Transats EBB promo and new Club Class entice clients to book South

first_img Friday, March 3, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Transat’s EBB promo and new Club Class entice clients to book South & Florida trips Tags: Air Transat, Transat Travelweek Group center_img MONTREAL — Clients have until April 30 to take advantage of Transat’s new Early Booking promotion on South and Florida packages.The promotion includes savings of up to $600 per couple and a $50 future travel voucher. Clients also have the option to change their travel dates up to 21 days before departure.Bookings must be made with a deposit of $100. This promotion is valid for travel between May 1 and Oct. 31, 2017.“Booking South or Florida summer packages is the perfect way for solo travellers, couples, families or groups to simplify their lives and plan exactly how much they’ll spend on their vacations, without having to worry about the ups and downs of foreign currencies,” said Annick Guérard, President and General Manager of Transat Tours Canada. “More and more Canadians are booking ahead of time to ensure that the destinations and dates of their choice are available. It is with these types of travellers in mind that Transat offers an enticing Early Booking promotion every year.”More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJExtra perks for families include kids eat and stay for free at many hotels. Moreover, parents travelling alone with children under age 13 can benefit from reduced rates at certain properties.As an added bonus for Transat clients, Air Transat has launched Club Class on all its flights aboard Boeing 737s. Club Class passengers receive priority services prior to departure and at the airport, complimentary seat selection, generous baggage allowance, choice of gourmet meals (depending on flight duration), and small inflight extras.Club Class seats are located at the front of the aircraft, and to provide more space for passengers, middle seats in each row remain unoccupied.Passengers can now book Club Class on Boeing 737s for travel to Florida and the South. This travel class has already been available on all flights within Canada.For more details go to transat.com. Share Posted bylast_img read more

Carnival building its own Grand Bahama port for 1 million passengers

first_img Wednesday, May 3, 2017 Carnival building its own Grand Bahama port for 1 million passengers Share Travelweek Group Tags: Bahamas, Carnival Cruise Linecenter_img MIAMI — Carnival Cruise Line is getting its own exclusive-use port on Grand Bahama Island, with a pier capable of accommodating two of Carnival’s largest cruise ships simultaneously and capacity for up to 1 million guests annually.The new agreement between Carnival Cruise Line and the Bahamian government, capping a deal that’s been in the works for almost two years, will bring the largest-ever cruise port development project to Grand Bahama Island, with a pier capable of accommodating two of Carnival’s largest cruise ships simultaneously and capacity for up to 1 million guests annually.Carnival Cruise Line is one of the few major cruise lines without its own private Caribbean island, although it has access to sister line Holland America’s Half Moon Cay.Officials from Carnival Cruise Line and the Bahamian government signed the agreement during a signing ceremony in Freeport. The as-yet-unnamed planned port, funded and operated by Carnival Cruise Line, will be the largest purpose-built cruise facility ever constructed in The Bahamas. Features will include a 1.6-kilometre stretch of beach, food, beverage and shopping outlets and an array of water-based amenities and other recreational facilities.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’ns“Carnival Cruise Line is the leader in year-round cruising to The Bahamas and this new development will not only provide a truly extraordinary and one-of-a-kind destination experience for our guests but it will further solidify our partnership with the people of The Bahamas,” said Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy. “In 2017, along with Carnival’s sister lines, Carnival Corporation will bring close to three million guests to The Bahamas via calls to Nassau, Freeport, Grand Bahama, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, the latter two of which were developed and are operated by Carnival Corporation brands Holland America Line and Princess Cruises.  Collectively, we represent the single largest cruise company investor in The Bahamas,” Duffy added.During the signing ceremony, Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald said, “When Ted Arison, the founder of Carnival and the modern day cruise industry, embarked on his first cruise, it was to The Bahamas. From that day until now, The Bahamas continues to be one of the most strategic and important destinations for our company.” Donald continued, “Signing this agreement today is especially meaningful to me, as we strive to further contribute to the prosperity of the people of The Bahamas through providing experiences that continue to exceed our guests’ expectations.”More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaThe Government of The Bahamas “has had a long and close association with Carnival which has been of great economic benefit to both parties,” added Prime Minister Perry G. Christie. “This new cruise port initiative in East Grand Bahama will deliver a cruise port in the traditional sense, but more than that, its shore project will create a new ‘destination’ with a distinctive flavour and characteristics that offer the broadest Bahamian entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, representing another phase in the development of Grand Bahama as a viable tourist centre.”The project is subject to a public discussion process, environmental studies and permitting. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Launching this winter Sunwings SaguenayRoatan service

