International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

“This is not playing games”: David Attenborough slams Australian government amid bushfire crisis

<p>Sir David Attenborough has warned that “moment of crisis” had come, saying it is “palpable nonsense” to suggest the bushfire crisis has nothing to do with climate change.</p> <p>In an interview with <em><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51123638">BBC</a> </em>on Thursday, the British naturalist said the Australian government’s support of coal mines suggested it does not care about the environment.</p> <p>“The moment of crisis has come. We can no longer prevaricate,” said Attenborough.</p> <p>“As I speak, south-east Australia is on fire. Why? Because the temperatures of the Earth are increasing. That is a major international catastrophe.</p> <p>“And to say, oh, it has nothing to do with the climate is palpably nonsense.”</p> <p>The current wave of Australian bushfires has burnt <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/jan/17/david-attenborough-calls-australias-bushfires-the-moment-of-crisis-to-address-climate-change">more than 10.7 million hectares of land</a>, led to the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-09/nsw-bushfires-kill-over-a-billion-animals-experts-say/11854836">deaths of over a billion animals</a>, and is estimated to cost the country <a href="https://www.afr.com/companies/tourism/tourism-loses-4-5b-to-bushfires-as-overseas-visitors-cancel-20200116-p53s0s">at least $4.5 billion</a> by the end of the year in tourism losses.</p> <p>The 93-year-old called for immediate action to address the urgent matter.</p> <p>“We have to realise that this is not playing games. This is not just having nice little debates and arguments and then coming away with a compromise. This is an urgent problem that has to be solved,” he said.</p> <p>“And what is more is that we know how to do it, that’s the paradoxical thing, that we are refusing to take steps that we know have to be taken.</p> <p>“And every year that passes makes those steps more and more difficult to achieve.”</p> <p>Attenborough also urged China to reduce its carbon emissions, saying he believed other countries would “fall in line”.</p> <p>“We have been putting things off year after year, raising targets and saying ‘Oh well if we do it within the next 20 years...’” he said. “People can see the problem, particularly young people can see the problem, and that must force governments to take action.”</p> <p>Attenborough also warned that “human beings have overrun the world” in a trailer for his new documentary <em>David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet</em>.</p> <p>“The living world is a unique and spectacular marvel, yet the way we humans live on earth is sending it into a decline,” he said.</p> <p>“Human beings have overrun the world. We’re replacing the wild with the tame.</p> <p>“We need to learn how to work with nature rather than against it.”</p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Prince Harry's military colleagues weigh in on the royal withdrawal

<p>Following the announcement to step back as senior members of the royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have fought an increasing amount of backlash from the media and public who believe the pair are disrespecting the monarchy.</p> <p>However, some of the military members who served alongside Prince Harry have come to his defense in a number of heartfelt, meaningful posts.</p> <p>While there has been mixed reactions from the public to the news of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex intending to step back from their positions as royal members, others have firmly backed the decision and have voiced their support.</p> <p>Former British Special Forces soldier Dean Stott said, "The Duke of Sussex has and will continue to hold the utmost respect from the entire military community for his service both in Uniform and out. Say what you want about the current situation but I defy anyone to say this man does not deserve the full respect awarded to a soldier."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">The Duke of Sussex has and will continue to hold the utmost respect from the entire military community for his service both in Uniform and out.<br />Say what you want about the current situation but I defy anyone to say this man does not deserve the full respect awarded to a soldier. <a href="https://t.co/Y1K8eWU8AY">pic.twitter.com/Y1K8eWU8AY</a></p> — Dean Stott (@DeanStottSBS) <a href="https://twitter.com/DeanStottSBS/status/1216812009058131974?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 13, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Another veteran shared a photograph of him with the duke, writing, "I personally served with Harry in Afghan 2012/13 and think hes a top bloke, hes done amazing things with the INVICTUS games, supporting wounded and injured soldiers so we need to do the same for him. Get behind him when he needs our country and back him in whatever he chooses."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">I personally served with Harry in Afghan 2012/13 and think hes a top bloke, hes done amazing things with the INVICTUS games, supporting wounded and injured soldiers so we need to do the same for him. Get behind him when he needs our country and back him in whatever he chooses. <a href="https://t.co/rOgP7E9DQ2">pic.twitter.com/rOgP7E9DQ2</a></p> — Father of an Angel (@M4MHA) <a href="https://twitter.com/M4MHA/status/1216781400868892672?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 13, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Ex-soldier David Wiseman, who competed in the Invictus games in 2016, and launched the games in 2014 alongside Prince Harry shared his own message.</p> <p>"Prince Harry has served this country in &amp; out of uniform," he wrote.</p> <p>"Operated in AFG on the ground &amp; in the air. Been a champion of the Armed Forces Community for many years. His work has supported thousands &amp; inspired millions. Please remember this when commenting on duty. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Prince Harry has served this country in &amp; out of uniform. Operated in AFG on the ground &amp; in the air. Been a champion of the Armed Forces Community for many years. His work has supported thousands &amp; inspired millions. Please remember this when commenting on duty. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrinceHarry?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PrinceHarry</a> <a href="https://t.co/24NpU4NDa4">pic.twitter.com/24NpU4NDa4</a></p> — David Wiseman (@wiseshow) <a href="https://twitter.com/wiseshow/status/1216774856257212416?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 13, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Former Royal Marines commando JJ Chalmers took to Twitter to pinpoint the Duke’s mental health awareness.</p> <p>"<a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrinceHarry?src=hashtag_click" target="_blank">#PrinceHarry</a> served long before he was in uniform," Chalmers wrote.</p> <p>"And since, few have done more to champion the <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ArmedForces?src=hashtag_click" target="_blank">#ArmedForces</a> Community or have done more to progress the open discussion of <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MentalHealth?src=hashtag_click" target="_blank">#MentalHealth</a>. I’m greatful for his service and won’t forget what he’s done for me &amp; thousands of others."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrinceHarry?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PrinceHarry</a> served long before he was in uniform.<br /><br />And since, few have done more to champion the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ArmedForces?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ArmedForces</a> Community or have done more to progress the open discussion of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MentalHealth?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MentalHealth</a>.<br /><br />I’m greatful for his service and won’t forget what he’s done for me &amp; thousands of others. <a href="https://t.co/h9SKeaXy1y">pic.twitter.com/h9SKeaXy1y</a></p> — JJ Chalmers (@JJChalmersRM) <a href="https://twitter.com/JJChalmersRM/status/1217011345754918913?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 14, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Veteran Micky Yule made a few cheeky statements about the Prince, but ultimately shared his own words in support.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">He might have skinny arms 😋 but the Boss is a top lad. I’ll always have the upmost respect for him. Let people get on with there life’s. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrinceHarry?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PrinceHarry</a> and once you’ve done 2 tours of Afghan come back to me 👊🏼🖤 <a href="https://t.co/cfnl4t0BZd">pic.twitter.com/cfnl4t0BZd</a></p> — Micky Yule (@MickyYule9) <a href="https://twitter.com/MickyYule9/status/1216823446887370753?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 13, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>"He might have skinny arms," he wrote, "but the Boss is a top lad. I'll always have the upmost respect for him. Let people get on with there life's. <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrinceHarry?src=hashtag_click" target="_blank">#PrinceHarry</a> and once you've done 2 tours of Afghan come back to me."</p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Airline makes female passenger take pregnancy test ahead of flight

