Local fishers oppose $2.7 billion deal opening Madagascar to Chinese fishing

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Two months ago, a little-known private Malagasy association signed a 10-year, $2.7 billion fishing deal — the largest in the country’s history — with a group of Chinese companies that plans to send 330 fishing vessels to Madagascar.Critics of the deal include the country’s fisheries minister, who said he learned about it in the newspaper; environmental and government watchdog groups; and local fishers, who are already struggling with foreign competition for Madagascar’s dwindling marine stocks.Critics say no draft of the deal has been made public and the association that signed it did not conduct an environmental impact assessment or any public consultation.The issue has drawn media attention in the run-up to the presidential election on Wednesday. The incumbent and a leading candidate, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, was present at the fisheries deal’s signing, although he later claimed not to be familiar with it. Life on the coast of Madagascar is increasingly precarious. In recent decades, the overexploitation of marine life has made it difficult for hundreds of thousands of small-scale fishers to make a living. So it’s no surprise that they are vocally opposing a new agreement to bring hundreds of additional Chinese vessels into their waters.Two months ago, a little-known and ostensibly private Malagasy association signed a 10-year, $2.7 billion fishing deal — the largest in the country’s history — with a group of Chinese companies that plans to send 330 fishing vessels to Madagascar. Madagascar’s president at the time, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, was in the room when the deal was signed in Beijing on Sept. 5, although he later claimed not to be familiar with it. No draft of the deal has been made public, and its opacity has drawn media attention in the run-up to the presidential election on Wednesday. Rajaonarimampianina stepped down as president on Sept. 7, two days after the deal was signed, to comply with Malagasy law that requires a sitting president to leave office 60 days before an election in which he is running. He is a leading candidate in the election.On the Madagascar side, the Agence Malagasy de Développement économique et de Promotion d’entreprises (AMDP) made the deal, which the group says was designed to promote the country’s “blue economy.” It did so without consulting the fisheries ministry, the national environment office, or civil society groups, many of which are now calling for the deal to be scrapped. These critics say the AMDP failed to set up an open bidding process and did not conduct an environmental impact assessment or any public consultation. They also note that there’s limited information on fishing efforts and catches in Madagascar’s waters, so any new projects should be taken on with extreme caution.“I can’t help but wonder how 330 vessels in our coastal zone would contribute to a blue economy. Not everything that happens in the ocean is ‘blue,’” Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, country director for the international NGO World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), wrote in an op-ed in one of Madagascar’s leading newspapers.Activists have started an online petition to revoke the agreement, and some members of the government are equally concerned. Augustin Andriamananoro, the minister of fisheries, went on national television to voice his opposition to the deal, which he said he first read about in a newspaper.“This could bring about discord and, if we are not careful, it will cause our ocean to be overexploited,” he told TV Plus Madagascar on Oct. 5. “Madagascar’s natural resources are in danger, especially the fish. The fishers are shocked and concerned.”A cartoon that ran on the Malagasy news site 2424.mg. The caption reads “Blue Economy = 10-year fishing deal with China.” Image courtesy of 2424.mg.A deal without detailsThe AMDP signed what it describes as a “framework agreement” with a consortium of seven unidentified Chinese companies known as Taihe Century (Beijing) Investment Development Co., Ltd. The AMDP has said in public statements that the agreement will be a boon to the local economy, and said in a press release from Beijing when the deal was signed that it would create 10,000 jobs over the next three years.