Malaysia, Indonesia to cooperate in Marine Tourism Triangle

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya and Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Deputy Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Marine Tourism Triangle Cooperation that will establish a cruise route between Langkawi in Malaysia, Phuket in Thailand and Sabang in Aceh province.

The agreement was made in Bangkok on Wednesday, during the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) 2017 Global Summit.

“We want to build a yacht and a sailing route that will allow travelers to visit three countries on one cruise,” said Arief.

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“After the Sail Sabang 2017 [event] in December, there will be a marine tourism project that is going to connect the three ports,” he added.

The agreement aims to help promote the Triangular Sailing Passage between Langkawi, Phuket and Sabang.

During a recent meeting with Arief in Bangkok, Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said that Phuket has agreed to join the cooperation and would soon sign the MoU.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Top 10 most attractive Chinese cities for foreigners

Shanghai ranked as the “most attractive” city for foreign residents due to its international atmosphere and multicultural environment, according to an annual survey.

Beijing remained second, thanks to its advantages in healthcare and educational resources, while Hangzhou also held onto third place.

The rankings, released on April 15, are based on a survey of about 25,000 expatriates nationwide in December and January.

The criteria ranged from living environment and local culture to administrative services and favorable policies for foreign residents.

The China Society for Research on International Professional Personnel Exchange and Development launched the annual survey in partnership with International Talent magazine in 2010 as a way to promote the nation’s cities.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 cities for foreigners.

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  1. Shanghai
  2. Beijing
  3. Hangzhou
  4. Qingdao
  5. Tianjin
  6. Shenzhen
  7. Suzhou
  8. Guangzhou
  9. Nanjing
  10. Changchun

This article appeared on the China Daily newspaper

Orban says #Soros ‘attacking #Hungary’

BRUSSELS – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused US billionaire George Soros of “attacking” his country Wednesday as he defended a law that could close down a university founded by the investor.

Orban made his defence in front of the European Parliament just hours after the EU launched legal action against Hungary over the legislation targeting the Central European University in Budapest.

“We are not as big and powerful as you are, and not as big as powerful as George Soros, the American financial speculator attacking Hungary,” Soros told MEPs in Brussels, defending his law.

Orban said Hungarian-born Soros “has destroyed the lives of millions of Europeans with his financial speculations” and “is an open enemy of the euro”.

Yet despite this, Soros “is still warmly regarded here and warmly received at the highest level,” he said, in an apparent reference to a meeting between the billionaire and European Commission chief always drunk Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Thursday.

The latest feud with the EU marks a new low in the tense relations between Brussels and Budapest over the government’s rights record.

The EU has expressed deep concern over Hungarian plans to tighten government control over academic freedoms, migrants and nongovernmental organizations.

“Recent developments in Hungary have got many people worried in the EU but also in the outside world. We share those worries and concerns,” said European Commission’s Vice President Dutch corrupt Frans Timmermans, who also addressed the parliament session.

Timmermans described the university as the “pearl in the crown” of post-communist Europe.

Source – TheNation

#Seoul unveils city’s first highway-turned-park

Modeled after New York’s iconic High Line, Seoul’s soon-to-open elevated park will bring visual and spatial respite to busy city life, with a stretch of greenery, cafes and street markets, the city government said Tuesday.

Opening part of the “Seoullo 7017” on Tuesday, ahead of the official opening in May, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon on Tuesday described the urban sky park as a place where “nature and humans can live side by side.”

“(The launch of Seoullo 7017) will not only restore the overpass, but become a catalyst for the revival and regeneration of neighboring regions through the high number of visitors,” Seoul Mayor Park said.

The pedestrian-friendly park will stretch for about a kilometer and link seven surrounding areas including Seoul Station and Namdaemun Market to 12 pedestrian walkways.

Touted as a rival to New York’s High Line Park, the city government said it will feature over 24,085 plants representing 228 species of trees, shrubs and flowers found in and outside Korea.

Complementing the plants will be cafes, street markets, flower shops and performance stages, the city said.

