Tag: News

Nelson Toala: Stroke, pandemic changed life for Driskill Hotel cook – News – Austin American-Statesman

Up until about six months ago, Nelson Toala was the primary provider for his wife and two granddaughters.

He has worked as a cook at the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin for more than a decade, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit, he was temporarily furloughed. He was hoping to return back to the kitchen, but before he got the chance, he had a stroke that left him with partial paralysis on his right side. He is unable to walk or shower on his own and his speech is not as clear.

“We were sent home from work on March 17, and since then I have had a difficult time,” Toala says. “I am head of household. I recently turned 65, and without the income, it has been difficult to maintain bills and cope with my financial responsibility.”

The change is something that is unfamiliar to Toala.

He was born and raised in Ecuador. As the son of a farmer, he grew up working on the farm before going off to college to become a pharmacist. He soon would be married and become a father of three. He has always worked to provide for his family, he says.

In 2006, when he moved from Manta, Ecuador, to Austin with his wife, Maria, 65, he says although things were challenging he did not let that stop him from doing what was expected of him — providing for his family.

“At the very beginning there were a lot of difficulties because of my age, language and culture and economic barriers,” Toala says. “That was challenging for me, but we found good programs, and the people in Austin are so giving.”

He says he started taking classes so he could learn English, and Goodwill was able to help him find a job and go back to school, but he wasn’t sure what was next for him. His pharmacist license from Ecuador would not carry over in Austin. He had to start all over.

Toala first worked at Bealls, but he needed to make more money to keep up with expenses, so he got a second job working at the Marriott. He says everyone in the hotel kitchen seemed to be in culinary school, and so he thought culinary school would be the logical next step for him as well.

While working two jobs, Toala attended part-time classes at Austin Community College’s culinary program and graduated in early 2011, about three years after taking his first culinary course.

“The language barrier was difficult, but my passion to redesign my career helped get me through it,” he says. “It took me three years because I worked two jobs, was going to school and had family responsibilities. But I did it.”

He says while he was in culinary school, Bealls had closed, and so he started applying for another second job. He would eventually land at the Driskill, working his way from a part-time breakfast line cook to banquets. In the last 14 years, he has

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VIRUS TODAY: Americans travel as Biden addresses nation | National News

VIRUS TODAY: Americans travel as Biden addresses nation

Holiday travelers crowd the ticketing area of terminal one Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 at MSP in Minneapolis. Millions of Americans took to the skies and the highways ahead of Thanksgiving at the risk of pouring gasoline on the coronavirus fire, disregarding increasingly dire warnings that they stay home and limit their holiday gatherings to members of their own household.

Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:

— Millions of Americans are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday despite warnings from health officials that family gatherings could make a bad situation worse.

— More people are applying for unemployment benefits as the economy remains burdened by the coronavirus. About 778,000 people applied for unemployment last week, the second straight week the number has risen.

— Authorities are desperately pleading with people to stay home for the holidays and dramatically increasing fines for businesses that break the rules. In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont says he will fine businesses $10,000 for violating virus restrictions.

THE NUMBERS: COVID-19 deaths have been shooting up all week. The average number per day is now over 1,600. The country is averaging 174,000 new cases of the virus per day.

QUOTABLE: “I don’t want to be South Dakota.” — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice in saying he would not follow the lead of other Republican governors who resist mask mandates. He cited the grim statistics in South Dakota and the governor’s refusal to require masks.

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Samantha Akkineni stands out with her chic and comfort look for her Maldives vacation with Naga Chaitanya : Bollywood News

South Indian actors Samantha Akkineni and Naga Chaitanya jetted off to Maldives recently to bring in the latter’s birthday. Several celebrities have already headed to the island country for a vacation making it the most preferred holiday destination among film personalities post the lockdown.

