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Travel

Google Maps: Man snapped in bizarre position on clifftop – what is he doing?

Google Maps Street View is often used by the public to look at popular destinations and stunning views as well as to take a glimpse at where celebrities live. From the Great Wall of China to the Eiffel Tower, to Beverly Hills and the Hamptons, Street View shows it all.

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The tool is also useful for those who don’t get the chance to travel long distances and want to have a look at the world from afar.

Google Maps Street view is especially useful for those who are also scared of flying and haven’t had a chance to see much of the world.

However, sometimes the Street View lens manages to capture some very bizarre scenes that range from the funny to the spooky.

The massive camera has managed to capture all sorts from funny animals driving cars, to spooky vehicles.

Sometimes, the street view lens even manages to capture rude gestures and incriminating moves.

And if the scene itself isn’t bad enough, eagle-eyed users sometimes manage to find these scenes and make them available for the world to see.

The photos are sometimes posted on social media sites in an attempt to catapult the user to stardom.

In fact, the most hilarious and bizarre images often go viral online.

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And now, this could be the case for one man who was spotted in a very compromising position.

The scene takes place near Derk in Azerbaijan between mountains and cliffs.

It appears that the scene is unfolding on a road in a valley between two mountains.

From afar, everything seems relatively normal.

It’s a photo of a man looking down the edge of a cliff from a road.

But as you zoom in on the man, it appears as though he is not just looking down but doing something else.

The man is wearing a blue t-shirt, blue jeans and black shoes and has his back turned towards the camera.

But rather than just looking down the cliff at the greenery, it seems as though he may be urinating.

And this is exactly what one Reddit user thought when they spotted the scene from May 2018.

They posted the scene on the site saying that they had just found a man urinating off the road.

They said: “Just casually checking out Azerbaijan because I never thought much about it before.

“Found a man pissing off the road. Mildly amusing.”

Azerbaijan is situated next to Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Iran.

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Travel

Cruises: Expert reveals how COVID-19 could impact ‘battered’ cruise industry

Cruise companies have been forced to batten down the hatches and suspend their schedules in recent days due to unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by most countries across the globe. But as coronavirus spreads like wild fire across some cruise ships, it is looking likely that some holidaymakers could be put off the prospect of jumping on a cruise when lockdown is lifted. The future of the travel industry is certainly looking more uncertain now than ever before.

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Erin Gifford is a Washington DC-based lifestyle and travel writer who has previously appeared on Lonely Planet as well as founding her own site, Kidventurous.com.

She is an expert in family travel who is hopeful that people will come out of lockdown “more eager to explore”.

She spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the future of the travel industry after coronavirus, and how the airlines and cruise lines will be impacted.

Ms Gifford is hopeful that people will be more eager to explore their own backyards after lockdown which includes road trips.

She said: “I’ve lived in Virginia nearly my entire life but there’s so much beauty within a few hours of my home that I have never once seen – majestic mountains, underground caverns, white sandy beaches.

“I would like to see people plan more road trips and take more time to explore what they’ve thus far overlooked.”

Unlike many, she believes that “people will always have the urge to travel” despite the coronavirus outbreak.

“I think people will always have the urge to travel. That won’t change,” she said.

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However, the travel expert did suggest that it is likely that people would want to stay closer to home.

She added: “We all have an innate desire to some degree to explore.

“In the immediate future, I think people may go on shorter holidays and stay closer to home when they do travel.”

A recent study from analysts at UBS recently revealed that bookings for 2021 cruises has “gone up nine percent in the last 30 days versus the same time last year”.

UBS said in a report at the end of March: “That includes people applying their future cruise credits from sailings that were cancelled this year, but still shows a surprising resilience in desire to book a cruise.”

According to the report which was published in The New York Post, Asia and Alaska are seeing the highest number of bookings.

Ms Gifford also remains optimistic for the cruise industry despite being “battered” recently, however, she did admit it may take longer for people to get their confidence back.

She continued: “The cruise industry has really been battered though.

“They’ve weathered storms in the past, like norovirus outbreaks, but have always seemed to rebound.

“I think it will take longer to re-instill confidence in cruisers this time.”

However, she added that the airline industry will continue to be a preferable mode of transport after the coronavirus due to its convenience.

She said: “I think it will be tough to keep people from planes. So many of us fly, if only for the speed and convenience.

“I think many more will take road trips in the near term, but not necessarily because they do not want to fly.”

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Travel

US airline asks to drop flights ‘with fewer than 10 passengers booked’

A leading US airline has warned that, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is set to carry an average of fewer than 10 passengers on some of its flights.