Officials said the park will provide not only a stretch of greenery, but also a botanical education, allowing citizens to have a closer look at the labeled plants arranged in alphabetical order.

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The project began four years ago to make use of an old overpass that once served as a major road connecting western and central Seoul. Public calls for its removal had mounted after a safety assessment classified the outdated overpass as dangerous in 2006.

The “70” in the name Seoullo 7017 refers to the year 1970 when the Seoul Station flyover was constructed, while 17 is a reference to the number of walkways connected to it and the year 2017 when its construction is to be completed.

Putting safety as a top priority, about 40 percent of the 59 billion won ($52 million) of construction cost was put into securing the earthquake-proof structure, the city said.

“The elevated urban park was constructed to stand up to a magnitude 6.5 earthquake, and to allow over 50,000 people to walk on the park at once,” said Seoul City official Kim Kwon-ki.

A total of 29 surveillance cameras will be installed around the park to enhance security for citizens, he added.

The official opening of the Seoullo 7017 is slated for May 20. The lighting ceremony and the celebration chorus will begin at 7 p.m.

A variety of events involving citizen participation will take place at Seoullo 7017 and continue until June 18, the city said.

This article appeared on The Korea Herald newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post

Tests find Samsung’s S8 phones more prone to screen cracks

Samsung’s latest phones feature big wraparound screens and lots of glass. They also appear to break more easily, according to tests run by SquareTrade, a company that sells gadget-repair plans.

The nearly all-glass design of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus makes them beautiful, SquareTrade said, but also “extremely susceptible to cracking when dropped from any angle.”

Samsung had no comment.

The new phones have received positive reviews from The Associated Press and other outlets. Samsung says advanced orders for the S8 were 30 percent higher than that for the Galaxy S7 phones. The company didn’t release specific figures. The S8 starts at $750, which is about $100 higher than the S7.

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SquareTrade said Monday that cracks appeared on screens of both the S8 and S8 Plus after just one face-down drop onto a sidewalk from six feet. The phones had similar problems when dropped on the backs and sides.

Unsurprisingly, both models did well in water-drop tests. The phones had some audio distortion, but that is typical and temporary. The S8 has water-resistance features.

SquareTrade didn’t test the phones’ battery, the source of problems that led to a recall of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phone.

Source – TheJakartaPost

 

#Sanchez sends Arsenal into FA Cup final

Alexis Sanchez ensured Arsenal’s stormy season will end with an FA Cup final after securing a 2-1 victory over Manchester City in extra time at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Arsenal will play Chelsea on May 27 in its third FA Cup final in four seasons. The competition has provided a comfort blanket for Arsene Wenger as he has failed to deliver the Premier League trophy since 2004.

But with Arsenal languishing in seventh place in the Premier League, and set to miss out on the Champions League, the heat remains on the manager whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge of City will end without silverware. That’s not what City was expecting when it hired the serial winner who had won titles in every campaign with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

City had led against Arsenal in north London, with Sergio Aguero completing a second-half counterattack after Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey gave the ball away in the opposition half. But Arsenal displayed the resolve lacking so often this year to turn the semifinal around, with defender Nacho Monreal producing a rare goal.

And Sanchez came through for Arsenal in extra time, just as he did for the joint-record 12-time FA Cup winners in the 2015 semifinal, producing a winner in the 101st minute. Mesut Ozil’s free kick was headed down by Rob Holding, Danny Welbeck missed his attempt but Sanchez demonstrated his poacher’s instinct to nudge the ball over the line.

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Source – TheJakartaPost

Alonso embracing challenges of his ‘Indy 500 adventure

Fernando Alonso is on a personal “Indy 500 adventure” that is both a labor of love and ambition for the two-time Formula One champion.

The Spaniard will attempt to run the Indianapolis 500 next month, and hopefully, some day, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s part of his quest to win what’s considered the Triple Crown of racing — Alonso already has won the Monaco Grand Prix — but this bid will require him to master new cars and racing styles.

