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Mike Pero: An air bridge to the Cook Islands – why not? Otherwise Rarotonga will become part of China – Newshub

The Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna - who put his country into lockdown on March 5 - has said they will soon run out of money. Incoming prime minister Mark Brown tabled a Budget last month that would support the Cook Islands through to September: "After that we will look at borrowing."

The current financial situation has hit Rarotonga and the other 14 islands that make up the Cooks harder than any recent cyclone rebuilding programme. It is matching 1996 proportions when the Cooks were on the brink of bankruptcy.

Fletcher Melvin, chairman of the recently formed Cook Island Private Sector Taskforce, warns there is a real risk of history repeating.

As well as New Zealand, China has supported Rarotonga with infrastructure projects and loans. As the tourism-starved Cooks head towards insolvency, will they be forced to turn to China to bail them out?

China is anywhere and everywhere in the Pacific with the money and the resources to take over the South Pacific Islands.

The temptation is too great for China and the upside is huge.

This could also place New Zealand in an awkward position against China. Aotearoa needs to help the Islands keep the debt to China at bay or at least current.

From September onwards Rarotonga, for one, is in a very precarious position. Our Government has floundered with no valid excuse for not addressing this before now.

A Reuters report in 2018 said the majority of China's financial support comes in the form of concessional loans, while traditional regional players Australia, New Zealand and the United States tend to provide gifts. Some within the current New Zealand Government fear the Cooks will follow Tonga in their reliance on funding from China.

China has already paid the Cooks administration millions of dollars for tuna fisheries licences, loaned many more millions for the massive Te Mato Vai water project and there is talk of Beijing funding the development of a deep-water port on remote Penrhyn Island.

Two years ago, Cooks opposition deputy leader James Beer warned about the effect the "soft loans" that accompany Chinese aid were having on the economy. He said if the tourism industry was to fail, the country might not be able to service the loans.

Yes, we can send them money - New Zealand currently provides about two-thirds of the Cooks' official development assistance - but they don't want handouts, just tourists. Tourism accounts for nearly 70 percent of the Cook Islands economy and in June, for example, the Cooks would usually host 16,000 visitors, 11,000 of those coming from New Zealand.

Instead, Puna says, the resorts are "empty".

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Mike Pero: An air bridge to the Cook Islands - why not? Otherwise Rarotonga will become part of China - Newshub

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich reviews life, crimes and death of financier – World Socialist Web Site

By Kevin Reed 16 June 2020

The four-part Netflix original series Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich is based largely on interviews with a group of women who recount their sexual abuse and exploitation at the hands of the late billionaire and New York City socialite. Epstein died under suspicious circumstances in a Manhattan jail cell on August 10, 2019.

In a true-crime documentary style, each victim explains how she was coercedwith the alleged assistance of Epsteins girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwellinto having sex with the money manager and then, in many cases, sexually trafficked to his elite associates for cash and other gifts beginning in 1996.

In most cases, the abuse took place when the women were teenagers. Dozens of working-class middle school and high school girls, mostly from West Palm Beach, were offered $200 to come to Epsteins 14,200 square-foot waterfront mansion in the elite Pam Beach island community to give him a massage. Several of them then also helped to recruit others to become part of what became a pyramid scheme of scores of teenage girls.

The underage girls in the network were then hired out for the purpose of providing sex to Epsteins circle of wealthy friends at get-togethers at his other residences: a 40-room townhouse on Manhattans Upper East Side, a 33,000 square-foot ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a 78-acre private island called Little St. James in the US Virgin Islands and a luxury flat on Avenue Foch in Paris, France near the Arc de Triomphe.

In their interviews, Marie and Annie Farmer, Michelle Licata, Shawna Rivera, Haley Robson, Courtney Wild, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, Sarah Ransome and Chauntee Davies all explain how Epstein and Maxwell used the lure of money and the opportunity to meet famous and influential people to place them in situations where, almost invariably, they could not back out.

The series jumps back and forth in Epsteins life, interspersing the comments of the victims with television news clips, photos and interviews with journalists, professional associates, attorneys and law enforcement officials. Epstein is presented as a man who was at once narcissistic, cunning and ruthless, but also something of an enigma. The only opportunity to hear him speak comes during several court depositions, caught on video, in which he comes across as smug and arrogant.

Much of the series narrative revolves around the now infamous 2008 non-prosecution agreement struck between Epsteins legal team and then-US attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alex Acosta, which also involved the FBI and was organized in a series of off-the-record meetings at the Marriott Hotel in exclusive Palm Beach.

Acosta and Palm Beach County state attorney Barry Krischer worked with Epsteins lawyers, including Alan Dershowitz, to block the accusers from testifying against him and prevented local police chiefs, detectives and private investigatorsall of whom are extensively interviewed in episodes two and threefrom bringing a case based on a trove of evidence they had collected over many months.

In exchange for a guilty plea on state charges of solicitation of prostitution and procuring a minor for prostitution, Epstein ended up serving 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade and was permitted to come and go as he pleased for 12 hours a day, six days a week, including taking trips to his private island in the Caribbean.

Many of the survivor stories have been told previously in other documentaries or have been published in news reports and legal documents associated with the cases against Epstein in 2008. Last January, for example, ABC News aired a special entitled Truth & Lies: Jeffrey Epstein that includes interviews with three victims as well as the same Palm Beach law enforcement officials and follows the same pattern as the Netflix series.

While Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Richdoes not add anything fundamentally new about the man and his crimes, it does succeed in providing a conscientious summary of what is known about him. To some extent, however, the program reinforces the corporate media and political establishment presentation of Epstein as a super-wealthy sexual predator and deviant monster, a bad apple among the otherwise generally decent crowd of American billionaires and international power brokers.

The series goes over a well-trod and limited list of Epsteins relationships, mentioning and showing photos of the billionaire with individuals such as Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker. In episode four, the insufferable Dershowitz is afforded the opportunity to loudly deny ever having sex with minors, contradicting a direct accusation by Virginia Roberts Giuffre that he [Dershowitz] abused her six times when she was 17.

For the first time, a former Epstein employee at Little St. James Island, Steve Sculley, confirms that he saw Prince Andrew at a pool grinding on a topless teenage Roberts Giuffre. The prince has been vehemently denying he had any relationship with the girl since she said in 2019 that Epstein trafficked her to Andrew on three occasions.

One would think that Netflix, with its almost unlimited financial resources, would have been able to investigate or shed new light on Epsteins unexplored relationships instead of focusing on those associations already widely reported in the media.

After all, a black book of contacts that belonged to Epstein in 2005 was leaked to Gawker in 2015 and published online. There are hundreds of names in this address book, including leading political figures such as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, US Senator Ted Kennedy (who died in 2009), former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, US Senator Charles Schumer, former independent counsel Kenneth Starr and former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.

Perhaps the lack of original investigative content is related to threats of lawsuits by powerful individuals who did not want their names mentioned in an Epstein documentary. In an interview with Entertainment magazine, director Lisa Bryant was asked about leaving things out due to legal vetting and she replied, Theres always a little bit, but I cant go into too many specifics.

The Netflix series shies away from claims that Epstein was an FBI informant, a fact that might help explain why he managed to avoid prosecution for so long. Even though a former business associate named Steven Hoffenbergwho spent 18 years in federal prison for securities fraudasserts in episode two, Jeffrey Epstein told me he was a cooperating witness with the United States government in the past, the program does not pursue the issue.

The Netflix series also fails to address the unsubstantiated claim in a recent book by former Mossad agent Ari Ben-Menashe that Epstein and his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell were Israeli spies who used the underage sex ring as a tool for political blackmail. Ben-Menashe claims in his book Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales that Robert Maxwell, the British politician, publisher and father of Ghislaine, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1991, was also an Israeli spy or double agent.

When asked about these reports by the Entertainment interviewer, Bryant dismissed them all as conspiracy theories, remarking unhelpfully, We tried to approach it from a documentary, journalistic standpoint, and we touched a little bit on some of the conspiracies. So, without hard facts, we tended to stay away from them and keep in mind this was for a global audience for Netflix, and many people around the world probably have never heard of him.

Although the series is loosely based on the 2016 book by James Patterson, John Connolly and Tim Malloy called Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him, and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein, it leaves out important material about the social and political context within which Epstein emerged.

With its emphasis on the interviews with his victims and Epsteins psychology, the series is vague about his emergence as a self-proclaimed billionaire whose friendship was sought after by all kinds of high-society personalities. Although there are plenty of repetitive aerial and video zoom shots of Epsteins opulent residential properties, the question of precisely how he came into his fortune is never really addressed.

It is suggested that Epstein built his portfolio from the 40-plus million dollars he stole from the founder of Limited Brands clothing empire, Leslie Wexner, for whom he was a primary wealth manager in the 1990s. Yet, there is no attempt to connect Epsteins rise with the murky and criminal world of the Wall Street equity markets that produced the dot-com bubble and crash of the early 2000s or the mortgage-backed securities collapse that produced the great recession of 2007-2009.

