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Turkey keeps pressure on as Saudi prince to address forum

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince on Wednesday called the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi a “heinous crime that cannot be justified.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, addressing the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, said separately that the killing will not “drive a wedge” between the kingdom and Turkey.

This year’s summit has been overshadowed by the killing on Oct. 2. Turkish officials say a 15-man Saudi team killed the writer at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. A member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage was allegedly at the consulate at the time.

International business leaders have pulled out from attending the summit over the killing.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly spoke by phone with Prince Mohammed just before he arrived with other Arab leaders at the summit. The event, which debuted last year with global business titans in attendance, has been overshadowed by Khashoggi’s slaying and the international outrage over it.

Prince Mohammed immediately addressed the killing after taking the stage.

“The crime was really painful to all Saudis. I believe it is painful for every human in the world,” he said. “It is a heinous crime that cannot be justified.”

He also promised Saudi-Turkish relations would not be hurt.

“We know that many are trying to use this painful thing to create a kind of wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” he said. “I want to send them a message: They will not be able to do that as long as there is king called King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and a crown prince called Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.”

Erdogan focused in again Wednesday on Khashoggi’s death.

“We are determined not to allow the murder to be covered up and for those responsible — from the person who gave the order to those who executed it — not to escape justice,” he said in the capital, Ankara.

The announcement of the call came just before Prince Mohammed, Bahrain’s crown prince and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri walked into the Riyadh summit.

Erdogan has said that 15 Saudi officials arrived in Istanbul shortly before Khashoggi’s death and that a man, apparently dressed in the writer’s clothes, acted as a possible decoy by walking out of the consulate on the day of the disappearance.

Turkish officials say the 15 men comprised a Saudi hit squad that included a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage on overseas trips. Saudi Arabia has suggested, without offering evidence, that the team went rogue.

With the crown prince’s standing marred, his ability to draw needed investment to the kingdom could be affected.

Economists say Saudi Arabia will need trillions of dollars in investments to create millions of new jobs for young Saudis entering the workforce in coming years. The investment forum is aimed at attracting investors to help underwrite that effort.

The event’s first day saw several speakers acknowledge the killing of the Saudi writer whose columns criticized the crown prince’s crackdown on dissent. Dozens of Saudi activists, writers, clerics and even women who were behind calls for the right to drive have been detained.

At one summit session, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih described Khashoggi’s slaying as “abhorrent.”

In the wake of Khashoggi’s killing, many international business leaders and Western officials pulled out of the forum, including the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Uber, Siemens and Blackrock. Western media outlets withdrew as partners for the event.



The chief executive of U.S. private equity fund Blackstone, Stephen Schwarzman, and Japan’s technology giant Softbank, Masayoshi Son, joined the long list of big speakers who backed out of speaking at this year’s forum. Just last year they’d shared the stage with Prince Mohammed at the event. The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, which the crown prince oversees, has invested billions of dollars with both.

Rather than cancel their participation altogether, some companies sent mid-level executives to keep lines of communication and business open with Saudi Arabia. Outside the ornate hall of the forum, hushed conversations over coffee and dates, and a flurry of business cards were being exchanged among participants.

There was a strong showing from Russian, Asian and African nations at the forum.

Some $55 billion in agreements were pledged at the forum, much of that focused on Saudi Arabia’s lucrative energy industry. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest exporters of oil, has the Arab world’s largest economy and is a key emerging market.

Several participants in attendance from the U.S., including a California hedge fund manager and staff from a U.S. desalination company, declined to speak with The Associated Press at the forum, reflecting a general nervousness among the Americans in attendance.

“This experience has given everyone pause … to stop, get our breath, take stock and then figure out the most appropriate way forward,” David Hamod, president and CEO of the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview with The Associated Press at the forum.

“At the end of the day, many American companies have stakeholders and shareholders to which they need to be very sensitive. So they will listen to those stakeholders and shareholders,” Hamod said.

“But timing is everything. A fair number of U.S. companies didn’t make the trip, as you know, and that’s an issue of timing,” he said, adding that he believes over the long-term the relationship will be “very positive.”

The forum’s subdued atmosphere received a jolt Tuesday when Prince Mohammed made a brief appearance and received a standing ovation from the audience. He was followed around by a crowd of mostly young Saudi men trying to catch an up-close glimpse of their country’s most powerful prince. He even posed for selfies.

In the U.S., pressure continued to mount against Saudi Arabia’s account of Khashoggi’s killing.

“The cover-up was horrible. The execution was horrible,” President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday night. “But there should have never been an execution or a cover-up because it should have never happened.”

Trump later was asked about Prince Mohammed in an Oval Office interview with The Wall Street Journal.

“Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage. He’s running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him,” Trump told the newspaper.

Shortly after Trump’s remarks, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the United States was revoking the visas of some Saudi officials implicated in Khashoggi’s death. The visa revocations are the Trump administration’s first punitive measures against the Saudis, who are seen as key allies in U.S. efforts to isolate Iran, since Khashoggi disappeared.

The foreign ministers of the G7 group of nations said Saudi Arabia should conduct a credible investigation, “in full collaboration with the Turkish authorities.”

Three days after Saudi Arabia acknowledged Khashoggi had been killed by Saudi agents at its consulate in Istanbul, King Salman and Prince Mohammed met with Khashoggi’s son, Salah, and his brother, Sahel, at the Yamama Palace, where the royals expressed their condolences, according to state-run Saudi news.

A friend of the Khashoggi family told The Associated Press that Salah has been under a travel ban since last year. The individual spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisal.

Manal Al-Sharif, a Saudi women’s rights activist and a friend of Khashoggi, said he “was really assassinated for being outspoken.”

“This is a new level the Saudi government is reaching,” she said, adding that people inside the kingdom “are so afraid to speak up.”

Al-Sharif, who was jailed in Saudi Arabia after getting behind a wheel before the kingdom’s ban on women driving was lifted this year, spoke Wednesday in Denmark where she was promoting her book “Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening.”

___

Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey. Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Zarar Khan in Islamabad and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark; contributed to this report.

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Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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