48 hours in Stavanger, Norway (The Travel Magazine)

There’s no escaping nature in Stavanger. Norway’s south-western port city is surrounded by a concoction of fjords, mountains and miles of sandy coastlines that demand to be explored. Famed for its Viking history and quaint wooden buildings, juxtaposed with modern urbanity brought about by its oil industry, Stavanger is fast becoming something of a mecca for adventure travel enthusiasts keen to experience nature at its most raw.

Must hike

Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) (c) Terje Rakke/Nordic life 2011

Preikestolen (also known as Pulpit Rock) is a stunning four-hour round hike that weaves 8km through forests, marshlands and open mountain terrain. Take a 40-minute ferry ride from Stavanger to Tau and then a 25-minute bus ride to the start of the free trail. Recently reinforced by Nepalese Sherpas, the sturdy path is suitable for almost all abilities but is difficult to navigate at night so ensure you give yourself plenty of time to descend in daylight. Tip: take a packed lunch to eat at the top on the plateau, which juts out 604 metres above Lysefjord and offers staggering views of the surrounding area.

Must stroll

Old Stavanger (Gamle Stavanger)
Old Stavanger (Gamle Stavanger) (c) Gunhild Vevik /regionstavanger.com

Gamle Stavanger is the old part of town, located close to the port. Its narrow, cobbled streets are home to a cluster of 173 closely built, white wooden houses that date back to the 1700s and are thought to be the largest surviving wooden house settlement in northern Europe. The immaculately kept buildings, with their well-groomed flowerboxes, offer a glimpse of what life was like in the 18th century.

Must go to a museum

Perhaps one of the more bizarre places to check out, the Norwegian Canning Museum documents Stavanger’s canning industry history and gives an insight into a town dependent on the production of canned fish. Complete with antique machinery from the late 1800s, a black-and-white film and smoky ovens, the museum shows you what life was like in Stavanger, before oil dominated. And the Norwegian Petroleum Museum fills in the rest: its interactive exhibits describe how oil and gas are created, details their discovery in the North Sea and shows you what life is like on a drilling rig.

Must eat

With smoked mackerel on offer for breakfast, salmon for lunch and mussels for dinner, fish can, and should, be consumed at every meal. There is a vibrant gastronomic scene, largely sourced from the North Sea, with a several great restaurants along the waterfront and on the coast.

Straen Fiskerestaurant serves up first class seafood and harbour views, while Bevaremegvel Restaurantoffers tasty Brasserie-style dining a couple of streets back from the water in a cosy, historic house.

Must stay

Scandic Stavanger City is a modern hotel, conveniently located in front of the ferry that takes you to Preikestolen and walking distance from the harbour.

Alternatively, the 100-year old Sola Strand Hotel just outside the city is situated on the pristine western coastline. Once occupied by German soldiers during World War II, it has a spa and restaurant with stunning views of the ocean from Sola beach.

Brazilian deaths highlight need for safety training (INSI)

The brutal murders of Brazilian journalists Djalma Santos de Conceição and Evany José Metzker, which came at a time when INSI was in Rio de Janeiro to conduct safety training, have once again shown the dire situation for media workers in the South American country.

Both journalists, who were renowned for denouncing corruption, were found dead in May in northeastern Brazil.

“Unfortunately it’s not unusual for journalists to be killed in Brazil,” said Marcelo Moreira, editor coordinator at Globo TV, Brazil’s biggest media organisation. “In recent years Brazil has always been among the top ten countries for journalist deaths.”

INSI’s intensive three-day programme was attended by 15 media security advisors from three regions of the country and is part of a long-term partnership between INSI and Globo TV that started in 2006 and has resulted in the safety training of more than 600 local media professionals.

The security advisors learned ways to better understand the threats journalists face and how they can help mitigate them through rigorous planning and preparation, medical training and situational awareness.

“This training was a big learning experience for me,” said Globo producer Erika Stockler, who participated in the safety training. “Everything we’ve learned here will be important for keeping journalists safer and therefore contributing to press freedom.”

INSI has been supporting journalists in Brazil for almost a decade and has repeatedly returned to the country to run safety training sessions. In 2012, INSI trained 11 journalists to become safety trainers, and is currently mentoring them with the aim that they will be able train their colleagues in their own language in the future. This sustainable project aims to ensure that more journalists have access to safety training throughout the South American country.