<p><span>A Hong Kong airline has apologised after it demanded a passenger take a pregnancy test before allowing her to board a flight to the US Pacific island of Saipan.</span></p> <p><span>25-year-old Japanese citizen Midori Nishida was checking in for a flight at Hong Kong International Airport when a staff from the low-cost airline Hong Kong Express asked her to take a pregnancy test as part of a “fit-to-fly” assessment.</span></p> <p><span>Despite having marked on a check-in questionnaire that she wasn’t pregnant, the staff escorted Nishida to a washroom and handed her a pregnancy test, barring her from boarding until the test came back negative.</span></p> <p><span>Nishida told the <em><a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/ticket-passport-pregnancy-test-flying-to-saipan-can-be-complicated-11578664961">Wall Street Journal</a> </em>that the experience was “very humiliating and frustrating”.</span></p> <p><span>The airline indicated in the permission form that the test was required for women who are “observed to have a body size or shape resembling a pregnant woman”.</span></p> <p><span>It was reportedly part of Hong Kong Express’s response to immigration concerns in Saipan. The island, the largest of the US commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands, is a popular destination for birth tourism, allowing foreign nationals to ensure their babies become American citizens.</span></p> <p><span>There is <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/saipan-birth-tourism-airlilne-pregnancy-test-intl-hnk/index.html">no federal law</a> banning pregnant foreign citizens to enter the country or give birth on US soil. </span></p> <p><span>“We would like to apologise unreservedly to anyone who has been affected by this,” the airline said in a statement. </span></p> <p><span>“In response to concerns raised by authorities in Saipan, we took actions on flights to Saipan from February 2019 to help ensure US immigration laws were not being undermined.</span></p> <p><span>“Under our new management, we recognise the significant concerns this practice has caused. We have immediately suspended the practice while we review it.”</span></p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Where Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan and Baby Archie will live in Canada

<p><span>The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are set to spend more time in Canada as they begin a “period of transition” from their roles as senior royal members.</span></p> <p><span>Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan stunned the world last week with their announcement that they plan to become financially independent and live between the UK and North America.</span></p> <p><span>On Monday, Queen Elizabeth confirmed in a statement that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s North American home will be in Canada.</span></p> <p><span>“There will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK,” the statement read.</span></p> <p><span>The couple has also brought their two dogs to Canada, <em><a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a30502667/meghan-markle-prince-harry-archie-dogs-canada/">Town &amp; Country</a> </em>reported, indicating their plan to stay in the country further. </span></p> <p><span>It is not yet known where in Canada the royal couple will reside, but observers have made <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a30471322/meghan-markle-prince-harry-archie-sussex-home-north-america/">predictions</a>.</span></p> <p><span>A popular guess is Toronto, where the Duchess lived for seven years while filming the TV show <em>Suits</em>. In <a href="https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/meghan-markle-canada-guide-toronto-hangouts-a4330191.html">2015</a>, Duchess Meghan said the city provided her with privacy. “It’s really funny because I think as much of a big city as Toronto is, it’s so different from LA or New York,” she said. “There [are] no paparazzi so it’s really easy to just have a normal life.”</span></p> <p><span>Another prediction is Vancouver, where the Sussexes recently spent their six-week holiday break. According to <em><a href="https://www.eonline.com/news/1111286/inside-meghan-markle-s-daily-life-since-returning-to-canada-amid-royal-family-drama">E!News</a></em>, the Duchess is now in Canada and has returned to the Vancouver Island mansion that she and Prince Harry were staying at throughout their vacation.</span></p> <p><span>Neither Harry nor Meghan are Canadian citizens.</span></p> <p><span>The Queen said of the couple’s resignation and moving plans: “These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”</span></p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Why Duchess Meghan will never live in the UK again

<p><span>Duchess Meghan has no intention of returning to Britain to live, a friend said in a report Monday.</span></p> <p><span>As the royal family remains in talks following the Sussexes’ resignation announcement, a friend of the Duchess claimed that she does not want to raise her child in the UK.</span></p> <p><span>“She doesn’t want to raise Archie there, and she doesn’t want to schlep back and forth. She’ll make extended visits, but that’s it,” the friend told the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7881909/Meghan-Markle-support-mom-Doria-Ragland-miserable-UK.html" target="_blank"><em>Daily Mail</em></a>.</span></p> <p><span>The friend also said that Duchess Meghan was “miserable” living in Britain after giving birth to Archie, and that she “wasn’t sleeping well and started having anxiety attacks about her future”. </span></p> <p><span>Last week, the Duchess and her husband Prince Harry announced that they plan to step down from their “senior royal duties”, become more financially independent and continue their philanthropic work while splitting their time between North America and the UK.</span></p> <p><span>According to the friend, the royal couple is now “looking for a permanent residence in Canada. [Meghan] said she wants a country house in Whistler outside of Vancouver and a home in Toronto.”</span></p> <p><span>The friend claimed further, “Meghan says their announcement was not a surprise to the royal family — they knew all along.</span></p> <p><span>“Meghan feels the good she and Harry can create with their own fortune far outweighs any hurt feelings.”</span></p> <p><span>The palace confirmed that Duchess Meghan did not dial into the Sandringham meeting from Canada on Monday. In the ‘Sandringham Summit’, the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry gathered at Her Majesty’s summer home to discuss the Sussexes’ resignation.</span></p> <p><span>“In the end, The Sussexes decided that it wasn’t necessary for The Duchess to join,” Palace sources told multiple UK outlets.</span></p> <p><span>Following the meeting, Buckingham Palace released a statement from the 93-year-old monarch.</span></p> <p><span>“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family,” the Queen said.</span></p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

US late-night hosts unleash on Meghan and Harry

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>US TV hosts Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel took aim at Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan on Monday night as they made fun of the royal couple’s decision to leave the British Royal Family.</p> <p>Prince Harry’s summit at Sandringham with the Queen took top spot on<span> </span>The Daily Show<span> </span>with Trevor Noah pointing out that Meghan wasn’t attending due to being in Canada with baby Archie.</p> <p>“I don't blame Meghan for not going,” he joked, “because nothing good happens when white people invite you to the countryside.</p> <p>“We all know. We've seen Get Out, we know how this s*** ends!”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Thought the U.K. had had enough of big political separations? Meet Megxit. <a href="https://t.co/lQGo6ZSRdW">pic.twitter.com/lQGo6ZSRdW</a></p> — The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheDailyShow/status/1216921376906522629?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">14 January 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Noah also joked about the Queen driving in her Range Rover “like she’s in a hip hop video from the Nineties”.</p> <p>The Late Show’s<span> </span>Stephen Colbert opened his show with the news, explaining that “the world is still on edge over escalating tensions between rival foreign powers that could any moment erupt into a full-blown war.</p> <p>“And everyone is asking the same harrowing question: Can Harry and Meghan really leave the royal family?”</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/aONYe9zFiAE"></iframe></div> <p>After the laughter died down, he then went on to joke that like many children leaving home, the Sussex’s will “stay on the Queen's Verizon family plan”. Verizon is a phone company in America.</p> <p>Last but not least, Jimmy Kimmel made a similar joke on his show as he slipped the Sussex family into the end of a segment that focused on Trump and the growing tensions in Iran.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6W5aRsMickw"></iframe></div> <p>“The royal family's upset that Harry and Meghan want to move out and become financially independent,” he said. “Isn't that every parent's dream?</p> <p>“To not have their 35-year-old kid still living with them?”</p> <p>The jokes came after the Queen issued a statement saying that there would be a “period of transition” as the Sussex family make a new life for themselves between the UK and Canada.</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Bruce Willis finally sells mega-mansion for $11 million

