Tag: World

Asia Today: Philippines allowing foreign travel to resume | World

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines on Wednesday lifted a ban on non-essential foreign trips by Filipinos, but the immigration bureau said the move did not immediately spark large numbers of departures for tourism and leisure.

The government has gradually eased travel restrictions to bolster the economy, which slipped into recession in the second quarter following months of lockdown and quarantine to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Travelers to other countries are required to show confirmed roundtrip tickets, travel and health insurance, a declaration acknowledging the risks of travel and trip delays, and a medical test within 24 hours of departure that clears them of COVID-19.

Aside from tedious pre-departure requirements, many countries still

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How Dodgers, Rays fans can buy 2020 World Series tickets, travel, lodging

The Los Angeles Dodgers punched their ticket to the 2020 World Series on Sunday, and their fans can follow them to Arlington, Texas.

MLB is allowing fans to attend the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Park after doing so during the National League Championship Series in the same venue.

Fans interested in attending can buy tickets to the games at TicketSmarter or StubHub and book travel to Arlington via Trip Advisor, Expedia or Priceline, and lodging via Hotels.com or Choice Hotels.

MLB is allowing 11,500 fans into the stands at Globe Life Park — about 28% of its total capacity.

Tickets will be sold in “pods” of four contiguous seats, with each pod distanced by at least 6 feet and placed in a checkerboard pattern, with alternating rows of seats in the middle or rows and at the ends, according to ESPN. Unsold seats will be tied back.

Other than while they are eating or drinking at their ticketed seats, fans will be mandated to wear masks.

The decision to play in Arlington — a result of the coronavirus pandemic — marks the first time in history the World Series will be played on a neutral field.

The Dodgers advanced by defeating the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series in seven games. It is the third World Series appearance in four years for the Dodgers.

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Wife of Brit pilot carried daughter, one, into hotel lobby sobbing ‘he’s killed my child’ – World News

The wife of a British pilot carried her motionless one-year-old daughter from the lift into the foyer of a luxury hotel sobbing that her husband had “killed my child – he hit her”, a court was told.

Hong Kong Airlines captain Mohamed Barakat, 41, faces up to 20 years in a Kazakhstan jail if convicted of murdering their child named Sophia.

But his wife told the court how she was “threatened” with being made a murder suspect if she refused to testify against her “wonderful” British husband.

Barakat – who denies murder – claims he is not getting a fair trial in Kazakhstan.

Hotel security chief Madi Alimkhanov told the Almaty court that he had seen Barakat’s wife Madina, 22, carrying her British child who he believed to be dead.

Madina and Mohamed on their wedding day

The couple on holiday

“When I approached the reception, I saw a crying woman in whose arms was a child,” he said.

“The child was all blue, the eyes were closed.”

“The woman shouted: ‘He killed my child, he hit her’.”

Security then went to the room where the pilot was in the bathroom “screaming”.

When police entered the room soon afterwards, Barakat “was lying on his back…with his underpants on and looking away”, said Alimkhanov.

He “behaved aggressively, cursing in English.

“He was later taken away by police.”

The child’s head was banged against the walls and doors of his suite, claims the indictment.

Another hotel employee Miyat Yerkinov, a security shift supervisor, said he saw Madina “crying very loudly”.

“She said the girl had been killed, and that her husband could commit suicide”.

He told how he detained Barakat who had approached him with a piece of wood in his hotel room.

“I grabbed his right hand, swept it round, put him down on the floor and folded his arms back,” he said.

He used sticky tape to secure his hands before police arrived.


Alimkhanov’s testimony appeared to contradict Kazakh law enforcement allegations that Barakat had beaten his wife during a row which led to the British child’s death.

“She did not seem to have bruises or abrasions on her face, her clothes were not torn,” he said.

Madina and Barakat’s legal team have argued that Sophia’s death was “essentially an accident”, and suggested the evidence against the pilot was “fabricated” and riddled with errors.

An attempt by the defence to change the judge in the trial, Bakhytkhan Bakirbayev, failed.

Barakat has been held in custody in Kazakhstan for 11 months since his arrest at the five star Intercontinental Hotel in Almaty where Sophia died.

In an earlier hearing he told the court: “I completely reject the (murder) indictment.”

Forensic experts established the child suffered multiple injuries and had no chance of survival in their eighth floor room, a remote session of the court hearing was told.

Her skull was fractured and her brain “crushed”, it was reported.

Madina earlier told the

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B.C. couple’s Disney World vacation turns to 4-month battle with WestJet over flight refunds

It was supposed to be a dream vacation.

Taylor Jones had purchased two round-trip tickets to Orlando, Fla., to visit Disney World — a surprise birthday and graduation present for his girlfriend Marissa Lyne-Boehm.

