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US faces severe economic downturn as virus tolls fall in hardest-hit Europe



The world’s biggest economy faces a severe downtown but will not suffer another Great Depression, US Fed chief Jerome Powell said on Sunday, as three hardest-hit countries in Europe reported low death tolls and lockdowns eased.

Italy recorded the fewest deaths from coronavirus, 145, in one day since its two-month lockdown began, while Spain had 87 new virus-related deaths — the first time the number has fallen below 100 in two months.

Restaurants, bars and cafes will be among the businesses allowed to reopen from Monday in Italy, and Spain will also further relax its lockdown measures, except in Madrid and Barcelona.

Britain also registered its lowest daily increase since late March, with 170 fatalities. However, that number did not include Northern Ireland due to a technical issue — and these figures are often lower on weekends due to lags in reporting.

With a worldwide virus death toll above 315,000 and the global economy reeling from the vast damage caused by stay-at-home orders, numerous European countries are lifting restrictions to provide much-needed respite for their beleaguered and impatient populations

Weekend leisure-seekers enjoyed reopened beaches in France, Greece and Italy, and Britons basked in sunny parks.

In the United States, too, with more than 30 million jobs destroyed, states have begun reopening even though federal guidelines for a two-week decline in cases have not always been met.

The US economy could “easily” collapse by 20 to 30 percent this quarter, and unemployment could peak at 20 to 25 percent, but, “it should be a much shorter downturn than you would associate with the 1930s,” Powell, the Federal Reserve Chairman, said on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Semblance of normality

On Sunday, the United States also recorded its lowest daily death toll in a week, at 820, but the country with the world’s highest number of coronavirus fatalities neared 90,000 dead.

A Bayern Munich substitute player wearing a protective face mask maintains social distance in the stands during a match against FC Union Berlin played without fans. PHOTO: POOL/AFP / HANNIBAL HANSCHKE

Elsewhere, the virus — which has infected 4.7 million people globally — is still surging.

Brazil’s number of deaths soared past 16,000 with more than 240,000 infections, making it the country with the fourth-highest number of cases.

On the other side of the Atlantic, South Africa reported 1,160 new infections, the highest daily number since March when the country recorded its first case.

A semblance of normality returned to the sports world on the weekend, in the United States, Europe and Asia.

A NASCAR motor race before empty stands at the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina was the sport’s first live competition since March 8.

In South Korea, the world’s first big-purse post-coronavirus golf tournament — the Korean LPGA Championship — wrapped up Sunday.

Germany’s Bundesliga at the weekend became the first top football league to return after lockdown, bringing relief not only to European football fans but to a sports-starved world. Defending champions Bayern Munich defeated Union Berlin 2-0 inside an empty stadium in the capital on Sunday evening.

Latin America cases surge

An empty road in Chile’s capital Santiago, which has entered lockdown after a surge in new cases. PHOTO: AFP / MARTIN BERNETTI

Despite the optimism in some European countries, rising infection and fatality numbers in other parts of the world offered grim reminders of the threat COVID-19 poses.

The number of cases in Latin America passed half a million as Chile locked down its capital Santiago following a sharp rise in infections.

Despite Brazil’s surging numbers, President Jair Bolsonaro is keen to end lockdowns, which he claims have unnecessarily damaged the economy.

He told a protest in Brasilia on Sunday that social distancing and other health restrictions were too much.

Alongside several of his ministers, he greeted hundreds of supporters who crowded outside the Presidential Palace with Brazilian flags, bugles and loudspeakers.

They also held signs calling for the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the new coronavirus, even though several studies appear to have doused hope the drug can help.

The government of tiny El Salvador, in Central America, extended for another month its own lockdown aimed at countering COVID-19.

India reported its biggest single-day jump in infections, prompting an extension of a nationwide lockdown for its 1.3 billion people until the end of May.

Children make their way to school in Wellington, New Zealand, after the government allowed schools to re-open under its guidelines. PHOTO: AFP / Marty MELVILLE

Russia, which has the world’s second-highest number of infections, claimed Sunday that steadying case rates showed the growth of the virus had been halted, after reporting its deadliest day yet on Saturday.

In Algeria, the COVID-19 death of an eight-month pregnant doctor sparked an uproar after her request for early maternity leave was rejected.

A world map showing official number of coronavirus deaths per country, as of May 17, 2020 at 1100 GMT. PHOTO: AFP / Simon MALFATTO

Madagascar and Nepal reported their first coronavirus-linked deaths, while Qatar began enforcing the world’s toughest penalties of up to three years’ prison for failing to wear a mask in public. The Gulf emirate has one of the world’s highest infection rates.

Tested on live TV

With the threat of a second wave of infections, authorities in many countries have asked people not to throng public spaces as they are made accessible again.

In China, where the virus emerged late last year but has largely been brought under control, the government’s senior medical advisor warned of just such a second wave due to a lack of widespread immunity.

But with people growing weary of confinement and suffering immense economic pain, governments face growing pressure to ease lockdowns. US President Donald Trump has been keen to get his country’s economy going again.

A top Trump economic advisor, Peter Navarro, took a swipe Sunday at the long-respected Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying that by initially providing a flawed test for COVID-19, the federal agency “let the country down.”

New York, long a virus hotspot, has seen steady improvement, and Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday took a virus test on live television in a bid to encourage more widespread testing and pave the way for a safer reopening of the populous state.


