Tag: World

How ‘The World’s Best Travel Jeans’ Brand Pivoted After The World Stopped Traveling

My favorite travel apparel is made by a local Los Angeles company called Aviator. Don’t tell anyone I said this but I essentially live in two pairs of Aviator’s comfort-stretch travel jeans — officially called The World’s Best Travel Jeans — made from 49% Lyocell, 42% cotton, 6% elasterell, and 3% spandex. You know travel jeans are extraordinary when you wear them in a year like 2020 when everyone is stuck at home all the time.

Colby Kane is the designer and former Macy’s art director behind the brand, and he and I kindred spirits. We both live to travel and make travel part of our work. But since March, he’s had to adjust to the radical new realities of running a small fashion brand in the most challenging business climate in recent history.

Aviator recently introduced a new air-dry polo shirt made from the same sweat-proof, odor-resistant, take-it-anywhere fabric that’s the brand’s signature. Aviator makes hoodies, t-shirts and, now, face masks with merino wool, and the stuff is practically bombproof. The new polo is cut like a classic with a crisp collar, a tailored fit at the shoulders and a nifty Aviator airplane logo at the chest that signals: you haven’t given up on going places.

I asked Kane how he’s managing in the face of pandemic shutdowns, and what keeps him sane as he pivots and re-prioritizes, all while staying in style.

Being a small clothing company among the giants of retail was already challenging. How did the pandemic impact on Aviator? 

Colby Kane: The pandemic had a huge impact on Aviator. Since we make clothing for the travel lifestyle our sales completely stopped from March 13th to the beginning of April. I remember seeing a couple sales come in for jeans and thinking “who’s buying jeans right now for their next trip?” It was over those first couple of weeks of the pandemic that I think being small and scrappy was an advantage. Most of those ‘giants’ don’t make products here in the USA, making it much harder for them to pivot to masks. Without pivoting to masks I believe we would have closed down the business. We are self-funded with zero investment and never would have survived. 

Wow. How big a part of the business did masks become?

It was a huge part of our business from April through July. I never envisioned making masks before but here we are. On April 1st, I spoke with some of my LA factories to see if we could work together on becoming an essential business and stay open by making masks. We have since donated thousands of masks to the frontline workers and other essential businesses. We started selling the masks through our website which helped keep our factories

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Maine nurse uses vacation time to volunteer around the world

Geneva Sides has spent the last 20 years using her vacation time to volunteer around the globe. For the last three years, she’s been doing work for Operation Smile.

ST ALBANS, Maine — Many people recognize the importance of volunteering but few would use their vacation days to do it. For the last two decades, that is exactly what nurse Geneva Sides from St. Albans has been doing. For the last three years, Sides has been one of only three Mainers traveling to remote parts of the world to volunteer with Operation Smile. 

Operation Smile, founded in 1982, travels the world with the help of volunteer surgeons, nurses, medical record keepers, and others to repair cleft palates. Over the last four decades, the organization has repaired more than 300,000 people’s faces. 

Sides says the surgeries help children and adults, many of whom have been ostracized because of their deformity, be able to properly eat and speak and lead a much more normal life.

She has traveled to India twice and Africa once with Operation Smile. She always takes small compact mirrors for patients so that they can admire their new faces. She remembers one woman in her 40s who she gifted a mirror to after her surgery.  

 “She laid on her bed all night long looking at herself…She was so happy,” Sides remembers.

Even though Operation Smile pays for most of her expenses when she volunteers, the trips are not free of cost. Sides has to pay $500 to volunteer with the organization. She donates her time, her talents, and her money and says she is happy to do it. 

“It just gives me such a good feeling about what I do. When you see the aftermath of the surgeries, that’s worth it,” says Sides. 

RELATED: Sunset Selfies creator trying to change the world by educating orphans

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Coronavirus live news: Italy reports record deaths after close to a thousand Covid-linked fatalities in 24 hours | World news

Rich nations stand to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in economic output over the next five years if poorer countries do not get equal access to Covid-19 vaccines, a report has said as concerns grow about “vaccine nationalism”.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) seeks to plug funding gaps in its ACT Accelerator programme for global Covid-19 treatments, researchers said their findings showed there was a financial – as well as a moral – case for ensuring equal access.

“Governments are increasingly focusing on investments that can help their own economies to rebound,” said Hassan Damluji, deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which commissioned the report by the Eurasia Group research firm.