JetBlue, like other US carriers, is seeking support from the American government after passenger numbers collapsed.

The aid rules require airlines to maintain a minimum service obligation to cities on its network.

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But carriers are able to appeal for exemption from this obligation in cases where it would prove too onerous.

“JetBlue, and indeed the entire US, airline industry, is facing an existential, unprecedented crisis,” the carrier said in a filing to the Department of Transportation in Washington DC.

“Last April JetBlue earned approximately $22m each day in revenue, whereas this April it is only $1m.

“JetBlue is issuing cash refunds of more than $2m each day along with millions more in travel credits for cancelled bookings.”

In cities served by more than one airport, carriers are allowed to end flights to all but one.

So JetBlue is suspending operations at Baltimore-Washington, San Jose, Providence and New York La Guardia from 15 April.

The airline is based in New York, and will continue to serve the city’s JFK and Newark airports.

But it wants to suspend all services to another 11 airports, including Albuquerque, Dallas-Fort Worth, Minneapolis-St Paul, Portland (Oregon), Reno and Sacramento, between 15 April and 10 June 2020.

JetBlue “respectfully requests an emergency exemption” to abandon some cities – and provides painful evidence of why it is necessary.

“It has been well-documented that travel nationwide is down more than 90 per cent. In some metropolitan areas, including New York, the reduction is closer to 100 per cent.

“A rigid interpretation of the service obligation will only threaten to unnecessarily diminish JetBlue’s liquidity, with no commensurate public interest benefit.”

On one route, from Long Beach in California to Bozeman, Montana, the airline says: “Booked load factors are below 5 per cent for the month, making the 900-mile route unsustainable for JetBlue to operate.”

The sub-5 per cent figure means that fewer than 10 people are booked on the average flight.

Even on routes between major hubs where the number of flights has been cut right back, the vast majority of seats are unsold.

From Boston to both Minneapolis-St Paul and Dallas-Fort Worth, less than 20 per cent of seats have been sold – “with actual flown load factors even lower,” according to the airline.

Other carriers have made similar submissions, though none appears to have bookings as low as 5 per cent.

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Cruises

AmaWaterways Extends River Cruise Suspension Through June

AmaWaterways has extended its suspension of river cruise operations in Europe, Asia and Africa through the end of June in response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The company will compensate each impacted passenger with a future cruise credit worth 115 percent that they can redeem on any river cruise through December 2022. The credit can be applied to any and all charges related to AmaWaterways services and is even redeemable on cruise deposits.

AmaWaterways also said that guests unable to use their credit by the expiration date can request a refund equal to the original amount paid.

Keep in mind that the company’s standard cancellation policy and other restrictions will apply.

“The health and safety of our guests, and the wellbeing of our staff and crew, are of the utmost importance and we must be vigilant and responsible in ensuring your safety during these uncertain times,” AmaWaterways said in a statement this week.

The cruise line, one of many impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, originally suspended operations a month ago. However, since, AmaWaterways President and Co-Founder Rudi Schreiner has expressed optimism that the river cruise industry will rebound when COVID-19 risks subside.

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Travel

Kate Middleton and Prince William always travel with this key item when away

Kate Middleton and Prince William are well-used to international travel. The pair have carried out a great many royal trips to countries all around the world. It’s hardly surprising they’ve mastered the art of jet-setting in style.

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There’s one item the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge always take with them.

William and Kate will travel with a particular brand of suitcase which has a strong link with the Royal Family.

The regal duo will take Globe-Trotter suitcases with them.

Globe-Trotter is a British luxury luggage, suitcase and accessory brand, established in 1897.

Globe-Trotter is known for its classic leather travel cases.

It was the Queen who first favoured the luggage brand.

The brand moved to the UK in 1932 and was used by Queen Elizabeth during her honeymoon in 1947.

Clearly Kate and William have inherited the love of Globe-Trotter.

Kate and William each own a 21″ trolley case and the 33″ extra deep suitcase from the limited edition Goring Hotel collection, according to Hello!

The Duchess stayed at the Goring Hotel in London the night before her wedding in 2011.

Each case from the collection is lined with a Gainsborough silk pattern.

This is the same material used in the Royal Suite at the Goring Hotel which was designed by David Linley.

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Prince George and Princess Charlotte also have a miniature version of the suitcase.

It was estimated the four suitcases, as well as a smaller vanity case, spotted doing the Cambridges’ Poland tour, cost as much as £5,000 for the entire luggage collection.

Princess Diana also used the iconic brand for her honeymoon with Prince Charles.

