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America’s original sin: Floyd death prompts historical soul-searching



Confederate monuments are coming down and statues of Christopher Columbus are being toppled as Americans grapple with the ghosts of the country’s racial history in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

“It seems like maybe we’ve hit a tipping point in the retelling of the narrative of who we are as an American people,” said David Farber, a history professor at the University of Kansas.

“We’re seeing tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of Americans wrestling with fundamental questions of what do we do with the unsavory — and, let’s be frank, even immoral — aspects of our past.”

The May 25 killing of Floyd, an African American, by a white police officer in Minneapolis has ignited mass protests for racial justice and police reform across the United States.

But the death of the 46-year-old has also triggered a national soul-searching of the country’s checkered past.

Demonstrators in several US cities have targeted monuments to generals and politicians of the pro-slavery Civil War South, pulling down a statue in Richmond, for example, of Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president during the 1861-1865 conflict.

“The symbols of the Confederacy are, I think, the most polarizing of these memorials. But it extends all over the United States,” Farber said.

“In New York it’s statues to Columbus. In New Mexico, there’s a statue of a conquistador who’s a genocidal figure in the eyes of the Pueblo Indian people.

“There’s high schools all over the United States named for John Calhoun,” a former vice president who was an avowed proponent of slavery.

‘Public outcry’

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has become a target of racial justice protesters following the death of George Floyd. PHOTO: AFP/File / Ryan M. Kelly

Farber noted that the debate over Confederate memorials has been going on for years and civil rights marchers of the 1950s and 1960s decried the fact that they were “walking down streets named after avowed racists and white supremacists.”

The efforts to remove Confederate monuments gathered momentum after a white supremacist shot dead nine African Americans at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

“The pace of it is now increasing because of public demand and public outcry,” said Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University.

“What I think we’re seeing is a reexamination of lots of our assumptions and a challenging of various forms of history as it affects African Americans,” Gillespie said.

“This is a moment where the focus is on anti-black racism but it is not excluding other forms of racial oppression,” she said.

Laura Edwards, a Duke University history professor, said “it’s sinking in to people that these symbols have political meaning and are problematic in ways they had not fully appreciated.

“It’s less easy to call this heritage, for instance,” Edwards said in a reference to arguments often used by opponents of removing Confederate symbols who claim it is erasing a proud Southern history.

Edwards said she was “blown away” when the NASCAR race car franchise banned the display of the Confederate flag at its events.

“Amongst all the sports it was the one that embraced what they imagined to be white Southern heritage,” she said.

“Symbols associated with white supremacy and the Confederacy had been part of their brand.”

‘Broader reckoning’

The toppling of Confederate statues and those of Columbus are “very much related,” Edwards said, in that both embody the “violent colonisation of the United States.”

“The first part was Europeans coming and making claims to a place that belonged to indigenous people and then engaging in genocide to wipe them away.”

That was followed by the importation of slaves from Africa — what Alan Kraut, a history professor at American University, called “the original sin that we’ve never been able to get beyond.”

“What we’re seeing now is a revision of history in response to a political moment,” Kraut said, although “this reassessment has been going on for a while.”

“Statues were already being discussed and removed,” he added. “George Floyd’s death served as a catalyst to do it dramatically and to do it quickly.”

Steven White, an assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University, said people are “rethinking racism in American history more broadly.”

“You’re kind of seeing this broader reckoning,” White said.

“I think for a growing number of white Americans you are seeing more attention paid to the longer-term reasons that racial inequality persists in America,” he said.

“I guess the question is whether these changes in public opinion will last,” White said. “Is this the beginning of a really substantial shift?”

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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