Love for travel has been on the rise among Indians, according to data from RCI, a global timeshare exchange company. International travel by Indians increased by 13 per cent in 2017 against 2016 while domestic travel grew by 8 per cent, according to a report by the firm.The United States was the most traveled destination in 2016 and 2017, while Malaysia and Indonesia were the favorites in South East Asia. In Europe, Switzerland and Spain were the most preferred.For domestic travel, Indians preferred Goa, followed by Coorg, Munnar, Ooty and Kodaikanal, according to RCI data. The numbers are expected to increase in the summer of 2018.“With increased disposable income, factors like cheaper airfares and low tariffs for budget hotels, international travel plans have seen an exponential rise among the general Indian traveler,” Sabina Chopra, managing director of RCI India, said.Various countries have been gunning for increasing footfall from Indian travelers. Qatar, for instance, eyes a 15 per cent increase in travelers from India this year, especially as the Gulf nation has started visa-free entry for Indian nationals.“India is our number one source market, with 3,33,708 people from the sub-continent visiting Qatar in 2017. In the first quarter of this year we have already witnessed 15 per cent growth with 1,10,000 visitors from India. For the whole year we are expecting a similar growth of 15 per cent over last year,” Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) chief marketing and promotion officer Rashed AlQurese told PTI.Indians traveling to Qatar don’t need a visa if they have a passport with a minimum validity of six months and a confirmed onward ticket, he said.“We expect free visa will boost tourism in the country and encourage more people from India to visit the Arab country. Qatar is a perfect alignment of cosmopolitan sophistication and rich culture, which will interest Indian tourists,” AlQurese said.Tech Savvy TravelersIndians are also the most tech-savvy travelers in the world, according to Expedia’s 2018 global flight and hotel etiquette survey conducted among 18,229 respondents from 23 countries, including the United States, Europe, South America and Asia Pacific.Indians are ranked at the top for mobile check-ins and are at No. 7 in online check-ins, the Economic Times reported. India took the second spot for the number of people (29 per cent) using the boarding pass on a mobile device, behind Thailand.Indians are also most likely to pay for in-flight Wi-Fi, the survey said. They also engage the most with airlines over social media about their travel experiences at the airport, at the gate or on the plane (34 per cent), listening to music or podcasts (72 per cent) and are only second in playing video games in flight (37 per cent). Related ItemsAviationTourism
Topics Share on Pinterest Arsène Wenger Reuse this content The Observer Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Marco Silva, Watford’s manager, suggested that he could understand Arsenal’s view but also said that Swarbrick had grounds to point to the spot. Silva stressed that Richarlison was not guilty of simulation. “It is not an easy decision,” he said. “But he did not dive. He is always fair. It is very important to understand what a dive is. This was 50-50. There was short contact. After the match at West Brom I called for skilful players to be given more protection. Richarlison, a young boy of 20, is the most fouled player in the Premier League. All the greatest players in the world attract fouls.”Wenger did not exaggerate the effect of the penalty. He admitted his team were at fault, too. “[The penalty] was not the only major factor in the game,” he added. “With a bit more killing instinct in front of goal, we should have won the game. That’s where we’re guilty.“We played very well in the first half but I’m not so happy with the second. Our level dropped. We missed many chances. The number two and number three goals should have been scored. And after the 1-1 there was no need to panic. For their second goal, we can only look at ourselves.”The result lifted Watford into fourth but Silva said: “We have one goal, we want to remain as a Premier League club.” Watford Referees news Arsène Wenger blamed a “scandalous” penalty decision and his own team’s lack of killer instinct for a damaging 2-1 defeat at Watford. Arsenal looked on course for victory thanks to Per Mertesacker’s first Premier League goal for almost four years but ended up leaving empty-handed after Troy Deeney equalised from the spot and Tom Cleverley struck a winning goal in stoppage time.Neil Swarbrick awarded the second-half penalty in the belief that Richarlison had been fouled by Héctor Bellerín but Wenger insisted any contact had been negligible. “The decision on the penalty is a bit ridiculous and then we panicked a bit for their second goal and in the end we stand with a defeat,” the Arsenal manager said.