results of Greece’s bailout referendum are in, with all 19,159 precincts reporting. The “No” side won with a higher than expected 61.31 percent, while “Yes” got 38.69 percent.A total of 6.16 million Greeks voted in Sunday’s referendum, or 62.5 percent of eligible voters. The poll needed a minimum 40 percent turnout to be valid.
Source = Carlson’s Park Plaza Outlook Traveller Award Carlson, a privately held, global hospitality andtravel company, announced that its Park Plaza brand was voted the “Best Mid RangeHotel Brand” at the recent Outlook Traveller Awards in New Delhi, India.The Park Plaza brand, featuring warm, engaging service and trendsetting designcapturing the energy and style of each location, was the only international hotel brand to berecognized at the coveted annual awards.“Smart, spirited service is the cornerstone of our full service Park Plaza brand and ourstaff take pride in living the brand promise by providing a consistently high level of service toguests. On behalf of our Park Plaza staff, we are honored to be recognized as a frontrunner inIndia’s hotel sector,” said Simon Barlow, president, Carlson Hotels, Asia Pacific.In India, Carlson today has six Park Plaza hotels in operation and another 13 hotels underdevelopment.“This award is a strong endorsement of the strength of the Park Plaza brand in SouthAsia, where Carlson is also the largest international hotel operator,” said K.B. Kachru, executivevice president, Carlson Hotels, South Asia.The annual awards by Outlook Traveller, one of India’s leading travel magazines arebased on a reader’s survey by The Nielsen Company.Carlson has won several other India industry awards, including the “Fastest GrowingHotel Chain in South Asia” at the Hospitality India Awards, the “Best International Brand inIndia” by Today’s Traveller and the South Asia Travel & Tourism Expo Excellence Award.
Hilton Sydney has won the coveted awards for ‘Australian General Manager’ (Paul Hutton), ‘Hotel Bar of the Year’ (Zeta Bar), Hotel Engineer (Craig Cavers) and Hotel Brand at the ninth annual HM Awards for Hotel & Accommodation Excellence.Regarded as the leading awards in the industry, the HM Awards recognise excellence in people and departments, properties and chains in 48 categories across properties in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Paul Hutton, General Manager of Hilton Sydney, whose hospitality career spans 25 years across destinations worldwide, said, “I feel tremendously proud of this accolade and it is testament to the hard work and impeccable standards of an internationally diverse Hilton Sydney team. “A mid-city icon for four decades, Hilton Sydney firmly re-established itself after a two and a half year closure and its re-opening in July 2005 as a more exciting and vibrant property than ever. This honour sets the tone for next year and beyond and will see Hilton Sydney continue to take its place as a truly iconic Australian hotel offering world-class service.“I’m delighted to see Zeta Bar collect the 20th award in its six-year history, making it the most awarded cocktail bar in Australia. This is an outstanding achievement and proves that we continue to lead the way in cutting-edge bar trends and set internationally pioneering standards.“Lastly, but by no means least, it’s always pleasing to see individual recognition so I am thrilled for Craig Cavers’ thoroughly deserved engineering award. He is a vital cog in the Hilton Sydney machine, so I congratulate Craig and thank his team wholeheartedly.”Ashley Spencer, Vice President Operations, Australasia, Hilton Worldwide, accepted the Hotel Brand award during the ceremony and said, “I am thrilled to accept this major award and showcase to the Australasian hospitality industry why Hilton is the number one hotel brand in Australasia; a success which demonstrates the strength of our international team.“In addition, it was extremely pleasing to see Hilton Lake Taupo take the award for New Zealand Regional Property and highly commended recognitions going to Hilton Queenstown (New Zealand Hotel), Hilton Melbourne South Wharf (Marketing Campaign) and Hilton Cairns (Service to the Community). It was undoubtedly an outstanding night for Hilton and one which we should all be proud of.”Hilton Sydney also received three highly commended awards for Tech Hotel (recognised for the third year running), Business Hotel (recognised for the second year running), and Environmental Program at the ceremony, which was held at the Sydney Town Hall. The awards were co-hosted by James Wilkinson, managing editor of HM – Hotel & Accommodation Management magazine and the charismatic Larry Edmur, Channel Seven’s Morning Show host who entertained more than 600 guests at the ‘Night at the Opera’-themed gala. The HM Awards judging panel is made up of over 50 industry professionals and travel media who decide on all of the finalists and the winners. Written submissions for each category are considered and all judging decisions remain anonymous. All results are audited by Ernst & Young. Source = Hilton Hotels & Resorts
