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SpaceX Successfully Launches Inmarsat-5 F4 Commercial Communications Satellite

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A SpaceX Falcon rocket successfully launched a massive commercial communications satellite.

A SpaceX Falcon rocket successfully launched a massive commercial communications satellite from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The successful launch was broadcast live over the internet on Monday.

Technicians in the NASA control room erupted into applause when the satellite entered the final stage.

The Inmarsat-5 F4 satellite, built by Boeing, will boost high-speed mobile broadband connectivity provided by Global Xpress to customers around the world, SpaceX said in a press release prior to Monday’s launch.

The satellite is 7 meters tall and 40.6 meters wide, making it taller than a double-decker bus and wider than a Boeing 737, according to Inmarsat’s website.

Weighing in at nearly 6,100 kg, the satellite is the heaviest load ever delivered by a SpaceX Falcon rocket.

The satellite will be deployed about 32 minutes after launch and maneuvered into its orbit 35,786 km above earth. (Sputnik)

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Hong Kong Airlines to Recruit New Cadet Pilots

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Hong Kong Airlines has kicked off recruitment for a new batch of cadet pilots, following the successful launch of its inaugural Cadet Pilot Programme last year. The much-coveted 2017 Cadet Pilot Programme received over 4,000 applications last year and Hong Kong Airlines is excited to welcome new applicants again. The recruitment phase will take place from now until 15 February 2018. Interested applicants can apply online or email cadet.pilot@hkairlines.com for more information.

Hong Kong Airlines’ commitment to developing home-grown talent will once again see it target young people with Hong Kong Permanent Resident status for its second cadet pilot recruitment. All new cadets will undergo 70 weeks of flight training, which includes ground school training and multi-crew cooperation training using medium jet simulator. Following completion of the programme, successful cadets will receive their official appointment as Second Officers of Hong Kong Airlines.

Having served a record seven million passengers in 2017, which represented an impressive 10% climb year-on-year, Hong Kong Airlines is witnessing passenger growth that exceeds the industry average of 7.5% (source: IATA). In turn, the airline has invested substantially in new products, service and infrastructure to help cater to this growing demand.

Currently in the works is the development of a new training centre, which will provide state-of-the-art training facilities to help nurture a new generation of aviation elites. In addition, Hong Kong Airlines is also looking to expand its fleet to 50 aircraft strong by 2019, and is poised to take delivery of all 21 Airbus A350s by 2020. These improvements will prove pivotal to the airline as it continues to transition into a global carrier with long-haul aspirations that will include non-stop services to San Francisco, New York and London in 2018.

“Hong Kong Airlines is currently undergoing a period of unprecedented growth and we continue to seek new talent every day. Our recruitment for new pilots has seen a double digit jump over the past two years and we are committed in our pursuit to help spur growth within the industry. By solidify Hong Kong’s position as a world-class international aviation hub, we can provide our customers with more travel options and flexibility,” said Mr Tang King Shing, Vice Chairman of Hong Kong Airlines.

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Ferrero to Acquire Nestle’s U.S. Confectionary Business

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The Ferrero Group and its affiliated companies (“Ferrero”), a global confectionary group, announced a definitive agreement pursuant to which it will acquire the U.S. confectionary business from Nestle for $2.8 billion in cash. Nestle’s U.S. confectionary business generated sales of approximately $900 million in 2016.

Ferrero will acquire more than 20 American brands with a rich heritage and strong awareness, including iconic chocolate brands such as Butterfinger®, BabyRuth®, 100Grand®, Raisinets®, Wonka® and the exclusive right to the Crunch® brand for confectionary and certain categories in the U.S., as well as sugar brands such as SweeTarts®, LaffyTaffy®, and Nerds®.

With this transaction, Ferrero will become the third-largest confectionary company in the U.S. market where it is best known for Tic Tac® breath mints, Ferrero Rocher® pralines, Nutella® hazelnut spreads, the Fannie May and Harry London chocolate brands, and the Ferrara Candy Company, which was recently acquired by a Ferrero affiliated company and whose portfolio of brands includes Trolli®, Brach’s® and Black Forest® Gummies.

