Complaints of travel agency scams increase in the Dominican Republic

The new digital era offers many opportunities for small businesses, but criminals also take advantage of this great opening.

The episode that a couple had at the time of buying a tour package, where they would visit streets and cities of Colombia, was tainted by a scam.

Maciel Liriano and her husband, Jhorman Jesus Martinez Fernandez, reported the alleged crime committed by the company Almeno SRL, which published and sold tourist “dreams” in various countries, where at least 64 people are currently affected, according to Listin Diario.

“My husband’s and my trip, for our anniversary, did not take place because of these swindlers,” they said.

Liriano explained that in April 2022, with the collaboration of her partner, she bought a travel package to celebrate the anniversary of their marriage union in Colombia, which would be in October 2022.

Offered a package.

The company, belonging to Franklin Almonte, called “Almeno S.R.L.,” offered her a vacation package to Medellin, where they would have lodging, flight and transportation, at a cost of US$ 836.

Regarding the monetary part, the young woman detailed that the payment was divided in three stages. “In the first one I gave a little less than 50% to reserve the package, then, in May, my partner went personally to the office and made the second payment and the last one in September.”

Liriano indicated that days before the “big day,” the company had not yet confirmed the flight, accommodations and details.

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Google Search Contractors Will Send Petition to SVP Prabhakar Raghavan

  • More contractors for the Alphabet subsidiary Google plan to demand increased pay this week. 
  • Google “raters” who test and evaluate search quality say they aren’t fairly compensated.
  • The fresh demands come amid mass layoffs and numerous advertising headwinds for the search giant.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, faces another challenge from its contract workforce after the union representing it announced dozens of workers would participate in an action Wednesday calling for an end to “poverty wages.”

Called “raters,” these workers are part of a team at Google tasked with providing feedback to the company’s artificial intelligence to improve the effectiveness of search rankings and ads. They work for third-party firms, including Appen’s RaterLabs. This means the raters are not technically Google employees, even though they are tasked with improving its services.

In this latest action, workers in the Alphabet Workers Union have organized a visit to Google’s headquarters to deliver a petition addressed to Prabhakar Raghavan, the senior vice president at Google overseeing search. The petition will demand that the company compensate its raters in line with the minimums the company previously set for its extended workforce.

In 2019, Alphabet enacted a policy requiring that contracting firms working for the company pay staff a minimum wage of $15 an hour, on top of various benefits. The AWU says rater pay increased from $10 to $14 or $14.50 an hour after it met with RaterLabs late last year, but Google has implemented loopholes to prevent workers from receiving more, such as by capping working hours and not providing them with “” email accounts.

Alphabet declined to comment. RaterLabs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“This action from the AWU is a small but important step in holding management to account,” Wendy Liu, a former Googler who has

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Crypto group Circle ends $9bn deal to go public through Bob Diamond’s Spac

Stablecoin group Circle has ditched plans to go public in a $9bn deal through a blank-cheque company chaired by former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond, underlining how successive crises have hit the crypto sector.

The tie-up, which was initially forged during the crypto bull market in July 2021 and was expanded early this year, was seeking a valuation of $7.65bn to $9bn. Circle and Concord Acquisition, Diamond’s US-listed special purpose acquisition vehicle, said on Monday they had “mutually agreed” to end the merger.

The collapse of the Circle deal comes after the failure of digital asset exchange FTX, which knocked a crypto industry that was already under pressure from rising interest rates and a series of bankruptcies of big-name firms.

Concord had until December 10 to finalise the deal to buy Circle, something that would have taken the latter public on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We are disappointed the proposed transaction timed out; however, becoming a public company remains part of Circle’s core strategy to enhance trust and transparency, which has never been more important,” said Jeremy Allaire, Circle chief executive. Diamond added that he would “continue being an advocate for the company as it continues to grow”.

Circle’s USD Coin is the second-largest stablecoin on the crypto market, with a valuation of around $43bn, according to data from Circle, falling from more than $55bn in June 2022 after investors pulled out of the crypto market.

Stablecoins play a key role in connecting traditional and crypto markets, with most tracking the value of a major currency such as the dollar. Crypto traders use them like cash between making bets. Stablecoin operators typically earn interest on the traditional assets that underlie their tokens, with a higher supply in circulation boosting revenue. The group said on Monday that it

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New operator launches wine and spirits tours: Travel Weekly

A new tour operator has partnered with beverage company Pernod Ricard to launch wine and spirits tours. 

Dharma, an experiential small-group operator, is offering 10 itineraries in six countries called Spirited Stories, which aim to connect guests with the people, culture and historic places of a destination through its wine and spirits. 

Pernod Ricard is one of the world’s largest sellers of wine and spirits, and its brands include Absolut vodka, Jameson Irish whiskey and Perrier-Jouët champagne.

Guests can expect to explore vodka in Sweden; mezcal in Oaxaca, Mexico; champagne and pastis in France; wine in Tuscany, Italy, and California’s Napa Valley; bourbon in Kentucky; and whiskey in Ireland. 