China is planning to further strengthen its position as the third largest tourism market in the world with new plans of building the world’s highest airport in Nagqu, Tibet. Sitting at an altitude of 4,436m above sea level, the new proposed airport will be 102 meters higher than Bamba Airport in Tibet, currently the highest airport in the world, Travel and Leisure reported. Construction plans are due to commence later this year and is scheduled to begin operation as soon as 2015. Government establishments have carried out a feasibility study to confirm that it is safe to operate at such high altitudes. Nagqu Airport is one of the key features the government is planning to further develop the infrastructure on the Tibetan Plateau at a cost of US$285 million. The increase in flight services will assist Tibet’s airports deal with the 2.2 million passengers and 15,000 tonnes of Cargo it receives each year. Nagqu’s District Administration Officer Tan Yongshou spoke on the upcoming structural infrastructure in place for the near future.“Quinhai-Tibet Highway, Qinghai-Tibet Railway and this airport will form a multi-level traffic system in Nagqu,” Tan Yongshou said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P The proposed airport will be 102 meters highter than Bamda Airport Tibet, currently the world’s largest
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T The European Union has recommended the cessation of forced limitations on carbon emissions from international flights in and out of the EU until negotiations to establish a global accord to reduce pollution are settled next year.The proposal was proffered to “create a positive atmosphere” for the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) discussions on limiting carbon emissions next September, according to European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard.However, there is a risk of backlash from budget airlines flying within the EU whose operations will still be subject to carbon discharge limits, according to Climate Spectator. “This is a chance; we create this phase for a positive negotiations but it has to be used… If this exercise ends in nothing then needless to say we are back to exactly where we are today with the EU ETS and we are back there automatically,” Ms Hedegaard said. Most international carriers are still weary of ICAO’s ability to completely satisfy the EU’s strong position on carbon emissions.United States aviation representative, Airlines for America, said that it was “cautiously optimistic” but believed “a global sectoral approach through ICAO is the best way to address aviation emissions.”“Countries such as the USA, Russia, China and India have repeatedly stated that the issue should be dealt with in ICAO… Now they have the chance to show that they mean it,” Association of European Airlines secretary general Athar Husain Khan said.The European Commission intends to present a formal proposal on the freezing of carbon restrictions on international flights “very, very soon,” Ms Hedegaard said.
Delta Airlines is supposedly in talks with Singapore Airlines to purchase its 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic, in order to gain more access into London.Although still in early stages, the airline is said to have approached Singapore Airlines for the purchase, but was cautioned it might not approach Sir Richard Branson, who own 51 percent stake in the carrier, for control of the airline, The Guardian reported.Branson is reportedly keen to have Virgin join the three big airline alliances to keep it competitive in the market, however, any offer to the entrepreneur would require Delta to team up with its European partner, Air France-KLM, to meet EU ruling that any operator within Europe must be controlled by a European business. “We realised for the long-term stability of Virgin Atlantic we needed to look at an alliance partner, and whether it is purely an alliance or more than an alliance we’re completely undecided,” he said in 2011. “Most of the people we talked to are keen to have Virgin as part of their alliance. “My preference would be to keep control of the airline.”Delta Airlines is yet to comment. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
While Australians continue to venture overseas, domestic leisure travel is also on the rise, according to the latest National Visitor Survey results.Tourism Research Australia revealed that Australian domestic tourism injects $187 million per day into the national economy.Australians spent $50 billion on overnight domestic travel and a further $18.2 billion on day trip last year.“This expenditure supports more than 500,000 direct jobs in tourism across Australia, providing business opportunities and contributing 2.5 per cent of total GDP ($34.6 billion),” Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) acting chief executive Trent Zimmerman said.Domestic overnight visitor numbers increased 3.6 percent year-on-year, visitor nights were up 4.1 percent and spending rose 3.4 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.“The growth in domestic overnight travel was driven by a 7.4 per cent increase in people visiting friends and relatives, particularly across the eastern sea board.“Australia must continue its efforts to attract domestic visitors and investment in tourism infrastructure is critical to achieving this,” Mr Zimmerman said.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Domestic tourism in Australia on the rise.
