Congolese military hunts evasive exwarlord

first_imgAssociated PressKINSHASA, Congo (AP) – A notorious ex-warlord who became a general in the Congolese army despite international war crimes charges is now being blamed for fomenting more unrest in Congo’s east and faces new charges of crimes against humanity.As Bosco Ntaganda’s loyalists started to split off from the military last month to form a new rebel group in the wilds of eastern Congo, he went into hiding and is accused of orchestrating the defection. Following the April mutiny, the fighters fled into the bush, where they regrouped and later issued a press release on the letterhead of the former CNDP, saying that they had launched a new rebel group, called the M23 _ for March 23, in reference to the date of the 2009 peace treaty. Like the former CNDP, the M23 is dominated by fighters from the Tutsi ethnicity. Ntaganda is Tutsi and according to ICC arrest warrant he is believed to be Rwandan.“Ntaganda is behind this new movement of mutinous soldiers, the M23, and the government can’t negotiate with these people,” said Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende.In a recent interview given to a local journalist in Swahili, however, Ntaganda maintained he “wasn’t involved in this uprising in the east.”The governor of North Kivu province, though, has accused him “of being the instigator of everything happening in Kivu.”Pressure has been mounting for Ntaganda’s arrest since the ICC recently convicted another Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga of using child soldiers, the first judgment in the court’s 10-year history.On Monday, the court added additional counts to Ntaganda’s indictment, accusing his forces of having “ethnically cleansed the areas by killing and raping civilians” back in 2002-2003. He already had been charged with using child soldiers for fighting in northeastern Congo from 2002 to 2003. Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates “Now more than ever is the time to arrest him. His recent desertion from the (Congolese military) has shown once again that he cannot be trusted; it is a renewed demonstration that power through violence only leads to more violence,” he said.Bosco Ntaganda had been a commander of the National Congress for the Defense of the People, the rebel group known by its French acronym, CNDP, whose fighters launched a rebellion in late 2008. As part of a 2009 peace deal, the fighters were integrated into the Congolese army. Ntaganda was then allowed to wear the stripes of a general in the Congolese military, despite repeated appeals by the International Criminal Court.Congo’s president had refused calls to hand over Ntaganda, arguing his cooperation was essential to keeping the peace in the troubled east of the country where numerous local militias and foreign rebels operate.Then in a marked turnaround last month, Congo’s president called for Ntaganda’s arrest though suggested Ntaganda may face trial before a Congolese court rather than abroad.Congo’s military believes Ntaganda is currently orchestrating the defection by the former CNDP rebels, charges both the fighters and Ntaganda deny. The mutinous soldiers have accused the government of failing to hold up its end of a March 23, 2009 peace accord, when the fighters agreed to be integrated into the Congolese army. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Human rights groups say Ntaganda had long been living openly in eastern Congo, dining at restaurants and playing tennis despite an International Criminal Court arrest warrant on allegations he forced children to serve as soldiers. Now the Congolese government has vowed to arrest him and the ICC announced Monday it is expanding the charges against him.Ntaganda, though, is nowhere to be found. The ensuing violence from the defection of his supporters from the Congolese army has forced thousands to flee their homes.“Ntaganda and his men are on the run,” Congolese army spokesman Sylvain Ekenge said after authorities seized more than 20 tons of heavy weapons from a property Ntaganda owns.The International Criminal Court believes all of this would have been avoided had Ntaganda been detained years ago. He was first indicted on war crimes charges in 2006, a warrant that was unsealed two years later.“Bosco Ntaganda has used the time offered to him since the ICC arrest warrant was issued to move from Ituri to North Kivu, to expand his power on new territories, and to maintain a power base thanks to his crimes, and the violence of persons under his control,” the ICC prosecutor said Monday. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Ntaganda has vigorously denied all the allegations against him, and said in a 2010 interview with The Associated Press that he did not fear arrest on the ICC charges.“I don’t think that the U.N. is able to arrest me in Congo because they have arms that I also have and that can protect me when they try to arrest me,” he said. “If it is established that I committed crimes, I won’t hesitate to answer them to a court in my country. But I will never accept answering charges by the International Court.”___Larson reported from Dakar, Senegal.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Check your body, save your lifelast_img read more

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Qatar and UAE call on citizens to leave Lebanon

first_img Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top Stories Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said in a statement that he hopes Qatar and the UAE will review their decision because the situation in Lebanon does not require such steps.Tripoli has been relatively calm since Tuesday despite sporadic shootings.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) BEIRUT (AP) – The Gulf states of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have called on their citizens not to go to Lebanon and for those who are there to leave.Saturday’s call by the two countries’ foreign ministries came days after clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian groups in the northern city of Tripoli left eight people and dozens wounded.Both countries said in statements posted on their state-run news agencies that the reason behind the decision was tension and instability in Lebanon.last_img read more

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Spains Repsol sells Chile unit for 540 million

first_img How men can have a healthy 2019 Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates MADRID (AP) – Spanish energy firm Repsol is selling a Chilean natural gas unit for $540 million in cash and will use $317 million of the proceeds to pay off debt.Repsol SA says in a statement Wednesday that it is selling Repsol Butano Chile to a consortium of Chilean investors.Repsol Butano Chile holds a 45 percent stake in the Lipigas natural gas firm, a major player in sales of bottled gas used by residences and business. Repsol says Lipigas controls 38 percent of Chile’s bottled natural gas market. It has 1,000 distributors. Bottled natural gas is used widely throughout Latin America. Comments   Share   center_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements The company says the deal will generate a net capital gain of $170 million.(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 How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