“We’re both big kids at heart,” said Lyne-Boehm, as Jones chuckled in agreement.

But then, the flights were cancelled by WestJet due to the pandemic, signalling the beginning of a four-month battle to get a refund of the more than $1,000 spent on tickets instead of receiving a travel credit.

In the wake of COVID-19, the airline industry has been rocked, with many companies opting to offer credit instead of refunds despite that being illegal in B.C., Canada and the United States.

Consumer complaints

The tickets were purchased in February before the pandemic. But as the virus spread, international borders closed, travel bans were enacted and the airline industry saw mass cancellations.

In June, Jones began to contact WestJet, first through an agent at Expedia, where he had purchased the package, then independently. Each time, he says he was told to call back at a closer date to the trip and the refund would be issued.

A week before the Sept. 27 departure date, Jones received an email that the trip was officially cancelled, but when he called to request a refund, he says he was told that WestJet would only provide WestJet Dollars — travel credits with a 24-month expiration date.

“This is tough times for everybody. [I’ve been] trying to be understanding,” said Jones. “I really tried to work with them, but it just felt like a big betrayal.”

The couple says they paid for a service that was never delivered and now they feel they deserve a full-refund, not just travel credits that could expire before they are comfortable to travel again. (CBC News/ Maggie MacPherson)

And the couple isn’t alone in their frustration. The Canadian Transportation Agency [CTA] says it has received almost 11,000 complaints since mid-March.

Although it hasn’t been able to categorize all the grievances yet, it said “we expect a portion of these will relate to vouchers and refunds.”

Airlines aren’t above the law: advocate

The rules on flight refunds are clear in both Canadian and American law.

“WestJet’s position is based on the misconception that somehow the airline can override the law,” said Gábor Lukács, an air passenger rights advocate, who points to B.C.’s Consumer Protection Act as the first line of defence.

It says that if a contract is cancelled, the supplier has 15 days to issue a refund after the notice of the cancellation.

As well, Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations says that if an airline is unable to provide a reasonable alternative itinerary, refunds “must be paid by the method used for the original payment and to the person who purchased the ticket or additional service.”

Finally, by law, WestJet must follow the rules set out by the U.S. Department of Transportation [DOT] because the round-trip flights travelled either to or from the country.

“Airlines

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How to buy 2020 World Series tickets, travel, lodging | Tampa Bay Rays win American League pennant

The Tampa Bay Rays punched their ticket to the 2020 World Series on Wednesday, and their fans can follow them to Arlington, Texas.

MLB is allowing fans to attend the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Park after doing so during the National League Championship Series in the same venue.

Fans interested in attending can buy tickets to the games at TicketSmarter or StubHub and book travel to Arlington via Trip Advisor, Expedia or Priceline, and lodging via Hotels.com or Choice Hotels.

MLB is allowing 11,500 fans into the stands at Globe Life Park — about 28% of its total capacity.

Tickets will be sold in “pods” of four contiguous seats, with each pod distanced by at least 6 feet and placed in a checkerboard pattern, with alternating rows of seats in the middle or rows and at the ends, according to ESPN. Unsold seats will be tied back.

Other than while they are eating or drinking at their ticketed seats, fans will be mandated to wear masks.

The decision to play in Arlington — a result of the coronavirus pandemic — marks the first time in history the World Series will be played on a neutral field.

The Rays advanced by defeating the Astros in the American League Championship Series in seven games. It is the second World Series appearance in Rays franchise history.

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Brian Fonseca may be reached at bfonseca@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.

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The Latest: Virus Case in Vatican Hotel Where Pope Lives | World News

The Vatican says someone who lives in the same Vatican hotel as Pope Francis has tested positive for coronavirus, adding to the 11 cases of COVID-19 among the Swiss Guards who protect him.

The Vatican said Saturday that the resident of the Domus Sanctae Marthae has moved out temporarily and is in isolation, as are all the people who came into direct contact with him.

The hotel serves as a residence for Vatican-based priests as well as visiting clerics and lay people. Francis chose to live there permanently after his 2013 election, shunning the Apostolic Palace, because he said he needed to be around ordinary people. The hotel has a communal dining room and chapel where Francis celebrates Mass each morning.

The Vatican, a tiny city state in the center of Rome, has beefed up its anti-COVID-19 measures amid a resurgence of the outbreak in Italy. Protective masks are required indoors and out, but Francis has largely shunned them even when holding audiences with the public.

At 83 and with part of a lung removed when he was in his 20s due to illness, the pope would be at high-risk for COVID-19 complications.

Last week, the Vatican confirmed a cluster of 11 cases among the Swiss Guards, the tiny army of young Swiss men who serve as ceremonial guards at papal Masses, guard the Vatican City gates and protect the pope.

