WTM LONDON: Tourism event to hit Excel Centre early November

London – VIJAY SHAH

London-based events company Reed Exhibitions is bringing its keynote tourism business event, the World Travel Market, to the famous Excel exhibition centre in east London on the 5th November, 2018, HEM News Agency exclusively reports.

The influential and highly popular exhibition, which can attract up to 51,000 visitors from the world of tourism, aims to bolster London’s position as a world-class centre of international tourism expertise and industry, particularly as there are concerns over this and London’s and the UK’s own statuses as tourism destinations of note, post Brexit in 2019.

 

The event is regarded globally for its selection of travel industry experts and exhibitors, of which 5,000 are expected to pitch for stands at WTM 2018. Thought leaders will host eighty different seminars over three days. WTM will also feature a host of different attractions to show innovation and forward-thinking in the travel and tourism industry. These include Inspiration Zones, which will ‘encourage inspiring regional-focused content on a range of subjects and sectors, as well as networking events’, according to the official website. There will also be a special feature, the Travel Forward event, which will launch its first edition at WTM. Travel Forward will showcase the latest technological innovations for tourism firms and travel agencies. There will also be opportunities for business networking and environmental awareness, with the World Responsible Tourism Day detailing responsible tourism events and sessions running throughout the show.

World Travel Market will run from 5-7 November at the Excel Centre in Silvertown, Newham borough. The event is one of the longest-running specialised in the tourism sector, beginning as ‘World Travel Market London’ in 1980. The very first show took place at Olympia London and was opened by the Duke of Kent and Miss World, Kimberly Santos of Guam. The show was attended by 350 exhibitors and 7,753 trade visitors. Since then, Reed Exhibitions, the event’s current organiser, has spun off sub-events dedicated to Arabia and Latin America, as wel as launching a themed magazine for the WTM community.

SOURCES:

World Travel Market, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/wtmlondon/

“Registration is now open” – wtm London/Reed Exhibitions http://london.wtm.com/landing-pages/registration/?campaign=Facebook-Ads-Remarketing-last180days-busypic&source=facebook&medium=social-media

“Show features” – wtm London/Reed Exhibitions http://london.wtm.com/about-the-show/show-features/

“The history of World Travel Market…” – wtm London/Reed Exhibitions http://www.wtm.com/about/history/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Stalls at World Travel Market, 2009” – flowcomm, Flickr (9 November 2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/flowcomm/4124009167

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WINGLIGHTS360 ON KICKSTARTER: Funding a new revolution in cycling safety

London – VIJAY SHAH

If you are a cyclist, or just happen to know someone who lives and breathes hi-viz, Lycra, and the wind through their hair while getting about on pedals and two wheels, you will know that cycling is a fun, adventurous and healthy sport. But like any sport, cycling comes with risks, and especially for urban cyclists, the roads of our cities are hazardous places where dangers can be unexpected.

 

On any road network, junctions pose the most danger for cyclists. According to the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 75% of the 19,000 bicycle accidents a year in the country happen at junctions, where cyclists are forced to contend with often heavy traffic flows, large vehicles and blind spots. Many of these accidents are caused by drivers not spotting cyclists or being unaware of a cyclist making a turn at a crossroads. Today, a quarter of accidents involving cars and cycles are caused by drivers’ failure to judge cyclists’ paths, especially at night, where hand signals by cyclists may not be noticed by drivers. It is this type of statistic that has also discouraged many from taking up daily cycling. Whilst the number of commuters has increased by 144% over the last decade, 68% of non-cyclists still believe it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads, making cycle safety a key issue now more than ever.

Unlike cars, bikes have no way of indicating changes in direction, but a freshly minted technology startup dedicated to producing innovative cycling safety equipment has a solution to help reduce the large numbers of cycling injuries and deaths on Britain’s roads.

CYCL, a London-based cycling technology startup managed by co-founder and chief technology officer, Agostino Stilli, launched a revolutionary new product, WingLights, in 2015, with help from public donations raised via Kickstarter crowdfunding. This simple, yet ingenious, technology involves LED devices attached to the cyclist’s bicycle handlebars, which behave like the turn signals on motor vehicles. Designed to be lightweight, waterproof, shockproof and robust for outdoors use, the product was featured on the BBC programme ‘Dragons’ Den’ in 2017, where it was backed by dragon Nick Jenkins. The gadget was publicised on WIRED, Business Insider and Forbes, and was adopted as the ‘Future of Transport’ by the UK Government.

