Emirates to deploy flagship A380 on Johannesburg route!
Emirates has announced that it will be upgrading one of its four daily flights between Dubai and Johannesburg to an Airbus A380-800 from February 1, 2017. Emirates currently uses Boeing 777 aircraft for each of the four daily flights between the two cities, making it the busiest route in the airline’s African network with over three million passengers carried in the last five years. Once launched, Johannesburg will join more than 40 destinations in Emirates’ extensive global network that is served by its flagship A380 aircraft. The A380 will offer a total of 516 seats in a three class cabin configuration, with 14 private suites in First Class, 76 mini pods with lie-flat seats in Business Class and 426 spacious seats in Economy Class. It will be deployed on the first flight of the day, EK761, and will depart Dubai at 04h40 and arrive in Johannesburg at 10h55. The return flight, EK762, will depart Johannesburg at 13h25 and arrive in Dubai at 23h45. With four flights a day between the two cities, Emirates provides both inbound and outbound customers with more choice and flexibility when planning their travel, and enables convenient and seamless connections for travellers from Johannesburg to destinations across the airline’s global network, especially in Europe, West Asia, the United States and the Far East, with just one stop at its modern and comfortable Dubai hub.
The Emirates A380 is renowned for its on-board lounge on the upper deck for First Class and Business Class customers where they can socialise or relax, while those in First Class enjoy the added benefit of exclusive use of the on-board shower spas to freshen up during flights. Emirates will be the only airline in the market offering premium customers these products on an A380. The airline’s premium customers also enjoy complimentary chauffeur drive, lounge access and priority check-in for all its flights at Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo International Airport. Named the World’s Best Airline 2016 and the airline with the World’s Best Inflight Entertainment at the prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards recently, all Emirates customers travelling on the A380 can access more than 2500 channels of on demand audio and visual entertainment on its ice system, featuring the latest movies, music, TV programmes, podcasts and games, as well as free Wi-Fi to stay in touch with family and friends during flights.
As with all Emirates’ flights, customers also enjoy regionally and internationally inspired cuisine as well as the famed hospitality of the airline’s multi-national cabin crew, including South African nationals. Emirates first started services to South Africa 21 years ago and in addition to the four daily flights between Dubai and Johannesburg, it also offers three daily flights between Dubai and Cape Town and a daily flight between Dubai and Durban, enabling global connectivity for South African travellers through its worldwide network of more than 150 destinations. The A380 service will be operated as codeshare with South African Airways as with all other Emirates’ services to South Africa. Emirates, which is the world’s largest operator of A380s with 81 currently in its fleet and a further 61 on order, serves some of the world’s most popular destinations with the aircraft, which amongst others include New York, Los Angeles, London Heathrow, Madrid, Munich, Barcelona, Paris, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore, Sydney and Auckland.
Amazon boss Bezos becomes world’s third richest!
Strong earnings from Amazon and a boost to the company’s stock have made its founder, Jeff Bezos, the world’s third richest person, according to Forbes.
Mr Bezos owns 18% of Amazon’s shares, which rose 2% in trading on Thursday. Forbes estimated his fortune to be $65.3bn (£49.5bn).
Amazon’s revenue beat analysts’ expectations, climbing 31% from last year to $30.4bn in the second quarter.
Profit for the e-commerce giant was $857m, compared with $92m in 2015.
According to Forbes estimates, Mr Bezos’s fortune is only surpassed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, worth $78bn (£59bn), and the $73.1bn (£55bn) fortune of Zara founder Amancio Ortega.
Amazon had developed a reputation for announcing little or no profit each quarter, but appeared to hit a turning point last year and has seen improving earnings since.
Amazon shares have spiked 50% since February.
Amazon’s Prime membership, which offers extra services including free shipping for an annual fee, saw impressive international growth.
In June, Amazon launched Prime in India to take advantage of the country’s large consumer market.
“It’s been a busy few months for Amazon around the world, and particularly in India – where we launched a new [Amazon Web Services] Region, introduced Prime with unlimited free shipping, and announced that Prime Video is coming soon, offering Prime members in India exclusive access to Amazon Original Series and Movies – including original content featuring top Indian creators and talent,” said Mr Bezos.
Amazon has boosted Prime membership by improving its video streaming offerings, an area in which it competes with Netflix.
Prime Day, Amazon’s annual promotional shopping festival earlier this month, was the company’s largest ever sales day.
