Tens of thousands of peaceful protesters rallied for racial justice Saturday in cities across the United States following the death of George Floyd, as the movement triggered by his killing at police hands entered a second weekend.
Protests took place from New York to Los Angeles but Washington was at the epicentre, as thousands of people — black, white and brown — flooded downtown streets surrounding the White House, which was barricaded with black metal fencing.
“This fight has been happening for many, many decades, hundreds of years, and at this point it’s time for a change,” said Washington native Christine Montgomery.
“I’m here so my son is not the next hashtag that is circulating worldwide,” she added, indicating her 10-year-old child standing next to her.
On a sunny but oppressively hot day, many people wore masks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Volunteers gave out water, hand sanitizer and other supplies as the area took on a block party vibe, with music, mural painting, food trucks, and vendors selling Black Lives Matter T-shirts.
Helicopters circled overhead as some protesters danced — but the pain which drove many in to the streets was never far below the surface, as others yelled “This ain’t no party!”
Military personnel as well as police watched over the gathering. But there appeared to be fewer than on previous days, and some gave the protesters small smiles and waves as they marched by.
On the National Mall, fencing and uniformed guards blocked protesters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr famously delivered his “I have a dream” speech in 1963.
“Martin Luther King stood here, and after so many years we are back here with a new message of hope,” said Deniece Laurent-Mantey, 31.
The protests were ignited by videos of a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes as he pleaded for his life — the latest unarmed black person to be killed by white law enforcement officers.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder.
The rage since Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25 has exploded into the most serious civil unrest in America since King was assassinated in 1968.
Peaceful protests swelled Saturday in other US cities: tens of thousands rallied across New York City and Philadelphia; Chicago shut down the iconic Lake Shore Drive to facilitate protests; and demonstrators marched in Los Angeles.
‘I can’t go in’
But the demonstrations in Washington were the biggest since protests began in Minneapolis before spreading across the country and then abroad.
“Today, the pain is so raw it can be hard to keep faith,” tweeted Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
He added: “But ours is a union worth fighting for, and we are all called to the cause.”
A remembrance for Floyd was held Saturday in Raeford, North Carolina, the state where he was born, following a memorial service in Minneapolis on Thursday.
Hundreds waited to view his coffin, some holding umbrellas against the hot sun. Some sobbed and many held cell phones high as a hearse arrived with the casket.
Floyd’s sisters LaTonya and Zsa-Zsa Floyd told reporters they would not go inside.
“I can’t go in, see him laying in a coffin, it would drive me crazy forever,” said LaTonya through tears.
She expressed her pain at watching the footage of her brother’s agonizing death.
“It’s very hard. Every time I look up I see him on the ground, face up, neck down, hollering please help me,” she said, adding she wished the video could be taken down.
“I’ll never hear his voice, I’ll never hear his laughter, I’ll never tell him again that I love him and likewise he’d tell me the same,” said Zsa-Zsa.
But, she said, she felt like God “chose him for a reason.”
“He called him up, so his death was not in vain.”
‘It’s about time’
Around the world, protesters echoed the rage of American demonstrators.
“It is time to burn down institutional racism,” one speaker shouted through a megaphone at a hooting crowd of thousands outside the parliament building in London.
Tens of thousands rallied in Australia and France, while in Tunis, hundreds chanted: “We want justice! We want to breathe!”
Back in Washington, many black protesters hailed the multiracial, multi-ethnic nature of the demonstrations, calling the change “invigorating.”
Jackie Maddox, 59, who remembered her own parents marching in Washington for their rights decades ago, said she felt “relieved” that black people were no longer alone.
“It’s about time that they are tired too,” she said of other protesters — though, she added, she hoped it would last.
White protester Megan Nadolski came to the rally with her husband and two young daughters.
When black protesters called out the first part of a chant, she said, “I always want to be a white person standing right next to them to answer, just make sure they know that they’re safe, that their children can grow up safe and healthy and have the same opportunities my children do.”
The days of demonstrations in the US — which have included outbreaks of looting and violence — have seen new police abuses, some captured on camera.
Two policemen in Buffalo, New York were charged with felony assault Saturday after they were filmed shoving a 75-year-old protester who fell, hit his head and began bleeding, in one of the most widely shared videos fuelling outrage.
But there were some changes to policing as well.
In Seattle, authorities announced a temporary ban on tear gas. In Denver, a federal judge forbade the use of chemical agents and projectiles like rubber bullets against peaceful protesters. And in Dallas, police marched in solidarity with protesters.
The unrest has handed US President Donald Trump — the target of many a biting protest sign and chant — one of the greatest challenges of his tumultuous presidency.
While condemning Floyd’s death, he has adopted a tough stance toward protesters, calling them “thugs” or “terrorists” and threatening a military crackdown.
“LAW & ORDER!” the president tweeted as evening fell Saturday, adding later that the crowd in DC was “much smaller” than anticipated.
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.
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 www.eleanorapp.com.
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: https://www.emiratesgroupcareers.com/cabin-crew/
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