first_img Share Posted by Travelweek Group Tags: Honduras, New Routes, Sunwing TORONTO — This winter Sunwing will launch new flight service from Saguenay, Quebec to Roatan, Honduras, becoming the first carrier to offer service to Roatan from Saguenay-Bagotville Airport.Beginning Dec. 18, Monday direct flights will run weekly until April 16, 2018. Roatan marks the seventh destination offered by the airline for winter 2018. Sunwing has been the exclusive leisure carrier out of the regional airport for over a decade.“We are looking forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with the Saguenay-Bagotville Airport for the 12th season this winter,” said Sam Char, Executive Vice-President of Sunwing Travel Group. “Since our first flight in 2006, we have been providing residents of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region convenient options for escaping the cold Canadian winters, so we’re quite excited to be adding Roatan to this roster of top vacation destinations to get away to.”Jean Tremblay, President of Promotion Saguenay and mayor of Saguenay, added: “The island of Roatán in Honduras will enhance the vacation package destinations already offered starting in December, 2017. Sunwing has once more confirmed its exceptional and unique partnership, ongoing for over 10 years now, with the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region with this announcement and which maintains the Saguenay-Bagotville Airport as the most active regional airport in Canada in terms of flights to southern destinations.”More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemRoatan is the largest of the Honduran Bay islands and is home to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. Deep-sea divers can enjoy visibility of up to 150 feet, especially in areas like El Aguila, a popular wreck diving site.Sunwing offers a wide range of accommodation options in Roatan, including the newly renovated Fantasy Island Beach Resort, Dive and Marina, a PADI five-star resort that’s nestled on its own 21-acre private island. Billing the resort as an “ecological playground”, Sunwing says the resort makes sea explorers at home with a convenient location on the shores of the second-largest barrier reef in the world. Guests can choose from a variety of dive packages.“Roatan is an amazing destination for families seeking relaxation and adventure, with the recently revamped Fantasy Island Beach Resort, Dive and Marina representing the best combination of beautiful beaches and excursions,” said Sunwing’s President of Tour Operations, Andrew Dawson. “This winter we are pleased to be offering vacation packages to Roatan departing from a number of convenient locations coast to coast.”More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaAs part of Sunwing’s collection of Smile Resorts the property offers a number of family-friendly perks such as Kids Stay, Play, and Eat Free deals, no single supplement, and the SMILE Kids Club program. Sunwing says families can unwind with “amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean” from either one of three pristine beaches or the balcony of their recently upgraded accommodations. Kids can walk along the beaches while searching for Capuchin monkeys and iguanas, or visit the onsite mini zoo to meet more native mammals, reptiles, and birds.Excursions run the gamut from swimming with whale sharks to snorkelling or kayaking the Caribbean Sea and horseback riding along the coast. The resort has designed new dive packages for the upcoming winter season that further explore the ship wrecks and sea life scattered throughout the waters.In addition to Sunwing’s new Saguenay service, it also offers service from Montreal starting Dec. 11, and from Toronto starting Dec. 18. All Roatan routes will run through until the end of April 2018.center_img Thursday, August 10, 2017 Launching this winter: Sunwing’s Saguenay-Roatan service << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Who makes Monarccas Best of the Best resort review list

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Who makes Monarc.ca’s ‘Best of the Best’ resort review list? Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Monday, March 12, 2018 Tags: Monarc.ca MONTREAL — Hotel and resort review site Monarc.ca has tabulated the reviews and ratings from more than 135,000 Canadian travellers for its annual ‘Best of the Best’ list.Monarc.ca has several review classifications including ‘Pro’ indicating reviews by Canadian travel agents.The ranking of the most popular resorts and hotels is based on a comprehensive set of specific criteria, such as the overall appreciation of the establishment, restaurants, beaches, cleanliness and value for money, says Softvoyage’s VP Sales & Marketing, Dan Langevin.Sun destinations included in the reviews are Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, D.R., Grenada, Guadeloupe, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Saint Lucia, St Maarten, and Turks and Caicos.The 2017 results mark the eighth consecutive year Monarc.ca has ranked its most popular sun resorts and hotels. Here’s a look at the latest winners …TOP 3 MOST POPULAR DESTINATIONSMexicoU.S.Cuba & Jamaica (tie)BEST QUALITY VS. PRICEAzul Ixtapa Grand Resort, IxtapaRiu Palace Peninsula, CancunLuxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado, Samana and Excellence Playa MujeresBEST OVERALL EVALUATIONLuxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka An, Riviera MayaSunset Plaza Beach, Puerto VallartaRiu Palace Peninsula, Cancun & Azul Ixtapa Grand ResortBEST RESTAURANTSThe Hideaway At Royalton Riviera CancunRoyalton Riviera Cancun Resort & SpaLuxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka An, Riviera MayaBEST BEACHESRoyalton Cayo Santa MariaBeaches Turks And CaicosSanctuary At Grand Memories Santa MariaBEST FOR FAMILIESHyatt Ziva Puerto VallartaBeaches Turks And CaicosDisney’s Pop Century Resort, FloridaBEST FOR COUPLESRiu Palace Costa RicaSunset Plaza Beach, Puerto VallartaRiu Palace Cabo San LucasBEST FOR SINGLESBreezes Resort, NassauHotel Playa Caleta, VaraderoCelebration Suites, KissimmeeBEST FOR SENIORSHoliday Inn Anaheim Resort, Anaheim,Couples NegrilSunset Beach Resort Spa And Waterpark, Montego Baylast_img read more