“As a civil society actor, we heard the needs of traditional fishers,” Hugues Ratsiferana, the AMDP’s CEO, wrote in an email to Mongabay. He said that Malagasy people would operate 300 of the fishing vessels, and that these would all be new, 14-meter (46-foot) vessels with 1,200-kilogram-capacity (2,646-pound) iceboxes. The new equipment will allow Malagasy fishers to modernize and professionalize their fishing practices, he said. The remaining 30 vessels will be 28 meters (92 feet) in length and used for surveillance, rescue and collection of catch.Though there has been a slow trickle of information regarding the deal, the lack of transparency has concerned observers. “The scale of this investment is unprecedented in the island’s history,” reads an Oct. 12 statement on the website of Mihari, a network of locally managed marine associations in Madagascar. “It is a great source of concern for our Network members and the entire fishing industry, especially as we have little information about the content of the agreement or the manner in which it will be implemented.”Last week, AMDP representatives met with civil society groups and explained a bit more about the agreement. The first phase of the project, worth $700 million over three years, will include investments in fishing, aquaculture, shipyards and technical training, according to slides from the AMDP’s presentation. The second phase, worth $2 billion, will include more fishing, an aquaculture “base” and unspecified logistical services.The AMDP representatives did not specify where the vessels would be based, the fishing would be done, or the projects would take place — not even for a planned pilot project. Nor did they present a complete breakdown of how the $2.7 billion would be spent.In an apparent attempt to mollify critics, AMDP representatives said at the meeting that Malagasy people would have first access to the catch and only the surplus would be shipped to China. (It is unclear how Taihe would make money by selling the fish in Madagascar, a low-income country, and Ratsiferana did not reply to a question from Mongabay on this subject.) They also said that each individual project within the framework agreement would be subject to an environmental impact assessment.However, civil society groups are still not satisfied that the deal was made in a fair and transparent manner. “The AMDP failed to answer our most important questions,” Frédéric Lesné, head of advocacy at Transparency International (TI) – Madagascar Initiative, told Mongabay after attending the meeting.On Friday, TI and other civil society groups announced their ongoing opposition to the deal, saying the AMDP had no experience in the fisheries sector, had refused to disclose information about Taihe, and had not made any social or environmental impact studies public.The AMDP’s Ratsiferana told Mongabay that critical civil society groups had shown “great naïveté” and that opposition to the deal was politically motivated. “During the electoral period in Madagascar, the [online petition] signatories, and first and foremost Transparency International (TI), were manipulated by interests and political issues that go beyond them,” Ratsiferana told Mongabay, referring to the upcoming presidential elections. (TI declined to respond to this claim, saying it had no basis in fact.)Fishermen in southwestern Madagascar carry a pirogue to the sea. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.What is the AMDP?Critics of the deal have also expressed concern about the AMDP’s unusual structure and unclear relationship to the Madagascar government and to then-president and current candidate Rajaonarimampianina.As president, Rajaonarimampianina officially launched the AMDP at the headquarters of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie in Paris in September 2016. Soon after, Madagascar hosted an international francophone summit, where the AMDP acted on behalf of the government to facilitate economic partnerships with other French-speaking countries. The group’s name, which identifies it as an “agency,” also implies that it is a government body.In the AMDP’s press release from Beijing in September, Rajaonarimampianina voiced his support for the fisheries deal — “the new silk roads run through Madagascar!” he said — and was one of a handful of people in the room when the deal was signed. The AMDP attached a photograph of the hand-shaking scene to the release, and Rajaonarimampianina can be seen at the back, in the middle.When questioned about the deal by Radio France Internationale (RFI), Rajaonarimampianina claimed not to know about it.Rajaonarimampianina has another tie to the AMDP: His son, Lovatiana Mickaël Rakotoarimanana, was on the AMDP’s board of directors when it was founded in 2016. (In an email to Mongabay, the AMDP’s Ratsiferana said Rakotoarimanana was no longer on the board.)Despite the AMDP’s work on behalf of the government and connections to the presidency, Ratsiferana said it was a “private association” and thus had no legal obligation to release a copy of the fisheries deal to the public.