<p>Action star Bruce Willis has finally found a buyer for his Westchester County mansion. The home sold for $US 7.66 million ($AUD 11 million) according to<em> <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/bruce-willis-sells-bedford-corners-estate-for-7-66-million-11577208804" target="_blank">The Wall Street Journal.</a></em></p> <p>The home has been on the market for the year but has finally managed to be sold for 41 per cent less than the original asking price.</p> <p>The film star and his wife initially listed the home for $US 12.95 million ($AUD 18.7 million) but were unable to find anyone interested at this price. The couple kept reducing the price over the year until they settled on $USD 7.6 million and reduced the acreage of the original offer.</p> <p>The country house, built in 2009, offers panoramic views of the Croton Reservoir and beyond. It’s located just a 40-minute drive from midtown Manhattan and is a gated estate.</p> <p>The house features a 9,000 square foot main house with five bedrooms, a playroom, a media room and a spacious wine cellar.</p> <p>The estate itself also features formal landscaping, a vegetable garden, a saltwater pool, a pool house and a tennis court.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the luxury residence.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.realtor.com/news/celebrity-real-estate/bruce-willis-finally-sells-his-new-york-country-estate-for-7-66m/" target="_blank">realtor.com</a></em></p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Prince Harry and William stand together against false claims

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Prince Harry and Prince William have slammed a UK newspaper in a joint statement that suggests that bullying is the reason for the Sussex’s departure from the Royal Family.</p> <p>A royal source spoke to the UK press that the Duke of Sussex felt “pushed out of the royal family” by his big brother, but the brothers have fought back, saying that the claim is “offensive”.</p> <p>The brothers put out a joint statement saying the following, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.the-sun.com/news/246303/prince-harry-and-meghan-markle-feel-pushed-out-by-bullying-prince-william-as-harry-in-turmoil-over-cutting-ties/" target="_blank">The Sun</a></em>:</p> <p>“Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge.</p> <p>“For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.”</p> <p>The source had told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=34784X1028065&amp;isjs=1&amp;jv=13.25.3-stackpath&amp;sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.the-sun.com%2Fnews%2F246303%2Fprince-harry-and-meghan-markle-feel-pushed-out-by-bullying-prince-william-as-harry-in-turmoil-over-cutting-ties%2F&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thetimes.co.uk%2Farticle%2Fprinces-fell-out-because-william-wasnt-friendly-towards-meghan-pj0hjmzjl&amp;xguid=ea7b4def31feee5787dcfb4dab958b7d&amp;xs=1&amp;xtz=-660&amp;xuuid=5a3409330e72157834af781bb7bb70bc&amp;xcust=016fa0de420800186f6be30cc88503079009407100bd0" target="_blank">The Times</a></em><span> </span>that the decision for the Sussex’s to leave was driven by Meghan.</p> <p>"She wants to leave ... She thinks: 'It's not working for me'.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7EaGS_Jpb9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7EaGS_Jpb9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal)</a> on Jan 8, 2020 at 10:33am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"Harry is under intense pressure to choose. It is sad. He loves the Queen. He loves this country.</p> <p>"He loves all his military stuff and I think it will genuinely break his heart to leave.</p> <p>"I don't think that's what he really wants. I think they want some halfway house."</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

“They’ve made it clear”: Queen reacts to Harry and Meghan’s wish to step down​

<p>The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have rejected the Queen’s request to stay as full-time royals after crisis talks and are set to seal their fateful exit within days.</p> <p>Her Majesty issued a statement of support for her grandson and his family, saying she was “entirely supportive: of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s desire to become independent from the royal family and spend more time in Canada.</p> <p>She announced while she “would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family,” she agreed to their requests.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7RlhXIDBVd/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7RlhXIDBVd/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Royal Rewind (@royalrewind)</a> on Jan 13, 2020 at 1:23pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” she said in a statement after two hours of crisis talks at her Sandringham estate.</p> <p>“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”</p> <p>The Queen said that while discussions were still ongoing, as more complex matters need to be resolved, she had accepted a “period of transition” in which the Sussex's would spend time in Canada and the UK.</p> <p>“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives,” she said.</p> <p>“It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussex's will spend time in Canada and the UK.</p> <p>“These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”</p> <p>The statement followed after Prince Harry and Prince William took a united step of releasing a joint announcement to deny claims of “bullying” ahead of the royal summit.</p> <p>Via Buckingham Palace, she said: “Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7RiJv1HkAe/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7RiJv1HkAe/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Meghan and Harry (@meghan__harry__photos)</a> on Jan 13, 2020 at 12:54pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful,” they said.</p> <p>A source told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/" target="_blank">The Times</a><span> </span></em>a falling out between the two brothers began around the Sussex wedding in May 2018, as Prince Harry believed his older sibling had not done enough to welcome Duchess Meghan into the family.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7Rms21AkdP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7Rms21AkdP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Royal Pictorial Records (@british_monarchy_history)</a> on Jan 13, 2020 at 1:33pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The newspaper also mentioned the constraint of Prince William always taking precedence as the heir to the throne.</p> <p>“If you are Meghan and Harry and you have had two years of constantly being told your place, constantly bullied as they would see it, constantly being told what you can’t do, Meghan has been thinking ‘This is just nuts, why would anyone put up with this?’” the source said.</p> <p>The Duchess of Sussex was not present at the summit, and chose to dial in from Canada, where she returned last week to be with their son, Archie.</p> <p>It is the first time the family had med face-to-face since the Sussex’s bombshell announcement that they would be stepping back as senior royals and work to achieve “financial independence”.</p> <p>At the time, Buckingham Palace responded with a terse statement saying: “Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”</p> <p>The key issues up for negotiation included their royal titles, duties, security arrangements, any commercial deals and funding arrangements as well as where the couple would live and their immigration status.</p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Japan tops 2020 list of world’s most powerful passports