Air Canada has boosted capacity on its Sydney-Vancouver route, following bigger than expected traffic over the last year. The route will be serviced by a Boeing 777-300 from October 2014, adding 79 Economy Class to the route each day.Air Canada general manager Australia and New Zealand Paul Mclean said the decision was the first time the airline would hvae upgraded aircraft on the route for an extended period of time.“We have in the past met seasonal demand by offering additional flights for short periods in December and January, traditionally the peak periods for Australians visiting Canada’s ski fields,” Mr McLean said.“This is the first time, however, that we have upgraded to a larger aircraft and done so for an extended period of time.It reflects Australian travellers’ sustained interest in Canada as an exciting year-round holiday destination and as a convenient gateway to America.”Air Canada offers the same amount of Business Class seats in its Boeing 777-300 planes – 42.Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
Source = Sunshine Coast Destination Sunshine Coast records Queensland’s highest international visitor growthThe Sunshine Coast has once again recorded the highest inbound growth in Queensland, with the region attracting an increase of 15.7% in international visitors in 2014.Expenditure by international tourists visiting the Sunshine Coast grew 17% to a record $219.5 million in 2014.The figures from the International Visitor Survey (IVS) were announced today at Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) in Melbourne.The Sunshine Coast’s 15.7% increase in international visitor numbers compared with the overall Australian increase of 7.5% and Queensland growth of 5.5%.All Queensland regions increased their inbound business, with Brisbane up 2.3%, Gold Coast 7%, and Tropical North Queensland 7.8%.Europe was the star performer for the Sunshine Coast with the German market growing 45.3% (adding over 10,000 visitors) in 2014, as a result of Sunshine Coast’s marketing campaigns in Germany.The German market was particularly attracted to the newly created ‘Australia’s Nature Coast’, a partnership formed by the Sunshine and Fraser coasts to market the region’s natural and adventure attractions.Sunshine Coast was the only region in Queensland to defy a downturn in UK travel, recording growth of 8.2% compared to a national decline of 1.5%, and a 2.3% decline in Queensland.With an increase in direct flights from New Zealand, the New Zealand market was up 18.7%, and with Air New Zealand announcing increased flights for 2015-16, the Sunshine Coast was anticipating even higher growth figures over the next two years.Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd (SCDL) is the regional tourism organisation that manages and promotes tourism on the Sunshine Coast, representing local tourism areas such as Noosa, Gympie, Caloundra and the Hinterland.SCDL CEO, Simon Ambrose, said the figures rewarded a highly strategic approach to international marketing by SCDL and its member partners over the past 18 months“Europe has always been a key destination for us because of our emphasis on nature and experiences,” said Mr Ambrose.“Together with a highly committed group of Sunshine Coast industry partners we have been conducting major campaigns in Europe, and particularly Germany, through both the Sunshine Coast and Australia’s Nature Coast, and our combination of incredible beaches, Hinterland, world-class food and dining and accessibility, has clearly paid dividends.“The New Zealand market is coming to the Sunshine Coast in record numbers thanks to direct services to our own airport and importantly, our destination has seen growth in a variety of areas – holidays, events, conferences and education. We are an incredibly desirable location for visitors, and because we offer such diversity of attractions – from surfing to trekking, from artistic festivals to bush-tucker tours – we are perceived as a far richer destination than others which are seen as just ‘beach destinations’.”Mr Ambrose said that this had been particularly important for the European market, which both stayed longer and spent more. He said that the IVS statistics also revealed strong growth from Italy, France, the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and the Netherlands.He said that there had been encouraging figures from the North American and Asian markets, but the Sunshine Coast had struck a particular chord with the European market, and SCDL’s high-level participation at the influential Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) event in Melbourne over the next week would build on that, especially with the launch of the new Great Beach Drive.“The team at SCDL has put in an enormous effort over the past 18 months to grow both international and Australian visitation to the Sunshine Coast by creating our own unique image,” said Mr Ambrose.“We are seeing repeat visitation with many markets. They may come initially for the beach experience, but after they discover the rainforests, Hinterland villages, events, the food and the arts they are increasingly returning for another taste.” Visit the Sunshine Coast in Queensland