67yearold turtle conservationist takes on Mt Everest

first_imgLike any good Buddhist, Ed Marzec has lived many lives: He was a high-powered attorney in the U.S., he served multiple presidents, he taught at a university for more than a decade, he raised Andalusian horses, and he is proprietor of the Punta Mala nature reserve in Playa Hermosa, a significant breeding ground for sea turtles. He spends much of his time living and working in Costa Rica, and he has led conservation and service projects around the world.But Marzec is now embarking on his most ambitious project yet: He will attempt to summit Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain the world. If he succeeds, 67-year-old Marzec will likely be the oldest U.S. citizen to bag the peak. Among Marzec’s companions will be his friend Padam Ghale, a 72-year-old Nepalese mountaineer and guide. Marzec has endured six knee operations, but he is otherwise in good health. The Tico Times reached him by phone during his extended layover in Beijing, China.First off, how are you feeling?I’m feeling great. I’m in great physical shape. The blood count is up, so I can hold oxygen. Iron is high, which is good. All the body parts work. But that’s only one-third of the formula. It’s quite well known that physical wellbeing is just a prerequisite. A lot of it is luck — avoiding avalanches, rocks falling from above, chunks of ice coming down, equipment failure. There’s instantaneous storms that crank 100-mile-an-hour winds. There’s high-altitude sickness and mental stability. When people climb, the normal death rate is about 10 or 12 percent. In my age group, the rate is about 40 percent. But I feel like I’m going to beat those odds.What inspired you to take on Everest?Let me start by saying that Buddhism is a great philosophy on life, and it is not an organized religion. It’s a philosophy. And if you become a great Buddhist, you become a wonderful Christian, a wonderful Jew, a wonderful Hindu, or whatever. I was studying Buddhism in Kathmandu, because [the nearby city of] Lumbini is the birthplace of the Buddha, and not India, like many people think. The direct teachings of the Buddha come from Nepal. Buddhism is “whatever works,” basically. The Buddha said, as you try to find enlightenment, you must never take the easy road, which was the Buddha’s way of saying, “No pain, no gain.” So I thought, the highest mountain in the world is the one I’d try next.So what’s the itinerary?I flew into Beijing on China Airlines, because I have friends here. I’m going to spend some time in Bangkok for a business trip. Then I’ll be in Kathmandu, Nepal, probably on the 19th [of March]. I’ll be meeting with a number of Buddhists there to get my head squared away. Then I’ll be headed to the most dangerous airport in the world, Lukla. They say if you survive the flight to Lukla, the rest of it is a cakewalk.Tell me about your team.Usually [expeditions] are groups of five or 10 climbers, because that’s how they split it up. Unfortunately, I’m a very competitive person, and if someone goes ahead of me, I’ll want to keep up with them, and that could be fatal. I’ll have three climbers, then a head climber. I’ll have 12 porters, I’ll have a cook. But the last part of the journey will just be three or four of us.You have a demonstrated interest in conservation, and Mt. Everest has become infamous for its litter. What are you feelings about it?Although there are 300 permits issued each year, about 1,500 people pass through the base camp on a rotating basis. You have sherpas, you have support groups, you have families. There’s no power. There’s no sewage. There’s no water, except by melting ice. And you have huge amounts of trash buildup. A little pun here – it gets kind of shitty here after awhile. For everyone who gets a permit, a portion of the money goes to drums that take fecal matter down the mountain.You live in Costa Rica about half the year. Are you representing the country in any way?I love Costa Rica, I love the people in Costa Rica, and I’ve met some wonderful folks. I am taking up a Costa Rican flag, and when on the summit, I plan on holding it up – if I’m alive. (Laughs). It’s my humble way of saying thank you to the generosity Costa Rican people.Some climbers attempt the mountain without oxygen. Do you plan to use oxygen?Only 40 to 50 people have summited Everest without oxygen. This is something that’s dangerous enough using oxygen. And by the way, oxygen is a very dangerous chemical. Oxygen is tough on the lungs, tough on the system. It even burns the lungs after awhile. It’s like having a really bad hangover.You have done a lot of service projects in diverse communities around the world. What should people know about service?I’ve had a very fortunate life. I became a lawyer, I’m physically fit, I’m a tough guy – physically and socially. But I realized that all the houses and Ferraris that I had were absolutely worthless. It was like trying to swim across a very wide, deep river, and all these things that I had were like anchors that made crossing that river impossible. None of these worldly things means anything. It’s totally contrary to our advancement. I’ve been able to not just give it away, but use my good fortune to help other people. That’s what the Buddha taught. It makes everything I do seem very natural. Facebook Comments Related posts:A tattoo convention, Russian ballet and other happenings around Costa Rica Final World Cup showdown, viral theater, and other happenings around Costa Rica Costa Rican sets milestone upon reaching summit of Yosemite National Park’s notorious El Capitán alone Update: NBA star Kobe Bryant vacations in Costa Ricalast_img read more

Britons abroad Dont miss out on your right to vote in the

first_imgAs British ambassador to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, I encourage British expats to register ahead of the European Union (EU) referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership in the Union.More than 100,000 British expats registered to vote for the U.K.’s most recent general election, in 2015. This is three times the number that had been registered in time for the 2010 General Election, but still only represents around 2 percent of those of us who are living overseas and who may be eligible to vote in the EU Referendum.Those who didn’t register to vote for our last general election may not have registered in time, while others may simply not have known they had the option to participate in this important democratic process while living abroad. U.K. overseas voters, in fact, are eligible (subject to fulfilling the criteria) to vote in a number of polls, like the U.K. Parliamentary General Elections, European Parliamentary elections and the upcoming EU Referendum.That’s why I am taking this opportunity to urge those of you who have been registered to vote in the U.K. in the last 15 years, to register now as an overseas elector at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to have your say in the EU Referendum.The date for the referendum itself has not yet been announced, which makes it all the more important that you register as soon as possible, to ensure that you complete this important step ahead of time. The process has been simplified, and I’ve been assured that it takes no longer than making a good strong cup of tea!If, for some reason, you’re unable or unwilling to register online, you have the option of downloading the forms and posting them, but please remember to submit your completed form well in advance of the deadline to allow time for postage and possible delays.The actual deadlines for registering to vote and applying for an absent vote will be set once the date of the referendum is known. Once you’ve registered, you can choose how you wish to vote — by post or by proxy, that is, asking someone you trust to vote on your behalf.If you were too young when you left the U.K. to have been registered, then you can register as an overseas voter if your parents, or guardians, were registered to vote in the U.K. in the last 15 years.Even if you’re not able to go online and register today, please don’t miss the opportunity to do this as soon as possible; and please encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do the same.Ross Denny is British Ambassador to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Facebook Comments Related posts:UK documentary series seeks British families going back to nature in Costa Rica How the Clintons went from ‘dead broke’ to rich Recent exchange rate stability offers relief to businesses Costa Rica not alone as it waits for a new US ambassadorlast_img read more

