Chinese travel giant buys Skyscanner for $1.4B

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Chinese tourists flock to cruises
Chinese tourists flock to cruises

China’s biggest online travel agency is shelling out $ 1.4 billion to take control of one of the world’s top search engines for flights and hotels.

Ctrip’s deal to buy Skyscanner, a U.K.-based startup, is the latest big money move by a Chinese company into the global travel arena. The spending spree coincides with a massive spike in the number of people from the world’s most populous nation who are traveling abroad.

About 60 million people around the world use Skyscanner every month to search for discount flights, lodgings and rental cars. It was founded 13 years ago by a group of friends including CEO Gareth Williams, who was frustrated by how hard it was to find cheap airfare.

Related: Chinese airlines are offering huge pay to foreign pilots

Established in 1999, Ctrip (CTRP) is now the largest online player in the Chinese travel industry and lags only Expedia (EXPE) and Priceline (PCLN, Tech30) worldwide. Both those companies already own major travel search engines: Expedia controls Trivago and Priceline has Kayak.

Investors showed initial approval of Ctrip’s move for Skyscanner. The Chinese company’s New York-listed shares jumped 7% in after-hours trading late Wednesday. Skyscanner’s current managers will continue to run it independently, the companies said.

China-based firms have been on a record-breaking global shopping spree so far this year, with travel and entertainment businesses among the high-profile targets.

Related: China’s international hotel hunt is back on

HNA Group, which already operates numerous airlines, has announced deals to buy Carlson Hotels, the owner of the Radisson hotel chain, and pay $ 6.5 billion for a 25% stake in Hilton Worldwide (HLT). Chinese insurer Anbang entered a bidding war with Marriott (MAR)for Starwood Hotels and Resorts before suddenly pulling out.

Chinese tourists spent $ 215 billion abroad last year, 53% more than in 2014, according to a report from the World Travel & Tourism Council.

The number of Chinese tourists traveling internationally has more than doubled to 120 million people over the last five years, according to data from the China National Tourist Office and WTTC. That means one in every 10 international travelers now comes from China.

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What to watch on Thanksgiving

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And sometimes, that’s the problem.
When the good grub and or the family time gets to be too much, a little entertainment might be the recipe for relief.
Click through the gallery above for a few options.

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NATO’s big problem isn’t Trump, it’s Brexit

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Story highlights

  • John McTernan: Brexit proves international organizations are vulnerable
  • A weakened NATO threatens everyone, McTernan says
It’s not that Brexit in any way weakens the commitment of British politicians to NATO. Far from it. They have been vehemently — and sincerely — committing to continued defense cooperation. The problem is what the Brexit vote proved to the rest of the world: Longstanding international organizations that do not renew their popular mandate are vulnerable.
Related: We are witnessing the end of the liberal era

Related: We are witnessing the end of the liberal era

But there is one big difference between the European Union and NATO. While Brexit is in reality little more than a self-inflicted wound that only makes Britain poorer, a weakened NATO threatens everyone.
Russian President Vladimir Putin understands this. There’s been a lot of talk recently about his moving of missiles into Kaliningrad. When he does so, he is doing two things.
On one hand, he is probing defenses, just as he does when Russian submarines enter Swedish waters or Russian jets enter British airspace. On the other, and more significantly, he is opening another front in his information war.
The missiles are being moved, Putin says, in response to NATO “expansion.” This is a fictitious grievance — there is no such thing as NATO expansion, just sovereign states freely deciding to join it. Putin knows this. His claim is aimed firmly at European citizens. His aim is to sew doubt and dissension to undermine the shared sense of mission that underpins NATO.

The danger of Russia’s NATO rhetoric

The danger is not that citizens in European countries agitate for their nations to leave NATO, but that that they come to accept the steady Russian delegitimization of NATO, that they come to believe that Russia is the victim.
It has happened before. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union used the “peace movement” in an attempt to undermine the West’s resolve. It took the courage of Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl in West Germany to ignore public demonstrations against the stationing of Pershing and cruise missiles at US bases in their countries.
Now, NATO and the leadership of member countries need to show similar resolve. That starts with fully understanding how fragile support for NATO is.
Related: Russia pledges to improve US relations

