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August, 2015

 

Etihad Airways Is Implementing New Fare Structure Effective 14th September 2015

World Travel – Airlines

Open Eyes Opinion {source: WAM}

Etihad Airways

ABU DHABI, — Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will implement a new fare structure from 14th September 2015 to provide more choice and clarity when booking flights.

 

 

A total of eight new Fare Choices will be introduced, allowing travellers to tailor their bookings to their individual needs.

The Fare Choices are transparent and differ in baggage allowance, flexibility and included benefits that otherwise need to be purchased separately. Additionally, an adapted baggage policy will provide guests with a more standardized baggage allowance structure across the Etihad Airways Partner network, while also reducing the price for excess baggage charges on most routes.

All bookings ticketed from 14th September will be split into distinct fare choices. The structure for Economy Class includes Economy Breaking Deals, Economy Saver, Economy Value and Economy Freedom. Business Class includes Business Breaking Deals, Business Saver and Business Freedom, while in First Class there will only be one fare family, Freedom.

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways, said, “Ultimately, this is about providing choice. In most industries there is a move towards allowing customers to tailor and customise their experience, and ours is no different. When it comes to booking a flight, not everyone’s needs are the same. Some guests want to travel light and on a budget, whilst others want to be able to make last-minute travel decisions, carry extra baggage or earn more miles. For example, if a guest wants more flexibility, more luggage, and priority check in, they can select our Economy Freedom Fare Choice.”

A new baggage policy has also been announced to more flexibly respond to individual customer needs and to better align Etihad Airways with other Etihad Airways Partner airlines.

As part of the policy change, the cost of excess baggage will be dramatically cut on the majority of fares. On some routes the cost of buying an additional 23kg piece of baggage will be reduced by up to 90 percent, with a further reduction of up to 30 percent if pre-purchased directly with Etihad Airways up to 24 hours before travel.

The new baggage policy will also come into effect for bookings on or after 14th September. WAM/Ahlam/Moran

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[photo credits: “Etihad Airways – Airbus A380-861” by Richard Vandervord – http://www.airliners.net/photo/Etihad-Airways/Airbus-A380-861/2574151/L/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Etihad_Airways_-_Airbus_A380-861.jpg#/media/File:Etihad_Airways_-_Airbus_A380-861.jpg]

 

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Monday’s Quote – 31 August 2015

Monday’s Quote

Start the week thinking

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

– Mark Twain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{photo credits: “Twain1909” by Photographer: A.F. Bradley in his studio. – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3a08820.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.العربية | čeština | Deutsch | English | español | فارسی | suomi | français | magyar | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | Nederlands | polski | português | русский | slovenčina | slovenščina | Türkçe | українська | 中文 | 中文(简体)‎ | 中文(繁體)‎ | +/−. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Twain1909.jpg#/media/File:Twain1909.jpg]

 

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300,000 Migrants Attempt Crossing The Mediterranean So Far This Year

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: UNHCR}

 

 

 

 

UNHCR : Crossings of Mediterranean Sea exceed 300,000, including 200,000 to Greece

GENEVA, – More than 300,000 refugees and migrants have used the dangerous sea route across the Mediterranean so far this year with almost 200,000 of them landing in Greece and a further 110,000 in Italy.

The UN refugee agency, revealing the latest statistics in Geneva on Friday, said this represents a large increase from last year, when around 219,000 people crossed the Mediterranean during the whole of 2014.

“At the same time, some 2,500 refugees and migrants are estimated to have died or gone missing this year, trying to reach Europe. This death toll does not include yesterday’s tragedy off Libya where numbers of deaths are still unconfirmed,” UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a press briefing in Geneva.

Last year some 3,500 people died or were reported missing in the Mediterranean Sea.

Fleming said that despite the concerted efforts of the joint European search and rescue operation under FRONTEX, which has saved tens of thousands of lives this year, the Mediterranean Sea continues to be the “deadliest route for refugees and migrants”.

She added that in the last few days, even more people had lost their lives in three separate incidents.

The Libyan Coast Guard carried two rescue operations on Thursday morning, seven miles off the port town of Zwara. Two boats carrying an approximate total of 500 refugees and migrants were intercepted and survivors taken to shore in Libya.

“An estimated 200 people are still missing and feared dead. A still undetermined number of bodies were recovered and taken to shore. The Libyan Red Crescent has been helping with the collection of the bodies,” Fleming added.

On Wednesday (26 August), rescuers coming to the aid of another boat off the Libyan coast found 51 people dead from suffocation in the hold.

“According to survivors, smugglers were charging people money for allowing them to come out of the hold in order to breathe,” Fleming detailed.

“Some people fell into the sea and two men jumped into the water to rescue them. Panic ensued and people began to jostle and shove and, as a result, three women were crushed to death on the dinghy,” Fleming said.

Many of the people arriving by sea in southern Europe, particularly in Greece, come from countries affected by violence and conflict, such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan; they are in need of international protection and they are often physically exhausted and psychologically traumatized.

UNHCR appeals to all governments involved to provide comprehensive responses and act with humanity and in accordance with their international obligations.