A passage from Pattersons book makes an important point about how a gifted young math whiz from a working class neighborhood in Brooklyn emerged as a corrupt and influential figure on Wall Street beginning in the 1980s. By lying his way into a personal relationship with CEO Ace Greenberg, Epstein joined Bear Stearns in 1976 as a low-level junior assistant to a floor trader and worked his way up to being an options trader helping investors avoid paying taxes.

As Patterson explains, The Reagan era, when deregulation kicked into high gear, was still on the horizon. But there was already a decreasing amount of government oversight on Wall Street, and a new breed of bare-knuckle traders had begun to push every available limit. It was the age of corporate raiders, and with Ace Greenberg looking out for him, Epstein had no reservations when it came to throwing his weight around. The golden boys gift for working the numbers earned him a place in the special-products division, where he worked on extremely complex tax-related problems for a select group of Bear Stearnss wealthiest clientsan elite within the elite.

Precious little of this analysis by Patterson, Connolly and Malloy makes its way into the Netflix docuseries. Apparently influenced by the identity politics of the #MeToo campaign, director Bryant and executive producers Joe Berlinger, Jon Duran and Jon Kamen (CEO of the series production company Radical Media) seem content to provide the female victims a platform from which to express their personal pain. The latter deserve to be heard and the pain is real enough, but Bryant and company devote themselves to this to the exclusion of virtually everything else.

While Epsteins exploitation of working class high school girls from West Palm Beachsome of whom were homeless runawaysis a heinous and despicable crime, his tendencies were nourished and the abuse became possible because of changes in American social life. The filthy rich Epstein, one of the billionaire parasites who rose to prominence during this period, picked on girls who didnt count as part of a larger process in which tens of millions in America who didnt count were experiencing increasing deprivation and hardship and were looked upon with contempt by the powers that be.

Meanwhile, the US government engaged in numerous illegal, neocolonial wars of aggression abroad, sanctioned the torture of so-called enemy combatants and launched a frontal assault on democratic rights at home.

Apart from an understanding of this broader decay of American capitalist society, it is impossible to answer the question of why Jeffrey Epsteins criminal activities were protected by the US political and judicial establishment for so long or how his apparent murder in prison became a necessity for these same interests, much less grasp the social component of his depravity.

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Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich reviews life, crimes and death of financier - World Socialist Web Site

Absolutely Private Vacations:10 Prime Resorts To Take Exclusively – Forbes

Dinner on the beach at andBeyond's Mnemba Island off the coast of Zanzibar.

Safety is the new luxury is a phrase that crops up repeatedly when people in the travel industry discuss what travel will look like amid COVID-19. So is jetpooling:sharing the cost of a private jet with people you know rather than braving the uncertainties of commercial travel if youre not chartering on your own. Privacy, exclusive use, seclusion are essential.

Virtuoso was seeing interest in exclusive-use travel before the pandemic, and we anticipate the desire for private will continue to grow, explains Misty Belles, Managing Director, Global Public Relations of Virtuoso, the global network of travel agencies. While people are eager to get back to traveling, physical distancing will not go away immediately when restrictions lift; its now a mindset. Villas and property buyouts are the perfect solution for those who want to travel, but still keep their distance from other guests. After being separated for so long, there will be a strong desire to reconnect with loved ones, especially grandparents. We anticipate a surge in multi-family travel meaning grandparents, all the kids and all the grandkids traveling together. Villas and hotel buyouts are ideal for small group travel like this.

Amanda Teale, director of referral/invitation only London-based Minerva Private Travel & Lifestyle Management, is already seeing this among her clients and in addition to arranging hotel buyouts recently started a subset Minerva Private Homes in which clients can rent their palatial homes to each other. They dont want to rent to strangers, she explains. Everyone is known to me and we can bring a hotel experience to a private home: chefs, a tennis coach, spa therapist, all certified and COVID compliant. Every one of the staff is tested and they remain on site.

Teale is also offering private jet shares for the first time; all private jet companies are noting increases in business. According to Ron Silverman, Chief Business Officer of the on demand private jet booking platform XO, their entry level membership RISE is attracting five times the number of requests as they did pre-COVID as people flying private for the first time are signing on.

Where should travelers go? Destinations can change based on how well a country is handling the coronavirus and whether borders are open to international visitors but there are a number of properties around the world that are perfect for a secluded, exclusive and safe vacation.

Sweet Bocas, a seven bedroom villa attached to a private island off the coast of Panama offers ... [+] splendid isolation.

Sweet Bocas Its hard to be more private than this colorfully decorated seven bedroom villa on stilts in the Caribbean connected to a 15 acre private island off the coast of Panama. Its location in the Bocas del Toro archipelago offers a diverse underwater ecosystem for snorkeling and diving and serious surfing breaks; would-be surfers can learn from resident pro surfer Terry Sims. Ingredients are grown on the island or sourced from the local communities with which the resort has an educational/development relationship. And theres a 30 foot yacht for other explorations.

Pier House, one of the five houses comprising Musha Cay in the Bahamas.

Musha Cay Resort and the Islands of Copperfield Bay. Magician David Copperfields property encompasses 11 private islands totaling 700 acres in the Exumas out islands of the Bahamas surrounded by some of the most startlingly blue water in the world. One of the islands contains an airstrip allowing private arrival. There are 12 bedrooms in five separate houses on the main island each with its own beach but if guests get bored with their own, there are 40 beaches overall and a variety of boats for reaching them and for diving, snorkeling and fishing. Meals can be arranged at several different locations and accompanied by wines from a 500 bottle cellar.

One of the grand salons at the 614 acre estate Ballyfin in Ireland.

Ballyfin The most opulent Regency mansion in Ireland and one of the most secluded is located on 614 lush acres in County Laois, just over an hours drive from Dublin. The grand salons and 20 bedrooms are lavish, filled with Irish art, antiques from around the world and sumptuous fabrics but the environment isnt formal and stiff, as evidenced by the supply of theatrical costumes and the encouragement to dress up in them for dinner. The grounds with their extensive gardens are prime for hiking, archery, clay pigeon shooting, horseback riding and fishing or boating on the estates lake.

The secluded location of Bawah Reserve in the Anambas Archipelago of eastern Indonesia.

Elang Bawah Reserve was already secluded, located on 815 acres of crystalline water in eastern Indonesias Anambas Archipelago reachable only by seaplane. But this collection of six private islands on three lagoons with 13 beaches will have an even more private aspect when it opens in September: Elang, the second island to be developed, with seven bedrooms located in six cliffside lodges composed of bamboo, driftwood, glass and stone. Guests can use the facilities on the main island a quick boat ride away if they want but this island will be self-contained with its own clubhouse and dining room, beach restaurant, infinity pool and spa.

Guests who take over Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand would have this golf course to themselves.

Robertson Lodges New Zealand was one of the most successful countries in combating COVID-19, an extra appeal to travelers on top of the countrys usual draws: beguiling scenery, outdoor adventures, a thriving wine and food scene and extremely hospitable locals. The 11 room Matakauri near Queenstown on the South Island offers spectacular views of the rugged Southern Alps and helicopter, hiking and jet boat tours around them. The 22 room Farm at Cape Kidnappers near Hawkes Bay offers hiking and horseback riding around the 6000 acre property, an elite culinary experience in a famous wine region and a world class golf course. The 23 room Kauri Cliffs on the northwest tip of the North Island offers unobstructed views over the Pacific, a world class golf course and an introduction to Maori culture.

The setting of Deplar Farm in Iceland.

Deplar Farm by Eleven Experience Iceland was another country that successfully contained the virus and this self contained 13 room cottage on a former sheep farm in the countrys northern Fljot Valley is set in a location to take advantage of the countrys natural attractions. In summer and fall, there is fly fishing in the nearby Fljta River for salmon and arctic char; in winter visits to frozen glaciers and snowshoeing along with views of the Northern Lights. Plus soaks in the geothermal pool and elevated cuisine by Icelands 2018 chef of the year.

The Reception Area of Masseria Trapana in the southern Italian region of Puglia.

Masseria Trapana This painstakingly restored stone farmhouse dating back to the 16th century located just outside of the city of Lecce in Italys southern region of Puglia is only available as an exclusive buyout this year. The ten suites are spacious and decorated with rustic, elegant simplicity as are the common rooms. And for those who want time away from each other, the 148 acre grounds are split into six separate gardens each dotted with orange and lemon trees or plum trees in the garden containing the pool. Guests who want to learn how to prepare the earthy Apulian dishes served here can also take cooking lessons from the chef.

Island Aerial of The Brando

The Brando Several families have already arranged to take over this French Polynesia resort, Marlon Brandos former residence in the atoll of Tetiaroa, a 20 minute flight from Papeete. Its fairly large: 35 villas in one, two and three bedroom configurations and in a setting worthy of its previous status as a retreat for Polynesian royalty: turquoise water surrounded by a rich coral reef populated by 167 species of multicolored fish with visits from dolphins, whales and turtles laying their eggs. While the setting may be relaxed, though, the culinary efforts are serious: the three restaurants serve classical French cuisine, Polynesian dishes and Japanese teppanyaki favorites.

