ACV now the only tour op to offer allinc privileges at Curaçao

first_imgACV now the only tour op to offer all-inc privileges at Curaçao resort MISSISSAUGA — Got clients looking for an all-inclusive stay in Curacao? ACV has just announced that it’s now the only tour operator to offer the three-star Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club as an all-inclusive property.Selling features of the resort include two bars, a pool, playground, tennis court and fitness facility, and three restaurants –two of which are at an additional cost. Guests also have free use of snorkelling equipment, one free diving lesson, free shuttle service to downtown and access to facilities at nearby property Sonesta Kura Hulanda Village & Spa.Kura Hulanda is part of ACV’s Privileges program, which offers clients preferred room locations, early check-in and late checkout, free Internet and three guaranteed à la carte dinners.Another featured property in Curaçao is the four-star Kunuku Aqua Resort. Exclusive to ACV, this resort is ideal for families and groups, and includes 114 rooms and apartments that can accommodate up to six guests. It also features an outdoor pool, a children’s pool with waterslides as well as a playground.  Complimentary shuttle service is also available to nearby Sambil, Willemstad and Daaibooi beach.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaKunuku is part of ACV’s Play program, which offers a free eat, play and stay for kids aged 12 and under. With Play, families also receive an exclusive flight experience including free seat selection, priority boarding and a $10 in-flight meal voucher for every member. For more information, visit << Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, February 21, 2017 Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Air Canada Vacations, Curacao Share Posted bylast_img read more

New Canadian travel insurance brokerage caters to snowbirds seniors

first_img Share Friday, August 3, 2018 Travelweek Group Tags: Seniors, Snowbird Advisor Insurance, Travel Insurance << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img TORONTO — Canadian snowbirds, boomers and seniors can travel with added peace of mind thanks to a new travel insurance service designed exclusively for their needs.Snowbird Advisor Insurance, a new player in the Canadian travel insurance market, offers a number of benefits for seasoned travellers, including personalized travel medical plans with no stability period requirement for pre-existing conditions, and an exclusive 5% member discount.The company also offers the services of insurance agents who can help clients compare and combine travel insurance options to find the right coverage suited to their budget.Also, launching later this year, the Travel Insurance Learning Center will provide snowbird and senior travellers with transparent travel insurance tips and information to help them make informed coverage choices and avoid pitfalls, regardless of where they purchase their travel insurance.“At Snowbird Advisor, our mission has always been to educate our members about topics and issues related to the snowbird lifestyle,” said Stephen Fine, President of Snowbird Advisor and Snowbird Advisor Insurance. “We plan on bringing the same approach to Snowbird Advisor Insurance by pulling back the curtain and educating our audience about how travel insurance works so they can make smart coverage choices.”More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?Fine also added that the company has been able to fine-tune its product offering based on member feedback.“The feedback we received from Snowbird Advisor members made it clear that many of their travel insurance needs weren’t being met. We listened to that feedback and created a travel insurance brokerage to meet those needs.”For more information go to Posted by New Canadian travel insurance brokerage caters to snowbirds & seniorslast_img read more