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Wounded flood hospitals in Syrias largest city

first_imgAssociated PressALEPPO, Syria (AP) – It had been a calm day in Aleppo’s Shifa Hospital, said Dr. Osman al-Haj Osman, his face etched with exhaustion from just three hours of sleep. Then, a man burst in bearing the shrieking bundle of a 6-year-old girl who’d had a machine-gun bullet rip through both her knees.Two months into the battle for Syria’s largest city, civilians are still bearing the brunt of the daily assaults of helicopter gunships, roaring jets and troops fighting in the streets. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have been increasingly relying on the government’s artillery and air power to fight the tenacious rebels who so far refuse to be dislodged from Aleppo.The city is Syria’s commercial hub, and its middle and upper classes were bastions of support for Assad. If the rebels took such a key city, it would give them a quasi-capital to complement the large swaths of territory they control in the north, up to the Turkish border.Osman said the rebels he treats mostly have gunshot wounds from the ubiquitous snipers scattered over the many front lines.The hospital itself has been hit directly twice by shells, demolishing two of the upper floors. Bombs fell nearby several times, spraying the entrance with shrapnel and debris.The hospital has a staff of only five doctors and no surgeons, so difficult cases are often farmed out to other facilities, including a hospital in the town of al-Bab, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) to the northeast.While there are enough drugs in the hospital so far to deal with the daily violence _ which on Monday killed 25 and wounded dozens in shelling believed to be in retaliation for the rebel capture of an army barracks _ the staff is overstretched. Top Stories “What day is it? I don’t know. What time is it? I don’t know,” Osman said, adding that he goes to sleep at 4 a.m. and wakes up at 8 a.m. _ unless he’s roused earlier for an emergency.“My life is just the wounded and the dead,” he said.Outside the hospital, in the surprisingly bustling neighborhood of Tareeq al-Bab, there is the sound of gunfire. A helicopter gunship is lazily circling the neighborhood and rebels on the roofs of the apartment buildings are futilely emptying the clips of their inadequate Kalashnikovs into the sky.Abu Hassan, who was once a carpenter, sells vegetables on the street facing the hospital because there is no other work. He navigates the tortuous jigsaw of rebel- and government-controlled neighborhoods every day.“When we are under bombardment, the water and electricity can be cut for days,” he said, explaining that if he had the money, he would try to follow the hundreds of thousands of other Syrians who have fled for the border. Since the uprising against Assad began 18 months ago, activists estimate that at least 23,000 people have been killed.The streets between the shattered apartment buildings are choked with garbage that can no longer be collected. Top holiday drink recipes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img ErrorOK ErrorOK Comments   Share   Shoving aside the orderlies and armed rebels milling around the cramped lobby Tuesday afternoon, the man deposited Fatima Qassem onto a gurney as a nurse swooped in and began cutting away the blood-soaked bandages on her knees.A doctor reached in and pulled out an inch-long fragment of metal. There was a gush of blood. Large sections of bone and muscle were missing from the back of her knee.She cried out plaintively for “Baba,” because the man who brought her was not her father _ just someone who had rushed her across town to the hospital. The family was hopefully on its way.There was a piercing scream as the nurse picked her up again, jostling her awkwardly dangling legs and carrying her around a narrow corner into a small operating theater. Her cries subsided into a steady moan.Her father, Abdu Qassem, came in 15 minutes later, his shirt covered with blood, probably from carrying his daughter out of the car, and frantically asked the orderly behind the desk how she was doing.Qassem said they had been driving through a neighborhood when their car was raked by machine-gun fire from government troops.In the operating room, Fatima’s crying grew muffled as an anesthetic was administered and her mouth went slack. Osman cleaned the blood away from the wound and tried to find a way to repair the damage. Although meat is scarce, residents of Aleppo are eating adequately, said Alaa Mursi, gesturing at the eggs, chickpeas, tomatoes and other produce being sold. Many, however, are surviving on handouts.“People give us food to eat,” he said. “There are rich people who distribute food for us.”Just a few blocks away is the neighborhood of Hanano, on the city’s edge, where the rebels began their assault two months ago. The streets are largely deserted because most residents were recent immigrants who could flee to relatives in the comparative safety of the countryside.A few men lounge in the shade of a scraggly tree in the otherwise grim vista of cheaply built concrete five-story buildings.Overhead is the whirring noise of a jet’s engines _ a mundane sound in the West that can mean sudden, inexplicable and random death in Aleppo.“We are afraid to stay in the houses, so we hang out on the street,” said Abu Alaa, a jovial 30-year-old who hasn’t worked in months. “We sent our families to the countryside and we stay here to look after the place, in case of thieves.”The sound of the jet suddenly builds to a crescendo and there is a muffled crump, mercifully in the distance. Another airstrike. The men gesture in the direction of the explosion and say that just this morning, a bomb fell a block away, killing a woman. “We can’t sleep here during the night or day,” said Abu Abed, who looks much older than his 40 years. “In the morning, it’s the jets. In the afternoon, it’s the helicopters. And at night, it’s the shelling.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Just a few feet away from the commotion, on the next bed, a nurse calmly bandaged the hand of a stone-faced rebel who was oblivious to the stricken child nearby.A tiny boy walked in and stared with curiosity at the blood and ruin of Fatima’s legs before a nurse suddenly saw him and ushered him out. It was Osman’s 4-year-old son, Omar.When Osman started pulling all-day and all-night shifts during Syria’s civil war, his wife and two children moved into the hospital so that he would actually get to see them.“He plays between the wounded. It’s a great upbringing,” Osman joked in the few calm moments before another patient was carried in. He spoke in English _ a language he said he learned from watching the Fox Movie Channel on satellite TV. Perhaps another joke.The 30-year-old doctor estimated that 80 percent of the patients are civilians, wounded by falling buildings and exploding shells from the constant bombardment that government forces mete out to the parts of the city outside their control.On Tuesday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported shelling in several areas across Aleppo that killed more than a dozen and collapsed a three- story building in the nearby neighborhood of Haideriya. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

