Support for Ban on Plastic

first_img Among the businesses that have already taken action to support the Government’s move are fast-food giant, Island Grill, and the popular wholesale club, MegaMart. Several local businesses have adopted environmentally friendly measures in their operations, in line with the Government’s policy to reduce the volume of plastic waste in the country.Starting January 1, 2019, the Government will be imposing a ban on the importation, manufacture, distribution and use of specific categories of plastic packaging materials.Among the businesses that have already taken action to support the Government’s move are fast-food giant, Island Grill, and the popular wholesale club, MegaMart.Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Island Grill, Thalia Lyn, tells JIS News that the decision to use biodegradable material arose from a deep concern and sense of responsibility for protecting Jamaica’s natural environment.“I drive through sections of the city every day and I am appalled by the plastic and styrofoam in the gullies, which are heading straight out to sea, and you know how that affects our marine life.Island Grill decided that we were going to live our motto, which is ‘Eat Good, Live Good’,” she says.The CEO notes that the concept of “living good” is a holistic approach, which promotes good environmental stewardship by the company.“One of the things that we decided to do is to take care of our country and the communities that we serve. So, our resolution for 2015 was to find new ways to reduce the amount of plastic and styrofoam that we use,” she says.In 2015, the company commenced the process of phasing out the use of plastic in its business and replacing this with biodegradable food boxes made from recycled paper and branded with its iconic logo.Noting that although the “earth friendly” food boxes was met with widespread skepticism by the public, Mrs. Lyn says the fast-food chain persevered in its objective of phasing out the use of plastic and polystyrene across its 18 restaurants islandwide.“Some customers thought we were taking a retrograde step, that we were giving them ‘box’ to eat out of, and that we were going backwards instead of forward. They didn’t like the brown colour, because it looks like cardboard,” she says.Mrs. Lyn tells JIS News that although the biodegradable boxes are more expensive than the plastic containers the company previously used, it was a worthwhile investment in Jamaica’s environmental future.“As of September 2017, we were completely styrofoam-free. People now look at Island Grill as the leader, the pioneer in the quick-service restaurant area, looking out for the environment. We are working on the plastic cups to get rid of the plastic and replace it with paper,” she adds.The company has also partnered with environmental watchdog, Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) on its public-awareness campaign, ‘Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica’. Launched in 2015, the campaign seeks to improve the attitudes of most Jamaicans towards their environment.Mrs. Lyn, who is an advocate for the Government’s ban on plastic, says the company’s journey has inspired other business operators to introduce environmentally friendly options in their operations.“The difference that I have seen is that people are more conscious. We have raised the consciousness, if nothing else. We all have to get on board. It’s not just Island Grill… . If each company is a little more aware and tries to do their part, it would make a big difference,” she adds.Meanwhile, popular retail chain, MegaMart, has been actively promoting environmental awareness initiatives for several years, through its recycling drives, wellness fairs and introduction of its reusable branded MegaMart eco-bag.The bags were introduced in 2011 in conjunction with several of its major suppliers. These are available across its four stores islandwide.The bags came about in an effort to make the company more environmentally conscious and efficient, which places the popular store among a growing number of entities in Jamaica and the world that have curtailed the use of non-degradable plastic bags.Head of MegaMart, Gassan Azan, tells JIS News that the company supports the Government’s move to implement the ban on plastic, adding that the company remains committed to doing its part in eradicating single-use plastic bags.“We at MegaMart, along with other members of the retail shopping and supermarket community, have been meeting in an effort to come up with additional ways to accommodate shoppers while seeking the best way forward to reduce the carbon footprint of Jamaica,” he notes.Mr. Azan contends that the choices made today will define the country’s environmental future. “This may not be easy, but we hope that policymakers and stakeholders will work together to identify cost-effective alternatives to the single-use plastic bags, polystyrene and straws… to work towards a world free of plastic bags,” he says.The ban includes single-use plastic carrier/shopping bags; expanded polystyrene foam, commonly referred to as styrofoam; and plastic drinking straws.The restriction on single-use bags applies to carriers with dimensions at and below 24 inches by 24 inches (24”x24”), and includes bags commonly referred to as ‘scandal bags’ and ‘T-shirt bags’, which are used primarily in the retail and wholesale trade. Story Highlights Several local businesses have adopted environmentally friendly measures in their operations, in line with the Government’s policy to reduce the volume of plastic waste in the country. Starting January 1, 2019, the Government will be imposing a ban on the importation, manufacture, distribution and use of specific categories of plastic packaging materials.last_img read more