All European countries and the EU must act together in response to the growing emergency and demonstrate responsibility and solidarity. WAM/tfaham

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[photo credits: By Fayza (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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Freedom OF Movement Of Workers Within The European Union

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: EP}

European Parliament Think Tank

Free Movement of Workers within the EU

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights

Free movement of workers

One of the four freedoms enjoyed by EU citizens is the free movement of workers.

This includes the rights of movement and residence for workers, the rights of entry and residence for family members, and the right to work in another Member State and be treated on an equal footing with nationals of that Member State.

Restrictions apply in some countries for citizens of Member States that have recently acceded to the EU. The rules on access to social benefits are currently shaped primarily by the case law of the Court of Justice.

OBJECTIVES

Freedom of movement for workers is one of the founding principles of the EU. It is laid down in Article 45 of the TFEU and is a fundamental right of workers. It entails the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment.

Please read full report:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/fiches_techniques/2013/030103/04A_FT(2013)030103_EN.pdf

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[photo credits: “Salzbergwerk, Deutschen Museum” by High Contrast – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 de via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salzbergwerk,_Deutschen_Museum.JPG#/media/File:Salzbergwerk,_Deutschen_Museum.JPG]

 

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UNHCR Helps Afghan Refugees Return Home

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: UNHCR}

Afghanistan/Pakistan

 

50,000 Afghan refugees from Pakistan returned this year under UNHCR voluntary program

 

ISLAMABAD: The UN refugee agency has facilitated the return of over 50,000 registered Afghan refugees from Pakistan so far this year under the agency’s largest and longest running voluntary repatriation program.

As part of its facilitated group return (FGR) initiative, UNHCR on Wednesday assisted a group of 550 registered Afghan refugees return to Herat from its voluntary repatriation centre in Baleli, Quetta, bringing the total number of refugees returned through Balochistan to 9000, so far, this year, which makes 10 per center of the total returns from Pakistan.

From Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this year, some 25,900 registered Afghan refugees opted to return; 11,300 from Punjab, 4,000 from Sindh and 2,800 from Azad Jammu Kashmir.

Of the total 50,433 registered refugees who returned with UNHCR assistance, the majority, 34 per cent returned to the northern region of Afghanistan, followed by the 31 per cent who went to the central regions while 19 per cent of the Afghan refugees returned to the eastern region. Only 9 per cent of the total returns were to the south east while return to the southern regions remain the lower at 5 per cent where security remains a challenge.

In Quetta, Dinesh Lal Shrestha, Head of UNHCR, Balochistan, while bidding farewell to the members of the facilitated group return said, “voluntary repatriation is a cornerstone of the Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR).” Mr. Shrestha hoped that with the formation of the National Unity Government and gradual political stability and better livelihood prospects in some parts of Afghanistan more refugees might opt to voluntarily repatriate to Afghanistan.

Forty-five-years old elder of the returning group to Herat, Ghulam Sakhi said, he and his group mutually agreed to go back to Afghanistan and to take part in the rebuilding of their country. He said he believed there would be sufficient job opportunities upon return.

Like the majority who have opted to return to Afghanistan, Sakhi too is optimistic about the future of Afghanistan. “I and my family chose to return because the law and order situation and livelihood opportunities have considerably improved in my area (Herat)” he said. Sakhi along with his extended community had been living in Loralai, Balochistan for the last 25 years.

On 21 August during the 26th meeting of the Tripartite commission in Kabul, the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan and UNHCR once again reiterated their commitment to the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees, in safety and with dignity, based on considerations regarding the absorption capacity of Afghanistan. The parties agreed that voluntary repatriation continued to be the preferred durable solution for Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Indrika Ratwatte UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan commended the continuous generosity of Pakistan for extending support to the millions of Afghan refugees in the country and highlighted the need for repatriation to be voluntary, in safety and dignity to ensure sustainable reintegration.

“Afghanistan is rich in human resource, youngsters aged 12 to 30 constitute 44 percent of the total registered refugee population in Pakistan, with great potential to excel if provided the right conditions.” Said Mr. Ratwatte and added that, that it is therefore important for all the stakeholders to invest more in the sectors of education and skills training to enable these youngsters to play a productive role in the development of Afghanistan once they return to their country.”

With the voluntary return of approximately 3.9 million Afghan refugees since 2002 until to date, Pakistan remains home to some 1.5 million Afghan refugees which is the world’s largest protracted refugee population.

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[photo credits: By Vladimir Lysenko (I.) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

 

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Hotels In Japan – Living Next To Old And New Worlds

World Travel – Hotels

Open Eyes Opinion {source: Preferred Hotels and Resorts}

Japan

 

LIVE THE “SUITE” LIFE WITH PREFERRED HOTELS & RESORTS IN JAPAN

 

 

Preferred Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest independent hotel brand representing more than 650 distinctive properties across 85 countries, offers travelers a taste of the “suite” life as they explore the charming juxtaposition of old and new worlds that make up Japan’s unique culture. Whether travelers are looking for a magnificent view of the Tokyo Tower, a panoramic perspective of majestic World Heritage sites, or a lookout above traditional Japanese gardens, Preferred Suites offers elegantly appointed accommodation choices to suit every whim at nine one-of-a-kind hotels across Japan.