“We truly believe that INSI’s work is fundamental to decreasing the numbers of journalist casualties around the world. We not only do safety sessions in Brazil for our journalists working at home, but also consult INSI when we deploy journalists on dangerous assignments abroad, and this has been very helpful,” said Moreira.

INSI is delighted to have worked with Globo over the past decade and support the growing awareness of a safety culture in Brazil.

“We look forward to returning to Brazil to continue the training we have already done, helping develop the capacity of local journalists to help their own colleagues and supporting Globo as it leads the safety conversation in the country in order to make Brazil a safer place for all those working there,” said INSI Director Hannah Storm.

Top 10 things to see and do in and around Toronto (The Travel Magazine)

Toronto Skyline

“Diversity our strength” is Toronto’s motto and it’s evident throughout the city: from the statue outside Union Station that celebrates migration, to the internationally inspired cuisine and the more than 100 languages that echo around the streets. Toronto is one of the most multicultural metropolises in the world, which means it has something for everyone – the only problem is fitting it all in. My advice for where to start: go straight to the top…

1. CN Tower: Toronto’s most iconic skyscraper isn’t just something to see, it’s something to experience. Once the world’s tallest freestanding structure, the CN Tower is a modern engineering marvel that stands at 553m. With a glass elevator to take you to the transparent viewing platforms, a 360-degree rotating restaurant and the world’s highest full-circle, hands-free edge walk, you could spend a day here. Set lunches at 360 start from $55 – it’s not cheap, but the price includes complimentary access to the Look Out and Glass Floors (normally $32), which makes the unique dining experience more affordable. Edge Walk gives thrill seekers the chance to test their limits and see why the CN Tower shouldn’t be seen from below, looking up, but why Toronto should be seen from above, looking down.

2. Catch a game: Toronto’s sports teams may have had their fair share of disappointment in recent years, but what they lack for in their trophy cabinets their fans make up for in spirit. Depending on the season, take your pick from baseball, basketball or hockey, and try and match the locals as they cheer on the Blue Jays, Raptors or Maple Leafs. The entertainment’s non-stop, with cheerleading, fan competitions and the occasional half-time ballroom dancing show. If you don’t get to see the Maple Leafs take home the Stanley Cup, then head to the Hockey Hall of Fame where you can touch the coveted trophy.

3. Eat your way around the world: St Lawrence MarketWith its emphasis on diversity and heritage, it’s no surprise Toronto’s local cuisine is a mosaic of global flavours that satisfy every palette. Be sure to leave room for a peameal bacon sandwich and butter tart at Lawrence Market. Described as one of the world’s great markets, the culinary landmark was originally built in 1803 and features two floors of speciality food vendors offering a festival of sights and smells. Tip: grab your food to go and have a picnic a few blocks down beside Lake Ontario.

4. Walking/Cycling Tours: Torontonians have known their city is something special for a while, but the rest of us are only just catching on. Explore the hidden backstreets and learn about the city’s history and architecture with a local guide. In addition to free walking tours, Tour Guys offer craft beer, bacon, graffiti and ghost tours, while Toronto Bicycle Tours allows you to cover more ground (and burn off all those butter tarts) as you escape downtown and cycle through the city’s parks and surrounding neighbourhoods.

5. Streetcar: Take a 501 streetcar eastbound on Queen St. and travel through an array of neighbourhoods. The scenic loop is one of the busiest and longest in Toronto’s tram system, passing through the heart of the city and heading out towards the waterfront. If you catch it right (i.e. avoid rush hour) time seems to slow down and you get a charming glimpse of the city’s diversity. Jump off by the Humber Loop and stroll down to the water to see Toronto from a distance. It’s a tranquil walk back along the bridge over the Humber River towards the city and offers a change from the standard issue skyline shots. If you’re not feeling that energetic then hop back on the 501 westbound and get off when you arrive downtown.