WingLights began to light the way for cycling safety innovation and in the three years since they were launched, CYCL has fitted 50,000 devices to bikes, including the entire delivery fleet at the British arm of  the takeaway restaurant chain Domino’s Pizza.

Three years after its launch, CYCL has returned to Kickstarter to raise money for the latest iteration of WingLights, inspired by the feedback left by the gadget’s users and the original project’s supporters from Kickstarter. One story in particular stuck out. A cyclist going for a coastal ride in Dorset lost both her front and back lights and retained visibility on her route only by tapping WingLights repeatedly for hours before getting home safely (the original WingLights switch off automatically after 45 seconds). There was a clear need for a steady light mode to provide constant visibility.

 

CYCL’s design team went back to the drawing board, developing an enhanced version of the WingLights with permanent white/red side light functions. They also added an improved utility function where all the cyclist needs to do is snap the gadget on the ends of the bike’s handlebars and switch on: one tap for flashing indicators, and a continuous hold for steady side lights.
The new version, WingLights360, also comes packed with a helpful selection of new key features to help keep cyclists safe. Constructed from CNC aluminium for strength and lack of bulk, the devices are attached to the handlebars using magnets, and when not in use, can be tucked away on the person as a handy keyring. Perfect for the commute, they are now USB rechargeable, with a 3 hours battery operation interval and can be charged in under 30 minutes. The product has already become hot property before its impending launch with Forbes magazine naming WingLights360 their Forbes’ Top Cycling Gadget for 2018.

CYCL is one of a breed of startups catering to previously unexplored and poorly catered-for technological markets and is highly passionate about improving cyclists’ safety on the roads. The firm’s co-founder, Luca, said: “We have created a product based on the concept that motor vehicles have white and red side lights. We wanted to recreate this for the bicycle market, to ensure cyclists’ positioning and intentions are clear to other road users”.

CYCL officially launched the WingLights360 fundraiser to the general public this past Tuesday (11 September 2018). You can donate to the fund at this Kickstarter page. Send enquiries to info@cycl.bike .

cycl.bike

 

SOURCES:

Agostino Stilli/CYCL.

“Compatibility” – CYCL/Indive ltd https://cycl.bike/compatibility/

IMAGE CREDITS:

CYCL

 

BA FLIGHT: Indian family allegedly discriminated against, made to leave plane due to crying child

New Delhi – VIJAY SHAH via ALIX CULBERTSON and Sky News

The UK national air carrier British Airways (BA) has been accused of racism after a family hailing from India was evicted from a flight after a child in their group would not stop crying, reported Sky News.

The child’s father claims he was subjected to ‘humiliation and racist behaviour’ and Indians are demanding a boycott of the airline, according to the report.

 

The father, AP Pathak, a civil servant, was travelling with his family from London City Airport to Berlin on the 23rd July, 2018, was placing his three-year-old son in a special child seat when the infant began to cry. Pathak’s wife began consoling the child. It was at that point that Pathak alleged a cabin crew member approached them and threatened to throw the child out of one of the plane’s windows while directly scolding the little boy.

The crew member then returned a second time where he also said the family would be ‘offloaded’ if the child refused to stop crying. The response of the unnamed crew member was said to have left the Pathaks ‘petrified’, Sky News reported.

The plane was then returned to the terminal, where security officers boarded it. The Pathaks were approached and were forced to give up their boarding passes. Another family, also Indian, were also relieved of their passes. Both families were then marched off the aircraft.

In a complaint letter about the flight written to India’s aviation minister, Suresh Prabhu, the father also claimed that the same crew member also made racial comments about ‘bloody’ Indians.

Representatives of BA have claimed the Pathaks were repeatedly asked to sit their son down and fasten his seatbelt for safety reasons, otherwise the plane would not have been able to take off.

The controversy has made headlines in the media in India, where many have urged Indians to stay away from BA. Some critics on social media described the treatment of the two families as ‘shameful’. A small number though said that BA was right in their decision to remove the Pathaks, with one saying “I don’t feel bad about this at all, we Indians don’t respect or value our Indian resources, be it trains or airplanes, this is good learning for us”. Another, identified as Khushi tweeted: “Indian parents start howling too when kids start howling – three-year-olds outside India are taught how to behave socially.”

SOURCES:

Shere Singh/Facebook.