“It is a scandalous decision, but what can we do about it? Nothing. We can talk and talk and talk. At the end of the day they scored. It was not a penalty, it was a creation of the referee. The decision is wrong and that’s it. And it came at an absolutely important time for them. No penalty, no goal.” Arsenal fall to soft penalty and Tom Cleverley’s late winner for Watford Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Arsenal Read more Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger
Sri Lanka target winning farewell for retiring Lasith MalingaLasith Malinga, Sri Lanka’s fast bowler, is retiring from one-day international cricket after the first game in the best-of-three series against Bangladesh, which starts Friday.advertisement Associated Press DhakaJuly 25, 2019UPDATED: July 25, 2019 17:36 IST Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga (Reuters)HIGHLIGHTSLasith Malinga is retiring from ODI cricket after the first game in the best-of-3 series against BangladeshMalinga has taken 335 wickets in 225 ODIs and has been one of the most distinctive fast bowlersMalinga will continue playing in the Twenty20 formatThe most fitting farewell for retiring paceman Lasith Malinga will be to win the series-opening limited-overs international against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne said Thursday.The 35-year-old Malinga is retiring from one-day international cricket after the first game in the best-of-three series, which starts Friday.Mainly we want to focus about winning the match. That’s the best thing we can give for him … we will try to give him the best farewell in this first one-day, Karunaratne said.Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal said even though Malinga’s achievements and legacy are phenomenal, his lineup will play hard to prevent a Sri Lanka victory in the fast bowler’s last ODI.He has been great ambassador of the game. He is one cricketer that a lot of young children after watching him have started playing cricket, Tamim said. I still remember when he first came into the scene specially, back in Bangladesh people wanted to bowl like him.Even when we were playing Sri Lanka we used to find (a bowler) who has a similar action like Malinga and we used to call him for nets. That (is the) kind of an impact he has given to world cricket.Malinga has taken 335 wickets in 225 ODIs and has been one of the most distinctive fast bowlers in the game because of his slinging action and his accurate yorker.He has three hat tricks in ODIs, including four wickets in consecutive deliveries in a World Cup game against South Africa in 2007.advertisementMalinga will continue playing in the Twenty20 format.Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have played in 45 one-day internationals, with Sri Lanka winning 36 matches against Bangladesh’s seven. However, Bangladesh has shown improvement over the past three years and could pose a tough challenge.Tamim leads Bangladesh in the absence of injured captain Mashrafe Mortaza. All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and opener Liton Das have taken breaks.Sri Lanka has named a 17-man squad for the three-match series.Read more | Lahore 2nd Asian city to house ICC accredited biomechanics labAlso see:For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byNitin Kumar Tags :Follow Lasith MalingaFollow Sri LankaFollow MalingaFollow Bangladesh
Mumbai: Varun Dhawan’s upcoming movie Coolie No. 1 has become the first Bollywood film to go plastic-free, producer of the movie Deepshikha DDeshmukh announced on Sunday. Deepshika took to Twitter to share the team’s initiative. “Going #Plasticfree on #CoolieNo1 One sip at a time – hope we inspire many #BeatPlasticPollution #StayHydrated Thank you to the Coolie-est team for making this happen,” she tweeted. Varun thanked the producer for the decision and urged his colleagues to do the same. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka”Thank you Honey Bhagnani and Jackky Bhagnani for making the sets of #CoolieNo1 plastic free. I urge all my peers to do this,” he tweeted. Their decision comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, urged people to shun single-use plastic and encouraged usage of jute and cloth bags to protect the environment. Coolie No. 1, directed by David Dhawan, also features Sara Ali Khan and Paresh Rawal. Produced by Vashu Bhagnani, Jackky Bhagnani and Deepshika, the movie will release on May 1, 2020.