Highlights of the “suite” life include:

20% Savings on a Junior Suite Hollywood Twin Room at Kyoto Tokyu Hotel – Kyoto
Renowned for being one of the most cultural cities in Japan, boasting 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites set against the backdrop of a cosmopolitan city, Kyoto offers discerning travelers a unique perspective as they experience the seamless blending of old and new Japan. Kyoto Tokyu Hotel’s Junior Suites feature two double beds and luxurious Italian bathroom amenities, as well as complimentary access to gym facilities and the Guest Salon, which serves Welcome drinks with Japanese snacks upon check-in, all day beverages, and evening cocktails for suite guests.
Room rates from US$523 / JPY64,800 per night, including complimentary Wifi internet access.

30% Savings on the Garden Suite at The Prince Park Tower – Tokyo
Experience a taste of traditional Japanese living in the spacious Garden Suites at The Prince Park Tower Tokyo, where guests can opt to sleep on plush futon beds in a Tatami room. Replete with modern facilities and a dazzling array of luxury amenities, a stunning view of the Tokyo Tower, and a personal miniature Japanese Garden to enjoy, the Garden Suites present Japanese fine living at its best.
Room rates from US$423 / JPY 52,500 per night,including complimentary Wifi internet access.

30% Savings on the Executive Suite at The Capitol Hotel Tokyu – Tokyo
Explore Tokyo in style and live it up at The Capitol Hotel Tokyu, located within walking distance of the bustling Roppongi district, providing convenient access to shopping and popular city attractions. The Executive Suites offer stylishly luxurious penthouse-style living on the highest floors of the hotel, along with complimentary use of the Fitness Club and Library Lounge, where daily Continental breakfast, all-day refreshments and evening cocktails are served.
Room rates from US$675 / JPY 84,000 per night,including complimentary Wifi internet access.

Other participating hotels in Japan Grand Pacific LE DAIBA (Tokyo), Hotel New Otani “The Main” (Tokyo), Keio Plaza Hotel (Tokyo), Royal Park Hotel (Tokyo), ROAL PARK HOTEL THE SHIODOME (Tokyo), and Yokohama Royal Park Hotel.

Travelers can enjoy additional benefits by enrolling in the iPrefer guest loyalty program, which extends points redeemable for free nights and other expenditures, elite status, and special benefits such as complimentary Internet upon every eligible stay at more than 550 participating properties worldwide.

For more information or to book a stay at one of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ properties in Japan, please visit www.preferredhotels.com/preferredsuites/Japan . **Governing terms & conditions apply.

About Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Preferred Hotels & Resorts is the world’s largest independent hotel brand, representing more than 650 distinctive hotels, resorts, residences, and unique hotel groups across 85 countries. Through its five global collections, Preferred Hotels & Resorts connects discerning travelers to the singular luxury hospitality experience that meets their life and style preferences for each occasion.

Every property within the portfolio maintains the high quality standards and unparalleled service levels required by the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Integrated Quality Assurance Program. The iPrefer™ guest loyalty program, Preferred Residences, Preferred Family, Preferred Pride, and Preferred Golf™ offer valuable benefits for travelers seeking a unique experience.

For more information, visit PreferredHotels.com.

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[phto credfits: “Byodoin Phoenix Hall Uji 2009” by 663highland – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Byodoin_Phoenix_Hall_Uji_2009.jpg#/media/File:Byodoin_Phoenix_Hall_Uji_2009.jpg]

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CIA Historical Facts – Civil Air Transport

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion [source: CIA}

Civil Air Transport – The CIA’s Airline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CIA Acquires CAT

In 1946, Claire Chennault, the retired commanding general of the US Fourteenth Air Force and former leader of the “Flying Tigers” of World War II fame, founded an airline company to haul relief supplies and other cargo around China. That airline was called Civil Air Transport (or CAT for short).

At that time, China was suffering from the aftereffects of the war and also was ravaged by civil war between the Nationalist government and Communist insurgents under Mao Zedong. By early 1948, CAT was heavily involved in supporting the Nationalists’ efforts to prevail against the Communist offensive.

This support involved supply fights, troop deployment, and, increasingly, evacuations from Communist-captured territory.

CAT developed a reputation for being able to fly its C-46s and C-47s in hazardous conditions, and its pilots—many of them combat veterans—were renowned for getting the job done no matter what the odds. CAT began to fly missions for the CIA in October 1949, the same month that Mao proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in Beijing.

CIA leaders saw possibilities for contracting with CAT to support the Agency’s operations to supply anti-Communist forces remaining on the mainland. The defeat of the Nationalists on the mainland in December 1949 and the retreat of the Nationalist government to Taiwan, however, left CAT near bankruptcy.

In the early 1950s, CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination, the Agency’s covert action arm at the time, quickly extended a subsidy of $100,000 to the airline. Opinion within the Agency was divided over the wisdom of buying a failing airline, but CAT’s operational value ensured continued subsidy payments for several months. Even so, CAT declined—more personnel were let go, and its fleet of 19 C-46s was reduced to six.

stewardesses.jpg

CAT stewardesses The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 spurred CIA to acquire CAT outright. On August 23, 1950, the Agency acquired the airlines’ assets through a “cut-out” (a Washington area banker) and the company was reorganized as CAT Incorporated, ostensibly a private enterprise, but actually CIA’s new aviation arm.