Groups will have a maximum of 12 guests and itineraries range from three to six nights. Packages include hotels, most meals, ground transportation, tips and gratuities, as well as activities like cooking classes, kayaking and bike and walking tours. 

The company is aiming to attract millennial and Gen Z travelers. 

Dharma says it will rely heavily on travel advisors and wholesalers through its travel partner program in order to grow its sales volume. 

The company is also offering travel advisors and registered travel partners a 20% commission.

Departures begin on Jan. 1, 2023.

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Grab these essential outdoor gear for your next adventure

The outdoor enthusiast in your life probably has the basics, but it’s fun to add gadgets, conveniences and comforts they didn’t know they needed. We’ve got a few brands for you to check out while putting together your gift-giving list. 

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Koala super-grip phone harness

Pick up a smartphone harness that keeps the phone close and protected while experiencing the wilderness. Available in four color options, over 1,200 reviewers have landed it an average five-star review. Materials include heavy-duty silicone, polycarbonate, aluminum and stainless steel. The company uses packaging made from 100% recycled content that is fully recyclable.

Related: Reusable Notabag Tote is made from recycled bottles

The New Mexico based company offers a lifetime warranty for all products and helps animals too. For each KOALA 2.0 sold, the company donates up to 20% for Koala habitat restoration.

Review of Koala smartphone harness

I received a sample of the phone harness in orange. It arrived quickly, packed in a simple cardboard package with no unnecessary waste. The silicone is stretchy and easy to install over the phone, even a plus-sized screen with a case on it. If in doubt, the company provides a list of models it will fit. I love that it fits tightly and offers both a lanyard and clip for attaching to clothing, a backpack, climbing gear, etc.

Additionally, I’m excited to use this on my next backpacking trip, where I often struggle to have access to my phone. This gadget makes it easy to keep it readily available for pictures or trail info without removing or working around my

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Haleon is giving workers 26 weeks of paid parental leave

Anyone who has experienced it firsthand knows that welcoming a new child to your family doesn’t just take a few weeks of vacation time — and an increasing number of employers are coming to the same conclusion.

Of the 38 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. is the only nation not to have a form of paid parental leave for its citizens. Estonia breaks the record at 86 weeks for new parents, while Ireland has as little as seven weeks — but a policy is still in place. Notably, UNICEF advocates for at least 24 weeks of paid leave, or six months. But Haleon, the largest global healthcare consumer goods company in the world, is taking it a step further.

Formerly GSK Consumer Health, earlier this year Haleon parted with GSK, a British multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company. On its first day as an independent company, Haleon implemented a 26-week paid parental leave policy for all parents, regardless of gender or sexuality, and regardless of whether they are welcoming a child through birth, surrogacy or adoption. 

Read more: Should you require your working dads to take paternity leave? Maven’s SVP of people says yes

“We’re a healthcare company, and as a result, we’re deeply concerned about people’s health and wellbeing,” says Matthew Culhane, vice president of HR in North America at Haleon. “We’re looking for opportunities to support our employees and strengthen our culture and purpose — to deliver everyday health with humanity.”

Culhane underlines that Haleon’s parental policy is built on inclusivity and an understanding that growing one’s family is one of the most important moments in people’s lives. Fortunately, leadership at every level of the organization agreed, minimizing the number of roadblocks this policy encountered, explains Culhane. 

“This feels like a disproportionately

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How I Took a Vacation and Launched a Company

Andy Hill went on vacation in Cuba in 2018, and while the beaches were great, he’s not one to lounge. Instead, Hill went around saying “¡Hola!” and–with the help of a friend who actually speaks Spanish–peppering locals with questions about business opportunities. He is, after all, a guy who has founded 12 companies since his college days. (He also runs those startups while holding down a day job as chief revenue officer for City Furniture, a nearly $1 billion company near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.) All of which explains why, after he kept hearing “software engineering” in Cuba, Hill launched a firm to staff U.S. companies with Latin American software engineers. He named it Siono, riffing on a recurring–and somewhat rhetorical–question from that trip: “Want another beer? ¿Sí, o no?” The refrain has become central to the company’s growth culture, with Hill and team continually asking, “Are we the best partner they’ve ever had? ¿Sí, o no?” With $5.5 million in revenue in 2021, the Delray Beach, Florida, company appears to have its answer. –As told to Steven I. Weiss

Others have hobbies like skiing; I start companies. I devote 50 hours a week to my full-time job, but I have breakfasts, I have dinners, I have weekends, and that’s when I grow my company–that’s my hobby. I build companies because I just can’t not. I know there are better ways to make money, have a stronger work-life balance, or leave a more lasting impact. But for me, I love bringing things into the world and empowering my team to grow. That’s what drives me.

My second startup ended poorly. When I was 23, I left a job to launch a social-good startup that got through a seed round and a Series A round, but then the Series

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