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UK police seek woman over bleach offered to baby

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Earlier Thursday the police force tweeted: “WARNING! Last 1/2 hr. (hash)Eltham High St. White female in 50s giving children in pushchairs bottles containing believed bleach.”Police say no arrests have been made.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Comments   Share   Top Stories Check your body, save your life How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation LONDON (AP) – British police say they are searching for a woman who gave a baby a bottle believed to contain bleach.The Metropolitan Police force says an 11-month-old boy vomited Thursday after drinking from “a baby bottle with an unknown substance” given to him by an unknown woman as he sat with his mother and grandmother at a McDonald’s restaurant in southeast London.The force says the boy was taken to a hospital for observation. He is in stable condition. Police say they are examining security footage to see exactly what happened.last_img read more

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Holy Sepulchre bank account blocked for water bill

first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The account was blocked two weeks ago and lawyers were hired to address the matter in court, Fakitsas said. He insisted the church will be able to function despite the blocked bank account and that if matters become too difficult, it will try and find an alternative, such as opening a new bank account.The church for decades was exempt by the different leaderships which ruled over Jerusalem’s Old City from paying water bills until the Israeli water company began pressing it to pay up a few years ago.Fakitsas, the superior of the Greek Orthodox church, said an agreement was reached after months of negotiations. Under the deal, various denominations in the church would pay their monthly bill. A debt of some 9 million shekels was to be forgotten, he said.But to the surprise of the church elders, its account was blocked two weeks ago, making it impossible to pay stipends of some 500 priests and monks, 2,000 teachers and the running costs of over 30 Christian schools that the church runs in the Palestinian territories and Jordan, church spokesman Issa Musleh said.The water company, which could not immediately be reached for comment, demands the church pay for its water _ charges from which it has been exempt for decades. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Associated PressJERUSALEM (AP) – A clergyman from the church built on the site where Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified said Friday that its bank account has been frozen as the result of a long-standing dispute with an Israeli water company.Greek Orthodox priest Isidoros Fakitsas said that the move has impaired the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to pay bills and salaries.As a result, the church is considering closing for a day in protest, shutting the doors to one of Christianity’s most popular pilgrimage sites. The Israeli Tourism Ministry said the issue is between the Church and the Jerusalem municipality. But because of the great importance of the site, the ministry is now trying to mediate between the two sides and hopes the issue will be resolved quickly.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Patients with chronic pain give advice Sponsored Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

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Turkey redefines armed forces duties

first_imgANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkey’s parliament has amended an internal armed forces’ regulation long relied on by the country’s once-powerful generals as grounds for intervening in politics, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported Saturday, in a move that further strips the military of its political influence.The military has wielded huge political power in the country, overthrowing four governments between 1960 and 1997 and issuing a warning against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted government as recently as 2007. Comments   Share   Four benefits of having a wireless security system The vote also comes at a time when Turkey has spoken out against the Egyptian military’s overthrow of the country’s Islamist leader, Mohammed Morsi, with whom Erdogan had formed an alliance.“This is an important legal reform that ends any legal justification for staging coups,” Lale Kemal, an expert on military affairs and columnist for Today’s Zaman newspaper, said of the amendment.However, further reforms were needed to assert full civilian control over the military, including placing the armed forces under the defense ministry’s subordination and opening up military spending to greater civilian scrutiny, Kemal said.Since coming to power in 2003, Erdogan has reduced the general’s powers through reforms driven by Turkey’s ambition to join the European Union, including for example, reducing the influence of a national security council where the generals usually imposed their will on the government. A series of trials against hundreds of military officers, including top army commanders, accused of alleged anti-government plots, have furthered impeded the military’s ability to intervene.The opposition Republican People’s Party, long associated with Turkey’s pro-military secular guard, also voted in favor of amending the regulation in a show of support to democracy. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories The generals have in the past pointed to an internal military regulation that stipulated the army’s duty as watching over and protecting the Turkish republic, to justify army takeovers or stepping in whenever they felt uneasy over civilian leaders’ policies.In a midnight vote Friday, legislators voted to redefine the military’s duty as: “defending the Turkish homeland against external threats and dangers, and maintaining and strengthening military powers to ensure deterrence.”They also emphasized the Turkish army’s role in international peacekeeping missions, saying its tasks also included taking up any overseas duty assigned by parliament and helping secure international peace.Erdogan’s party proposed the amendment to strip the military of any legal basis for intervention in domestic affairs following a spate of anti-government protests in June, which the prime minister has blamed on a conspiracy against his democratically-elected government. The protesters were airing discontent with what opponents have said is Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian style of governing and moves to impose his conservative and religious views on society. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “As of now, I hope Turkey will no longer speak of coups and will develop its democracy,” said Republican party legislator Sezgin Tanrikulu, who branded the military regulation as a “dirty and bloody” excuse for military intervention.The two surviving leaders of the country’s 1980 military coup, Kenan Evren and Tahsin Sahinkaya, are currently on trial for overthrowing a government and have cited the internal military regulation in their defense. The 1980 takeover stopped deadly fighting between political extremists, but also led to a wave of executions and torture.“Our country has a tradition of coups,” Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz told parliament, speaking in favor of the amendment. “And the true victim of the coups has always been the people.”The military has long regarded itself as the protector of Turkey’s secular traditions, imposed by the country’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was a former army officer.As the second-largest army in NATO, the Turkish military is involved in the alliance’s operations in Afghanistan, though it is not directly involved in combat. It has also fought Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey until earlier this year, when the Turkey and the rebels started talks in a bid to end a nearly 30-year old conflict. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