Thus began an operational partnership that lasted through the Korean War, the early days of the US involvement in Vietnam, and beyond. CIA’s acquisition of CAT was the first of several such proprietary relationships in the aviation field.

In 1958, CAT was reorganized as Air America and provided CIA with supply and covert mission support flights, as well as search and rescue capabilities, during the war in Indochina.

The legacy of CAT came to an end when Air America was disbanded in 1976.

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[photo credits-featured image: “Air America Lockheed L-1011 TriStar Kennaugh” by Andy Kennaugh – http://www.airliners.net/photo/Air-America/Lockheed-L-1011-385-1-TriStar/1319341/L/. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Air_America_Lockheed_L-1011_TriStar_Kennaugh.jpg#/media/File:Air_America_Lockheed_L-1011_TriStar_Kennaugh.jpg]

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China Southern Airlines To Service Christ Church, New Zealand

World Travel

Open Eyes Opinion {source: TIA]

New Zealand

 

New air service a win for South Island and tourism

28 August 2015

 

 

 

Today’s announcement of a new air service linking Christchurch and southern China will help deliver on the tourism industry’s goal of growing total annual tourism revenue to $41 billion in by 2025, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.

TIA is welcoming the news that China Southern Airlines will operate three services a week to Christchurch Airport from December.

The tourism industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework identifies increases in sustainable air connectivity as critically important to boosting the industry’s value from its current $24 billion a year.

Measures to support the recovery of tourism in Christchurch and the South Island are also highlighted in Tourism 2025, TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.

“This new service will support jobs and regional economies around the South Island. We know that offering new routes helps stimulate demand, so we look forward to seeing more Chinese visitors year round,” Mr Roberts says.

This is great news for the South Island at a time when the dairy economy is suffering, he says. The announcement also demonstrates China Southern Airlines’ confidence in the long-term trends for Chinese travel to New Zealand.

“Tourism 2025 has identified that when new sustainable air connections are established the whole industry benefits. I encourage tourism operators to support this new service by offering fantastic activities and experiences to Chinese visitors so they will promote New Zealand as a holiday destination to their family and friends. By supporting this new service, we can ensure it continues well into the future.”

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[photo credits: By Mark Tang [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons]

 

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Tourism in Finland – Spotlight On Helsinki

World Travel – Tourism

Open Eyes Opinion {source: VisitFinland}

Helsinki

Tour Helsinki and Lakeland Routes

 

 

 

 

 

Helsinki is a modern, pocket-sized European city known for design and high technology. Helsinki’s attractive and unique character comes from its proximity to the sea, as well as its location between the East and the West.

 

Highlights:

Experience Helsinki and Finnish Lakeland through a road trip you will never forget.

Pick up a map and a mixtape and you are ready to go! You can choose from four new trips that all have different themes.

All the routes were designed in association with travel agencies from the cities of Helsinki, Kouvola, Mikkeli, Jyväskylä and Tampere to help you plan and enjoy a fascinating and memorable holiday.

Finland is often called the Land of Thousand Lakes and quite rightly so. There are actually nearly 200,000 of lakes in the country.

If you are interested in experiencing the beauty of Finnish Lakeland, why not rent a car and explore these magical views while on the road.  

Please see Visitfinland for more information and a panoramic journey. 

http://www.visitfinland.com/article/helsinki-and-lakeland-routes/

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[photo credits-featured image: “HelsinkiToolonlahti” by Author: Matthew McPherson Helsinki, Finland – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:HelsinkiToolonlahti.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HelsinkiToolonlahti.jpg#/media/File:HelsinkiToolonlahti.jpg]

 

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Hungary Is Forming Six New Border Patrol Divisions

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: HUgov}

Border Security

Statement from the Hungarian National Police Headquarters

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday, Chief Commissioner of the Hungarian National Police Károly Papp announced that on 1 September 2015 a Border Police Directorate will be established within the Riot Police.

This new organisational unit within the Riot Police will be formed from operational divisions relocated to provincial areas and the Intensive Patrol Divisions of the Riot Police. Students completing their first year at the Police Training Academy will be under the direction of border patrol divisions, and will receive probationary contracts with the Police.

In accordance with the orders of the Chief of Police, six border patrol divisions will be formed within the two border patrol operational departments of the Directorate of Border Police.

The new directorate will start full operations on 15 September 2015, with a staff of 2,106 people.

The headquarters of the Border Police Directorate will be located in the central building of the Riot Police in Budapest. The operational centre of the Border Patrol Operation Divisions will be at the Police Training Academy in Szeged, while some staff will be deployed in Kiskunhalas.

Border patrol divisions will reinforce defence of the state borders and maintain order in border areas. The activities of the Border Police Directorate will be supported by helicopters, and mounted and dog patrols. The structure, equipment and mobility of the units will enable them to be deployed flexibly.

No special regulations apply to the deployment of the divisions; they will carry out their tasks as described in the Police Act and the Police Service Regulations.

No other area of public security will be compromised by the formation of the new organisational element.

