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  • UPDATE 1-Brazil awards contracts for 2.98 gigawatts of new power projects

    The Brazilian government awarded on Friday contracts for companies to build new power generation installations with combined capacity of 2.98 gigawatts, that will cost about 11.16 billion reais ($2.71 billion) to be built. According to the power trading chamber CCEE, the new plants, which will need to be operational in six years, will sell energy for an average price of 176 reais per megawatt, a 33% discount over the initial price at the auction. France's Voltalia, Norway's Statkraft and Brazil's Eneva are among the winning bidders.

  • Marriott’s Stephanie Linnartz On Finding Your Power At Work

    Stephanie Linnartz is the Global Chief Commercial Officer at Marriott International where she oversees a wide range of critical business functions including brand management, sales, marketing, revenue management, digital, distribution, consumer insights + innovation, and information technology worldwide. She has been with the company for more than 20 years and worked her way up from a financial analyst. Stephanie’s purview now includes Marriott International’s portfolio of more than one million rooms across 7,000 properties and 30 hotel brands spanning 132 countries and territories with 750,000+ managed and franchise associates. Here’s how she feels powerful… I feel most powerful when… Making difficult decisions. There are many situations that do not have a straightforward or easy answer and I need to choose a direction and lead my team. I gather as much information as possible, listen to get input from my team and others who have a point of view on the subject, and then really think through the potential outcomes and impact of different scenarios. Being a leader is often about making tough calls, and I try to do it as thoughtfully and with as much information as possible. It’s a very powerful feeling when we come out successful on the other side.  What does power mean to you? Power can be a loaded word. I prefer the word strength which to me, speaks to one’s power but with a sense of self-awareness, ownership, and attitude. Attitude in particular is incredibly important.  There is a quote from an author named Sherrie Eldridge that sits on my desk and I refer to often. It reads in part: “The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.” There is much in life and in work that we can’t control. The part we can always control is how we react. Staying self-aware and harnessing that choice gives us strength, or even power, over our own situation and often influences those around us as well.   What do you do when you feel powerless? Meditation and running help me clear my mind, find space to breathe, and calm me down after a stressful day. Whenever possible, I try to run outside to connect with nature and the world around me.  It always leaves me feeling re-energized and ready to tackle whatever comes next. What’s your power anthem?  “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. To me, the song is about so much more than a break up. It’s about the discovery of personal strength following a tough situation and a great reminder of the power and resilience we all have inside of us.Who’s your power icon? Michelle Obama. She is strong, accomplished, relatable, funny and she has a great sense of style. What I find most inspiring is the way she has used her position as a public figure to encourage the next generation of female leaders. I believe that’s an obligation we all have and the ultimate display of power. I have been fortunate in my career to have some amazing mentors who helped inspire me early on and I’m always looking to give back to the next generation.What do you wear when you want to feel powerful? A classic dress and a great pair of heels, but always coupled with a strong sense of self, a clear purpose, and confidence! Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Frolic Media Wants You To Love RomanceDeepica Mutyala On Breaking Beauty NormsKia Damon Gets Her Power From Wicked's Hit Song

  • Ziopharm Tests "Sleeping Beauty" for Oncology Treatment

    Ziopharm Oncology (ZIOP) recently announced that the FDA has cleared an investigational new drug application (IND) for a Phase I trial to test their 3rd generation CD19-specific CAR-T, explains biotech sector specialist John McCamant, editor of The Medical Technology Stock Letter.