<p>Japan has once again topped the list of the world’s most travel-friendly passports for 2020.</p> <p>The <span><a href="/henleypassportindex.com/passport">Henley Passport Index</a></span>, an annual ranking of the most powerful passports in the world, has released its first report for the new decade.</p> <p>Japanese passport took the number one spot, offering visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 191 other countries and regions.</p> <p>Despite this advantage, the Japanese seem uninterested in going overseas – only 23 per cent of the population hold a passport in 2019, <span><a href="https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Japan-has-world-s-best-passport-but-few-go-abroad"><em>Nikkei Asian Review</em></a></span> reported.</p> <p>Singapore came in second with access to 190 countries. South Korea tied with Germany in third place, allowing holders to visit 187 destinations without visa.</p> <p>Italy and Finland placed fourth, while Spain, Luxembourg and Denmark tied in fifth.</p> <p>Australia and New Zealand held joint ninth place with Malta, Czech Republic and Canada.</p> <p>On the bottom of the list was Afghanistan passport, which allows the holders to make a visa-free visit to only 26 countries.</p> <p>“Countries that embrace this new reality of global mobility are thriving, with their citizens enjoying ever-increasing passport power and travel freedom, as well as the array of benefits that come with it,” said Dominic Volek, Henley &amp; Partners' head of Southeast Asia and manager partner.</p> <p><strong>Top 10 most powerful passports of 2020:</strong></p> <ol> <li>Japan (191 destinations)</li> <li>Singapore (190)</li> <li>Germany, South Korea (189)</li> <li>Finland, Italy (188)</li> <li>Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain (187)</li> <li>Sweden, France (186)</li> <li>Switzerland, Portugal, Netherlands, Ireland, Austria (185)</li> <li>Belgium, Greece, Norway, United States, United Kingdom (184)</li> <li>Australia, New Zealand, Malta, Czech Republic, Canada (183)</li> <li>Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary (181)</li> </ol>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Prince Philip slams Harry and Meghan’s resignation plan

<p>Prince Philip has accused Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan of lacking respect over their decision to step back as senior royals.</p> <p>According to <em>The Sun</em>, the Duke of Edinburgh reportedly responded after hearing the couple’s announcement: “What the hell are they playing at?”</p> <p>The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced on Wednesday that they plan to become financially independent and split their time between the UK and North America.</p> <p>A source told <em>The Sun </em>that Prince Philip was “deeply hurt” by the decision.</p> <p>“He has left the Queen in absolutely no doubt about how he feels. Philip has accused Harry and Meghan of lacking respect and he is weary of their behaviour,” the source said.</p> <p>“They did not spend Christmas with the family – which he and the Queen accepted – and now this. His primary concern is the impact this is having on the Queen.</p> <p>“A lot of Philip’s anger comes from seeing Her Majesty upset.”</p> <p>A source said Prince Philip’s previous response to Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson could indicate what his response to Meghan and Harry’s resignation would be like.</p> <p>“He won’t be happy about the idea that Meg and Harry need a break from royal duties. This is a man who has dragged himself off his sick bed and even though nearly 100 years old is committed to serving the monarchy.</p> <p>“He was very unforgiving of Diana and Fergie appearing, in his eyes, to damage the reputation of the Royal Family.”</p> <p>Prince Philip retired from his royal duties in August 2017 at the age of 96.</p> <p>Currently, 95 per cent of the Sussexes’ income comes from the private income generation for the Prince of Wales by the Duchy of Cornwall.</p> <p>The <em><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com/?id=74968X1525087&amp;xs=1&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thetimes.co.uk%2Fedition%2Fnews%2Fcharles-threatens-to-halt-harry-and-meghans-cash-k3b58zq6l&amp;sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.townandcountrymag.com%2Fsociety%2Ftradition%2Fa30456673%2Fmeghan-markle-prince-harry-new-roles-tax-immigration-impact%2F%3Fpre%3Dsociety%252Ftradition%252F%26prefix%3Da%26id%3D30456673%26del%3D%26variantId%3D%26post%3D%252Fmeghan-markle-prince-harry-new-roles-tax-immigration-impact">Times</a></em><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com/?id=74968X1525087&amp;xs=1&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thetimes.co.uk%2Fedition%2Fnews%2Fcharles-threatens-to-halt-harry-and-meghans-cash-k3b58zq6l&amp;sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.townandcountrymag.com%2Fsociety%2Ftradition%2Fa30456673%2Fmeghan-markle-prince-harry-new-roles-tax-immigration-impact%2F%3Fpre%3Dsociety%252Ftradition%252F%26prefix%3Da%26id%3D30456673%26del%3D%26variantId%3D%26post%3D%252Fmeghan-markle-prince-harry-new-roles-tax-immigration-impact"> </a>reported that Prince Charles “has made it clear that any agreement over money depends on the details of their future role and will not be settled until that has been decided”.</p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan removed from royal family wax display

<p>Wax figures of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been taken from the display featuring other members of the royal family at Madame Tussauds in London. </p> <p>The museum’s move follows after both Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan announced they would be stepping down as “senior” members of the royal family while simultaneously working to become financially independent. </p> <p>The display featured a number of prominent figures including the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.</p> <p>However, since the couple’s surprising announcement, the models have since been relocated in the museum to reflect their “progressive new role within the royal institution”.</p> <p>“Alongside the rest of the world we are reacting to the surprising news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be stepping back as senior royals,” said Steve Davies, general manager of Madame Tussauds London.</p> <p>“From today Meghan and Harry’s figures will no longer appear in our royal family set.”</p> <p>Mr Davies added that the couple will still be a main fixture at the wax museum. </p> <p>“As two of our most popular and well-loved figures they will of course remain an important feature at Madame Tussauds London as we watch to see what the next chapter holds for them,” Mr Davies stated</p> <p>The Duke and Duchess’ of Sussex issued a statement on Instagram which outlined their intention to split their time between the UK and North America while also continuing to honour their commitment to the Queen, the Commonwealth and their royal patronages.</p> <p>A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said discussions with the couple on the issue remained “at an early stage”.</p> <p>“We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through,” they stated.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the royal family at Madame Tussauds in London. </p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Now that Harry and Meghan are out, who is considered a senior royal?

<p>Earlier today the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they would be stepping down from their roles as “senior” members of the royal family.</p> <p>In a statement released by the Palace, Harry and Meghan revealed that they plan on working towards financial independence and to split their time moving forward between the UK and North America.</p> <p>The Sussexes also stated that they will continue to support the Queen, the Commonwealth and their patronages.</p> <p>“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity,” read the statement.</p> <p>Given the bombshell nature of this announcement, people have raised a number of questions about who exactly will be affected by the changes taking place.</p> <p>One of those queries is regarding the title of “senior royal”, one that the couple have chosen to give up. According to their<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://sussexroyal.com/" target="_blank">website</a>, Harry and Meghan’s roles “will continue to reflect their sense of duty and allegiance to The Monarch and her legacy in the world, as they transition into the new working model.”</p> <p>While they hope to become members of the royal family with financial independence, “their commitment to The Monarch is resolute, and they aim to continue to fly the flag for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as called upon."</p> <p><strong>So what does the term senior royal mean? And who holds the position?</strong></p> <p>The title of “senior royal” has never been officially defined by the British royal family, but is generally given to those adult relatives of the monarch who are close to the line of succession, and their spouses.</p> <p>They are full-time working members of the royal household, and represent the Queen both in the UK and abroad.</p> <p>With Harry and Meghan stepping back from their roles, the ones who now hold that position are: The Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla, and Prince William and Kate.</p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Princess Di's niece to marry millionaire five years older than her dad

