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Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck obtain wedding license in Nevada

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Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck Obtain Wedding License In Nevada

NEW YORK — Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have obtained a marriage license in Nevada, according to Clark County records posted Sunday.

The Clark County clerk’s office in Nevada showed the pair obtained a marriage license that was processed Saturday. A marriage license is not proof of marriage.

Representatives for Lopez and Affleck did not immediately respond to messages.

In April, Lopez made their engagement public in a video posted to her fans showing off a green engagement ring. The marriage license filing showed that Lopez plans to take the name Jennifer Affleck.

Lopez, 52, and Affleck, 49, famously dated in the early 2000s before rekindling their romance last year. They earlier starred together in 2003’s “Gigli” and 2004’s “Jersey Girl.” Around that time, they became engaged but never wed.

Affleck married Jennifer Garner in 2005, with whom he shares three children. They divorced in 2018.

Lopez has been married three times before. She was briefly married to Ojani Noa from 1997-1998 and to Cris Judd from 2001-2003. She and singer Marc Anthony were married for a decade after wedding in 2004 and share 14-year-old twins together.

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Author Jamil Jan Kochai finally got to thank his English teacher

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Author Jamil Jan Kochai Finally Got To Thank His English Teacher
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Jamil Jan Kochai was terrified of starting the second year. He practiced writing the English alphabet at his parents’ dining room table in West Sacramento, California, and was ashamed when only 10 letters came to mind.

“I associated language and learning with punishment, fear and disappointment,” said Kochai, now 30, adding that in kindergarten he didn’t know a single word. .

Kochai emigrated from Pakistan to the United States when he was very young. At home, his family spoke only Pashto and Farsi, and what little English he knew slipped from his mind after first grade when he and his family spent the summer in Afghanistan, the homeland of her parents, whom they fled during the Soviet invasion.

When the family returned to California for her sophomore year, Kochai mustered up all her courage to enter her class. That’s when a teacher named Ms. Lung came into his life – and, according to Kochai, single-handedly changed the course of it.

Lung, Kochai’s teacher at Alyce Norman Elementary School, reached out to help. She devoted herself to supporting him as he learned English – a stark contrast to his previous educators, he said.

“From the start, she had this warmth and an incredible sense of caring for her students,” Kochai recalls.

Almost every day after school, Lung would sit next to Kochai at a small desk, patiently teaching him to read and write in English.

“She showed me that I didn’t have to be afraid of it and that it might actually be something I could like,” he said.

A dog had disappeared. The cavers found it two months later 500 feet underground.

By the end of the second year, Kochai was fluent in English, and the following year he won a reading comprehension award.

“I went back and showed Ms. Lung my award,” recalls Kochai – who became a published author, writing two books, as well as several essays and short stories.

After third grade, Kochai and his family moved away and he lost contact with his favorite teacher. But he never forgot the impact Lung had on him.

“I would tell everyone about Ms. Lung,” Kochai said. “I owed him everything”

Throughout his life, he tried several times to find her by browsing the Internet.

When that didn’t work, he called his elementary school and he also went to the district office. He had no luck finding Lung, mainly, he said, because he didn’t know his first name.

As he grew older – and advanced in his writing career – he appreciated his influence even more.

In fact, to promote his first novel – “99 Nights in Logar” – Kochai wrote an article for a literary website in 2019. In it he mentioned Lung.

Librarian finds love notes, doodles in books and shares them with grateful audience

“I have been helped throughout this year by a generous teacher. Ms. Lung (through months and months of after-school sessions) re-taught me everything I was supposed to know about English, and by the end of the year I had adopted the new language. ,” Kochai wrote.

Shortly after, Susannah Lung – now a retired teacher living in Elk Grove, Calif. – was having an appointment with her neurologist, when the doctor mentioned to her that she had come across an interesting article. She shocked Lung by asking, “Are you the Mrs. Lung who taught Jamil Jan Kochai?”

Lung could hardly believe it.

“I remembered the name and I remembered what it looked like,” she said of Kochai. “He had a cute little smile.”