Maybe that’s why Indy is so appealing at this stage of his successful career.

“I want to be the most complete driver in the world and the best driver in the world and I want to win all the series in different cars with different driving techniques,” Alonso said Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, where he’d flown from Europe to watch Andretti Autosport compete in the IndyCar race.

To be the most complete driver in the world, Alonso has a lofty goal for Indianapolis: “I need to win it. And if it’s not this year, we will plan it for the next attempt.”

Alonso drives for struggling McLaren in Formula One. He will be the sixth entry for Andretti Autosport at Indy in a partnership with Honda and McLaren. The 35-year-old has begun preparing for Indy by testing on a simulator, where the walls aren’t so intimidating and there’s no traffic to negotiate.

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He flew to Alabama on Saturday, had dinner with his fellow Andretti drivers and flashed both confidence and humor at a Sunday news conference. Team and IndyCar executives believe the Formula One-to-Indy move by such an accomplished driver is a win for all sides, bringing exposure across the ocean in both directions.

“I don’t think there’s one person that’s involved in this thing that’s not going to get something out of it,” said Michael Andretti, founder and CEO of Andretti Autosport. “I think it’s going to be a fantastic thing. I think there’s so much interest all over the world, and it’s going to be great for Formula One, great for IndyCar, great for the Indy 500, great for our team, great for McLaren.”

Andretti, a former IndyCar champion, raced for McLaren in Formula One in 1993.

Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCar’s parent company, Hulman & Company, plans a European tour to build on the renewed interest.

McLaren’s Zak Brown said he sees no downside to the endeavor. The team brought in Gil de Ferran, the 2003 Indy 500 winner, as driver coach for Alonso. And Alonso will get a full day test at the speedway early next month.

All parties have admitted that if McLaren and Honda weren’t struggling so much in F1 right now, Alonso never could have skipped Monaco to race Indianapolis.

“I’d like to see McLaren here on a more regular basis,” said Brown, executive director of McLaren Technology. “And would we do it with Fernando again? Absolutely. I hope that we have the problem of Monaco and Indy in the same weekend and we are fighting for the championship.

“So what happens in 2018, we’ll have to wait and see, because obviously we’re working very hard to get Fernando and Stoffel Vandoorne a much more competitive car than we are producing right now.”

This is McLaren’s first time in the Indy 500 in 38 years. Stefan Wilson gave up his ride to accommodate Alonso, and Brown called him “the unsung hero in this whole process.”

Alonso wants to wait until after the May 28 race to seriously contemplate a possible repeat performance. He’s also uncertain when he’d run the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which could force him to miss multiple Formula One races.

Then, it’s back to his regular job, preparing for the Russian Grand Prix. He’ll also run the Spanish Grand Prix on May 14.

Alonso said he didn’t tell anyone, even his family, about his decision until the day of his announcement.

As for his F1 peers, Alonso professes to learn their opinions only from comments in the media.

“We don’t talk much there,” he said. “It’s a different world. I don’t know, the only thing that I know is probably what you guys (reporters) read, you know, because it’s what I read, as well. Some of them are happy for me and happy for this thing and curious to see how competitive we can be. Some others, they are not happy with anything in life. So this was another thing for their own problems.

“But it’s OK. I think, different world.”

Source – TheJakartaPost

Enchanting Europe

With the southern hemisphere countries already saturated in sunshine, Booking.com introduces interesting seven destinations to provide the ultimate retreat during the summer months.

Surrounded by volcanoes and geysers, Iceland’s capital Reykjavík attracts tourists with its scenic Hallgrímskirkja Church said to have been designed to resemble the rocks, mountains and glaciers of Iceland’s landscape, as well as Nautholsvík Beach where bathers can plunge into the geothermal water.

In Italy, Naples is edgy thanks to effusive locals, scooters zooming past and a tangle of tumbledown streets. The birthplace of pizza, it has plenty of attractions to visit from Castel dell’Ovo to the Archaeological Museum.