“Indian family thrown off British Airways flight over ‘crying child’ ” – Alix Culbertson, Sky News/Sky UK (9 August 2018) https://news.sky.com/story/indian-family-thrown-off-british-airways-flight-over-crying-child-11466706

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Condor Airplane on Grey Concrete Airport · Free Stock Photo” – Pixabay via Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/condor-airplane-on-grey-concrete-airport-163792/

NORTHERN IRELAND AFTER BREXIT: Residents to be able to keep EU membership

Belfast – VIJAY SHAH via JON STONE and Independent

As both the Brexit talks in Brussels and the situation over the status of the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic dominates political news in the U.K., the negotiation teams of the two sides have made a concession for residents of Northern Ireland, whereby they can still be EU citizens after Brexit is finalised in two years’ time, the Independent reported recently.

 

UK citizens born in the province will be able to continue their EU membership thanks to a deal struck by British prime minister Theresa May on Friday morning. The deal is a further continuation of an older agreement between the UK and EU whereby Northern Irish residents can apply for a Irish Republic passport. Even after the UK’s withdrawal, this agreement will be allowed to continue, meaning a Northern Ireland-born person can adopt Irish citizenship and therefore take advantage of border-free travel with the EU, as the southern part of Ireland is remaining within the union.

“Both Parties acknowledge that the 1998 Agreement recognises the birth right of all the people of Northern Ireland to choose to be Irish or British or both and be accepted as such,” the joint text agreed by the two sides stated in quotes published by the Independent.

“The people of Northern Ireland who are Irish citizens will continue to enjoy rights as EU citizens, including where they reside in Northern Ireland.”

The EU Commission have also suggested that Irish citizens from both sides of the border resident in the province should also be able to continue enjoying their rights as EU citizens post-Brexit. The deal is part of a breakthrough in recent talks, which hit a stumbling block over the question of the Irish border. The UK and EU will now move on to discussing future trade agreements.

SOURCES:

Cindy Chak.

I LOVE MY ‘FOREIGN’ SPOUSE: defend the rights of cross-border couples., Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/139807999382936/

“Brexit: Northern Irish will be able to remain EU citizens under deal” – Jon Stone, Independent (8 December 2017) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-northern-ireland-keep-eu-citizenship-irish-border-a8099176.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Tuesday: my Irish passport arrived” – Sarah-Rose, Flickr (20 March 2012) https://www.flickr.com/photos/oh_darling/6999195061

LONELY PLANET: Travel guide’s top destinations for 2017

This time last year, renowned travel and adventure guide Lonely Planet published a list of recommendations for travellers in 2017, for top countries and regions that the adventurous globetrotter just had to check out. Lonely Planet got together with people in the know, and spoke with numerous publishers, travel authors and members of its travelling subscriber community. It then compiled their recommendations in the magazine ‘Best In Travel’, listing the ten best cities, regions and countries the energetic and fun-loving trip junkie must visit for this year. Yes, 2017 is only good for three months more, but these destinations are planning to stick around for much longer, and are perfect for your 2018 travel plans.

 

COUNTRIES:

Canada – The land of the maple leaf, ice hockey and scrummy Tim Horton’s doughnuts made the number one slot in Lonely Planet’s guide. According to the guide, Canada’s rise to the top was helped by the election of its prime minister Justin Trudeau, whose arrival in Ottawa heralded a wave of national optimism. Other factors cited included the favourable exchange rate for Canadian dollars and the festivities the country is organising to celebrate 150 years of confederation which created Canada as a single political entity.

Colombia – after decades as a no-go zone due to an ongoing civil war, Colombia recently saw the signing of peace treaties between the government and far-left jungle rebels, and finally after 50 years of conflict, things are looking up for this undiscovered South American locale. This hope and the country’s outstanding natural beauty, vibrant culture and friendly people means Colombia takes the runner-up prize.

The top 10 countries – 

  1. Canada
  2. Colombia
  3. Finland
  4. Dominica
  5. Nepal
  6. Bermuda
  7. Mongolia
  8. Oman
  9. Myanmar
  10. Ethiopia

CITIES:

In first place for the best cities to visit in 2017, is the picturesque southern French city of Bordeaux. Lonely Planeters rated Bordeaux for its fine gastronomy, and no surprises, its vineyards and wine-making. After Cape Town in South Africa in second place, Los Angeles in the US came third, for its cultural, gastronomic and commercial diversity. Neighbouring Mexico’s Merida appears in fourth position, buoyed by its nomination as American City of Culture 2017, and its food culture.

