Day: October 24, 2020

Israeli envoys will travel to Sudan for normalisation deal, Netanyahu says

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a briefing on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) development in Israel at his office in Jerusalem September 13, 2020. Yoav Dudkevitch/Yedioth Ahronoth/Pool via REUTERS

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli delegation will travel to Sudan in coming days after the two countries agreed to take steps to normalise ties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.

The agreement, brokered with the help of the United States and announced on Friday, made Sudan the third Arab government to set aside hostilities with Israel in the last two months.

“An Israeli delegation will leave to Sudan in the coming days to complete the agreement,” Netanyahu said at a news conference.

It was unclear, however, how long it will take for an accord to be completed. The military and civilian leaders of Sudan’s transitional government have been divided over how fast and how far to go in establishing ties with Israel.

The Sudanese premier wants approval from a yet-to-be formed parliament to proceed with a broader, formal normalisation, and that may not be a quick process given the sensitivities and civilian-military differences. It is unclear when the assembly will be created.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision this week to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism paved the way for the accord, marking a foreign policy achievement for the Republican president as he seeks re-election on Nov. 3, trailing in opinion polls behind Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Trump sealed the Israel-Sudan agreement in a phone call with Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in which he said: “Do you think ‘Sleepy Joe’ could have made this deal?”

Netanyahu, reliant on bipartisan support for Israel in Washington, responded haltingly: “Well, Mr. President, one thing I can tell you, is … we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America.”

Asked at Saturday’s news conference whether he was embarrassed by Trump’s question, Netanyahu said: “It is very difficult to embarrass me,” and stressed he was grateful to Trump for his policy toward Israel. “I hope this policy will continue. I don’t want to make any prophecies about the election results.”

Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by David Holmes

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Syracuse receiver doesn’t travel with team to Clemson after making obscene gesture in last week’s game

Syracuse wide receiver Taj Harris, one of the ACC’s leading receivers this season, did not travel with the team for Saturday’s game against No. 1 Clemson. 

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‘Borat’ star: ‘Heaven knows’ what else Rudy Giuliani has done in hotel rooms with female reporters

“Borat” actor Sacha Baron Cohen asked viewers Friday to decide for themselves if his latest film shows President Trump’s attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani acting inappropriately or not.

“If the president’s lawyer found what he did there appropriate behavior, then heaven knows what he’s done with other female journalists in hotel rooms,” said Mr. Baron Cohen.

“I just urge everyone to watch the movie,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “It is what it is. He did what he did. And make your own mind up. It was pretty clear to us.”

Mr. Baron Cohen, the star and producer of the new “Borat” sequel, was reacting to Mr. Giuliani recently denying he acted improperly while unknowingly participating in its filming.

A scene in the sequel, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” shows Mr. Giuliani being interviewed in a New York hotel room by Mr. Baron Cohen’s co-star, 24-year-old actress Maria Bakalova.

The scene, in part, shows Mr. Giuliani reclining on a hotel bed with his hand down his pants while next to the woman he believed to be a reporter.

Mr. Giuliani, 76, called the footage a “complete fabrication” earlier this week before the film was released and claimed he was caught on camera innocently adjusting his clothing.

“I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar,” Mr. Giuliani said Wednesday on Twitter.

Mr. Baron Cohen, 49, said on “Good Morning America” that he was “quite concerned” for his co-star while she filmed the scene in the hotel room with Mr. Giuliani.

“It’s my responsibility as a producer as well to ensure that the lead actor is looked after,” Mr. Baron Cohen said on “GMA.”

“I’ve always felt safe with our team, with our crew, with Sacha in my corner,” said Ms. Bakalova. “I actually never felt that I’ve been in danger. That’s why I’m lucky, because I had them.”

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” became available online Thursday exclusively through Amazon. The mockumentary is a follow-up to 2006’s “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”

Mr. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, said in July that he was ambushed by the “Borat” star at a Manhattan hotel and accordingly called the police.

“I thought about all the people he previously fooled and I felt good about myself because he didn’t get me,” Mr. Giuliani told The New York Post at the time.

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how Australia is tracking where Covid cases come from

Australians have become accustomed to the daily announcements of new Covid-19 cases. Although the majority of those cases – bar Victoria – have come through returning travellers from overseas, little has been known about Covid-positive cases that have passed through hotel quarantine, and how governments are tracking the origins of these cases.



a group of people standing together in uniform: Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty Images


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Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty Images

But data provided to Guardian Australia by three states – New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia – offers some important insights into Covid-positive returning travellers.