She had no idea at the time, however, that her then struggling student was becoming a successful author. She also learned that Kochai was an educator, teaching creative writing classes at the University of California, Davis and the University of Iowa.

Reading about Kochai’s accomplishments, “proud is the right word,” said Lung, now 75. “He deserves it all.”

Her husband, Allen, decided to message Kochai on Facebook, hoping to connect him with his wife, who was eager to reunite with her former student.

“I haven’t seen this for months and months because it was stuck in my message requests,” said Kochai, who still lives in West Sacramento.

Even though Kochai didn’t respond, Lung was flooded with vivid memories of wonder at Kochai’s ability to grow as a child.

“It was very rewarding because I only had it for a year and it was fast,” Lung said. “He got it, and I need to see it.”

Her effort with him, she said, was not out of the ordinary.

“That’s exactly what teachers do,” Lung said, explaining that she’s offered extra help to many students during her 30-year teaching career. In Kochai’s case, however, “he tried very hard and he wanted to learn the language. It makes things easier.

A worker stopped by to help find a missing girl. He found her waist-deep in a stream.

Moreover, “he showed interest in things and asked questions. It wasn’t like pulling teeth to teach him,” Lung continued. “The joy we feel as teachers to see these little children blossoming is incredible.”

Months after Lung’s husband posted the message on Facebook, Kochai finally saw it. As he scrolled through his inbox in the summer of 2020, he was stunned. He answered immediately and they arranged to have a call that evening.

“It was very, very emotional,” Kochai said. “My whole family was there. My parents were also looking for her and wanted to thank her for years. We all cried that night.

“She showed me the beauty of teaching and how a year and a course can change someone’s life,” he added.

The call was also deeply meaningful to Lung.

“Not just for him to phone and express what this whole time has been for him, but for his parents to thank me for doing my job,” she said.

They had hoped to reunite in person, but due to the pandemic and other life events — including the birth of Kochai’s first child — plans to meet have stalled.

Then, on August 13, Lung and her husband planned a surprise.

They saw on Facebook that Kochai had an upcoming event for his latest book, “The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories,” at UC-Davis. They decided to attend.

After reading the book, Lung’s husband approached Kochai, first introducing himself, then motioning towards his wife. Kochai did a double take when he saw his teacher from 23 years ago.

“When I saw Ms. Lung there, my heart sank,” he said. “It wasn’t like seeing someone from my past, it was like seeing someone I’ve known, loved and loved all my life.”

“I gave him a big hug; a hug I had been waiting 20 years to give her,” he said. “I felt like a 7-year-old again with his beloved teacher.”

1 dress, 8 weddings: the brides of this family have worn the same dress for 72 years

His parents were also reading.

“We were all very emotional and teary eyed,” Kochai said.

The warm feelings were mutual: “Teachers rarely follow their children into adulthood and find them doing good things,” Lung said. “He is something else.”

Seeing his student – ​​who hesitantly approached his class for the first time 23 years ago, knowing no English at all – being celebrated for his writing, felt like “a miracle”, Lung said.

She bought a copy of her new book and “I wrote a note about how this book belongs to her more than anyone else,” Kochai said.

He told the story in a Twitter feed, which quickly amassed tens of thousands of likes, shares and comments. people responded with similar stories about teachers who have made a resounding difference in their lives.

“My father always used to say in Pashto that every child is a rocket full of fuel and it only takes one spark to fly up to the sky,” kochai wrote. “Ms. Lung, he said, was my spark.

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Fire Sale: Dealers rush to sell Ghost Weapon parts before restrictions kick in

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Fire Sale: Dealers Rush To Sell Ghost Weapon Parts Before Restrictions Kick In

CBS Investigates: Dealers Rush To Sell Ghost Weapon Parts


CBS Investigates: Dealers Rush To Sell Ghost Weapon Parts

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There are only days left before new federal rules effectively ban so-called ghost guns on August 24, many companies are scrambling to sell the parts needed to make the largely unobtainable firearms – and gun enthusiasts keep making them.