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[photo credits: “Hungarian-Serbian border barrier 3” by Photo: Délmagyarország/Schmidt Andrea – http://www.delmagyar.hu/szeged_hirek/ketfajta_ideiglenes_hatarzar_epul_a_szerb_hataron/2438738/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hungarian-Serbian_border_barrier_3.jpg#/media/File:Hungarian-Serbian_border_barrier_3.jpg]

 

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OECD-APEC Roundtable In Cebu City On Combating Corruption Related To Human Trafficking

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: US/DOS}

Human Trafficking

Ending Human Trafficking: Building a Better World and Partnerships for Sustainable Security and Human Dignity

 

 

 

Remarks from David M. Luna

U.S. Senior Director for National Security and Diplomacy Anti-Crime Programs, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

Cebu, Philippines
August 26, 2015
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Good morning.

It is an honor to be invited to help open this OECD-APEC Roundtable on Combating Corruption Related to Human Trafficking.

I would like to thank the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for its leadership over the years on these important issues and to thank Secretary-General Jose Angel Gurria for making the illicit trade a priority at the OECD.

Let me also thank the Philippines as the host of APEC in 2015; for its outstanding helm of the Anticorruption and Transparency (ACT) Working Group; and for co-hosting with the United States, yesterday’s APEC Pathfinder II Dialogue on Combating Corruption and Illicit Trade: Partnerships for Sustainable Security.

As Chair of the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, I firmly believe that when the OECD, APEC, ASEAN, the United Nations, Interpol, leadings NGOs, and many other partners join forces, we can make a significant difference through collective action to help impacted communities to combat human trafficking and related corruption.

In a globalized world, where criminals are well-networked and organized, we should be too. From human trafficking in Asia and Europe, to narco-corruption in the Americas, and arms and wildlife trafficking in Africa, transnational illicit networks have tentacles that reach everywhere.

In addition to being a critical human rights challenge, trafficking in persons is a sinister illicit trade. It doesn’t just destroy communities and harm everyday people, it fuels a network of ruthless criminals and armed groups that create insecurity and instability around the world.

As highlighted in the agenda, the objective of this roundtable is to identify best practices at the domestic and regional level in combating corruption related to trafficking in persons, as well as to explore draft principles that address these issues jointly. The aim of the OECD Principles on Combating Corruption Related to Trafficking in Persons that will be discussed today is to provide a useful reference for economies intending to establish, modify, or complement a framework to address trafficking-related corruption. Let me thank Janos Bertok for his leadership and that of his OECD team for developing these principles.

Last month at the release of the U.S. Department of State’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report, Secretary of State John Kerry forcefully articulated the threat posed by human trafficking globally and encouraged all communities to end the scourge of modern slavery and fight back. Secretary Kerry said:

Traffickers are both ruthless and relentless. They know how to exploit the hopes of those desperate to escape poverty or to find shelter from disaster or from strife. Traffickers prey upon the most vulnerable. They target the weak, the despairing, the isolated. And they make false promises and transport their victims across borders to labor without passports or phones in places where the language is unknown and where there are no means of escape. If the victims rebel or become ill, the traffickers often use violence to ensure that their profits continue and their crimes are concealed.

Human Trafficking is a Serious Crime: A Threat to APEC’s Growth Agenda

Ladies and gentlemen: Human trafficking is a serious crime that must be confronted by our economies in this region, especially with so many human trafficking victims coming from Asia. Amidst growing prosperity and development, no person should be exploited through the use of force, coercion, or fraud.

No one should ever have to be subjected to human trafficking, forced into sexual exploitation, or recruited and forced to serve as a gang member, child soldier, or terrorist.

The societal harms and impacts posed by human trafficking are very real. Corruption helps to fuel it and enriches not only those criminal networks behind today’s modern slavery but also enables corrupt police, customs, judicial, and other security officials who protect traffickers and allow them to carry out their criminal activities.

Human trafficking siphons away the human capital potential of communities to build sustainable economic growth in a manner that respects human rights.

No person should ever have a price tag attached to their heart and soul nor be restricted, abused, and violated against their physical integrity and free will.

Yet, over 20 million people are estimated to be entrapped in modern slavery. According to some estimates, trafficking in persons has become one of the most lucrative forms of organized crime, behind arms and drugs trafficking, with illicit profits exceeding $150 billion every year.

These illicit proceeds are helping to expand the global illegal economy, and through a web of corruption and criminality, are derailing our ability to nurture growth markets and investment frontiers that can finance the sustainable futures of our communities.

The corruption that allows traffickers to exploit people with impunity not only violates individuals’ basic human rights and freedoms but also stunts both their and their communities’ economic potential and political development, as precious human capital is exploited by criminals.

We have all heard the many horrors of lives ruined by rapacious criminals. Stories of Cambodian men and boys who are promised jobs in neighboring economies and end up spending years out at sea without ever setting foot on shore, and working 15 hour days with little or no pay in the fishing industry.

Or stories of women and girls from across the Asia-Pacific region who are similarly lured by promises of paying jobs overseas, only to be beaten and forced into prostitution, in some instances through debt bondage and threats of arrest to remain in brothels.

In other parts of the world in conflict environments, women and children are sold and enslaved by terrorists for unspeakable acts.

Children are often the most vulnerable to abuse. Criminals lure children into forced labor or the loathsome child sex trade.