Lawmakers pass new traffic bill in final round of voting

first_imgNo related posts. After months of debate, Costa Rican lawmakers finally passed an overhaul of the country’s traffic laws Tuesday evening.If signed by the president, the law would establish the highest traffic fine in the country at ₡280,000 ($550) for exceeding the speed limit by 120 kilometers per hour or more, driving under the influence, driving with an expired license, passing in a no-passing zone or making an illegal U-turn.In September 2011, the Legislative Assembly had passed legislation calling for a maximum fine of ₡468,780 ($928). But the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, struck it down, saying the fines were disproportionately high. That left the country with maximum fines of ₡5,000 ($10) as lawmakers worked on a new proposal.The current bill passed a first round of debates on June 21. This time, before the second vote, lawmakers allowed the Supreme Court to review the bill’s content to make sure it was constitutional. After receiving the court’s approval, the legislation passed with 43 votes in favor.The bill now goes to President Laura Chinchilla, who has promised to sign it into law. The bill goes into effect once it is published in La Gaceta, the official government newspaper.In addition to instituting maximum fines, the bill includes a point system for driving violations and stipulates harsher jail sentences for drunk driving. The legal blood alcohol limit would be 0.5 grams per liter. Driving with a blood alcohol content greater than .75 grams per liter could lead to jail time.Also, traffic violations are placed in categories rated from “A” to “E.” The most expensive fines – such as drunk driving and driving with a suspended license – fall into category “A.”“B” punishments are listed as ignoring stop signs, traffic lights or altering license plates. Not having a car seat for children under 12 also falls into the category. Each offense has a maximum fine of ₡189,000 ($379).The “C” fines include driving more than 25 kilometers per hour over the speed limit. The maximum fine is ₡94,000 ($188).The “D” category penalizes those who don’t follow traffic signs or violate the right of way of another driver. Driving more than 20 kilometers per hour over the speed limit also falls into this category, as do motorcycle riders without a helmet. The maximum fine is ₡47,000 ($94).The last category, “E,” fines anyone ₡20,000 ($40) for noise pollution – playing excessively loud music (or other recordings) within 100 meters of clinics, hospitals, schools and churches. In addition, fines can be incurred for driving without proper documents.The law also creates driver’s education courses and community service opportunities for people who have their license suspended for one or multiple violations. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Battle royal looms as Obama turns to Congress on Syria

first_imgWASHINGTON – War weary US lawmakers earned a stunning victory Saturday as President Barack Obama bowed to their demand that he seek congressional approval for any military action against Syria.The question now is, will members of the U.S. House and Senate endorse his push for action, or hand the president a bitter defeat despite his declaration that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people?Obama’s rare announcement – many presidents including Obama have launched military action without congressional approval in recent decades – sets up one of the most hotly-anticipated debates of the year when Congress returns from its summer recess on September 9.The jockeying began earlier this week, when some 170 lawmakers from both parties signed letters calling on Obama to seek a congressional green light before taking action in the war-ravaged Middle Eastern state, where President Bashar al-Assad is clinging to power after more than two years of bloody civil war.Now that Obama is turning to Capitol Hill, the lawmakers themselves will be in the spotlight, and Senator Bob Corker – who supports a limited “surgical” strike against Syria – hinted at the tough time the president will have in drumming up sufficient support.Corker told CNN that Obama should use “every ounce of political capital that he has to sell this.”“I think it is problematic and it could be problematic in both bodies,” he said of the authorization vote.“Today, I do not think the country is there, and it is very important for the president to lay out why he wishes to do this and, candidly to us privately, how he wishes to do this.”Republican House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon spoke for many when he said he is appalled by Assad’s actions, but nevertheless wants a full debate on whether and how to intervene.“Authorization for the use of force in this case should be contingent on the president setting clear military objectives that can meet articulated policy goals, including degrading any party’s ability to use these weapons again,” McKeon said.House Speaker John Boehner has discussed the Syria options with Obama but stressed that the president now has to “make his case to Congress and the American people.”He and the rest of House Republican leadership released a statement approving of Obama’s decision “in response to serious, substantive questions being raised.”Few lawmakers have come out in full-throated opposition to a military strike, but Senator Chris Murphy has, stressing this week that bombing Syria would do little to reduce the threat to US national security, and may well open the door for another decade-long US war.Number two Senate Democrat Dick Durbin sounded a note of caution as well on Saturday, recalling how the “cost of lives and treasure to our country over the last 12 years of war has been overwhelming.“If we can do something to discourage Assad and others like him from using chemical weapons without engaging in a war and without making a long-term military commitment of the United States, I’m open to that debate.”Congress has its clear supporters for military action on both sides of the aisle.“As far as I’m concerned, we should strike in Syria today,” Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said in a terse statement.“The use of chemical weapons was inhumane, and those responsible should be forced to suffer the consequences.”But two usually reliable backers of military interventions, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, threw a spanner in the works.“We can not in good conscience support isolated military strikes in Syria that are not part of an overall strategy that can change the momentum on the battlefield, achieve the president’s stated goal of Assad’s removal from power, and bring an end to this conflict,” they said.“Anything short of this would be an inadequate response to the crimes against humanity that Assad and his forces are committing.”One congressman, Republican Peter King, went so far as to say Obama was “abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief” by turning to Congress for permission to attack.“The president doesn’t need 535 members of Congress to enforce his own red line,” King said Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Raising chickens on the Ruta de Alegría