first_imgAdvertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Warner Bros. Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With:center_img Facebook Little else is known about the surprisingly “emotional” It: Chapter 2, which has no official photos or footage yet. But we do know that the Ritual of Chüd will be in the film, and that’s enough for now. Watch the interview with Chastain below.It: Chapter 2 floats into theaters on September 6. Carrie, The Shining, It. All three movies are based on Stephen King books, and all three movies have memorable scenes involving blood. There’s the prom-bucket in Carrie, the elevator in The Shining, and most recently, the sink in It. How can the sequel live up to the geyser of blood that soaks Beverly’s bathroom (and Beverly herself)? With the most blood in a horror movie ever.Jessica Chastain, who plays Adult Bev (Sophia Lillis is returning, as well), was a guest on Wednesday’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and she revealed that It: Chapter 2 is going to be a blood-soaked good time. “I’m gonna say something and I think I’m gonna be in trouble but I’m gonna do it,” the Dark Phoenix actress said. “It might be a spoiler, but in the movie, there’s a scene that someone said on set that it’s the most blood that’s ever been in a horror film in a scene. The next day I was pulling blood out of my eyeballs.”She’s in good company. Twitterlast_img read more

PM Harper not happy with Attawapiskat situation

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–Prime Minister Stephen Harper said his government was “not very happy” with the situation in Attawapiskat, the Ontario First Nations community in the grip of a severe housing crisis.Harper said during question period Tuesday that government officials were looking into the situation in Attawapiskat and that his government would be “taking action,” but it was not clear what that could be.“Obviously we are not very happy that the results do not seem to have been achieved for that,” said Harper. “We are concerned about that. We have officials looking into it and taking action.”Harper said the community has received 90 million dollars since 2006.He said that works out to be about 50 thousand dollars per person in the 2-thousand member community.The housing crisis in Attawapiskat, where several families are living in tents and many others live in shacks with no running water, has garnered international attention and even prompted the Canadian Red Cross to intervene.Liberal leader Bob Rae accused Harper of blaming Attawapiskat for its own troubles.“That response is a disgraceful response from the government of Canada,” said Rae. “When will the government start taking responsibility for this deplorable situation, which is an embarrassment to the reputation of the entire country?”Rae said the $90 million total included also included funding for education, not just housing.The money Attawapiskat receives also includes funding for the services the band delivers to its residents.The money was also used by the community to evacuate 100 residents two years ago after a sewage back-up made their homes uninhabitable.Attawapiskat has received an outpouring of support from Canadians across the country. NDP MP Charlie Angus, whose riding of Timmins-James Bay includes the community, has been a vocal advocate from the community.The community was visited by Angus and NDP interim leader Nycole Turmel on Tuesday.And late this afternoon, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that Harper will be meeting with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo.APTN National News correspondent Ossie Michelin is in the community and will have his first story Wednesday night.last_img read more