Travel News from ABTA

  • Thomas Cook Group: Advice for customers

    Thomas Cook Group: Advice for customers Full Page image landrews@abta.co.uk Mon, 09/23/2019 - 15:07 Important information – do not rebook your holiday immediately  Thomas Cook travel agents sold package  holidays provided by a range of other tour operators, that are not part of, or affected by, the failure of Thomas Cook.  Even if you booked your holiday through a Thomas Cook shop, online or directly with a call center, your booking may still be valid. This is because it might have been booked (via Thomas Cook) with  a different tour operator.This information will be on your paperwork.  Check your paperwork  If you book and pay for another holiday without checking your paperwork first, and your booking is with another tour operator, you will not be entitled to a refund from the CAA ATOL scheme or ABTA.  This is because your contract is not directly with Thomas Cook, it is with another company  – please check your paperwork before booking an alternative holiday.  Check all of your paperwork; for example, your booking confirmation, confirmation invoice, any emails, and even ATOL Certificate. Your paperwork will highlight the name of the tour operator who is providing your holiday.  If the tour operator is Thomas Cook, please go to  thomascook.caa.co.uk for information on how to make a claim.  If the tour operator is a different company (other than Thomas Cook) please contact them immediately to confirm whether your holiday is going ahead.    Important information – telephone scam warning  ABTA has had reports of members of the public being cold called by people pretending to represent ATOL or ABTA, asked if they have a Thomas Cook booking and then asked for their bank details. This is a scam, which could result in you losing considerable sums of money. The correct methods for processing a claim if you have a booking with Thomas Cook are detailed on this page. To avoid being scammed customers are urged to follow the advice issued by UK Finance in their Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign: A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by. Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text. Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.   For customers with a booking with Thomas Cook or one of its Group companies  Thomas Cook Group plc ceased trading on Monday, 23 September 2019. If you have travel arrangements booked with (or through) Thomas Cook, it will depend on what you have booked and who is providing your holiday, as to what you need to do next.   Understandably you are probably extremely worried about your holiday, but we are here to help. Please read and follow the advice below carefully.     To enable us to help you and provide the most accurate information on what you need to do, please read the following information.    Thomas Cook Group Plc operated several businesses that sold holidays and other travel arrangements, five of these companies were ABTA Members:  Thomas Cook Retail Limited – ABTA number W8361, J8601 and ATOL number 0020  Thomas Cook Tour Operations Limited – ABTA number V6896 and ATOL number 1179  TCCT Retail Limited – ABTA number Y6564, L8164 and ATOL number 10585  Future Travel Limited – ABTA number W6370, G856X and ATOL number 5704  Freedom Travel Group Limited – ABTA number W6417, G8381 and ATOL number 6042  The Group also included an airline business which is not a member of ABTA.  The vast majority of holiday arrangements are covered through different types of financial protection. The majority are flight packages covered by ATOL. A smaller number are packages without flights and accommodation covered by ABTA.    Flights booked directly with Thomas Cook airlines are not covered by ATOL or ABTA so customers will need to contact their card issuer.  As there are a number of different companies involved and different types of holiday arrangements, what customers do next will depend on who they booked with; and what they booked.   Holidaymakers currently away on a Thomas Cook package holiday or staying in accommodation booked with Thomas Cook.   Customers who are currently overseas on a flight package holiday are financially protected under the ATOL scheme and should contact the CAA. The CAA will advise on return flight arrangements.  The CAA’s call centre for Thomas Cook customers can be contacted as follows.  Phoning from the UK (reduced rate): 0300 303 2800  Phoning from overseas:  +44 1753 330 330  More information at thomascook.caa.co.uk  Customers who are currently overseas on a package holiday that does not include a flight are protected by ABTA and should continue their holiday as normal.   Customers who are currently overseas and staying in accommodation booked through Thomas Cook Tour Operations are financially protected by ABTA and should continue their holiday as normal.  Customers who are currently overseas and have booked flights directly with the Thomas Cook airline, or who have booked accommodation via Thomas Cook Retail with a third party (e.g. Expedia) are not financially protected.  For flights, they should contact the CAA in the first instance, for accommodation contact the company named on the travel documents.   Customers who are yet to travel  If you’ve booked a package holiday through a Thomas Cook Group retail company, but that holiday is provided by another travel company, you should contact that travel company to check your arrangements will continue as normal.  Customers who have a booked a Thomas Cook package holiday or accommodation through a Thomas Cook Group retail company (Thomas Cook, TCCT Retail Ltd, Future Travel Ltd or Freedom Travel Group Ltd) these holidays will not go ahead, and you will be entitled to a refund.    If you’ve booked a Thomas Cook package holiday through another travel company, you should contact that company to discuss options which may include re-booking or making alternative arrangements.    If you’ve booked flights from Thomas Cook Airlines Ltd, these are not covered by ATOL or ABTA protection, so you will need to pursue a claim through your card issuer.  Please click on the company that you have booked with from the list below, which will take you to the specific advice on what you will need to do next.    Thomas Cook Retail Limited   Thomas Cook Tour Operations Limited   TCCT Retail Limited   Future Travel Limited   Freedom Travel Group Limited   Thomas Cook Airlines Ltd (not an ABTA Member) Please note  The CAA will be opening its claim process for future ATOL bookings the week beginning 7 October 2019, further information is available at thomascook.caa.co.uk.   Any customers with ATOL bookings should not submit claims to ABTA as these will not be processed and customers will be referred to the CAA to claim. Advice for hoteliers ATOL protected package holiday with Thomas Cook  Where customers are currently abroad and they are on an ATOL protected package holiday with Thomas Cook or any company that is part of the Thomas Cook Group, the Civil Aviation Authority will seek to guarantee customers accommodation from the date they arrived at the accommodation and the duration of their stay. Please contact CAA for a letter of guarantee.   In regard to any outstanding payments prior to the failure, you will need to submit a claim to the Liquidator. Details of the Liquidator are available here. Single element sales (e.g. accommodation only) Where you have customers who booked accommodation only, with Thomas Cook Tour Operations Limited, TCCT Retail Limited, Future Travel Limited and The Freedom Travel Group Limited, these are protected under the ABTA scheme of financial protection from the date of the failure 23 September 2019 for the remainder of their stay.   Customers who are currently on holiday and utilising an accommodation only booking will need wherever possible to settle their accommodation bill if required to do so, retain all receipts and contact ABTA on their return. Please see www.abta.com/thomascook.    Outstanding invoices prior to the failure  In regard to any outstanding payments prior to the failure, you will need to submit a claim to the Liquidator. Details of the Liquidator are available here.

