Australia’s Visa Bottleneck Jeopardizes Luring Cricket-Crazed Indians for World Cup Next Year

Marko Mikkonen. Flickr

Flinders Street Station, Melbourne. Marko Mikkonen. Flickr

Skift Take: Claims that Indian travel agents are discouraging clients from going to Australia may be overblown. But they do not detract from the key issue: Australia must streamline visa processing better, especially if it wants to attract Indians to the Cricket World Cup 2020.

— Raini Hamdi

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Google Parent Alphabet’s Smart City Vision in Toronto Poses Privacy Concerns

Sidewalk Labs  / Twitter

A mockup of Sidewalk Labs’ vision for Toronto’s Waterfront district. Sidewalk Labs / Twitter

Skift Take: It doesn’t seem like a good idea to build a business, let alone make your home, in a surveillance experiment controlled by Alphabet. As data security and privacy become more important, the vision for the modern smart city will have to shift.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Brand USA Faces Uncertain Future Despite Weakening Inbound Travel

Faungg Photo  /

In this file photo, a man tries to hug a tree in Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park. Brand USA faces a funding crisis if Congress doesn’t renew its mandate. Faungg Photo /

Skift Take: Brand USA, the country’s official tourism marketing arm, could go under if Congress doesn’t act to secure its funding. The recent decline in international visitors to the U.S. would only get worse if marketing support is eliminated.

— Maria Lenhart

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