In April, President Joe Biden announced new regulations which will treat ghost guns – which can be made from parts purchased online or with 3D printers – like all other firearms sold in the United States

Typical firearms must include a serial number that allows law enforcement to find them if they are used in a crime, but ghost guns do not have a serial number. Additionally, anyone can purchase ghost gun parts online without a background check, allowing criminals to circumvent restrictions designed to prevent them from purchasing a traditional firearm from an authorized dealer.

Online, many websites that sell ghost gun parts have posted countdowns to the rule’s effective date and posted information for enthusiasts who want to continue making ghost guns. house fire.

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Ghost gun parts retailers like 80-lower.com have been publicizing impending changes to ATF regulations on privately made firearms.

The sites include companies like 80-lower.com, which urges visitors to “grab your freedom while you can” and links to product listings of AR-15 receivers. A similar site, 80percentarms.com, promises to continue shipping ghost gun parts until the day the rule takes effect. Representatives for 80-lower.com and 80percentarms.com did not respond to CBS News’ request for comment.

The number of phantom guns in the United States has increased in recent years. Although there is no data on the number of ghost gun parts sold, the number of ghost gun parts sold in recent years has skyrocketed, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which regulates firearms.

In its latest report on the US firearms market, the ATF pointed to jumps in Google’s trending data over the past few years that suggest growing interest in ghost gun parts.

This data shows that key searches related to specific ghost weapon parts have increased by more than 600% over the past decade.

The ATF report also states that ghost guns make it possible “to build a firearm at home without any records or background checks.”
Bob and Hugh are two of the people who do just that. They asked CBS News to only use their first names because they fear backlash.

In their garage in California’s Central Valley, they make functional AR-15-style rifles out of what appear to be gun parts but, under current federal law, they’re just scraps. of metal.

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So-called “80% receivers” will soon be considered firearms and regulated like other firearms once the new ATF rules come into effect.

Once assembled, firearms like those made by Bob and Hugh are essentially identical to those sold in stores, with one key difference: Homemade firearms do not have serial numbers.

Bob and Hugh started putting serial numbers on all the guns they made in 2018, when California started requiring ghost guns to have serial numbers. It is one of the few states to regulate phantom guns.

Rules like those in California will soon expand to all states once new ATF regulations take effect. This does not mean that privately made firearms will be illegal, but rather that ghost guns will have to be serialized, which means they must contain a serial number. The settlement will also require anyone purchasing the coins to submit to a background check.

Bob said he was worried the new rules would deter law-abiding citizens from making guns like him. He also said he fears criminals simply won’t comply, but instead continue to illegally manufacture guns without serial numbers.

“The laws are going to put off a lot of people like me who like to make sure everything is in order,” he said. “They’re going to discourage people from going out and participating in this hobby.”

Activists and federal officials hope these new regulations will help reduce the use of ghost weapons in violent crimes.

David Pucino, the deputy chief advocate at Giffords Law Center which advocates for tougher gun control laws, said it was a ‘tough rule’ that will make it harder to build phantom guns by criminals while allowing amateurs like Bob and Hugh to continue doing so. .

“For the end user, if you’re a responsible gun owner who wants to make your own guns, you’ll have no effect — no change, really,” Pucino said. “It’s just going to make it the same process you would have gone through to buy a finished gun. However, if you’re a criminal actor, someone trying to get around those laws, you can’t do that anymore because you can’t get the parts used to make these ghost guns.”

Ghost guns have presented a growing problem for law enforcement in recent years. According to the ATF, almost all ghost guns recovered from crime scenes – over 99% – cannot be found at all. At the same time, the number of ghost guns used in crimes has risen sharply – jumping 1,000% since 2016, although they still account for just 3% of all guns recovered by police.

Charlie Patterson, the special agent in charge of the ATF’s Washington field division, called the trend “very troubling.”

“Right here in [Washington, D.C.]41% of all privately manufactured firearms recovered are linked to another shooting. »

Patterson said he was confident the new rules would make a difference.

“I think any tool law enforcement has to disrupt gun trafficking and prevent lives from being lost to gun violence will make a difference,” he said.