“[N]ot being a state-to-state agreement, but a protocol between private sectors and companies, we are bound to an obligation of confidentiality and private business secrecy,” Ratsiferana told Mongabay. “Have you ever seen in the press a publication of the agreement between Exxon and Aramco in the oil sector?” (Aramco, a state-owned oil company in Saudi Arabia, is notorious for its opacity.)But without a governmental mandate, it’s unclear how a private association like the AMDP could sign a deal of this scope, which will require, at the very least, a series of permits from the national environment office and licenses from the fisheries ministry. In response to a question regarding the AMDP’s authority to make such a sweeping international deal, Ratsiferana said, “The reality on the ground confirms a socio-economic backwardness in Madagascar and the need of the Malagasy population is clear: a better life. The AMDP is responding to this need.”The deal has drawn a lot of attention in local media and on social-media platforms, with many observers assuming corruption was a factor, or that the AMDP sold access to the president’s office. However, there is no direct evidence for either of these claims, and the AMDP has vigorously denied them. “I have not touched a single dollar,” Ratsiferana told RFI. “Neither me, nor the AMDP, nor Hery Rajaonarimampianina. I give you my word.”The president’s office, occupied in the interim by Rivo Rakotovao, a Rajaonarimampianina ally, declined to comment for this article. The AMDP declined to provide contact information for Taihe, and Mongabay was unable to reach the Beijing-based company, which has no online presence.Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who is running for reelection in this week’s presidential elections in Madagascar, spoke in London in 2015. Image courtesy of Chatham House via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).Foreign pressure on local fisheriesGlobally, China has the world’s largest fishing fleet. Chinese fishing companies, heavily subsidized by the government, have developed a reputation for overexploiting stocks and signing deals that lack transparency, or just not signing them at all. The vast majority of fishing by Chinese vessels goes unreported, amounting to about 2.5 million tons of catch per year around Africa alone, according to a 2012 European Union report.The Chinese fishing industry already had a presence in Madagascar prior to the signing of the agreement with the AMDP. Six Chinese vessels have been trawling for demersal and pelagic fish off southwest Madagascar since October 2017, according to the fisheries ministry. Small-scale fishers in the area say they feel the impact of the trawling on their catches, even from this relatively small fleet.“We mustn’t forget that with the arrival of just six industrial fishing boats in the Toliara region this year, some communities are already struggling to make ends meet,” Hermany Emoantra, a small-scale fisher in southwest Madagascar and Mihari’s president, said in the group’s statement. “So, imagine what could happen with 330 boats — how will these people live, where will they go?”Officially, these six are the only Chinese vessels working Madagascar’s waters, but the real number is believed to be much higher. Reports in the news and from local observers indicate that a large number of Chinese ships are working there illegally, sometimes using highly destructive fishing methods and strong-arm tactics to muscle local fishers off the water.But Madagascar’s small-scale fishers also face competition beyond the Chinese, for example from domestic and foreign industrial shrimp trawling and long-line tuna fishing by vessels from South Korea, Seychelles and Europe.Indeed, civil society groups are closely scrutinizing renegotiations of an EU fishing deal with Madagascar, which is due to expire at the end of the year. Fisheries experts have criticized past deals for prioritizing the profits of private EU companies over the interests of Malagasy people, and for lacking transparency. Late last month, Mihari and TI sent an open letter to both the Madagascar fisheries ministry and the EU asking for greater transparency and more cooperation with civil society groups during this round of negotiations.The fisheries deals with both the Europeans and the Chinese will be subject to at least an implicit approval by an incoming administration, which could quash them by denying foreign companies the necessary permits or licenses. So for Malagasy fishers, as for other sectors of society, much will depend on the results of the presidential election.A fishing boat in the town of Beheloke in southwestern Madagascar. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.Banner image: A fishing boat in the town of Beheloke in southwestern Madagascar. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Rebecca Kesslercenter_img Biodiversity Hotspots, Conservation, Conservation And Poverty, Corporate Responsibility, Corporations, Developing Countries, Environment, Environmental Economics, Finance, Fish, Fishing, Governance, Green, Marine Animals, Marine Conservation, Marine Ecosystems, Oceans, Poverty last_img read more

EidulFitr Thursday