The states each provided data from 29 March, when the travel restrictions were introduced, to 19 October, revealing that they were indeed monitoring countries-of-origin where returning travellers may have contracted the virus.

Data from NSW Health shows the majority of 873 Covid-positive travellers who arrived in the state were returning Australian nationals.

Of those, 110 (12.6%) began their journey in Pakistan, 94 (10.8%) in the US, 93 (10.7%) in India and 75 (8.6%) in the UK. A further 125, or 14.3%, of overseas-acquired cases in NSW had been on a cruise ship.

A NSW Health spokesman said Australia had introduced “some of the most effective pandemic quarantine measures in the world”.

Related: Muslim community leaders fear hate attacks after student at Islamic school tests positive

“Hotel quarantine is a difficult but necessary safety measure,” he said.

Victoria was the only state of the three not to provide specific data on the originating countries of returning travellers, but it did reveal that 236 cases had been diagnosed among those placed in hotel quarantine – the most recent case on 6 July.

In June, the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, asked the federal government to divert all international flights away from Victoria following catastrophic infection control failures in the program that sparked the state’s second wave. That left NSW as the state accepting the majority of international flights.

WA Health provided the most comprehensive data to Guardian Australia out of the states approached.

A WA Health spokeswoman said that out of 420 Covid-19 cases detected in international travellers entering to the state, 293 were linked to ships.

“However, only the more recent bulk cargo vessels and Artania cruise ship docked in WA, accounting for 153 cases (81 were from the Artania which docked in Fremantle back in March),” the spokeswoman said.

“The remainder acquired their infection on cruise ships that docked elsewhere (eg Ruby Princess in Sydney), then came to WA by air.”

Of plane arrivals, the vast majority of people flew in from major transit hubs in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, but the spokeswoman said any Covid-positive traveller would have likely “come from somewhere else where they had likely picked up their infection”.

Video: WA is living in ‘wonderland’ and is not prepared for another COVID-19 outbreak: AMA (Sky News Australia)

WA is living in ‘wonderland’ and is not prepared for another COVID-19 outbreak: AMA

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“The department also records the most likely location of acquisition.”

The data

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TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer cheers DOJ lawsuit against Google

Many in Silicon Valley may be fuming about the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet’s Google, but one slice of the tech industry is cheering the move: Online travel booking operators.

TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer, a longtime critic of Google, welcomed the government’s decision to look into the tech behemoth. The DOJ and 11 Republican state attorneys general are going after Google for allegedly unlawfully maintaining a monopoly in search by cutting off rivals from key distribution channels.

“We think the DOJ is taking an important first step … long overdue but welcome nonetheless. Google is using its dominance in internet gatekeeping at the expense of other businesses,” Kaufer told CNBC in a phone interview.

At the GeekWire Summit this week, Expedia CEO Peter Kern said, “We have no axe to grind against Google, except that we don’t think the marketplace is equitable.”

In a lengthy blog post following the DOJ announcement, Google Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker laid out the company’s rebuttal to the government’s claims.

Online booking sites are the first to admit that Google’s preferential ranking of its own search results when consumers are looking into travel options has hurt their ability to drive traffic. In recent years, Google has launched an array of travel services — from Google Flight to Google Hotel Ads. TripAdvisor, Expedia and Booking Holdings were originally the go-to sites for securing travel before Google disrupted the industry.

If a consumer uses Google’s search engine to search for the best hotels in London or flights offered from New York to London, the results that show up on top are from Google’s own travel portal, while results from other booking sites are often ranked lower, hurting their ability to drive organic traffic. Competition posed by Google has pushed booking sites TripAdvisor, Expedia and Booking Holdings to ramp up their spending on advertising.

Skift Research estimates that globally, the travel industry might’ve spent as much as $16 billion or more in advertising on Google in 2019. Kaufer went so far as to say that TripAdvisor, best known for its travel reviews and content, would be in a different position if it weren’t for Google. “I have no doubt Trip would be a meaningfully larger business today.”

However, advertising budgets have been slashed in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak, and analysts don’t expect expenditures to get back to pre-pandemic levels until travel bookings rebound dramatically.

