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May 2011

  
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31 May 2011 - Jamie Durie and Hamilton Island

Posted by: Alan

TV’s best-known backyard renovator, Jamie Durie, is helping with the restoration of cyclone-damaged Hayman Island resort, the Sydney Daily Telegraph reports today.

 
The resort has been closed since Cyclone Yasi hit the Queensland coast in February.
 
The Telegraph says Mr Durie has been helping with the restoration of Hayman gardens since returning from his LA base six weeks ago to film a new Channel 9 reality series, ‘Top Design’.
 
The paper says he’s working with a noted architect who’s creating new villas and interiors.
 
The work includes use of local sandstone to anchor daybeds and beach cabanas.
 
"I’m so happy to be doing this, I’d do it for nothing - but I’m not", the paper quotes him as saying 'with a wink'.
 

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30 May 2011 - First A380 for Korean Air

Posted by: Alan

The rush to buy duty-free items before boarding is now over for some lucky passengers.  

Korean Airlines took delivery of its first A-380 Airbus, which has been fitted with an enviable, built-in duty free shop for premium passengers.

The first of 10 super jumbos on order was delivered by the French aeronautical manufacturer in Seoul this week.
 
With 407 seats, including 12 first-class suites, 94 business-class seats and 301 in economy, the Korean national carrier also boasts the lowest number of seats.
Most airlines configure the A380 with over 500 and with an all-economy layout almost 800 could fit.
 
The world’s sixth largest carrier is scheduled to receive nine additional A380s over the next three years. And in a bid to rival Singapore Airlines, Korean will actively woo business travellers into the jaws of the plane’s entire upper deck.
 
The aircraft is Airbus’s eighth A380 delivered this year out of a proposed assembly line of 24 in 2011. There are now a total of 49 A380s flying the global skies.
 
 
Source: eGlobal

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27 May 2011 - More Australians Cruising

Posted by: Alan

Princess Cruises says nearly half of the 1900 passengers who left Sydney Wednesday on a 104-night Dawn Princess world cruise are taking the full voyage.

 
And already the line has more than 1000 bookings for two similar voyages next year - on Dawn Princess and Sun Princess.
 
More than two-thirds of the passengers on the current sailing, which visits 43 ports in 20 countries, have sailed previously cruised with Princess.
 

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26 May 2011 - Volcanic Ash Scare May Be Over

Posted by: Alan

 Europe’s latest volcanic ash scare looks to be over - at least for the time being.

 
The Grimsvotn eruption in Iceland has died down and is no longer spewing out ash, officials said late yesterday.
 
Airlines have begun getting back to normal after cancelling about 1000 flights across the UK/Ireland and northern Europe over the last three days.
 
A meteorologist at the Icelandic Met Office told media: "There are indications that it (the eruption) is ceasing.
 
"There is mostly only steam coming from the crater now, with no ash plume detected.
 
"I am cautiously optimistic the main ash-producing phase of this eruption has now ceased".
 
But the British aren’t sure how long the calm will last.
 
A spokesman for the UK Met Office said: "This is certainly a better situation than we had a few days ago.
 
"But although seismic activity has decreased, it is still going on, so it is impossible to say if it will happen again.
 
"I do not think we are completely out of the woods, but obviously this is a turn that is very favourable for keeping ash out of the atmosphere."
 

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25 May 2011 - New Super Wheel for Vegas

Posted by: Alan

They don't do things by halves in Las Vegas and the latest addition to America's entertainment capital is no exception.

 
Plans were revealed today for a 500-foot (152.4 metre) 'Super Wheel' to be built on the city's famous Strip that would be higher than the London Eye and give visitors an unparalleled view of Sin City.
 
The Skyvue Las Vegas Super Wheel will open in 2013 as part of a $100 million privately funded project that also includes a roller coaster and 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space.
 
Developer Howard Bulloch of Compass Investments released details of his project today to reporters, local lawmakers and business leaders at the site across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino.
 
A rendering of the Ferris-style wheel shows its rotation perpendicular to the Strip. That means views from the 40 gondolas wouldn't be obstructed by other passenger cars.
 