The top 10 cities – 

  1. Bordeaux, France
  2. Cape Town, South Africa
  3. Los Angeles, USA
  4. Mérida, Mexico
  5. Ohrid, Macedonia
  6. Pistoia, Italy
  7. Seoul, South Korea
  8. Lisbon, Portugal
  9. Moscow, Russia
  10. Portland, USA

REGIONS:

Latin America has done favourably well in the most rated regions by Lonely Planet. Leading the pack is the Peruvian region of Choquequirao (Apurimac Valley), which was lauded by travellers for its unique opportunities to immerse oneself in the local Inca culture. Latin America is also represented at sixth place, with Chile’s Aysén in southern Patagonia, home to breathtaking glacial waterfalls fuelled by the snow-capped mountains of the Andes. The water in Aysén is said to be so fresh and cool, it imparts a unique flavour to the local beer.

The top 10 regions – 

  1. Choquequirao, Peru
  2. Taranaki, New Zealand
  3. Azores Islands, Portugal
  4. North Wales, United Kingdom
  5. South Australia
  6. Aysén, Chile
  7. Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia
  8. Georgia Coast, USA
  9. Perak, Malaysia
  10. Ring of Skellig, Ireland

Best in Travel also showcases the top 10 value-for-money destinations globally as well as rankings of places to experience in Asia, Europe and the United States, as well exploring 2017’s newest travel trends.

You can see Lonely Planet’s recommendations at lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel

DISCLAIMER: Lonely Planet has not endorsed or commissioned this article. This feature is based on a Spanish-language article from a third party.

SOURCES:

HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind

Tweet Hispano, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/TweetHispano

“Los mejores destinos turísticos para viajar en 2017 según ‘Lonely Planet’ ” – GrandesMedios.com/Grandes Medios (26 October 2016) https://www.grandesmedios.com/mejores-destinos-turisticos-2017/

“Best in Travel 2017” – Lonely Planet http://www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free photo: Luggage, Holiday, Travel, Summer – Free Image on Pixabay – 1149289” – stux, Pixabay (29 December 2015) https://pixabay.com/en/luggage-holiday-travel-summer-sea-1149289/

A TOWN NAMED ROTTENEGG: Monarch Airlines encourages people to visit unfairly named locations

London – VIJAY SHAH via SWNS digital

You are probably right now in the midst of booking your summer break to somewhere in Europe. Perhaps it is somewhere well-known, cultural, fun and touristy. Some place like Barcelona, London, Venice, Valletta or even Belgrade. However, maybe you want to sample a different, new and off-the-beaten-track destination this time round. How about Hell, in Norway, Piles in Spain, or God forbid, the simple hamlet of Twatt in the Orkney Islands, off Scotland. While visiting destinations with giggle-inducing names might give Instagram bragging rights to some teens, most families would baulk at the idea of visiting a place name that sounds like an intimate body part. Step forward, flight company Monarch, has launched a campaign as part of their ‘Year of Nice’ to encourage people to get over their misgivings and give places like Windpassing (there are four of them in Austria’s Niederoesterreich region) a chance, as they are often locales with beautiful scenery and attractions to discover.

One in six British holidaymakers would be put off going to a place if it had an unsavoury name. Yet they are missing out on some truly unique places. Why not take a seat in Piles, in Spain’s sunny Valencia region, not too far from the Costas of the Catalan coast and the arty metropolis of Barcelona. Despite it’s name’s awkward resemblance to a painful condition, Piles is very comfortable, with its own clean and flat beach. Also in Spain, you can head over to Andalusia and visit the traditional town of El Moron, a decision that will not make you look like an idiot. Ironically, El Moron has produced one of Spain’s most eminent archaeologists, so it is clearly not a town of tanned hicks.

For staycations closer to home, try the hamlet of Nasty in Hertfordshire, an hour’s or so drive from London. This picturesque and quintessentially English cluster of twenty or so buildings is anything but nasty, and many Londoners have in fact moved there to take advantage of the fresh rural air and bucolic countryside, even if they are reluctant to tell their friends in the big city where exactly they have upped sticks too.

For more oddly-named villages and towns to inspire you, take a look at the video below, featuring presenter Laura Hamilton.