  • Thomas Cook Group Plc: ABTA media statement

    Thomas Cook Group Plc: ABTA media statement Full Page image dhewitt@abta.co.uk Mon, 09/23/2019 - 07:53 Thomas Cook was one of the UK’s best-known and longest-established travel brands.   Thomas Cook customers will be extremely anxious about their holiday bookings, ABTA’s immediate aim is to help them to understand what steps they need to take if they are currently away on holiday or if they have a forward booking, and to assist ABTA Member companies in supporting their customers. Thomas Cook Group Plc operated several businesses that sold holidays and other travel arrangements, including five companies that are ABTA Members: Thomas Cook Retail Limited - ABTA W8361, J8601 & ATOL 0020 Thomas Cook Tour Operations Limited - ABTA V6896 & ATOL 1179 TCCT Retail Limited - ABTA Y6564, L8164 & ATOL 10585 Future Travel Limited - ABTA W6370, G856X & ATOL 5704 Freedom Travel Group Limited - ABTA W6417, G8381 & ATOL 6042 The Group also included an airline business which is not a member of ABTA. The vast majority of holidaymakers’ arrangements are covered through different types of financial protection: the majority are flight packages covered by ATOL plus a smaller volume are packages without flights and accommodation covered by ABTA.  Flights booked directly with Thomas Cook airlines and some accommodation booked through Thomas Cook retail, with third parties, are not covered by ATOL or ABTA, so in these cases customers will need to contact their card issuer and they may be entitled to a refund. As there are a number of different companies involved, and different types of arrangement, what customers should do next will depend on whether they are currently away or have a forward booking; who they booked with; and what they booked.  ABTA has developed specific guidance for each situation which is available at abta.com/thomascook.   Mark Tanzer, ABTA CEO said: “Along with many others in the industry, I am extremely saddened by today’s news about the demise of Thomas Cook.  It is one of the UK’s most iconic travel companies and today thousands of staff are facing losing their jobs.  For customers and other travel businesses working with the Group, this will be an extremely worrying time.  ABTA has developed detailed advice to support customers and ABTA Members about what to do next.” Visit abta.com/thomascook for customer information  The Civil Aviation Authority also has a dedicated webpage with information for customers and travel businesses affected at: https://thomascook.caa.co.uk/