American Airlines launching direct flights from New York to Costa Rica

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica airports increase security following Brussels blasts Winter Storm Stella causes flight cancellations between New York-Costa Rica American Airlines expanding service to Costa Rica Costa Rica airport restricts liquids in carry-ons Big Apple, meet Pura Vida.Beginning in November, American Airlines will launch new direct routes between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Costa Rica.American Airlines will operate daily service between JFK and Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) near San José. The direct flights begin Nov. 21.It will also offer Saturday flights from JFK to Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia. Those start Dec. 21.“The contribution of American Airlines with its offering of almost 67,000 new seats is extraordinary news for the tourism sector and is an important contribution to national economic activity, whose main driver is tourism,” said Maria Amalia Revelo, Minister of Tourism.The routes will operate as follows, according to a press release from the Costa Rican Tourism Board:JFK-SJO: Departs New York daily at 3:59 p.m. and arrives at 9:42 p.m. Departs the San José area at 11:03 p.m. and arrives in New York at 5:19 a.m.JFK-LIR: Departs New York on Saturdays at 7:00 a.m. and arrives at 10:55 a.m. Departs Liberia at 11:04 a.m. and arrives in New York at 4:59 p.m.The flights will be bookable soon, and we’ll double-check what appears to be an impossibly short turnaround time in Liberia on the JFK-LIR route.All flights will be operated by a Boeing 737-800 “with convenient schedules for a full week-long vacation or a quick weekend escape,” according to a press release from American Airlines.last_img read more

BAE Systems H1 profit dips cautions on US outlook

first_imgLONDON (AP) – Defense contractor BAE Systems cautioned about its U.S. outlook in the presidential election year as it reported a slight dip in first-half profits.The company said Thursday its outlook is clouded by uncertainties over defense spending in the United States ahead of November’s election and pricing for Typhoon fighter aircraft ordered by Saudi Arabia.For the six months ending June 30, BAE said sales were down from 9.2 billion pounds ($14.3 billion) last year to 8.3 billion pounds, primarily because there were no Typhoon deliveries to the Saudis in the period. The completion of deliveries of Gripen fighter deliveries to South Africa last year also impacted on this year’s sales. Net profit was 1 percent lower at 474 million pounds.Despite its caution over the U.S., the company reaffirmed previous guidance that it expects modest growth in underlying earnings this year.Underlying earnings per share _ excluding impairments, non-cash finance movements and one-time items _ rose from 18.6 pence a year ago to 18.8 pence. BAE declared a 4 percent increase in its first-half dividend, to 7.8 pence.BAE shares were down 1.9 percent at 306.5 pence in morning trading in London.“Overall results are fine given the challenging environment, but we feel there is not quite enough here to materially drive the rating following the share’s recent strong performance,” said Andrew Gollan, analyst at Investec Securities.The company’s main hurdles ahead are likely to center on the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, both big buyers of BAE products.“With U.S. government debt reduction measures to be determined and with presidential and Congressional elections in November, delay to the approval of fiscal year 2013 budgets is likely,” the company said.Regarding Saudi Arabia, BAE has a contract for final assembly of 48 Typhoons to complete an order of 72, but negotiations are continuing on price. Sponsored Stories Quick workouts for men More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Parents, stop beating yourself up Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   last_img read more

Even more brutal leader takes over Mexicos Zetas

first_imgThe rise has so alarmed at least one gang chieftain that he has called for gangs, drug cartels, civic groups and even the government to form a united front to fight Trevino Morales, known as “Z-40,” whom he blamed for most of Mexico’s violence.“Let’s unite and form a common front against the Zetas, and particularly against Z-40, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, because this person with his unbridled ambition has caused so much terror and confusion in our country,” said a man identified as Servando Gomez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel, in a viedo posted Tuesday on the internet.A Mexican law enforcement official who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record said the video appeared to be genuine.“He is the main cause of everything that is happening in Mexico, the robberies, kidnappings, extortion,” Gomez is heard saying on the tape. “We are inviting all the groups … everyone to form a common front to attack Z-40 and put an end to him.”Trevino Morales has a fearsome reputation. “If you get called to a meeting with him, you’re not going to come out of that meeting,” said a U.S. law-enforcement official in Mexico City, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. The vital role family plays in society ___Associated Press writer Michael Weissenstein contributed to this report(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too Lawmen and even competing drug capos picture Trevino as a brutal assassin who favors getting rid of foes by stuffing them into oil drums, dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire _ a practice known as a “guiso,” a Spanish word for “stew.”That could be a worrisome turn for the Zetas, which already was the hemisphere’s most violent criminal organization. It has been blamed for a large share of the tens of thousands of deaths in Mexico’s war on drugs, though other gangs too have repeatedly committed mass slayings.“There was a lot of talk that he was pushing really hard on Lazcano Lazcano and was basically taking over the Zetas, because he had the personality, he was the guy who was out there basically fighting in the streets with the troops,” said Jere Miles, a Zetas expert and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent who was posted in Mexico until last year.“Lazcano Lazcano, at the beginning he was kind of happy just to sit back and let Trevino do this, but I don’t think he understood how that works in the criminal underworld,” Miles said. “When you allow someone to take that much power, and get out in front like that, pretty soon the people start paying loyalty to him and they quit paying to Lazcano.” Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The Zetas have been steadily expanding their influence and reaching into Central America in recent years, constructing a route for trafficking drugs that offloads Colombian cocaine in Honduras, ships it overland along Mexico’s Gulf Coast and runs into over the border through Trevino Morales’ old stomping grounds.Samuel Logan, managing director of the security analysis firm Southern Pulse, notes that “personality-wise they (Trevino Morales and Lazcano) couldn’t be more different,” and believes the two may want to take the cartel in different directions. The stakes in who wins the dispute could be large for Mexico; Lazcano is believed to be more steady, more of a survivor who might have an interest in preserving the cartel as a stable organization.“Lazcano may be someone who would take the Zetas in a direction where they’d become less of a thorn in the side for the new political administration,” Logan said in reference to Enrique Pena Nieto, who is expected to take office as president on Dec. 1. “In contrast, Trevino is someone who wants to fight the fight.”Referring to Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, a member of the rival Sinaloa Cartel who died in a shootout with soldiers in July 2010, Logan noted, “Trevino is someone who is going to want to go out, like Nacho Coronel went out, with his guns blazing.” In two years since Zetas split with their former allies in the Gulf cartel _ a split in which Trevino reported played a central role _ the gang has become one of Mexico’s two main cartels, and is battling the rival Sinaloa cartel.Now the Zetas’ internal disputes have added to the violence of the conflict between gangs. Internal feuds spilled out into pitched battles in the normally quiet north-central state of San Luis Potosi in mid-August, when police found a van stuffed with 14 executed bodies.San Luis Potosi state Attorney General Miguel Angel Garcia Covarrubias told local media that a 15th man who apparently survived the massacre told investigators that both the killers and the victims were Zetas. “It was a rivalry with the same organized crime group,” Garcia Covarrubias said.The leadership dispute also may have opened the door to lesser regional figures in the Zetas gang to step forward and rebel, analysts and officials said.Analysts say that a local Zetas leader in the neighboring state of Zacatecas, Ivan Velazquez Caballero, “The Taliban,” was apparently trying to challenge Trevino Morales’ leadership grab, and that the 14 bullet-ridden bodies left in the van were The Taliban’s men, left there as a visible warning by Trevino Morales’ underlings. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Patients with chronic pain give advice Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The Taliban’s territory, Zacatecas, appears to have been a hot spot in Trevino’s dispute with Lazcano. It was in Zacatecas that a professionally printed banner was hung in a city park, accusing Lazcano of betraying fellow Zetas and turning them in to the police.Trevino began his career as a teenage gofer for the Los Tejas gang, which controlled most crime in his hometown of Nuevo Laredo, across the border from the city of Laredo, Texas, officials say.Around 2005, Trevino Morales was promoted to boss of the Nuevo Laredo territory, or “plaza” and given responsibility for fighting off the Sinaloa cartel’s attempt to seize control of its drug-smuggling routes. He orchestrated a series of killings on the U.S. side of the border, several by a group of young U.S. citizens who gunned down their victims on the streets of the American city. American officials believe the hit men also carried out an unknown number of killings on the Mexican side of the border, the U.S. official said.Trevino Morales is on Mexico’s most-wanted list, with a reward of 30 million pesos ($2.28 million) offered for information leading to his capture.Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico’s National Autonomous University, said that the Zetas are inherently an unstable cartel with an already huge capacity for violence, and the possibility of more if they begin fighting internal disputes. “I think the Zetas are having problems, and there is no central command,” he said. Top Stories Associated PressMEXICO CITY (AP) – A falling out between the leaders of the hyper-violent Zetas cartel appears to have put the gang in the hands of a brutal and feared gangster who has been blamed for an eruption of bloodshed in Mexico’s once relatively calm central states.Miguel Angel Trevino Morales is a former cartel enforcer who apparently won a showdown with Zetas founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano for leadership, law enforcement officials say. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Asian casino boom aims to lure regions new rich