Samantha Akkineni stands out with her chic and comfort look for her Maldives vacation with Naga Chaitanya Samantha Akkineni has also been updating her Instagram feed with pictures from her getaway with her husband. While several other actors brought out their bikini during their time at the beach, flaunting their figures, actress Samantha opted for a chic and comfort look for her vacation.

She first posted a picture of herself dressed in a flowy full length floral dress perfect for a vacation by the se. She completed the look with a hat. In another post, she was seen posing by the sea in a similar outfit with a different print.

Check it out:


Samantha also sported a short red and white striped dress with a deep neck for one of her day outing in the island country. Take a look:

Samantha has also been sharing pictures from the activities they’ve been enjoying during their stay including scuba diving and going cycling around the town. While going cycling, Samantha opted for a complete chic look with a pink crop top and denim shorts paired with her holiday hat.

Take a look:

On Tuesday, she took to her Instagram stories and shared a selfie of her enjoying her time in the bathtub wearing a bikini top.

Samantha Akkineni stands out with her chic and comfort look for her Maldives vacation with Naga Chaitanya

ALSO READ: Samantha Akkineni salutes Nayanthara’s strength and silent determination as she wishes the latter on her birthday with a powerful message


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Exclusive: White House Considers Lifting European Travel Restrictions – Sources | World News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is considering rescinding entry bans for most non-U.S. citizens who recently were in Brazil, Britain, Ireland and 26 other European countries, five U.S. and airline officials told Reuters.

The Trump administration imposed the bans in a bid to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic. It is not considering lifting separate entry bans on most non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in China or Iran, the officials said.

The plan has won the backing of White House coronavirus task-force members, public health and other federal agencies, the people briefed on the matter said, but President Donald Trump has not made a final decision and the timing remains uncertain.

The White House, Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not comment.

Many administration officials argue the restrictions no longer make sense given that most countries around the world are not subject to the entry ban. They contend lifting the restrictions would be a boost to struggling U.S. airlines, which have seen international travel fall by 70%, according to airline industry data.

Trump may still opt not to lift the restrictions, given the high number of coronavirus infections in Europe. One potential hurdle is the fact that European countries are not likely to immediately allow most Americans to resume visits, officials said.

The European countries that are subject to the U.S. entry restrictions include the 26 members of the Schengen area that allow travel across open borders.

The U.S. restrictions barring most visitors from Europe have been in place since mid-March, while the Brazilian entry ban was imposed in May. Trump implemented the first ban on most non-U.S. visitors from China on Jan. 31 and then added Iran in February.

The restrictions bar entry of most non-U.S. residents who have been in those countries in the previous 14 days, but the U.S. State Department has been granting some “national interest exceptions” to allow travelers from Europe related to “humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.”

The United States has also approved exceptions for some European business travelers, investors, academics, students and journalists.

Nearly all of Europe still bans most U.S. travelers from visiting, while Britain and Ireland allow American visits but require two-weeks quarantine upon arrival. Brazil allows U.S. travelers.

On Saturday, the CDC issued new travel and testing recommendations for international air travelers recommending they “get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before their flight to reduce spread during travel. Travelers should get tested 3-5 days after travel and stay home for 7 days.”

Airlines for America, a group representing American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines Holdings and others, on Tuesday noted it has “been advocating for the federal government to set a national standard on testing in order to lift travel restrictions.”

In a statement to Reuters, the group called the CDC guidance a step in the right direction, adding that they hoped it would be “followed by a recognition that testing can be used to safely

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Mayor Caldwell signs vacation rental agreement with Expedia, Airbnb – Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather

“We know there are bad actors out there, and this will help us crack down on them. While this is not a panacea, it’s a step forward,” said Mayor Caldwell. “For our residents who depend on this income, we want to provide an avenue for people to list their rentals in a legal, and transparent manner. This collaboration will also provide a step forward for effective enforcement of illegal vacation rentals, and ensures that our neighborhoods remain neighborhoods for local families.”

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Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Starts to Climb as Coronavirus Outbreak Worsens | National News

More people than ever during the pandemic are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, despite federal government recommendations against doing so.

