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How to Use Your Tax Return for Travel

Those looking to travel domestically could take a full two weeks to visit the Pacific Northwest (think: Seattle, Portland and the surrounding area.
Couples can spend a week in Sedona, Arizona hiking the red rocks, or lounge on the beach in Florida’s Key West, with airfares in the low $300s roundtrip from many East Coast airports, according to Jauntaroo.
International destinations are still a possibility for couples on a $2,400 budget, including getaways to Croatia, where roundtrip airfare can be found from $483 per person and hotels can be booked for less than $100 per night. (Sadly, outside the capital, there arent a ton of points hotel options.) Theres also Budapest, Hungary. Hunt for a roundtrip flight just over $400 and boutique apartment rentals for $60 per night on Airbnb.
$2,700 to $2,850For international vacations, Midwest residents can head to Spain from the Midwest for just $481 roundtrip per person, or take a quick flight to the island of Aruba for just $371, according to Skyscanner. Entire families can enjoy a trip here by using points to reserve a stay at one of the islands many great points properties.
Photo by Tashka / Getty Images.$3,000 to $3,150The average tax return has historically been about $3,000 per person, and most states land in this range, from Alaska to Georgia, Maryland and Nevada.It’s still a sizable return, and even travelers who don’t want to spend their entire tax return on a trip can find great options within this budget.For residents of Nevada, Alaska, or any of the other western states, the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington are a short flight and boat ride away.
The rural archipelago is filled with state parks and greenery, making it the perfect option for nature lovers who want to hike, kayak, swim or watch for orcas starting in May. Flights originating from the west can be as low as $103 per person, according to Skyscanner, and hotels on the islands usually run from $70 to $150 per night.For international locations, residents of the West Coast can fly to parts of South America in just a few hours. Flights from California to Sao Paolo, Brazil are usually less than $500 in May.
East Coast residents can turn to the British Isles for a great getaway, where flights to Scotland are $499 round trip and flights to London are just $341, according to Skyscanner. Travelers can splurge on the recently renovated Ritz-Carlton in London, or stay at the highly rated Hilton Metropole for less than $150 per night.(Cash in your points for an award night, and youll have plenty of your tax return left over for food, beverages and activities.)$3,700 to $3,850States in the Northeast see some of the highest average tax refunds, with Connecticut taking the number one spot of $3,844, according to Smart Asset.
Travelers in the highest tax return bracket could jet off to Bali for two weeks to visit ancient Hindu temples. Flights from New York City to Bali can get as low as $481 roundtrip in the month of May (though if you want to book something quick, its not difficult to find flights in the mid-$700s) and hotels run in the low hundreds per night.North African temperatures tend to be relatively mild in the spring, making it a great time to visit Morocco or Egypt (one of our top places to travel this April). Flights to Africa tend to run on the more expensive side, regardless of the time of year, but flights to Casablanca can be found in the low $600s roundtrip.Visitors can rent entire homes near Casablanca for roughly $50 per night — and some even include their own pools.For the latest travel news, deals and points and miles tips please .

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Orbán: Hungary, Cape Verde Linked by Christian Culture