6. Niagara Falls: Want to see what more than a million bathtubs of cascading water look like? Brave the crowds and drive 90 minutes out of Toronto to witness the sheer volume and magic of Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls from a helicopterThe natural beauty spans both the U.S.A and Canada, with the mighty Horseshoe Falls located on the Canadian side. It’s free to visit, but if you want to spend cash on additional experiences there’s no shortage of options. ‘Journey Behind the Falls’ takes you down tunnels and behind the Falls, and ‘Niagara’s Fury’ is a fun 4D simulation providing a brief history of the area. If you still want more, join a cruise along the water or splurge on an unforgettable helicopter ride at Niagara Helicopters. There’s no wrong time to go as the Falls are transformed in different seasons (there’s more water in the summer, but also more tourists).

7. Niagara-on-the-lake: It may be less than half an hour from Niagara Falls, but you’ll feel a million miles away in this charming historic town at the heart of Canada’s wine-growing region. Once the capital of Upper Canada, Niagara-on-the-lake was the scene of several important battles and the town’s 19th century architecture has been preserved as a National Historic Site. Nowadays the region enjoys a more relaxed pace of life – no doubt helped by its numerous wineries. Fort George, the Niagara Apothecary and the town’s many historic firsts (Canada’s first library, newspaper and golf course) are worth a visit before dinner at a local vineyard. Exhausted from all the sightseeing? Take a horse-drawn carriage through Old Town or a boat ride up Niagara River to experience the region’s serenity. Tip: don’t leave without a bottle of Peller Estates Winery’s award-winning ice wine – the perfect souvenir.

8. Wacky Museums: It’s not just the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and Fort York that are worth a stop, Toronto has a number of quirky informative attractions that also deserve your attention. Leave the traditional postcard for another day and send your loved ones a quill-written letter at Toronto’s First Post Office, which dates back to 1835. Bata Shoe Museum is great for anyone interested in fashion, celebrities and the history of high heels, while budding Sherlock fans can get up close and personal to the man behind the name at The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection.

9. See a Show: Toronto boasts the third largest theatre scene in the world, with an abundance of traditional and contemporary work, and the legendary comedy institution Second City, Toronto’s Entertainment District deserves a visit. If Tony Award-winning shows aren’t your style, Toronto’s also home to Canada’s National Ballet School, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and one of the largest opera companies in North America. Tip: make a night of it and sample Nota Bene’s pre-theatre menu before heading to a show.

10. Island hopping: Just a short ferry ride away from the mainland lies a chain of 15 small, car-free islands that are home to around 650 people. You’ll have your choice of beaches (clothing is optional on certain ones) and can rent kayaks, arrange harbour tours or visit an old-fashioned amusement park. Ferries take you between the islands and allow bikes on board during most of the year. Tip: for a romantic evening, cycle around Ward Island at dusk to see the city illuminated from a distance.

Imprisoned Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste talks to INSI about media safety (International News Safety Institute)

Peter Greste1

When Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste and his two colleagues were imprisoned in Egypt on terrorism charges, media safety was cast into the spotlight.

The Australian spent 400 days in jail, following a trial that sparked an international outcry from politicians, diplomats and celebrities who were suddenly made aware of the vulnerability of reporters around the world.

Speaking to INSI, Greste emphasised the importance of making journalism safety a global conversation.

See the interview here.

“Although we’ve got a common interest, there aren’t common standards around the world and I think what we need to do is to try and expand this. What we all think of as press freedom and journalism safety in Europe doesn’t apply in the Middle East, and yet European journalists are working in the Middle East and vice versa. We need to make sure this is a conversation that crosses borders.”

Journalism safety has become even more paramount as the war on terror is played out in the media and journalists find themselves becoming the targets.

“It was always a dangerous business,” said Greste. “But what’s happened now is that journalism has become fair game for both sides: whether it’s governments who are trying to clamp down on freedom of speech issues […] or whether it’s from groups themselves who’ve decided they don’t want or like the kind of ideology that they believe journalists are a part of.”

During Greste and his colleagues’ imprisonment, a social media campaign calling for their immediate release went viral, with the hashtag #FreeAJStaff making more than three billion impressions on Twitter.

“What was extraordinary was the extent to which the public got behind our particular case, the extraordinary way that our colleagues got involved and the extraordinary way politicians and diplomats all over the world lined up in a way that I don’t think we’ve seen in any other situation in the history of the media.”