Cox’s Bazar: A Bangladesh university has suspended a student for being Rohingya, officials said Sunday, as impatience with the refugees grows following a second failed attempt to repatriate them to Myanmar. Some 740,000 of the Muslim minority fled to southeast Bangladesh after a military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017, joining 200,000 Rohingya already there. Formal education in Bangladesh is forbidden for refugees. Cox’s Bazar International University said it had suspended Rahima Akter Khushi, 20, and would investigate her case after local media said she hid her Rohingya identity to enrol. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”Rohingya can’t be admitted to our university, because they are refugees,” the institution’s head Abul Kashem said. “Foreigners can study here, but they must follow a procedure.” He said the young woman had supplied documents showing she completed high-school studies in Bangladesh’s port city of Chittagong. Khushi, who was studying law, told AFP the private university’s decision had “mentally shattered” her. “Any other girl may have killed themselves by now. But… I am trying my best to face the situation,” she said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe decision follows the latest repatriation attempt by Bangladesh and Myanmar, which failed with not a single refugee volunteering to cross the border back home. Dhaka also recalled or re-assigned senior government officials who allowed some 200,000 Rohingya to take part in a rally to mark the second anniversary of the mass exodus on August 25, several days after the repatriation attempt. Bangladeshi authorities have since ordered operators to shut down mobile phone services in the refugee camps, which have seen an outbreak of violence in recent weeks, while high-speed internet has also been suspended at night. Rights group Human Rights Watch on Saturday urged the government to end the communications clampdown, saying it had “made matters worse.” “The authorities should take a level-headed approach instead of overreacting to tensions and protests by isolating Rohingya refugees in camps,” HRW Asia director Brad Adams said in a statement. News website Rohingya Post said Khushi was targeted after a 2018 interview with international news agency Associated Press went viral in Cox’s Bazar, where the camps are. Khushi said her parents arrived in Bangladesh from Rakhine in the 1990s and she was born and raised in Cox’s Bazar. “I wanted to go further. But I don’t know how I would do it,” Khushi told AFP. Brisbane-based Rohingya leader Mojib Ullah said suspending Khushi would do “nothing but kill potential” in the community, who had limited opportunities to study in Rakhine.
TORONTO (660 NEWS) – The Prime Minister has answered questions about Alberta’s energy problems.Justin Trudeau was in studio with Breakfast Television in Toronto where he was asked about what he is doing to help Alberta.Trudeau said he continues to work with the province and the oil and gas industry to help Albertans that are struggling right now.“Yes, we are looking at income supports as well, but the real core of the problem is that there is no access to markets other than the United States for Canadian oil from the oilsands,” said Trudeau.He said that is why the federal government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline.He also laid blame on previous regimes for not getting these projects done.“This is a problem that has gone on for years. For ten years the Conservatives in Ottawa marginalized indigenous voices, ignored the environmental responsibilities, and therefore couldn’t get things built.”The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project hasn’t been built by the Liberal party either, but Trudeau said the work being done right now will ensure that this project will go forward.“We’ve moved significantly on that,” said Trudeau. “The federal court of appeals came back and said ‘you need to do more on indigenous consultations, more on the environment. We are on the right track, but you need to do more.’ We are following their blueprint because we understand these things need to be done in the right way.”
CALGARY — For the biggest pay hikes in Canada, look no further than the oilpatch.The energy sector continues to lead the country in both actual and projected salary increases, according to survey released Monday by global consulting firm Mercer.The average base salary increase across the country is expected to be 3% next year, the same as in 2014.But in the energy sector, the pay bump is forecast at 3.7% in 2015 after an actual 3.9% increase this year.Mercer has conducted its Canada Compensation Planning Survey for more than two decades, compiling responses from nearly 700 organizations across Canada.For the past five years, the trends have been stable both at a national level and amongst different industries, Mercer’s Allison Griffiths said in an interview.“Companies just, in general, are feeling more stable and more confident about their outlooks,” she said.When the energy sector is removed from the mix, the national average projected salary increase drops to 2.9%. That effect is more pronounced in energy-rich Alberta and Saskatchewan.On the other end of the spectrum, the transportation, equipment, consumer goods and retail/wholesale industries are expected to see the smallest salary increases at around 2.6 or 2.7%.“All different factors come into play here when we’re talking about salary increases. It’s the economy… or who are the big companies within the region and what are they doing? Cost of living comes into it, competition for labour,” said Griffiths.“Retail in general is typically one of the industries that their profits and their margins are very tight, so they’re typically very conservative with their salary increases.”While base salary is an important component in attracting and retaining talent, it’s important to make sure employees understand in other ways that they’re valued, she said.“Unless you have good communication and you’re really able to explain things to employees in a meaningful way, things get lost in translation and the engagement aspect of it can get diminished,” she said.“It’s actually about how it’s delivered and thanking your employees for their hard work and things like that.”Another important aspect is making sure employees are aware of opportunities for advancement within their organization. With the economic outlook stabilizing, companies are becoming more focused on putting so-called “career frameworks” in place.Demographics also has a lot to do with it, said Griffiths.“The younger generation definitely wants to know more and wants more transparency around their career potential.”The Canadian Press
He says every member of the SLFP and the UPFA in Parliament should oppose the proposed 20th Amendment and the Amendment to the provincial council elections law brought with a view to postponing the forthcoming provincial council elections and to extend the terms of the existing provincial councils without an election.“The SLFP/UPFA group in parliament can deprive the government of the two thirds majority needed to pass this Amendment. Because this 20th Amendment impinges on the people’s sovereignty and the franchise, it will require a referendum as well. We will be petitioning the Supreme Court in this regard. But the SLFP/UPFA parliamentarians acting together can block this in the legislature. They are duty bound to do so to safeguard the rights of the people. If the need is to hold all the PC elections on the same day, the government can bring forward the elections to all Provincial Councils to 2017, instead of postponing the elections till 2019,” he added. (Colombo Gazette) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the Government has gazetted the 20th Amendment to the Constitution with a view to postponing elections to the provincial councils.Rajapaksa said that the Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern Provinces were to stand dissolved in a few weeks time, in early October. “The proposed postponement of the PC elections comes in the context where the local Government elections which were due in March 2015 have also been indefinitely postponed. This is the latest in a long list of outrages against democracy perpetrated by this government which came into power through a conspiracy aided by interested foreign parties on 8 January 2015,” he said. The former President said that if passed into law, the 20th Amendment would allow not only the postponement of all PC elections, but also the extension of the terms of all existing PCs up to September 2019 in a direct violation of the franchise and the sovereignty of the people.
