News: Royal Caribbean to base Quantum Ultra-class ship in Asia

News: Royal Caribbean to base Quantum Ultra-class ship in Asia

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Royal Caribbean has unveiled future plans for the first Quantum Ultra-class ship to be based in the Asia-Pacific region. Set to be launched in spring 2019, the yet-to-be-named ship will be the next evolution of the ground-breaking Quantum class and will join her sister ships, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas.

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May 3, 2017 at 03:04AM

News: Emirates goes all-A380 on Melbourne route

News: Emirates goes all-A380 on Melbourne route

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Emirates will provide an all-A380 service from Melbourne when it upgrades its third daily flight from the Australian city, EK408 and EK409, from a Boeing 777-300ER to an A380 operation. The move will add 945 seats per week to the Australian city from March 2018, representing a ten per cent increase in capacity.

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May 3, 2017 at 02:48AM

Family Chaos

Family Chaos

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Chaos and Order

I noticed that most kids seem to have no preference of chaos over order, whereas parents almost universally prefer order. Well, at least my kids seem to thrive in chaos, as you can see in today’s photo!

Daily Photo – Family Chaos

Here’s a crazy shot from Aruba. We thought it’d be a “great idea” to get the kids out for a little bit of family paddleboard action. Well it was pretty great for about 10 minutes until Ethan started using “ramming speed” and trying to capsize his sisters. They started fighting back (good for them), and then it turned into WWF on paddleboards!

Family Chaos

Photo Information


  • Date Taken2017-01-18 00:36:38
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2500
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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May 3, 2017 at 02:33AM

Q. AND A.: What Kal Penn, Actor and Obama White House Alumnus, Loves About Toronto

Q. AND A.: What Kal Penn, Actor and Obama White House Alumnus, Loves About Toronto

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Is there an area in Toronto that you gravitate toward?

There’s a neighborhood called Parkdale that I really like, which has an interesting Tibetan population. There’s a lot of great food, and I don’t mean fancy places where you dress up and go to dinner, but really great hole in the wall, authentic places to grab food. It’s a really nice neighborhood, in the West End of the city. Little Portugal is another great neighborhood, with really nice shops and restaurants.

For a while, you had a bicoastal lifestyle. What was that like?

Both Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., are vibrant cities. What I love about L.A. is how creative it is. In the District, the focus is on the cerebral.

What were some of your most memorable experiences at the White House?

For the most part, I had the opportunity to serve as the president’s liaison to young Americans. The Affordable Care Act, the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and the Dream Act were some of most memorable things that the president was working on. I remember being in the West Wing with other staffers when the Dream Act vote failed by just a few votes, and the president saying that we’ve come closer than we ever have before, but we still have a long way to go.

An individual recently posted a vile note on your Instagram page, writing that “you don’t belong in this country.” To combat this message, you started a successful funding campaign on CrowdRise with the funds going to the International Rescue Committee. How can people improve the public discourse?

Talking to people whom we disagree with is more important now that it has been before, and I don’t mean just ranting on your Facebook wall. A conversation tends to go very differently when you’re having a beer with someone that you disagree with, compared to sending a nasty tweet to someone because you want to make yourself feel better.

Where are some of the most intriguing places that you have visited?

I shot a small independent film in the Himalayas earlier this year, in a small town called Manali. So many of the folks that we worked with were local, and to go places where your co-workers literally grew up was pretty remarkable. I would say the same about Detroit, which is an amazing city. The things that they’re doing with art, urban farming and technology are really exciting. I loved Croatia, which was beautiful and filled with friendly people.

Continue reading the main story

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May 2, 2017 at 10:33PM

May 2017 Desktop Wallpaper

May 2017 Desktop Wallpaper

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May 2017 Desktop Wallpaper

This month’s image is of the Mar Saba Monastery in the West Bank.