Shares of TripAdvisor, as of Thursday’s close, were down more than 45% over the past 12 months. Expedia was off almost 25% in the past 52 weeks, while Booking Holdings was down 9% over the same time frame. 

Travel executives are now waiting to see what lawmakers will do next and whether the DOJ lawsuit will result in Google changing its search engine practices, which would be a potentially big win for the sector.

TripAdvisor, Expedia and Booking Holdings all report earnings in the first week of November.

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Israeli Envoys Will Travel to Sudan for Normalisation Deal, Netanyahu Says | World News

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli delegation will travel to Sudan in coming days after the two countries agreed to take steps to normalise ties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.

The agreement, brokered with the help of the United States and announced on Friday, made Sudan the third Arab government to set aside hostilities with Israel in the last two months.

“An Israeli delegation will leave to Sudan in the coming days to complete the agreement,” Netanyahu said at a news conference.

It was unclear, however, how long it will take for an accord to be completed. The military and civilian leaders of Sudan’s transitional government have been divided over how fast and how far to go in establishing ties with Israel.

The Sudanese premier wants approval from a yet-to-be formed parliament to proceed with a broader, formal normalisation, and that may not be a quick process given the sensitivities and civilian-military differences. It is unclear when the assembly will be created.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision this week to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism paved the way for the accord, marking a foreign policy achievement for the Republican president as he seeks re-election on Nov. 3, trailing in opinion polls behind Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Trump sealed the Israel-Sudan agreement in a phone call with Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in which he said: “Do you think ‘Sleepy Joe’ could have made this deal?”

Netanyahu, reliant on bipartisan support for Israel in Washington, responded haltingly: “Well, Mr. President, one thing I can tell you, is … we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America.”

Asked at Saturday’s news conference whether he was embarrassed by Trump’s question, Netanyahu said: “It is very difficult to embarrass me,” and stressed he was grateful to Trump for his policy toward Israel. “I hope this policy will continue. I don’t want to make any prophecies about the election results.”

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by David Holmes)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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How To Travel Through Design

One of the industry’s most sought-after designers, Tara Bernerd launched her interior design and architectural studio in 2002. Based in London’s Belgravia, Tara Bernerd & Partners has built an impressive portfolio of international clients, including Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons, Fort Partners, Harilela Hotels, Equinox Hotels, Thompson Hotels and the Berkeley Group. Known for her industrial yet elegant style, Bernerd and her team have a pipeline of global developments underway, the likes of the new Equinox Hotel in LA, The Hari Hong Kong, and the Zentis Hotel in Osaka.

How did you first get interested in design? Growing up design was always around me. My earliest memories were a fascination with not only art and design but also architecture. A pivotal memory was going to an exhibition of both Norman Foster and Richard Rogers at the Royal Academy. I also remember as a young girl my father taking me to hear Norman Foster speak and to meet him. From there, this developed into a passion: where interiors met architecture. 

What makes British design unique? To me, the British have always had an eccentricity, and although having grown up in a very European fashion, I think the British are not afraid of a bold and eclectic, mixing periods and styles.

What are some of the unusual materials you work with and where do you source them? I am very drawn to industrial materials, and for me the ultimate combination is to then introduce warmer textures and fabrics, giving a depth to the interior. Sourcing remains a constant journey. I travel frequently to Milan, and I have an obsession with furniture from the 1940s and 50s—from Murano glass to the richest textiles. I am constantly inspired. However, so much of our work is about embracing the place we are in, and we are therefore always discovering local artisans and specialised craftsmanship, from Japan to Mexico.

What are some of the innovations in technology that are helping you and your business grow or adapt? The technology that has changed our business is without doubt, is the use of platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. They have allowed us to communicate from anywhere, all over the world, aiding us to stay in touch and be communicative. We are growing our own CGI department to explore and stay on top of communicating our design through up-to-the-minute visuals.

What are some of the important yet perhaps unexpected elements of functionality you have to keep in mind when designing hotels? First and foremost, everything about designing a hotel rests on functionality and the guest’s experience. Speaking to the guest room only, in many ways, the list is endless—from mini-bars and refrigerators to the placement of flat screens and most importantly lighting—as well as the endless need for USB sockets. And, add to that, all the fabrics you choose must pass every fire and rub test known to man. 