Australia is to feature in two episodes of the popular reality TV Show ‘Running Man’ in ChinaRunning Man to be filmed in AustraliaAustralia is to feature in two episodes of popular Asian reality show, Running Man, as part of a collaboration between Tourism Australia, Tourism Victoria and the South Australia Tourism Commission (SATC) aimed at attracting more Chinese visitors Down Under.The Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Museum, Rundle Mall and Barossa Valley are amongst the locations which will provide the backdrop for a series of celebrity challenges filmed recently in Victoria and South Australia. The mega-production involved four days of intense filming and a crew of more than 200.The Australian episodes are expected to be watched by more than a hundred million fans of the cult series in China and across Asia, when the show airs in January 2016.As a spin-off of the original Korean series, the Chinese version of Running Man was first broadcast in October 2014 and is now in Season 3. In that time, the show has accumulated a viewership of more than 23 billion and generated over 150 million social media posts. The first three episodes of this season’s show have already generated more than 200 million online views.Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan, who got to play a small cameo role in one of the episodes, said the popularity of the show would build upon the recent success Australia had enjoyed showcasing its top tourism attractions through the eyes of well-known Asian celebrities.“With its massive celebrities and huge audiences, Running Man is reality TV on steroids. Importantly, the audience profile for people watching the show aligns very closely with our target consumer, which makes the show a very appealing marketing platform for us,” he said.The Federal Minister for Tourism and International Education, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck said, “Tourism Australia’s research has shown that Australia sits at the top of Chinese travellers’ travel ‘wish list’. Running Man is the perfect opportunity to showcase Australia’s strength in these areas to this crucial market and encourage them to convert that aspiration into actual holidays.”“The Victorian Government is delighted that Victoria will again provide a backdrop for this blockbuster television format, broadcasting the sights of Melbourne to many millions of Chinese viewers. China is Victoria’s biggest market in terms of visitor numbers and accounts for 31% of all international tourism expenditure across the State so productions such as Running Man are pivotal in promoting our destination there,” said Victoria’s Minister for Tourism & Major Events, John Eren.South Australia’s Tourism Minister, Leon Bignell, said the filming of Running Man in South Australia had already generated a lot of social media interest.“China is an important tourism market. Recent data shows 32,000 Chinese tourists visited our state in the 12 months to June 15. This is a 9.3 per cent increase compared to the previous year. We are on track to reach our goal of 57,000 Chinese visitors by 2020, and Running Man provides a huge platform to showcase our state and help us reach this target,” he said.Running Man (China) is produced by Zhejiang Satellite Television (ZJSTV). In each episode, a star-studded cast of ‘resident’ cast members is joined by two special celebrity guests, who all compete in a series of challenges in order to avoid elimination.Source = Tourism Australia
Papua New Guinea introduces new tourist visa for AustraliansAustralian passport holders can now secure a 30 day, free tourist visa on arrival in Papua New Guinea.The change in visa requirements was delivered this week by the National Executive Council and is the first time this option has been available to Australian visitors.Chief Executive Office of Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA), Jerry Agus, said he is delighted at the news and sees this decision as an important step forward for the PNG tourism industry.“We whole-heartedly welcome this news and believe that by simplifying the process and allowing visas to be granted upon arrival at no cost, will entice more Australians to visit one of their closest neighbours,” Mr Agus said.“Over the last few years we’ve seen such fantastic growth in cruising and now with an easier visa process we hope to see increased numbers for those arriving by plane too.“We now want to work with all the partners to ensure a streamlined process through the airport immigration system.“It’s an exciting time for PNG with the tourism bodies and partners strongly focusing on developing tourism infrastructure in areas including Milne Bay and Rabaul/Kokopo, whilst it’s early days we are very motivated to grow this industry and welcome more tourists.”PNG, which is only around three hours’ flight from Brisbane, comprises more than 600 islands with popular activities for tourists including fishing, diving, trekking, surfing and cruising. Papua New GuineaSource = Papua New Guinea Tourism