1920×1200 | 1920×1080 | 1600×1200 | 1680×1050 | 1600×900
1440×900 | 1280×1024 | 1280×800 | 1024×768

iPad | iPhone 6/7 | iPhone 6/7 Plus
2560×1600 (MacBook Retina 13?) | 2880×1800 (MacBook Retina 15?) | 5k iMac

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May 2, 2017 at 10:01PM

European Parliament Said it Won’t Scrap Visa Waivers for U.S. and Canada

European Parliament Said it Won’t Scrap Visa Waivers for U.S. and Canada

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Bobby Hidy  / Flickr

The European Parliament isn’t happy that some EU members don’t have visa-free travel in the U.S. but said it won’t punish U.S. travelers with visas in Europe. Pictured is the passport control area at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. Bobby Hidy / Flickr

Skift Take: The threat of suspending visa-free travel for Americans in Europe is a favorite of the EU, even if they’ll never actually follow through on their threats.

— Dan Peltier

The European Union says it has decided not to suspend visa-free travel arrangements with the United States and Canada given the good progress made on resolving the standoff.

The United States is refusing to allow visa-free travel to citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania until they meet the requirements of U.S. law. Canada has limits on certain categories of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens.

But the European Commission said Tuesday that “contacts have been re-launched with the new U.S. administration” and Canada has pledged to lift all outstanding visa restrictions by December.

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said, “dialogue with our strategic partners is the right way forward and we are on the right track.”

EU lawmakers are pressuring the European Commission to suspend the visa waiver with both countries.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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May 2, 2017 at 06:00PM

WestJet Was Once Canada’s Southwest Clone But It Now Has Larger Global Ambitions

WestJet Was Once Canada’s Southwest Clone But It Now Has Larger Global Ambitions

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CNW Group/WestJet

WestJet Airlines will add as many as 20 Boeing 787s. The airline may expand its European routes, and try some routes to Asia. CNW Group/WestJet

Skift Take: Industry insiders have long compared Canada’s WestJet to Southwest Airlines, since both low cost airlines started with all-Boeing 737 fleets. But that comparison is no longer apt. With WestJet adding up to 20 Boeing 787s, it clearly has much bigger (and more global) ambitions.

— Brian Sumers

WestJet Airlines Ltd. plans to order as many as 20 Boeing Co. 787-9 Dreamliners valued at $5.4 billion, adding the wide-body to its fleet as Canada’s second-biggest carrier expands long-distance service.

The move takes a page from Air Canada, which has relied on the Dreamliner’s fuel efficiency to lower operating costs. The order also helps clarify WestJet’s strategy for competing with the country’s largest carrier by entering new markets in Asia and the Western Hemisphere.

“This answers one of the primary questions about WestJet’s future but is a significant increase in overseas capacity,” Doug Taylor, a Canaccord Genuity analyst, said in a note to clients. “The market will want more detail on this expansion.”

The order marks a victory for Chicago-based Boeing over Airbus SE amid depressed sales for twin-aisle jets. WestJet Chief Executive Officer Gregg Saretsky said last year that the carrier would evaluate competing aircraft models from Boeing and the European planemaker if it decided to expand the wide-body fleet. WestJet’s order means Canada’s two biggest airlines will fly the 787, with Air Canada operating 24 Dreamliners at the end of last year.

With a range of more than 14,000 kilometers (8,700 miles), the Dreamliner “will give WestJet the ability to serve new destinations in Asia and South America, and to expand its service offerings into the European market,” the Calgary-based company said in a statement Tuesday. The carrier now operates some leased Boeing 767 aircraft that are more than 20 years old on European routes.

Adding Frills

Founded in 1996 to cater to leisure travelers, WestJet has been moving away from its original no-frills model —patterned after U.S.-based Southwest Airlines Co. — by adding premium economy seats, rolling out a short-distance unit and starting overseas flights to European destinations such as London. It unveiled plans last week to start an ultra-low-cost carrier to fend off Canadian upstarts.