“The ACT Accelerator is precisely one of those investments. It is both the right thing to do, and an investment that will pay dividends by bringing the global economy back from the brink, benefiting all nations.”

As nations prepare to roll out mass Covid-19 vaccination programmes, with Britain becoming the first to approve a vaccine for use this week, there has been concern that “vaccine nationalism” could see poorer countries left behind.

The WHO says the programme needs $38bn (£28bn) – of which about $28bn is still outstanding – without which lower-income countries will not be able to get prompt access to Covid-19 drugs including vaccines.

Thursday’s report assessed the economic benefits of ensuring swift, equal global access to vaccines to 10 major economies – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US.

It found boosts to the global economy as a result meant they stood to gain at least $153bn in 2020-21, and $466bn by 2025, in an analysis based on IMF World Economic Outlook forecasts of varying vaccination scenarios.

The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hailed the report, and said contributing to the ACT Accelerator was “the smart thing for all countries – socially, economically and politically”.

Its findings are in line with an earlier study that found wealthy countries stood to lose $119bn a year through uneven vaccine access, said Andrea Taylor, a researcher at the Duke Global Health Institute’s project tracking Covid-19 data.

“It is in the best interests of wealthy nations to invest in equity and it will cost all of us more if we don’t, both in terms of mortality and GDP,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Coronavirus live news: Iran passes 1m Covid-19 cases; WHO looks at possible ‘e-vaccination certificates’ for travel | World news

The information technology company said in a blog post published on Thursday that it had uncovered “a global phishing campaign” focused on organisations associated with the Covid-19 vaccine “cold chain” – the process needed to keep vaccine doses at extremely cold temperatures as they travel from manufacturers to people’s arms.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency reposted the report, warning members of Operation Warp Speed – the US government’s national vaccine mission – to be on the lookout.

Understanding how to build a secure cold chain is fundamental to distributing vaccines developed by the likes of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE because the shots need to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) or below to avoid spoiling.

IBM’s cybersecurity unit said it had detected an advanced group of hackers working to gather information about different aspects of the cold chain, using meticulously crafted booby-trapped emails sent in the name of an executive with Haier Biomedical, a Chinese cold chain provider that specializes in vaccine transport and biological sample storage.

The hackers went through “an exceptional amount of effort,” said IBM analyst Claire Zaboeva, who helped draft the report. Hackers researched the correct make, model, and pricing of various Haier refrigeration units, Zaboeva said.

“Whoever put together this campaign was intimately aware of whatever products were involved in the supply chain to deliver a vaccine for a global pandemic,” she said.

Haier Medical did not return messages seeking comment. Messages sent to the email addresses used by the hackers were not returned.

IBM said the bogus Haier emails were sent to around 10 different organizations but only identified one target by name: the European commission’s directorate-general for taxation and customs union, which handles tax and customs issues across the EU and has helped set rules on the import of vaccines.

Representatives for the directorate-general could not immediately be reached for comment.

IBM said other targets included companies involved in the manufacture of solar panels, which are used to power vaccine refrigerators in warm countries, and petrochemical products that could be used to derive dry ice.

Who is behind the vaccine supply chain espionage campaign isn’t clear. IBM’s Zaboeva said there was no shortage of potential suspects. Figuring out how to swiftly distribute an economy-saving vaccine “should be topping the lists of nation states across the world,” she said.

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Here are the ‘most popular’ cosmetic procedures around the world for 2020, says medical travel company

When it comes down to cosmetic procedures, some rank higher than others.

And with beauty being in the eye of the beholder, of course the types of procedures people are looking into vary around the world. That’s why the German-based health consultation resource Qunomedical analyzed internal search data to find out which procedures its users want.

In the U.S., the top 14 searches for cosmetic procedures on Qunomedical in 2020 are Botox injections, liposuction, tummy tucks, Brazilian butt lifts, rhinoplasties, breast enlargement surgeries, hair transplants, lip fillers, mommy makeovers, breast reduction surgeries, facelifts, butt implants, gynecomastia surgeries (breast reduction for men) and beard transplants.


The same cosmetic procedures and surgeries were found to be the most popular across the 11 other countries Qunomedical analyzed, however, the order varied.