first_img.Holy Eid-ul-Fitr, the largest religious festival of Muslims, will be celebrated in the country on Thursday as the Shawwal moon is not sighted in Bangladesh sky on Tuesday, said state minister for religious affairs Sheikh Md Abdullah.He came up with the announcement at around 8:50pm Tuesday after a meeting of National Moon Sighting Committee in the evening.Meanwhile, thousands of people have already left the capital to celebrate the Eid with their near and dear ones at their respective village homes, UNB reports.Besides, all the preparations have been completed across the country, including the capital, for smooth holding of Eid congregations.In the capital, the main Eid congregation will be held at the National Eidgah on the High Court premises at 8:30am. President Abdul Hamid is expected to join the Eid jamaat.However, the venue of the main congregation will be shifted to Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in case of inclement weather. In that case, the jamaat will be held at 9am.Besides, five more congregations will be held at the National Mosque.Arrangements will be there at the National Eidgah and the National Mosque for women to take part in the Eid prayers alongside their male counterparts.Eid congregations will also be held in eidgahs, mosques and open spaces across the country.Sholakia Eidgah in Kishoreganj and Gor-e-Shahid Boro Math in Dinajpur are all set to host two largest Eid congregations.The national flag will be hoisted atop government and non-government office buildings on the day. The main city streets and road islands will be decorated with the national flag and banners inscribed with ‘Eid Mubarak’ in both Bangla and Arabic.Television channels and radio stations will air special programmes.Special diet will be served in hospitals, jails, government children homes, centres for persons with disabilities, shelter homes, orphanages, vagrant welfare and destitute welfare centres.Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police has taken stringent security measures to ensure smooth holding of Eid congregation at the Jatiya Eidgah.last_img read more

Fake doctor arrested from Moore Avenue

first_imgKolkata: The city police have arrested a fake doctor from Moore Avenue on charges of practicing as a doctor without a valid registration.According to police, the accused, Sadhan Goswami has been treating patients since 1995.He started a chamber on the Moor avenue in 2009. Goswami shut down his chamber after many such fake doctors were arrested last year.It was learnt that he re-opened his chamber in March this year.Some locals suspected that there must be something wrong as he disappeared after fake doctors were arrested from various parts of the city . Police came to know about the incident and initiated a probe. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThey went to the chamber and received his registration certificate and later sent it to the Medical Council of India (MCI) for verification.The accused registration number was declared false by the MCI.After police became confident that he was a fake doctor, they raided his clinic and interrogated for a while before arresting him finally in this connection.Police arrested the accused on Monday night. They seized several documents from his chamber and are investigating if others are involved in the incident. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedIt may be mentioned that Criminal Investigation Department had started a probe in this regard last year and had arrested many doctors across the state.Many suspected fake doctors closed down their chambers following the incident.Goswami was one of such accused. Police are trying to figure how a fake doctor had been operating a chamber in the city since 1995 without a valid registration.He was remanded to police custody after being taken to a city court on Tuesday. Police have started a detailed probe in this regard.last_img read more

10 Things We Love and Hate About the Droid

first_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. December 3, 2009 Brought to you by Business Insider Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 9 min read Register Now » Related LinksDroid Eris: The Best Android Phone For The Money – If Verizon’s Droid Is Good, That’s Bad10 Awesome Gifts For iPhone OwnersMore From Business Insider » Google’s Android operating system is on the way to getting huge , especially with Motorola’s Droid and HTC’s Droid Eris handsets available through Verizon this holiday season.But are they any good? We’ve played around with both phones for the past few weeks and found a few things we love and a few things we hate.Our baseline of comparison was an iPhone 3G which we’ve been using since the first day it came out. Compared to that phone, the Android operating system falls flat. But that doesn’t mean the phones aren’t worth buying.While it was once easy to argue in favor of leaving Verizon for the iPhone, these new handsets coupled with Android’s features make it a tougher sell.What’s wrong with Android? The user experience as a whole just isn’t as good. Its native applications, as well as its third party applications