WestJet plans to buy 10 of the 787-9 for delivery between early 2019 and the end of 2021, with options for 10 more of the planes to be handed over through 2024. The purchase would be valued at as much as $5.4 billion, based on list prices. Discounts are typical in the industry. WestJet also will convert orders for 15 single-aisle 737 Max jets, listing for a combined $1.7 billion, to options.

The Dreamliner order likely will elevate capital spending over the next several years, Cowen & Co. analyst Helane Becker said in a note to clients. She said she expected that management would address its plans for the ultra-low-cost carrier in a conference call Tuesday.

“Clearly a lot happening in Calgary, which may cause growing pains along the way,” she wrote.

Earnings Miss

WestJet announced the order as it reported first-quarter profit of 41 cents a share, trailing the 51-cent average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Revenue was C$1.11 billion ($810 million), while analysts predicted C$1.12 billion.

WestJet fell 3.7 percent to C$21.99 at 9:44 a.m. in Toronto, after dropping as much as 5.7 percent for the biggest intraday decline in six months. Boeing rose less than 1 percent to $183.08.

The carrier won an agreement from pilots in December for expanding long-distance routes overseas after starting services from Canadian cities to London. At the time, it was considering adding to its fleet of Boeing 767 planes.

–With assistance from Julie Johnsson

To contact the reporters on this story: Frederic Tomesco in Montreal at tomesco@bloomberg.net, Benjamin Katz in London at bkatz38@bloomberg.net.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Frederic Tomesco and Benjamin Katz from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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May 2, 2017 at 04:29PM

Traveling Abroad? Take These Credit Cards With You

Traveling Abroad? Take These Credit Cards With You

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Thanks to this hobby, most of us are able to off-set the majority of our travel expenses with points and miles. But not all expenses can be avoided and things like hotel incidentals, activities, tour packages, and transportation costs can add up.

It still likely only amounts to a fraction of normal travel expenses, but it’s important to not only maximize earnings on travel spending, but to ensure you’e not paying foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad. So which credit cards should you use abroad? Here are my current picks:

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Sapphire Reserve is a great card to use abroad for several reasons. It carries no foreign transaction fees and earns 3 points per $1 spent on travel. On top of this, there’s the annual $300 travel statement credit. Cardholders can use the $300 Sapphire Reserve travel credit at a variety of travel merchants. That’s great for off-setting expenses like hotel bookings, transportation, tours, and more. Plus, the ability to earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points is a huge bonus.

 

The American Express Platinum Card

I personally don’t value Membership Rewards Points a lot, but they are a valuable currency and tons of people are able to put them to great use. What makes The Platinum Card from American Express so great for travel abroad is that it carries no foreign transaction fees, comes with a monthly $15 Uber credit (great for the domestic airport ride), earns 5 points per $1 spent on airfare and hotels through Membership Rewards Travel, and a slew of other travel benefits and credits.

Related: Easy Ways to Earn More Amex Membership Rewards

Those pesky airline baggage fees? Covered, with the annual $200 airline credit (assuming you’re using the card with the airline you’ve designated for this benefit). Airline lost your checked bag? American Express covers your loss for up to $2,000 per person. Need to cancel your trip due to illness or an accident? Amex’s superb travel insurance reimburses your travel expenses up to $10,000.

Other than the many travel protections, using the American Express Platinum card for travel abroad can be a great choice thanks to a myriad of elite-type benefits offered through Fine Hotels and Resorts.

Cardholders who book hotels through this program are entitled to complimentary upgrades, late checkout, complimentary breakfast, and on-site credits that can be applied to dining, spa treatments, or anything else. More importantly, the program often offers free nights when a certain number of nights is booked. All of this makes the Amex Platinum Card a great choice for travel abroad.


 

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus Card

Yes, even though I got my Barclaycard account shut down, I still recommend the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard for travel abroad. The card earns 2 miles per $1 spent (the equivalent of 2% cash back) and comes with a 5% rebate on travel redemptions.