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia is acquiring 13 million rapid antigen tests for a mass testing of its population amid a record surge of coronavirus infections.

Prime Minister Igor Matovic says almost 6,000 testing sites will be established across the country for the testing that is scheduled to take place the next two weekends, starting with the three or four hardest-hit counties.

Matovic says it will be similar for citizens to going to cast ballots at elections. It’s unclear if the testing will be mandatory.

Antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests, which are considered the gold standard, but have the advantage of producing faster results.

The nation of 5.4 million has been facing a record spike with the number of confirmed positive cases in one day surpassing 2,000 on Thursday.

The Slovak authorities have so far conducted a relatively low number of tests compared with other European countries. Just under 12,000 were carried out on Friday.

The country has a total of 28,268 confirmed cases and 82 people have died.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Virus surges in key battleground states as election nears

— White House puts ‘politicals’ at CDC to try to control info

— UK’s Johnson threatens to impose restrictions on Manchester

— Belgium will tighten coronavirus restrictions from Monday in an effort to hold the disease in check. The new measures include a night-time curfew and the closure of cafes, bars and restaurants for a month.

— Doctors are warning that Europe is at a turning point as the coronavirus surges back across the continent, including among vulnerable

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Merkel Urges Germans to Reduce Contacts and Travel to Curb Coronavirus | World News

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans on Saturday to curb social contacts and keep travel to a minimum, making a personal appeal after the federal and state governments struggled to agree on ways to contain a second wave of coronavirus infection.

“We have to do everything to prevent the virus from spreading out of control. Every day counts,” Merkel said in her weekly video podcast.

While Germany’s infection rates have been lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating and hit a daily record high of 7,830 on Saturday, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infections diseases.

The reported death toll rose by 33 to 9,767.

German leaders were unable this week to reach a consensus on strong new measures to contain the second COVID-19 wave. Courts in several regions have, meanwhile, overturned bans on hotel stays for visitors from infection hotspots.

Politicians and health experts have appealed to the population to take voluntary measures over and above those already prescribed – including wearing masks, avoiding close contact with others and hand washing.

“We have to go further,” Merkel said. “I appeal to you: Meet with fewer people, either at home or outside.

“Please forsake any journey that is not absolutely essential, every party that is not absolutely essential. Stay at home, where at all possible.”

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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The Latest: Hawaii Welcomes Visitors With Pre-Travel Test | World News

HONOLULU — About 8,000 people landed in Hawaii on the first day of a pre-travel testing program.

It allows travelers to come to the islands without quarantining for two weeks if they produce a negative coronavirus test. The state-run testing program is an effort to stem the devastating downturn caused by the pandemic on Hawaii’s tourism-based economy.

However, gaps in the program coupled with increasing cases across the U.S. and the world have raised questions about whether Hawaii is ready to safely welcome back vacationers.

Meanwhile, restaurant cards for unemployed workers are expected to begin arriving in Hawaii mailboxes on Friday. The $500 prepaid debit cards cover meals and purchases at bakeries and catering services. About 116,000 state residents have filed for unemployment insurance.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— U.S. testing 3 drugs to try to tamp down coronavirus

— France records 30,000 virus cases, highest single-day rise

— India reports 680 daily deaths, lowest in nearly three months

— Europe, U.S. reel as virus infections surge at record pace, prompt new restrictions

— White House puts political operatives at CDC to try to control virus information

— Thousands arrive in Hawaii on first day pre-travel testing allowing no quarantine

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

LONDON — Lancashire agreed to move into England’s most severe level of COVID-19 restrictions after striking a deal with the U.K. government on funds to implement the measures.

The deal means that the region of 1.5 million people will join the neighboring Liverpool region in the government’s highest risk tier, forcing pubs and bars to close. Restrictions on socializing also come into effect and residents are advised to minimize travel.

No deal is in sightfor Greater Manchester, which is holding out for more money to implement the measures targeted at areas with the highest infection rates. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has criticized Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham for “effectively trying to hold the government over a barrel over money and politics.’’

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — A leading Bosnian politician has tested positive for coronavirus as the country hit a record number of new cases.

Bakir Izetbegovic, the president of the Party of Democratic Action and a former Muslim member of the Bosnian three-member presidency, on Friday tested positive for COVID-19, his party said.

The 64-year-old has gone into isolation since taking a test after he felt mild symptoms of the virus, the Klix online portal said. He is recovering at home.

Bosnian health authorities on Friday reported 621 cases and eight deaths.

BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania recorded more than 4,000 confirmed daily coronavirus infections for the third straight day.

Health authorities reported a record 4,026 cases on Friday. There were 75 deaths, slightly below the all-time-high of 82.