The key to making the new rules truly effective, Pucino said, is “implementation.”

“What we will need is the ATF to be very careful in implementing the rule,” Pucino said. “To make sure that people who sell guns under another name, who sell the parts…that can be used to make guns are regulated as if they were selling guns. And if ATF does that, I think that the rule will be very effective.”

But gun owners and advocates like Bob and Hugh maintain their belief that the new rules are not the way to reduce crime.

“It won’t work,” Hugh said. “Because it’s the same thing. Criminals don’t obey the law.”

For this story, CBS News consulted The Trace, a nonprofit journalism organization that reports on guns. Trace correspondent Alain Stephens examined the ATF’s efforts to reduce the criminal use of ghost weapons in the run-up to the change in federal rule. Read the full story here.

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Elon Musk tweets he’s buying Manchester United, then calls it a joke

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Elon Musk Tweets He'S Buying Manchester United, Then Calls It A Joke

Elon Musk said on Twitter he was buying English football team Manchester United only to say a few hours later it was a joke, the latest example of the You’re here the chief executive uses the platform to make confusing statements about his intentions.

Mr Musk’s initial tweet on Tuesday came in response to a message he had posted five minutes earlier about politics, in which he said: “To be clear, I support the left half of the Republican Party and the right half of the Democratic Party. Party!” Mr Musk then tweeted: “Plus I buy Manchester United your welcome.”

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Tata Steel, Jsw Steel and Jspl may take a break as export duties may not support prices

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Tata Steel, Jsw Steel And Jspl May Take A Break As Export Duties May Not Support Prices

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Steel Stock Price: Tata Steel, JSW Steel and JSPL may be heading for some consolidation after showing investors double-digit returns over the past few weeks. Experts believe that any rally in steel stocks is an opportunity for profit.

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To buy to sell Tata Steel to share

Major steel stocks – such as Tata Steel, JSW Steel and Jindal Steel & Power – were mixed on Wednesday after a broad rally in recent weeks. Analysts remain cautious on the steel space as they fear an expected reduction in export duties will not be enough to support prices, and suggest using any rally to exit equities.

Tata Steel, JSW Steel and SAIL – India’s largest steelmakers by sales – have rewarded investors with returns of around 17-28% over the past month, outperforming the benchmark Nifty50 index.

Tata Steel, Jsw Steel And Jspl May Take A Break As Export Duties May Not Support Prices

It comes at a time when global steel prices have retreated after hitting a record high in April after a broad rally that lasted two straight years. Disruptions in supply due to the Ukrainian crisis boosted export performance by domestic steelmakers.

CLSA remains cautious on the sector. Expectations of reduced export duties and easing rates for coking coal — a critical input in the steel-making process — have swelled steel inventories, according to the brokerage.

Major steelmakers have urged the government to reduce or remove export duties on steel products amid falling prices and rising domestic supply.

The Center had collected in May a 15 percent duty on the main iron and steel products improve the availability of the alloy on the domestic market, while eliminating import duties on the main raw materials of the sector.

Levying heavy export duty on major steel products is a blow to domestic steel companies in the form of lower EBITDA per ton in the domestic market in the short and medium term, according to ICICI Direct. term.

A key profitability indicator for steelmakers, EBITDA per ton determines how much a company earns on each ton of finished steel products.

A change in the fee structure is unlikely to translate into higher prices, said CLSA, which sees China’s strong stimulus as a key risk for the sector. The brokerage maintained an “underperforming” rating on Tata Steel. It has a “sell” on JSW Steel and an “outperform” on JSPL.

Tata Steel, Jsw Steel And Jspl May Take A Break As Export Duties May Not Support Prices

Steel stocks are on the rise for some consolidation, which should give traders room to exit, said AK Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital Markets. CNBCTV18.com.

“Steel is not going to move up fast with signs of a global slowdown…Any rally in steel stocks should be used to get out. If I was a trader, I would profit from the steel space now,” he said. -he declares. .

Analysts believe the July-September period is a seasonally weak quarter for the industry, marked by weaker demand.