<p>Princess Diana’s 29-year-old niece Lady Kitty Spencer is marrying a multi-millionaire fashion mogul who is five years older than her dad.</p> <p>Lady Kitty is the eldest child of Earl Spencer, 55, who is Diana’s brother.</p> <p>Michael Lewis, 60, who is currently the chairman for South African retailer Foschini, asked the model to marry him just before Christmas.</p> <p>The South-African fashion designer is worth an insane $152 million and is a divorced dad with three adult children.</p> <p>An insider told the<em><span> </span>Daily Mail</em>: “She’s been in Cape Town for the holidays and told her mother and the rest of the family. Michael is loved by all of them. Despite his wealth, he’s very humble and low key.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B66cjtgHO-D/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B66cjtgHO-D/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">• NOTICIAS REALES• . . . 04/01/20 . . . De acuerdo a varios medios británicos, Lady Kitty Spencer y su novio el multimillonario Michael Lewis se comprometieron un poco antes de la navidad . El novio quien es 5 años mayor que el conde de Spencer , le pidió matrimonio a la sobrina de la desaparecida princesa de Gales en ciudad del cabo donde pasaron sus vacaciones . Así que posiblemente tendremos boda y veremos a algunos miembros de la familia Real britanica en ella ,además que veremos posiblemente la tiara de loa Spencer que hizo muy famosa Diana . . . . #ladymountbattenwindsor #royals #spencer #earlofspencer #ladykittyspencer #charlesspencer #ladyelizaspencer #ladyameliaspencer #viscountalthorp #dukeofcambridge #princewilliam #duchessofcambridge #katemiddleton #princeharry #dukeofsussex #meghanmarkle #duchessofsussex #princessofwales #princessdiana</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/ladymwindsor/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Lady Mountbatten Windsor</a> (@ladymwindsor) on Jan 4, 2020 at 1:42pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Their relationship was first revealed in August after Lady Kitty’s four-month relationship with property mogul Niccolo Barattieri di San Pietro ended.</p> <p>The pair went public as they strolled through New York City and were spotted kissing after leaving Club 55 in St Tropez last year.</p> <p>Previously, the socialite said she was not “in any rush” to start a family but could see herself having children in the future.</p> <p>She added: “I do have friends my age who are having children, and they are so, so, sweet, but I think everyone should do things in their own time.”</p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

The world's safest airlines for 2020 revealed

<p><span>Australia’s flag carrier has been crowned as the safest airline in the world for the seventh year in a row.</span></p> <p><span>Airline safety and rating website <a href="https://www.airlineratings.com/news/top-twenty-safest-airlines-2020/"><em>AirlineRatings.com</em></a> compiled an annual list of the world’s safest airlines based on a series of criteria including fleet age, pilot training and culture, crash and serious incident records, financial standing, and audits from aviation bodies and governments. </span></p> <p><span>Qantas earned the number one spot out of 405 carriers around the world, extending its winning streak since 2013. In 2018, the airline received the accolade <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/worlds-safest-airlines-2019/index.html">jointly</a> when the website could not find the clear winner.</span></p> <p><span>“Qantas has been the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement over the past 60 years and has not had a fatality in the jet era,” the website’s editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said.</span></p> <p><span>Air New Zealand came in second, followed by Taiwan’s EVA Air in the third. Rounding up the top 10 were Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Australia.</span></p> <p><span>Thomas said the list only took serious incidents into account. “All airlines have incidents every day, and many are aircraft or engine manufacture issues, not airline operational problems,” he said. </span></p> <p><span>“And it is the way the flight crew handles incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one. So just lumping all incidents together is very misleading.</span></p> <p><span>“Our top 20 safest airlines 2020 are always at the forefront of safety innovation, operational excellence and the launching of new more advanced aircraft like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.”</span></p> <p><span>The website also named the joint awardees for <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/worlds-safest-airlines-2020-airlineratings/index.html">the world’s safest budget airline</a> title: Air Arabia, Flybe, Frontier, HK Express, IndiGo, Jetblue, Volaris, Vueling, Westjet and Wizz Air.</span></p> <p><strong><span>World’s safest airlines for 2020</span></strong></p> <ol> <li><span> Qantas</span></li> <li><span> Air New Zealand</span></li> <li><span> EVA Air</span></li> <li><span> Etihad Airways</span></li> <li><span> Qatar Airways</span></li> <li><span> Singapore Airlines</span></li> <li><span> Emirates</span></li> <li><span> Alaska Airlines</span></li> <li><span> Cathay Pacific</span></li> <li><span> Virgin Australia</span></li> <li><span> Hawaiian Airlines</span></li> <li><span> Virgin Atlantic</span></li> <li><span> TAP Air Portugal</span></li> <li><span> SAS</span></li> <li><span> Royal Jordanian</span></li> <li><span> Swiss</span></li> <li><span> Finnair</span></li> <li><span> Lufthansa</span></li> <li><span> Aer Lingus</span></li> <li><span> KLM</span></li> </ol>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

ScoMo and 'climate denier' Craig Kelly slammed on air by Piers Morgan

<p><span>Liberal MP Craig Kelly has come under fire after denying the links between climate change and Australia’s bushfire crisis in an interview on UK television.</span></p> <p><span>Speaking to Piers Morgan on <em>Good Morning Britain</em>, the Coalition backbencher said he believed there has been global warming but denied that it has contributed to the severity of the current bushfire season.</span></p> <p><span>“To try and make out – as some politicians have – to hijack this debate and exploit this tragedy, to push their ideological barrow that somehow or other the Australian government could have done something to reduce its climate emissions that would have reduced these bushfires is just complete nonsense,” Kelly said.</span></p> <p><span>“If you look at our science, if you look at the long-term record rainfalls in Australia there is simply no trend.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Craig Kelly MP defends Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s response to the wildfire crisis and says there isn’t a link between climate change and bushfires.<a href="https://twitter.com/piersmorgan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@piersmorgan</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/susannareid100?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@susannareid100</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GMB?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GMB</a> <a href="https://t.co/Mz0dxJSK5T">pic.twitter.com/Mz0dxJSK5T</a></p> — Good Morning Britain (@GMB) <a href="https://twitter.com/GMB/status/1214115392391700481?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 6, 2020</a></blockquote> <p><span>When <a rel="noopener" href="https://t.co/cxCJjHrWnR" target="_blank">the show</a>’s meteorologist Laura Tobin asked about Australia’s climate emission reductions pledge, Kelly said Australia has had the world’s highest uptake of renewable energy.</span></p> <p><span>“Since 2008 to 2018, I’m talking per capita, we have had the highest uptake of energy than anywhere in the world. Three-and-a-half times more than Germany... They’re the numbers, those are the facts,” Kelly said.</span></p> <p><span>“Australia have just had, in 2019, their highest year temperature wise ever recorded and their driest year ever record with forecast temperatures that go back over 100 years,” Tobin responded.</span></p> <p><span>“At the moment we want everyone in the world to commit to lower our global temperature rise. You have the second highest carbon emission per person on earth and you are burying your head in the sand. This is a climate emergency. You’re not a climate sceptic, you’re a climate denier.”</span></p> <p><span>Kelly also defended Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s controversial Hawaii trip, saying the responsibility for responding to the bushfires laid on the state premiers.</span></p> <p><span>“The only thing the national leader can actually do on this is basically wait until he gets response from those state premiers asking more resources,” Kelly said.</span></p> <p><span>“Any time one of those state premiers has come forward and said we need something, the Prime Minister has done that – he’s shown leadership.”</span></p> <p><span>Morgan responded, “That was a dereliction of his duty as leader of Australia. You’re facing now one of the greatest crises you’ve ever faced.</span></p> <p><span>“Then there is you Kelly, with respect, a senior politician who still doesn’t think this has anything to do with the heating up of the planet. Nothing to see here. Nothing to worry about as virtually your entire country is eviscerated about fires. It is quite extraordinary.”</span></p> <p><span>Since the fires began blazing in Australia in August, at least 8.4 million hectares have been burned, <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/datablog/ng-interactive/2019/dec/07/how-big-are-the-fires-burning-on-the-east-coast-of-australia-interactive-map">The Guardian</a> </em>reported. More than 1,700 homes have been destroyed and an estimated 500 million animals have died.</span></p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Rare photo released of the Queen with all three heirs to the throne

