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America’s unrest: why I am protesting



A week of protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis has rocked the United States.

Tens of thousands of people, from all ethnic and demographic groups, have taken to streets in cities across the United States to demand an end to police brutality.

Below, some of them explain in their own words why they are demonstrating, their experiences of the protests so far, and what they hope America’s biggest civil unrest in years will achieve.

A student on the front lines

Kayla Junaye Johnson is a 21-year-old criminal justice student at Grambling State University in Louisiana.

She felt “sick to my stomach” after watching the video that captured police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes and joined protests in Minneapolis.

Kayla Junaye Johnson (21) poses as she shows her arm which was wounded by tear gas canister during a protest on June 2, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. PHOTO: AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA

“We saw live murder, there’s no way around it. It’s awful, and every officer should be charged to the highest degree,” she said.

“The first protest I made it to the front line on my knees, shouting ‘Hands up don’t shoot.’ I jumped and dodged from at least a few flashbangs from my head. It was very scary at times.

“The one time I didn’t see a flashbang coming, it struck me in the arm. I ended up getting a second degree burn from the Minneapolis police department.

“Personally around police officers, I do not feel comfortable. I hate to say it but they have so much power in the world right now that it’s scary anything can happen.

“I’d never expected things to go like the way they did this week but I’m not surprised. Being black in America, this is what it does. This is how it affects us. It’s sad but this is it.”

The mother educating her kids

Michelle Evans, a forty-something who works in marketing, took her two boys aged four and seven to the scene of Floyd’s death, hugging them amid a sea of flowers.

Michelle Evans and her kids pose for AFP at the location of George Floyd’s death, where they came to pay homage on June 2, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. PHOTO: AFP / Kerem Yucel

Fearing that the protests, which turned violent, were “too dangerous,” she expressed her solidarity and anger at the site which has become a memorial to Floyd’s life.

“My boys, just by who they are, need to know that they have privilege, and that they need to be a part of the solution as they, as they get older,” she told AFP.

Crying, she denounced the “structural” racism of America.

“It’s how our country was founded, and it needs to be destroyed and built back up in a way that brings, equity, and inclusion for everyone.”

A musician who won’t be silenced

Tyqaun White, a 20-year-old musical theory major at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, has been protesting in New York.

“It’s gotten to a point where black people are just asking not to be killed. It’s just got to stop,” he said.

“We are angry. People are here dying and in poverty every day. And you want to kill us and just tell us to be quiet? No! We have to go out.

Tyqaun White, 20, a black musical theory major at Point Park University, poses for a portrait on June 2, 2020, during a “Black Lives Matter” protest at Washington Square Park in New York City. PHOTO: AFP / Johannes EISELE

“We are treated like animals, this is how black people have been treated for years and years.

“I understand why people would break the curfew and protest however they want to protest.

“We need to protest forever until this system is completely reversed and changed and built upon equality and freedom. I’m gonna keep fighting as long as I have to.”

Privileged suburbanites

Jeff Austin, a 62-year-old cultural anthropologist and his 17-year-old high school daughter Lily Henry-Austin protested in the wealthy Washington DC suburb of Bethesda.

Large demonstrations are rare in the predominately white area, one of the richest in the country and home to power-brokers such as cabinet secretaries, White House staff, lawyers and lobbyists.

“It feels like enough is enough and we really need to work on changing our policing, we need to change our society’s attitude towards race,” said Jeff.

Jeff Austin and his daughter Lily Henry-Austin of Silver Spring, hold a sign reading “I Can’t Breathe” as they protest police brutality against African Americans in Bethesda, Maryland on June 2, 2020. PHOTO: AFP / Paul HANDLEY

“We’ve had centuries to get it right. We haven’t come close yet, but we’ll keep trying.”

“The more people that are involved in trying to counter the current racist attitudes of the nation, the better. There’s a role for everyone to play,” he added.

“As a white woman I have a huge amount of privilege,” said Lily.

“It hurts me so much to see people who are human not treated as humans. I just couldn’t sit at home and do nothing. I’m going to be out here until it changes. I’m not going away.”

The Latino ex-Marine

Hipolito Arriaga, a 36-year-old of Puerto Rican origin born and raised in the Bronx, New York, served as a US Marine in Iraq and spoke to AFP on a march in Miami.

Hipolito Arriaga, 36, marching during a rally in Miami, Florida in response to the recent death of George Floyd on June 2, 2020. PHOTO: AFP / Ricardo ARDUENGO

“Having served in the military, I thought we were sent overseas to protect the freedom of the people here, meanwhile the police here are treating us like we’re in a war zone.

“You are trained to see the people, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, as if they were animals, as if they were savages.

“The same way, now here in this country they call us thugs. The president now wants to label us as terrorists for accessing our right to speak, our fundamental human right.

“They forget that the country was founded in revolution.”

Reporting and photos: AFP


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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