A fire which broke out in a shop in Pettah this morning was brought under control by the fire brigade.The Police said the fire broke out in the shop at Main Street in Pettah.
B.C. hikes welfare, disability rates, hires for ICBC, Hydro, BC Housing VICTORIA – British Columbia Premier John Horgan is making good on his campaign pledge to hike income assistance and disability rates by $100 a month.The policy takes effect Sept. 20 and will be the first time the welfare rate has increased in a decade.“Raising the rates is only the beginning,” Horgan said in a statement Thursday. “Our government is committed to bring forward a comprehensive poverty-reduction plan to lift children and families out of poverty.”The rate hike means a single person on income assistance will be eligible for up to $710 per month, while someone on disability support can receive up to $1,133.The increase will catapult B.C. from last to third place in the country when it comes to assistance rates, Horgan added.Stephen Portman of the Together Against Poverty Society said he welcomed news of the rate hike as “a breath of fresh air.”“While much more is needed to stem entrenched poverty and inequity at a systemic level, this change is an important signal that poverty reduction is a priority,” he said in a statement.Portman called for further changes, such as improved medical and dental benefits, to help ease the burden on some of B.C.’s most vulnerable.The previous Liberal government froze income assistance for 10 years, but made a U-turn in last month’s throne speech by promising a $100 jump in monthly rates, adopting a key promise from the NDP’s election platform.The revamped throne speech failed to garner enough support to keep the Liberals in power.The NDP were sworn into government this week holding a minority of seats in the legislature but supported by the Green party’s three elected members, who hold the balance of power in the wake of the May 9 election. It’s the first time the NDP have been in power in B.C. since 2001.Horgan also moved quickly to put a New Democratic Party stamp on the province’s Crown corporations and government organizations by announcing four high-profile appointments.Joy MacPhail, who is the former NDP finance minister, deputy premier and health minister, is the new chair of the Insurance Corp. of B.C., while one of its director’s seats will be filled by Cathy McLay, chief financial officer and executive vice-president of TransLink.Kenneth Peterson, former chief executive officer of BC Hydro subsidiary Powerex Corp., is the new chairman of BC Hydro, replacing Brad Bennett, who was a key player in former premier Christy Clark’s re-election campaign.Cassie Doyle, a deputy minister with both the federal and provincial governments, is the new chair of the BC Housing Management Commission, which develops, manages and administers subsidized housing in the province.Horgan said the appointees were chosen for their proven ability to deliver effective leadership that would benefit the public.“Each of them will face significant challenges because of the choices made by the previous government,” Horgan said in a statement.The Liberals were not immediately available to comment.Former NDP premier Mike Harcourt approved of Horgan’s choices, describing Ken Peterson as “hugely experienced” and Joy MacPhail as a tough-minded and effective minister.Horgan worked under Harcourt in the early 1990s, the first time the B.C. New Democrats formed government after 16 years as Opposition. Harcourt described Horgan as one of his “key troubleshooters,” and said the key to staying focused and not disappointing supporters is to set priorities.“There are unlimited demands for limited funds,” he said.“You budget. You say you’ve got so much money and you set priorities you say we’ll not get everything done at once but over one or two terms.”— By Geordon Omand in Vancouver by The Canadian Press Posted Jul 20, 2017 2:52 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 20, 2017 at 5:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
The initial target was to walk the equivalent of a trip across Canada, but the end result covered more than four times that.The Great Canadian Challenge was an initiative launched by Brock Health Management and Wellness in the spring to have University employees track their distance walking, running or cycling through the months of May and June.“Our goal was to cross Canada for a total distance of 6,521 km and I thought it would be a bonus if we could make it back again for a total of 13,042 km,” said Kathryn Walker, Manager Health Management and Wellness.But when the results were tallied, around 80 employees who signed up for the challenge recorded a total of 25,499.32 km.A draw was held for everyone who entered the challenge and Sharon Janzen from the Map Library was the winner of a $20 Campus Store gift card.
BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has been on the lookout for a safer way of changing tyres at its Saraji coal mine in Queensland, Australia, and it thinks it has found a solution in the form of Hedweld’s Trilift® TH15000 Workshop Tyre Handler.Across the mining industry, there have been many incidents, injuries and even fatalities when people handle heavy vehicle earth moving tyres, BMA says.With tyre assemblies weighing up to 15 t, the team at BMA’s Saraji mine looked at ways to reduce the potential exposure and risk to tyre fitters when working in and around tyres.Jarrod Layton, Superintendent Mods & Ops Projects in the Saraji Engineering team, said prior to a recent tyre replacement, a commitment was made to the site leadership team to challenge the existing mind set around tyre handlers for heavy earth moving equipment.“A key part of this project was changing our way of thinking around tyre handling. We spent a lot of time engaging our teams and looking for opportunities to increase not only the safety and productivity of our processes, but also the culture that surrounds these types of activities,” Layton said.“The team investigated a range of options and consulted the market, where they found Hedweld’s TH 15000 Tyre Handler – a device which removes tyre fitters from the direct line of fire and safely secures the tyre in place during changes,” BMA said. “The device also features a jib arm to support the weight of the rattle gun that is required to remove the wheel nuts.”Using Bluetooth technology, the device is remote controlled to give the operator improved visibility when aligning the device with the tyre and removes the need for any manual handling of the product, according to BMA.“As the size of mining equipment grows, traditional methods for handling tyres become more hazardous and time consuming,” Layton said.“Traditionally, tyres are moved by equipment such as loaders and forklifts and requires at least two fitters to operate. These items however, have limitations due to their size, manoeuvrability and safety. A number of incidents occur within the mining industry every year involving tyre handling.”The device also allows all bays in the workshop to be better used, as well as reducing the number of people required for tyre handling. In turn, this allows for a higher availability of the wheeled tyre fleets, BMA says.Layton said: “While the safety and productivity benefits are clear, the cultural change has also been fantastic to see. The workforce can see that we’re investing in making their jobs safer and easier to do every day – they see that we’re willing to invest and try new equipment and train them in order to deliver safer results.”Hedweld said the Trilift TH15000 Workshop Tyre Handler has been designed to provide a maintenance tool for the safe removal and installation of tyres from a range of earthmoving and plant equipment. It has been developed to be used in a workshop environment and its compact design poses minimal impact on the normal operations of a mining workshop, according to the company.“This fully self-contained diesel/hydraulic powered, remote controlled unit will handle tyres and rims up to 15,000 kg. In addition the TH15000 can handle tyres ranging in size from 27.00 R49 to 59/80 R63,” Hedweld says.
Sinn Féin town councillor in Carrickmacross Matt Carthy, who was given a copy of the letter by the student, made representations to SUSI.I cannot believe that I had to write to SUSI to explain to them that €46,661 is in fact lower than €54,240.Carthy was quick to say that while the letter may appear to be a funny occurrence, it is no laughing matter.“On the face of it, the letter this student received is a funny mistake. However, that hides the fact that the students in this family; and the many others that are put through hoops due to administrative errors, are in great financial difficulty while they await payment of their grant. “Quite simply it is not good enough for any government agency to make mistakes of this nature,“While occurrences like this are rarer than they had been twelve months ago the truth is that they shouldn’t be happening at all.”SUSI had not responded to a request for comment.Read: Students were “put through the mill” by SUSIRead: 59,000 new grant applications received by SUSI ahead of deadline THE BODY WHICH awards grants to students rejected a claim from a student, despite the application being well below the income threshold.SUSI sent the unnamed student a letter this week saying that their application had been denied because the family income was over the €54,240 threshold. That is despite saying that the income is €46,661, some €7,629 below the threshold.The letter, which is signed by a manager at the awarding body, which has already endured a torrid time with awarding grants since being established last year.