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project AP Business WriterMACAU (AP) – In the Philippines, a $4-billion casino will soon rise from reclaimed land on Manila Bay. In South Korea, foreign investors are expected to break ground next year on a clutch of casino resorts offshore. And on the eastern edge of Russia, authorities plan a resort zone aimed at drawing Chinese high-rollers.The projects are part of a casino building boom rolling across Asia, where governments are trying to develop their tourism markets to capture increasingly affluent Asians with a penchant for gambling. They’re building glitzy, upscale Las Vegas-style resorts in a bid to copy the runaway success of Asian gambling hubs Macau, which rapidly became the world’s biggest casino market after ending a monopoly, and Singapore, where the city-state’s first two casinos raked in an estimated $6 billion a year after their 2010 openings. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Both countries bar their own citizens from entering casinos.Even the neglected Russian Pacific port city of Vladivostok, perhaps best known as the eastern terminus for the famed Trans-Siberian Railway, plans to get in on the action. Authorities announced plans in May to invite foreign investors to help develop an entertainment zone with no less than 12 casinos aimed at attracting Chinese and other North Asian visitors. When completed, annual revenues could reach $5.2 billion, according to a forecast by consultants.In Japan, where legalization has been debated for years, lawmakers have been inching closer to approving casinos as a way to stimulate the economy and boost tourism following last year’s devastating tsunami and nuclear disaster.But not everyone is convinced it’s a gamble that will economically benefit Japan, which already allows gambling on horse, boat and bicycle racing as well as slots.“If we get casinos in Japan, that will destroy the nation,” said Ken Wakamiya, an author and anti-gambling activist.He pointed out that pachinko, a slot machine-like game, is one of the country’s most popular forms of gambling. But he said it’s played widely by poor people and as a result made them even poorer. Check your body, save your life “The gambling industry is not a sector that creates value-added products or services and therefore will have little impact on the development of the future economy,” said Vincent Wijeysingha, treasurer of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party. “It does not contribute to the deepening of economic capacity or the introduction of new or innovative services or industrial techniques.”In the Philippines, church leaders have spoken out against a $4 billion project that the government hopes will turn a site on Manila Bay into the country’s version of the Las Vegas Strip. Casinos have been legal since 1977 but many are small and run-down.Foreign investors including Macau’s Melco Crown Entertainment, Japanese pachinko tycoon Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment and Malaysia’s Genting Bhd. are working separately with local partners on the project, which will include hotels, restaurants, museums, a marina and boardwalk and a monorail.The project, dubbed Entertainment City, is aimed at drawing wealthy foreign gamblers but church leaders say it would promote “a culture of gambling” in the conservative, majority Roman Catholic Philippines. Four benefits of having a wireless security system _______Teresa Cerojano in Manila, Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo and Youkyung Lee in Seoul contributed to this report.Follow Kelvin Chan at twitter.com/chanman(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Gambling “foments addiction, foments indolence, foments a mentality of chance and it destroys families,” said Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz.In South Korea, Universal and two other companies plan to build resorts in a special economic zone near Incheon Airport on Yeongjong Island. The companies, which also include Caesar’s Entertainment Corp. of the U.S. and South Korea’s Paradise Group, are scheduled to break ground in September 2013, said Lee Woo-hyung, director of tourism and culture department at the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority.Some are skeptical that the projects can rival the profits made in Macau, which has benefited from a seemingly endless stream of mainland Chinese gamblers.Beijing has been happy to let its wealthy gamble their fortunes away in Macau, a special administrative region of China. But it might start clamping down on exit permissions to prevent citizens from boosting a regional rival’s gambling tax coffers if geopolitical tensions flare.That risk is most acute in the Philippines, which has sparred with Beijing over a disputed shoal, said Grant Govertsen, managing partner of Union Gaming Research Macau.“You’re entirely dependent on the good graces of Beijing to be successful,” said Govertsen. “And I don’t like those odds.”center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories In Singapore, the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, which together cost more than $10 billion, have put the city on track to becoming the world’s second-biggest gambling market.By 2015, consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers predict the surge in Asian casino revenues will have “fundamentally reshaped the landscape of the global industry” and help Asia edge out the United States as the world’s biggest regional market.PWC forecasts that the Asia-Pacific gambling market will more than double from $34.3 billion in 2010 to $79.3 billion in 2015, surpassing the U.S., which is estimated to grow from $57.5 billion to $73.3 billion in the same period.A number of projects planned or under way across the region are helping to fulfill that prediction.Cambodian operator Nagacorp, which runs the only casino in the Southeast Asian city’s capital, Phnom Penh, plans to open a $369 million expansion including hotels and shopping later this year. The company operates buses equipped with massage chairs to pick up punters from neighboring Vietnam.Vietnam will get its first casino-resort next year. Canadian company Asian Coast Development is set to open a five-star MGM-branded beachfront complex in the southeast. It’s part of a $4.2 billion tourist development aimed at drawing foreign visitors. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The casino boom highlights how the gambling industry is being propelled by the region’s rapid economic growth, with millions entering the middle class thanks to rising incomes that allow them to spend more on travel and leisure pursuits. But it has also intensified debate over the social ills and perceived economic benefits of the gambling industry.“Definitely, the success of Macau has set off a chain reaction in what is happening in the region,” said Francis Lui, vice chairman of Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group. “After the success of Macau and Singapore, of course you see more countries now assessing the pros and cons of having gaming as a driving engine for bigger economic growth.”“In the future the region is going to have more casinos.”The fortunes to be made are immense. After Macau ended a four-decade monopoly and allowed in foreign operators such as Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International, the former Portuguese colony on the southern edge of China quickly overtook the Las Vegas Strip as the world’s biggest gambling market. The foreign operators helped supercharge growth in Macau _ previously known for its aging, seedy, no-frills casinos _ by building flashy gambling palaces drawing wealthy mainland Chinese. Last year the city of just 500,000 people raked in $33.5 billion in gambling revenue. “Introducing casinos is a plan to rip off our own people. It is an act of madness,” he said.A similar debate has played out in Taiwan, which will get its first casino after residents on the island of Matsu voted in favor in July. Casinos are banned in Taiwan except on outlying islands, where approval in a referendum is needed.Some countries are looking to Singapore as a model for how to bring in gambling without the side-effects. The country, which authorized two big casino-resorts as part of an effort turn the Southeast Asian city-state into a gambling and tourism magnet, is tightening what are already some of the strictest measures in Asia to control organized crime and gambling addiction.Junket operators _ middlemen that bring in wealthy high-rollers but which have also been linked to organized crime _ are almost completely banned. Regulators also plan a big hike in the amount casino operators can be fined for breaking regulations that include charging locals 100 Singapore dollars ($81) a day to enter. The government also expanded a program banning people who are bankrupt or receiving welfare from entering casinos, raising the number to 43,000.Despite the measures, more low income players are betting bigger amounts, according to a 2011 survey by the National Council on Problem Gambling, while the Samaritans counseling hotline reports receiving an increasing number of calls involving problem gambling. 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Barcelona mayor halts new tourist accommodation licenses

