Avalon makes sure agents dont miss the boat with new 3000 savings

first_imgAvalon makes sure agents don’t miss the boat with new $3,000 savings promotion << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by TORONTO — Avalon Waterways is ramping up its marketing efforts in Canada, with two new TV ads making their debut across the country this week plus a ‘See the World Your Way’ trade campaign and promotion offering $299 air plus savings of $3,000 per couple.The new trade promotion “is for agents to encourage clients to take advantage of the biggest offer of the year,” says the company.Avalon’s new ads are airing on demographic-friendly channels including HGTV, the Cooking Channel, OWN, W Network and Lifetime. Every spot encourages viewers to visit their travel agent, says Patrice Geske, Canadian Marketing Manager for Avalon’s parent company, the Globus family of brands. “We’ve also provided agents with new tools in a Consumer Marketing Kit at agentlingo.ca,” says Geske. These include access to the spots, flyers, social media posts, images and more to help drive river cruise sales for 2108.“We’re for travellers who don’t follow the herd … those who always forge their own path and have a distinct perspective of looking at the world,” said Terri Burke, Managing Director of Avalon Waterways. “With our new advertising campaign, we’re showcasing that fact. Avalon Waterways presents a river cruise experience with expansive views and wider perspectives: A cruise where our traveller’s vision leads the way.”More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTAvalon’s new ads highlight the company’s signature Open-Air Balconies which blur the line between outside and in while forming a seating area for six. Avalon’s balconies do not sacrifice room space, notes the company: “In contrast, they invite guests to enjoy 100% of their Panorama Suite, 100% of the time.”At 200-square-feet, Avalon’s Panorama Suites – on two full decks of every Suite Ship – are 30% larger than the average stateroom. In fact, the smallest stateroom in the Avalon fleet is 172-square-feet. In every Panorama Suite, Avalon Waterways angled the beds to face out so guests can enjoy the breathtaking views passing by. The river cruise company says that move opened their rooms up to give travellers more stateroom and bathroom space.“There are those who don’t want to stand out. To be different. They like the status quo. Avalon Waterways is not that and neither are our guests,” said Burke. “Instead, we have redefined the river cruise experience with expansive rooms, wider views, opportunities to actively discovery each destination and a decidedly unique point-of-view for travellers who see the world differently.” To view the spots, click agents.globusfamily.ca. Sharecenter_img Travelweek Group Tuesday, September 5, 2017 Tags: Avalon Waterways, Promotions, River Cruisinglast_img read more

Earn bonus commission STAR points with Sunwings Antigua promo

first_img Posted by Wednesday, March 28, 2018 Tags: Antigua & Barbuda, Sunwing Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Earn bonus commission, STAR points with Sunwing’s Antigua promo TORONTO — Sunwing is featuring Antigua as its destination of the month for April, highlighting the island’s top-rated hotels, resorts and experiences.From April 1 – 30 agents can earn 4% bonus commission at source in addition to STAR Agent Reward Points that convert into cash on all new bookings to Antigua for departures May 1 – Oct. 31.Each time an agent makes a booking to any participating resort, their name will also be entered into a weekly contest for a chance to win an all-inclusive vacation for two in Antigua. The more bookings an agent makes, the more chances they have to win.Throughout April Sunwing is also offering incentives at participating resorts, so clients can take advantage of savings of up to 40% on vacation packages and room upgrades at participating resorts such as The Verandah Resort and Spa, Pineapple Beach Club, St. James’s Club and Villas and Galley Bay Resort and Spa.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterSunwing offers weekly flights to the destination from Toronto and Montreal year-round.Full more details on the current promotion, visit sunwingagents.ca.last_img read more

Two new hires for Goway Travels GroupsOnly dept

first_img Travelweek Group Share TORONTO — Goway’s GroupsOnly department has brought two new coordinators onboard.European destination specialist Rebecca Goldsack Smith and air specialist Mary Takla will both be based at Goway’s head office in Toronto.Goldsack Smith has taken on the role of the department’s Europe Team Lead, with over five years of experience selling international travel, particularly to Europe. She has travelled extensively throughout the continent including in-depth tours of Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and the UK. Her travels have also taken her to Costa Rica and Peru.Takla is an industry veteran who brings a wealth of air contract and routing knowledge to the department, with experience in executive sales and customer service from working for major international airlines both in Canada and in her home country of Egypt.Barbara Norton, the Group Department’s General Manager, says she’s thrilled to have Rebecca and Mary join the team. “With Goway now selling Europe along with the incremental growth in air-only inquiries, the expertise these women bring in both destination knowledge and group planning experience will be invaluable,” says Norton. Tags: Goway, People Thursday, May 3, 2018 center_img Two new hires for Goway Travel’s GroupsOnly dept. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Barry gains strength in Gulf of Mexico Carnival Valor rerouted