Emirates undertakes largest known fleet retrofit project



Emirates has kick-started its plans to upgrade the entire interior cabins of 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft – two of the largest commercial aircraft types in service today.

This ambitious project, representing a multi-billion dollar investment to ensure Emirates’ customers “fly better” for the coming years, officially commences in November and is managed entirely by Emirates’ Engineering team.

The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over 2 years. Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift. This will see nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.

In addition, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs including the iconic ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.

No other airline has handled a retrofit of this magnitude in-house, and there’s no blueprint for such an undertaking. Therefore Emirates Engineering teams have been planning and testing extensively, to establish and streamline processes, and identify and address any possible snags.

Trials began on an A380 in July, where experienced engineers literally took each cabin apart piece-by-piece and logged every step. From removing seats and panelling to bolts and screws, every action was tested, timed and mapped out. Potential impediments to completing the installation of Emirates’ new Premium Economy Class or the retrofit of the remaining three cabins in just 16 days were flagged and documented for expert teams to review and address.

As part of the programme, new purpose-built workshops will be set up at Emirates Engineering to repaint, re-trim and re-upholster Business and Economy Class seats with new covers and cushioning. First Class suites will be carefully disassembled and sent to a specialised company to replace the leather, arm rests and other materials.

From the trials, Engineers discovered several unexpected solutions for instance: that existing food catering trucks could be easily repurposed to move parts destined for refurbishment from the aircraft to the workshop for their refresh, as these vehicles had doors of the right width and offer sufficient space.

Until the retrofit programme starts in earnest in November, a cross-disciplinary team has been assembled to regularly review the planning process, address any issues, and track updates on various aspects of the project such as procurement, staffing, and training.

Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin class, which offers luxurious seats, more legroom, and a service to rival many airlines’ business offering, is currently available to Emirates customers travelling on popular A380 routes to London, Paris, Sydney. More customers will be able to experience the airline’s new Premium Economy cabins starting from year end, as the retrofit programme picks up momentum.

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Eleanor helps over 30 Maldives hotels elevate guest services



Eleanor has been named as one of the top 10 concierge software providers globally.

Based on accurate, timely reviews from real users, the HotelTechAwards rank the world’s best hotel software firms and products and it also provides hoteliers direct access to a growing network of hotel technology professionals and decision-makers.

“The guest experience is the cornerstone of our platform. Our unified resort wide solution, Eleanor, has been built for resorts off the back of many years working in the industry and addresses the needs of both Sales and Marketing departments and perhaps just as importantly, the operational requirements of the team on the ground at the property. The days of resorts working with disjointed systems are now behind us,” says Darren Caple, co-founder and CEO.

“We are on a mission to make the guest’s resort experience as easy and as frictionless as possible. Whereas traditional providers in the market have come at this purely from a guest communication perspective, our background in resorts has allowed us to combine this basic requirement with the streamlining of operational processes. The result is truly a resort wide solution that removes the need for countless different systems to be deployed.

Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. More than 30 properties in the Maldives use our Eleanor platform to help butlers and guest services elevate the guest experience. These properties are seeing an increase in incremental revenue by over 30% and operational efficiencies of 600+ man hours per month. We are also beginning to roll out the platform in some Caribbean properties!”

Eleanor is making waves in the hospitality industry by pushing the conventional limits of what a resort guest app can achieve through its unique ability to facilitate direct bookings for services and activities. The traditional ‘request to book’ feature that is common amongst almost all other hotel apps is removed by a power booking and operational platform sitting at the heart of the solution that covers all the resorts’ departments. It’s this module which realises enormous operational benefits and insights for the resort.

“We, at Eleanor, are humbled and honoured that our clients have provided such positive reviews. Feedback from our clients, partners and hoteliers are incredibly valuable for us and we will continue to improve our offering and services”, said Caple.

To celebrate this success, Eleanor is currently offering resorts a free one month trial, together with free setup and training and discounted monthly fees.

Eleanor, founded in 2018 and has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. Created from over 15 years of hands-on expertise, Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to its guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. Eleanor also helps to unlock operational efficiencies and boost incremental revenue and guest loyalty.

Hotel Tech Report’s Best Concierge Software 2022 Runner Up, reviewed as a preferred and reliable hotel software product by the global hotelier community.

For more information, visit

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Emirates’ recruiters scour the world for cabin crew talent with 30 city stops



Emirates, the world’s most global airline, is seeking talented people with a passion for service to join its award-winning cabin crew team.

As air travel returns with a vengeance, the airline’s recruiters are busy meeting and hiring candidates in 30 cities from now until the end of June. In this latest drive, Emirates’ teams will travel from Australia to the UK, and dozens of European cities in between, as well as Cairo, Algiers, Tunis and Bahrain.

Abdulaziz Al Ali, Emirates Group’s Executive Vice President for Human Resources said: “There’s no more exciting airline than Emirates for anyone interested in a flying career, and we’ve received tremendous interest since we began our recruitment drive for cabin crew in November.”

“While parts of the application process are done online, we always make the effort to meet our candidates in person whenever we can, and that is why our Talent Acquisition team is doing a whirlwind 30-city tour over the next 6 weeks to assess prospective candidates.”

Emirates’ truly global cabin crew team represent 160 nationalities, reflecting its customer mix and international operations in over 130 cities on six continents.

All Emirates crew are based in the exciting cosmopolitan city of Dubai, with company-provided accommodation, tax-free salary and more benefits.

Interested candidates can read more about the Emirates cabin crew role, and apply online at:

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