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility MADRID (AP) — Barcelona’s new leftist mayor Thursday temporarily halted the issuing of new licenses for tourist accommodation while new regulations are drawn up to govern a sector some say has grown too big in recent years.A town hall statement said the suspension would apply to hotels, apartments, hostels and privately owned accommodation houses. It will affect some 30 current applications, including one to turn the city’s geyser-shaped Agbar skyscraper tower into a hotel. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Four benefits of having a wireless security system “It was necessary to put things in order,” Mayor Ada Colau told reporters. “Up to now, tourism policies had been drawn up piecemeal.”Colau took office last month promising social changes, including a plan to deal with the problem of mass tourism.Barcelona is one of Europe’s top vacation destinations, receiving more than 7 million visitors annually. But many of its 1.6 million residents complain the city is being overrun and losing its character.Located on the Mediterranean coast just south of the French border, Barcelona is the capital of Spain’s powerful Catalonia region and recognized worldwide as a business, cultural and political center.The town hall said it plans to study existing accommodation capacity and its economic and social impact, and will start a public debate on developing a sustainable tourism plan by early 2016. It said it aimed to reduce the pressure of tourism in certain areas and spread it more equitably among the city’s 73 neighborhoods.Officials said they would take into account the experience of other major tourist cities, adding that the plan aimed to preserve Barcelona as a quality tourism destination without disturbing residents. Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Virgin Blue and Air NZ ask for permission to codeshare on Tasman