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Thousands brace for deportations in Dominican Republic

first_img 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Thousands of people began preparing Thursday for deportation from the Dominican Republic after failing to obtain legal residency as part of a government program to crack down on migrants, most of them from neighboring Haiti or of Haitian descent.The government urged people to start carrying documents to prove they’re residents and avoid deportation in case immigration agents stop them. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Comments   Share   Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Many expected authorities to immediately start deporting people, but the government said it would be a slow, ongoing process.The repatriations are not going to be “a witch hunt,” said Interior Minister Ramon Fadul. “It will be a gradual process, as it should be, without any sudden surprises.”Ruben Paulino, migration director, had warned that starting Thursday agents would patrol areas with a high concentration of Haitian migrants to repatriate those lacking the required documents.Dozens of people were turned away at midnight Wednesday’s deadline after standing in line for more than 24 hours to submit applications to establish their legal status.Even those who did apply said they are still concerned because enrollment does not guarantee a residency permit.“Every day I wake up to that, to the fact that I’m leaving for Haiti,” said Froilan Bartelmi, a 27-year-old clothes vendor who was among the last to enroll in the immigration registration program.Bartelmi said he doesn’t fear being deported: “I’m not going to die of hunger.” But he does worry about losing all his merchandise and being separated from his wife and 5-year-old son, who was born in the Dominican Republic. Police officers in riot gear guard migrants waiting to register for legal residency outside the Interior Ministry building in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Authorities are prepared to resume deporting non-citizens without legal residency in the Dominican Republic after largely putting the practice on hold for a year, the head of the country’s immigration agency said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Tatiana Fernandez) Sponsored Stories Officials said nearly 290,000 people enrolled in the immigration registration program, but noted that only some 10,000 have provided the required documents.The program began last June after legal challenges delayed its original launch in 2004. Non-citizens can qualify for legal residency if they can prove they have been in the Dominican Republic since before October 2011.The government implemented the program amid international criticism of a Supreme Court decision that people born in the Dominican Republic to non-citizens did not qualify for citizenship under the constitution unless they had at least one parent who was a citizen or legal resident. The ruling rendered thousands effectively stateless. Officials said they will grant citizenship to some 50,000 people in this category.An estimated 460,000 Haitian migrants live in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Check your body, save your lifelast_img read more

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Chinese journalist for German newspaper freed

first_imgZhou’s whereabouts were not immediately clear, although his supporters believe he was taken away by Chinese authorities.Zhou, who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday, said he had argued to prosecutors that the evidence against Zhang was obtained through coercion and torture, and should be considered illegal.“We had expected her release because we believed the evidence was invalid and could not be used,” Zhou said.Zhang, a news assistant for German weekly Die Zeit, was initially detained on a disturbance charge. Zhou said she was subject to sleep deprivation and intimidation during the detention.Zhang’s detention highlights the precarious situation for Chinese nationals working for foreign media, as they often become targets of police harassment and intimidation. Angela Koeckritz, the Beijing correspondent for Die Zeit, left China after she also felt pressure from authorities following Zhang’s detention.Die Zeit’s deputy editor-in-chief, Moritz Mueller-Wirth, said Koeckritz was informed on Thursday morning of Zhang’s planned release.“We are very glad and thank from the bottom of our hearts everyone who contributed in the last few months to this solution,” he said in an emailed statement, without giving details. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Zhang and the three artists were detained in Beijing in October just ahead of a planned poetry reading in support of the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.In a separate case, another prominent rights lawyer Wang Yu and her family have been out of contact since Thursday morning. She also is believed to be taken away by Chinese police, although police have yet to confirm that.___This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of Koeckritz’s surname, which carries an umlaut in German.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese journalist who helped cover the Hong Kong democracy protests for a German publication was freed without charge Thursday following nine months in detention.Zhang Miao and three artists who were detained along with her last October also were released, their supporters said.However, on Friday morning, Zhang’s lawyer, Zhou Shifeng, was taken by force by three unidentified men from a hotel after he picked up Zhang from the detention center in a Beijing suburb, a business partner said. It raised concerns that Beijing is targeting rights lawyers who have lent strong legal support to activists, artists and journalists. Sponsored Stories Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Quick workouts for men Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Four benefits of having a wireless security system 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