APTN Investigates MMIWG – After the stories are told

first_imgHolly MooreAPTN InvestigatesAs the first phase of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) winds down, its future is still uncertain.For her episode “After the stories are told,” APTN Investigates producer Holly Moore travelled to hearings in Yellowknife, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay, Ont. to speak to survivors, families, and advocates.Phase one of the inquiry’s mandate, which was focussed on families and survivors testimony, ended April 20, but they’ve asked for a two-year extension and $50 million in additional money and are awaiting an answer from the federal government.There is, however, growing opposition to an extension amongst allies, advocates, and families including Maggie Cywink, a vocal critic, and MMIWG family member.“To me, it is beyond disrespectable,” she said. “This could have been an amazing experience for families if they hadn’t rushed through to get this done.”Maggie Cywink is a member of “Families for Justice”, a group of more than 20 MMIWG Families who have official standing at the Inquiry. David Moses/APTN NewsSome families and survivors have found healing, according to Marion Buller, the inquiry’s chief commissioner.“There have been a lot of families and survivors who say that getting in and testifying has been a turning point for me,” said Buller.Sandra Lockhart has survived an incredible amount of violence in her life. She came to her Inquiry hearing in Yellowknife with mixed emotions but ultimately found some healing.“It is just the beginning and I am not carrying what I call ‘dirt’ with me,” she said. “I am free of what was holding me down.”However, some have complained there is the lack of aftercare and counselling, for families who may have been traumatized from testifying at the hearings.Anita Ross’ daughter 16- year-old Delaine Copenace drowned in Kenora, Ont. in 2016.Ross drove five hours to Thunder Bay and told her daughter’s story. She says there was little follow up by inquiry staff after her hearing.Anita Ross went to the December 2017 hearing in Thunder Bay to talk about her daughter Delaine Copenace. Photo: Holly Moore/APTN News“The only contact I had was by email and that was about eight weeks later,” she said. “By email? You couldn’t call me and ask me? You should have called me right after but that didn’t happen.”Some grassroots groups like Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) say they are trying to fill in the gaps in aftercare and provide some healing after testimony.“Let’s do what we can to reduce as much harm as we can,” said ONWA Executive Director Cora Lee McGuire Cyrette. “We said this is the inquiry that they are going to have, so let’s concentrate on the fallout, the harm to families. We are concentrating on harm reduction.”OWNA opened its spaces during the inquiry and offered beading, meals and drum groups.“We know people wanted to get away from their trauma, right? So its kind of the flight response so if they are being opened up and triggered where the inquiry is taking place,” she said.Cora Lee McGuire Cyrette is Executive Director of Ontario Native Women’s Association. Photo: Holly Moore/APTN NewsChief commissioner Marion Buller told APTN Investigates that the aftercare options are given to families at the point of intake but the services are not mandatory.“Sometimes families have said thanks but no thanks,” she said.Marion Buller is the chief commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Photo: APTN NewsRoss said she was surprised that the inquiry staff did not have her daughter’s police report, coroner’s report or any other official paperwork available at her hearing.“All they had was clips from the Internet on stories of her,” she said. “In my position, I think it was a waste of time to drive up there and tell that story. “Without an extension, the inquiry will move to the next phases. Part two and three of the “truth-gathering process” will see commissioners interview decision-makers, politicians and policymakers in the areas of policing and child welfare.The first hearing will take place in Quebec City from May 14- May 17, 2018, but there is no information available on who will attend.See hearing dates here: MMIWG Hearing read more

Telecom Auction Kicks off with Focus on Reliance Jio

first_imgIntense bidding is expected at India’s telecom spectrum auction that begins on 4 March.While existing majors are seen as having weaker pricing power, Reliance Jio’s entry is poised to make the auction highly competitive.According to Fitch Ratings, telcos are likely to commit at least $13bn (£8.47bn, €11.64bn) in the auctions – over 75% of which is likely to be contributed by the top-four telcos.”Most telcos’ net debt will rise to fund spectrum payments while competition limits their ability to raise tariffs, particularly with the impending entry of a new competitor, Reliance Jio,” Fitch said in a note.The top-three telcos – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – could commit around $2.5bn-4.5bn each to renew their expiring spectrum in six, seven and nine regions, respectively, the rating agency said.They are also likely to acquire additional spectrum to support fast-growing data services.Idea is most exposed to the auctions as it needs to retain its expiring spectrum in circles which contribute around 70% of its annual revenue. Such revenue contributes 45% and 35% of annual Indian revenue for Vodafone and Bharti, respectively, Fitch said.Telcos whose 900MHz spectrum is expiring will prefer to retain this bandwidth, as having to switch frequencies could require significant capex and disruption of the already-established network.Reliance CommunicationsReliance Communications will be the least affected as it is likely to commit a maximum of $667m in seven circles, where the competition for spectrum will be lower, Fitch said.Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, which plans to roll out its services in 2015 with an investment budget of $12bn, is likely to fill its spectrum gaps in the 1,800MHz band.”However, as occasionally seen in the earlier auctions, Reliance Jio could also push up the spectrum price in 900MHz for other telcos, if it chooses to do so, as the auction mechanism hides the identities of participants,” the Fitch note showed.The rating agency said the 900MHz auction price could rise at least 20% higher than the reserve price.There are eight telecom service providers participating in the auction: Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Tata Teleservices, Uninor, Idea Cellular and Aircel.These eight companies have submitted an earnest money of Rs 204.35bn ($3.3bn). The Kolkata-based mjunction services, an information technology company, will conduct the auction for the Department of Telecom.last_img read more