Prince Harry has not been spotted with the iconic British brand suitcase, however.

Meghan Markle has also not been seen with Globe-Trotter luggage.

However, the Duchess of Sussex has previously used Ghurka, a brand with British heritage.

The Globe-Trotter brand has also been favoured by Winston Churchill, as well as used by James Bond in the film Spectre.

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Cruises

Airbnb highlighting long term stays

Airbnb is changing its homepage to highlight accommodations
that offer month-long stays.

The change comes as demand for long-term stays surges during
the Covid-19 pandemic, with Airbnb reporting that long-term bookings on the
platform were up 20% during the last two weeks in March. 

Airbnb expects to have more than a million units available
for month-long bookings when the new homepage goes live on April 9. Airbnb will
showcase accommodations with kitchens and laundry facilities. 

“As Covid-19 results in severe travel restrictions, the
Airbnb community has shifted to meet new consumer needs for longer-term stays
within their communities — ranging from seniors needing safe accommodations to
shelter in, or families needing the space to support educating kids while
working from home, to medical providers needing places to stay near the front
lines, or college students needing housing after their schools have closed,”
Airbnb said in a statement.

Last week, Airbnb
debuted a new alert function designed to encourage hosts to update their
settings and make their accommodations available for weekly and monthly
bookings. 

The company estimates that around 80% of Airbnb hosts now
accept longer-term stays, and about half of the platform’s active listings
provide discounts for stays of one month or longer.

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Travel

Cruises: Crew member reveals what lockdown on a cruise ship is REALLY like

Travellers have been left disappointed after cruise ships around the world announced that they would be out of action due to COVID-19. Guests onboard cruise liners have been forced to leave the ships in order to help halt the spread of the virus.

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But one YouTuber has now described what it was really like onboard a cruise liner during the coronavirus pandemic.

Royal Caribbean crew member Chris Wong decided to vlog everyday of his time spent on the massive cruise ship during lockdown.

A regular vlogger, Chris began his latest video experience on March 13 at the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown on the cruise ship.

At the start of the lockdown, Chris was onboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

When lockdown commenced, he explained that the ship was in the middle of a cruise.

The ship had to drop its guests off at Miami but the crew were told to stay onboard.

On day two of the ordeal (posted on March 16), Chris described how much cleaning he had to do.

He said: “So, what have I been up to today? Since 8 o’clock this morning, I’ve actually been up and cleaning the ship.

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“Today it was described as a ‘full barrier clean’. Basically, all of our departments had to go around our work areas and clean and sanitise literally everything.

“For me, because I work in a casino, me and a couple of us were cleaning all the tables, the slot machines, and the chairs.

“But not only that, we were cleaning other areas too. After cleaning the casino, we then made our way to Playmakers which is the sports bar on the ship and had to clean some of the tables there too along with their arcade machines.

“Then we went up to the arcade, which is on deck 15, and we were cleaning all the games too and wiping down all the seats and literally everything.”

He added: “We had to sanitise the entire ship, every corner and every surface.”

Chris also said that they had to sanitise their crew corridors and their own cabins before taking a shower and putting the clothes they were wearing in the laundry.

He then said that he had his temperature checked which came back clear.

But after all that cleaning, the crew were allowed to enjoy a movie and food from a guest restaurant.

Other videos of Chris show him enjoying food from restaurants on board as well as soaking up the sun and enjoying a dip in one of the pools on board during the lockdown.

Chris’ last video on March 29 is of him in an almost empty airport returning back to the UK from the US.

Royal Caribbean has since given an update on its operations and extended its suspension until May 12.

Their website says: “At Royal Caribbean International, the safety and well-being of our guests and crew are always our top priorities.

“On March 13, we made the decision to voluntarily suspend our sailings departing from US ports, and later on March 14th we decided to also suspend operations for the remainder of our sailings worldwide.

“On March 24, we decided to extend our voluntary suspension until May 11, 2020.

“Our goal is to resume operations for most of our ships on May 12, 2020.”

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Cruises

MGM Resorts' Entertainment Partners Donate to COVID-19 Employee Fund

MGM Resorts International is publicly thanking the many resident entertainment partners who have donated generously to the company’s Employee Emergency Grant Fund in order to counteract the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its workforce members.

Among the entertainers who have made donations to the MGM Employee Emergency Grant Fund over the past week are David Copperfield, Jay Leno, Bill Maher, Kathleen Madigan, David Spade, Boyz II Men, Brad Garrett, Carrot Top, Terry Fator, Ray Romano, Jabbawockeez, Shin Lim, Thunder from Down Under, Hans Klok, Australian Bee Gees, Fantasy and Bill Blumenreich Presents.