SKY ARTS HAS announced that it will invest €230,000 in the arts in Ireland with the next Sky Arts Ignition application.The winning applicant will receive the funding to fund a new project, to be co-developed between the two organisations and any contributing artists.In a statement this evening, Sky Arts said it would also provide marketing and new media support to the winning organisation to bring the project to the widest possible audience.This will be the third project in the Sky Arts Ignition series, and will be open exclusively to Irish arts organisations this round.“It’s a fantastic way for us to help support Ireland’s cultural vibrancy,” said James Hunt, Director of Sky Arts. “We’ve been fortunate enough to work with some wonderful UK institutions as part of Sky Arts Ignition. I’m excited to see what new partnership we can forge in Ireland to deliver a thrilling new project.”Applications will be accepted from today via the Sky Arts Ignition series website, www.sky.com/skyartsignition, where full guidelines for entries can also be found. The deadline for applications is 2 April 2013.
Vice Mayor Tim Navarre moved to have the resolution amended to have each council member’s name and signature attached to the approved resolution. The amendment passed. The Kenai Peninsula Borough is one of three municipalities in the state granted intervenor status on the project, the other two being Valdez and the Mat-Su Borough. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享At their meeting on Wednesday the Kenai City Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting Nikiski as the prefered site for the proposed LNG plant and marine terminal. The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, the state-led project team, selected Nikiski as the prefered site for the LNG facility, and stated to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision “multiple reasons why it believes Port Mackenzie is not a viable option.” Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel sponsored the resolution: “I brought this forward to align with the similar resolution that the borough assembly passed. FERC will be making a decision in February, so I think it’s important that we make the point that we do support this in our community.” Councilmember Bob Molloy: “Nikiski being the location of the project was decided some time ago. This supports the project being in Nikiski, which I believe is good for the community.” FERC is scheduled to release its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project in February of 2019. The draft EIS will include the site location for the project.
Share Updated at 7 p.m. ETWhite House chief of staff John Kelly — a retired Marine general whose own son died in Afghanistan — appeared at the White House press briefing on Thursday, attempting to quell the controversy around a phone call President Trump made to a grieving military widow.Kelly defended Trump’s call to Myeshia Johnson, whose husband was killed along with three other U.S. soldiers in Niger on Oct. 4, and pushed back on criticism that has grown over the course of the week — beginning with a question about why Trump had not responded to the deaths sooner.Trump called Johnson, the wife of Sgt. La David Johnson, on Tuesday. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., was traveling with Johnson at the time and heard the call over speakerphone. In multiple interviews, Wilson criticized the president for telling Johnson that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.”The fallen soldier’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, also told the Washington Post, “President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband” with comments they perceived as insensitive.Trump called Wilson’s account of the phone call “totally fabricated.”In the briefing room on Thursday, Kelly did not directly challenge what was said on the phone call, which he was in the room for. He instead took umbrage at Wilson’s decision to publicly share the details and criticize the president.“I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred,” Kelly said. “And when I listened to this woman and what she was saying and what she was doing on TV, the only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go and walk among the finest men and women” at Arlington Cemetery.Kelly said that Trump, in talking with Johnson’s widow, “in his way tried to express that opinion that he’s a brave man, a fallen hero.”“He knew what he was getting himself into, because he enlisted,” Kelly said, explaining Trump’s remarks. “There’s no reason to enlist. He enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken. That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.”Kelly himself is all too familiar with the somber process that happens when a soldier is lost in battle — both as a commanding officer and as a father. His son Robert, a Marine posthumously promoted to 1st lieutenant, died in Afghanistan in 2010 after stepping on a land mine. Kelly began his remarks by noting that “most Americans don’t know what happens when we lose [ a member of the military] in combat. So let me tell you what happens.”Kelly detailed how a soldier is flown back to the U.S. after being killed and how the families are notified by a casualty officer.“Typically the only phone calls the family receives are the most important phone calls they can imagine, and that is from their buddies. In my case, hours after my son was killed, his friends were calling us from Afghanistan, telling us what a great guy he was. Those are the only phone calls that really matter,” Kelly said. “And yeah, the letters count to a degree, but there’s not much that really can take the edge off what a family member’s going through.”The chief of staff added, “So some presidents have elected to call; all presidents, I believe, have elected to send letters. If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you could imagine.”Trump first raised the issue of how past presidents have reached out to console military families at a Rose Garden press conference on Monday. When asked by a reporter why he hadn’t commented about the four soldiers who had been ambushed in Niger, Trump said he had written letters but then went on to falsely claim that, “If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls. A lot of them didn’t make calls.”Both former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush did call and write letters to families, a fact Kelly acknowledged. Kelly said that Obama did not call him when his son was killed — something Kelly underscored wasn’t a criticism. Trump had mentioned in an interview with Fox News Radio on Tuesday that Obama had not called Kelly.