  • Thomas Cook Group: Advice for ABTA Members

    Thomas Cook Group: Advice for ABTA Members Full Page image dhewitt@abta.co.uk Mon, 09/23/2019 - 07:30

  • The End of the Beginning?

    The End of the Beginning? Full Page image dhewitt@abta.co.uk Thu, 10/17/2019 - 11:59 It’s back to earth from The Convention in Tokyo with a Brexit bang. By the end of this weekend at least some things in the political landscape will be clearer. For a long time now there has been a great deal of uncertainty but the Prime Minister is compelled by law – which he has said he will adhere to – to request an extension if the new deal agreed with the EU has not been voted for in the House of Commons by the end of the day on Saturday.  ABTA, in its regular engagement with the government, has been very vocal about the need to avoid a no-deal Brexit, so should its chances diminish further this weekend it will bring with it a small sigh of relief for now.   ABTA has maintained close ties with government departments such as the Department for Transport, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Health & Social Care and Her Majesty’s Passport Office so our advice for Members’ customers on passports, travel insurance, driving licences and pets is accurate and up to date in any event. ABTA’s no-deal contingency planning advice for Members, on how it could affect your business, your commercial partners and your people is also available for Members here.   ABTA’s Marketing and Media teams have upped the ante in recent weeks to provide practical advice and instil greater confidence among the travelling public about booking holidays and travel arrangements. It is all the more important, given the Thomas Cook failure, that we support consumer confidence in whatever way we can. This has included a national radio and digital advertising campaign and I know many Members have been diligently communicating to their customers too, using advice from our website abta.com/brexit.   Whatever happens this week, and in the weeks to come, we’ll be sure to keep you informed about the latest developments, and continue our dialogue with political decision-makers in the UK and Brussels to ensure the voice of our industry is heard.   Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive

  • The growing trend of adventure travel – what does it actually mean? 

    The growing trend of adventure travel – what does it actually mean?  Full Page image dhewitt@abta.co.uk Tue, 10/15/2019 - 13:21 Written by Giles Hawke, Chief Executive, Cosmos, and former Chair, The Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers (ATAS) Nobody can deny that adventure and experiential travel is on the rise.  The question is, what does ‘adventure travel’ actually mean? Whatever your perception of adventure travel, it’s usually a safe bet that it will be different to the view of the person next to you.  For one person, a trek to Everest base camp would be an adventure of a lifetime. For another, only summiting Everest itself would count as a true adventure. For you, an adventure might be scuba diving to 60 meters to discover what lurks deep beneath the surface. Your travel companion, however, might be pushing their limits doing a day of snorkelling in open water. Whatever your view of what constitutes an adventure, there is no denying that this is a fast-growing segment of the travel industry. Adventure covers such a broad spectrum of experiences that there truly is something for everyone – the key is really understanding what your customers want to do on their holiday rather than just where they want to go. The most important thing to focus on is the experience. Find out what they want to do and then look to create the adventure for them. Don’t be put off by adventure not being your key forte, just make sure you understand the scale of the experience that your customers want, and look to deliver them their own unique adventure within their level and capabilities.   I am delighted to be moderating ABTA’s first Adventure Travel Conference next month. The one-day event will help cement the knowledge you need to deliver a wide range of different kinds of experiences to your customers and inspire them to book their next adventure! The Adventure Travel Conference will be taking place at Japan House in London on Tuesday 19 November.  Find out more, download the agenda and register your place now at abta.com/abtaevents.   

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