Crisil expects steel to fall to 60,000 rupees per tonne by March 2023 due to weak seasonality with the onset of the monsoon, after peaking at 76,000 rupees per tonne in April.

China’s central bank sent jitters across global financial markets this week with a key interest rate cut after data showed a slowdown in economic activity in the country.

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Trudy Rubin: Ukraine’s civilian volunteers work to give aid and rebuild, even as Russia keeps bombing

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Trudy Rubin: Ukraine’s Civilian Volunteers Work To Give Aid And Rebuild, Even As Russia Keeps Bombing

KHARKIV, Ukraine — Here is a critical reason why Vladimir Putin has failed to crush Ukraine: Its civilians are fighting back with an army of volunteers.

All across the country, groups of ordinary Ukrainians are helping to feed or house refugees displaced from the Donbas, raising funds to buy flak jackets or drones for military units without them, helping homeowners devastated by Russian shelling to rebuild, and rescuing survivors from villages the Russians still occupy.

Like Americans, some volunteer through church groups or clubs. But I have met many who have created volunteer networks or are working on their own to make a difference. Their civic resistance to the Russian invaders is a morale boost to the public — and to the army.

While ordinary Americans debate how to counter threats to our democracy, these Ukrainians are fighting to save their democracy from a Russian takeover. Many have the skills to find jobs elsewhere in Europe but have chosen to stay on, despite constant risk to their lives.

In Kharkiv, 20 miles from the Russian border, volunteers face nightly shelling. They wrestle with the uncertainty of whether the United States and its allies will give their army the long-range weapons needed to push Russian forces back beyond artillery range. They believe their fight for democracy is also the West’s fight.

So let me introduce you to a few of Kharkiv’s courageous volunteers.

 

The Rotarians

In a basement cafe of Kharkiv’s French Boulevard Mall, real estate agent Igor Balaka recently rang the bell to call the “New Level” Rotary Club chapter to order. They, along with myself and my translator, were the only customers.

Most of the 300 stores in the mall have been closed since a Russian rocket damaged the roof of the complex earlier this year. But the mall’s owner, Robert Mkrtchian, a Rotarian, allows the group to use a former skating rink in the basement to organize 1,500 food packages a day for those left homeless or hungry by the war.

Packages of macaroni, other packaged foodstuffs, and bandages, saline solution, and syringes for hospitals line the concrete floor of the rink, along with clothing and household supplies. The Rotarians have been working with many other volunteer groups to disperse the goods across some of the neighborhoods that have been hardest hit. They also work to clear the rubble.

Balaka; Serhii Ivalho, a developer; and Pavlo Filippenko, the head of a construction business, discuss how to find funds to build modular housing to help Kharkiv when winter comes. Members of the group are concerned that access to water and electricity will become a problem and more citizens will lose their homes from shelling.

“In wars you’ve seen, how did the economy survive?” one member asked me. “Is this like the other wars you’ve seen? We’ve never seen a war before.”

I realize that these businessmen, like most Americans, never imagined an all-out invasion could come to their country in the 21st century. They are struggling to figure out how to rebuild their city even as the Russians try to destroy it. They know their survival depends on whether the United States gives them the long-range weapons to push back Russian artillery beyond the range of their city.

“War is a situation where you see what people are capable of,” says Mkrtchian. “People take off their masks.”

Balaka adds, “Everyone left here in Kharkiv is like a family.”

Then the group nervously asks me the question I heard everywhere in Ukraine: “What will happen in America if the Republicans get the majority in Congress, or Trump becomes president again? Will your country stop supporting Ukraine?”

 

The Restaurateur

On the previous Wednesday night, shrapnel pierced the walls, windows, and ceiling of Oleksiy Lomskiy’s NEBO Restaurant in the DAFI Mall for the second time. (Putin’s military seems to love targeting malls, as I have seen in every city I’ve visited.)

The first attack on the mall also set the multiplex cinema next to the restaurant on fire. Lomskiy risked his life fighting the blaze with a handheld extinguisher until the firefighters arrived. Being inside a cinema mostly reduced to ashes by a Russian rocket gives you an idea of the absurdity of this war.