Election Commission showcauses Dilip Ghosh

first_imgKolkata: The Election Commission (EC) has served a show-cause notice to BJP state president Dilip Ghosh for his controversial remarks regarding the Commission itself.The office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in the state has sought a clarification as to why he made such an obnoxious comment regarding the EC. The remarks came from Ghosh two days ago after the election personnel removed a banner that was allegedly carrying his photograph and Ram Navami greetings. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataWhile talking to a private television channel, Ghosh said he would have taken off the trousers of the election personnel who had dared to remove the banner, had he been present there at the spot. The CEO office has taken a strong objection to Ghosh’s remarks. According to a senior official at the CEO office, Ghosh’s statements were derogatory in nature and hence, he has been asked to clarify why he made such a statement. Ghosh had allegedly used Ram Navami greetings and posters during his election rally flouting the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) set up by the Election Commission of India. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThe state has once again witnessed processions where weapons were brandished during the Ram Navami celebrations this year. After his controversial remarks, Ghosh had, however, claimed that he did not flout any MCC violation by putting a banner greeting people on the occasion of Ram Navami. He went ahead and added that he is entitled to put out a banner as he has been a local MLA. The Commission, however, seems unmoved and has show-caused him. The CEO office wanted to know from Ghosh if he has conducted an election rally using various posters of Ram Navami or if any weapons were used during the rally. Earlier, Ghosh was seen displaying swords and maces during Ram Navami celebrations in Kharagpur. The Kolkata Police along with its state counterpart said no political, apolitical and religious organisations have been allowed to carry out rallies with arms. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while addressing a rally in Siliguri, criticised the BJP for taking out armed rallies and said they were trying to “sell religion” for political advantage. “Whose throat do you want to slit with swords? Whose head do you want to smash with the mace,” she had questioned while addressing a rally in favour of party’s Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat candidate Amar Singh Rai.last_img read more