Ferrero will acquire Nestle’s U.S. manufacturing facilities in Bloomington, Franklin Park and Itasca, Illinois, and the confectionary-related employees, and will continue to operate through the offices in Glendale, California, as well as from its other current locations in Illinois and in New Jersey.

Giovanni Ferrero, Executive Chairman of the Ferrero Group, said, “We are very excited about the acquisition of Nestle’s U.S. confectionary business, which has an outstanding portfolio of iconic brands with rich histories and tremendous awareness. In combination with Ferrero’s existing U.S. presence, including the recently acquired Fannie May Confections Brands and the Ferrara Candy Company, we will have substantially greater scale, a broader offering of high-quality products to customers across the chocolate snack, sugar confectionary and seasonal categories, and exciting new growth opportunities in the world’s largest confectionary market. We look forward to welcoming the talented team from Nestle to Ferrero and to continuing to invest in and grow all of our products and brands in this key strategic and attractive market.”

“Our commitment to deliver value to the North American consumers and customers will be strongly enhanced by the arrival in our portfolio of such powerful confectionary and chocolate brands,” said Lapo Civiletti, CEO of the Ferrero Group.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and is expected to close around the end of the first quarter of 2018.

Credit Suisse Securities, Davis Polk and Wardwell LLP and Lazard served as advisors to Ferrero. (Ferrero)

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Vietnam to Release Anti-dengue Mosquitoes

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Vietnam will start releasing next month mosquitoes laced with Wolbachia — natural bacteria present in many insects — which is capable of preventing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes from becoming infected with dengue virus, meaning the mosquitoes cannot transmit the virus to humans.

Wolbachia-laced mosquitoes will be released in Vinh Luong commune, Nha Trang city, central Khanh Hoa province in 12-18 weeks starting in March, according to Vietnam’s Health Ministry on Monday.

Earlier, a research group from Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and Australian scientists bred Aedes aegypti mosquitoes laced with Wolbachia and then released them on a trial basis on Tri Nguyen island in Khanh Hoa in 2013 and 2014.

Since 2014, no dengue fever outbreaks have been detected on the island, while Nha Trang and Khanh Hoa have reported outbreaks of the disease.

When male and female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with Wolbachia are released over a number of weeks, they then breed with the wild mosquito population, passing the bacteria from generation to generation.

Over time, the percentage of mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia grows until it remains high without the need for further releases. Mosquitoes with Wolbachia are less able to transmit diseases to people, so the risk of outbreaks in these areas is reduced.

Vietnam recorded 175,800 dengue fever patients, including 38 fatalities, and 39 Zika sufferers last year, said the ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department. Zika is a virus spread to humans by Aedes mosquitoes — the same mosquitoes that spread dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. (Xinhua)

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agoda Rounding Up the Hottest Hotel Openings from 2017 for Your 2018 Bucket List

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In the past year agoda’s accommodation listings have doubled, and now the fastest-growing online travel booking platform offers over 2 million properties worldwide. With so many new options available, agoda has curated a list based on some of the most stand-out 2017 property openings around the world with options for every travel adventure.

agoda’s Global Director for Brand and Communications, Andrew Edwards, explains: “There have been some incredible hotel openings in last 12 months. From luxury resorts to quirky motels, the latest hotel openings have something for everyone in 2018.”

“One thing that stands out is that the caliber of new more affordable properties has been particularly high. Travelers are increasingly demanding more for less, and as cash-strapped millennials make up more of the travel market, the industry is tapping into the demand for affordable accommodation that doesn’t compromise on atmosphere and quality.”