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Uganda sending combat helicopters to Somalia battle

first_imgKAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda will send attack and transport helicopters to bolster its forces fighting the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab insurgency in Somalia, an army spokesman said Sunday.Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda said the helicopters would help evacuate the injured, improve communication and carry out operations against the militants.“Our lines of communication are too long and it’s been difficult to evacuate the injured or the sick soldiers. These air assets will boost our operations against al-Shabab,” he said. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img The first attempt to deploy helicopters ended tragically in August 2012 when three of the aircraft crashed in neighboring Kenya on the way to Somalia killing seven crew members.Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sierra Leone have deployed troops to Somalia as part of an African Union force bolstering the country’s weak government against al-Shabab’s insurgency.The African Union troops pushed al-Shabab out of the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

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Time to Craft nominees for 2010 cruise industry awards

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Television personality Shelley Craft will host the 10th annual International Cruise Council Australasia (ICCA) Awards in January, 2011. Nominations for the record 15 awards on offer are now open. The event will take place on Saturday 29 January, 2011 at Sydney’s Sheraton on the Park Hotel.”ICCA’s awards night is recognised as a highlight of the cruise industry calendar” said Council General Manager Brett Jardine. Mr. Jardine is “delighted” to have Shelley Craft, presenter for popular television programs, Australia’s Funniest Home Videos and Domestic Blitz, host the gala event. With her experience on The Great Outdoors travel program, Ms. Craft is no stranger to the cruise industry. The Gold Sponsor of the event will be Cruise Passenger Magazine, who has maintained primary sponsorship over the past four years. In the past awards night tickets have sold out speedily. “We anticipate the 2010 awards to be just as popular” said Mr. Jardine. This year’s event sees the amount of awards on offer increased to 15, expanding the Consumer Cruise Promotion category.Agencies will be able to make nominations for the Cruise Promotion category as well as the Neil Frazer Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to the Cruise Industry award.Other award categories – including Cruise Agency of the Year, Cruise Consultant of the Year and the Rising Star Award – are voted on by cruise line members and the Council. Shelley Craft will host 2010 Cruise Industry Awardslast_img read more

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Jet Airways wins the Best Long Haul Airline ex Brussels –

first_imgJet Airways, India’s premier international airline, has received the “Best Long Haul Airline ex Brussels, Travel Magazine Awards 2011” award for the fourth consecutive year during the TM Travel Awards 2011, held at the Hilton Hotel, Antwerp, Belgium. The TM Travel Awards are organized every year by Travel Magazine, the leading magazine of the Belgian and Luxembourg travel industry. Over 700 guests attended the Gala event. Stefan Hollands, General Manager Benelux, Bernard Guisset, Sales Manager Continental Europe, Sanna Naqvi, Leisure Sales Manager Belgium & Luxembourg and Christoffel Couck, Global Sales Manager, Belgium & Luxembourg accepted the award on behalf of Jet Airways. Mr. Sudheer Raghavan, Chief Commercial Officer Jet Airways: “With its direct, daily flights to New York (Newark, JFK) and Toronto and its 3 daily direct flights to India and beyond, the Brussels hub remains an integral part of Jet Airways’ international operations. We are delighted to receive this prestigious award for the fourth year in a row, which stands testament to the airline’s commitment to continual customer service innovation and excellence.” For the “Best Long Haul Airline ex Brussels, Travel Magazine Awards 2011” Jet Airways was selected based upon a vote of travel agents in Belgium & Luxembourg. In Australia, Jet Airways is represented by World Aviation Systems. Source = Jetstar Airwayslast_img read more

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Scoot wins big at Budgie Travel Awards 2013