first_imgRelated posts:What keeps Johnny Araya awake at night? Costa Rica elections demonstrate country’s democratic stability Ex-President Abel Pacheco to back opposition candidate Solís A victory for the ages The slow but steady drumbeat for Luis Guillermo Solís to announce his Cabinet is quickening as we near the April 6 presidential runoff election. With Johnny Araya’searly retirement from the campaign and Solís continuing his “Ruta de Alegría,” a campaign caravan that has wandered the Costa Rican countryside and city streets alike, the press has had little new to cover in this historic presidential campaign. This week, several newspapers and editorials renewed their call for Solís to start revealing his Cabinet choices. But it seems unwise and therefore unlikely that he will do so.Here is why:Whether the press has noticed or not, a campaign is still going on. Despite Araya’s sabbatical, the constitution is clear that on April 6, if he wins not more votes than Solís, but simply the same number, he will become Costa Rica’s next president. (The constitution dictates that in case of a tie, the older candidate wins the presidential election, and Araya is older than Solís by almost a year.)Araya himself has declared that if he wins, he will assume the presidency. Although polling data continue to predict a Solís victory, polls in Costa Rica have proven unreliable in the past, and with ballots gone missing and a National Liberation Party machine gearing up to get out the vote for pride of party – if not for love of candidate – Solís has chosen to take nothing for granted.Recommended: National Liberation Party faces vote-buying allegation, investigationImagine what the fourth estate would say if Solís had simply assumed the race was over and he began behaving as if he were the next president. The same political pundits who now call for him to announce his Cabinet choices would decry the hubris of such a move. Now imagine further the press reaction if Solís suspended his campaign, and on April 6, by hook or by crook, Araya were to win. Those “nattering neigh bobs of negativism” would waste little time converting what has been a serious campaign risen above the childish name-calling and accusations of the other candidates into the butt of jokes regarding an historic political loss and the surprise comeback of Johnny Araya. Solís’ decision to wait not only is wise, but also it is politically astute.Solís’ announcement of Cabinet positions not only would be procedurally premature, but could only hurt him with the public. When he began this campaign, many voters argued they did not know the Citizen Action Party candidate. Prior to the February election, a sobering number of political debates were held in order to get to know Solís and other candidates. In the final one, he looked into the camera and said, “I am Luis Guillermo Solís, and now you know me, and I would appreciate if next Sunday you would make me president.”A sufficient number of voters believed they knew him well enough, and he was propelled to the second round. Now many more are meeting him in person and finding they like what they see. Any announcements of Cabinet positions at this point would invite criticism from some quarter and would distract attention away from the campaign’s “Ruta de Alegría,” and from Solís’ joyful role as “the likely next president coming soon to a town near you.” Shaking hands, kissing babies, playing the güiro, and posing for voters’ photos is exactly the kind of attention Solís wants in the final days of a campaign. Costa Rican presidential candidate Luis Guillermo Solís, a historian by training and candidate for the Citizen Acton Party, arrives at a polling station in San José, on Feb. 2, 2014. Rodrigo Arangua/AFPRecommended: Johnny Araya is down and out, but not his party, says analystAnother reason it is unlikely Solís will begin to announce his political appointments is that he really is avidly campaigning for votes. Araya’s refusal to participate in an election where he might actually be beaten has many voters feeling they need not bother to vote; “Solís will win anyway,” they think. The voter apathy and political absenteeism Araya’s decision has sown in the Costa Rican electorate has created a situation where Solís could be elected president by receiving the lowest percentage of eligible votes in the history of Costa Rican elections. The constitutionally provided runoff election was designed to prevent this outcome and give incoming presidents an electoral mandate. Conspiracy theorists among us might speculate this was the PLN’s intention all along when they stuffed Araya full of mothballs and locked him the closet. A president Solís without a public mandate is weakened from the start. Solís is deftly and confidently seeking 1 million votes, and as the crowds who attend his campaign rallies swell, as the number who “shake the hand of the future president” grows, and as the “selfies” taken with Don Luis Guillermo explode on Facebook and Twitter, candidate Solís becomes ever closer to his goal and his mandate for change.Many in the press have confused Solís’ refusal to announce his Cabinet positions as inactivity, but this is simply more disingenuousness from the chattering class. Anyone who has been around political campaigns knows that a candidate at this stage in an election has long ago begun to consider who should be part of his government. That Solís is not sharing this information until after the election and has managed to keep it from leaking to the press demonstrates an adroitly run campaign as well as a respect for the democratic process. It also demonstrates that Solís understands only too well that regardless of press recriminations and semi-veiled threats, in politics “you don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.”Gary L. Lehring is a professor of government at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. He is on sabbatical in Costa Rica. Read more of his columns by clicking on the hashtag #Elections 2014. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