The chateau La Chartreuse de Cos dEstournel attached to the esteemed winery in France's Bordeaux ... [+] region.

LaChartreusedeCosdEstournel The chateau in Bordeauxs Northern Medoc region belongs to Michel Reybier, the owner of the La Reserve hotels, so the dcor, services provided and location are top of the line. Set in a 200 acre vineyard producing esteemed wines available to guests to taste from the wine cellar, the eight room and suite chateau has dcor by famed designer Jacques Garcia mixing European antiques with Asian tapestries plus indoor and outdoor pools and a hammam for onsite experiences. The staff will also take guests on a sail in a traditional pinasse boat on Arcachon Bay, known for its oysters, and visits to other vineyards in the region.

A banda at andBeyond Mnemba Island

andBeyond Mnemba Island Not easy to get to but absolutely private once you do, this 12 banda (villa) private island off the coast of Zanzibar is the ultimate in barefoot luxury: the resort is built on sand and from the moment you land, youre walking in it. The island, less than a mile in size, is surrounded by an atoll with rich coral reefs for snorkeling and diving with the only outside visitors turtles coming ashore to the white beaches to lay their eggs. But as simple as the overall experience is, the individual details are sophisticated from the complex woodcarving by Zanzibar artisans in the bandas to the culinary creations from local ingredients served by candlelight on the beach.

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Absolutely Private Vacations:10 Prime Resorts To Take Exclusively - Forbes

Big Island Officials Are Frustrated That Opportunity Zones Haven’t – Honolulu Civil Beat

More than two years after Congress created opportunity zones as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, business advocates on Hawaii island say theres frustration among local entrepreneurs about a perceived lack of movement from the state to bring new investment into the islands economically disadvantaged communities.

A branch manager at the agency tasked with promoting the states opportunity zones said after a couple years of promoting the zones, recent efforts to help individual projects, including a planned showcase, have been hampered by the pandemic and associated economic crunch.

Now with the state facing a challenging economic recovery, finding ways to connect local community projects with the nations investors could be a powerful tool for defining a way forward.

The program is aimed at spurring new investment in low-income communities nominated by governors and designated as opportunity zones. In exchange for investing capital gains into qualified opportunity funds that can then make equity investments in projects located in one of the zones, investors benefit from being able to defer and potentially reduce the taxes theyd normally owe on their gains.

Hawaii Countys Environmental Planning Commission recommended the county explore a public-private partnership for the Kealakae Wastewater Treatment Center, located in one of the Big Islands opportunity zones.

Cameron Miculka

At the end of April, the accounting firm Novogradac said investments in its tracking list of Opportunity Funds passed the $10 billion mark.

Hawaii has 25 opportunity zones distributed throughout the islands with six on Hawaii island: two in West Hawaii covering a single area of about 18.8 square miles around Kailua-Kona and home to more than 13,500 people and four clustered in Hilo on the east side of the island, covering an area of about 23.4 miles and home to more than 19,700 people.

But West Hawaii Small Business Development Center Director Dennis Boyd said he hasnt seen much movement from the state to attract investors.

This is a source of frustration for me that Hawaii sort of dropped the ball on opportunity zones, Boyd said. He also said he doesnt know of any local businesses that have received investment through the program, but noted that doesnt mean there arent any out there.

Last year, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism hosted seminars and workshops throughout the state to promote the program and educate local businesses and developers. But Boyd said local business owners who were once excited about a new avenue for attracting investors are now left with the question of just how to do that.

Its demoralizing, I think, that we dont seem to be able to take advantage of situations here in Hawaii, Boyd said. I dont know what it is. I really dont know what it is, but we shoot ourselves in the foot. I mean its come back to that: we dont move forward. We dont move, period.

Likewise, Judi Mellon, East Hawaii Small Business Development Center director, also said the state and county havent taken an active approach to encouraging investment in the opportunity zones, citing a lack of matchmaking between projects and investors.

Mark Ritchie, branch manager for business support in the Business Development and Support Division within DBEDT said the agencys been working over the last couple years to promote the opportunity zones themselves and has lately shifted toward working with projects that are in the zones.

The agency has created a web page listing a couple opportunity zone projects that are actively seeking investment, including a charter school on Oahu and an affordable housing project on Maui with links for investors to request more information.

But the pandemic hasnt made efforts to reach out to investors easy. At the start of this year, DBEDT had plans for an investor showcase of Hawaii projects as part of its outreach strategy to investors that ultimately had to be canceled.

This is a source of frustration for me that Hawaii sort of dropped the ball on opportunity zones. Dennis Boyd, West Hawaii Small Business Development Center director

Additionally, a volatile market meant investors who might have put their capital gains into opportunity zones now may not know if theyll even have capital gains to invest.

Everything is in flux right now, Ritchie said. The work were doing in opportunity zones right now, were sort of starting the engine back up now.

Elsewhere in the country, several states are using an online marketplace platform called Opportunity Exchange, where investors and project sponsors can connect. Additionally, state legislatures and municipalities have created additional incentives to drive investment into projects that meet particular community needs.

A list compiled by the Urban Institute, for example, cites a series of benefits Alabama established, such as letting certain Opportunity Funds access state-created funds for investment and the creation of a $50 million pool of tax credits to guarantee returns and offset losses. To qualify for the added benefits, the Opportunity Fund has to have a strategy for tracking and reporting social impact and show how and why they will create as much community-oriented impact as possible in regard to local priorities.

And extra incentives are a chance for local governments to set some reporting requirements that were left out of the federal legislation, said Brady Meixell, a research analyst at the Urban Institute.

It can be completely non-burdensome, but just simple questions of who, what, when, where and how much for any opportunity zone investment, he said, and making that publicly available so that if youre subsidizing development or business investment with public money, the public has a right to know whos benefiting and where that moneys going.

Although Hawaii hasnt passed any new incentives like those in other places like Alabama, Ritchie said opportunity zones in Hawaii overlap with pre-existing economic development programs like enterprise zones, new market tax credits and, on Oahu, transit-oriented development, all of which together let investors benefit from several initiatives at once.

The agency has also hired a contractor, Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corp., to help guide Hawaii projects through the process of getting ready for investment. Ritchie said in order to qualify for that guidance and be listed on the state web page, projects have to articulate a social benefit it will bring to the surrounding community.

Looking ahead, Ritchie sees opportunity zones as one part of Hawaiis recovery from the economic fallout associated with the pandemic. He said the agency is looking to restart its more public efforts toward the fall when investors may be more receptive to outreach. He added theyve also been exploring how to potentially host a virtual showcase.

Ritchie also sees potential in public-private partnerships, given the amount of state and county-owned land in opportunity zones with a development plan in place and where Opportunity Funds could contribute to the overall financing plan for the project.

Hawaii County Councilwoman Karen Eoff, whose district covers the bulk of the two West Hawaii zones, also said she sees potential in the opportunity zones for the economic recovery ahead.

One possibility she mentioned is for a public-private partnership for the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant. Last month, the county Environmental Management Commission voted to recommend that the county explore public-private partnerships for upgrades to the facility in light of the recent Supreme Court case concerning the discharge of wastewater into the sea.

Thats in an Opportunity Zone, Eoff said. I dont know if that would entice an investor or help an investor. I dont know enough about all the details, how it would work, but I dont think its out of the question.

Ritchie said there are also some other projects in development that the agency may want to start profiling for potential investors, even though investment might not happen for another year or two.

And on the national level, investors still may be looking for places to jump in.

A couple weeks ago, Bisnow reported some Opportunity Fund managers have seen an uptick in activity over recent weeks and that the market uncertainty may actually have pushed some investors to take their money out of the stock market and place it into Opportunity Funds.

Rachel Reilly, director of impact strategy at Economic Innovation Group, said Arctaris Impact Investors recently launched a survey asking states and cities about their current Opportunity Zone needs. Arctaris, she added, has committed to making large investments into communities with the specific intent of addressing issues related to the pandemic and subsequent economic issues.

Additionally, Reilly said theyve heard investors are still interested in investing in Opportunity Zones, and they expect the results of a recent survey about the program will reflect what theyve heard anecdotally. And with the final regulations that came in 2019, she added, theres also certainty investors can look to when making their investments.

So the timing is good in a lot of ways, she said.

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Big Island Officials Are Frustrated That Opportunity Zones Haven't - Honolulu Civil Beat

Islands of the Bahamas Prepares for Phase 1 Reopening on June 15 – South Florida Caribbean News

All Islands of The Bahamas Will Reopen to International Boaters, Yachters and Private Aviation

NASSAU, Bahamas The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation has announced the destination will begin Phase 1 of the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan on Monday, June 15, whichwelcomes international boaters, yachters and private aviation back to Bahamian shores, across all The Islands Of The Bahamas.