first_imgSource = Terrapinn Asia Pacific Hotel of the Year – Dusit Thani Maldives LCC of the Year – Scoot Best Ancillary Revenue Strategy – AirAsia Best New Route Launch – Jetstar Airways Best Social Media Campaign –  Cebu Pacific Best Print Ad – Cebu Pacific OTA of the Year – LCC Airport of the Year – New Kansai International Airport LCC of the Year – Scoot Since its launch in November 2011, Scoot has grown into an airline that hires over 300 staff and owns a fleet of four 402-seat Boeing 777-200s which carries an average load of 80% across its fast-growing network of nine destinations. Since its first ever flight on 4 June 2012, half a million passengers have experienced what it’s really like to “Get Outta Here”, on Scoot.LCC CEO of the Year – Campbell Wilson, CEO, Scoot Together with his team, Campbell Wilson, CEO, Scoot, has led the organisation to grow into an airline that hires 326 staff and owns a fleet of four 402-seat Boeing 777-200s that carries an average load of 80% across its fast-growing network of nine destinations.Campbell has led and shaped an organisation that has touched many people and created an airline that has been delivering exactly what it promises: a fuss-free, engaging, fun, reliable, highly customisable and fantastically good value way to travel.Best Ancillary Revenue Strategy – AirAsiaAirAsia has proven itself to be an LCC with the most innovative suite of ancillary offerings. They have shown originality in branding the portfolio of ancillary products and they have also achieved tremendous growth in revenue through their outstanding ancillary revenue strategy.Best New Route Launch – Jetstar Airways Jetstar Airways began creating awareness for the launch of their Singapore-Osaka direct service through strategic partnerships with business partners with a strong connection to Japan. Through a careful selection of business partners with a strong connection to Japan – restaurant chain Sakae Sushi, Japanese supermarket Meidi-Ya and Japan National Tourism Organisation, Jetstar was able to tap in to an audience that was not only targeted but previously unavailable. The key strategy was designed to increase Jetstar exposure amongst an audience that already had an inbuilt love of the Japan destination. Coupled with viral marketing through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, Jetstar Airways achieved tremendous success for the launch and the strategy also provided a new mix of channels for Jetstar Airways to utilise for future Japan promotionsBest Social Media – Cebu PacificIn recent years, Social Media has become one of the best online media platforms for companies to connect and engage with their customers. It has provided what no other form of media has been able to offer in the past – instantaneous two-way communication. Cebu Pacific believes that this is an indispensable tool in conveying their products, services and overall brand to their passengers. To date, they communicate with and listen to over 800,000 Facebook fans, 434,000 Twitter followers and update their YouTube channel which has over 1 million views. They engage their market with their much-awaited seat sales, special events, timely flight notifications, online contests, shareable content and videos and more.Best Print Ad – Cebu PacificCebu Pacific introduced their ticket promotion to Bali through a vibrant and lively advertisement with the tagline ‘Betcha Buy Bali Now’ which is a fun and eye-catching way of catching readers’ attention.LCC Airport of the Year – New Kansai International AirportThe New Kansai International Airport (NKIAC) was launched in October 2012 as the first LCC dedicated terminal in Japan. It was an airport-airline collaboration that also marked the launch of the first Japan based LCC – Peach Aviation.NKIAC has proven itself to be the LCC Airport of the Year through the numerous effective cost-saving initiatives and measures that allowed the construction of the airport to be completed at a budget of under US$100 million. Some of these initiatives include minimising number of aircraft parking spots through the introduction of flexible swing gates, designing the size of parking spots and height of illumination poles to match smaller aircrafts used by LCCs, etc.Furthermore, in order to promote growth in aircraft movement and development of LCCs, NKIAC introduced 80% landing charge discount for airlines with increasing flight frequencies.Asia Pacific Hotel of the Year – Dusit Thani MaldivesBlending graceful Thai hospitality with the unparalleled luxurious setting of the Maldives, Dusit Thani Maldives comprises of 100 villas and residences each offering a haven of modern sophistication with luxurious amenities andtechnology. Located in the centre of the UNESCO World Biosphere, Dusit Thani Maldives offers guests diving, snorkelling, a 750sqm infinity pool – the largest in the Maldives, fuly-equipped fitness studio, resident marine biologist, children’s play area and club facilities and island boutiques. Dusit Thani Maldives has attained the Bronze Certified Award from EarthCheck, environmental management program that sets benchmarks for the tourism industry. Since its grand opening in Sep 2012, the resort has received numerous recommendations and raving reviews who consistently recognise the staff’s exemplary service and attention to details. On top of that, Tripadvisor also recently named Dusit Thani as one of the Top Ten Hot New Hotels of 2012.Economy Hotel of the Year – POP! Hotels IndonesiaAs an organisation that constantly pushes innovation to the next level, POP! Hotels offer many unique features including iPad check-in system in line with its eco-friendly motto to support paperless campaign and an innovative shower pod exclusively designed for POP! Hotels.With its drive for constant innovation and strong support for the environment, POP! Hotels is aiming to have a total of 32 hotels under POP! Hotels brand throughout Indonesia including Surabaya, Semarang, Solo, Lampung, Balikpapan and Jakarta by end of 2015.OTA of the Year – is a leader in online hotel reservations and travel content, with an extensive partner portfolio that includes many of the world’s leading hotel chains and over 6,000 travel suppliers. The company delivers best value hotel rates and promotions to both leisure and business travellers worldwide, with a primary focus on Asia Pacific’s most popular destinations.The OTA is also present on the mobile platform with which allows the OTA reach out to billions of smart phone and tablet users worldwide. Additionally, what makes truly unique is the pairing of technology and the human touch. The company’s 24/7 multilingual teams of highly trained native speaking customerservice experts are fluent in 10 major languages and offer fast assistance to every customer’s booking inquiries. The Singapore-based low cost long-haul airline, Scoot emerged as the big winner at the 10th Annual Budgie$ & Travel Awards 2013 which have been created to honour the leaders, innovators, and pioneers of Asia’s low cost airline and travel industry. In recognition of his outstanding leadership and achievements, Campbell Wilson, was named the LCC CEO of the Year and Scoot was also awarded LCC of the Year.As a testament to the success of the LCCs in emerging markets, leading LCCs such as AirAsia, Jetstar Airways and Cebu Pacific also emerged as winners of the night while Kansai Airport bagged the LCC Airport of the Year.The awards also honoured the best achievements in the travel industry where Dusit Thani won the Asia Pacific Hotel of the Year, POP Hotels bagged the Economy Hotel of the Year and OTA of the Year was awarded to Hoteltravel.Winners of the awards were selected through an exclusive online global voting system, which enabled airline and travel players across the world to have their say in which leaders in Asia stood out in their respective categories.This year’s winners of the 10th Annual Budgie$ & Travel Awards 2013 are: Economy Hotel of the Year – POP! Hotels Indonesia LCC CEO of the Year – Campbell Wilsonlast_img read more