How would George Kennan respond to Nicaraguas military dependency on Russia

first_imgA serious national security problem is emerging in the Caribbean Basin, much neglected by Washington. Banging the final nail in the coffin of the Monroe Doctrine, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is joining China in building atrans-oceanic canal through Nicaragua, as well as a military supply facility. A satellite monitoring system may also replace the one Putin shut down in Lourdes, Cuba, in 2002. Construction on this rival to the Panama Canal is slated to begin in December 2014 under the auspices of Chinese businessman Wang Jing – who is also building a deep-water port in the Crimea.The new Russo-Nicaraguan agreement calls for Russian and Iranian warships to patrol both Nicaragua’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts. This is supposedly to interdict the drug trade, but that rings rather hollow in light of the canal being built on the San Juan River, long known to locals as “the drug path.” As we learned on a 2012 research trip, Sandinista officials were said to be running drugs on the river with high-power speedboats.Why is this happening now? Conveniently for Putin, a 1914 treaty giving the United States first dibs on building the canal ran out in December 2013. Putin likely aims at distracting the U.S. in our strategic backyard while destabilizing the eastern Ukraine. This resembles the strategy Nikita Khrushchev pursued in Cuba while trying to destabilize West Berlin in 1960-62 – the one that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yuri Andropov did likewise in Nicaragua and El Salvador in 1980-83, while we were arming Afghanistan’s Muslim resistance. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, left, shakes hands with Wang Jing, president of of the Chinese company HKND, during the framework agreement for the construction of the Interoceanic Grand Canal in Managua, on June 14, 2013. AFP/Inti OCONMeanwhile, Costa Rica’s former Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo, who left office on May 8, has warned about Russia’s intrigues, or as he put it, Nicaragua’s “entering into a relationship of military dependency with Russia.” Democratic Costa Rica has no army, and its leaders fear Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s threatened reconquista of Costa Rica’s northwestern Guanacaste province. It’s no coincidence that Nicaragua, together with Venezuela, was virtually alone in recognizing Russia’s carving of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia in 2008. Or that Russia reciprocated with military aid to Venezuela and Nicaragua, and naval war maneuvers with Venezuela in the Caribbean.A day before the 2014 annexation of the Crimea, a Russian intelligence ship was deployed in Havana harbor. The anti-U.S. Caribbean trio also is included in Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu’s new global strategy to extend Russia’s naval and strategic bomber power through facilities worldwide. Meanwhile, Putin has doubled the investment in Russia’s military since 2007. It’s expected to triple by 2016 – even as the U.S. military has been cut to pre-World War II levels.We surely must be concerned about unmonitored shipments of drugs as well as arms – and who knows, even WMD – traversing a Nicaraguan canal. Recall the North Korean ship interdicted in July 2013 in the Panama Canal bearing undocumented arms and Cuban missile parts. A member of the Proliferation Security Initiative, U.S.-friendly Panama blocks illegal and dangerous cargo. Will Nicaragua?So what should the U.S. do now? We do believe the late George Kennan, father of U.S. containment policy vis-à-vis Russia, is very relevant here. He believed that rather than challenge Russia in her remote “near abroad,” we should challenge her ambitions in our own hemisphere. “If the Soviets remained in Afghanistan and attempted to use the country for strategic purposes further afield,” he stated in 1980, “than military action against Cuba might be justified.”Given this outlook, Kennan would likely have disavowed adding Georgia and Ukraine to NATO. While opposing boots on the ground in the Ukraine, however, he likely would have supported arming the Ukrainians against Russia as we did after WWII. Ukrainian partisans bled the Russians for a decade. He also would have recommended formidable public diplomacy and sizable aid to the Venezuelan democrats in their struggle. Both Nicaragua and Cuba run on Venezuelan oil. Aerial view of one of the Cuban medium-range missile bases, taken in October 1962. On Oct. 22, Kennedy said Russia had missile sites in Cuba and imposed an arms blockade. During a week, the two super-powers were head-to-head in their game of nuclear poker while the rest of the world watched. AFPDoubtless, the Russian president thinks that U.S. President Barack Obama, weakened by Washington scandals and an isolationist mood in the country, is reluctant to use military force. Obama must change those perceptions. An extra-hemispheric, nuclear power patrolling our waters, building a military facility in Nicaragua and aiding in the building of an unmonitored new canal is unacceptable.Kennan surely would have reminded us of the third corollary to the Monroe Doctrine that he devised in 1950. Witnessing the growing Soviet influence south of the border, he pledged in his memo to the secretary of state, “the most scrupulous respect for … sovereignty and independence … of our Latin American neighbors!”In return, he said: “You do not make your countries the sources or the seats of dangerous intrigue against us.”Council on Foreign Relations member Dr. Jiri Valenta is president of the Institute of Post-Communist Studies and Terrorism, Leni is editor and CEO. Follow them on Twitter. Facebook Comments Related posts:Putin’s Russia expands Latin American role, Kelly says Russia’s Putin in Cuba, Nicaragua to rekindle Latin America ties Russia back to fishing in troubled waters in Latin America, Costa Rica expert tells US congressional committee Nicaragua drops $80 million on Russian tankslast_img read more