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, July 11, 2019 NEW ORLEANS — Carnival has rerouted a cruise ship headed to New Orleans because of a tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico.The Miami-based company says the more than 3,700-passenger Carnival Valor was sent to Mobile, Alabama, in the interest of safety. A company statement notes that coastal Louisiana is under a hurricane watch and water levels are high on the Mississippi River.Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson tweeted a welcome to Valor passengers and a photo of the ship docked in Mobile on Thursday.Carnival says arriving passengers will be taken from Mobile to New Orleans on complimentary buses.The ship was supposed to depart Thursday from New Orleans on its next four-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. Instead, passengers will be taken to Mobile by bus from New Orleans.Forecasters say Tropical Storm Barry could become a hurricane as it threatens Louisiana’s coast.The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm’s maximum sustained winds Thursday morning are near 40 mph (64 kph) with additional strengthening expected during the next day or two.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthA tropical storm warning is now in effect for the Louisiana coast from the mouth of the Pearl River to Morgan City. Tags: Carnival Cruise Line, Gulf of Mexico Share Barry gains strength in Gulf of Mexico; Carnival Valor rerouted By: The Associated Presslast_img read more

Risk of US default worries Latin American ministers

first_img Facebook Comments Chile’s Economy Minister Felipe Larraín participates in a press conference during the Eighth World Economic Forum for Latin America in Lima on April 25, 2013. Larraín said on Thursday he was “especially” concerned about how a U.S. default would impact interest rates in the region during the World Bank-International Monetary Fund assembly. Ernesto Benavides/AFP  The growing risk of the United States defaulting on its debt worries many Latin American countries who are fearful of damage during the global economic recovery, according to several ministers from across the region on Thursday.“It’s a topic that worries all of us,” said Chilean Finance Minister Felipe Larraín. “It’s a problem for the United States, but at its worst it could kill the recovery of this economy, and that would have a powerful effect for the rest of the world,” Larraín added during a visit to Washington, D.C., at the assembly of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. “It would be a strong blow to the global economy. It would probably reduce growth in the United States and could affect our growth prospects for the coming year,” said Peruvian Finance Minister Luis Castilla.According to the IMF, Latin America could close 2013 with a 2.7 percent growth rate, less than hoped for in July. The Fund, however, expects a rebound next year and estimates a 3.1 percent growth rate for the region. The ministers expressed their concerns face-to-face with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew at a meeting of finance ministers from the Americas on Wednesday in Washington, on the sidelines at the IMF-World Bank assembly.“We said that this is a subject that really worries us a lot,” Larraín said.“He was receptive […] but I think that each sector is digging its trenches, there’s no pending agreement and time is running out,” he said.An eventual default on U.S. debt first would affect commercial relations with Latin American countries but also could provoke a jump in interest rates over the long term, something that “especially” worries Larraín.“There’s too much to lose and rationality must prevail,” added Castilla. Castilla and Larraín participated Thursday in a forum of the Alliance of the Pacific, an integration bloc made up of their countries and Colombia and Mexico, together with the Colombian finance minister, Mauricio Cárdenas, and Mexican Finance Vice Minister Fernando Aportela. center_img No related posts.last_img read more