Hungary and Cape Verde are linked by their Christian cultures, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in the island country’s capital of Praia on Thursday.
Orbán wrapped up a two-day visit to the country, where he and his delegation met Ulisses Correia e Silva, the prime minister, Olavo Correia, the deputy PM and finance minister, and Foreign Minister Luis Filipe Tavares.PM Viktor Orbán and Jorge Carlos Fonseca, President of Cape Verde. Photo by Balázs Szecsődi/PMs Press Office Orbán noted that he and Correia e Silva are both deputy leaders of the Centrist Democrat International (CDI).The prime minister said that when he and Correia e Silva met in Budapest, they realised that the Christian culture we grew up in allows us to have a similar view of the world, despite being thousands of kilometres apart.Viktor Orbán and Ulisses Correia e Silva, Prime Minister of Cape Verde.
He said it was rare nowadays for a country to openly identify as Christian.This is banned in Europe, he said, adding that we cant talk about questions of identity there; its a different world.During Orbáns visit, Hungary and Cape Verde signed an economic cooperation agreement as well as one on education.Under the economic cooperation pact, the two countries will set up a mixed economic committee, he said.Hungary will offer 35 million euros of tied aid to Cape Verde with a view to developing its agriculture and water management. It will also disburse 15 million euros in private credit to help set up joint ventures between the two countries, Orbán said.
Foreign Minister: Africa Continent of the Future Hungary ranks 88th in the world in population size and 34th in terms of the size of its export volume, Orbán noted, adding that this showed the global noteworthiness of its export and import activities.As regards the education cooperation pact, the prime minister noted his governments Stipendium Hungaricum programme, which awards scholarships to foreign university students.This is how we try to make friends in the world, he said, adding that Hungary will offer scholarships to ten students from Cape Verde.In addition, Hungary is ready to allocate funds towards spreading the Kodály method of music education in the country, the prime minister said.

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Growing urban middle class in Africa spurs food production that could curb hunger

Rome — The rise of an urban middle class across much of Africa is stoking demand for food that could curb hunger and cut poverty in rural outposts,The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said rural communities were in “a state of crisis”, with high poverty rates and poor services driving hunger and malnutrition.

One in five people, or more than 256-million, are hungry in Africa, according to the latest figures from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. But there are opportunities too, the IFPRI said in its annual report.In Africa, a growing middle class with higher purchasing power is fuelling a spike in demand for food — with an interesting twist, says IFPRI Africa director Ousmane Badiane.“They are not just asking for imported food, wine and cheese but to have traditional staples on the tables.

But they don’t want to eat them the traditional way,” he said.This has given birth to a large number of small agribusinesses that process, package and distribute such foods, creating jobs and opportunities for small farmers, he said.In Senegal, new processing technologies led to a growth in ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat millet products and reversed years of low and declining consumption of this healthy, gluten-free grain, said the report.Similarly, domestic brands of processed local dairy and grain products now have a significant presence in Ghana, Mali and Tanzania, it added.

This sector is likely to grow further, with projections that most traditional staples such as millet and cassava would be consumed in processed form within 20 years, Badiane said.The African Continental Free Trade Agreement, expected to come into force this year, would also help, he said, by allowing farmers and businesses to tap into a market of 1.2-billion people across 55 countries.Turning opportunity into reality needs technology and financing that would allow locals to innovate and compete, he said.

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Ethiopian Airlines says its relationship with Boeing will last “well into the future”

CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said the company will work with the US manufacturer and other airlines to “make air travel even safer” and SOLIDARITYE thiopian Airlines says its relationship with Boeing will last “well into the future”By Abdi Latif DahirMarch 25, 2019Ethiopian Airlines has said it has confidence in Boeing, a singular vote of confidence that comes as both companies face increasing questions following a deadly crash in early March.

In a statement today (March 25), CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said the company will work with the US manufacturer and other airlines to “make air travel even safer” and to “make the skies safer for the world.”Boeing is facing scrutiny and government probes after two fatal crashes involving its 737 Max 8 model aircraft occurred within months of each other in Indonesia and Ethiopia, leading to their grounding worldwide.Although the causes of the crashes are yet to be determined, questions have swirled around the plane’s automated system designed to direct the nose downwards if it was in danger of stalling.Transport officials in Addis Ababa have said there were “clear similarities” between the Ethiopian and Lion Air crashes in Indonesia.

Both planes flew with erratic altitude changes and crashed minutes after takeoff while trying to return to the airport.The Chicago-headquartered planemaker is the key supplier to Ethiopian, with the partnership between the two extending to the early 1960s.The ET 302 flight plane that crashed was less than five months old, and Tewolde said they took delivery of yet another 737 Boeing cargo planes of a different model less than a month ago.Tewolde also extolled Ethiopian’s relationship with the US aviation industry, saying their earlier pilots, crew, and mechanics were employees of the now-defunct New York-based airline, TWA.