In APEC, we have an economic and moral stake in elevating women as full partners in every facet of life in the Asia Pacific. To achieve this important goal, we must prevent and respond to gender-based violence, foster gender inclusiveness and equality, and combat the scourge of human trafficking. And of course, we must do everything in our power to protect our children.

In the United States, which serves as a source, transit and destination economy, human trafficking is a booming illicit business. Every year, people from across the United States and abroad are exploited in various forms of forced labor, including in agriculture, domestic service, construction, sweatshops, as well as in the commercial sex trade.

Several years ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), through a joint investigation with other law enforcement agencies, uncovered an elaborate network of brothel owners, recruiters, and victims—Korean émigrés smuggled into the U.S. and then forced into prostitution. FBI Investigators also found a network of money remitters, who transferred sex trafficking proceeds overseas.

Just last year, the FBI recovered 168 children and arrested 281 pimps in a child-sex trafficking sting operation carried out across the U.S., in partnership with local law-enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has also uncovered hundreds of criminal acts in recent years related to human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children in the United States. There have been scores of other similar cases in recent years.

The sad reality is that because it is so lucrative for criminals, child sexual exploitation is only getting worse as young children are more easily recruited on social media and the Internet. A pimp in the U.S. can easily make hundreds of dollars a day, seven days a week, every month of the year with a single sex trafficking victim.

And there are many, many more cases and stories about men, women, and children enslaved as domestic workers, or compelled through the use of force, fraud, or coercion to work for companies at sub-wages or no benefits under unbelievably abusive conditions and hours.

Just like no economy is immune from corruption, no single jurisdiction can solve modern slavery alone. It is a truly global problem that requires the world’s collective attention.

Human Trafficking is a Plague on Humanity and an Assault on Freedom

In his 2015 World Day of Peace message, the Holy Father Pope Francis condemned the abuses of modern slavery linked to today’s world turbulences. Pope Francis said “Further causes of slavery include armed conflicts, violence, criminal activity and terrorism. Many people are kidnapped in order to be sold, enlisted as combatants, or sexually exploited, while others are forced to emigrate, leaving everything behind: their country, home, property, and even members of their family.

During his visit to the Philippines in January 2015, Pope Francis also denounced corruption and encouraged all societies to make concerted efforts towards the greater inclusion of every man, woman, and child in our communities.

Earlier this year we saw how organized criminal networks capitalized on the plight of tens of thousands of refugees – how they lured asylum-seekers and economic migrants fleeing Myanmar and Bangladesh for refuge with promises of better lives in various APEC and ASEAN economies, and helped them obtain falsified documents and get smuggled into these jurisdictions.

Sadly, many were left out at sea without water or food. There have been reports that corrupt officials in the police and security forces were complicit in migrant smuggling and other crimes. Some of the economic migrants were subjected to human trafficking. Others were subjected to horrific abuse including murder, as shown in the graves in Southeast Asia.

Criminals often exploit catastrophes and human suffering for economic gain. In fact, natural disasters too are viewed as profitable opportunities when people are desperate to look for work, shelter, and food, among other things.

But as we learned from the Super Typhoon Haiyan [Yolanda] that hit the Philippines in 2013 and impacted 16 million people with 4 million displaced, strong cooperation across borders can help to prevent a larger tragedy.

Although there were reports of criminal gangs abducting vulnerable women and children, the Philippine government’s previous investments in addressing human trafficking enabled it to quickly react in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan to reduce vulnerabilities to human trafficking.

The Philippines immediately cooperated closely with international and local NGOs to provide security and screening checkpoints at evacuation centers, in tent cities, and at major transportation hubs; these preventative measures helped to protect vulnerable populations as they migrated en masse to other parts of the country and resettled in temporary shelters or private residences.

It is impossible to know what would have occurred without these efforts, but the government’s quick response may have reduced further vulnerabilities to human trafficking. On-going activities to raise awareness and prevent human trafficking among those communities affected by the typhoon continue through U.S Department of State funds to the International Organization for Migration.

Preventing Human Trafficking in Global Supply Chains

Ladies and gentlemen: We can no longer avert our eyes from this heinous crime and we must work together to stop it in all its forms and the associated corruption that allows it.

As underscored a moment ago, this is not merely an issue that confronts Asia alone.

In the United States, Europe, and across the world, trafficking in persons is happening every hour of the day and constitutes one of the largest criminal enterprises on earth.

It is a fight that entails a global solution and coordinated international responses to eliminate this scourge.

This is why I am proud that APEC, in partnership with the OECD, and others, is making a stand and beginning a process to slow down the levels of human trafficking in our region through our honest dialogue about corruption associated with human trafficking; the challenges on enforcing anti-trafficking law; highlighting the gaps necessary to develop more holistic anti-trafficking frameworks; and a recognition that we must better enhance the capacity of investigators, labor inspectors, prosecutors, and judges, and improve cross-border information-sharing arrangements that enable more joint investigations.

We also need to strengthen anti-trafficking prevention policies, and victim identification and protection services, and increase public awareness on the methods, harms and costs of human trafficking to our economies.