Amazon does not release figures for its Prime membership, but Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated US membership to be close to 63 million. Members spend an average of $1,200 a year, compared with $500 by non-members, according to the research firm.
Amazon’s cloud computing unit also spiked. Revenue for Amazon Web Services (AWS), climbed 58.2% to $2.89bn, beating analysts’ exceptions of $2.83bn.
Sales growth for the unit in North America climbed 10% and 8% in the rest of the world.
Amazon has grown its market share in cloud computing compared with rivals such as Microsoft and Google.
It introduced a new Asia Pacific region for its cloud unit this quarter.
Amazon has also been looking to expand its presence in other areas. The company has now launched its online grocery store in the UK.
Earlier this month, it announced a partnership with US bank Wells Fargo to offer discounts on student loans for members of its Prime Student services.
Babylon 5 actor Jerry Doyle dies aged 60!
Actor Jerry Doyle, best known for his role in the sci-fi series Babylon 5, has died at the age of 60.
Doyle appeared in all five series of the 1990s show as Chief Warrant Officer Michael Garibaldi.
He also made guest appearances on other popular shows, such as Beverly Hills 90210, NYPD Blue and Martial Law, and was the host of a nationally-syndicated daily radio show in the US.
A spokesman for Doyle’s family said the cause of his death was not yet known.
Fellow Babylon 5 actor Bruce Boxleitner tweeted that he was “so devastated at the news of the untimely death of my good friend”, while astronaut Scott Kelly said the news was “very sad to hear”.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Doyle worked as a pilot and on Wall Street as a stockbroker before moving to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting.
He secured his role in the Emmy Award-winning Babylon 5 within a year of arriving and went on to play Garibaldi for several years.
Set in the 23rd Century, the show told the story of a space station where humans and aliens tried to live in harmony and work to avoid interplanetary war.
After the success of the show, Doyle took a hiatus from acting and ran for office in the US House of Representatives as a Republican candidate but failed in his campaign.
According to his biography on KDWN, one of the radio stations that hosted his show, he also received “numerous awards and accolades including Honorary F-16 Test Pilot, Honorary Naval Aviator and Distinguished Supporter of the Nation’s Space Program”.
Martina McBride Celebrates Her Birthday!
Country singer who released the album Wild Angels in 1995 and who has developed a distinctive pop country sound. She has released multiple Platinum-selling albums, including Evolution.
McBride’s father introduced to her to country music. She eventually performed in her father’s band, slowly making her profile rise as she grew older.
She has been called the Celine Dion of country music.
She married John McBride on May 15, 1988 and they had three children together: Delaney Katharine, Emma Justine, and Ava Rose Kathleen.
She has collaborated with Tim McGraw.
Major win for Microsoft in ‘free for all’ data case
The US government cannot force Microsoft to give authorities access to the firm’s servers located in other countries, a court has ruled.
The decision is being seen as a precedent for protecting the privacy of cloud computing services.
The US Department of Justice had wanted to access a server in Ireland, as part of an investigation into a drugs case.
The ruling, made by an appeals court, overturns an order granted by a court in Manhattan in 2014.
The DoJ said it was disappointed by the decision and was considering what it would do next. If it appeals, the case could then move to the US Supreme Court.
Microsoft said it welcomed the ruling.
“It makes clear that the US government can no longer seek to use its search warrants on a unilateral basis to reach into other countries and obtain the emails that belong to people of other nationalities,” Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer, of Microsoft told the BBC.
“It tells people they can indeed trust technology as they move their information to the cloud,” he said.
Microsoft thanked the companies that had backed its appeal, which included the likes of Amazon, Apple and Cisco.
Another of Microsoft’s backers was the Open Rights Group, a UK-based organisation that campaigns for digital rights.
“The US Court’s decision has upheld the right to individual privacy in the face of the US State’s intrusion into personal liberty,” the group’s legal director Myles Jackman said on Thursday.
“As a consequence, US law enforcement agencies must respect European citizens’ digital privacy rights and the protection of their personal data.
“States should not arbitrarily reach across borders just because they feel they can bully companies into doing so.”
Microsoft had warned that allowing the search warrant to be conducted could open up a global privacy “free for all”. Other countries, the company said, would perhaps seek to apply their own search warrants to servers located in the US.
Echoing a constant concern of those in tech industry, Microsoft said the laws were simply too outdated to be effective.
“The protection of privacy and the needs of law enforcement require new legal solutions that reflect the world that exists today – rather than technologies that existed three decades ago when current law was enacted.”