5 Ways to Participate in the Bitcoin Revolution

first_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 6 min read July 20, 2016 Bitcoin is the most successful digital currency to date. It is a new form of crypto-currency in which encryption techniques are used to control the creation of new bitcoins and to verify transactions.Enthusiasts for bitcoin include Bill Gates, the founder and ex-CEO of Microsoft; Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group; ex-US vice president Al Gore; and Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google. “At our venture firm, we continue to see an escalating stream of fascinating new bitcoin uses, cases and applications from entrepreneurs,” says legendary venture capitalist Marc Andreessen.Related: Why Billionaire Investor Reid Hoffman Is Betting Big on BitcoinHere are five ways to participate in the biggest financial revolution of the century:1. Acquire bitcoins.There are three popular ways to acquire bitcoins. You can do it by accepting bitcoin payments, mining for bitcoins, or purchasing them on a bitcoin exchange.A.) Accepting bitcoin payments: The easiest way to get into bitcoin as an entrepreneur is to start accepting bitcoin payments through a merchant solution. In 2015, there were more than 100,000 retailers that had already started to accept bitcoin payments through bitcoin payment processors such as Coinbase, BitPay and Coinify. These retailers now include high-profile businesses like Amazon, Tesla and Microsoft.B.) Mining bitcoins: Mining bitcoins is like mining for gold, except that instead of mining in a physical geographic location, you mine bitcoins on the online bitcoin network. Your tools for bitcoin mining are not gold pans and buckets but a powerful computer and specialized software. You mine bitcoins by solving complex math puzzles. As of July 2016, miners compete for a reward of 25 bitcoins approximately every 10 minutes when they successfully solve a puzzle. The supply of new bitcoins will continue to drop by half every four years.When bitcoin mining was still new, you could mine using an off-the-shelf computer. Now that there are a lot more people competing to mine, you need to spend more money for faster hardware. A cheaper alternative is to combine your computer power with other groups of bitcoin miners through mining pools like Slush’s Pool. Bitcoins mined are divided among the group in line with what has been contributed to the pool.C.) Purchasing bitcoins: You can purchase bitcoins using cash through a bitcoin exchange and then transfer the bitcoins to your bitcoin wallet. A bitcoin wallet is used to store your private keys which are matched to your bitcoin address as evidence of your ownership of the bitcoin.Related: How a Teenage Entrepreneur Built a Startup on Bitcoin RichesYou can also purchase bitcoins from individuals in your area on sites like 2. Engage in services for bitcoin.“The bitcoin world is this new ecosystem where it doesn’t cost that much to start a new bitcoin company, it doesn’t cost much to start owning bitcoin either, and it is a much more efficient way of moving money around the world,” says Tim Draper, venture capitalist.If you don’t know where to start with bitcoin, take a look at some of the existing business ideas that have already succeeded within the bitcoin world:A.) Digital or hardware wallet services: All owners of bitcoins need a secure place to store their bitcoins. At the moment, they store them in a digital or hardware wallet that is similar to a virtual bank account. The biggest threat to digital wallets are hackers. Hackers have been known to break into digital wallets. These bitcoins are not backed by any government or the Federal Reserve. Once stolen, owners have no way of getting back their bitcoins or have much recourse against the hackers. Online security for digital wallets will probably be extremely important for bitcoin’s future.To protect your bitcoins, you can use cold wallets. These are hardware wallets that aren’t connected to the internet, which keeps them away from hackers.B.) Bitcoin payment processors: Also known as bitcoin exchanges, there are multiple bitcoin payment processors that have received substantial funding from venture capitalists to create services to process payments on behalf of vendors. Large businesses like Amazon, Microsoft and Dell all use these services.3. Provide solutions for bitcoin acceptance.One of the biggest challenges that bitcoin faces for its survival is to find acceptance among non-users. Current bitcoin owners are invested in the success of bitcoin’s future. If you can create a way to make bitcoin more widely understood and accepted by the public, you are onto a winner.4. Leverage blockchain technology.Blockchain is the technology that makes bitcoin digital currency possible. It is a public digital ledger of all executed bitcoin transactions.Related: CEO: This Is Why You Shouldn’t Fear Bitcoin For many financial institutions, the blockchain recording system holds promise as a secure, improved and transparent method to speed up transactions, cut costs and eliminate fraud. Because of this, some organizations, including financial institutions, are looking for ways to leverage blockchain technology for their own businesses.This represents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to find new ways to leverage blockchain technology in order to create better systems and services for these organizations.For example, the blockchain technology enables Bitwage, a payroll company, to process international payroll in minutes instead of days through the traditional banking system.5. Invest in bitcoin.One reason that bitcoin has been popular as an investment vehicle is because the numbers are limited. There are only a maximum of 21 million bitcoins to be mined. Currently, there are 15 million bitcoins in circulation; that is, 74 percent of bitcoins have already been mined. The limited amount of bitcoins available makes bitcoin an attractive investment tool for many, although the price of bitcoins has been highly volatile. For example, entrepreneurs have been able to profit by buying low when the bitcoin first came out and selling high when its price rose.If you are a savvy investor, you may be able to find a way to profit from the changing price of bitcoin.Related: Hong Kong’s Central Bank Warns Against Investing in Bitcoin in Wake of Alleged Pyramid SchemeThese are just five ways you can participate in the bitcoin revolution. They are not risk-free so make sure that you do your research, understand the technology, and perform due diligence before making your first move. Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »last_img read more