The nation of 19 million has conducted more than 2.8 million tests. There have been 172,516 confirmed cases and 5,749 deaths.

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Coronavirus infections in Slovakia hit a record high for the

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Top 1o Places In The World And Top 29 In The U.S.

Do you have a travel bucket list? These days, more people are dreaming about travel than actually traveling. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep adding places to your travel bucket list. Lonely Planet has just released the second annual “Ultimate Travel List,” which ranks what its editors describe as the world’s top 500 “most thrilling, memorable downright interesting places on this planet.” Let’s just say that it’s a bucket list to end all bucket lists.

In order to determine the best places around the world, Lonely Planet created a comprehensive list featuring each attraction and sight recommended by its authors in its guidebooks over the years. That was then whittled down to a shortlist, and everyone in the Lonely Planet community was then asked to vote on their top 20. Each entry ended up with a score that was used to create the definitive ranking of the world’s top 500 places.

According to Piers Pickard, VP of publishing, Lonely Planet changed the way it calculated its travel bucket list in 2020. “For this edition, we awarded extra points to destinations and attractions that are managing tourism sustainably,” says Pickard.

Perfect for a moment when people are craving the outdoors more than ever, this year’s list included a number of natural locations. Nine U.S. national parks make the cut, with three in the top 20 overall list, including Yellowstone National Park (#5), Grand Canyon National Park (#13) and Yosemite National Park (#20).

U.S. cultural and art institutions were also featured, with notable entries such as The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. (#105 overall) and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (#418 overall) ranking among the world’s best places to travel.

READ MORE: “Revealed: The 11 Most Endangered Places In America”

And the timing really couldn’t be better. “After seven months of staying at home, now’s the perfect time to start thinking about where and how to travel once normality returns,” says Pickard.

Read on for Lonely Planet’s ranking of the top 10 places around the world, followed by the top 29 places in the United States. 

Note: Should you decide to plan a trip anywhere during the coronavirus pandemic, you should check local travel restrictions for the destination you are hoping to visit and consider warnings from the State Department and CDC. Travelers should also consider risk factors like age and existing health issues before going on a trip and take precautions to keep themselves and others safe.

Ranked: Top 10 Places Around the World

  1. Petra, Jordan: The red sandstone “lost city” that is now a UNESCO World Heritage
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Singapore and Hong Kong agree to set up a travel bubble, and other news from around the world.

Officials in Singapore and Hong Kong said Thursday that they had reached a preliminary agreement to establish a travel bubble between the two Asian financial centers, allowing travelers of all kinds to bypass quarantine.

Under the agreement, travelers must test negative for the virus and fly only on designated flights. Officials did not say when the bubble, which was first reported by The South China Morning Post, would begin.

Travelers from Singapore would be the first allowed to enter Hong Kong since the semiautonomous Chinese territory barred all nonresidents in March; residents returning to Hong Kong are required to quarantine for 14 days. Singapore currently requires travelers from Hong Kong to quarantine for seven days after arrival.

“Both our cities have low incidence of Covid-19 cases and have put in place robust mechanisms to manage and control Covid-19,” Singapore’s travel minister, Ong Ye Kung, said in a statement.

Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development, Edward Yau, called the agreement “a milestone in our efforts to resume normalcy while fighting against the long-drawn battle of Covid-19.”

Singapore and Hong Kong have both been reporting daily new cases in the single or double digits since late August.

Efforts to establish reciprocal travel bubbles in Asia and other parts of the world have been halting as case numbers fluctuate and new outbreaks emerge. Starting Friday, Australia will waive quarantine requirements for travelers from New Zealand, which recently stamped out the virus for a second time, though New Zealand will still require quarantine for travelers arriving from Australia.

Singapore has also lifted restrictions on general visitors from Brunei, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia except for the state of Victoria, the center of the outbreak there. But all four of those countries are still closed to almost all foreigners, and in the case of Brunei and Australia residents must apply for permission to leave the country as well.

In other global developments:

  • The European Parliament announced on Thursday that it would cancel a meeting scheduled to be held next week in Strasbourg, in northern France, as the outbreak widens. The meeting would have been its first in-person session in Strasbourg since the start of the pandemic. Belgium, where most parliamentary staff and members are based, is also seeing a sharp rise in cases.

  • Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, went into quarantine for a second time in two weeks after being exposed to the virus. She tweeted on Thursday that she had tested negative, but a member of her office had tested positive. She wrote that she was leaving a European Council meeting in Brussels that was being held with strict social-distancing measures.

  • Portugal announced new virus restrictions on Thursday, including a five-person limit on public gatherings, after a rise in new cases. In Spain, which is seeing an even sharper increase, the city of Salamanca, famous for its 12th-century university, became the latest area to be cut off from the rest of the country, under new

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