During Phase 1, hotels will also reopen for staff to return to work and put in place all the measures required to ensure they are ready to welcome guests at the onset of Phase 2.

Commercial airlines will also be allowed to bring in Bahamian citizens, legal residents, homeowners qualifying for economic permanent residency, or the immediate family members or significant others of any of these groups. It is anticipated that during this period of time there will be a reduced flight schedule as airlines begin adding The Bahamas to their schedules once again.

This is the first part of thestrategic, phasedreopening approach for the tourism sectorthat ensures critical health and safety protocols are being adhered to, and that the Health sector remains well equipped and ready to respond as necessary.

The plan wasconstructed by The BahamasTourism Readiness and Recovery Committee, a group comprised of public and private sector partners. Allowing Phase 1 access to these smaller, special interest groups will allow a more controlled segment to test the countrys new measures.

The second phase will commence on July 1 with the resumption of international commercial travel.

This June 15 tourism re-entry builds on and supports existing government rules and regulations, which already allow for inter-island domestic travel for Bahamian citizens and residents.

Per the direction of the Bahamas Ministry of Health, Bahamian Citizens, Residents and Homeowners Returning from CARICOM countries are not required to present a COVID-19 RT-PCR Negative (Swab) Test upon arrival. However, they remain subject to other public health measures.

Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by The Bahamas government and health officials. Reopening dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 trends, if there is a deterioration in improvement, or if government and health organizationsdeem these phases unsafe for residents or visitors.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation believes it is an absolute baseline requirement for consumers to have a comfort level that The Bahamas is a safe and healthy destination to visit, and the ultimate goal is for that to remain the case.

For more information, or to view the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, please visit:www.bahamas.com/travelupdates.

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Islands of the Bahamas Prepares for Phase 1 Reopening on June 15 - South Florida Caribbean News

The best summer holiday destinations in the world by private jet – The GATE

Europe is beginning to come out of lockdown and in a few weeks, travelling for pleasure will be an option once again. However, no matter how much we wish the situation was different, our holidays this year will be different. Its important to consider your options in a new light, so here are a few suggestions to make the most of your next summer holiday.

For those who can afford it, a private jet is the best way to travel, explore new places and relax in luxurious style. Youll not only be saving time at the airport and getting your holiday off to a flying start, youll have easier access to some of the most remote parts of the world.

Naturally, due to its benefits, this style of travel has become a go-to for high-flyers, with an almost 50% increase in demand over the last year alone. And now, with the ever-changing prospects of the travel industry due to coronavirus, more travellers than ever will take to the skies on private charter planes.

For your next holiday, reap the benefits of a private flight with these stunning destinations

The British Virgin Islands (BVI)

This collection of islands in the Caribbean is the holiday destination of the rich and famous for a reason. Picture white sandy beaches and coral reefs, submerged under dazzling blue waters. It sounds like the description of a postcard, but for holidaymakers on one of these tropical islands, it really is their reality.

This British overseas territory is made up of an island chain and sits alongside the neighbouring US Virgin Islands. Tortola is just one of the islands you could visit and its home to almost three-quarters of the population, along with some of the most famous beaches in the world.

Looking to tick some adventure activities off your bucket list? Tortola is known for its scuba diving, sailing and surfing, along with awe-inspiring views from hikes in the islands parks. With so much to see and do in the British Virgin Islands, theres no doubt that an island-hopping holiday is the only way to go and with a private jet charter, it becomes so much easier.

Seychelles

Calling all beach lovers and nature enthusiasts! Seychelles is a beautiful archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean with clear turquoise waters and stunning beaches, ideal for a week in the lap of luxury.

Fregate is just one of the glorious islands in Seychelles, offering 5-star accommodation, so you can explore all the island has to offer during the day and sleep easy at night. As you make your way through the thick green envelopes of vegetation on the island, watch out for the Hawksbill turtles often see basking in the sunshine.

These coral islands sit over 1000 miles from the Tanzanian coast, making it the perfect secret getaway. While they might not be as glossy as the Maldives or as well-travelled as the British Virgin Islands, theyre a step off the beaten track and a chance to explore the wilder side of luxury.

Musha Cay Bahamas

As one of the only privately rented islands in the world, its no surprise that those who are looking for a little more privacy have flocked to this island in recent years. Musha Cay is an island in the Bahamas owned by David Copperfield and sits in the Copperfield bay, surrounded by crystal clear ocean and tropical scenery.

The island, designed for you to be catered for, offers some of the best Caribbean cuisines alongside its lush vegetation landscapes. On Musha Cay, be prepared to see the day out with adventure sports such as deep-sea fishing and diving, along with outdoor theatre and cruises in private yachts and speed boats.

Supai, Arizona

If islands arent for you, why not try the deepest part of the USA? Accessible only by private plane and by foot, Supai is a remote part of Arizona buried at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Experience true American culture as you distance yourself from the outside world and come into the home of the Havasupai Tribe, who have lived on the land for almost 1000 years.

The hike to the village isnt for the faint-hearted, thats for sure. But when you arrive, youll be greeted by awe-inspiring views of the famous waterfalls, seen by many but experienced by few. After a day discovering this earthly paradise, youll go to sleep under the pitch-black sky with only the stars for light.

Practical Reasons for Flying Private

The way people travel is set to change forever, following the fall out from the current health crisis. Naturally, travellers are wanting to greatly minimize the risk to themselves and their companions while still being able to explore the world.

Travelling by private charter enables you to do this without worry as from the moment you walk through security, all the way to your separate terminal, you are in the hands of aviation professionals. On board, youll find that all extra hygiene precautions have been taken to give flyers the peace of mind they have come to expect from a private charter.

Certified operators all follow the European Union Aviation Safety Agencys recommendations of protection as standard. These measures are stringent and put in place solely for the protection of passengers and crew.

The private aviation industry is constantly evolving, identifying clients needs and meeting them often before being required to by law. For those looking to travel safely, in style and comfort, private charter jets are the way forward to secure full peace of mind wherever you fly.

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The best summer holiday destinations in the world by private jet - The GATE

Travel Companies That Are At Risk Of Bankruptcy Due To COVID-19 – World Atlas

Airlines are one of the worst-affected sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Image credit: CatwalkPhotos/Shutterstock.com

The novel coronavirus pandemic is exacting a large economic toll worldwide. From declining revenues in real estate to clothing sales that have plummeted, many sectors are facing difficulty balancing the bottom line. This is especially the case in the travel industry. The number of American air travellers has hit its lowest point since about the 1950s,and that was the dawn of the jet age.

According to the CAPA Center for Aviation, a source of market intelligence for the aviation and travel industry, the majority of airlines in the entire world will actually soon be bankrupt if governments do not intervene to help. Cruise lines are also facing economic hardship, as are hotel chains large and small, rental car companies and tour guides. Here are some travel companies facing the worst.

Colombias Avianca Airlines filed for bankruptcy in US courts in May of 2020. This airline is the second-largest carrier in all of Latin America, and has had more than 80% of its income slashed from the coronavirus pandemic. So far, Avianca has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which allows the company to postpone paying its debts to creditors, essentially buying it some time before folding completely (or sticking around).

The British airline Flybe is one of Europes biggest regional air carriers. Flybe grounded all of its flights on March 5, 2020, and the company has ceased all trading. The companys webpage does not offer much more information than that but says potential passengers should not go to the airport to board a Flybe flight as they are no longer flying, unless the flight is being operated by Flybes partners, Eastern Airways or Blue Islands.

LATAM Airlines is now the largest air carrier to file for bankruptcy, and did so on May 26. The company has announced it is undergoing reorganization to ensure long-term sustainability, which involves the restructuring of debt under Chapter 11 protection in the US, the same help that Avianca is hoping to obtain. LATAM is doing so with the support of the Cueto and Amaro families as well as Qatar Airways, which form two of the largest shareholders of LATAM.

The company says that limited passenger and cargo flights will continue to operate as it reorganizes itself economically. LATAM has branches operating in Chile, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and the US.

Richard Branson, Virgin Australias owner, asked the Australian government for financial help amid the pandemic, but was denied a bailout, and on April 21 the company filed for bankruptcy. The airline is Australias second-largest behind Qantas, and is owned by Virgin Group which also jointly owns Delta Air Lines in the US. Branson has offered up his own private island in the British Virgin Islands as a collateral for a large loan of about $3.2 billion.

If Virgin collapses, Qantas may have a monopoly over Australias domestic aviation market.

Airlines are not the only travel companies facing the prospect of going belly up during the pandemic. Norwegian Cruise Lines warned investors in early May that it may go out of business. The company said it has taken out millions of dollars in loans and has enough to weather through twelve months without voyages, but that was not enough to convince its investors. The company's shares fell by 19% right after filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Nonetheless, Norwegian, which is based in Miami, said that it intends to follow through with plans to add nine additional ships to its fleet by 2027.