Update Road back open following serious early morning collision

first_imgGet the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailParamedics took three patients to hospital following a serious collision in the early hours which resulted in a major road being shut off. Emergency services were called out to Congleton Road in Arclid just after 2.20am this morning. Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service – who sent crews from Sandbach and Holmes Chapel – helped make the two vehicles involved in the smash safe. Meanwhile North West Ambulance Service confirmed that three three ambulances were sent to the incident with three people being taken to hospital. The extent of the injuries has not yet been revealed. The road was back open at 12.15pm.last_img

Linkerd 20 is now generally available with a new service sidecar design

first_imgLinkerd 2.0 is now generally available. Linkerd is a transparent proxy that adds service discovery, routing, failure handling, and visibility to modern software applications. Linkerd 2.0 brings two significant changes. First, Linkerd 2.0 is completely rewritten to to be faster and smaller than Linkerd 1.x. Second, Linkerd moves beyond the service mesh model to running on a single service. It also comes with a focus on minimal configuration, a modular control plane design, and UNIX-style CLI tools. Let’s understand what each of these changes mean. Smaller and Faster Linkerd has undergone a complete change to become faster and smaller than its predecessor. Linkerd 2.0’s data plane is comprised of ultralight Rust proxies which consume around 10mb of RSS and have a p99 latency of Service sidecar design It also adopts a modern service sidecar design from the traditional service mesh model. The traditional service mesh model has two major problems. First, they add a significant layer of complexity to the tech stack. Second they are designed to meet the needs of platform owners undermining the service owners. Linkerd 2.0’s service sidecar design offers a solution to both. It allows platform owners to build out a service mesh incrementally, one service at a time, to provide security and reliability that a full service mesh provides. More importantly, Linkerd 2.0 addresses the needs of service owners directly with its service sidecar model to its focus on diagnostics and debugging. Linkerd 2.0 at its core is a service sidecar, running on a single service without requiring cluster-wide installation. Even without having a whole Kubernetes cluster, developers can run Linkerd and get: Instant Grafana dashboards of a service’s success rates, latencies, and throughput A topology graph of incoming and outgoing dependencies A live view of requests being made to your service Improved, latency-aware load balancing Installation Installing Linkerd 2.0 on a service requires no configuration or code changes. You can try Linkerd 2.0 on a Kubernetes 1.9+ cluster in 60 seconds by running: curl | sh Also check out the full Getting Started Guide. Linkerd 2.0 is also hosted on GitHub. Read Next Google Cloud hands over Kubernetes project operations to CNCF, grants $9M in GCP credits. Kubernetes 1.11 is here! VMware Kubernetes Engine (VKE) launched to offer Kubernetes-as-a-Service.last_img read more

