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Sweden names chief suspect in PM murder, closes probe



Swedish prosecutors on Wednesday named their main suspect in the 1986 killing of prime minister Olof Palme, closing the murder case that has gripped the Scandinavian country for more than three decades.

The suspect was named as Stig Engstrom, a former advertising consultant known for his staunch opposition to Palme’s leftwing policies and who is now dead.

Palme was gunned down on the evening of February 28, 1986, after leaving a Stockholm cinema with his wife, having dismissed his bodyguards for the evening.

He was shot in the back by his assailant, who fled the scene and left the 59-year-old to die in a pool of blood on the sidewalk.

The gruesome murder shocked Swedes, and the country is said to have “lost its innocence” that day.

More than 10,000 people have been questioned over the years, and 134 people have confessed to the crime though none has been credibly tied to it.

Chief prosecutor Krister Petersson said they had zeroed in on Engstrom as the main suspect.

“Because he is dead, I can’t press charges against him, and have therefore decided to close the investigation,” he said.

Petersson acknowledged to AFP that while “only a court can determine guilt… I am convinced there is evidence of reasonable suspicion.”

The right call

Engstrom, who was 52 at the time of the murder, was questioned as a witness early on, but police deemed him unreliable after he changed his story several times.

Media have suggested over the years that he was trying to cover up his role as the gunman. He died in 2000 aged 66.

Palme’s son Marten told Swedish Radio he believed prosecutors made the right call.

“I think Engstrom is guilty. Given the current situation, I think it is reasonable to close the investigation,” he said.

Palme had attended this cinema with his wife before he was killed, having dismissed his bodyguards for the evening. PHOTO: TT News Agency/AFP/File / Fredrik SANDBERG

Another man was convicted of the crime in July 1989 after Palme’s widow identified him in a widely criticised line-up.

But Christer Pettersson — a petty criminal and drug addict who is no relation to the current chief prosecutor — was freed months later by an appeals court which dismissed the widow’s testimony on a technicality.

Pettersson died in 2004, while Palme’s widow passed away in 2018.

Probably acted alone

After Wednesday’s announcement Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said it had been “a day full of emotions” and stressed that it was “not the government’s place to judge prosecutors’ conclusions.”

“For a country’s prime minister to be murdered is a national trauma. It is my hope that this wound can now heal.”

A plaque marks the spot where Olof Palme was gunned down in Stockholm on February 28, 1986. PHOTO: AFP/File / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND

Petersson said investigators believe Engstrom acted alone, but could not “completely dismiss (the idea) that he could have been part of a conspiracy.”

He said Engstrom told investigators early on that he had arrived at the scene moments after the shots were fired, and left before police arrived.

Engstrom said he had turned Palme on his side, but police were never able to confirm that assertion.

“What was strange when we went through the material was that none of the other witnesses have identified him as being present at the crime scene,” Petersson said.

Yet, “he told investigators quite a bit about how he acted at the crime scene”.

‘Adverse opinion’

Petersson stressed Engstrom’s political views as a possible reason for wanting Palme dead.

A Social Democrat known as a great orator, Palme was a controversial figure who infuriated Washington with his vocal opposition to the US war in Vietnam.

He also backed communist governments in Cuba and Nicaragua.

At home, he was at odds with the country’s business leaders and military, and spoke out against nuclear power.

Engstrom “had an adverse opinion of Palme and his politics,” Petersson said.

“We know that he was struggling with financial problems… He also had alcohol problems,” the chief prosecutor added.

He also noted that Engstrom had access to weapons through acquaintances and had weapons training.

The gun used in Palme’s murder has never been recovered.

“We have no clear information that can place a weapon in the hands of Stig Engstrom,” Petersson stressed.

“But considering what happened, he must have had a weapon in his hand that night,” he said.

However, Petersson acknowledged that he would not have indicted Engstrom based on the material presented Wednesday.

“This alone would not have been enough to press charges,” he told daily Dagens Nyheter.

Some Swedish legal experts meanwhile expressed concerns about naming a dead man a suspect as he cannot defend himself.

Swedish police botched the investigation early on.

Crucially, they failed to cordon off the murder scene properly, allowing onlookers to walk around and destroy potential forensic evidence, a blunder that still haunts investigators today.

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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