This company run out of Japan provides tourists with buffets and views of the city of Kobe as a restaurant ship. In early March 2020, it filed for bankruptcy citing cancellations in connection with the coronavirus. Luminous Cruise is one of the largest restaurant cruise ships in Japan running both daytime and nighttime voyages in Kobes port. You can still make reservations online, but whether the floating restaurant will continue to operate far into the future remains to be seen.

The pandemic will not last forever, but how long it will take for economies around the world to recover is uncertain. In addition to air and cruise lines, companies such as hotel chains and rental car services are also feeling the enormous dip of customers in the travel industry. Hertz car rental company filed for bankruptcy on May 22, and laid off 10,000 of its North American employees in April. Without firm government forecasts for opening up, those in industries like the hotel sector say it remains difficult for prospective tourists to make any plans, and this is developing into a huge debt problem.

Economists are forecasting V-shaped, L-shaped, and U-shaped recoveries to the US economy, but what happens all depends on the path the novel coronavirus takes.

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Travel Companies That Are At Risk Of Bankruptcy Due To COVID-19 - World Atlas

Are cruises around Britain the answer for UK travellers in need of an escape? – Telegraph.co.uk

For cruise lovers who are miserable at being landlocked, unable to reach the shores of the Caribbean or Australia this year or, in the case of the Seychelles, until 2022 a cure may be found close to home.

In fact, theres a flutter of confidence that the hoops Britons must currently jump through to travel abroad could result in a surge of travellers looking to take to the waves around Britain.

Scotland and its islands, in particular, have been earmarked by cruise insiders as somewhere to watch, with one operator telling The Telegraph that despite such trips being domestic travel they will be very attractive for those wishing for a real escape.

Anticipation was raised further when Scotlands Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, set July 15 as a provisional reopening date for some businesses across the country as long as there are appropriate safety guidelines in place.

Since the industrys global voluntary pause in March, and with the larger international lines continuing in push back their restart dates, a key focus has been the exploration of home shores.

Viking Cruises stoked the embers of hope earlier this month when they announced that they were looking into the possibility of operating summer sailings around the UK. Dates and details on the itineraries have not been revealed, however, with the focus right now on feasibility and asking UK guests to register their interest.

The managing director of Saga Cruises, Nigel Blanks, said he expects a spike in interest for round-Britain cruises and that once they have the go-ahead from authorities they would be able to resume within three to four weeks.

There is still an appetite for cruise, said Peter Deer, the managing director of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, adding: Some people will look to take their next holiday closer to home, and we can see that in our own numbers where UK cruises are some of the most searched for on our website. Cruise and Maritime Voyages, which last week moved their optimistic July 1 restart date back to August 25, reported an increase demand for 2021 British Isles cruises.

Domestic voyages appear to be the method in which operators are easing into post-pandemic sailing. Nicko Travel began Europes first river cruise since March when NickoVision set sail from Passau, Germany, on June 1. Hurtigruten begins a coastal service between Bergen and Kirkenes today, while A-Rosa and American Cruise Lines aiming to resume this week.

So will we see British holidaymakers following the same path? One of Telegraph Travels cruise writers thinks they should.

This could be an ideal time to explore Britains shores as our own country is a hidden gem when it comes to cruising, said Sara Macefield.

While many mainstream lines will not be operating this summer, theres a plethora of smaller specialist companies offering wonderful itineraries that explore Scotlands Western Isles, which are rich in marine life and different bird species, and cruises along the West Country coast or out to the Scilly Isles.

North of the border is where the loudest optimism is coming from. Various lines who operate small ships expressed confidence that they can provide safe, Covid-secure cruises that tick the box for those in need for time on the water while swerving strict quarantine rules.

And it would be a much needed boost to an industry that could lose millions in revenue due to coronavirus travel restrictions. More than 900,000 passengers had been expected to visit on ships this year, a 15 per cent rise on 2019.

One in 10 cruises begin in the Islands and the Highlands, according to industry body Martime UK, with those areas potentially losing more than 28 million.

Mary Waller and Scott Atkinson are the owners and crew of Red Moon Cruises. Theyve spent their lockdown aboard Red Moon, which usually offers cruises for up to four passengers but is often chartered as a private love boat by couples, and believe the west coast of Scotland is one of the most stunning sailing areas in the world.

We think that its highly likely that staycations in the U.K. will become more popular for the next few years and we hope of course that that will include cruises. We hope that British people will look harder at whats on offer here and investigate more unusual and alternative vacations.

They added: We are confident the appeal of the remote Scottish beaches and hidden anchorages we habitually visit will be very attractive for those wishing for a real escape.

St Hilda Sea Adventure said they definitely think that Scottish small ship cruising will become more popular and that they are receiving enquiries for 2020, while The Majestic Lines Fiona Forsyth told Telegraph Travel that its the small vessels that people are interested in.

I think people will be looking for the perfect, remote getaway and the west coast of Scotland would be appealing. As our ships only accommodate 11 to 12 guests we are a great alternative to the larger cruise ships, you are not mixing with a huge number of people and we can get into remote anchorages, and hopefully they will see more wildlife than they will people.

It would be a lot more viable to run the cruises if social distancing was reduced to one metre, she added.

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Are cruises around Britain the answer for UK travellers in need of an escape? - Telegraph.co.uk

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich: 10 Shocking Revelations From The Netflix Docuseries – Screen Rant

Netflix's latest true crime docuseriessensation is Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, which tells the story of convicted sex offender and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and the events that led up to the investigation and arrest, and the aftermath of his death. The docuseries also looked at Epstein's early life and career, as well as an incident that was reported to the FBI way back in the 90s.

RELATED: 15 Docuseries to Watch After Don't F*** With Cats

With just four one-hour parts, this miniseries is enthralling and shocking. And, even if you have been keeping on top of the case, there are a few things revealed that you might not have known.

Usually, you hear about pyramid schemes as they relate to money and the sale of goods. But, apparently, Epstein was reportedly running a sort of pyramid scheme that involved sourcing and selling women.

According to accounts by several of his accusers, he would offer girls money for massages, and, when they arrived, he would sometimes sexually abuse them and offer them money if they brought more girls to him. This went on and on in a reported spiderweb of recruitment. One accuser, Haley Robson, alleges that she alone recruited about two dozen girls.

Two women accused Epstein of sexual abuse way back in 1996 and even approached a journalist from Vanity Fair about it, Vicky Ward. After much investigation and a story, Ward says she had written the piece but any mention of the women and the alleged incidents were removed before publication.

Graydon Carter, editor-in-chief at the time, says Ward's reporting simply came too late in the press process and did not meet the publication's "legal threshold." Ward, however, says it was pressure and threats that led to the decision.

Maxwell, Epstein's long-time girlfriend and companion, allegedly threatened and intimidated Maria Farmer, Epstein's first accuser from 1996. After returning to New York, Farmer claims Maxwell would call her to threaten, implying that she was being watched.

RELATED: 10 Of The Best Crime Docuseries

Farmer says the calls kept coming for years until she finally decided to move to North Carolina and change her name.

For some time, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein's accusers and a woman who worked with him for years, has claimed that she was prostituted out to Prince Andrew. He has vehemently denied these accusations even though a photo was released of the two of them together.

In the docuseries, Steve Scully, a former employee of Epstein's who worked on telecommunication services at his Virgin Islands home, says he saw Prince Andrew grinding against a topless woman at the pool. After looking at photos, he confirmed the woman was indeed Giuffre, according to his recollection.

While Bill Clinton has long denied knowing Epstein very well, flight logs revealed in the documentary suggest that he was on Epstein's private plane 26 times. There was also at least one photo of him on the plane.

Additionally, Scully also reports having seen Clinton on the Little St. James private island once before, sitting on the living room porch area, which he referred to as being Epstein's favorite spot. He doesn't recall seeing anyone else there at the time. Giuffre also confirmed having seen Clinton on the property before, though never doing anything improper. A Clinton spokesperson, however, denies he was there.

If there was ever any question as to Epstein's character and attitude, it was chilling to see in the clips from his 2016 deposition. As he was asked question after question about his alleged involvement with underage girls, and even private details about his body, he simply answered invoking his constitutional rights.

RELATED: Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez 10 Questions We Still Have

This, he noted, was on the advisement of his legal team. But, one would think that, if you're innocent of such horrendous accusations, you'd answer with a vehement denial of the claims.

Giuffre reports that Ghislaine approached her one time saying that she and Epstein would like to have a child together but they wanted Giuffre to birth the child and give it up to them. Giuffre was reluctant, but she agreed, provided she could get her masseuse certificate first.

After they agreed and sent her to Thailand to get her certificate, Giuffre met and fell in love with a man, got married, and called Epstein saying she would not return.