Greste believes the level of support generated for him and his two colleagues shows what can be achieved when the industry pulls together and when “powerful decision makers” understand the safety issues journalists all around the world face every day as a result of doing their job.

“I think INSI’s a great place to start. It’s an industry organisation that was set up by industry groups to try and bring together a lot of the safety and security protocols and try to improve the way we handle journalists’ safety.”

Travel Guide: 48 hours in Montreal, Canada (The Travel Magazine)

Montreal from Mont Royal
Montreal: Skyline from Mont Royal (c) wikimedia/Taxiarchos228

Montreal is a unique blend of Europe and North America. Its heady mix of British and French culture has given rise to a bilingual metropolis in Eastern Canada that boasts colonial history, architectural beauty, an abundance of green spaces and a vibrant food scene.

The island of Montreal was originally inhabited by the indigenous Iroquois people before being colonised by the French in the 1600s. Fast forward a couple of hundred years and Montreal became occupied by the British who allowed the French to continue living there, which helped shape the city’s inimitable identity as a slice of one continent, on the edge of another.

Must See The View

Montreal is a city best explored on foot, so pack your trainers and take in the skyline atop Mont Royal. Lovingly referred to by locals as their “mountain”, Mont Royal is a short hike that offers serenity in the midst of the bustle of downtown. Standing at 234m tall, it’s the highest point in the city and boasts impressive views of skyscrapers, the St. Lawrence River and the pilgrimage site of St. Joseph’s Oratory. At the top of the mountain sits a 200 hectare park, designed by the same man who created New York’s Central Park, and a lake, which is home to ice-skaters in the winter and surrounded by sunbathers in the summer. There’s no wrong turn once you get to the top, so take your time walking, cycling, rollerblading or, depending on the season, skiing around this tranquil spot.

Must Eat

While Canada is not exactly famed for its cuisine, Montrealers are passionate about poutine. Quebec’s trademark dish is simple: chips, gravy and cheese curd. One of the best poutine places in town is La Banquise, which is open 24 hours a day and offers close to 30 different varieties of the comfort food.

Poutine La Banquise
Poutine La Banquise (c) wikimedia/Sjschen

A Schwartz’s smoked meat sandwich is another essential that will set you back less than $10, and is well worth the almost year-round queues to get into the 80-year-old restaurant. The oldest deli in Canada, Schwartz’s is a sparsely decorated Hebrew joint that has seen celebrities and visitors from all over the world walk through its doors to taste its world famous smoked meat.

Stock up on all the maple syrup you can carry at trendy Jean-Talon Market in the heart of Little Italy. You can sample the local cheese, fruits, vegetables, meats and pastries that line vendors’ stalls, and choose your lunch at the seafood counter. Finish off your meal with some maple taffy (made right in front of you by pouring hot maple syrup over ice and rolling it up around a stick), which provides for some sweet and sticky entertainment.

Must Watch

Canadiens de Montréal
Canadiens de Montréal (c) wikimedia/Kristina Servant

Ice hockey is not a sport in Canada, it’s a religion. Montreal’s gods are the Canadiens and they are the most decorated team in the NHL. Tickets sell out at lightning speed so if you don’t manage to get seats to see them do battle, try some of the amateur leagues in the city. If it’s not hockey season then console yourself by checking out some of Montreal’s street fairs and music festivals that take place throughout the summer months and attract big name acts.

Must Visit

The Notre-Dame Basilica is striking from the outside, but even more remarkable from the inside. Akin to a kind of decorative, medieval theatre, the neo-gothic church is an intense work of art, filled with three tiers of ornate banisters, religious statues and hundreds of intricate wooden carvings. So impressive is the lavishly decorated basilica that the man who designed it, an Irish-American Protestant architect, allegedly converted to Catholicism just before his death in order to be buried there.

Old Montreal
Old Montreal (c) flickr/christine592

Old Montreal is a timeless labyrinth of cobbled streets that should be observed at first on foot and then from behind the window of a cosy café, with a coffee and a pastry in hand. Olive et Gourmando is a popular hang out that serves delicious baked goods, while Dulces de l’Erable gives everything a maple syrup twist and houses a small maple syrup museum below. Steeped in centuries of history, Old Montreal hosts an array of hidden architectural jewels, such as the city’s first bank and Montreal’s World Trade Centre (the latter has a piece of the Berlin Wall on the site where Montreal’s very own city walls once stood). Complete your stroll through Old Montreal by wandering along Old Port for a different view of the city and the river that surrounds it.