When APEC and the OECD lead, we can achieve more inclusive, sustainable development goals. Economies can then shut down illicit markets and put criminal entrepreneurs out of business and encourage private sector actors to take steps to eradicate human trafficking from their supply chains so that communities can invest in their human capital and finance sustainable development strategies for a better way of life that includes education, job-skills, and training to attain meaningful employment.

Empowering women and young girls should be part of this strategy.

We can clearly see that modern slavery undercuts other important priorities – from environmental sustainability, to empowering and advancing the lives of women, to combating corruption and transnational organized crime.

It is also true that wherever we find poverty and lack of opportunity, wherever rule of law is weak, wherever corruption is most ingrained, and where minorities are abused, where populations cannot count on the protections of government or rule of law, we find not just vulnerability to trafficking but zones of impunity where traffickers can prey on their victims.

Through effective public-private partnerships, we too must prevent human trafficking across global supply chains.

It is a fact that human trafficking can be found in many trades. However, the risk is more pronounced in the industries that rely upon low-skilled or unskilled labor

On one hand, governments must lead the way in ensuring that their suppliers and contractors are held to the highest standards and adopt the highest standards.

On the other hand, international organizations, including the OECD and the OSCE, and companies should enforce regulations against human trafficking throughout their supply chains, and that includes from the production of raw materials, labor brokers, contractors, and subcontractors through to the final product, and especially in vulnerable sectors such as agriculture and food processing, fishing and seafood, tourism and hospitality, sports and entertainment, manufacturing, mining, and many others.

So there is no denying that modern slavery touches our daily lives and continues to work its way into global supply chains, where some of the goods and services that consumers purchase every day may be tainted by the blood and sweat of forced labor.

One of the greatest zones of impunity is in the un- or under-regulated tiers of supply chains.

The sources of the problem include individuals desperate for work; unscrupulous labor brokers who lie to recruit those workers; companies greedy for profits, who turn a blind eye to abuses or bribe police and officials to do the same; and customers looking to just save that extra dollar or two without regard to what the implications of those savings may be.

OECD Principles for Combating Corruption Related to Trafficking in Persons

If governments want responsible businesses to compete on a level playing field, then we need to address this problem head on, together, and safeguard the integrity of markets and supply chains alike. And why the OECD principles to combat corruption related to human trafficking are very important to our efforts in APEC and as a pragmatic guide for a framework of best practices across sectors.

We will hear more specifics about the principles from the OECD this morning, but let me highlight a few key elements that I believe are important as we combat human trafficking and protect global supply chains:

  • develop strategies to tackle human trafficking and corruption in tandem including recognizing and investigating corruption in trafficking cases at the national as well as international levels, and trafficking in corruption and illicit trade cases;
  • prioritize high-risk sectors when developing new strategies;
  • promote information- and intelligence-exchanges to detect and map out trafficking networks throughout the supply chains, including links to corrupt officials in various sectors, and to confiscate assets derived from these crimes;
  • develop codes of conduct with respect to corruption and trafficking crimes for public officials at risk, and ensure compliance and sanctions;
  • provide targeted awareness-raising and preventive measures on corruption and human trafficking;
  • establish accessible complaint mechanisms to report cases of abuse, harassment or violence;
  • ensure that protection measures for victims of trafficking are in place; and many other principles.

Finally, the novel approach of this joint APEC-OECD roundtable is the targeted focus on corruption that facilitates human trafficking. Corrupt law enforcement agents facilitate the recruitment, transportation and exploitation of trafficking victims, and corrupt criminal justice authorities can help traffickers by obstructing investigations and prosecutions of cases as well as hinder the protection of victims of trafficking.

Corrupt officials also play an important role in the different stages of the crime of trafficking in persons. Obtaining fraudulent invitations or forged documents may be facilitated by corrupt officials at the recruitment stage.

Where transportation is involved, officials may turn a blind eye and ignore victims of trafficking – allowing them to cross borders – in exchange for bribes. At the exploitation phase, they may practice extortion. Corruption involving the private sector – for example travel agencies, model agencies, marriage bureaus, and hotels – may also contribute to trafficking in their business operations.

The private sector needs to be a part of our global response by blowing the whistle on businesses that use labor that is under age, under paid, and under coercion. The ACT remains keen to continue our strong partnership with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) on combating corruption and illicit trade across the Asia Pacific region. We encourage greater ACT-ABAC collaborations to similarly advance APEC initiatives to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking.

Public-Private Partnerships: A Call to Action

Sustainable progress against corruption related to human trafficking requires both political commitment, implementation of laws, and effective law enforcement and criminal justice capacities in source, transit, and demand markets.

We must support our partners to develop stronger law enforcement and rule of law institutions to fight the growing threats posed to our economies by corruption, organized crime, and trafficking.

The United States is committed to working with our international partners at every level to counter the root causes of trafficking, to warn potential victims and communities, to put criminal perpetrators and their facilitators behind bars, and to empower survivors as they rebuild their lives.

We are also committed to strengthen international cooperation across borders with key partners to combat the lethal nexus of organized crime, illicit trafficking, and terrorism, and to protect our communities from the violence, harm, and exploitation wrought by national and transnational threat networks.