Related: Russia pledges to improve US relations

Just imagine that a Russian minority in a Baltic state agitated, claiming oppression, such as Russian minorities in other countries formerly occupied by the Soviet Union have done in the past. Then further imagine that Russian troops are used in a police action to “protect oppressed Russian minorities.”
In which NATO countries would there be a majority of the public who supported the deployment of troops in support of the invaded country? Britain? Germany? Unlikely. The bet that Putin is making is based on this assumption that there is no popular support for Article 5 — the mutual self-defense clause of the NATO treaty. Is he wrong?
The good news is that the case for NATO hasn’t been lost — it just hasn’t been made. In a one sense, this is understandable. The Cold War is now taught in high school history.
But in another, it is unforgivable. Security is the first duty of government. Where that demands cooperation, governments must do so; where it requires consent, that must be built.
Winning the information war with Russia starts at home — NATO’s European leaders need to start now.

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Journalism faces ‘existential crisis’ in Trump era

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Story highlights

  • CNN’s Christiane Amanpour gave a speech on the challenges that journalists face in a Trump era
  • Journalism, she said, must not become “weaponized”
Ladies and gentlemen, I added the bits from candidate Trump as a reminder of the peril we face. I actually hoped that once President-elect, all that that would change, and I still do. But I was chilled when the first tweet after the election was about “professional protesters incited by the media.”
He walked back the part about the protesters but not the part about the media.
We’re not there. But postcard from the world: This is how it goes with authoritarians like Sisi, Erdoğan, Putin, the Ayatollahs, Duterte, et al.
As all the international journalists we honor in this room tonight and every year know only too well: First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating — until they suddenly find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives. Then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prison — and then who knows?
Just to say, Erdoğan has just told my Israeli colleague Ilana Dayan that he cannot understand why anyone’s protesting in America, it must mean they don’t accept — or understand — democracy! And he thinks America like all great countries needs a strongman to get things done!
Top journalists warn on press freedom

‘An appeal to protect journalism’

A great America requires a great and free and safe press. So this above all is an appeal to protect journalism itself.
Recommit to robust fact-based reporting without fear nor favor — on the issues. Don’t stand for being labeled crooked or lying or failing. Do stand up together — for divided we will all fall.
The historian Simon Schama, in the house tonight, told me early on that this was not just another election, and we cannot treat it as one.
And he says if ever there’s a time to celebrate, honor, protect and mobilize for press freedom and basic good journalism, it’s now.
At the start of this campaign, a network news president said this phenomenon may not be good for America but damn good for us.
During an interview on my program this summer, the filmmaker and historian Ken Burns asked me what would Edward R. Murrow do?
First, like many people watching where I was overseas, I admit I was shocked by the exceptionally high bar put before one candidate and the exceptionally low bar put before the other candidate.
It appeared much of the media got itself into knots trying to differentiate between balance, objectivity, neutrality, and crucially, truth.
We cannot continue the old paradigm — let’s say like over global warming — where 99.9% of the empirical scientific evidence is given equal play with the tiny minority of deniers.
I learned long ago, covering the ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia, never to equate victim with aggressor, never to create a false moral or factual equivalence, because then you are an accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.

‘Stop banalizing the truth’

I believe in being truthful, not neutral. And I believe we must stop banalizing the truth.
And we have to be prepared to fight especially hard for the truth in a world where the Oxford English Dictionary just announced its word of 2016: “post-truth.”
We have to accept that we’ve had our lunch handed to us by the very same social media that we’ve so slavishly been devoted to.
The winning candidate did a savvy end run around us and used it to go straight to the people. Combined with the most incredible development ever — the tsunami of fake news sites — aka lies — that somehow people could not, would not, recognize, fact check, or disregard.
One of the main writers of these false articles — these lies — says people are getting dumber, just passing fake reports around, without fact checking. We need to ask whether technology has finally outpaced our human ability to keep up. Facebook needs to step up. Advertisers need to boycott the lying sites.

Are journalists facing an ‘existential crisis?’