Ethiopian Airlines was originally established after a visiting Ethiopian delegation requested American officials in 1945 to help establish a commercial airline for domestic air service.“Let me be clear: Ethiopian Airlines believes in Boeing,” Tewolde said.“Despite the tragedy, Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines will continue to be linked well into the future.”Ethiopian Airlines’ renewed pledge to Boeing comes as the state carrier itself fends off allegations that it sacrificed expansion and profit for safety.The carrier is Africa’s fastest-growing with hubs across the continent and a 113-strong fleet servicing 119 destinations worldwide.A New York Times story last week reported that even though the airline had the 737 Max 8 simulator, the pilot on the ill-fated flight was yet to be trained on it.

A Washington Post report also found 2015 complaints in the US Federal Aviation Administration database from pilots who accused the airline of failing to update manuals and for instituting a “fear-based” management style.Ethiopian refuted both stories and even called on the Post to “remove the article, apologize and correct the facts.”When the Boeing 737 Max 8 was first introduced, Boeing and the FAA agreed pilots who had flown a related earlier 737 model didn’t need additional simulator training, nor training specifically about the automated system known as MCAS. Pilots qualified to fly the 737-800 only received training that amounted to “an iPad lesson for an hour.” Pilot unions have said that since the Lion Air crash, they have received formal instruction on the feature.Tewolde said in his statement their pilots “who fly the new model were trained on all appropriate simulators”—but still didn’t confirm whether the specific pilots on the doomed ET 302 trained on the simulator.Boeing currently continues to face the bulk of criticism especially after revelations that it charged extrawould add as standard feature following the crashes. And despite the expression of confidence, there seems to be a chance of fissure between Ethiopian and Boeing as investigations continue.In the aftermath of the Lion Air crash, “more should have been done from the Boeing side in terms of disclosure, in terms of coming up with strong procedures, stronger than what they gave us,” Tewolde told the Wall Street Journal today.

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Chinese shares slip over Fed dovish stance at next meet

Chinese shares edged lower on Tuesday as investors took profits after major stock indexes closed near 6-1/2 month highs in the previous session, but the downside was limited by the expectation that the U.S.
Image Credit: Pixabay investors took profits after major stock indexes closed near 6-1/2 month highs in the previous session, but the downside was limited by the expectation that the U.S. Federal Reserve would take a dovish stance at its meeting this week.At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.22 per cent at 3,089.50. China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.37 per cent. Both indexes closed near 6-1/2 month highs on Monday.
Hong Kong fell 0.46 per cent to 11,620.81, while the Hang Seng Index was down 0.25 per cent at 29,334.61. The smaller Shenzhen index was unchanged for the day and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.12 per cent. Investors are looking to the Fed policy meeting to see whether policymakers have sufficiently lowered their interest rate forecasts to more closely align their “dot plot”, a diagram showing individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years.
In contrast to broader market declines, nuclear power-related stocks surged after environmental impact assessments (EIA) for two nuclear power plant projects were submitted for approval to regulators on Monday, a vital stage in the resumption of China’s atomic energy programme after a three-year halt in new approvals. State-owned China National Nuclear Power jumped as much as 10 per cent to its highest since April 2018, before trimming gains.
It was last up 2.29 percent.Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.05 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.16 per cent. The yuan was quoted at 6.7162 per U.S.dollar, 0.04 per cent weaker than the previous close of 6.7135. The largest percentage gainers on the main Shanghai Composite index were Lanzhou LS Heavy Equipment Co Ltd, up 10.09 per cent, followed by Hunan Chen Dian International Development Co Ltd, gaining 10.04 per cent, and Beijing Teamsun Technology Co Ltd, up by 10.04 per cent.CGN Power Co LtdChina Gas Holdings Ltd, which has fallen 4.44 per cent, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, which has lost 2.8 per cent, and Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, down by 2.6 per cent.In Hong Konggainer on the Hang Seng was Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd, up 5.27 per cent, while the biggest loser was Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, which was down 2.65 per cent.