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), has some of the Department of State’s strongest tools for strengthening rule of law and helping governments prevent and combat corruption. Our anti-corruption and law enforcement programming provides training to law enforcement officers and the judiciary on investigating human trafficking and corruption cases and address the linkages among human trafficking, corruption, and organized crime.

INL collaborates closely with the Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons not only to amplify the recommendations of the Trafficking in Persons Report, but to work on designing targeted anti-crime strategies and programs aimed at preventing trafficking, protecting victims and vulnerable populations, and prosecuting offenders.

USAID’s pioneering “Supply Unchained” initiative seeks to assist partner economies to address related issues in the global supply chain and to better identify and counter human trafficking in sectors rife with these forms of exploitation and abuse. By using this new model of development to leverage technology and partnerships to connect individuals and communities in sectors at risk with stakeholders along the supply chain, USAID is helping to better identify human trafficking risks in order to prevent new cases.

Through our diplomatic engagement in strategic fora such as APEC, ASEAN, OECD, the United Nations, International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Bank, and others, the State Department brings together committed leaders and champions from governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector to effectively combat trafficking in persons.

At every opportunity, we place a huge emphasis on working together to encourage foreign governments to improve their anti-trafficking responses.

It is also imperative that we leverage all possible areas of cooperation, including legal instruments such as the UN Convention Against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons. UN tools are regularly and successfully employed by governments to facilitate mutual legal assistance and other forms of international cooperation, including the exchange of intelligence and information between law enforcement in one economy and another that can help prosecute traffickers and to shield at-risk populations.

Through intelligence-based policing, there can be a demonstration effect that when criminals are arrested for human trafficking, pressure builds on authorities in surrounding economies to make arrests builds.

The APEC region can be a leader in holding human traffickers accountable.

Advocacy groups, faith communities, faith leaders, service providers, educators, and researchers should continue to intensify the pressure for bold action so that together we will win more battles in a fight that will surely last for some time to come.

Advancing Human Dignity: Prosecuting Corruption and Human Trafficking

President Barack Obama and Secretary John Kerry have underscored the urgency to act and push back against trafficking bullies and exploiters.

Aligned with APEC’s agenda, we must nurture and invest in more sustainable futures across our economies and safeguard our human capital. Impunity is destructive at all levels – both domestically and internationally: if we want to secure safe and free trade routes, create and protect stable political systems, bolster global food security, or curb environmental degradation, we address these challenges head on.

In closing, the words of Pope Francis, I think, are very appropriate when he says that human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society. We must work together to focus on identifying and seeking justice for victims, supporting survivors, and creating a world where people are no longer subjected to exploitation and trafficking.

Together in APEC and ASEAN, with support of our respective communities in the Asia Pacific, and our international partners such as the OECD, we will continue to advance the shared security, prosperity and human dignity that we all cherish.

Finally, at the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November in Manila, it is our hope that APEC Leaders and CEOs can agree to lead by example to make the world a better place, more stable, more secure, more free, and more prosperous for generations to come. A unified commitment to a world free of modern slavery, eliminating trafficking from our supply chains, and embracing the principle that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, is indeed a worthwhile achievement for all humanity.

Thank you.

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The U.S. Department of State’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report can be found at: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/

[photo credits: “Jeepney Carbon Market”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jeepney_Carbon_Market.jpg#/media/File:Jeepney_Carbon_Market.jpg]

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South African Students Go To Japan For Training

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: ZAgov}

Japan/South Africa

Japan to train SA youth

Pretoria – Japan’s commitment to support South Africa’s developmental trajectory has been welcomed by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

 

 

 

Speaking in Tokyo at the conclusion of his official visit to Japan, on Tuesday, the Deputy President said South Africa sees Japan as a friend, as a country that does not only invest, but a country that also supports development.

“They are making great strides in supporting the continent when it comes to skills development. They have invited or called for a number of young people around the continent to come and be trained here in Japan. We will be sending 49,” he said.

The Deputy President this week led a high-level government and business delegation to the country to promote strategic political and economic relations between the two nations.

During his visit he met with young people who are being trained in master’s degrees in engineering, logistics, marine technology and a number of other technologies.

“When we met these young people we saw the future of our country, we saw young people who are acquiring great skills who are ready to come back to make a contribution to our country,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa.

He said South Africa has asked Japan to extend this to the training of artisans.

“They are going to look at our proposal where we can send high level artisans who are willing to be trained to come and be trained in Japanese companies and go back home,” he said, adding that he believed through the visit opportunities have been opened for South African youth.

During his visit, he had found the Japanese people very receptive.

“We had a meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan; we spent an extensive amount of time with him and he demonstrated that he is very supportive of our developmental trajectory. We spent time with the Deputy Prime Minister, he articulated the same” said Deputy President Ramaphosa.

The delegation also spent time with the Japanese business community.

“We also used this opportunity to promote trade. There are many other areas that we want to start trading with the Japanese on. More agricultural products, they are also going to give us skills with agro processing so it’s been hugely successful and we are all very happy with the way that the visit went,” said the Deputy President.   – SAnews.gov.za

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[photo credits: “2010 FIFA World Cup Fans” by Octagon – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2010_FIFA_World_Cup_Fans.jpg#/media/File:2010_FIFA_World_Cup_Fans.jpg]

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