Mexicos feeble police vetting ended in 43 vanished students

first_imgSee also: Elena Poniatowska: Mexican student massacre reminiscent of concentration campsMEXICO CITY — The Mexican police accused of kidnapping 43 students in Guerrero state two months ago and handing them to a drug gang didn’t dodge the government’s vetting process. Most of the officers involved had actually cleared it.In Sonora, a state prison chief remains on the job three years after he failed his background check. And in Jalisco, a mayor said he wants to re-test officers found unfit to serve — because he can’t afford the severance payments if he fired them.The cases, across Mexico, shed light on how corruption in law enforcement has continued to fester under President Enrique Peña Nieto as he focused on economic improvements and an international image makeover for the country.“The Peña people dropped the ball on pushing ahead with police reform,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown, who investigates drug war conflicts for the Brookings Institution in Washington. “Often they would simply want to shove security issues under the rug. Focusing on deep economic issues was important, but could have been combined with attention to security.”The national center that vets police has been without a presidentially appointed director since October 2012, about three months after Peña Nieto won election. He took office in December of that year.While the federal government says all police have undergone background checks, the reviews fail to probe financial records that might uncover ties to criminals, said Causa en Común, a nonprofit group that tracks law enforcement and has a seat on the nation’s public security council.In a Radio Formula interview last month, Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong said that as long as the reviews don’t point to criminal activity, towns that can’t immediately fire officers should take them off the streets until resources and replacements are found.State and municipal governments are responsible for ensuring the quality of their own officers, Osorio Chong said. While the federal government can offer some help, he said, “we don’t have officers to cover all of the municipalities.”In the case of the missing students, the government alleges gang members probably incinerated their bodies and dumped the ashes into a river after the local mayor ordered police to round them up. More than 20 police from the town of Iguala were arrested. The rest were disarmed and sent to a military base. Three-quarters of the force had passed the vetting program last year, according to town records.The case has sparked protests in several states, including the temporary blockade of an airport in Guerrero. Earlier this month, protesters burned a door to the president’s National Palace in the capital. Demonstrators, many organizing through social media, plan to temporarily block Mexico City’s international airport on Nov. 20. Federal police take part in a search on the outskirts of Cocula, Guerrero State, Mexico, on Oct. 19, 2014 for students who went missing in Iguala on Sept. 26, after clashes with local police. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFPIn a Brookings report this month, Felbab-Brown wrote that Peña Nieto has focused too heavily on capturing kingpins such as Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, when the administration should be strengthening police training, vetting and salaries.Flaws in the review system aren’t isolated to Guerrero. Ricardo Ornelas, the director of prisons for the northern state of Sonora, said in an interview that he refused to complete his vetting exam in 2011 because he objected to queries about his family. His score deemed him “not recommendable” to run prisons, according to federal records that Sonora-based newspaper Expreso reported and that Bloomberg News viewed.“The tester was asking me all these personal questions so I told him, ‘I’m not here to chat, dude, I’m here to take some tests,’ ” Ornelas said in a telephone interview.Ornelas took the job without previous experience in security after his predecessor was found murdered in his home in 2011, during former President Felipe Calderón’s rule. The prison chief said he was asked to take the test shortly after he assumed his post, but only learned about his result from a reporter earlier this month.The Mexican government did not respond to repeated requests for comment about criticism of the police vetting process. At a Nov. 7 news conference, Attorney General Jesús Murillo said “it’s evident that many things must be changed” in the justice system, and he promised to announce those changes soon.Even while operating within the rules of the police evaluations, some local officials may prove to be an obstacle to improving oversight.In the town of Miguel Alemán in Tamaulipas state, Mayor Ramiro Cortéz said he plans to relieve traffic cops who fail the review they took last month and rehire them as civil protection workers, or emergency-aid personnel.“It’s their decision,” Cortéz said in a telephone interview. “They receive the proposal, and if they want to abandon public service they’re compensated and can find other opportunities.”Then there are mayors like Ismael del Toro of Tlajomulco, in the western state of Jalisco. Of his 600 officers, 100 didn’t pass their background checks. Thirty are being investigated for possible links to criminal groups. He wants the other 70 to be re-tested because he doesn’t have the budget to pay all of their severance.“We have to let a big number of policemen go at once,” del Toro said in an interview. “This leaves us with very few officers to fight crime.” Members of Mexican Federal Police are seen on a street of Teloloapán, Guerrero state, Mexico, on Oct. 19, 2014. The Federal Police took control of 13 municipalities of Guerrero State last month. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFPAbout 6 percent of federal security and immigration officials, 10 percent of state police and 13 percent of municipal officers didn’t pass their tests and are in the process of being purged, as of Oct. 30, according to the federal government. The Interior Ministry declined to reveal how many of them have been fired.Jorge Tello, who served in 2009 as executive secretary of the National Public Security System, which oversees the federal vetting center, estimated that about one-fifth of police who fail the tests remain at their posts.Even if all municipalities had the money to replace cops who failed reviews, critics say, the background checks themselves are flawed. By law they must include polygraphs, drug tests, psychological evaluations, medical exams and checks of a job candidate’s lifestyle. In practice, the exams rely heavily on lie detectors and don’t check financial records against test takers’ responses, said María Elena Morera, who heads Causa en Común.Del Toro, Tlajomulco’s mayor, agreed. It would be more effective if the tests “verified if the officer has a lifestyle, a house, car, that matches his salary,” he said. “I’ve never seen the socioeconomic part even mentioned in test results given to us.”Mexico first began vetting police decades ago, though the program gained steam under Calderón when he signed new testing guidelines into law in 2008. It may require more time for improvements to take hold, as the government is constantly improving the system, said Tello, who is now a professor at the Government and Public Transformation School of the Monterrey Technological Institute.When Peña Nieto returned the Institutional Revolutionary Party to power in December 2012, he promised better coordination between the federal and state governments on crime fighting.Guillermo Valdes, who from 2008 to 2011 led the state intelligence agency, Cisen, when the tests were introduced, said the effort is heading in the wrong direction. More federal oversight is needed to ensure municipalities and states are using the exams to purge corrupt officers, he said.The federal government “absolutely didn’t give a damn,” Valdes said. “They didn’t care at all about implementing the test.”See all our stories on the missing students and Mexico’s security crisis here© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:Mexico horrified by suspected massacre, incineration of 43 students Outrage at likely Mexico massacre spreads to Acapulco Clashes as Mexicans hold rally for 43 missing students Mexico police, protesters clash ahead of grim anniversary of 43 missing studentslast_img read more