By Design

Hi-Tech Hotel
YOTEL Orchard Road — Singapore
Opened: October 2017

Image Source: thedrum.com

YOTEL is the hotel chain that provides guests with everything they need, and nothing more. From self-service check-in, to adjustable Smartbeds, a technowall and Smart TVs, each ‘capsule’ has everything the modern connected traveler needs. The hotel, created by Yo! Founder Simon Woodroffe, draws inspiration from both extremes – Japanese capsule hotels and luxury airline lounges. Check In to YOTEL Singapore, Step Out right into Orchard Road, the city’s most vibrant shopping and entertainment hub.

Reinvented Hostel
Steel House — Copenhagen, Denmark
Opened: May 2017

Formerly home to the Danish Union of Metalworkers, Steel House Copenhagen has been transformed into everything you could need from a hostel without losing its unique raw edge. Whilst there are both private and dormitory rooms available, you won’t find yourself feeling like a budget backpacker here with its balanced fusion of industrial interiors and soft textures. Check In to Steel House, Step Out to the Tivoli Gardens or Copenhagen Station located just 5 minutes away to open up an endless amount of places to explore.

Eco-Hotel
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge — New York City, USA
Opened: February 2017

Another outpost of the nature-inspired 1 Hotel group, this 10-storey eco-conscious waterfront hotel has been designed by local artists using native greenery and reclaimed materials. Every room has a coffee machine with recyclable pods and mattresses with a hemp blend filling and 100% organic cotton sheets. Guests have access to a Tesla vehicle for complimentary rides to explore the city. Check In to 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, Step Out to the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade located just located just 0.6km away to enjoy sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the East River.

Concept
MACq 01 Hotel — Hobart, Australia
Opened: June 2017

Nestled in the heart of the historic Hobart waterfront, MACq 01 is a luxurious hotel that combines premium accommodation with unforgettable storytelling. Each room is linked to a real character central to Tasmania’s history, including the heroes, villains, explorers, inventors and convicts. Sign up for the Master Storyteller tour and be guided through the history that decorates the hotel’s hallways and beyond in the nearby Wapping district; or Check In, Step Out on your own to explore the many sights on offer, including Brooke Street Pier, Franklin Wharf, and Sullivans Cove – all less than 1km away.

Modern Architecture
Park Hyatt — Bangkok, Thailand
Opened: May 2017

Park Hyatt Bangkok is a popular pick for both business and leisure travelers, with easy access to all that this lively city has to offer. The dramatic, swooping architecture, designed by New York-based firm Yabu Pushelberg, uses art as a focal point. Inside you will find stunning installations created by Japanese artist Hirotoshi Sawada, which will leave you in awe just as much as the stunning view from the infinity pool that overlooks the bright city lights. Check In to Park Hyatt, Step Out to some of Bangkok’s best attractions all within 2km of the hotel, including Erawan Shrine, Baiyoke II Tower, Lumphini Park, and Bangkok Art & Culture Centre.

By Location

Historical Location
Alila Fort — Bishangarh, India
Opened: July 2017

Image Source: sumabeachlifestyle.com

Located at Bishangarh Village in the Jaipur District, this converted warrior fort is now a historic landmark and heritage resort. Jaipur is rich in history, developed as India’s first ever planned city, and surrounded by three forts, and numerous temples, so travelers are sure to get their fill of history at this unique hotel. With the 720 hectare Nahargarh Biological Park close by, you can take a jeep safari to see panthers, tigers and lions in between exploring Bishangarh’s rich history. Check In to Alila Fort Bishangarh, perched upon a granite hill, Step Out to 360-degree views of the impressive Rajasthani landscape.

City Hotel
The Silo Hotel — Cape Town, South Africa
Opened: March 2017

Located in one of the most breathtaking cities in the world, The Silo Hotel is a city hotel with a truly incredible feel, occupying 6 floors above Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa — the home of the largest collection of contemporary African art in Africa. The luxury hotel’s unbeatable location means you can see the ocean from the comfort of your own private balcony, whilst still being amidst the hustle and bustle of city life. Check In to the Silo Hotel, Step Out to the world famous table mountain, or treat yourself to a helicopter tour across Cape Town’s endless beaches.