first_imgVirgin Blue and Air New Zealand have today requested permission to create an alliance on the trans-Tasman after the two airlines confirmed last week that they were in talks.As part of the deal Virgin Blue and Air New Zealand are requesting permission from competition watchdogs for codesharing on the other’s trans-Tasman services.  On top of this, the two carriers are requesting permission to codeshare on Australian and New Zealand domestic sectors which are parts of a connecting trans-Tasman journey.Other proposed elements of the alliance include permission to collaborate on route planning, product development, as well as frequent flyer programs.Brett Godfrey, Virgin Group CEO says in a statement that the alliance will “stimulate a new wave of competition in Australasian aviation”.“Our alliance is about working closely together to give customers cheaper fares, increased frequency and better connections, while delivering improved returns,” adds Rob Fyfe, Air New Zealand CEO.Interestingly Virgin Group makes a note that “incoming Chief Executive John Borghetti, thoroughly supports this strategy”.Mr Borghetti, former Qantas Executive General Manager, oversaw failed attempts by Qantas to align with Air New Zealand on the trans-Tasman.Despite Qantas and Air New Zealand talks falling through, many believe that the Virgin and Air New Zealand plans are more likely to get the green light from competition watchdogs.A partnership including Virgin Blue and Air New Zealand will see the two hold around 55% of market-share on the trans-Tasman, which would create a strong dual-brand competitor to Qantas and Jetstar.It would put smaller trans-Tasman carrier Emirates in an uncomfortable position.The proposal will have to pass the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as well as the New Zealand Ministry of Transport. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.Xlast_img read more

Virgin predicting full year loss

first_imgVirgin Blue expects its full year profit before tax to show a loss of between AU$30 million and AU$80 million dollars, thanks mainly to recent natural disasters as well as rising fuel prices. According to the carrier, who on 23 February predicted a “challenging” second half of the financial year, the Queensland floods and Cylcone Yasi have cost the airline around AU$50 million, while last month’s Christchurch earthquake is expected to have had an impact of AU$15 million. “We have witnessed an unprecedented number of significant events in extraordinarily short period of time, including natural disasters and a sharp spike in fuel prices,” Virgin Blue chief executive and managing director John Borghetti said. “These events have severely impacted consumer confidence, resulting in a slower than usual recovery in tourism.” Partially offsetting the impact of these events on this year’s profit, Virgin Blue has initiated an action plan, identifying revenue initiatives and cost savings through fuel surcharges and capacity reductions. “These market conditions have further validated our Game Change Strategy which will see us less dependent on the leisure sector and reduce the volatility in our business,” Mr Borghetti said.“We are more confident than ever that our strategy is the right one.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Virgin Blue expecting full-year loss last_img read more

V Australia tops customer satisfaction

first_imgV Australia customers are the most content with their airline service, according to research which found 91 percent of customers were ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied after their flight for 12 months ending January 2011. Virgin Blue Group spokesperson said results of the Roy Morgan Research were “outstanding” for a two year old airline. “We know that we deliver an exceptional international product to our Guests, but it is gratifying to have this news confirmed in an industry report against airlines that have been in business for more than 20 years,” the spokesperson said. “Guests continually tell us that it is our Cabin and Ground Crew that put V Australia in a class of its own. “The  Crew  are  warm  and  genuine  in  their  day-to-day  service  delivery,  they  are  very proud of what V Australia has to offer and it shows.” The spokesperson added that the carrier’s mood lighting has also proved popular with its passengers as well as its inflight menu organised by Australian chef Luke Mangan. “Our award-winning seat-back entertainment system, RED offers a wealth of entertainment options and a vibrant easy-to-use touch-screen.” V Australia recently launched service to Abu Dhabi which will open the carrier and its passengers to European destinations.In the Airline Satisfaction research, the carrier outranked airlines including Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Qantas Airways, Cathay Pacific and Emirates. V Australia tops Airline Satisfaction Report Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Capella Hotel Group Wins Multiple Awards

first_imgSource = Capella Hotel Group Capella Hotel Group continues to garner top honors for its properties, most recently receiving multiple coveted “World’s Best” Awards from luxury travel leaders Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, U.S. News & World Report and Robb Report. The company’s flagship Singapore property, Capella Singapore, was recognized by Travel + Leisure as one of 50 Top Hotels Overall and also one of the Top 5 out of 15 Top Resorts in Asia, making it the only hotel in Singapore to be named among the top 50 in the world and the only Singapore hotel in the Top Resorts in Asia. The property also received top honors from Robb Report as one of their 2012 Top 100 Resorts. In addition, Ayana Resort and Spa in Bali, which is managed by Capella Hotel Group Asia, was one of only two Indonesian hotels to make Travel + Leisure’s 2012 Top Resorts in Asia list. Earlier this year, The Setai Fifth Avenue, a Capella managed hotel, was named “Best Hotel in New York City,” by U.S. News & World Report. Capella Ixtapa and Capella Pedregal received rare double billing as the #1 Spa in Mexico and Central America in the Condé Nast Traveler ”Best Spa” category. Additional honors were bestowed on both properties, with Capella Ixtapa named by Robb Report as one of the 2012 Top 100 Resorts, and Capella Pedregal voted one of the Top Resorts in Mexico with its Auriga spa ranked “World’s Best Hotel Spa” by the readers of Travel + Leisure. last_img read more

Tourism Australia marked the first day of Corroboree

first_imgSource = Tourism Australia Tourism Australia marked the first day of Corroboree Greater China on Hamilton Island with the signing of a major aviation marketing deal with Cathay Pacific, which will see the two parties jointly invest A$2 million during 2015 promoting Australia to key overseas markets.A key feature of the deal will see Hong Kong’s national carrier provide tickets to support key Tourism Australia marketing activities, including flying more than 200 travel agents from North Asia to attend this year’s Corroboree Greater China event.Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan said the agreement represented the first time that Australia’s national tourism organisation had signed a ‘multi-market deal’ with Cathay Pacific.“Cathay Pacific is one of the world’s most respected airlines and an aviation partner we’re very keen to work with, especially given the strength of their footprint within North Asian. The deal provides a strong platform to further grow inbound tourism from some of Australia’s most important inbound visitor markets,” he said.The agreement also covers joint marketing activities in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and the UK as well as destination content which will be used on Cathay Pacific’s in-flight entertainment system.last_img read more

