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U.S. Asians, harassed over coronavirus, push back on streets, social media



NEW YORK (Reuters) – A spike in harassment of Asian-Americans since the coronavirus pandemic began has led community activists in the United States to fight back – forming street patrols, rallying on social media, and supporting each other online.

Asians of varying national backgrounds have suffered a surge of attacks this year, which activists linked to the pandemic’s emergence in China. Some said they feared harassment could worsen in a U.S. election year, with U.S.-China tensions ratcheting up over trade, Hong Kong and the coronavirus.

“When China is made the enemy, people who look like Chinese are the enemy. The economy is tanking, people are dying. They’re angry and fearful and want to take it out on Asian Americans even more,” said Russell Jeung, professor of Asian-American studies at San Francisco State University.

Since March 19, over 1,800 cases of harassment related to the coronavirus pandemic have been reported to Stop AAPI Hate, a website Jeung created with two advocacy groups.

Nine out of 10 victims were targeted because of their race, with 37% of incidents taking place in public areas, the organization said. Verbal harassment and shunning occurred in over 90% of the cases. Victims were physically assaulted, or coughed or spat on, in some 15% of cases.

Some of the harassment has taken place inside of stores, Jeung said, adding that Stop AAPI Hate is working with retailers to figure out how to ensure safe access for customers.

The New York City Commission on Human Rights this week launched a multilingual campaign to combat COVID-19-related discrimination after it received over 350 such complaints from Feb. 1 to May 15. Of these, 133, or 37%, targeted Asians. That compared with just 11 complaints of discrimination targeted at Asians during the same period in 2019.

The FBI has warned of a rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to media reports citing internal documents.

Solidarity of streets

In some Chinatowns, volunteer patrols are forming to protect residents and confront harassers. The Guardian Angels, with patrols in over 130 cities worldwide, are recruiting in U.S. Asian communities for the first time in 41 years. Members include seniors and women, who are often targets of abuse.

“It’s boring at home. I might as well do something,” said laid-off dental assistant Sara Chin. The 46-year-old also patrols with New York’s Chinatown Block Watch.

“Our mission is to observe, record and report,” said Leanna Louie, a San Francisco businesswoman who started patrol group United Peace Corp. In eight weeks, it has filed 24 reports, including medical response incidents, auto burglaries, theft and shoplifting, leading to three arrests, she noted.

“We can break the old habits, old patterns and outdated stereotypes,” Louie said. “We have assisted in aiding the community to step out of the shadows and feel more empowered.”

The San Francisco Police Department has expanded its presence on foot and in cars around the city to act as a deterrent against such crimes, it said in a statement.

In New York, flyers and posters emblazoned with the words ‘Don’t be cruel’ were created by Shirley Ng and her friends for display on Chinatown storefronts, with pointers on how to report a crime.

“I don’t have to wait for support. It’s my community,” said Ng, an events assistant at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

‘Starkly similar’

The campaigns recall the Pan-Asian U.S. civil rights movement in 1982, when Japan was blamed for the Detroit auto industry’s downturn, said Helen Zia, a journalist-activist at the forefront of that wave.

Vincent Chin, a 27-year-old draftsman celebrating his upcoming wedding, was brutally beaten that year by two disgruntled autoworkers and died. The court sentence of a $3,000 fine and three years’ probation, with no jail time, sparked outrage in the community and beyond.

“When he was attacked and killed it was very clear it was because of what he looked like. Japan was labeled as the enemy. We’re so starkly similar today,” Zia said.

Tech-savvy millennials are leading today’s social media response.

“My generation has no problem being loud,” digital entrepreneur Bing Chen, 32, said at a virtual rally by non-profit Act To Change on May 18, Vincent Chin’s birthday.

Hashtags like #RacismIsAVirus and #UnapologeticallyAsian are being shared and printed on T-shirts. #HATEISAVIRUS, created in late March by three millennials who connected via Instagram, is now a non-profit organization. It raised $16,000 in a virtual rally last week for small businesses hurt by the pandemic, said co-founder Tammy Cho, 25.

The hashtags “try to capture the rising Asian-American pride that has bubbled to the surface during COVID-19,” said Filipino-American Jeremiah Abraham, who heads Tremendous Communications, a marketing company focused on Asian-American entertainment.

Broadway actor Diane Phelan cited the #MeToo worldwide campaign against sexual harassment as an inspiration.

“We want to harness the power of social media as the #MeToo movement has, especially when we can’t march and rally,” she said.

Reporting and photo: Reuters


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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