It's no secret that many conspiracy theorists have said they don't believe Epstein really committed suicide in his cell. While the docuseries doesn't suggest it was murder or suicide either way, it does explore the potential of another truth.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, who was hired by Epstein's brother to investigate his death, says he found three fractures in Epstein's hyoid bone that he claims would be impossible to happen from someone leaping from their bunk bed.

While his alleged victims will never be able to look him in the eye and see him sent to jail for life, they also won't be able to get any money for their pain and suffering. Just a few days before his death, Epstein transferred all of his money to the US Virgin Islands.

The total sum was about $577 million, and, with the funds being there, the women will have a hard time ever seeing a dime.

After Epstein's death, the judge ruled that, even though he couldn't be tried, a hearing would still take place so the women could tell their stories and be heard. Those who were present went up, one by one, to discuss what he had done to them.

Many expressed that this gave them much-needed closure and they appreciated the judge giving them the opportunity and sitting and listening attentively to every word.

NEXT: Netflix's Trials Of Gabriel Fernandez: 10 Details That Were Left Out

Next Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich - The 10 Biggest Takeaways From Netflix's Miniseries

A professional writer and editor with 18+ years of experience, Christine, now a freelance writer/editor, is a self-professed TV fanatic with tastes that vary considerably from comedies to dramas, sci-fi, and more. She can usually be found binging a new show at night, coupled with a glass of red wine. With a long history writing in the field of consumer tech, she now also writes on topics from entertainment to parenting, lifestyle, marketing, and business. She resides in Toronto, Ontario in Canada with her husband and young son.

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Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich: 10 Shocking Revelations From The Netflix Docuseries - Screen Rant

PM Jacobs responds to unions on deferred vacation allowance pay – The Daily Herald

PHILIPSBURG--Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs has responded to representatives of Windward Islands Civil Servants Union/Private Sector Union (WICSU/PSU) and Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) regarding the payment of deferred vacation allowance as part of cost-cutting measures for civil servants.

With reference to your proposal as indicated in the letter dated June 1, 2020, I hereby inform you that the conditions as imposed on us by the Netherlands include a reduction of 12.5 per cent on the total package of employment benefits (remuneration and emoluments) and is applicable as of July 1, 2020, until further notice. Indexation is not applied either, also until further notice, Jacobs said in the letter.

Although I understand your efforts to serve the interests of your members, your proposal as stated will not meet the conditions as imposed by the Netherlands. This will result in other measures being imposed in order to reach a reduction of 12.5 per cent on the package of employment benefits, which most likely will not serve the interest of members.

With regard to the national decree, the relevant legislation will go into effect as per the date decided on by the Council of Ministers and, if deemed necessary, will happen with retroactive effect. In addition, all existing rights and claims of your members will be respected.

Taking into account the similarities in both proposals, and in the interest of your members, I recommend moving forward that the agreed-upon measures be formulated as such:

Our original proposal to pay out 50 per cent vacation allowance for the years 2020 and 2021 is supplemented by introducing an annual compensation as of the calendar year 2022. The amount of the annual compensation does not exceed 25 per cent of the total of the vacation allowances owed for 2020 and 2021. These payments will take place until the total amount of the vacation allowances owed are fully compensated.

The amount of the annual compensation is subject to the future financial developments and liquidity position of government of St. Maarten. To be clear, the compensation only applies to those that are affected and will be given according to the current position and salary.

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PM Jacobs responds to unions on deferred vacation allowance pay - The Daily Herald

Buyers are scoping out private islands and ranches in the middle of nowhere – The Real Deal

Remote real estate is what people want in the age of social distancing.

The Covid-19 pandemic has a lot of people thinking about buying properties that by their nature induce isolation, according to the Wall Street Journal. Agents across the country are receiving more inquiries than usual about rural properties.

Suddenly its hip to be private, spacious and quiet, said Connecticut-based Berkshire Hathaway agent John Downs, who said he noticed an uptick in calls about remote properties from people who live in urban areas.

The people who already own isolated properties whether thats a beach house in Fiji or a spread in rural Wyoming are thanking their past selves for making the move to a more solitary life. For them, things havent changed much since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe.

For those who are looking to return to a more social life, its not a bad time to sell. Wyoming resident Holland Dutton listed her 18-acre property last August. Her agent, Tate Jarry of Live Water Properties, said that downloads of brochures for her property and others like it are up 20 percent in recent weeks.

But Jarry said he doesnt know whether the spike in interest will be just that a trend that will pass once life in urban areas begin to return to normal.

Weve had a spike in interest because everybodys quarantined at hometheyre dreaming from their couches, he said. Will that translate into a sale? I dont know. [WSJ] Dennis Lynch

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Buyers are scoping out private islands and ranches in the middle of nowhere - The Real Deal

‘Spectacular’ island put up for sale for 250k – less than the price of a London flat – Mirror Online

Those loving life in isolation could shut out the world for good if they have a quarter-of-a-million pounds to spare.

A spectacular Scottish island, uninhabited since 1934, is up for sale for offers over 250,000, less than you'd pay for a one bed flat in London.

For that the lucky buyer will get 63 acres of land, a two-acre loch, two derelict cottages and flocks of sheep for neighbours.

Accessible only by private boat from the Shetland mainland, it is a place of spectacular beauty, selling agent Vladi Private Islands says.

But with August temperatures averaging just 12.4C, it may not be suited to sun-lovers.

Vladi added: An unspoilt island in on the west side of Shetland.

This private island is close to the mainland with year-round access possible. It is a place of spectacular scenery and beauty with an abundance of wildlife.

Shetland is the most northerly island group of the British Isles, closer to Norway than Scotland.

This is an exciting development opportunity.

Planning permission is in place to rebuild the cottages and construct a third.

A windmill and solar panels for power have also been approved along with rainwater capture and an eco-friendly sewage system, which uses reed beds to clean up waste water.

The island sits just north of the isle of Vaila, in the Vaila Sound, 500 metres from Shetlands mainland.

There are regular flights to Lerwick, Shetlands capital, from Glasgow and Edinburgh, and a weekly route from Manchester is due to launch this summer.

The population of the closest parish ward to the island Walls and Sandness on Shetlands mainland stands at just 978.

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'Spectacular' island put up for sale for 250k - less than the price of a London flat - Mirror Online

What Richard Branson mortgaging Necker Island really means – Telegraph.co.uk

Whether its the glitzy roster of famous guests, devastating fires, floods or the latest challenge being forced to refinance in the face of a pandemic, for a private island Richard Bransons Necker is never too far from the headlines.

The Virgin billionaire is now seeking a 500m commercial loan from the government to save his ailing airline from becoming a Corona casualty and hes offering his family retreat in the British Virgin Islands as collateral.

Quite what the British government would do with a Caribbean island, should Branson default on his loan, is anyones guess (although Boris does enjoy his holidays in the region). And some local agents there feel it may be more of a shrewd PR move on Bransons part than a genuine financial negotiation.

Perhaps its better to deflect the public criticism given the perception of wealth and living on a private island by offering the island as collateral, whether achievable or not, says one who wishes to remain anonymous.

Rare as it is to seek finance for a private island most are bought with cash the ultra-rich get quite creative when it comes to attaching value to non-financial assets,adds Edward de Mallet Morgan, Knight Franks international super-prime expert. If they want to buy a property for $10m, they may offer $7m plus their $3m boat, or they may throw their house in Paris into the deal.

Although Necker, said to be worth around 80m, is not for sale, there are plenty of private islands in the Caribbean to tempt wealthy buyers. And theres plenty of pent-up demand too.

People are lined up now to look at private islands as soon as the lockdowns are lifted. Theyre thinking if we get another pandemic, where can we go? says John Christie from HG Christie in the Bahamas.

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What Richard Branson mortgaging Necker Island really means - Telegraph.co.uk

Ricky Gervais mocks This Mornings Spin to Win game and asks if Holly and Phil make up the show as they go a – The Sun

RICKY Gervais has mocked This Morning and its Spin to Win game by asking if hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield make up the show as they go along.

The comic poked fun at the pair as he chatted about his hit Netflix series After Life.

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Cheeky Holly and Phil had got out all their awards to proudly display after seeing Ricky with his gongs in the background on a video call.

Ricky hit back by saying: "It's like you needed a global pandemic to make This Morning even weirder. Well done.

"I don't know what that game was. It was weird. What was that game? Do you make this show up as you go along? Come on, be honest."

Phil admitted: "We do sometimes actually. We've got to keep ourselves amused."

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Ricky's interview came after This Morning's infamous Spin to Win game that's normally chaotic.

Today a caller shouted the wrong password and totally confused Holly and Phil.

Asking how Ricky's dealing with lockdown, he said: "I'm not working as hard as I should. My world tour is postponed.

"It's all up in the air at the moment, but you're not going to hear me complaining when there's nurses doing 14-hour shifts so I'm fine. We'll get through it."

Ricky launched an epic rant against the multi-millionaire celebslecturing people while NHS staff risk their lives.