But Lomskiy kept his staff going, adding more kitchens, in order to cook meals and bake bread for 8,000 people daily. In Lomskiy’s Kharkiv neighborhood of high-rises scarred and blackened by rocket attacks, I see weary adults lining up outside the battered NEBO for a midday meal.

Lomskiy also has a fleet of yellow delivery vans that deliver food to danger zones; while I was visiting, one of them radioed that it had come under heavy shelling, but it managed to escape.

Like the Rotarians, the restaurant owner worries that the West’s attention will fade if the war continues. “Now, most Ukrainians who relocated to the West are running out of money,” he told me. He wants to keep feeding as many as he can. He was also concerned about how to shelter Kharkiv citizens who lived in destroyed buildings; he thinks they will need places to sleep for at least the next 18 months.

NEBO means “sky” in Ukrainian, and the restaurateur has set up a charity foundation called “Peaceful Sky of Ukraine” to fund future operations. Until now, he has paid part of the expenses himself, and received some help from World Central Kitchen, as well as funding from European aid groups.

But he warns that “Putin will destroy what he cannot have,” and “Kharkiv can be easily destroyed if we can’t stop Russian rockets from flying.”

Ukraine’s civic army, like its military forces, knows that all its efforts will be insufficient if the West stops paying attention. Yet, unlike many of America’s past misbegotten overseas efforts, U.S. assistance to Ukraine goes to a country whose people are doing their utmost to help themselves win.

Trudy Rubin is a columnist and editorial-board member for The Philadelphia Inquirer, P.O. Box 8263, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101. Her email address is [email protected]

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Finally, online trip planning is getting (a little) easier

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Finally, Online Trip Planning Is Getting (A Little) Easier

While the internet has made it easier to plan a trip yourself – and see how much you save – it also forces you to wade through hundreds of destination search pages, hotel and home rental options, and a myriad flight route alternatives, becoming an amateur travel agent along the way.

But this summer, a few travel platforms rolled out or announced fixes to make travel planning easier, refining searches, creating more informative maps and streamlining loyalty programs.

Now, if you want to find a vacation home on an island, a hotel within a 15-minute walk of your nephew’s local bar mitzvah, or an electric car, Airbnb, Google, and Skyscanner, respectively, make it easy for you.

Analysts say these and other platforms aren’t done yet. “Travel information, pricing and reservations are still so fragmented and disjointed that I expect we’ll continue to see more brands develop and upgrade these types of features in the future,” Madeline said. List, senior research analyst at Phocuswright, a travel market research company.

Finding the right vacation rental can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack when it comes to sifting through search results. Among the measures that Airbnb has adopted this summer to facilitate the rental: the creation of 56 categories of accommodation which aim to help you find rentals identified as, for example, mini-houses, castles, “ski-in ski-out ”, close to national parks, residences with “incredible swimming pools” and even an “OMG!” category for unusual architectural options.

Additionally, the new “split stay” feature aims to help renters who want to split their time between two locations. The tool suggests nearby rentals available for part of the trip, making it easy to pair two rentals on longer stays and simplify the booking process for both.

“People are much more location independent than they were before the pandemic,” said Jamie Lane, vice president of research at Airdna, a market research firm specializing in short-term rentals. term, noting the growth of extended travel related to remote work. . “Airbnb makes it easy to build a longer-term trip by helping you find listings that meet your criteria and are open for the duration of that trip.”

Also new, a free policy known as AirCover, automatically included with every rental, protects consumers by guaranteeing a similar stay or a refund if a host cancels within 30 days of your trip.

“I see it as wanting to compete better with hotels,” Mr. Lane said. “Guests can feel comfortable knowing they will get what they booked or get their money back.”

Expedia Group wants your loyalty. Named after its flagship online travel agency, Expedia, the travel agency collection includes online agencies Travelocity and Orbitz, vacation rental platform Vrbo, discount hotel booking site Hotwire. com, car rental site CarRentals.com and more. In early 2023, it plans to bring them together under One Key, a loyalty program spanning its 12 brands, meaning points earned by booking a flight on Expedia could be applied to the cost of a future rental on Vrbo.