Afghans fear what will happen when troops leave

first_imgBut he wouldn’t hesitate for a moment. He already paid to have his two sons smuggled to a European county he won’t disclose.“If I could go in the next hour, I would leave everything _ the house, my shop,” Ramin said, tears welling in his eyes as he spoke in his dusty workshop.“I have no hope, no hope,” he said, opening his palms as if pleading to be understood.The United States and its allies have tried to reassure Afghans that they are not abandoning the country when international combat troops leave by the end of 2014. Donor nations have pledged billions to bankroll Afghan security forces and billions more in development aid. Country after country has signed a long-term partnership pact with Kabul.But the promises have done little to buoy the hopes of Afghans who are in despair about the future of their nation.Among Afghans around the country interviewed by The Associated Press, the worry is pervasive. Many are deeply skeptical that Afghan police and security forces, which the U.S.-led coalition has spent years trying to build, will be able to fight insurgents and militants without American and NATO fighting alongside. Worse-case scenarios that some fear: The Afghan forces could splinter along ethnic line and prompt civil war, the nation could plunge into a deep recession, or the Kabul government _ plagued with corruption and still fragile despite efforts to establish its authority _ would remain too weak to hold off a Taliban takeover. Men’s health affects baby’s health too “We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during a stop in Kabul en route to the Tokyo gathering. She announced that Afghanistan was the newest “major non-NATO ally” _ a statement of political support for the country’s long-term stability and close defense cooperation.Afghan, U.S. and coalition officials believe Afghan forces are getting more capable day by day. They boast that while insurgents remain a threat, they have been forced out of population centers. Seventy-five percent of the Afghan population lives in areas where security is being transferred to Afghan forces, they said.The Afghan army and police force suffer from low levels of literacy, corruption within their ranks and lack of equipment and experience, but are showing themselves to be increasingly capable on the battlefield _ and there are still two years to go, Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, told the AP in a recent interview.“It’s gaining experience. It’s gaining leadership,” Allen said.Still, civilians are increasingly caught in the middle of the fight against insurgents. Last year was the deadliest on record for civilians in the Afghan war, with 3,021 killed as insurgents stepped up suicide attacks and roadside bombs, according to the United Nations. Associated PressKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Asadullah Ramin has lost all hope in his homeland _ he’s so worried about what will happen when U.S. and international troops leave that he’s ready to pay a smuggler to whisk his family out of Afghanistan.It would cost the 50-year-old, self-employed electronics engineer tens of thousands of dollars to leave his middle-class life in the Afghan capital and start a new chapter with his wife and their three daughters. He has done OK in recent years, even getting contracts from the foreign forces, and he has warm memories of Kabul from his teens _ before Soviet forces invaded the nation. Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Just a 45-minute drive south of Kabul, residents of Wardak province directly feel the tenuousness. The province is a battleground for Afghan and coalition forces trying to squash hotbeds of the Taliban. Residents quickly warn visitors that it’s dangerous just to go past a checkpoint less a kilometer (half-mile) outside the provincial capital, Maidan Shahr.