Searching for my inner Van Gogh on an Active Discovery sailing with

first_imgSearching for my inner Van Gogh on an Active Discovery sailing with Avalon Waterways Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Avalon Waterways, Britain & Europe, River Cruising Thursday, December 28, 2017 WURZBURG — It’s a rather unusual pursuit, coming off a European river ship. Strolling through the streets of scenic Wurzburg on the Main River, our small group winds our way toward a rather lofty goal: the city’s famous hilltop, 12th-century castle. “It remains relatively unexplored, mostly because it’s hard to get to,” our guide, Florian Brunn, explains.Soon, I see what he’s talking about. Digging into the paved path, we begin to ascend and I try to act cool as my heart begins to pound and a light sheen of sweat pops on my brow. “Most people who see it, only do so from the sun decks of river ships,” says Brunn with a light German accent, encouraging me as I lay my foot onto the bottom step of a staircase that disappears into a small hillside forest – and, to my eye, seems to stretch to the sky.Marienberg Fortress, WurzburgI’m on board the Avalon Expression, one of Avalon’s fleet of 18 river ships plying the waterways of Europe and Southeast Asia. Seeking a younger demographic (the current, typical age of a river cruiser is around 65), Avalon has introduced a new type of itinerary, called Active Discovery cruises. They debuted this year on the Danube (sailing nine days between Linz and Budapest) and will be rolled out next year on the Rhine (eight days between Amsterdam and either Frankfurt or Wiesbaden in Germany). Itineraries differ from traditional Avalon cruises, offering shorter sailing times and more time to explore in port, as well as different ports of call.Supported by a North American ad campaign that features an attractive, young-ish couple navigating adventurous paths before flopping on the bed of their Panorama Suite, these cruises offer options for deeper discovery. My sneak peek took me along the Rhine and Main from Amsterdam to Nuremberg. Each day on an Active Discovery itinerary, cruisers are offered three tour options – the usual, classic excursions, plus an active choice (hiking, biking) and a discovery option (a culturally rich, immersive experience). It’s Avalon’s fastest growing category, and the company is already seeing younger cruisers and multi-generation groups on these Active Discovery voyages.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”On the second day of my cruise, I experience a ‘discovery’ option, walking a few blocks from the ship to an art studio called Ateliers Westerdok, where I’m welcomed with tea, Dutch apple pie, stroopwafels – and a lecture on, arguably, this country’s most famous artist. Showing our small group some of his early work, which depicts the streets of this city, instructor Sanne Verdult told us, somewhat ambitiously, “You have everything you need to make your own Van Gogh today.”Van Gogh MuseumVan Gogh, I am not – and my efforts on the canvas demonstrated that clearly for all of those willing to take a look at the work my brushstrokes produced. Verdult gave us some practical instruction on our use of colour (cool versus warm) and other techniques, like the use of shadows to give texture, then presented a choice of still-life muses. I went for a flourishing plume of flowers, slathering acrylic paint in a tangential interpretation that only somewhat resembled the beauty before me.But, it felt good – to have brush in hand, creating an artwork (of sorts) in the country that produced Van Gogh, and Rembrandt, and so many others. Rather than just seeing their masterpieces in the Rijksmuseum, I was creating, and so was everybody else around me. Half the fun was walking around and seeing the other canvases, and how my fellow-painters had interpreted the items before us.RijksmuseumThe active discovery continued as we rolled down the river. In Rüdesheim, a place famous for its Riesling, we rode a cable car to a hilltop, then, led by a local winery owner, hiked back to town through the vineyards, stopping for a tasting from the back of a truck halfway down.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesIn Bamberg the group wound through the streets of that scenic town on bicycles. In Cologne, we went off the beaten path with an immersive neighbourhood tour, the guide leading through the funky, quirky charms of the Belgian Quarter, a favourite part of the city for locals to shop and drink, and almost entirely unvisited by tourists.BambergAnd while we could have augmented our healthy activities by dining on Avalon Fresh – a menu created exclusively for the company by the chefs at Wrenkh, a Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant in Vienna – we instead opted for the decadent, multiple courses at the small Panorama Bistro near the bow of the ship.And, of course, in Wurzburg, we hiked toward the sky. Actually, as luck would have it, the path soon evened out and took us right through the thick walls of the castle, which dated all the way back to 1168. Luxuriating in the space – we were practically the only ones there – we toured the sumptuous, well-guarded home of prince bishops from the 12th to the 18th centuries. And then I descended, again, through vineyards, feeling a little smug that I’d seen something special – and indeed, a place that few will ever have the chance to experience. By: Tim Johnsonlast_img read more

Ryanair warns earnings hurt by strikes rising fuel cost

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Ryanair warns earnings hurt by strikes, rising fuel cost LONDON — Ryanair, Europe’s biggest airline by passengers, has issued a profit warning for the year amid strikes and rising fuel prices.The low-cost carrier said it has lowered its guidance by 12%, to between 1.1 billion euros (US$1.28 billion) and 1.2 billion euros for the full year.Pilot and cabin crew strikes in September hit passenger numbers and resulted in passenger compensation costs.Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary says that while the strikes have been successfully managed, “customer confidence, forward bookings and Q3 fares has been affected, most notably over the October school mid-terms and Christmas.” Second and third-quarter traffic and airfares will be “somewhat lower than expected” as a result.The airline says more staff strikes could force the company to issue further profit warnings. By: The Associated Press Monday, October 1, 2018 Tags: Ryanair, Strike Sharelast_img read more