Must Enjoy Café Culture

Coffee connoisseurs should head straight to Pikolo Espresso Bar for a caffeine kick. Montreal’s coffee scene has been gathering momentum over the past few years and Pikolo’s hipster baristas are intent on taking it to the next level. Le Plateau-Mont-Royal is another trendy place to stop and grab a cappuccino, whilst admiring the bohemian neighbourhood’s creative street art.

Must Shop

A regular on the world’s Top 50 Fashion Capitals index, Montreal has got every style covered. Funky boutiques and antique stores line the historic region, while high street names are represented in abundance on St. Catherine’s. When temperatures plummet, shopaholics head indoors and underground to peruse the vast network of 1,700 shops within the city’s metro system. Don’t leave Montreal without taking home a bottle of the region’s famed ice cider.

Must Stay

Le Pomerol is a great-value, homely hotel situated in downtown Montreal, just around the corner from the main bus terminal. Idyllic breakfast picnic hampers are left outside your door each morning and light snacks are served in the afternoon.

Located within the Golden Mile, Le Meridien Versailles is a boutique hotel with contemporary rooms that provides easy access to museums, shops and art galleries.

Former BBC and Yahoo exec Fabiola Arredondo is joining Burberry (City A.M.)

UK fashion house Burberry yesterday appointed former BBC and Yahoo executive Fabiola Arredondo to its board. It hopes the Spanish-American will bring her digital consumer savvy to the non-executive director role and the  audit, remuneration and nomination committees.

Once named the most influential woman in European business, Arredondo comes to Burberry after repeatedly smashing through the glass ceiling in spectacular style.
From 1997 to 2001, Arredondo was the managing director of Yahoo Europe and was credited with building the team from what was then a 13-person outfit to become one of the leading internet companies on the continent, with a revenue of £79m. During her time there, she also featured on Fortune Europe’s “Most Powerful Women’s” list.
 

Fabiola is currently the managing partner of Siempre Hold­ings, a private investment firm based in Connecticut, US, which she founded in 2001.

Prior to that she was the director of international distribution at BBC World­wide, a member of its executive board and an executive board director of its European channel management board, which oversaw the BBC World and BBC Prime television channels in Europe.
Fabiola studied at Stanford Univ­ersity and Harvard Business School, before going on to become a team member of the US Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the World Economic Forum.
She has previously served as a non-executive director of Saks, Experian, Rodale, National Public Radio, the World Wildlife Fund, and is a trustee of Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organisation behind the iconic American children’s television programme Sesame Street.
Her hobbies include scuba diving, marine conservation and going camping in Africa.

Uber teams up with UN in a bid to recruit one million women drivers (City A.M.)

Uber has announced plans to create one million jobs for women as drivers by 2020, as it looks to bounce back from negative publicity received in recent months.

The taxi app company has partnered with the United Nations to accelerate economic opportunities for women and help them to become more independent. UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick said they are working towards a shared vision of equality and female empowerment.

In the past, the tech startup has been accused of having a “frat culture”, and recently came under fire for an advertising campaign branded sexist by its critics. In October, Uber France was forced to apologise after it offered customers in Lyon a free 20-minute ride around the city with an “incredibly hot chick” at the wheel. Photos of women in lingerie ap­pear­ed on the app for customers to choose from. This was later cancelled after a social media backlash.

 Sarah Lacy, editor of the tech blog PandaDaily, is a persistent critic of Uber and has repeatedly accused it of being offensive in its treatment of women.

“This sexism and misogyny is something different and scary. Women drive Ubers and ride in them. I don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn’t respect us or prioritise our safety,” Lacy wrote towards the end of last year.

Uber has rapidly expanded since it was founded in San Francisco in 2009 and is now available in almost 300 cities in 55 countries. It has said it is co-operating with authorities over an alleged rape committed by an Uber driver in India last year.

“In the US about 14 per cent of our driver partners are women,” said Uber spokesman Harry Porter.


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