 

SOURCES/VIDEO CREDIT:

SWNS digital/72Point http://www.swnsdigital.com/

 

UNITED AIRLINES: Airline cremates world record size rabbit without owner’s permission

Chicago – VIJAY SHAH via ASHITHA NAGESH, GEORGIA DIEBELIUS and Metro

The American air carrier United Airlines, which has suffered a massive PR blow recently after a doctor was assaulted and dragged off one of its planes, faces yet more controversy after it emerged the airline cremated a deceased giant rabbit without informing the pet’s owner, according to UK tabloid paper Metro today.

Ten-month old Flemish Giant rabbit Simon, the son of current world record holder for biggest rabbit, 4ft 4in (1.32m) Darius and measuring at 3ft (91cm) himself, was found frozen to death in the cargo hold at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. He was travelling from Heathrow Airport, near London, UK to a new home in Chicago.

 

Picture posed by another giant rabbit.

 

It was reported that airport ground staff at O’Hare has placed Simon in a freezer instead of a suitable pet carrier, resulting in his death. Simon had remained entirely trapped in the freezer, which was set at a temperature of around 0-2 degrees Celsius for the entire 16-hour duration of the flight. His former owner, rabbit breeder Annette Edwards, demanded that a post-mortem be held on her pet, but came to discover that Simon’s body was sent for cremation without her being told. The cremation took place this past Friday.

Edwards told The Sun newspaper: “I had been asking United over and over again for his body so that I can have him examined here in Britain but they never got back to me,

‘All I want to know is how he died. He was fit as a fiddle when he left my house, and then 24 hours later he’s dead”

Simon was said to have been travelling to the home of an unnamed celebrity, based in Kanton in Ohio state who had taken on the responsibility of being his owner, and the celebrity was reported to be upset at Simon’s passing.

At the time, United Airlines claimed that the rabbit was still alive upon arrival at Chicago, and that he was mistakenly placed in a freezer at holding on the airport premises. A United staff member told The Sun: “The rabbit arrived fine but there was some sort of mistake and he was locked inside a freezer overnight.

Everyone thought he was just having a nap or something. Nobody realised it needed to be taken out.’

‘We know from the inventory that that the rabbit was alive when it reached the airport. So it happened in the warehouse. It has all been kept very hush hush but none of us know who froze the rabbit.”

A United spokesman countered the allegations, saying at the time of the incident: “That assertion (that Simon froze to death on the flight) is completely false. Simon was cared for at the PetSafe kennel facility which is kept at room temperature (on average 70°F (21°C)).

‘He arrived at Chicago O’Hare airport in apparent good condition at 10:25 am (local time).

‘He was seen by a representative of the kennel facility moving about within his crate about 11:00am. Shortly thereafter, a kennel representative noticed Simon was motionless and determined that he passed away “

SOURCES:

Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

“United Airlines ‘cremated Simon the giant rabbit without the owner’s consent’” – Ashitha Nagesh, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 May 2017) http://metro.co.uk/2017/05/01/united-airlines-cremated-simon-the-giant-rabbit-without-the-owners-consent-6607998/

“Giant rabbit died in care of United Airlines ‘after being put in the freezer’” – Georgia Diebelius, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (29 April 2017) http://metro.co.uk/2017/04/29/giant-rabbit-died-in-care-of-united-airlines-after-being-put-in-the-freezer-6604933/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Colby the Flemish Giant” – Rhiannon Boyle, Flickr (4 October 2008) https://www.flickr.com/photos/anomieus/2912690917

CORY LEE: Wheelchair-using traveller pens ‘open letter’ to hotels for more disabled access

Twenty-five year old wheelchair user and self-confessed ‘travel addict’ Cory Lee, the blogger behind ‘Curbfree with Cory Lee’ has reignited the controversy around the lack of suitable disability access for wheelchair users in the hospitality industry by penning an ‘open letter‘ encouraging hotel owners to make staying at their establishments easier for their differently-abled patrons, the Half-Eaten Mind blog exclusively reports today.

The letter, which appears on Cory’s blog, was originally published on the 19th December 2014, but the traveller tweeted the article again recently as many hotel firms and owners have yet to make their facilities completely all-inclusive. Lee is highly complimentary towards the many hotels he has stayed at over the course of his travels but then draws attention to what he calls “unique challenges when it comes to navigating even the smallest things”, he writes in the letter.