“We don’t know if the government has been successful or not,” 17-year-old Mohammad Ashaq said, chatting inside a tiny pharmacy in the city. “Most people think that after 2014, the government will not exist.”Hanging over the fears is a sense that history could repeat itself. Afghans felt abandoned by the U.S. after 1989, when the Soviet army withdrew from Afghanistan. U.S. support to mujahedeen fighters battling the Soviets dried up quickly and Afghanistan sank into civil war as militias and warlords battled for power, devastating Kabul. That was followed by the rise of the Taliban and years of rule under their repressive regime.In one sign of the lack of confidence, the number of Afghan asylum seekers in 44 industrialized countries went up 34 percent in 2011 over the year before, according to the latest figures issued by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. In 2011, 35,700 Afghans sought asylum, compared to 26,000 the year before. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Another sign: the real estate market in Kabul.Broker Mir Ahmad Shah says this is the worst of his seven years selling properties in the capital. No one wants to buy. A piece of land that went for $100,000 last year now is priced as low as $60,000, but even at that cut-rate price buyers aren’t tempted. It’s in part because of increased security worries the past year, but it’s “especially because of the announcement about the coalition leaving,” he said.“I’m not hopeful for the future and it’s not just me,” he said, waving his hand toward small shops across the street where a vendor was selling live chickens. “The shopkeepers, the businessmen _ they are all hopeless.” One of his listings is the home of a man selling to move to Canada, he added.The Americans insist that the pledges of international support going forward will prevent the worst from happening. The pledges make the possibility of another civil war or deep recession “unlikely scenarios,” according to Ryan Crocker, who just stepped down as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.At a NATO summit in May in Chicago, NATO members agreed to help the Afghan government bankroll its security forces post-2014. Earlier this month in Tokyo, the international community pledged $16 billion in aid _ at least through 2015 _ to further help rebuild. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   Regwida Neayish, a 19-year-old in her second year of college in Kabul, wants to leave Afghanistan to study abroad to become a doctor _ although she promises to return.“I don’t think there is a future for us,” Neayish, a soft-spoken woman in a baby blue headscarf, said at a new women’s only Internet cafe.“It’s in our hands to study and work hard, but there are no jobs for the people of Afghanistan. … There is nothing, nothing,” she said.Her mother, Frozan Marofi, who was checking her email across the room, had a more positive outlook.Instead of wringing their hands about what might happen in 2014, Marofi said, Afghans should be thinking about how they can improve life now.“Maybe after 2014, we will have a very, very nice life.”Unconvinced, her daughter giggled into her headscarf and said, “I just want to go to another country.”___Associated Press Writers Amir Shah and Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) In the south, where the Taliban have their strongest roots, the governor of Helmand province praises the security gains. In 2008, the provincial capital Lashkar Gah was surrounded by militants and the Taliban controlled a number of districts. There was only one brigade of the Afghan army in the province, and the police forces were plagued by drug addiction, Gov. Gulab Mangal told Pentagon reporters recently.But after years of operations by coalition and Afghan forces, insurgents have been pushed back. Today, 80 percent of the Helmand police are trained and equipped, he said, declaring Helmand is “open for business.’Aftab Jan, a 35-year-old who runs a hotel business in Lashkar Gah, agrees. “We used to be scared to even go out of our homes to work as we might never return alive, but now we can walk around and do our business safely.”But, he said, “If the foreign forces leave us on our own now, then we are going to go back to zero all at once.”“It will mean being under the same old Taliban hold,” he said. “All these years would mean nothing. The war and struggle over bringing peace to this land would mean nothing.”Even in Kabul where there are more jobs and educational opportunities than in the outlying provinces, it’s difficult to be positive. Every day, people in the capital are confronted by scores of penniless Afghans _ men without limbs and women clutching soiled babies _ who beg from motorists idling in traffic.last_img read more