People around the world are largely looking into 14 cosmetic procedures to enhance their body or face, search data from Qunomedical shows. (iStock)

People around the world are largely looking into 14 cosmetic procedures to enhance their body or face, search data from Qunomedical shows. (iStock)

In Canada, Botox was the top searched-for procedure followed by rhinoplasty and hair transplants. Whereas people from the U.K., Ireland and Germany had lip fillers, Botox and hair transplants in their top 3.

Australia and New Zealand had identical top searches with Botox, lip fillers and liposuction rounding out the first three spots.


Rhinoplasties were the number 1 search in France and Spain. However, the two countries differed in the rest of its rankings although liposuction did also make the cut for the top three.

Italian Qunomedical users searched for lip fillers, rhinoplasties and breast enlargement surgeries the most while Dutch users searched for breast enlargement, hair transplants and Botox the most. South African users, on the other hand, searched for liposuction, Botox and tummy tucks.


“As the year ends we can see that this was a global phenomenon,” said Qunomedical’s CEO Dr. Sophie Chung, in a statement.  “Lockdown was tough for everyone, but with more privacy, less socializing, and a lot of holidays to spare, people saw an opportunity to reflect on important things like self-care and their confidence.”

She added that celebrities may also be a contributing factor for why people around the world have been more open to cosmetic enhancements. Interestingly, online searches in medical tourism have risen in the last 12 months despite lockdowns from COVID-19.


“Qunomedical has also seen a surge in interest in surgery abroad during lockdown,” Chung said. “Along with cheaper flights more people are discovering they can get the same high-quality treatment for a lower price and more privacy away from home.”

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Support for Japan’s Suga Falls Following Travel Campaign Reversal | World News

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s approval ratings fell five percentage points to 58%, with many unhappy with his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll taken over the weekend by the daily Nikkei newspaper.

The dip in ratings follows criticism over his hesitation to suspend a domestic travel campaign as new coronavirus infections rise, and potentially threatens the chances of his premiership extending beyond next autumn, when his current term ends.

Suga’s approval ratings were at 63% in the previous poll conducted in October.

Respondents who disapproved of the government’s coronavirus countermeasures rose 13 percentage points to 48%, topping the 44% who thought the government was doing well, according to the same poll.

In the survey of 993 people, 61% agreed with the government’s decision to partially halt the domestic ‘Go To’ travel campaign, while 25% said the government needed to do more.

Although Japan has been spared the high incidence of the disease seen in Europe and the United State, infections rates are rising as the cold season approaches, with the nation reaching record numbers of daily cases in recent weeks.

New daily infections surged to an all-time high of 2,684 people on Saturday, according to public broadcaster NHK. The number of deaths stands at over 2,100.

The government has been attempting to keep the coronavirus under control while boosting Japan’s hard-hit economy with a national travel campaign that subsidises tourism.

With new cases rising, the government scaled back on the tourism campaign last week by excluding the two cities of Osaka and Sapporo, but has not suspended the programme in Tokyo, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Philippines is World’s Leading Dive Destination, according to World Travel Awards 2020

Philippines’ dive sites is the World’s Leading Dive Destination according to the 2020 World Travel Awards. 

According to a statement from the Department of Tourism Philippines statement, this is the Philippines’ second time to win the World’s Leading Dive Destination, after it was first recognized in 2019.

The Philippines, home to world-renowned dive sites such as the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan, Apo Reef Natural Park in Mindoro, and Apo Island in Dumaguete sites bested eight other dive destinations including Bora Bora, French Polynesia, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Galapagos Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Maldives, and Mexico.

DOT recognized the country’s dive tourism as ” one of the key areas for positive industry growth, including increased visitor count, extended length of stay, and higher tourism revenue.”

Earlier this month, the Philippines was also hailed as Asia’s leading beach and leading dive destination at the World Travel Awards 2020.

And as though that’s not enough, Intramuros was also recognized as the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction. 

A first for Manila’s famed Walled City, it won against 15 other tourist spots including  Acropolis of Greece, Burj Khalifa of Dubai, the Grand Canyon National Park of USA, Mount Kilimanjaro of Tanzania, and Taj Mahal of India, among others.

Meanwhile, the Intramuros Administration restored the walled city with “extensive renovations such as bright capiz lamps installed in monuments and trees, colorful murals, and new sites, such as the dungeon and cleaned-up and fortified military structures, as a tribute to the country’s historic Hispanic period.”

The World Travel Awards was founded in 1993 and it has been recognizing brands and organizations worldwide from the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries through its annual Grand Tour, a series of six regional gala ceremonies held in each continent. Each year is capped off with a Grand Final Gala. 