Yes, eligible redemptions must be $100 or higher. However, most travel expenses aren’t going to be less than that anyway. The Barclay Arrival Plus also doesn’t impose foreign transaction fees and has a reasonable $89 annual fee. I love this card because it not only earns miles on purchases made abroad, but it allows you to off-set those travel expenses with the miles you’ve earned.

Related: Use Your Barclaycard Travel Credit to Cover Just About Anything

 

The Citi Prestige Card

The Citi Prestige card is a great credit card to use abroad. It comes with an annual $250 air travel credit that can be applied to pretty much any airline expense. The card has no foreign transaction fees, which is even more incentive to use it abroad and take advantage of the 3x air and hotel bonus, as well as 2 points per $1 on dining and entertainment. If you’re staying four nights or more on your trip abroad, you can get your 4th night free by using the card to book your stay through the Citi Prestige Concierge.

Related: 9 Ways Ritz Carlton Rewards Is the Best Hotel Card

 

The Ritz Carlton Credit Card

The Ritz Carlton Card is usually excluded from lists like this because…who wants to earn Ritz Carlton points? The benefits of this card go beyond points. Cardholders receive a $300 annual travel credit, 10% rebate on points redemptions, $100 hotel credit at participating Ritz Carlton hotels, and a $100 airline ticket discount. All of these make the Ritz Carlton card a great choice for travel abroad.

 

Which credit card do you think is best for travel abroad?

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May 2, 2017 at 04:27PM

Cycling in the Sky? It Might Not Be as Far Away as You Think

Cycling in the Sky? It Might Not Be as Far Away as You Think

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Airbus’ Silicon Valley outpost, known as A3, launched a project in December which would give airlines the ability to swap prebuilt modules in and out of the body of the plane, letting airlines change the interior of airplanes at will. The project, called Transpose, is based on technology that is similar to that of cargo planes and would allow airlines to install modules containing cocktail bars, spas, coffee shops, lounge areas and even a fitness center.

Fitness cabin SJC 3
Image courtesy of San Jose Airport’s Twitter page.

Throughout May, travelers passing through San Jose, California (SJC) can get a front row seat to one of A3’s full size modules. It’s partnered with Reebok and Peloton to create a gym that could one day be found in a commercial airliner at 35,000 feet. Inside this state-of-the-art cabin slash cycling gym are Peloton bikes, yoga mats and resistance bands. Visitors to the San Jose airport are welcome to try out the fitness cabin, though it’s unclear if or when passengers will be able to get a full workout in while mid-flight.

Featured image courtesy of San Jose Airport’s Twitter page (@FlySJC).

H/T: Business Insider

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May 2, 2017 at 04:13PM

An Ivan the Terrible Statue in Russia Was ‘Stolen’ an Hour After It Went Up

An Ivan the Terrible Statue in Russia Was ‘Stolen’ an Hour After It Went Up

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Ivan The Terrible’s reign as "Tsar of All the Russias" may have lasted decades, but a recently unveiled statue of the ruler in the Russian town of Alexandrov only lasted an hour before it was stolen.

According to the BBC, the statue, sculpted by artist Vasili Selivanov was placed on its pedestal in preparation for an official unveiling. But when Selivanov returned from his lunch break, the bronze figure had simply disappeared. No small heist when you consider that they needed a crane to put it in place to begin with.

While the artist was understandably baffled by the theft, it turned out that there was no ragtag team of Russian criminals, each with their own rare specialty, behind the disappearance. Instead, it was local authorities who had absconded with the figure. They claimed that the artist had not obtained the proper documentation to install the statue, and that the site had not been properly prepared for the unveiling.

The government is holding on to the statue until an approved ceremony can inaugurate it in June. In the meantime, an empty plinth remains.

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May 2, 2017 at 03:25PM