“I don’t believe President Bush called in all cases,” Kelly said. “I don’t believe any president, particularly when the casualty rates are very, very, high, that presidents call. But I believe they all write.”Kelly even said he had counseled Trump not to call the military families while in office because “there’s no perfect way to make that phone call” and because “it’s not the phone call that parents, family members, are looking forward to.”“If you’re not in the family, if you’ve never worn the uniform, if you’ve never been in combat, you can’t even imagine how to make that call,” Kelly said. “I think [Trump] very bravely does make those calls. The call in question that he made … were to four family members, the four fallen.”Kelly then said he told Trump what his friend Gen. Joseph Dunford, now the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told him when notifying Kelly that his son had been killed in action.“[Dunford] said, ‘Kell, He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining, that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war. And when he died’ — in the four cases we’re talking about Niger, in my son’s case in Afghanistan – ‘when he died he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends,’ ” Kelly explained. “That’s what the president tried to say to four families the other day.”Kelly also bemoaned the politicization of many things that he said used to be off-limits.“You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country,” he said. “Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases. Life, the dignity of life, was sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer.”Kelly appeared to be alluding to the sexual assault scandal around Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Trump was accused of sexual assault and harassment by many women during the campaign, which he has denied, and was also caught on tape using vulgar language about groping and kissing women.Gold Star father Khizr Khan criticized then-GOP presidential nominee Trump at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. In response, Trump questioned why Khan’s wife, who stood next to him, did not also address the convention. “Maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me,” Trump said in an interview.Khan, in an interview recorded before Kelly’s briefing, said that “every word” was wrong with Trump’s remarks to Johnson’s widow.“He does not have the capacity to understand what it takes to serve this nation in harm’s way,” Khan said of the president, who had multiple deferments from the Vietnam draft. “These men and women went — he, by default, he is their commander in chief, these are his sons and daughters. How dare he disrespect, how dare he utters a word of disrespect, indignity. There should be empathy, there should be support, there should be dignity of not only their sacrifice, but their family’s sacrifice.”Kelly did take a few questions from reporters, but he specified he would call on ones who were a Gold Star parent or sibling or who knew a Gold Star family.The chief of staff was pressed on the investigation into the Niger attacks, which he said was ongoing. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said earlier on Thursday that the military was still gathering information about the Oct. 4 shooting that killed the four soldiers and wounded two others.“We, in the Department of Defense, like to know what we are talking about before we talk and so we do not have all the accurate information yet,” Mattis said. “We will release it as rapidly as we get it.”The defense secretary did offer some details on how French forces intervened after the Americans came under fire.“The French response included armed fighter aircraft, armed helicopter gunships, a medevac [helicopter] that lifted out our wounded,” Mattis told reporters.About a dozen Americans had just finished meeting with villagers in a remote part of Niger when they were ambushed by a much larger force. The Americans are in Niger to train and assist the military but are not part of a combat mission.NPR national security correspondent Greg Myre contributed to this report.
It may turn out that the biggest announcement Sony made over the past couple of years was not the PS4. Instead, it was the announcement of PlayStation Now at CES 2014, a game-streaming service that would have a games library as up-to-date as the PS3, and only require a controller — not a console — to play on smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and even certain TVs.The service is a way to get a type of backwards compatibility onto modern-day machines, but also a way to get video games into the households of people that don’t purchase consoles. Though we know the structure of the service, Sony has only just revealed how it actually works: with completely reinvented PlayStation 3 consoles.Reports suggest that the new hardware consists of eight PlayStation 3 consoles shrunk down and stuffed onto a single motherboard, kept inside a single rack server. Originally, Sony attempted to stuff regular PS3 consoles into data centers; however, that not only took up too much space, but created power efficiency problems.By creating a new, single motherboard that is the equivalent of eight PS3s, Sony solved both issues. Furthermore, Sony was able to include procedures — which were unfortunately not revealed — that would lessen what may end up being PlayStation Now’s downfall: latency.Sony has not divulged most specifics regarding the new hardware — other than that eight-PS3-per-motherboard equivalency. The company cites a 5Mbps minimum required speed in order to enjoy the streaming service, but owners of another streaming box with a minimum required speed — the cable-streamer Slingbox — would quickly point out that those minimum speeds are never ideal. In order for the Slingbox to work, users must have a minimum speed of 3Mbps. The device does “work,” but at a speed that low, it’ll feel like you’re watching a program without your glasses and also a little drunk.However, a company as savvy and big as Sony would not be launching the service if it didn’t truly believe it was onto something — so there’s a real possibility that Sony could tackle the latency problem this generation, and thus make PlayStation Now a completely viable way to play games. According to the launch timeline slide above, we won’t have to wait very long to find out.