Congratulations to us! — Jannielyn Ann Bigtas/LA, GMA News

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New Cardinals Quarantine in Pope’s Hotel Ahead of Ceremony | World News


ROME (AP) — The Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel was built to sequester cardinals during papal elections. It’s now sequestering soon-to-be cardinals in town for this weekend’s ceremony to get their red hats: A handful are in protective coronavirus quarantine, confined to their rooms on Vatican orders and getting meals delivered to their doors.

The 10-day quarantines, with COVID-19 tests administered at the start and finish, are just one example of how Saturday’s ceremony to elevate new cardinals is like nothing the Holy See has ever seen.

“They told me it would be like this but I didn’t think it would be so strict!” marveled Cardinal-designate Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, the retired archbishop of Chiapas, Mexico.

During a Zoom call with The Associated Press from his hotel room, Esquivel said he had thought there might be some exceptions to the lockdown for new cardinals. “No! Here, it doesn’t matter if you’re a cardinal or a pope. The virus doesn’t respect anyone,” he said.

Pope Francis on Saturday will elevate 13 clerics to the College of Cardinals, the elite group of red-robed churchmen whose primary task is to elect a new pope. It’s the seventh time Francis has named a new batch of cardinals since his election in 2013, and his imprint is increasingly shifting the balance of power away from Europe and toward the developing world.

The Vatican has said two new cardinals won’t make it to Rome for the ceremony, known as a consistory, because of COVID-19 and travel concerns: The Vatican’s ambassador to Brunei, Cardinal-designate Cornelius Sim, and the archbishop of Capiz, Philippines, Cardinal-designate Jose Advincula.

The Vatican is arranging for them, and any of the cardinals who might not make it, to participate in the ceremony remotely from their homes. They’ll get their three-pointed “biretta” hats from a Vatican ambassador or another envoy.

For those who are participating in person, the public health crisis has posed an unusual set of challenges. Italy, where the pandemic erupted in late February, is currently in the throes of a second wave. The Vatican itself has returned to a modified lockdown in recent weeks, with the Vatican Museums shuttered and a dozen Swiss Guards testing positive.

Francis, 83, has been criticized for his rather lax mask usage, but he has abided by social distancing measures to a degree. He too lives at Santa Marta, where there has been at least one positive case reported in recent months.

Usually, consistories are full of parties and crowds: Cardinals come to town with family, friends and sometimes benefactors and parishioners who get to see the new “princes of the church” up close and then attend receptions and dinners in their honor. Under normal circumstances, the consistory would be followed by “courtesy visits,” where the new cardinals greet well-wishers and the general public from the grandeur of their own reception rooms in the Apostolic Palace or Vatican auditorium.

This year, there will be no courtesy visits, and each cardinal

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‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero Says He Was Kidnapped and Blindfolded Before Arrest | World News

KIGALI (Reuters) – “Hotel Rwanda” hero Paul Rusesabagina, on trial on terrorism and other charges in the central African country, said on Friday he had been kidnapped from abroad before being detained and charged.

Rusesabagina, a political dissident who has lived in exile in Belgium and the United States, was arrested in August after returning to the country.

At the time it was not immediately clear whether he had returned voluntarily or had been coerced.

“I was kidnapped to come here,” Rusesabagina said in court in the capital, Kigali, as he applied for bail.

“…They tied my legs and my arms and I was blindfolded.”

Prosecutors denied he had been kidnapped and said due process had been followed.

“No one kidnapped Paul Rusesabagina…he was detained at a legally recognised place after being notified of charges against him,” prosecutor Jean Cabin Habimana said.

The Oscar-nominated 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda” depicted Rusesabagina, played by Don Cheadle, using his connections as a hotel manager to protect ethnic Tutsis fleeing slaughter by Hutus in the country’s 1994 genocide.

An estimated 800,000 people were killed.

Rusesabagina later acquired Belgian citizenship and became a U.S. resident.

He became a vocal critic of President Paul Kagame and once called for armed resistance to the government in a YouTube video.

In court, his lawyer, Gatera Gashabana, said Rusesabagina had been held incommunicado and his rights violated.

Rusesabagina has already been denied bail twice. [L8N2GT3U7]

The judge said he would deliver his ruling on the most recent application on Dec. 2.

(Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; editing by Elias Biryabarema and Nick Macfie)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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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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