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LAN Airlines performs first onboard wireless entertainment test on fl

first_imgLAN Airlines has carried out its first test of a new wireless onboard entertainment system, called in-wireless. This is the latest step in raising the standards of onboard entertainment as LAN begins to evaluate wireless IFE technology with the purpose of including it on its fleet within South America in the coming years.The first demonstration of the system was carried out in an Airbus A320 aircraft on a flight between Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina. There were close to 160 passengers on board who followed simple instructions to access the in-wireless platform, and had the opportunity to test the new system on multiple devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops.Content available on the new on-board entertainment platform included a selection of the eight popular films of 2012, two full seasons of the TV series Mad Men and The Big Bang Theory, 26 TV channels, more than 100 music CDs, three newspapers in digital format, the Lonely Planet destination guide and the route map.”We have found that passengers on short flights are looking to access entertainment and content on their own devices. The new in-wireless platform provides passengers with access to our IFE in a more convenient manner. In addition, it allows us to reach the largest number of devices and to improve the experiences of passengers flying within LAN in South America.” said Paula Duran Senior Manager In Flight Entertainment and On Board Media LATAM Airlines Group.System testingThe system, called Thales TopSeries AVA, will be tested for six months on one of the LAN aircraft operatintg routes within South America. To ensure correct operation of the system, LAN has been working with the inflight entertainment system manufacturer, Thales, since mid-2012, developing the system and conducting multiple tests.LAN operates six one-stop flights each week between Sydney and Santiago, Chile, via Auckland, as well as three non-stop codeshare flights operated oneworld airline alliance partner Qantas. Source = LAN Airlineslast_img read more

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Conferences growing on cruise ships

first_imgSilversea Cruises invites Professional Conference Organisers (PCO) and Event Managers to compare the level of quality and value of services offered aboard Silversea’s mid-sized ships with five-star hotels and resorts.Silversea specialises in full ship charters, conferences and incentive offerings and, with an all-inclusive pricing model, event planners have access to a high value alternative to a five star resort.Karen Christensen, general manager & director sales/marketing, Australasia, said when compared to luxury resort accommodation, Silversea provides companies with a unique opportunity.“Silversea’s charters, incentives and event services are of the highest standard, exceeding some of the world’s most renowned five star resorts.  Due to Silversea’s all-inclusive pricing structure, event organisers can confidently plan events to suit their individual budgets.  Many event organisers who work with us are often pleased to discover that chartering one of our cruises can prove to deliver more value than a five-star resort,” Ms Christensen said.When planning a conference or incentive, remaining within budget – even within the luxury sector – is vital.Whether it is a full ship charter, top performing employees receiving an exclusive reward with an exclusive event, or a highly customised large-scale group event, Silversea’s small ships can cater for all.“At Silversea, we sail to all seven corners of the world across the entire fleet.  We cater to the needs of each and every guest, whilst visiting some of the most stunning destinations, ensuring that we provide the wow factor that delegates will be speaking about for years to come.”Accommodating between 100 and 540 guests, each Silversea vessel includes: all ocean-views in every suite; exquisite dining and all-inclusive amenities; expert-led shore excursions; and an assigned butler to each suite.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

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Onwards and upwards for NSW domestic tourism

first_imgSource = Destination NSW Destination NSW Onwards and upwards for NSW domestic tourismOnwards and upwards for NSW domestic tourismNSW continues to attract more overnight domestic visitors than any other state in Australia, according to the National Visitor Survey released today.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said Tourism Research Australia’s figures show the Government’s strategy to grow overnight stays is working.“Domestic tourism growth for the year in NSW has seen our State blitz ahead of its rivals with 7 million more visitors than Victoria and nearly 9 million more than Queensland, Mr Ayres said.“In fact, in the June quarter alone, while NSW clocked up more visitors and overnight stays, some other states went backwards. NSW received 7.2 million visitors who stayed 22.5 million nights, while Victoria and Queensland recorded declines.“It’s certainly onwards and upwards for NSW – in the 12 months to June 2016, NSW achieved significant growth in domestic overnight visitors, welcoming 29 million travelers who stayed 93 million nights and spent $16.4 billion,” Mr Ayres said.“NSW continues to lead domestic tourism, with the largest share of Australia’s visitor economy. NSW has had the highest market share of visitors and nights in Australia since the national survey began (YE June 1999) and the highest share of visitor expenditure in Australia for all but one period (YE June 2008).“Regional NSW also achieved its highest number of domestic overnight visitors and expenditure on record, welcoming more than 20 million visitors who spent $9.7 billion. It also recorded the highest number of overnight stays since June 2003, with more than 69 million nights.”Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said the figures reflect the NSW Government’s hard work to make NSW Australia’s most compelling destination.“From pristine beaches and snowfields to the awe-inspiring country and Outback, NSW is Australia’s most geographically diverse state and offers holiday memories to last a lifetime. Combine that with a world-class calendar of major events and you have the complete visitor experience,” Ms Chipchase said. Destination NSWlast_img read more