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New York City Gives $2.8 M. to 175 Arts Organizations, Thanks to Metropolitan Museum of Art’s

When the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced a change to its admissions policy in 2018, (ARTnews’s editor-in-chief, Sarah Douglas, and its executive editor, Andrew Russeth, were amongits detractors.) Through the Mets new arrangement with New York City, a portion of the museums revenues had to be given to the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), which revealed on Monday what arts institutions would be receiving increased funding in 2019 because of the Mets fees.In a release on Monday, the DCLA said it has allocated $2.8 million to 175 arts organizations throughout the city. Of that sum, $1.4 million will be given to 160 organizations through the Cultural Development Fund, and 15 more institutions in the Cultural Institutions Group—a consortium of museums and centers that cater to underserved communities, according to the DCLA—will receive $1.4 million.
In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “New York is the cultural capital of the world not only because of our hallmark institutions, but because of the smaller museums, shows, and organizations throughout the five boroughs. They deserve meaningful investment too.This agreement has allowed the Met to thrive while giving us a unique opportunity to increase cultural investment in our underserved communities—allowing us to support the diversity that makes our city great at no additional cost to taxpayers.”Among those receiving extra money from the Cultural Development Fund are the New Museum, Artists Space, Triple Canopy, Rhizome, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, and the Drawing Center.Those increases range from $1,000 to $40,000.The 15 Cultural Institutions Group organizations receiving extra funding are being given between $25,000 and $175,000 more than usual.El Museo del Barrio, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts are receiving $175,000 increases each. MoMA PS1 and the Queens Museum are also receiving increases in funding.Daniel H. Weiss, the president and CEO of the Met, said in a statement, The admissions policy is performing precisely as we hoped it would—our museum is welcoming record levels of visitors, the increased revenue is supporting our always ambitious exhibition and education programming, and New Yorkers are continuing to enjoy pay-as-you-wish pricing.The full list of institutions receiving increases in funding can be found on the DCLAs website.

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Scope Real Estate to pump LE150M investments

CAIRO – 17 March 2019: Scope Real Estate Company plans to pump investments worth LE 150 million during the coming period, an official at Scope,The company also signed partnership contracts with Director of Contracting at Al Ahli Club Adly el-Kea’y to become deputy chairman of the company.The contracts were signed by Chairman of Scope Company Mohamed Salama Ghabashi and now-Deputy Chairman of Scope Adly el-Kea’y.
According to the official statement, the company intends to launch new investments in New Cairo and the New Administrative Capital as part of its investment plan.
Chairman of Scope Company Ghabashi said that his company is seeking to implement residential projects that are the first of their kind in terms of spaces and designs as part of its expansion plan in the real estate field.He added that the company owns a number of residential projects (Florence, Acacia, Lagoya, Scala, Maxi, Rosella, Fiori, Mini Compound, Galeria, etc.) with a total number of about 300 units sold at competitive prices and facilities up to 7 years to suit all needs.Ghabashi explained that 2019 is the golden year in the real estate market and the first winner is the buyer, clarifying that this is because many developers and investors have to sell at prices close to the cost price or with a small profit margin to provide investment liquidity.
The chairman of Scope expected the prices of real estate units to increase starting from the beginning of the second half of the year in conjunction with the increase in fuel prices as a result of the cut of fuel subsidies, which mainly causes a rise in the prices of basic building materials.He added that as a result of all these expectations and factors, 2019 is the golden year of residential investment and safe investments, especially after the decline of the dollar and the fall of gold prices.He also stressed that the company’s investment plan includes doubling the current number of its units to hit 600 residential units, in addition to owning a real estate portfolio to help the customers and gain their confidence.

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