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>The British Royal Family have released a rare photograph of the Queen with her three heirs to the throne.</p> <p>The image features the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George and was shared on the Kensington Palace Instagram to mark the start of a new decade.</p> <p>The photo was taken on the same day that the Queen hosted the extended royal family for their annual Christmas lunch on December 18th.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B636jKClcWA/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B636jKClcWA/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">🎉 Happy New Year! A new portrait of The Queen and The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince George has been released to mark the start of a new decade. Wishing all of our followers a happy and healthy 2020! Photo 📷 by Ranald Mackechnie.</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/kensingtonroyal/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Kensington Palace</a> (@kensingtonroyal) on Jan 3, 2020 at 2:06pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The caption reads:</p> <p> “A new portrait of The Queen and The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince George has been released to mark the start of a new decade.</p> <p>“Wishing all of our followers a happy and healthy 2020!”</p> <p>The newly issued photo is one of only a few times a portrait has been issued with the Queen and all three heirs.</p> <p>The first portrait was released in April 2016 for the Queen’s 90th birthday and was used on Royal Mail stamps. Another photo was taken of the foursome at Prince George’s christening in 2013 as a part of the official christening photographs.</p> <div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>The photo is reported to have caused tension from the Sussex family as they saw it as a sign that they were being excluded from royal life, according to <em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/excluded-from-the-future-the-sussexes-look-elsewhere-blkhfs589" target="_blank">The Times</a></em>.</p> <p>The newspaper also said that their decision to step away from royal duties was triggered by the Queen's Christmas message not featuring any photos of the couple on her desk. </p> <p>Nick Ede, a PR expert, has played down these claims as the Sussexes couldn't have expected to be in the photo.</p> <p><span>"I think it was very interesting to see that photograph... that was a very interesting silent PR tool to show there is a streamlined royalty, a streamlined family, and those are the ones we should be focusing on,” he told </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/harry-meghan-royal-photo-164328172.html?guccounter=1&amp;guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&amp;guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAIzhhi52xJFeFgdMBMLLABAev2wM73hnQK7iTRSjewMuuW045qeFS62ddf6k7CJo3sY2Frdtd7-wQUODfYrpZ0IkarVu4XGzWhAWdiSicMdt9ernZN3Wz1c-4MdT8YP_5NfC42Ncg9kaA01oz_Mb4sIoiXONjazIGNBpnEoHOghi" target="_blank">Yahoo News UK</a>.</em></p> <p><span>“In many ways I can’t see that as a tipping point... the fact of the matter is Prince Harry and Meghan are quite far down the pecking order now so they really shouldn’t be there on that, and it really should be the future king and obviously the next ones," he explained.</span></p> <p>“I think it was a direct way of showing they are streamlining, they are thinking about what do do about taxpayers’ money.</p> <p>“When the Queen goes, it is going to change, no matter what anyone says.”</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