The58-year-old comedianblasted a string of A-listers including Gal Gadot and her Hollywood pals who sang on the infamous Imagine video in response to thecoronavirus.

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He previously hit out at Sam Smith who broke down in tears on Instagram in their 12million house, complaining about beingin isolation.

Ricky shouted online: For a start, you won't hear me complain not when there's [NHS]nurses doing 14 hours shifts and frontline workers carrying on and risking their health.

I'm fine. Don't worry about me... I go for walks on Hampstead Heath, and we've got a garden."

Showing his heart in the right place and on the side of Britain's hard-working keyworkers, Ricky concluded: People are sick of being lectured, multi-millionaires telling them to clean out their coffee jar and put it in the right bin - they know those celebs are taking private jets to their private islands. They are sick of it.

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Ricky Gervais mocks This Mornings Spin to Win game and asks if Holly and Phil make up the show as they go a - The Sun

Paxos, Greece: The Charming Island You Must Visit – TravelAwaits

Where To Stay

Paxos Club Resort, secluded off a country road, is a four-star resort and hotel with many amenities.

The spacious pool area has various types of seating, including chaise lounges, daybeds, and hammocks, and nestled inside the saltwater pool, theres a small Jacuzzi, perfect for two.

Rooms range from a double to a family suite, featuring two-bedrooms and sleeping room for six with a kitchen. All rooms have air conditioning and private terraces that face the garden filled with oregano plants and bougainvillea trees.

An expansive spa on the lower level of the hotel offers a workout room weight machines and cardio equipment, spa treatments, including massages and facials, plus a Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, and hydrotherapy treatments. They use organic extra virgin olive oil, red wine, lemon, and organic honey in their treatments.

Breakfast, which is included in the price of your room, is a tempting buffet with the usual breakfast foods but also fresh, local honey, Greek cheeses, and yogurt.

The hotel offers free shuttle service in the morning and the evenings to Gaios, and free transfers to and from the hydrofoil to Corfu.

Paxos Resort Hotel, easy walking distance from Gaios, is one of the only hotels with a private beach on the island. The rooms are either suites or bungalows, and some room categories have terraces overlooking the sea and floor-to-ceiling windows. Spread over a 12-mile hilltop property lined with olive and pine trees, the hotel also has a full-service restaurant, outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, pool bar, and tennis courts.

If renting a villa suits your needs better than a hotel, Paxos Retreats offers some of the most exclusive rental properties on Paxos.

Fully furnished villas range in size from two bedrooms to six bedrooms, and all of them contain a sheltered, private swimming pool overlooking the sea.

If you require something on a smaller scale, Paxos Retreats also rents studios and apartments.

Paxos Retreats automatically assigns a personal concierge for every rental, and he or she can arrange all your travel needs on the island, including car rentals, chef and cooking services, massages and beauty treatments, boat rentals, boat transfers, and pre-stocking your pantry and kitchen before you arrive.

Still considering where to go? These are the nine best beaches in Greece, from the mainland to the islands.

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Paxos, Greece: The Charming Island You Must Visit - TravelAwaits

Richard Branson explains why he’s refusing to sell his private island and asking for 500m government bailout instead – indy100

Richard Branson has offered up his private island in the Caribbean as collateral in the hopes of securing a government bailout.

In an open letter to Virgin employees, Branson promised to "raise as much money against the island as possible" as well as his other businesses.

The UK government rejected Branson's initial plea for 500m of commercial loans to keep the his company afloat through the pandemic. Branson claimed that Virgin Atlantic needed this cash injection of taxpayers'money to "keep going", but others pointed out that his personal fortune of 4.7b might help.

The businessman now wants to convince the government, and his employees, that he's willing to put his own wealth on the line in the hopes of receiving government money.

The private island home Branson says he is putting upto save his company is tax free.But that's not why he lives there, according to his blog post:

Joan and I did not leave Britain for tax reasons but for our love of the beautiful British Virgin Islands and in particular Necker Island, which I bought when I was 29 years old, as an uninhabited island on the edges of the BVI. Over time, we built our family home here. The rest of the island is run as a business, which employs 175 people.

As with other Virgin assets, our team will raise as much money against the island as possible to save as many jobs as possible around the Group.

In his blog, Branson addressed several of the criticisms made about him and Virgin throughout the pandemic.

1) Branson sought a government bailout despite his staggering net worth.

Last month, Branson promised $250m from "Richard and the Virgin Group" as a rescue package to protect his 70,000 employees. But he says the economic recovery of Virgin depends "critically on governments around the world".

In his blog post, Branson also pointed out that his billions aren't in a bank account ready to go.

Ive seen lots of comments about my net worth but that is calculated on the value of Virgin businesses around the world before this crisis, not sitting as cash in a bank account ready to withdraw.

Forbes puts his cash mound atsomething more like 520m($600m).

The Guardian estimates his personal contribution to save Virgin, and particularly his airline Virgin Atlantic, amounts to about 5 per cent of his net worth.

2) Branson asking for money from the samegovernment he does not pay income tax to

Branson has repeatedly denied being a tax exile, a claim he repeated in his most recent blog post. Branson bought Necker Island in the 1970s, but moved there permanently the late 2000s.

He has previously claimed that the move was to benefit his "health", but now says he was inspired by his "love" of the beautiful Caribbean island.

3) Branson 'suing' the NHS.

In 2017, the NHS made an undisclosed private settlement withVirgin Care, Branson's private healthcare group. Virgin Care sued the NHS after losing out on an 82m contract to provide children's healthcare in Surrey.

In his blog post, Branson wrote that:

Some will say it was unwise for Virgin Care to do this, but the most important thing is that Virgin Care was never intending to profit from it and 100 per cent of the money awarded went straight back into the NHS.

Is this true? According to a blog post by Virgin Care's chief executive, the damages were "invested into delivering the services were commissioned to by the NHS to pay the salaries of doctors, nurses, other health professionals and colleagues delivering healthcare services."

So it might be more accurate to say they were re-invested, rather than going "straight back" to the NHS.

4) Virgin Money Giving profiting from funds raisedto charities fighting coronavirus.

But Virgin is not directly profiting from donations made through Money Giving.

Often, the justifications Branson offers for criticisms levelled against him is that he did not pocket any money. But this is an easy deflection from a businessman whose billions were raised by continual investments in aviation, healthcare, trains and a mobile network to name a few.

No, Richard Branson may not have a 5m pot of gold ready to be dished out to Virgin employees. But does anyone really expect him to?

It's up to the government to decide whether to grant him the bailout he points out is a taxpayer loan to be paid back, "not a handout".

Whether or not Branson loses his private island remains to be seen. What can be confirmed is that Virgin staff face eight weeks unpaid leave across six and a half months as Branson struggles to save his Virgin empire.

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Richard Branson explains why he's refusing to sell his private island and asking for 500m government bailout instead - indy100

Richard Branson Will Use His Private Island as Collateral – InsideHook

James D. Morgan / Contributor / Getty Images

As noted last week, Richard Branson was asking for loans and government help for his various Virgin companies due to the ongoing economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Some industry leaders supported the help, but the billionaire entrepreneur faced some backlash, given his own personal wealth and the fact that he was staying at his private estate in the British Virgin Islands, where he pays no personal income tax.

In a new open letter to employees, Branson has countered the criticism with some more detailed explanations on what his companies need and his own economic situation. Most importantly, hes pledged to raise as much money against the island as possible to save as many jobs as possible around the [Virgin] Group.

Besides putting his Necker Island home up as collateral, Branson discussed why the Virgin Group is looking for a government loan (it wouldnt be free money and the airline would pay it back) and points out what the potential loss of Virgin Australia would mean for the airline industry (If Virgin Australia disappears, Qantas would effectively have a monopoly of the Australian skies).

As a counterpoint, some people on Twitter have noted that Virgin Australia is primarily foreign owned but also that the company employs upwards of 10,000 people.

Over the five decades I have been in business, this is the most challenging time we have ever faced, Branson writes. We are operating in many of the hardest hit sectors, including aviation, leisure, hotels and cruises, and we have more than 70,000 people in 35 countries working in Virgin companies.

As Branson explains, the companys already committed a quarter of a billion dollars to help the businesses. He also defends himself from articles that have pointed out his own fortune: Ive seen lots of comments about my net worth but that is calculated on the value of Virgin businesses around the world before this crisis, not sitting as cash in a bank account ready to withdraw. He also points out that the wage reduction taken by Virgin Atlantic employees was a virtually unanimous decision made by Virgin Atlantic employees and their unions.

And finally, Branson points out that two of his subsidiaries, Virgin Care and Virgin Money Giving, do not operate as profit-making ventures.

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Richard Branson Will Use His Private Island as Collateral - InsideHook

This Tiny Island Is Often Topped With Its Own Mystical Cloud – Simplemost

If youre fantasizing of escaping to your own private island, Ltla Dmun should play a role in your daydreams. Its the smallest of the Faroe Islands 18 main islands there are 779 in total in the North Atlantic, located 320 kilometers north-northwest of Scotland and about halfway between Norway and Iceland and it has one very interesting feature.