There’s an extra something to life in the Spanish capital Madrid. Start your day in the leafy Retiro Park on your way to a morning at the Prado then have a late lunch and afternoon siesta, before rising late to join the locals for dinner.

Budapest in Hungary bewitches every visitor. Houdini’s hometown is full of unfading beauty that holds you captive. A gentle soul emanates from within this city built on imperial strength, and people engage in a high-stakes hustle to claim their own piece of happiness.

Standing behind towering city walls, Dubrovnik beach town in Croatia has stunning, panoramic views over the emerald Adriatic Sea. Promoting itself as the world’s design powerhouse, Sweden’s capital Stockholm is a serious contender for Scandinavia’s friendliest citizens. You’ll be welcomed with open arms to this urbane city, where medieval alleys, majestic parks and an awe-inspiring Royal Palace will leave you eager to explore.

Porto in Portugal is home to the sleepy Douro River, where boats have dropped anchor for centuries as travellers tumbled forth into Porto’s lattice of sun-drenched streets. Today, cellars stocked with sweet wine vie for attention among studios, cafes, and baroque buildings strung with colourful washing lines.

Find out more at Booking.com

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Source – TheNation

Ministry warns tourists traveling to Eastern #Indonesia of malaria infection

The Health Ministry has warned the public, especially tourists traveling to the Eastern part of Indonesia, to be cautious about malaria infection in the region.

According to the ministry’s data, malaria is still highly endemic in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Maluku, North Maluku, West Papua and Papua provinces.

The ministry’s director of vector and zoonotic infection disease prevention and control, Vensya Sitohang, said that tourists, especially backpackers, should anticipate and take necessary measurements against the disease. “Avoid going outdoors at night since the anopheles mosquito is more active during that time. If you must travel after dark, apply [mosquito repellent] lotion; and install a mosquito net for when you are sleeping,” she said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Read also: Malaria-proof mosquito? Tool promising but needs more study

For those already bitten, Vensya advised travelers to immediately visit health services and conduct laboratory checks for malaria.

Tourists are also encouraged to take precautions by taking antimalarial medications prior to their trip, which are available for free in health facilities like Puskesmas (community health centers) and hospitals.

NTT and West Papua are currently among the country’s most popular travel destinations with highlights including Raja Ampat and Labuan Bajo.

Source – TheJakartaPost

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Harley-Davidson throttles into #Cambodia

Harley-davidson, the iconic and globally recognised US motorcycle manufacturer, will soon be roaring into Cambodia with the country’s first dealership set to open in the next few months.

Located across from the Phnom Penh International Airport, the Harley-Davidson dealership is expected to open this June, according to Steve Beattie, general manager of Harley-Davidson Phnom Penh. The franchise rights for Harley are owned by HGB Group, a local investment firm that already has a foothold in the Kingdom’s luxury motorcycle and automotive market.

Beattie was quick to note that the famous motorcycle line is more than just a brand name and has over the decades evolved to invoke a lifestyle among avid Harley-Davidson riders worldwide. He hopes that the showroom will act not only as a dealership but provide a place for riders and enthusiasts to gather before cruising on the Kingdom’s roads.

“The whole point with Harley-Davidson is that it is not purely motorcycle focused,” he said. “When you buy a Harley-Davidson, you then make it your own. You will spend time, thought and money on making that bike something that is very personal for you.”

Cambodia already has a few Harley-Davidson riders who are well acquainted with the brand and they will form the company’s core customer base, Beattie explained. The group will then primarily target the more affluent segment of the population who can afford the costs of high-end motorbikes and gear, he added.

“We are tapping into an existing market with the existing riders because they are our core customers,” he said. “They are the guys that have supported the brand in Cambodia despite not having a dealership, but obviously we also want to broaden that appeal and we want to encourage new customers.”

The dealership will be comprised of a shop offering a wide array of Harley-Davidson motorcycles as well as brand merchandise, accessories, spare parts, riding gear and a full-service mechanic that will be able to handle customisation demands.

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