Costa Ricas Eduardo Li pleads not guilty in FIFA corruption scandal

first_imgNEW YORK – Costa Rican Eduardo Li pleaded not guilty in U.S. court Friday to 19 charges relating to the FIFA corruption scandal.Eduardo Li, ex-president of the Costa Rican Football Federation (Fedefútbol), was one of seven top football officials arrested in a raid on a Zurich luxury hotel in May, a raid that kicked off an unprecedented crisis at FIFA.Switzerland extradited Li to the United States on Friday to face charges that include fraud and money laundering. The defense has not asked for a bail hearing, so Li remains in custody. Judge Robert Levy set the next hearing in Li’s case for March 16.The spiraling scandal at world football’s governing body has led to the suspension of its president, Sepp Blatter, who is currently answering to corruption allegations before FIFA’s ethics committee.Read more FIFA scandal coverage here Facebook Comments Related posts:FEDEFUTBOL official: FIFA scandal won’t affect Costa Rica’s upcoming matches Switzerland will rule on FIFA extraditions next month FIFA corruption probe: Swiss to extradite ex-VP Figueredo to US Costa Rica’s Eduardo Li to request release on bail from US prisonlast_img read more

Hügelkultur tricky on the tongue astonishing results in the garden

first_imgRelated posts:Diatoms: a pest-control ally from prehistoric times Cassava: tropical staple, drought-friendly… cancer-busting? A multitasking garden: setting up aquaponics at home Give green in Costa Rica: holiday gifts that will live on all year Facebook Comments One of the advantages of exhibiting our farm’s herbal products at our local organic market has been the opportunity to talk with other farmers and gardeners. It’s a great way to catch up on new methods of growing food organically here in the tropics. One of the topics that’s buzzing around the grapevine ishügelkultur, which is a unique method of restoring natural fertility in our soils.Hügelkultur is a German word meaning mound culture or hill culture. It was practiced in German and Eastern European societies for hundreds of years and has been applied as a new technique to prevent erosion.Long, raised beds are constructed on contours with the land to catch rainwater runoff before it gains momentum to cause erosion. Trees and crops can be planted on these long beds and benefit from the extra moisture that has been trapped from the rainwater runoff. On large farms, these long, raised beds are often made with earthmoving equipment like a backhoe. Some inventive farmers began experimenting with burying  any biomass from clearing the land into the long, raised contoured beds. Sod, leaves, branches and even logs were all incorporated to make the bed higher and stronger.As the years go by, the biomass decomposes, leaving mineral rich humus for the new crops and trees. This humus also acts like a sponge to hold moisture during dry periods.The results have been very promising and you can find more on the web on this subject.Erick Rifkin, who exhibits his products at the organic market, has been experimenting with hüglekultur at his farm Joya del Sol, and has come up with a new raised bed structure that’s worth sharing. Erick told me that he had difficulties growing vegetables in regular garden beds. Invasive roots from nearby trees seemed