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How to vote Ted explains how

first_imgHow to vote, Ted explains howHow to vote, Ted explains howSo how do you know who to vote for in the 2017 NTIA’s?Suddenly we get overwhelmed with emails from suppliers and agents alike with “vote for me” and “you are special” and “We are special” messages.For many, it’s a great time to unsubscribe from as many lists as possible.But for others, votes get cast based on what happens in the last month rather than the past year.So how do you cast your vote?Ted Knows, ask Ted how to vote in this years NTIA’sAbout roomsXML Vote Hereclick here to vote for Source = roomsXMLlast_img read more

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The 2018 inaugural cruise aboard brand new ship

first_imgThe 2018 inaugural cruise aboard brand new shipAmerican Cruise Lines, is pleased to announce that on April 18th, its brand new 2018 ship, American Constitution will make its inaugural cruise on Chesapeake Bay with an all new American Revolution itinerary. Sailing along the historic shores near our Nation’s capital, the new American Revolution itinerary celebrates this gorgeous region steeped in American history. The cruise will further highlight Chesapeake Bay, known as the “Blue Crab Capitol of the World,” as guests will savor local recipes and enjoy the freshest Maryland crab throughout their journey back in time—to the dawn of America.American Constitution will transport guests to the quaint towns and historic cities that shaped this great nation and continue to inspire visitors today. Roundtrip from Baltimore, this 10-day, 11-night cruise makes stops in Norfolk, VA; Williamsburg, VA; Yorktown, VA; Washington, D.C.;  Mount Vernon, VA; Cambridge, MD; St. Michaels, MD; Annapolis, MD; and Chestertown, MD.Lauded by Cruise Critic for award-winning onboard enrichment, American Cruise Lines brings together Revolutionary War experts, historians, authors and reenactors to bring the rich history of this region to life. Led by seasoned experts such as Dr. Harold Cones and Don Albert, guests on the American Revolution cruise, will be treated to tours, lectures, and presentations that illuminate the monuments, cities, and lore that shaped our nation.Itinerary highlights include visits to the cities of the “Historic Triangle,” Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown; tours of Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital; Mount Vernon, George Washington’s 18th century home; and Annapolis, home to many of our Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence. Guests can visit our national monuments and take a private tour of the Smithsonian Museums. They can visit Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad exhibit or sail on an authentic “Skipjack” through the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. On board and on shore, this American Revolution cruise is a cultural experience not to be missed.American Constitution has the largest staterooms in the industry, private furnished balconies, and all the finest cruising amenities. Guests will sail in complete comfort and splendor aboard this brand new, fully stabilized 2018 ship. American Constitution is the sister-ship to American Cruise Lines’ popular new 2017 ship American Constellation, which has moved to the West Coast to sail the Line’s Pacific Northwest itineraries in 2018.About American Cruise Lines:American Cruise Lines is the largest cruise line in the U.S. and the premier leader in the industry. The Line has become the gold standard for cruising in the U.S. through a focus on ship innovation and a tradition of introducing only brand new ships. In 2018, with 10 ships, the Line operates the largest modern fleet of authentic paddlewheelers, small coastal cruise ships and the only modern riverboat in the country. With over 35 itineraries to 25 states, the Line cruises along the rivers, as well as the coastal and inland waterways of New England, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi River system, and the Southeast.For reservations or to learn more about the Inaugural Season aboard American ConstitutionPlease visit:  or call  1-800-814-6880.Follow us on Facebook at: us on Twitter at: = American Cruise Lineslast_img read more

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Bangkok Airways adds more flights

first_imgBangkok Airways adds more flightsBangkok Airways adds more flightsBangkok Airways Public Company Limited announces the additional non-stop flight between Bangkok and Vientiane (Laos), bringing this route to 2 daily flights in order to serve increasing demands. These additional services will be effective from 25 March 2018 onward.Bangkok Airways is currently using a 138-seater Airbus A319 aircraft on this route. The new outbound flight PG949 departs Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) at 17:35hrs and arrives Vientiane International Airport at 18:50hrs. The inbound flight PG940 departs Vientiane International Airport at 19:35hrs and arrives Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) at 20:50hrs.For reservation or more information, please visit or call center at 1771 (24 hours). Web check-in is also available 24 hours prior departure. Please visit or Bangkok Airways mobile application on iOS and Android.Source = Bangkok Airways Public Company Limitedlast_img read more

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Govt of India proposes 3D panoramic Google Street View of sites

first_imgThe Indian government has proposed plans of exploring Indian cities, tourist spots, hills and rivers by covering such locations through the Google Street View with certain riders to facilitate a 360 degree, panoramic and street level imagery.The permission is to be granted to the internet services giant to cover most of the Indian Territory excluding sensitive locations like defence installations, nuclear sites and some other high-valued spots. A formal communication is likely to be conveyed to the Google after detailed deliberations by the top officials of the Ministries of Defence, Home, External officials and the Prime Minister’s office.Google Street View, so far, has been extensively used in the U.S., Canada and European countries with limited application in India. It has been launched in some of the tourist sites like Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Varanasi river bank, Nalanda University, Mysore Palace, Thanjavur temple Chinnaswamy stadium besides others in partnership with the Archaeological Society of India.Streets with Street View imagery available are shown as blue lines on Google Maps. Google Street View displays panoramas of stitched images. While most of the photography is done by car, some is done by trekker, tricycle, walking, boat, snowmobile, camel, and underwater apparatus.last_img read more

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