Security tight as Egypt Christians mark Christmas

first_imgCAIRO (AP) – Millions of Egyptian Christians thronged churches across this mainly Muslim nation for Christmas Mass, held Monday amid unusually tight security but with congregations filled with hope ahead of a key vote on a new constitution that enshrines equality and criminalizes discrimination.The stepped up security was in response to fears that Islamic militants loyal to ousted President Mohammed Morsi would target churches. Islamists claim that Egypt’s Christians played a disproportionately large role in the mass protests that preceded Morsi’s ouster in a July 3 coup. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Many churches, especially in southern Egyptian strongholds of radical Muslims, held Midnight Mass several hours early so that worshippers could avoid returning home after midnight when streets are empty, raising the possibility of attacks.A wave of attacks blamed on Islamists in August left dozens of churches destroyed, burned or looted. Christian homes and businesses were also targeted.“We will pray under the night sky,” said Adel Shafiq, a Christian from the town of Dalga south of Cairo, who was attending Mass in a church looted and burned in August. “There is no roof and no windows. People are here wearing scarves and hats to fend off the night cold.”At Cairo’s St. Mark’s Cathedral, seat of the Coptic Orthodox pope, police armed with machine-guns manned sandbag positions outside the towering structure. Hours before Mass, sniffing dogs were deployed to ensure there were no explosives planted inside.During the service, plainclothes security men stood guard just yards (meters) from the altar to keep an eye on the congregation as Coptic Pope Tawadros II led the prayers. Cabinet ministers, army generals and politicians, mostly Muslims, attended the service. Sponsored Stories Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Comments   Share   5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “We pray for the safety, peace and calm of Egypt and we pray for every man on its kind land,” Pope Tawadros said in a brief sermon. “We have total confidence that God is watching over our nation even at the time of crisis.”Elsewhere in Cairo and other main cities, streets leading to large churches were sealed off and checkpoints were set up in areas with sizable Christian communities as armored army and police vehicles roamed the streets.Metal detectors were placed at the entrances of many churches, where volunteers searched bags and demanded to see IDs, leading to the formation of long lines outside churches.The tight security appeared to do little to dampen spirits, however.“People are happy and the barrier of fear has been breached. We have seen the worst already, it’s over,” said Evon Lutfi, a Christian from the southern city of Assiut, a stronghold of radical Islamists and home to a large Christian community.Egypt’s Christians account for some 10 percent of the nation’s 90 million people. Mostly members of the Orthodox church, one of Christendom’s oldest, they long have complained of discrimination by the nation’s Muslim majority. They have heavily invested in the anti-Morsi movement in the hope of gaining equal rights with their Muslim compatriots after his removal. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The amended constitution Egyptians will vote on later this month in a nationwide referendum enshrines equality between all Egyptians and instructs the next parliament to legislate a new law that will facilitate the construction and maintenance of churches. It also removes language in the 2012 constitution that critics feared could pave the way to the creation of a purist Islamic state, something that gravely alarmed Christians.“We will vote `yes’ in the referendum so we can have a nation free of discrimination,” said Fawzy Habib, a Christian accountant from Assiut.The post-Morsi administration hopes the draft, a heavily amended version of an Islamist-tilted charter adopted under Morsi in 2012, will receive a comfortable “yes” majority in the Jan. 14-15 referendum to enshrine the legitimacy of the regime and allow it to move confidently to the next step of its political transition plan: presidential and parliamentary elections. Morsi’s supporters are boycotting the vote, which they label as a sham along with the charter itself.Christians received a huge morale boost Sunday when the country’s interim leader, President Adly Masnour, made a rare visit to St. Mark’s Cathedral and met with the Coptic pontiff. His visit underlined efforts by the military-backed government to project an image of inclusion ahead of the referendum. The highly symbolic visit was the first of its kind since socialist leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser attended the cathedral’s consecration ceremony more than 40 years ago.St. Mark’s Cathedral was attacked by a mob last April, heightening Christians’ concern over Morsi’s rule and laying bare their vulnerability. Morsi quickly condemned the violence, but in an unprecedented direct criticism, Pope Tawadros accused him of failing to protect the cathedral.___Associated Press reporter Mamdouh Thabet contributed to this report from Assiut, Egypt.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img