Wheelchair ramp and disabled parking space
Wheelchair ramp and disabled parking space (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The blogger then exclaims that he ‘finds it a breath of fresh air’ if he is lucky enough to find a wheelchair-friendly hotel in the places he visits. While he is appreciative of those hotels who already offer good access to wheelchair users, in particular the offering of special ramps, wide paths, decent space for wheelchair access and lifts, he implores hotels to do more to make their stays enjoyable and comfortable for disabled travellers. Lee reminds hotels that the differently-abled community in the United States have a large amount of disposable income, and cites a 2001 issue of the Disability, Inc. publication that states that this community has collectively $220 billion of discretionary spending to tap into, meaning hotels who do not offer disabled-friendly facilities could be missing out on extra income by excluding a community with a lot of money to spend.

In his bid to get hoteliers thinking about improving their disability access, Cory goes on to make some suggestions himself in the letter. He advises big chains and smaller hotels alike to invest in such facilities as stair lifts for people with mobility issues, roll-in showers, and even setting aside special tables with higher legs for disabled restaurant customers, which will not only get the hotels good reviews from disabled guests on popular review sites such as TripAdvisor, but could also increase the hotel’s profit margins as more disabled patrons stay in their rooms.

Lee also offers tips to hotels to help play their part in local disabled tourism, including offering maps of the local area highlighting disabled-friendly top attractions, as well as public transport and restaurants, saying that it would be “a small gesture on your end that is a real kindness to us”.

Cory Lee has travelled all over the globe and has run a popular blog promoting wheelchair travel. His niche blogging has earned him attention from the mainstream media, disability publications and within the blogging community. He has appeared in articles by USA Today, The Huffington Post and in the travel guide series Lonely Planet, and has also made speeches all over the US on disability issues.

While many hotels, particularly the bigger chains such as Ibis, Hilton and Radisson Blu, offer access for wheelchairs as standard, many smaller hotels are unwilling or unable to afford to make the necessary adaptations and install equipment to ease life for their disabled hotel stayers. Lee’s open letter to the hotel world, written from the perspective of a wheelchair user himself and on behalf of many others everywhere, may be that nudge that will open up new experiences for thousands of disabled travellers alongside benefitting the global hospitality industry and making travel a possible option for more.

SOURCES:
The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind
WordPress Bloggers, Renate Flynn, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/renate_flynn/lists/wordpress-bloggers
Curb Free w/ CoryLee, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/coryleetweets
“AN OPEN LETTER TO HOTEL OWNERS. FROM WHEELCHAIR USERS EVERYWHERE.” – Cory Lee, Curbfree with Cory Lee (19 December 2014) http://www.curbfreewithcorylee.com/2014/12/19/wheelchair-accessible-hotel-rooms/
“ABOUT CORY” – Cory Lee, Curbfree with Cory Lee http://www.curbfreewithcorylee.com/wheelchair-travel-blog/cory/
“CORY IN THE MEDIA”” – Cory Lee, Curbfree with Cory Lee http://www.curbfreewithcorylee.com/wheelchair-travel-blog/cory-media/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:WheelchairRampAt2500AugustineBlvd.jpg” – Niteowlneils & Maksim, Wikimedia Commons (21 February 2005) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WheelchairRampAt2500AugustineBlvd.jpg

PHOTO MOMENT: Hold that pose!!

 

“Hold that pose!”

“That’s the trouble about being a squirrel photographer….all my subjects seem a bit nuts!”

 

**********************

Two red squirrels frolic about in the snow, while one realises her dream of being an ace photographer. The pages of Squirrel Vogue and National Geographic await.

This photo comes from the wildlife and travel collection of Zoraida Palacios, who describes herself as a defender and protector of animals. She is also an art lover with a degree in administration. The tweet was created by Britannia PR, known fully as Britannia Communications Partnership Digital Communications Agency. This public relations agency was ranked number one in a list of 500 agencies in March 2015 on Klout, Peer Index, Kred and Social Authority. Their Twitter account often shares amazing example of scenic and natural photography, as well as images from around the British Isles. They are based in London.

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Britannia PR, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Britanniacomms
IMAGE CREDIT:
Zoraida Palacios, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/ZoraidaPalacios

OBAMA: US President to cut short India trip after death of Saudi King

The United States President Barack Obama, who is currently on a tour of India, will cut short his diplomatic trip in the Asian subcontinent after the sudden demise of the Saudi king Abdullah, the Associated Press news agency (AP) reports.