Bulloch said in a statement: 'Skyvue Las Vegas will complement both the hospitality and entertainment industries. This world-class attraction fills a niche in our economic recovery, creating jobs and offering a new and unique entertainment offering for the tourist base.'
 
Workers began clearing the nearly 11-acre site today, officials said. The project will require demolition of a motel that was built in the 1950s.
 
The 40 gondolas will each hold up to 25 passengers, and developers say they will be available to be rented out for private parties with catering and drinks.
 
The main bearings for the wheel, on display today, are being provided by the same German manufacturer that supplied the bearings for the London Eye.
 
In announcing the project, its developers cited the success of the London Eye as a reason the similar project might be successful in Sin City. The wheel in London attracts 3.5 million visitors per year, they said.
 
Casino company Caesars Entertainment Corp. also plans a tall viewing wheel as part of its Linq project behind several of its Las Vegas Strip casinos.
 
When it is erected in 18 months, the wheel will provide a change to the Las Vegas skyline.
 
Each ride will last for 30 minutes to go around once and will provide unparalleled views of Las Vegas.
 
Each gondola will be the size of a family room and you will be able to eat dinner in an air conditioned glass encased booth.
 
 
Source: Daily Mail UK
 
 

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24 May 2011 - Jetstar to Introduce Pay to Check In

Posted by: Alan

Jetstar has just announced the rollout of "100 per cent passenger self service at check-in," with the launch of its long-promised SMS boarding pass technology.

 
Every Jetstar domestic port at Australia and New Zealand now offers web check-in, self-service kiosks and the new SMS boarding pass systems, which work with any mobile phone - rather than just smartphones as with technology offered by other carriers.
 
Customers with bags can scan the SMS boarding pass on their phone at a self-service kiosk in the check-in area, where they will collect a boarding pass, bag tags and drop their luggage at the bag drop.
 
However "customers still wanting to use traditional check-in counters will be charged a small fee to cover the costs associated with providing the service," the carrier announced today. The amount of the fee was not specified, and it won't be introduced until 01 Nov 2011 "to give customers time to get familiar with our new self service options".
 
Jetstar has also launched a new Automatic Check-in system which allows customers to pre-enrol for check-in and receive either an SMS boarding pass or boarding pass via email 24 hours before a flight.
 
"Removing the check-in process altogether is another example of a Jetstar innovation improving the air travel experience for its customers," according to group ceo Bruce Buchanan.
 
He said the investment in the cutting-edge self service technology would transform the airport experience, help Jetstar maintain a high level of on-time performance and "achieve ongoing efficiencies in the use of expensive airport infrastructure to keep fares low".
 

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23 May 2011 - Another Erupting Volcano

Posted by: Alan

Iceland closed its main international airport early yesterday after a volcanic eruption.

 
And European media are suggesting that volcanic ash could be drifting across Scotland by tomorrow.
 
Iceland’s most active volcano, Grimsvoetn, began erupting late on Saturday, sending ash and smoke up to 20km into the air, according to reports.
 
Experts said then that the eruption was unlikely to cause the widespread disruption to aviation which resulted from the eruption of the Eyjafyoell volcano about this time last year.
 
But now they’re reportedly claiming that ash could reach northern Scotland by Tuesday and the rest of the UK, France and Spain by Thursday.

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20 May 2011 - Last UK Train Restaurant

Posted by: Alan

An overnight train leaves London’s Kings Cross station at 7.30pm tonight on a milestone journey to the Midlands city of Leeds.

 
It will be the last train in Britain to feature full restaurant dining.
 
For more than a century, the words ‘Last call for the dining car’ have rung out for lunch and dinner on trains throughout the country.
 
When private franchise operators took over the British Rail system 17 years ago, there were 249 restaurant carriages on various routes.
 
For profit reasons, they’ve been replaced by airline-style servings for first-class passengers in their seats.
 
The same is about to happen on the London-Leeds route.
 
Standard-class travellers will get microwaved burgers from the buffet car.
 
Passengers on tonight’s train will sit down to a valedictory meal of smoked haddock, rib-eye steak, leg of lamb or fillets of trout, followed by blue cheese, apple and walnut strudel and ginger and rhubarb pavlova.
 