7 great train journeys from around the world

<p><em>Justine Tyerman crosses four continents in her search for the greatest train voyages in the world.</em></p> <p>You can keep your grand, 16-storey cruise ships that sail from one exotic port to the next with endless views of blue sea and sky. When I travel the world, I prefer to journey by train, attached to terra firma, with the multi-hued kaleidoscope of Mother Earth flickering by accompanied by the music and the rhythm of the rail.</p> <p>I counted up my Great Train Journeys to date and to my surprise, I discovered the tally was seven . . . so far. All vastly different trips and all with Rail Europe, although only two of the experiences – the Bernina Express and the Glacier Express – were actually in Europe. The others were in Peru, Australia and New Zealand. Rail Europe has a portfolio of Great Train Journeys from 50 rail companies all around the world – the Americas, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, and Africa.</p> <p><strong>1. The Indian Pacific, Australia</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.railplus.co.nz/australia-by-rail/australias-great-train-journeys/indian-pacific/prices-book.htm">Indian Pacific</a> was my first-ever long-distance train experience. The epic four-day, three-night, 4352km, 65-hour journey across the vast continent of Australia from Perth on the Indian Ocean to Sydney on the Pacific Ocean marked the beginning of my addiction to train travel.</p> <p>The journey traverses three states, time zones and capital cities, and offers a myriad of contrasting landscapes - from the undulating hills of the green Avon Valley and the vast Western Australian wheat-lands to the immense, other-worldly, dead-flat, treeless Nullarbor Plain; from the graceful garden city of Adelaide, population 1.7 million, to the remote ghost town of Cook, population four; from the strange rock formations of the South Australian desert to the staggeringly-high sandstone escarpments, cliffs, waterfalls and famous Three Sisters landmark of the Blue Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage area.</p> <p>We stopped along the way at places like Kalgoorlie-Boulder in Western Australia, the site of one of the biggest gold rushes (1893) in Australian history. Next was Rawlinna on the fringe of the Nullarbor Plain, home to the largest sheep station in Australia, the 2.5 million acre Rawlinna Station. Then Broken Hill, Australia's oldest mining town and the world's richest lead-zinc ore deposit. We watched a highly-entertaining live show at the Palace Hotel called 'The Main Drag' in honour of the 1994 hit movie Priscilla, Queen of the Desert which was filmed at Broken Hill.</p> <p>It was four days of sublime relaxation, gourmet cuisine, unlimited fine wine, cocktails and beer, comfortable private cabins with ensuite bathrooms, excellent entertainment, superb service, exciting off-train excursions and an ever-changing montage of Australian countryside.</p> <p>I found myself gazing out the window for hours, brain in neutral, a gear I often find hard to locate these days.</p> <p>There was no WiFi on the train so passengers of all ages played card games, read books, daydreamed, dozed and engaged with each other rather than their iPhones. So refreshing.</p> <p><strong>2. The Ghan, Australia</strong></p> <p>The four-day, three-night, 2979km <a href="https://www.railplus.co.nz/australia-by-rail/australias-great-train-journeys/the-ghan-expedition/ghan-expedition-prices-book.htm">Ghan Expedition</a> from Darwin to Adelaide through the ‘Red Centre’ of Australia left an indelible imprint on my memory.</p> <p>When it was launched 90 years ago, The Ghan was known as the Afghan Express, having taken its name from the 19th century Afghan cameleers who helped blaze a trail through the country’s remote interior. Today, the twin diesel-electric locomotives and the 38 silver carriages on the 903-metre, 1700-tonne train all bear the emblem of an Afghan riding a camel.</p> <p>Unlike my experience on The Indian Pacific where much of the time travelling from Perth to Sydney was spent on the train, the itinerary on The Ghan revolved around off-train excursions.</p> <p>The first was a barge cruise on the Katherine River in the Northern Territory’s magnificent 292,000-hectare Nitmiluk National Park surrounded by steep-sided sandstone canyons. We viewed aboriginal rock paintings thousands of years old.</p> <p>At Alice Springs we learned about the history, geology, flora and fauna of Australia’s most famous Outback town. Called ‘Mpwante’ by the indigenous Arrernte people, the area has been inhabited for around 40,000 years.</p> <p>Simpson’s Gap is a deep gash in the West MacDonnell Ranges dating back 60 million years. Known to the Arrernte as ‘Rungutjirpa’, the gap is the mythological home of their giant goanna ancestors and the site of several Dreaming trails.</p> <p>The cuisine on The Ghan was exceptional every day but dinner outside under the stars at the historic 1872 Alice Springs Telegraph Station was unforgettable.</p> <p>Coober Pedy in South Australia is renowned for its exquisite opals and unique underground dwellings designed to escape the extreme heat and cold.</p> <p>The town’s 18-hole golf course, one of the 10 most unique golf courses in the world, is totally grassless and uses oiled earth for the ‘greens’.</p> <p>The Breakaways is a surreal landscape where a series of colourful flat-topped hills or ‘mesa’ appear to have broken free and drifted away from the Stuart Ranges.</p> <p>Nearby, we viewed a section of the world’s longest fence, the 5300km Dog Fence, built in the 1880s to protect sheep against dingo attacks.</p> <p>I still have vivid flashbacks of ancient red rocks, dazzling desert sunrises and sunsets, the smoky taste of beef tenderloins barbecued under the stars, champagne shared around an open fire, and the warm-hearted strangers who befriended a solo traveller.</p> <p><strong>3. Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.railplus.co.nz/great-train-journeys/belmond-andean-explorer-peru/prices-info.htm">Belmond Andean Explorer</a> two-day, two-night Great Train Journey from Arequipa to Cusco travels over the Peruvian Andes on one of the highest train routes in the world.</p> <p>And does so in style with luxurious cabins and ensuite bathrooms, elegant restaurants serving gourmet cuisine and fine wines, a bar, piano lounge, open-air observation car and even a spa car.</p> <p>The off-train excursions were outstanding. At Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake (3812m above sea level), we visited Las Islas Flotantes de los Uros, the Floating Islands of the Uros people. For more than 3000 years, the Uros have constructed small islands, boats and houses from totora, a giant bulrush reed that grows in the lake shallows.</p> <p>At Taquile Island, the hillsides were covered in ancient, pre-Inca tiered terraces where the <em>islanders grow crops. The Taquileños are</em><em> </em>renowned for their excellent handmade textiles regarded as among the highest-quality handicrafts in Peru. After exuberant songs and dances performed by a troupe of brightly-dressed local men and women and a tiny tot, a tasty lunch was served at a restaurant overlooking Lake Titicaca – you can see the snowy mountains of Bolivia on the horizon.</p> <p>Next day, we stopped at Raqch’i, the site of the Temple of Wiracocha, the Inca god of creation. The massive, imposing structure was built by the Incas over a period of 40 years in the 15th century.</p> <p>The train travelled at such a leisurely pace, you could see detail from the observation car - women in bright, full skirts and black top hats; dusty terracotta villages; crops laid out in the sun to dry; cows, sheep and goats on leads tethered to stakes; the remains of ancient Inca walls and terraces; and the foamy, grey-green Vilcanota River.</p> <p>The cuisine, wines and service were exceptional. We were totally spoilt by the charming, attentive crew.</p> <p>Spend a few days in Cusco, the c<span>apital of the Inca Empire, set high in the Peruvian Andes, 3399m above sea level, before boarding the </span>Belmond Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu (see below).</p> <p><strong>4. Belmond Hiram Bingham, Peru</strong></p> <p>Travel from Cusco to Machu Picchu, the legendary ‘City of the Incas’, aboard a train named in honour of the American historian and explorer — Hiram Bingham III — who rediscovered the ancient Inca citadel in 1911 and introduced it to the modern world.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.railplus.co.nz/great-train-journeys/hiram-bingham-peru/prices-info.htm">Belmond Hiram Bingham</a> was launched in 2003 to recreate the romance and grandeur of train travel and since then it has transported thousands of passengers through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Machu Picchu. The mere mention of the place makes my spine tingle.</p> <p>I travelled the 112km route on a perfect autumn day with clear skies and warm sunshine.  The landscape along the way was breath-taking – the patchwork plains of Anta, known as ‘the breadbasket of Cusco; magnificent mountain peaks and distant glaciers; perpendicular red cliffs towering high on either side of the train; deep ravines with swiftly-flowing rivers; hillsides dotted with Inca ruins and stone-walled terraces; tall cacti with fierce spikes; and hardy hikers with heavy packs walking the four-day, 42km Camino Inca which ascends to 4200m.