The Transportation Security Administration recorded over 3 million people passing through airport security across the country during the three-day period of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Still, that’s fewer than half the travelers recorded during the same timeframe last year.

The weekend numbers peaked on Sunday at 1,047,934.

“It was the highest since the steep decline due to the pandemic and the second time in three days that checkpoint volume surpassed 1 million,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein tweeted.

Cartoons on the Coronavirus

The previous record of airline travelers during the pandemic was the Sunday after Columbus Day weekend in October.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske last week said that he expects the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after to see the largest numbers of travelers.

In updated guidance, the agency recommended celebrating the holiday either virtually or with those in the household, which it defines as “anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit.”

“People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households,” the CDC said.

The guidance does not take issue with the act of flying itself, saying “most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes.”

But a plane packed with passengers could be a different circumstance.

The agency said “social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19.”

It also notes that air travel can involve close contact with other people through spending time in security lines and terminals.

The U.S. is headed toward documenting 200,000 coronavirus cases in a single day. Fatalities are also trending upward, with the country recording over 2,000 deaths in a single day last week for the first time since May.

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2 big airlines fly back to SFO, cheap travel outlook, double beds in biz class + more travel news

In this week’s TravelSkills on SFGATE newsletter…

Last week I sat down virtually with Jared Kamrowski, the energetic and informed founder of one of my favorite airfare deal-finding sites and newsletters, ThriftyTraveler.com. Take a read through our lively, advice-laden conversation to learn about the airfare outlook for the holidays, spring break and next summer; “crazy good” fare deals;  how a COVID-19 vaccination will impact 2021 trips to Europe or Hawaii and lots more. Read: Expert advice on the near future of cheap travel

After years of expansion, airline growth at San Francisco International Airport hit a dry spell this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on air travel. That’ll end next month when Qatar Airways operates its first regularly scheduled flights to SFO — the only international airline to launch a new flight to SFO in 2020.  Come take a look inside the two-class A350 jet we toured in Los Angeles last week to see the double beds and private suites onboard! Read: Qatar Airways to bring ‘private living room’ suites to SFO next month

In route news, Singapore Airlines will revive San Francisco flights next month; Cathay Pacific is dropping some U.S. routes; Copa is back at SFO this weekend; Frontier Airlines will move into Oakland; Southwest and Allegiant add California service; Alaska and American announce new mutual perks for their frequent flier members; major carriers extend change fee elimination to international routes; Delta pushes its empty-middle-seat promise into the spring; airlines prepare to put 737 Max aircraft back into service; Norwegian files for reorganization; new U.S.-U.K. bilateral air agreement is signed; Aer Lingus gets the nod to join AA/British Airways joint venture; Korean Air will buy a controlling stake in Asiana; and Los Angeles International opens COVID-19 testing facilities for passengers. Read: Routes- Singapore, Copa back at SFO, Frontier to OAK + Alaska/AA, change fees, 737 Max news, more

American Express will nearly double the size of its wildly popular Centurion Lounge at San Francisco International Airport — a welcome expansion that will alleviate crowding when travel picks up again. SFO’s Airport Commission unanimously approved the expansion project during its Nov. 11 meeting. Read: SFO’s overcrowded Centurion Lounge to expand

Comments from a credit card executive are raising concerns that formerly frequent travelers are accumulating large amounts of miles and points in airline and hotel loyalty programs but not using them – for now. Once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available, that could lead to a sudden rush to claim free flights and rooms, putting a strain on the availability of those rewards. Read: Frequent fliers could face this problem with post-pandemic travel

Planning to fly to Hawaii for the holidays? Better make sure your negative COVID-19 results are in hand, and not just pending, before boarding your plane under a change to the state’s Safe Travels program announced Thursday, Nov. 19. Read: Hawaii is tightening COVID-19 restrictions, from mask mandates to visitor testing

After nearly two years and a pair of deadly crashes, the U.S. Federal

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Hawaii vacation turns south – Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather

Ben Fox, a teacher of 22 years, says a few hours after arriving his 12 year old son had to use the bathroom badly but it was occupied by his wife, who even though she had received a negative test result for COVID, was suffering from severe stomach problems. 