Wael Ghonim, one of the fathers of the Arab spring, dubbed the social media revolution, now says:
“The same medium that so effectively transmits a howling message of change also appears to undermine the ability to make it. Social media amplifies the human tendency to bind with one’s own kind. It tends to reduce complex social challenges to mobilizing slogans that reverberate in echo chambers of the like-minded rather than engage in persuasion, dialogue, and the reach for consensus. Hate speech and untruths appear alongside good intentions and truths.”
I feel that we face an existential crisis, a threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession.
Now, more than ever, we need to commit to real reporting across a real nation, a real world in which journalism and democracy are in mortal peril, including by foreign powers like Russia paying to churn out and place false news, and hacking into democratic systems here and allegedly in upcoming crucial German and French elections too.
A quick anecdote from out there: In the 1997 Iranian elections, the reform candidate won and the establishment ayatollahs were caught totally off guard. One of them asked me later how I was so sure and when did I know that Khatami was going to win. I told him, as soon as I got on the ground and started talking to people! Just saying.

Fighting against a ‘post-values world’

We must also fight against a post-values world.
And let me hit back at this elitist backlash we’re all bending over backwards to accommodate.
Since when were American values elitist values? They are not left or right values. They are not rich or poor values, not the forgotten-man values.
Like many foreigners I have learned they are universal. They are the values of every American from the humblest to the most exalted. They form the very fundamental foundation of the United States and are the basis of America’s global leadership. They are brand America. They are America’s greatest export and gift to the world.
So yes, like so many around the world, I was shocked — very few ever imagined that so many Americans conducting their sacred duty in the sanctity of the voting booth, with their secret ballot, would be angry enough to ignore the wholesale vulgarity of language, the sexual predatory behavior, the deep misogyny, the bigoted and insulting views.
Gov. Mario Cuomo said you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. Perhaps the opposite will be true this time around.
If not, I will fight as a journalist — as we all must — to defend and protect the unique value system that makes these United States — and with which it seeks to influence the world.

‘We must fight against normalization of the unacceptable’

The conservative radio host who may be the next white house press secretary says mainstream media is hostile to traditional values.
I would say it’s just the opposite. And have you read about the “heil, victory” meeting in Washington, DC this past weekend? Why aren’t there more stories about the dangerous rise of the far right here and in Europe? Since when did anti-Semitism stop being a litmus test in this country?
We must fight against normalization of the unacceptable.
A week before the heated Brexit referendum in the UK, the gorgeous, young, optimistic, idealistic, compassionate MP Jo Cox, a remainer, was shot and stabbed to death by a maniac yelling “Britain first.” She was particularly sensitive to the plight of Syrian war refugees.
At his trial, the court was told the accused had researched information on the SS and the KKK.
Just a few weeks ago, her husband, Brendan, now raising their two tiny toddlers, expanded for me on an op-ed he’d written:
“Political leaders and people generally must embrace the responsibility to speak out against bigotry. Unless the center holds against the insidious creep of extremism, history shows how quickly hatred is normalized. What begins with biting your tongue for political expediency, or out of social awkwardness, soon becomes complicity with something far worse. Before you know it, it’s already too late.”
So now the solutions!!

The media’s role in the world

Somehow, the war of attrition in this country has to end. You’ve all seen the results of this election. It’s very close. The nation is very divided, and angry. Are we in the media going to keep whipping up that war — or are we going to take a deep breath and maybe have a reset?!
It matters to us out there abroad too. For better or for worse, this is the world’s only superpower. Culturally too. The political example, the media example set here, are quickly emulated and rolled out across the world.
We, the media, can either contribute to a more functional system or to deepening the political dysfunction. Which world do we want to leave our children?
In the same way, politics has been driven into poisonous partisan and paralyzing corners, where political differences are criminalized, where the zero sum game means in order for me to win, you have to be destroyed. What happened to compromise and common ground?
That same dynamic has infected powerful segments of the American media.
Like it has in Egypt and Turkey and Russia, where journalists have been pushed into political partisan corners as we see here tonight — delegitimized, accused of being enemies of the state.

Stop journalism from becoming ‘weaponized’

Journalism itself has become weaponized. We have to stop it. We all have a huge amount of work to do, investigating wrongdoing, holding power accountable, enabling decent government, defending basic rights, actually covering the world — Russia, Syria, North Korean nukes.
Can’t we have differences without killing each other off? As a profession, let’s fight for what is right. Let’s fight for our values Bad things do happen when good people do nothing.
How to talk politics at your family Thanksgiving meal this year

How to talk politics at your family Thanksgiving meal this year

In the words of the great civil rights leader, congressman John Lewis: “Young people and people not so young have a moral obligation and a mission and a mandate to get in good trouble.”
So let’s go out and make some. And especially — let’s fight to remain relevant and useful.
Perhaps contemplating the long weekend ahead, let’s resolve not to be turkeys voting for thanksgiving!
Happy holidays, everyone.