have wonky–and at times, frustrating–design.This is a knock against Android, but it should be expected. Apple has been designing operating systems for thirty years. Google has been doing it for two. In those two years, it’s created a pretty incredible system that offers plenty to like.The beautiful home screen design with colorful backgrounds and fat widgets makes the iPhone look positively dour in comparison. The notification bar across the top is also a nice touch, though it can be a bit overbearing at times, reminding us of a Windows based PC.As for the handsets, they have ups and downs too. The Motorola Droid is a powerful machine that really flies. Pulling up the Android Market on it and downloading an App was a much faster experience in our limited testing compared to the iPhone.However, with great power comes great bulk, weight, and bad looks, as the saying goes. The Droid is clunky and doesn’t feel right in our hands. The physical keyboard isn’t anything to write home about. It also has that weird lip at the bottom that just looks bad.The Eris on the other hand is a lightweight, pretty phone. It’s not as powerful though. Its small screen and weak touch screen keyboard aren’t great. Its also buzzes every time we hit the home or menu buttons. This haptic touch is not needed or welcomed–and as far as we can tell, can’t be turned off.Overall though, we think each of the phones has a lot to offer, especially in combination with Google’s Android operating system.1. Apps experience is worseBoth the third party applications, and the native applications are worse on Android phones than the iPhone.There is no multi-touch pinch and zoom for the maps or browser for the Droid (on the Eris, you can pinch the browser, but it hangs a bit). The user interface on the maps is just not as good. It’s not as intuitive, or easy to use. This is a recurring problem with Android.Android’s Market is a decent experience, but it’s not better than Apple’s App Store. There’s fewer selections, and the selections that are available for both the iPhone and Android seem to be worse on Android.We think the Android Market will improve over time. But, for right now, and probably the next year at least, the gap between the two app stores is huge. If you want a phone for gaming or lots of apps, the iPhone is still the one to buy.2. The hardware on the Droid is awkward, Eris is okayThe Droid is a heavy clunker of a brick that feels weird in the hand, while the Eris is nice slim phone that feels natural. Both phones’ keyboards are weak.The touch screen keyboard on the Eris is maddening. It’s hard to hit the right keys. The touchscreen and physical keyboards on the Droid aren’t spectacular either.We like the trackball on the Eris, especially when it glows to let us know we have an e-mail. The slideout keyboard on the Droid is nice to toy with when we’re sitting around, bored or nervous, but feels like it would break off after a year of serious use.3. Running programs in the background rocksWhile we were initially skeptical of the importance of multiple apps running at once on the phone, we must say it’s a great feature.Having Twitter and e-mail open at the same time is fabulous. We like being able to see across the top bar when there’s new Tweets to check, as opposed to manually logging in on the iPhone, or getting push notifications.4. Verizon slays AT&TIn our experience with the Droid and Eris on Verizon, we’ve been pleased. Phone calls aren’t getting dropped, and the wireless connection is fast. When we come over the Manhattan Bridge on the subway, we can check e-mail, Twitter and maybe one or two other things. On the iPhone, not so much.There’s a reason iPhone users in major metro areas hate AT&T. It’s not just a cliche, the service is not that good. It’s erratic, and phone calls are regularly dropped as well.5. The design and screen look greatWe really like the big clock on the Eris, as well as the way it displays the weather. We also like the colorful background. In comparison, the black background on the iPhone feels dour. These are enhancements HTC made.Further, the screen pops in bright, sharp focus. The iPhone looks flat. We have our iPhone on a dimmer setting to keep the battery running longer. Even when it’s fully bright it looks worse than Android phones. The iPhone almost looks out of focus in comparison.6. Syncing with a computer is not that greatIt’s great for syncing with the “cloud” and the web, but not the PC. We plugged the Droid into our computer. We didn’t see it on the desktop. We had to mount it on the computer as a separate step.We wanted to add music. It wasn’t showing up in iTunes, obviously. So we just dragged songs from iTunes to Amazon MP3. The music showed up in our phone, which was nice, but this is a much worse experience.7. Music isn’t as centralWhen you see the white ear buds, right out of the box you know the iPhone is made for music. The Droids have no headphones.On the iPhone when we have our music