Island Paradise
Conrad Bora Bora Nui — Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Opened: April 2017

Surround yourself with clear blue seas and white sand in this island paradise, tucked in a cove floating between Bora Bora’s mainland and coral reef. Check In to Conrad Bora Bora Nui, Step Out to the endless blue horizon and amazing sunset views. With overwater bungalows, two gourmet restaurants, two bars, an infinity pool, and a private island accessible by boat, guests will never want to leave this paradise.

Jungle Hideout
Hoshinoya Bal — Ubud, Indonesia
Opened: January 2017

Located in Ubud on Bali, Hoshinoya combines unique Japanese design with traditional Balinese touches, hidden amongst lush jungle greenery. The location is unbeatable with sacred water canals running through the property, all part of the island’s UNESCO World Heritage recognized water temple network. Check In to Hoshinoya Ubud, Step Out to the eclectic Ubud Market, historic Ubud Palace, and the breathtaking Campuhan Ridge Walk – all just a short bike ride away.

By Traveler Type

Solo Travelers
My Cocoon — Mykonos, Greece
Opened: April 2017

Affordable is not often a word associated with Mykonos in Greece, but My Cocoon has an option for every traveler and being located in the heart of Mykonos, solo travelers can’t go wrong. Check In to My Cocoon, Step Out to the outdoor bar with a sun terrace and incredible sea-views – the perfect place to meet new people. It’s also easy to venture out and experience all Mykonos has to offer, with bars, restaurants and shops only moments away.

Business Hotel
The Murray — Hong Kong
Opened: October 2017

The Murray is fast becoming a popular choice for business travelers. The property is just 1 km away from the city center, and only 35 minutes to the airport. With its convenient location, the property also offers easy access to the city’s must-see destinations for travelers keen to squeeze in some sightseeing between business meetings. With Wi-Fi in all rooms, a fitness center, massages, and even a grocery delivery service on offer, business travelers can be sure that they can stay connected whilst in absolute comfort. Check In to The Murray, Step Out to Lan Kwai Fong just 550m from the hotel to experience some of Hong Kong’s lively nightlife hot spots with over 90 restaurants and bars — once all the business meetings are done, of course!

Family Resort
The Anam Deluxe Collection — Nha Trang, Vietnam
Opened: April 2017

Vietnam’s first true 5-star beach resort, The Anam Deluxe Collection has amazing activities on offer for families, alongside some of the most luxurious yet family-friendly villas. Parents can take advantage of the spa facilities and private beaches, whilst the kids can enjoy the cinema, kids club, windsurfing or simply frolic in the 3 expansive pools. There is something here for all ages and interests, and with such incredible activities in this picturesque location, your family will never get bored. Check In to The Anam, and Step Out to the picturesque Bai Dai beach with the kids, or indulge in the 100 Eggs Mud Bath – both only a short distance away.

Luxe
Okada — Manila, the Philippines
Opened: January 2017

Carved into 44 hectares of picturesque oceanfront, Okada Manila is Entertainment City’s iconic integrated resort. Okada Manila boasts 993 lavishly furnished accommodation options, ranging from 50-sqm deluxe rooms to 1,000-sqm villas. Guests can Check In and immediately Step Out to the resort’s very own premium amenities, including the Retail Boulevard with more than 50 luxury shops, the one-of-a-kind Cove Manila nightclub and indoor beach club, a 3,000-sqm spa, and the world’s largest multi-color dancing and musical fountain.

Romantic
The Ritz-Carlton — Langkawi, Malaysia
Opened: September 2017

Image Source: hospitalityonline.com

Check In to The Ritz-Carlton, and Step Out to uninterrupted rainforest views from every angle. Set within an ancient rainforest on a secluded beach, The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi holds the perfect location for a romantic getaway. Couples can choose between enjoying the peace and quiet of the beaches, indulging in luxury hotel amenities, such as the island’s only overwater spa, or take a time out in the oversized marble in-suite bathrooms.

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