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Serial killer found victims on gay dating sites

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Story highlights

  • Stephen Port, 41, found his victims on dating apps, then poisoned and raped them
  • A jury ultimately convicted Port of a total of 22 charges against 11 men
A chef met a series of younger men on gay dating sites and lured them with the promise of romance or sex to his east London apartment, where he poisoned their drinks and then raped them as they lay unconscious and dying.
He then dumped their bodies around his neighborhood, planting drugs and even suicide notes on them to make it appear as if they had overdosed, police and prosecutors said.
On Wednesday a London jury found Stephen Port, 41, guilty of the murders of four young men over a 15-month span between June 2014 and September 2015. Port also was convicted of drugging or sexually assaulting seven other victims who survived.
“He bought drugs on a regular basis and used them to stupefy his victims without their knowledge so he could rape or sexually assault them,” said Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police after the verdict. “Four families have been left devastated by the loss of their loved ones in such awful circumstances and seven more men have suffered horrific sexual assaults, the trauma of which will stay with them for a long time.”
Prosecutors said Port targeted victims on Grindr and other gay dating sites and apps, then plied them with drinks laced with fatal amounts of the drug GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyrate, otherwise known as liquid ecstasy.
He then raped them while they were unconscious and before they died, according to testimony at the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, more commonly known as Old Bailey.
Port, who worked as a chef in a bus garage, then dragged the bodies of his victims out into the street and left them slumped against walls not far from his flat in the Barking neighborhood of east London, police said.
He denied all the charges against him but was found guilty of the murders of fashion student Anthony Walgate, 23; Gabriel Kovari, 22, originally from Slovakia; fellow chef Daniel Whitworth, 21; and forklift truck driver Jack Taylor, 25.
Victim Jack Taylor's mother Jeanette, center, and her daughters Jenny and Donna speak to reporters after the verdict.
The Old Bailey court also heard testimony on how Port embarked on an elaborate cover-up of the murders, disposing of victims’ mobile phones and repeatedly lying to police. He planted a fake suicide note in Whitworth’s hand and tried to frame him for the death of Kovari.
The jury ultimately convicted Port of a total of 22 charges against 11 male victims, including four additional rapes, four sex assaults and 10 counts of administering a substance with the intent to stupefy. He was acquitted of three additional counts of rape.
“We can’t rule out the fact there may be other victims out there who suffered at Port’s hands and have yet to come forward,” Cundy said. “We would appeal for them to contact us as soon as possible.”
Port is scheduled to be sentenced Friday and faces up to life in prison.
“We are bereft at the loss of such a clever, talented and much loved boy,” said Mandy Pearson, Whitworth’s stepmother, in a statement read outside the courthouse.
“The fight goes on until all our questions are answered. It has been difficult to say the least and has had a huge impact on our lives, which will never be the same again. We are emotionally and physically exhausted.”

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Brexit black hole takes shape

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'Hard' Brexit talk pushes pound to 31-year low
‘Hard’ Brexit talk pushes pound to 31-year low

The Brexit black hole is starting to take shape.

The U.K. will be forced to borrow an extra £58.7 billion ($ 72.6 billion) over the next five years because of an economic slowdown triggered by its vote to leave the European Union, according to the Office of Budget Responsibility.

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For ‘Lion,’ Dev Patel took his mind and body to new places

You’re reading post For ‘Lion,’ Dev Patel took his mind and body to new places on cnn live news. The fasted news on the world.