When its properties shuttered in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MGM Resorts said that it planned to pay those full-time employees who were being furloughed or laid off or for two weeks from their last date of work and maintain all health plans through June 30, 2020. Now, Nevada has extended the mandatory closure of all non-essential businesses through April 30.

“We are incredibly humbled by the support of our entertainment partners, who have come together to assist the people who, during normal times, are committed to creating incredible experiences for our guests from around the world,” said Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts’ Acting CEO and President. “During these difficult and uncertain days, weeks and months, we are working tirelessly to support the tens of thousands of employees who were furloughed or laid off due to the closures of our properties across the country,”

On March 23, MGM Resorts International had already announced its own pledge of $1 million to its newly-created MGM Employee Emergency Grant Fund, which is designed to provide short-term financial assistance for MGM employees and their immediate families during emergencies and unexpected hardships.

The Grant Fund may also provide, “disaster relief assistance to furloughed or laid-off employees whose compensation is suspended or employment terminated as a result of an extraordinary event…such as the COVID-19 public health crisis,” MGM said in a statement.

Thank you to all the MGM resident entertainment partners who have so generously donated to the MGM Resorts Foundation Employee Emergency Grant Fund! The show will go on. #onlyvegas #togetherathome https://t.co/tuZESTdw74 pic.twitter.com/V8SuwwlHx8

On March 26, Award-winning musical artist Bruno Mars, who has performed a series of limited dates at the Park MGM theater, also personally donated $1 million to the MGM Resorts Foundation to aid MGM employees who’re being impacted economically by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A representative for Mars said, “With the closures across Las Vegas, Bruno wanted to show his appreciation to the amazing employees who help make these shows possible in hopes that we’ll all be out of this situation and having fun together again very soon.”

Hornbuckle today announced that, with these donations from its outstanding family of entertainers, plus pledges from MGM Resorts and its leadership team, its own employees and a number of other contributions, the Employee Emergency Grant Fund has already raised approximately $11 million to buoy up its employees during these tumultuous times.

For more information, visit mgmresorts.com.

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Travel

Covid 19 coronavirus: South Korea sue mum, daughter for travelling with symptoms

A mother and daughter, who visited South Korea’s popular Jeju Island on holiday, could be sued after they failed to declare COVID-19 symptoms.

According to CNN, the 52-year-old mother and her 19-year-old daughter, who had recently returned to South Korea from Boston, decided to visit despite feeling unwell.

It is understood the daughter ignored self-isolation rules, and the pair travelled to the island five days after she returned to Seoul from the US.

According to the report, the 19-year-old started showing symptoms on March 21, but the duo decided to stay on the island for a further four days where it is estimated they had contact with almost 50 strangers.

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Transport

Hong Kong Testing All Arriving Airline Passengers for Coronavirus

Hong Kong announced Tuesday that travelers arriving at the region’s main airport would be screened for coronavirus, making it the first airport in the world to require testing for all incoming passengers.

According to Fortune.com, government officials revealed that every airline passenger who arrives at Hong Kong International Airport will now be tested for coronavirus whether or not they are exhibiting symptoms.

Once the passengers arrive at the Hong Kong airport, they will deplane and board shuttle buses operated by the region’s health department to a temporary “specimen collection center” where they will test saliva from every traveler.

Passengers who complete the testing will then be shown their accommodations at the AsiaWorld-Expo convention center, where they will be forced to stay for 14 days as part of the government-mandated quarantine.

The government said it would enforce the quarantine via tracking wristbands.

“If a sample tests positive, the CHP will notify the person concerned as early as possible and arrange for admission to a public hospital for treatment,” a statement from Hong Kong read. “In general, if no notification is received within three working days after returning a sample, it means the test result is negative and the person concerned is required to continue the compulsory quarantine until the quarantine period ends.”

For passengers arriving from regions deemed high-risk, such as the United Kingdom and areas of China, they will be forced to wait at the collection center until the results of faster tests are revealed. Confirmed cases will immediately be transported to local hospitals, while travelers who test negative will be moved to the quarantine areas.

“As the testing takes time, the people concerned might need to stay at the venue to wait for eight hours or more and those arriving at night might have to wait longer,” the statement continued. “The DH urged for the understanding and patience from inbound travelers on the arrangement.”

Passengers aren’t the only people on planes getting sick, as the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) found that around 100 flight attendants have tested positive for coronavirus.

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