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19 May 2011 - Social Media Madness

Posted by: Alan

Social media is everywhere - even in the maternity ward.

 
A couple in Israel have attracted worldwide attention this week after they named their newborn baby after the Facebook ‘Like’ button - a sister to similarly unusually named siblings Dvash (Hebrew for ‘Honey’) and Pie (as in Apple Pie).
 
Like Adler’s mum says the infant is already very popular, with the six-day old having more than 1600 friends on her personal Facebook page.

 

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18 May 2011 - The Sahara Casino Closed

Posted by: Alan

 The Sahara hotel-casino in Las Vegas, famous as a playground for some of the biggest names in show business, closed its doors on Monday after 59 years.

 
The final message at the front of the Moroccan-themed structure read: ‘Thanks for the memories’.
 
Padlocks and chains are now fixed to the doors of the property as developers decide what will replace it.
 
Closure came after owners found it harder to attract custom in competition with newer and bigger establishments.
 
In its heyday, celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sonny and Cher were regulars there.
 
Elvis Presley and The Beatles were among other showbiz guests.

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17 May 2011 - Camping in London

Posted by: Alan

 A new website in Britain is offering what must be one of the cheapest-ever accommodation options.

 
It’s inviting homeowners to advertise their back gardens as campsites.
 
The website suggests £9 (about $13) as the basic charge to pitch a tent on the back lawn.
 
The scheme is the brainchild of Victoria Webbon, 35, who believes it will prove popular with residents eager to cash in on major events like Wimbledon.
 
She already has listings from homeowners looking to get some backyard business from next year’s London Olympics.
 
"The size of the garden doesn’t matter and owners can charge for extras such as washing and ironing or babysitting if they want to", she told the Daily Mail.
 

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06 May 2011 - First Sofitel in Turkmenistan

Posted by: Alan

 Accor’s Sofitel Luxury Hotels brand has debuted its first property in the central Asian republic of Turkmenistan.

 
The hotel has everything you’d expect - luxury facilities, conference rooms, restaurants and bars and a soaring 12 storey atrium complete with a fountain.
 
But a really unique feature is the hotel’s “negotiation room” which can host 30 delegations at a massive round table - complete with  microphones, videoconferencing equipment and interpreting booths.
 
And just to make sure there’s no pecking order during high level talks, the hotel also boasts 14 Presidential Suites.

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06 May 2011 - APT Single Traveller Specials

Posted by: Alan

 APT will not charge single travellers a supplement on its 15 day Magnificent Europe river cruise between Amsterdam and Budapest, for bookings by 31 May on the 22 Nov and 06 Dec sailings.

 
APT is also offering solo deals in its Indochina packages, with a 40% discount on the 19 day Indochina and the Mekong, and half price single supplements on its holidays in Australia and NZ - also for bookings by 31 May.

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05 May 2011 - Business Class Cabins for Virgin Australia

Posted by: Alan

 There’s speculation today that Virgin Australia business class passengers will have inflight use of iPads.

 
The rebranded airline unveiled a range of features yesterday for the business cabins it’s providing for the first time on its Boeing 737s and Airbus A330s.
 
But a seatback entertainment system wasn’t among them.
 
Chief executive John Borghetti told media that an innovative entertainment option will be announced shortly, leading to speculation that the airline is looking at iPads or similar devices.
 
Sir Richard Branson, who was present for the Virgin Australia unveiling at Sydney airport, said the carrier will have the nation’s best business class.
 
There’ll be eight business seats in Boeing 737 aircraft and 27 in A330s.
 

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03 May 2011 - Floating Golf Course

Posted by: Alan

 Sinking a putt will take on new meaning for golfers at a resort in the Maldives.

 
A Dutch company has unveiled plans for a floating 18-hole course, with holes linked by a network of underwater tunnels.
 
The concept has been devised by Dutch Docklands, which describes itself as an expert in floating technology.
 
It says the $500m project, located about five minutes drive from Male airport, will be powered by solar energy, with sustainable desalination techniques.
 
It’s due for completion in 2015 and will be run by big US-based golf management company Troon Golf.
 
There’s no word yet on how much it will cost to play 18 holes.
 

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