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Survivors found in China mine collapse

Eight miners trapped for five days after a mine in China caved in have been found alive state media say

Reports say rescue teams have not yet been able to free the survivors but have made contact and sent in supplies

The rock fall at the gypsum mine in the eastern province of Shandong was so violent that it registered at Chinas earthquake monitoring centre

Nine miners are still missing Seven have already been rescued and one is known to have died

Rescuers used infrared cameras to peer into darkness at the wrecked mine The cameras detected the surviving miners waving their hands

The workers were weak with hunger but otherwise were in good health state media reported They told rescuers they were in passages underground that were intact

Ma Congbo the chairman of Yurong company which owns the mine drowned himself by jumping into a mine well early on Sunday Chinas Xinhua news agency said

His motive was not clear but the Chinese authorities have toughened punishment of employers who are seen as negligent

China has a long history of industrial accidents The latest incident comes days after a landslide caused by construction waste in southern China left dozens of people missing and presumed dead

The nations mines have long been the worlds deadliest but safety improvements have reduced deaths in recent years

Last year 931 people were killed in mine accidents throughout China significantly fewer than in 2002 when nearly 7000 miners were killed

The weird world of in flight retail

SkyMall — a retail catalog available on most U.S. domestic flights — is famous for its quirky retail offerings. Director of merchandizing Darin Geiger says quirky items and sports paraphernalia are both big sellers. This tree face — donning a football cap — caters to both needs.

Each month, Business Traveller gets inside the world of the road warrior, exploring the issues, trends and lifestyle of the traveling executive.

(Bursa escort16.com) — In many ways, airplanes are a retailer’s dream come true. They serve a captive — often bored — audience who have proven their income is disposable enough to afford air travel.

It’s no wonder that in the last few years, airlines have adapted an increasingly sophisticated approach to parting customers from their money.

By nature, airlines are mass transit operators, and they didn’t necessarily have any retail savviness when they first started to unbundle it was very much low-hanging fruits, like chocolate bars and Pringles up and down the aisle, says Dan Thompson, senior vice president of global strategy at GuestLogix, a provider of in flight retail solutions.

Now, there’s a new sense of maturity in retail strategies with airlines, he adds.

Lately, carriers have replaced mass market beers with craft brews, standard chips with locally sourced gourmet goodies, and added ticketed events to the retail roster. In 2011, AirBaltic even experimented with selling cars on board their flights, becoming the first carrier to do so.

We think of flight as a travel megastore; we expect to make money for the products that we offer says Jannis Vanags, AirBaltic’s vice president for communications.

In many ways, the Latvian carrier has been a trailblazer when it comes to its retail offerings. Vanags claims it was the first airline to introduce bicycle rentals, and the first to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. It was also one of the first airlines to allow non-passengers to make surprise purchases (think roses and champagne) for their friends in the air. Currently, customers can also buy AirBaltic-branded shoes on the flight.

Some things have been batted around in terms of thinking outside the box, in terms of ‘how wacky can we get?’ and in a sense, the sky is the limit  excuse the pun  for what you can sell on board,” says Thompson. Mainly, though, he notes that it’s the tried-and-true that entice customers the most.

Read: The supersonic plane without windows

Really, passengers will spend on something that enhances their trip, and means something to them because of the experience they’re in at the moment. It’s hard to imagine them going on board and buying a sofa that will be delivered back to their apartment

The odd factor

For many years, airlines left the quirkier retail offering to SkyMall, the quarterly in-flight catalog available on almost all domestic flights in the United States. An old business model (the company is nearing its 25th anniversary), SkyMall has recently had to contend with the more aggressive retail strategies employed by many airlines, as well as distracting new technology; iPhones in the air mean travelers are less dependent on the catalog for entertainment.

The company, which has made a name for itself by proffering off-kilter items (the garden yeti and remote-control R2D2 robot are long-standing best-sellers), has recently started to adapt its business model, putting even more focus on quirky products. SkyMall is also in the process of launching a mobile app.

One of the larger shifts in the last several years is we’ve become extremely product-centric, says Darin Geiger, SkyMall’s director of merchandizing.

We want to be proactive in finding what’s new and unique. To that end, we’ve been going to a lot more trade shows, searching the globe for those new products.

Some of its biggest sellers, notes Geiger, are sports paraphernalia and pet products. Though he says SkyMall’s customer base appreciates functionality, it’s some of the stranger and more original products that capture the imagination.

“First, we look at products that are new to market, or solve problems. Then, we look for those social-media type products that our marketing team can have a lot of fun with,” he adds.

Read: The future of airline seats: Lighter, thinner, weirder?

Read: What airline fees would you pay for?

Read: The supersonic plane without windows