to take most of the soil’s fertility instead of the plants.Erick went about designing a 3-foot high, no-stoop raised garden bed with a shallow 3-inch thick cement floor to prevent the tree roots from invading the planting bed. When he began to fill in the raised bed, he started filling in the bottom part with logs, branches and leaves as mentioned above. Next came the top layer of soil enriched with worm compost, and the worms, too. He said the only problem he has had so far is dealing with the prolific growth rate of everything he planted. You can follow his effort on Facebook.During the dry season, many gardeners have plenty of grass clippings and dried leaves that can be conveniently buried in garden beds or used as a top dressing around your plants to keep the soil moist during this hot season.  Here’s a four-step guide to enrich your soil from green gold to biomass. Ed Bernhardt/ The Tico TimesDig a trench across the garden bed and loosen the soil at the bottom.  Look for unwanted roots and grubs.Apply plenty of organic material to the trench, plus some aged compost to activate the beneficial microbes that do the job of decomposing.Work along repeating step 1 and 2 until you reach the end of the bed. Rake the bed and water it very well.Plant seeds or transplants from the greenhouse to your new garden bed. Use grass clippings and leaves to mulch around the plants.  Sit back and watch them grow!Again and again we can see how tuned-in our ancestors were with natural intelligence. They understood how to return the gift to nature so new harvests would be bountiful. When will we, the artificial intelligence society, learn to design biological solutions to our daily lives?So bury that biomass to make the earth rich again…if not, then we will burn our home to ashes.Thanks Erick Rifkin for your raised bed design.Read more of Ed Bernhardt’s monthly Home Gardening columns here.For more information on tropical gardening – naturally – and upcoming Sunday workshops, visit Ed’s website or contact him at last_img read more

Three Ecuadorians sentenced in Costa Rica for drug trafficking

first_imgCosta Rican courts have sentenced three Ecuadorians, who were captured a year ago with a cocaine shipment, to eight years of prison for drug trafficking.The three men were subject to a short trial after pleading guilty to the charges against them, the Public Ministry stated in a press release on Friday.The South Americans were identified as Jorge Bolívar Chaves and the brothers Mario and José Luis Palma González, who served a preventive prison sentence while awaiting their trial.The three were detained on Sept. 2, 2016 in Jacó in the Central Pacific of Costa Rica after fleeing from Coast Guard, which had detected them in a boat with a shipment of 331 kilos of cocaine.A great quantity of the cocaine seized by Costa Rican authorities passes through the country’s Pacific slope, where the Coast Guard operates with information collected by U.S. reconnaissance planes. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica dismantles international drug trafficking ring Costa Rican cops seize vehicle with 400 kilos of cocaine on Pacific coast Narco-plane crashes in northern Costa Rica; cops find 500 kilos of cocaine nearby Spain’s police seize massive cocaine haul in banana cargolast_img read more