Four travel trends that all Travel Agents should know about

first_imgroomsXML – More Suppliers, Hot Deals www.roomsxml.com learn more about roomsXML.com here Source = roomsXML.com Fortune Favours the brave when trying new things in travelTravel and Tourism is in a constant state of flux and the players that prosper are the ones that are informed about changes and trends and take the risks to  implement and respond.  Someonetimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you never never know if you don’t have a go.Here’s four of the current travel trends that all Travel Agents should be aware of.The rise of Virtual Reality Marketing One of the newest and most exciting trends in the travel industry is Virtual Reality marketing. This is providing a virtual experience of specific tours, attractions or entire cities. This technology allows visitors to your platform to essentially experience that tour or trip that they want to take without being at the physical location. This is a compelling marketing tool that will change the way that people travel forever and will have implications on your travel business if you not on-board with the technology.Ask West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle, he’s just picked up a minority stake in our venture. Gayle will be endorsing the brand and initiate campaigns across the world,” says FlippAR Founder Vivek Jain.I’ve used FlippAR. Its awesome.Travel bots on messaging platformsAnother game changer that technology has facilitated in travel and tourism is the availability of travel bots on messaging platforms. This allows for more personalised experiences for customers twenty-four hours of the day, which is another innovation that will shape the future of the industry.Turing test anyone?BleisureLike the mullet of the travel industry? Business on top, fun at the back?There is a growing trend of travellers incorporating leisure into business trips; this is where people travelling for business will take along their family and stay some additional days for relaxation. This presents opportunities for Travel Agents to produce creative itineraries for this emerging market.Increasing demand for destinations that might not exist much longer An exciting but scary prospect is the clamour for destinations or attractions that might not be around much longer or might be permanently altered, such as visits to Antarctica, the Arctic and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.Nothing like “one time only opportunity” to get someone spending.last_img read more

Sabre tests new hotel digital marketing programme from Google

first_imgSabre Corporation is launching a beta test of a new hotel digital marketing programme from Google designed to help drive more bookings. The Google Hotel Ads Commission Programme combines the benefits and reach of Google Hotel Ads with the hotels’ existing commission programmes by making the hotels’ best available retail rates searchable and bookable on Google.When travellers search for a hotel on Google Search, Google Maps or Google+, they will be able to select the property and rate they want, and then book the room directly with the hotel without ever leaving the page, reducing the abandonment rate commonly seen when consumers have to switch sites to complete a transaction.“Our ability to be the first CRS provider to offer the Google Hotel Ads Commission Programme shows the influence of the Sabre brand in the industry as well as our commitment to deliver new and valuable opportunities to our hotel customers,” said Sabre Hospitality Solutions President Alex Alt. “This is just the latest example of how we are continually investing in innovative solutions that deliver unique value to hotels and the travellers they serve.”Because Sabre has already completed the necessary technology integration with Google and Sabre’s SynXis Central Reservation has access to the hotels’ commissionable retail rates, Sabre hotel customers can participate in the programme without any investment or development on their part.last_img read more

JPMorgan to Slash 154B Mortgage Portfolio

first_img Bank of America Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing 2011-07-15 Ryan Schuette JPMorgan to Slash $154B Mortgage Portfolio July 15, 2011 455 Views in Origination, Servicingcenter_img On Thursday news reports confirmed that mortgage giant “”JPMorgan””:http://www.jpmorgan.com/pages/jpmorgan plans to scale back a $154 billion mortgage portfolio to a bare minimum on its balance sheets, even as it battles through continuing mortgage losses, multiple suits and settlements over past loan-servicing practices.[IMAGE]According to “”Bloomberg News””:http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-14/jpmorgan-to-phase-out-mortgage-holdings.html, “”JPMorgan””:http://www.jpmorgan.com/pages/jpmorgan will reduce the holdings “”close to zero,”” the furthest such drawback since it pulled $19.3 billion off the books over the past year.[COLUMN_BREAK]CEO Jamie Dimon revealed to analysts over a conference call that the company plans to continue the process by as much as 15 percent a year for the foreseeable future, following reports that “”JPMorgan””:http://www.jpmorgan.com/pages/jpmorgan raised its net income by 13 percent for the second quarter.””It’s going to go down 10 or 15 percent a year until it’s close to zero,”” Dimon added in response to a question over the teleconference call, according to “”_The Chicago Tribune_””:http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-14/business/chi-jpmorgan-to-wind-down-154b-mortgage-portfolio-dimon-says-20110714_1_chief-executive-jamie-dimon-jpmorgan-chase-mortgage-holdings.””JPMorgan””:http://www.jpmorgan.com/pages/jpmorgan remains tied-up in huge litigation expenses and mortgage losses, which it paid for by supplementing its already cash-heavy litigation reserves with $1.27 billion. Dimon said much of the billion went to mop up expensive and outstanding foreclosure cases brought by litigants across the country. “”There have been so many flaws in mortgages that it’s just-it’s been an unmitigated disaster,”” “”_Bloomberg News_””:http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-14/jpmorgan-to-phase-out-mortgage-holdings.html reports the CEO as saying. “”We just really need to clean it up for the sake of everybody. And everybody is going to sue everybody else and it’s going to go on for far too long a time.”” “”_The Tribune_””:http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-14/business/chi-jpmorgan-to-wind-down-154b-mortgage-portfolio-dimon-says-20110714_1_chief-executive-jamie-dimon-jpmorgan-chase-mortgage-holdings reports that the mortgage giant will continue originating home-equity loans at $1 billion to $2 billion per quarter. Sharelast_img read more