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Sophie Choudry has immersed into the vacation mode as she shares a sunkissed picture : Bollywood News

Ever since the lockdown restrictions have been lifted in the country, several Bollywood celebrities have headed to Maldives for a quick vacation. From Varun Dhawan to Taapsee Pannu to Tiger Shroff and many others have chosen Maldives as their preferred holiday destination during the pandemic. Now, actress Sophie Choudry has also headed to Bollywood’s current favourite holiday destination.

Sophie Choudry has immersed into the vacation mode as she shares a sunkissed picture

Ever since Sophie landed in the island country she has been sharing pictures from her dreamy vacation. On Monday afternoon, she took to her Instagram handle to share a picture of her enjoying the sun as she took a dip in the sea. The actress looks stunning in a multicolour bikini.

“La Dolce Vita???? @baglioniresortmaldives #baglionimaldives #maldives #baglionihotels #mondaymood #paradise #vacayvibes #beachvibes #islandgirl #sophiechoudry #gratitude #positivevibesonly #sunkissed,” she captioned the post.

On Sunday, she had shared a picture of herself posing in a neon green bikini on the beach with the blue sky and sea water complementing her look. When you wake up in paradise,” she captioned the post.

ALSO READ: Sophie Choudry complements the blue sea as she poses in a neon green bikini worth Rs 6.3k


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NSW calls for third of Covid-19 hotel spots to go to international students to boost economy | 1 NEWS

Senior federal cabinet minister Simon Birmingham is sympathetic to NSW’s call to be able to open up a third of the states’ hotel quarantine capability to international students to boost the economy.

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It’s the only Australian territory without restrictions on travellers from within the country and New Zealand.

Source: Breakfast

But he insists the priority has to remain on returning Australians.

“Getting those Australians, particularly those who might be in challenging or distressed circumstances home is a genuine priority,” he told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.

“But if we can see fast enough movement in terms of the bringing down of that list of returning Australians then I would like nothing more than to see international students able to safely come through proven processes.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian understands the federal government’s position, but points out her state welcomes back 3000 Australians every week and more than all the other states combined.

“So all I’m suggesting is next year after Christmas and New Year’s, let’s consider … having a proportion out of that 3000 to international students,” she told reporters in Albury.

“A lot of our universities will actually have to axe jobs if we don’t, especially regional universities. I don’t want to see that happen.”

She said since the pandemic started, NSW has seen in excess of 100,000 Australians returned, whereas other states combined have only done a small fraction of that.

More broadly, Senator Birmingham says it’s “not impossible” that international travel could be back on the cards next year, but to do it in the first half of 2021 would be challenging.

Such travel will depend on the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.

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South Australia virus cluster raises questions over allowing quarantine workers to have second jobs

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been logging into the virtual G20 Leaders Summit while in isolation in The Lodge after his trip to Japan last week.

There was some optimism among the leaders of the world’s biggest economies about vaccines given the encouraging results of some candidates.

But the leaders also said a vaccine and treatment had to be safe, affordable and available to all, especially in developing countries, saying “no one is safe until we are all safe”.

Meanwhile, South Australians are enjoying easier restrictions earlier than initially envisaged after a pizza shop worker was found to have lied about how he contacted the virus.

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The police commissioner said the state wouldn’t have gone into lockdown if a pizza bar worker had been honest.
Source: 1 NEWS

Even so, SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said she had no regrets about ordering the the lockdown after modelling showed her state had a 99 per cent chance of enduring a “significant wave”.

In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews announced compulsory face mask-wearing will come to an end for Melbourne along with a further easing of other restrictions.

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