on, and the phone is locked, we can double click the home button and get the basic player to work. We can pause, or skip songs. On the Droid, that’s not feasible. It’s a small thing, but it fits into a bigger theme.As we said previously, the sync with the computer isn’t as good either for the music. When we were playing the music player we opened another music application–Listen–and when we played Listen, it overlapped so we had two things going at once. On the iPhone that doesn’t happen. One thing fades out, the other fades in.8. It’s LOUD!It might not work particularly well for music compared to the iPhone, but lordy is the phone loud! The speaker that runs along the back is awesome compared to the iPhone. It’s especially awesome to hear the weird robot voice belch out “DROID” through the booming speaker. And the songs sounded better on the Droid, at least to our tin ears.9. Sorry kids, e-mail is worseWe’ve read many a glowing review about how awesome the GMail integration is with Android phones. We have to say, we’re not into it.The iPhone’s e-mail is just flat out better. We don’t like the interface on the Droids compared to the iPhone, we don’t like that we can’t look at the first few lines of an e-mail with Android, and a number of other small frustrating things.We like the fact that e-mails arrive sooner with Android, but that’s about it. The experience is decidedly less pleasant.10. Nitpicky stuff that makes a big differenceThere’s a few small things that are weird or frustrating with the Droids.Not a fan of the button being at the top of the Droid to turn it on. Apple’s design is better with the home buttom at the bottom and the power button at the top. The Eris has one button awkwardly placed to the right of the trackball.On the Eris we can’t turn off the haptic buzz that happens each time we hit the home or menu buttons. That’s terrible.Unless you download an SDK to the phone, and tweak it, you can’t do screengrabs with the Droids. That might not seem like a big deal, but if you’ve ever traveled abroad with an iPhone, you might appreciate why it stinks. We like to get a spot with WiFi, pull up a map for where we are or where we’re going, then save screen grabs so we can use saved maps to get around.So, should you buy one? If you’re still confused about whether or not to get the phone, we’ll make it simple.Buy the phone if:You’re on Verizon, and love it.You’re a hardcore Google user, who wants to stay in the cocoon.You’re a developer and you hate Apple’s in-control app experience.You’re a contrarian that doesn’t want to be with faux-cool sheep and their iPhonesDon’t buy the phone if:You use a Mac, or iTunes, and like to sync your iPod with ease.You’re in it for games and applications.You’re a current iPhone owner; it’s not better.You want to watch legally downloaded videos. Still can’t do that easily on the Droid.Via last_img read more

Viking Ocean Cruises third ship to sail maiden voyage next month

first_img Friday, January 27, 2017 Travelweek Group Viking Ocean Cruises’ third ship to sail maiden voyage next month Posted by Tags: Viking Cruisescenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Share LOS ANGELES — Viking Ocean Cruises recently took delivery of its third ship, Viking Sky, which will set sail on her maiden voyage Feb. 25 from Rome through the Mediterranean.After sailing spring itineraries throughout the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Viking Sky will officially be christened in Norway on June 22 in Tromsø. She will then continue her maiden season with sailings in Scandinavia and the Baltic before crossing the Atlantic in September to the Americas and the Caribbean.“In the past two years, we have been encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response our first two ocean ships have generated among our guests and travel industry partners. Today we mark an important milestone in welcoming the third ship to our fleet. By the end of 2017 – our 20th year in business – we will also welcome our fourth ship, doubling our fleet in less than a year,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “With our fast-growing fleet and innovative design, we look forward to introducing even more experienced travelers to The Viking Way of destination-focused itineraries in the years to come.”More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksViking Sky is an all-veranda small ship and sister to the recently launched Viking Star and Viking Sea.Viking’s ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, 465 staterooms and accommodates 930 guests. In November 2017, Viking will also welcome Viking Sun, which will sail the company’s first-ever World Cruise, spanning 141 days, five continents, 35 countries and 66 ports. Viking Spirit will join the fleet in 2018 and will sail itineraries in Australia, Asia and Alaska. A sixth, yet-to-be-named ship will be delivered in 2019 and will mark Viking as the largest small ship ocean cruise line.last_img read more