Story highlights

  • Actor Dev Patel told CNN about his 8 months of prep for ‘Lion’
  • In addition to learning an Australian accent and bulking up, he visited an orphanage in India
Once moviegoers get a chance to see the film for themselves, they’ll understand why.
The movie chronicles the true story of Saroo Brierley, a man who searches for the birth mother and family he was separated from when he was a young boy living in India. To do this, Saroo (Patel) attempts to find his home town via Google Earth from Australia, where he was raised after being adopted.
If that sounds like a daunting task, it’s because it is. Saroo pushes himself to the emotional brink in hopes of finding the life he only recalls through a 5-year-old’s eyes.
“[I was] just astounded that these words I’m saying, this journey that I’ve just read is real,” Patel told CNN of reading the script for the first time. “It’s just so incredible. It’s a feat of humanity, of what he achieved.”
Preparing for the role was an 8-month process for Patel, arguably best known for his work in 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Newsroom.”
He had to learn an Australian accent and also set out to bulk up his frame. He hit the gym at director Garth Davis’ request, who wanted to show Patel as he’d never been seen before.
“We spoke about the look and growing the hair and going to the gym and getting a bit more Aussie, a little more Alpha,” Patel said. “Eating a bit more food.”
Seemingly the hardest aspect of prep work had nothing to do with his physical form.
Davis had the cast do significant work on what Patel calls “introspection.” Patel was asked to keep a diary and at one point was asked to sit alone in front of the mirror for an hour looking at his reflection.
“All sorts of crazy stuff,” Patel said.
Then there was his visit to the Indian orphanage at which the real-life Saroo once lived.
Patel recalled being greeted by a message written in flowers on the floor: “Welcome Lion.”
As he walked around, Patel said the kids would call him “hero,” referring to his role in the film. That, he admits, made him feel “like a fake.”
“You’re like, ‘I’m not the hero. You’re the heroes,'” he said. “The one I went to, [some children] are severely disabled, suffering from all sorts of muscular dystrophy and things like that and in so much pain. And the staff, a lot of them are volunteers.”
Patel wrote about the visit in his assigned diary, he said.
“You see in an environment like India where there is a lot of chaos and madness, these beacons of positivity and hope,” he recalled. “It’s amazing.”
“Lion” opens in theaters November 25. Patel hopes the themes of family and unity come through.
“Everyone keeps saying you want to call your friends or your sister or your mother after this,” he said. “And that’s the message we should be putting out in to the world, especially at this time.”

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Justin Bieber accused of punching fan

You’re reading post Justin Bieber accused of punching fan on cnn live news. The fasted news on the world.

Story highlights

  • Bieber is currently on tour in Europe
  • The incident happened in Barcelona
TMZ posted the footage of Bieber in Barcelona while on tour Tuesday.
In the video, Bieber is being driven in a car approaching Palau Sant Jordi stadium.
A group of screaming fans are greeting the car containing Bieber when a man sticks his hand in the window and appears to touch the singer.
Bieber’s hand can then be seen making contact with the man’s face.
The unidentified man then shows others around him his bloody lip.
CNN has reached out to reps for Bieber for comment about the incident.
The superstar has made a few headlines during his Purpose tour for some odd behavior and for storming off the stage.

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Own a real life transformer for $600K

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real life transformer
Bids are starting at $ 600,000 for Antimon, a BMW that transforms into a robot.

It’s an action figure fanatic’s dream: A real-life transformer is up for auction in Abu Dhabi, but you’ll need at least $ 600,000 to make a bid.

Antimon is a BMW 3-series car that transforms into a robot in 30 seconds. It’s the work of 12 engineers and 4 technicians from Turkey, who spent 11 months putting their creation together.

“We want to show our power all over the world,” said Turgat Alpagot, sales and marketing director for Letrons, the Turkish startup behind the transformer. “We think if we do something like this it’ll get great exposure all over the world.”

Alpagot says he’s already received bids for Antimon at this week’s Big Boys Toys exhibition in the UAE capital. The highest bidder can take Antimon home at the end of the exhibition on Saturday.

Related: Meet the man who spent $ 9 million on a license plate

The car isn’t licensed for the road, and you can’t drive it. But it can be moved by remote control at speeds up to 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) per hour. In its standing position, the robot can move its arms, fingers and head.

Letrons hopes Antimon will be the first in a series of 12 transformers. The rest are in the research and development stage.

Alpagot says the company has received interests from theme parks and shows looking to rent Antimon.

What’s next? The creators are seeking funding from private investors to develop smaller transformers that are more affordable and can be driven on the road.

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TPP’s death hurts America and helps China

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TPP explained
TPP explained

America is receding from the global economic stage, opening the way for China to take a lead role and a supporting one for Russia.

Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a controversial trade deal, wasn’t taken well by world leaders.

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