Related posts:Brazil’s ban on WhatsApp is lifted less than 24 hours after it began Rousseff’s horror movie may only get worse in 2nd half The professor at the heart of Brazil’s market meltdown Brazilian police detain Facebook executive on court order SAO PAULO,Brazil — Millions of Brazilians woke up shocked and cranky Thursday after the popular WhatsApp smartphone messaging application was shut down for two days on a judge’s order.The service is wildly popular in Brazil because it is free, and millions in South America’s largest country are poor.The measure, which is to last until midnight Friday, was roundly denounced by parent company Facebook. It was ordered by a judge after WhatsApp failed to disclose information requested by prosecutors as part of a criminal investigation.Authorities say they cannot disclose details of that probe because it is an ongoing case.WhatsApp is causing headaches for Brazil‘s telecoms companies because it offers a free alternative to the country’s high cell phone rates, especially for youths and the poor.Brazilian service providers received the judge’s order and have no choice but to comply with it, Eduardo Levy, chairman of Brazil‘s association of cellphone service providers, told the G1 website Thursday morning.But at least one of the four major providers has appealed the order, arguing that the suspension affected millions of people out of the blue.“This hurts consumers, and overnight it affected millions of users. There was not even time to issue a statement to customers. They are going to think the problem is with their service provider,” Levy said.The chairman of the state-run National Telecommunications Agency, Joao Rezende, also criticized the suspension, calling it disproportionate.Twitter lit up with messages about the WhatsApp shutdown.Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said “we are working hard to get this block reversed.”“This is a sad day for Brazil,” he said, noting the country’s history of support for an open Internet. “I am stunned that our efforts to protect people’s data would result in such an extreme decision by a single judge to punish every person in Brazil who uses WhatsApp.”He urged the court to “quickly reverse course” and asked Brazilians to echo that call.Zuckerberg also recommended that users turn to Facebook Messenger in the meantime.A São Paulo state court said WhatsApp had been asked several times to cooperate in the criminal investigation, but had repeatedly failed to comply.Instant messaging service Telegram, backed by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, said it had registered some 1.5 million new users in several hours due to the blockage.“1,500,000 and counting, SMS-Gateways overloading. Hang on, your codes are coming! We’ve got all hands on deck to accommodate the crazy load,” it said on Twitter. Facebook Comments
Juan Santamaría International Airport on Friday inaugurated a $23.5 million expansion featuring four additional gates, a restaurant, a VIP lounge and a pet playground.President Carlos Alvarado attended the ceremony and expressed his commitment to revitalizing the economy in part through projects that attract new airlines and more tourists to Costa Rica.“This airport — which represents the main port of entry and exit of the country — is receiving a total investment of more than $96 million for its modernization and expansion,” Alvarado said, according to a press release from Casa Presidencial.The new building is nicknamed “Victor Block” (Block V) and has two jet-bridge gates and room for two remote gates. Map of SJO’s international terminal, with the latest expansion visible on the far right. (Via Aeris.)Of the $23.5 million investment, $22.5 million was supplied by Aeris Holding, the airport’s operator, while the remaining amount was contributed by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC).Juan Santamaría International Airport (IATA code: SJO) handles six of every 10 international tourists who arrive in Costa Rica, according to Minister of Tourism María Amalia Revelo. In 2018, the airport saw a 5.9-percent increase in arriving passengers over 2017, according to Amalia.The expansions come despite Costa Rica’s intention to construct a new international airport in Orotina by 2027. However, Alvarado’s administration has put that plan on pause, according to the daily La Nación, as it focuses on more urgent projects.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica to improve bad weather safety procedures at San José airport Juan Santamaría International Airport now offers discounted long-term parking Costa Rica airport restricts liquids in carry-ons Guanacaste airport expansion set to begin in January