Concierge and greeting is moving rapidly with the times and

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THE BENJAMIN HOTEL in NYC Announces Halloween Events

THE BENJAMIN HOTEL in NYC Announces Halloween Events

There’s exciting news on the Halloween front at The Benjamin Hotel in NYC – for this year’s Halloween festivities, the hotel has two exciting activities happening:

World-renowned pumpkin carver, Hugh McMahon, will be doing a LIVE pumpkin carving session outside at The Benjamin Hotel (on the corner of 50th and Lexington).

-The live (and socially distant) event will take place on Thursday, October 29th from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM.

McMahon is a world-renowned pumpkin carver, who has partnered with The Benjamin Hotel in NYC to create this live, two hour pumpkin-carving display on October 29th in honor of Halloween festivities. He is an original artist whose talent for carving pumpkins has been featured in many restaurants, events, television segments, magazines, and books throughout the world.

There will also be a social media costume contest, where one person will win a weekend stay at The Benjamin in one of the sprawling suites – people can enter by:

-Following @thebenjaminhotel on Instagram

-Post a photo of their favorite/best halloween costume (can be from previous years) using the hashtag #BooAtTheBenjamin

-The person with the most original costume will win a stay in a sprawling suite at The Benjamin Hotel with a terrace and a bottle of wine for a weekend of your choice

To learn more about Hugh McMahon’s artistry, visit his web site at http://www.hmcmahonpumpkins.com/.

The Benjamin Hotel is located at 124 East 50th Street, New York, NY 10022. Visit their web site at https://www.thebenjamin.com/ or call 212.715.2500.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Benjamin Hotel

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Parineeti Chopra looks stunning in streetwear; Shares photo from her Europe vacation



a person standing in front of a building


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Parineeti Chopra, who is reportedly vacationing in Europe with her family, has recently shared a stunning picture of her on Instagram. The 31-year-old actress recently celebrated her birthday with her family. However, to make her day more special, her friends and fans flooded social media with sweet birthday wishes. In the latest picture, the actress is shelling out major vacay goals. Parineeti can be seen donning a blue street wear along with a pair of sneakers in the latest still. 

To complete her look, she has opted for a sling bag and sunglasses while striking a stylish pose on the streets. Parineeti’s brother Shivang clicked her. While sharing the picture on her Instagram handle, she wrote, “Streetwear pehenke street pe photo. @shivangchopra99”.

Take a look Parineeti Chopra’s latest picture here:

A post shared by Parineeti ⭒ (@parineetichopra) on Oct 24, 2020 at 1:04am PDT

On Parineeti’s birthday, her cousin sister Priyanka Chopra Jonas shared a throwback picture with her and penned a sweet note to wish her. Priyanka’s post read as, “Happy Birthday Tisha Sending you a biiiiiig hug and Miss you tons @ParineetiChopra”.

On the work front, Parineeti Chopra will be next seen in Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar and the Saina Nehwal biopic. In Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, she will be seen opposite Arjun Kapoor. The actress will be also seen in The Girl On The Train, which is an adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ 2015 bestseller and the Hollywood film of the same name.

Also Read: Priyanka Chopra sends a ‘big hug’ to birthday girl Parineeti Chopra with a sweet wish; Says ‘Miss you tons’

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Ritz-Carlton launches 19th anniversary hotel package

The Ritz-Carlton, Doha, the landmark luxury hotel in Doha, is offering guests a new hotel package in celebration of its 19th anniversary.

The package is “perfect for families, friends and professionals who want to spend a memorable staycation in the capital of Qatar”, the hotel said in a press statement.
“The Ritz-Carlton, Doha proves no exception in allowing guests to take pleasure in the finest personal service. As its celebrates its19th year in the industry, the hotel presents limited-time spectacular room and suite offers to craft indelible memories,” the statement added.
The Ritz-Carlton, Doha’s 19th anniversary package will offer the “best available rates” along with complimentary breakfast for two adults and QR200 hotel credit that can be redeemed across the hotel’s fine-dining restaurants, an exclusive anniversary-logoed amenity only available through this offer. It is available for purchase from Sunday until October 31.
“Only great stories create a legend,” said Celian Skandrani, director of Operations of The Ritz-Carlton, Doha. “Let us inspire life’s most meaningful journeys, and create memorable Ritz-Carlton memories.”
For more information, one can visit Ritz-Carlton, Doha’s website at www.ritzcarlton.com/doha or call 4484 8000/4425 6663

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