The island is oftencapped by a lens-shaped cloud, making it look, well, like something out of a fairytale.

According to Atlas Obscura, Ltla Dmuns floating cloud is a lenticular cloud, a type of cloud that forms when moist air travels over the top of a protruding geological feature, like the top of a mountain.

Heres the science bit: As the wind moves up the mountain and hits the air immediately above it, a kind of wave forms on the downwind side of the mountain. The moist air evaporates, then condenses into a large cloud on the top of the mountain peak.

The result is impressive and the Visit Faroe Islands Facebook page is keen to show off their little diamond.

One warning before you attempt to escape toLtla Dmun: No humans live there (although plenty of sheep do, and theyre said to produce some of the best sheep meat in the world), and getting ashore can only be done in perfect weather.

According to the Facebook post, people sail to the island in wooden boats to get to the sheep. About 40 people then climb the rocky island, where they then form a chain across the island, driving the 200 or so sheep into a pen on the north side of the island, says the caption to a photograph of Ltla Dmun with its floating cloud.

The sheep are then caught, restrained by tying their feet together, put in nets five at a time and then lowered by ropes to the awaiting boats a few hundred meters down, and then sailed to the nearest village where the sheep is distributed among the locals.

So, perhaps Ltla Dmun is best admired from afar.

The Faroe Islands are certainly worth touring remotely, however, which is an option offered via Facebook Live on the Visit Faroe Islands Facebook page now while traveling is restricted due to the coronavirus crisis:

Happy travels!

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This Tiny Island Is Often Topped With Its Own Mystical Cloud - Simplemost

Luxe Villas That Will Inspire You To Travel Again – Luxury Travel Magazine

A private villa vacation might seem like its a getaway that only the high-net worth will be able to afford when this is over, but even these affordable luxury villa options are seeing an unexpected increase in requests and future reservations.

CAYO ESPANTO, Belize

Located three miles off the coast of Belize, Cayo Espanto is a private island resort that creates a sense of secluded paradise for every visitor. Each of the resorts seven villas includes a private dock, pool, a butler and personalized meal and concierge services. All the resorts villas are luxurious but the one that literally stands out a little bit above the rest is Casa Ventanas. Casa Ventanas is Cayo Espantos exclusive over-the-water bungalow, the one-bedroom villa is the most intimate and requested accommodation on the island. As a bonus, a glass floor section of the villa provides guests with the unique experience of taking a glimpse at the Caribbean sea life below. The glass window to the ocean below also features a light that can be turned on in different colors to provide additional filters to the vast waters.

FRANGIPANI BEACH RESORT, Anguilla

Anguilla, ranked as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, is home to Frangipani Beach Resort, a premier luxury boutique resort located on the soft white sands of Meads Bay. Offering an exquisite island getaway, the resort features an impressive 5,000 square feet beachfront villa, specially designed to host special beach escapes in a private sanctuary for families and groups. Separated from the resort, the private villa offers four ocean-facing bedrooms equipped with bathtub, indoor shower and outdoor shower. Occupying two floors, guests will find two bedrooms upstairs along with an entertainment area and second floor balcony with sweeping views of Meads Bay Beach. The kitchen located downstairs, is equipped with state of the art appliances and when guests are craving a delicious Anguillan feast they have the option of hiring a private chef for their stay. Additionally, the Villa includes a spacious living room, indoor dining area and two other oceanfront bedrooms. Once outside, guests can spot their own private pool and pool deck to lounge peacefully.

Canouan Estate Villas & Residences, Grenadines

Located on the secluded and unspoiled island of Canouan (ka-no-wan) in the chain of Grenadine islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is Canouan Estate Villas and Residences. A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, the intimate resort is a quintessential example of five-star Caribbean luxury offering a wide selection of elegant accommodations that range from stylish, generously appointed one and two-bedroom suites to a unique collection of stately standalone villas and residences. Each villa comes with its own private butler who can arrange pre-stocking of food items, event and celebration planning, tours and excursions as well as offering panoramic views of the entire estate, golf course, beaches and coves. Great for groups, families, weddings and celebrations or just a relaxing romantic Caribbean escape, the resort also features indulgent spa services, four restaurants and bars as well as a complimentary kids and teens club and offers babysitting services, at an additional charge.

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Luxe Villas That Will Inspire You To Travel Again - Luxury Travel Magazine

6 Obnoxious COVID-19 Spends For The Rich – SafeHaven.com

In the American economic shutdown, the poor are suffering loss of jobs because theyre not benefitting from wealthy spending sprees amid COVID-19, while the rich well, theyre just on an extended vacation.

Celebrities are making fools of themselves as they try to play the everyman, and the non-celebrity wealthy are obnoxiously bingeing on things that will make the not-so-wealthy cringe at a time when hard-working people are wondering how much longer they can hold out.

They dont necessarily want hand-outs, and theres no place in their world for sushi-to-go that costs nearly as much as rent, nor do they have the option of buying their own private island to wait it out.

Heres the SafeHaven.com list of top wealthy buys on their COVID-19 vacations:

#1 Private Chefs for an Expensive One-Off Meal

The wealthy are under quarantine like everybody else, but it seems theyve realized they are not cut for cooking, even if their long-lost inner baker is calling them.

During the pandemic, inquiries to hire in-house chefs have surged and several new companies have emerged as a result across New York City and California, connecting prospective clients with private, recently unemployed, home chefs.

For instance, the private cooking company the Culinistas charges as much as $250 a meal, not including the cost of groceries. The chefs procure the necessary groceries and bring them to cook in the client's kitchen, and they clean up afterwards, too.

#2 Were All In Food Delivery Together (Not Really)

Were all in this together, many marketers and celebrities are telling on TV. But it is clear that we are togethering in a different way. Since the start of the pandemic, food delivery services and apps are experiencing a surge in demand, but the super-rich are doing it differently.

Those quarantined are reporting weeks-long waits on Instacart, Shipt and other leading platforms as demand is far outpacing supply. But for the wealthy, the wait is much shorter. Thats primarily because they use special grocery delivery services that cater specifically to the rich.

For instance, with orders of $275 or more, Regalis Foods will throw in a free ounce of caviar. The company, which catered upscale restaurants before the pandemic, is now delivering to peoples homes, and its not just when you run out of flour or toilet paper: Theyll even deliver live king crab for $395.

Sushi eatery Masa, one of the priciest restaurants in the country, which was closed down in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, has begun selling takeout meals for the price of $800. Only 20 box-sets are available per week.

The price appears to be a bargain, as the restaurant explained that it box feeds up to four people, making it about $200 per person, compared to the regular price which runs for $595 per person.

#3 Cant Travel Safely? Book An Entire Hotel/Motel

Vacation rental platforms have seen the majority of their bookings canceled in a trend that has already been dubbed AirBnB Apocalypse. Several cities in the US and Canada have also banned short-term rentals. However, there are few lucky hosts who have managed to lure in the wealthy by renting out their entire complex.

While overall reservations have dropped between 50% and 60% a week since the outbreak, reservations in more remote areas have still been consistent.

CNN Travel reported that wealthy families are booking out entire hotels to wait out the quarantine. One of them is the Blantyre Country Resort, available for a small group or a single family for $38,000 a day. Several other hotels and inns across the country are offering unique packages for families.

#4 Private Islands, Why Not?

In the last two months, upscale real estate agencies have been reporting a massive increase in inquiries for private islands for sale or rent in the Caribbean.

One agency reported receiving a lot of desperate inquiries from people on yachts, who after being stranded offshore for weeks, are circling islands trying to find a safe place to go and are willing to pay a premium.

#5 Survival Condos for Wealthy The rich are literally hunkering down.

Related: Coronavirus And The Coming Financial Revolution

Bunker and bomb shelter manufacturers have seen business increase fourfold compared to the same period last year. U.S.-based bunker maker Survival Condo offers several models and the unit prices range from around $500,000 to $2.4 million and include facilities such as indoor pools, gyms and even rock climbing walls.

#6 The Travel Bag You Simply Must Have

Hand sanitizer is in short supply. People are piling toilet paper even if they aren't sure why. And every household should have an air purifier. But hunkering down and isolation is nothing without the ultimate survival bag.

Anyone with an extra $5000 can now bug out in style. Emergency kit maker Preppi, whose sales increased 5,000% last month, is offering a bag that includes a satellite phone, night vision glasses, sleeping bagsand a Caviar Cooler Case and serving set. The basic model costs only $445.

For a more sober take, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends having at least one gallon of water per person per day, and a three-day supply of food--no caviar necessary.

Earlier this week, the CDC warned that the novel coronavirus could have a second wavewhich could be even more catastrophic than the last. According to historians, the 1918 pandemic also came in two waves. The first wave hits the poor, the second wave hits the rich, according to the academic research.

By Josh Owens for Safehaven..com

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