House passes bill to make research tax break permanent

first_img Sponsored Stories Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “Research and development is the lifeblood of manufacturing, driving growth through increased productivity and new product development,” the National Association of Manufacturers said in a letter to lawmakers. “The lack of a permanent R&D tax credit creates uncertainty as manufacturers do not know if the credit will be around for the entire length of their R&D projects.”The House passed the bill by a vote of 274-145. It now goes to the Senate.The White House threatened to veto the bill because it would add $182 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade. President Barack Obama said he supports making the popular tax break permanent but wants to offset the cost by eliminating other tax breaks for businesses.“As with other similar proposals, Republicans are imposing a double standard by adding to the deficit to continue and expand costly tax breaks, while slashing investments and programs that serve middle-class and working Americans in the name of fiscal rectitude,” the White House said in a statement.House Republican leaders say Congress should not be forced to offset the extension of existing tax cuts by raising other taxes. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “Why does the president want to ship America’s research jobs overseas?” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who sponsored the bill. “He knows both parties in Congress have supported this measure on a temporary basis without raising taxes. So stop making excuses and stand up for American jobs and American innovation.”The House voted twice last year to make the tax break permanent, but both bills died in the Senate. In December, Congress passed a bill renewing more than 50 temporary tax breaks, including the credit for research and development. Obama signed the bill, but it only extended the tax breaks through the end of 2014.___Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatapCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies WASHINGTON (AP) — The House voted Wednesday to make permanent a generous tax credit that rewards businesses for investing in research and development, setting the stage for another showdown over taxes.The tax credit is part of a package of more than 50 temporary tax breaks that routinely expires every year or two, only to be renewed by Congress.The entire package expired at the beginning of the year. House Republicans have been working to make selected tax breaks permanent, over the objections of many Democrats. How do cataracts affect your vision? 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Group Hamas tortured killed Palestinians in 2014 Gaza war

first_img Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona JERUSALEM (AP) — A leading international watchdog on Wednesday accused the militant Hamas group of abducting, torturing and killing Palestinians during the war in the Gaza Strip last year, saying some of the actions amount to war crimes.Amnesty International detailed the abuses in a report entitled “Strangling Necks’: Abduction, torture and summary killings of Palestinians by Hamas forces during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict.” New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Hamas used the war to “ruthlessly settle scores, carrying out a series of unlawful killings and other grave abuses,” Amnesty’s Philip Luther said. “These spine-chilling actions, some of which amount to war crimes, were designed to exact revenge and spread fear across the Gaza Strip.”The report said 16 of the people killed by Hamas were already being held by the militant group when the conflict erupted and many of them were waiting to hear the verdict of their Hamas-organized trials. “Many had been sentenced after trials before courts whose proceedings are grossly unfair. A number had said they had been tortured in order to extract ‘confessions,’” the report said.Amnesty’s report also said that Hamas abducted and tortured people in an outpatient clinic that was no longer in use, within the grounds of Gaza City’s main hospital, Shifa.“Hamas forces have displayed a disregard for the most fundamental rules of international humanitarian law,” Luther said. “Torture and cruel treatment of detainees in an armed conflict is a war crime. Extrajudicial executions are also war crimes.”This was not Amnesty’s first report on the 2014 Gaza war. Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology According to the London-based human rights group, some 23 Palestinians were shot and killed and dozens more were arrested and tortured by Hamas, which rules Gaza. The Palestinians targeted were either political rivals of Hamas, including members of the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, or people the militant group had accused of cooperating with Israel, Amnesty said.Wednesday’s report highlighted a particularly brutal incident, which it said took place in Gaza on Aug. 22.“In one of the most shocking incidents, six men were publicly executed by Hamas forces outside al-Omari mosque … in front of hundreds of spectators, including children,” Amnesty said. Hamas had announced the men were suspected “collaborators” who had been sentenced death in “revolutionary courts,” the rights group added.“The hooded men were dragged along the floor to kneel by a wall facing the crowd, then each man was shot in the head individually before being sprayed with bullets fired from an AK-47,” the report said of the August incident.Hamas violently seized Gaza from forces loyal to Abbas in 2007, leaving Palestinians bitterly divided — Hamas ruling Gaza and Abbas governing parts of the West Bank. Since then, Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at Israel and fought three wars with the Jewish state. Over 2,200 Palestinians were killed during the 50-day war last summer. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   In March, the group accused Hamas of war crimes for launching unguided rockets and mortars from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel, saying that was a breach of international law. And in December, Amnesty condemned Israel for flattening four landmark buildings in the final days of the war. Israel dismissed that report, saying Hamas was using the buildings as command centers.Salah Bardawil, a Hamas official in Gaza, said the incidents mentioned in the report took place ‘outside the framework of the law’ and Hamas was investigating them.___Associated Press writer Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more