Obama had visited India for strategic talks for a three-day period, of which the itinerary included an open-air audience with India’s new prime minister Narendra Modi, but the sudden death of the long-reigning King Abdullah ibn Abdilaziz Al Saud yesterday after being admitted to hospital with a lung infection has caused a sudden change of plans. The Saudis are one of America’s key allies in the Middle East. Indian officials told AP that President Obama will be heading immediately to Riyadh to pay his respects to the monarch, who was widely applauded in the West as a reformer who favoured some elemental women’s rights and helped preside over Saudi Arabia’s march forward as a regional power. He was only hours away from making a scheduled touristic trip to the Taj Mahal in Agra, just outside Delhi, when the passing of the Saudi ruler was announced. An official, Pradeep Bhatnagar, who is based out of Agra, said that American counterparts informed him today that Obama would not be visiting the ‘monument of love’ and would immediately jet off to Saudi Arabia, according to AP.

The US president had intended to hold a series of meetings with prime minister Modi on Sunday (tomorrow) and then arrive in New Delhi to be a special VIP guest alongside India’s political elites for the country’s yearly Republic Day celebrations and parades the following Monday. US officials have stated that the Saudi trip is a detour and that Obama will continue to press on with his India tour at an unspecified later date.

Josh Earnest, a spokesperson with the White House – the official presidential residence – said that president Obama and First Lady Michelle would travel to Riyadh on Tuesday this week and meet with the newly-crowned Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. Salman is the half-brother of the late King Abdullah and previously held the portfolio as the kingdom’s defence minister since 2011, according to Wikipedia sources. The US had planned to send a separate delegation headed by Vice-President Joe Biden to Riyadh, but spokesperson Earnest said that these plans were dropped after the White House realised that Biden’s visit would clash with Obama’s departure from India. Biden will not now be attending the Riyadh function and will remain on official duties in Washington.

President Obama’s visit to India comes during a period of strengthening relations between the two superpowers. AP reported that Obama and Modi had got along very well and had built a good rapport as leaders of two of the world’s largest democracies. The Indian prime minister, formerly the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, visited Washington in autumn 2014, and invited the US president to return the compliment as a guest for India’s Republic Day on January 26th, 2015.

It took us by some surprise,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser. “There’s a great affinity between the United States and India and our people, but there’s also a history that is complicated and that would have made it seem highly unlikely that a U.S. president would be sitting with India’s leaders at their Republic Day ceremony.

There have been tensions in the past, mostly over India’s nuclear programme, which some US observers feared would exacerbate tensions with nuclear arch-rival and neighbour Pakistan. Washington has also been perturbed by India’s reluctance to open up their carefully regulated state industries to more foreign investment and to tackle rampant infringement of often US-owned copyrights and patents, such as in pharmaceuticals and digital media.

The two countries have however enjoyed good relations particularly in the trade, science and education fields. Officials in the US also hope the warm ties between the two leaders will also help address issues such as the Indian contribution to tackling climate change, including the limitation of carbon admissions from its rapidly developing industrial areas, as well as provide American business leaders with new opportunities and linkups with big business in Asia.

After some deliberations from White House advisers, Obama was cleared to pay a visit to Modi at New Delhi. As well as attending the Republic Day celebrations in an official capacity, he was also scheduled to meet with local and US business leaders as well as attend bilateral meetings with India’s prime minister. Barack Obama has the new distinction of being the first American leader to visit India more than once. He previously visited for an economic summit held in 2010.

Obama’s tour of India is expected to be loaded with symbolism with fewer ‘substantive advances’, although significant issues such as climate change, economics and defence ties are expected to be on the agenda for discussion. Modi will also use the visit to help protect his country against any aggressive political complications from either China or Pakistan, according to AP, as well as neatly coinciding with his election promise to revolutionise Asia’s third-largest economy.

Indian political commentator Ashok Malik, speaking to AP, said expectations for concrete deliverables during the visit are “below the standards usually set by U.S. presidents when they travel across the world for a three-day visit.

The tête-à-tête with Obama also marks a significant sea-change for PM Narendra Modi, who was once denied a US visa in 2005 after protests at his alleged but unproven involvement with the Godhra incident of 2002, which saw religious riots paralyse the state he governed at the time.

 

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Andrew S. Ginsburg, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/GinsburgJobs
“Obama to cut short India trip to visit Saudi Arabia” –  Julie Pace, Ashok Sharma & Muneeza Naqvi, AP Mobile/The Associated Press (24 January 2015) http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_289563/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=k9MBhS0r
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