“It’s so hard for people to keep track of programs and rewards,” said Jon Gieselman, president of Expedia Brands, the group’s consumer division, who added that the idea of ​​an integrated loyalty program made him came when he opened his own travel wallet filled with dozens of membership programs and credit cards.

“It struck me that our superpower opportunity was to create connections between all of our brands in the minds of customers and at the same time make it easier to understand disparate agendas,” he added.

A few of the brands, including Expedia, Orbitz and Hotels.com, already have loyalty programs – with a collective enrollment of 154 million members – and the company has not yet disclosed conversion formulas or One’s pricing. Key to earn and use points.

While most loyalty programs encourage members to stick with one brand, One Key will allow users to apply points across categories in a program Mr. Gieselman called the “non-loyalty program,” what sets it apart from competitors.

“Expedia’s expanded loyalty offering can attract more people to the umbrella brand with flexible options for earning and burning points on which Expedia brand offers the most appropriate options for a given trip,” Ms List said. of Phocuswright, adding that the loyalty program facilitates “friction” between Expedia’s often overlapping brands.

New Google Travel features, announced in May, map things like driving directions and restaurant-rich neighborhoods, providing a visual sense of geography in areas visitors might not know about before booking.

When searching for hotels on the platform, a Google map already showed the hotels with the associated prices. New icons representing transport, restaurants, attractions and shops – what Google calls “layers of interest” – allow users, for example, to overlay a map of public transport to see where the lines are. public transport compared to hotels. Attractive shopping or dining icons shade the map in neighborhoods with many stores or restaurants. Clicking on the attractions icon adds things like museums to the hotel map.

At the bottom of the map, users can drag the bar next to a walking figure to see the radius an average person can walk from a given location in up to 30 minutes (there is also an option to map driving radius). The feature could be useful for identifying hotels near a wedding or meeting venue, the company suggested.

“There was always the ability to figure this out in Google Maps using addresses, but that takes a lot of the guesswork out of it,” Google spokesman Craig Ewer said.

Its new Explore tool identifies destinations a few hours away. Clicking on a road trip destination brings up attractions, hotels, and routes.

“We saw during Covid an increased preference for road trips and trips that didn’t involve the airport,” Mr Ewer said. “With the Explore tool, we tried to provide inspiration.”

For bargain-hunters, Google Flights now lets you track prices between a pair of cities – departure and destination – and click “all dates” to have the platform watch fares for the lowest prices over the next six months.

Using tracking, like most other Google features, requires you to sign in or create a free account with Google. For travel purchases, such as flights and hotels, the platform connects users to these companies or online travel agencies.

Two other platforms help consumers refine their searches by providing more targeted results.

The Skyscanner travel search engine has added a new filter in electric vehicle rental cars. After entering the dates and location, users can check the electric box – along with other search filters like unlimited mileage or 4×4 – to see all available electric vehicles.

The initiative grew out of a similar green filter launched by Skyscanner in flight searches a few years ago, showing choices with less carbon emissions than average for each search.

The car rental filter helps travelers “understand the environmental impact of travel and how to reduce it,” said Martin Nolan, the sustainable travel expert at Skyscanner.

Online travel agency Booking.com aims to make it easier for LGBTQ travelers to find welcoming accommodations. It has set up a partner training program for hotels on its platform on the challenges faced by LGBTQ travelers.

Since last August, the free program, known as Proud Hospitality, has certified more than 10,000 properties in 95 countries and territories. The certification includes a digital Travel Proud badge on its list.

“As a global travel leader, we have a responsibility to take action and help pave the way for a more inclusive industry, with the ultimate goal of enabling everyone to experience the world as themselves,” said Arjan Dijk, Marketing Director. officer and senior vice president of Booking.com, in a written statement.

Elaine Glusac writes the Frugal Traveler column. Follow her on Instagram @eglusac.

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