</p> <p>Apart from enjoying a superb lunch in the restaurant car, I spent the daylight hours of the journey in the open-air observation car. I could not bear to be inside on such a pristine day.</p> <p>In the adjacent bar, the resident trio played all my favourite songs, accompanied by the occasional blast of the train horn.</p> <p>After three-hours and 20-minutes, the train reached its final destination at Aguas Calientes, (2040m), where we boarded a coach to take us up the narrow, zig-zag road to Machu Picchu, one of the all-time highlights of my travelling life. But that’s another story . . . and a long one at that.</p> <p>En route back to Cusco, the bar car morphed into a lively dance floor as the train chugged on through the dark night. Later in the evening, a sensational four-course à la carte dinner with magnificent wines capped off a truly magical day.</p> <p><strong>5. TranzAlpine, South Island, New Zealand</strong></p> <p>Lambs frolicked on lush, green Canterbury pastures, the aqua-turquoise Waimakariri River sparkled in the spring sunshine and fresh snow blanketed the Southern Alps the day I boarded the <a href="https://www.railplus.co.nz/new-zealand-by-rail/tranzalpine/prices-book.htm">TranzAlpine</a> Great Train Journey in New Zealand’s South Island.</p> <p>Covering a distance of 223 kilometres, the train travels across the tall, slim island from Christchurch on the East Coast to Greymouth on the West Coast in just under five hours.</p> <p>Food, beverages and an excellent commentary were provided inside the warm, comfortable carriages with their huge panoramic windows . . . but, as usual, I spent most of the five-hour trip standing in the blustery open-air observation car along with other puffer-jacketed, woolly-gloved, beanie-clad photo-snappers.</p> <p>The TranzAlpine traverses spectacular landscapes including the 72-metre high Staircase Viaduct over the Waimakariri Gorge; the golden tussock lands of the Craigieburn Plain; beautiful Lake Pearson tucked at the foothills of the alps; black-green forested mountains with snowy white peaks; the much-photographed long, low bridge over the Waimakariri River; and the high alpine village of Arthur’s Pass.</p> <p>After the 8.5km Otira Tunnel, the landscape changed as the TranzAlpine emerged on the West Coast, a region that never fails to intrigue with its misty rainforests, snow-capped mountains, moody lakes and swift rivers.</p> <p>The train stopped for about an hour in Greymouth, the West Coast's largest city. I strolled along the river bank walkway in bright sunshine, stopping at a poignant memorial to the coal miners who had lost their lives in the region.</p> <p>I reboarded the TranzAlpine for what I expected to be a more relaxed return trip, seated in my comfy armchair. But the landscape, transformed by the long shadows of late afternoon and a dazzling sunset, demanded I return to the observation carriage.</p> <p>Mercifully, darkness finally fell, allowing me no option but to sit inside and enjoy tasty lamb shanks and pinot noir for dinner.</p> <p><strong>6. The Bernina Express, Switzerland</strong></p> <p>For the ultimate in breath-taking scenic experiences, take the UNESCO World Heritage <a href="https://www.railplus.co.nz/europe-by-rail/swiss-scenic-trains/bernina-express/prices-info.htm">Bernina Express</a> from Chur in Eastern Switzerland over the Bernina Pass to Tirano in Northern Italy – part of the <a href="https://www.railplus.co.nz/great-train-journeys/the-ultimate-grand-train-tour-of-switzerland/prices.htm">Ultimate Grand Train Tour of Switzerland</a>.</p> <p>The panoramic carriages were super-luxurious with fine food, wine and an informative commentary but, spellbound by the staggering landscape, it will come as no surprise to learn that I chose to travel in the open ‘wagon’ at the rear of the train for the entire four-hour trip. The scenery was overwhelming, delivering a massive sensory overload. The Bernina Massif with Piz Bernina reigning supreme at 4048m towered above the mighty Morteratsch Glacier and the twin lakes of Lago Bianco (White Lake) and Lej Nair (Black Lake), named for their pale aqua and ink blue colours.</p> <p>The train reaches its highest point at stunning Ospizio Bernina, 2253m above sea level. From there we skirted the shores of Lago Bianco and began our long descent to Tirano.</p> <p>We stopped at Alp Grüm, 2091m, built in 1923. The old stone station houses a lovely restaurant and hotel where white duvets were airing in the windowsills in typically-Swiss alpine fashion.</p> <p>The passengers piled out and gazed at Palü Lake, an exquisite turquoise jewel fed by melt waters from the glacier beneath Piz Palü.</p> <p>On the steep downward leg, the landscape and architecture took on a distinctly Mediterranean flavour. The Brusio Circular Viaduct is a remarkable engineering masterpiece, which allows the train to lose height within a short distance and confined space. Opened in 1908, the 360-degree, 110m spiral viaduct is a jaw-dropping sight.</p> <p>There are such contrasts on this trip - from the clear, sharp, light and cool, dry air of the high Swiss alps to the soft, diffuse, golden haze and warm, velvet air of the Italian lakes' district.</p> <p>I would do it again in a heartbeat.</p> <p><strong>7. The Glacier Express, Switzerland</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.railplus.co.nz/europe-by-rail/swiss-scenic-trains/glacier-express/prices-book.htm">Glacier Express</a> from Zermatt to St Moritz in Switzerland is famed as the ‘slowest express train in the world’. The journey covers less than 290km but takes about eight hours, crossing 291 bridges and passing through 91 tunnels - part of the <a href="https://www.railplus.co.nz/great-train-journeys/the-ultimate-grand-train-tour-of-switzerland/prices.htm">Ultimate Grand Train Tour of Switzerland</a>.</p> <p>Of all my Great Train Journeys, this is the only one where the weather did not behave well. On a clear day it would be a magnificent trip. However, a tasty lunch and prosecco compensated for the lack of view.</p> <p>From Zermatt (1604m) to Visp, the train travelled through the narrow Matter Valley, the deepest cleft valley in Switzerland. The lower reaches of country’s highest mountains towered more than 4000m metres on either side, albeit with their heads in the clouds. Waterfalls gushed off cliff edges to the foamy, glacier-fed river alongside the train.</p> <p> The history and engineering of the track is fascinating. The first train ran from Visp to Zermatt in 1891 after two and a half years’ of construction. The narrow-gauge track uses a rack-and-pinion or cogwheel mechanism for traction on the steepest sections. The train brought tourism and prosperity to communities who had for centuries, lived off the land.</p> <p> At Oberwald, we plunged into the 15km Furka Tunnel opened in 1982 to connect Zermatt and St Moritz all year round.</p> <p>From Andermatt (1435m) we climbed steeply to Oberalppass (2033m), the highest point of the journey. The train handled the ascent slowly but surely with the help of the cogwheel track.</p> <p>The Glacier Express then descended to the valley floor and entered the dramatic Rhine Gorge, known as Switzerland’s Grand Canyon, a unique landscape with bizarre stone formations created by huge landslides 10,000 years ago.</p> <p>I disembarked at Chur (585m), the oldest town in Switzerland dating back 5000 years. I had already travelled from Chur to Saint Moritz a few years earlier on a pristine, clear autumn day so I can guarantee that, blessed with fine weather, this two-hour section of the Glacier Express is utterly mind-boggling - vertiginously-high viaducts, spiral tunnels, deep gorges, castle ruins, swirling rivers, turquoise lakes, impressive hydro-electric dams and breath-taking mountain peaks.</p> <p>Just pray for a fine day!</p> <p><strong>Be warned!</strong></p> <p>There’s an undeniable romance, style and elegance associated with train travel. It’s the most leisurely, stress-free way to explore a country for people of all ages. The crew take care of all the logistics. There’s no need to navigate in a foreign land - the days are literally mapped out for you.</p> <p>But be warned! Train travel is seriously addictive. It takes root in one’s psyche and refuses to budge. One journey leads to another, and another...</p> <p>I’m currently 'in training', brushing up on my Irish accent in preparation to feed my addiction on the <a href="https://www.belmond.com/trains/europe/ireland/belmond-grand-hibernian/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA5dPuBRCrARIsAJL7oegQzO7iCFt58j3TYxAP0IQHiUtyf_Tug9zNhSC6MvNL6drLL8dKTJQaAhlqEALw_wcB">Belmond Grand Hibernian</a>...</p> <p><em>Rail Europe is the world’s leading and most trusted distributor of rail tickets, passes and scenic rail journeys. Great Train Journeys is Rail Europe’s portfolio of luxury scenic train experiences around the world. Call Auckland 09 377 5420 for more information or visit <a href="http://www.greattrainjourneys.co.nz/">www.greattrainjourneys.co.nz</a>.</em></p>

International Travel