Win romantic dinner for two with The Tico Times

first_img“Like”The Tico Times and Riverside Marketplace on Facebook and leave a comment on the below post for a chance to win a romantic dinner for two at Riverside Pizzeria & Gastropub!Tag the person you want to take on a romantic dinner this Valentine’s Day, and include #TicoTimes and #RiversideMarketplace in your comment.Leave your comment on the Facebook post embedded below or click here to go to the post on Related posts:We’re back! Our latest print edition is here, and a World Cup/Fourth of July special is on the way! The Tico Times on Radio Dos: Summiting Chirripó The Tico Times and #MeToo in Costa Rica Facebook Commentscenter_img To review the rules and learn how to claim your prize, please refer to the comment section of the Facebook post.last_img read more

Rights groups fear militarization in Guatemala

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The report said that Guatemala has been using the military to support police units in response to a rise in crime and that police involvement in “criminal activities remained a serious problem.”“This is what happens when operations about civilian security are used as a means for social control,” Mack said.The Marine operation is the largest in Guatemala since U.S. military aid was first eliminated in 1978, halfway through the civil war. Over the years, the U.S. Congress has approved limited funding for training Guatemala’s military response team for natural disasters.“The partial congressional ban on funds for the Guatemalan army remains in place because the military has not complied with even the minimum benchmarks for reform. The US `war on drugs’ has become justification for rapid remilitarization at a time when Guatemala is still recovering from the trauma of the internal conflict _ and Guatemalan armed forces have yet to be held accountable for past atrocities,” Alford-Jones said.U.S. law says Guatemala can regain aid once Secretary of State Hillary Clinton certifies Guatemala’s military is “respecting internationally recognized human rights” and cooperating with judicial investigations of former military personnel and with the U.N.-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala. Patients with chronic pain give advice Kelsey Alford-Jones of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA noted that Guatemalan armed forces, which were backed by the U.S. during the civil war, committed more than 93 percent of the acts of violence.It was 50 years ago when the U.S. military last sent any significant aid and equipment into Guatemala, establishing a base to support counter-insurgency efforts during a guerrilla uprising after a CIA-backed coup overthrew democratically elected president Jacobo Arbenz in 1954. The movement led to 36 years of civil war that ended in 1996 with the signing of a peace accords between the government and leftist guerrillas.The conflict left more than 200,000 dead and missing, 93 percent of them as a result of the activities of state forces and paramilitary groups, a U.N. report said. The U.S. pulled out in 1978.Guatemalan authorities say they signed a treaty allowing the U.S. military to conduct the anti-drug operations on July 16. Less than a month later an Air Force C-5 transport plane flew into Guatemala City from North Carolina loaded with the Marines and four UH-1 “Huey” helicopters.If the Marines find suspected boats, they will contact their Guatemalan counterparts in a special operations unit from the Guatemalan navy that will move in for the bust. The Marines will not go along on arrest missions, but they do have the right to defend themselves if fired on, U.S. officials said. Quick workouts for men Top Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix ___Associated Press writers Pauline Jalinek in Washington and Martha Mendoza in Santa Cruz, Calif. contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “Marines in Guatemala are in a supporting role and we are providing aerial, communications and logistical support to a regional partner who is currently facing strong challenges with illicit trafficking along its coasts. This is not a new role nor the first time the U.S. military supports a partner in this capacity,” said Army Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department in an email response to an AP query.“Though the Marine deployment is only temporary in nature, it’s focused on the same mission _ support to U.S. and regional authorities working to stop the flow of illicit trafficking through the Central American isthmus,” Breasseale said.William Ostick, a spokesman for the State Department’s Western Hemispheric Affairs Office, said Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina is “focused on improving citizen security in Latin America.” He said Guatemala’s military has “made significant progress on key issues.”Guatemala has widespread institutional corruption, “including unlawful killings, drug trafficking, and extortion; and widespread societal violence, including violence against women and numerous killings, many related to drug trafficking,” according to a recent State Department report. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Associated PressGUATEMALA CITY (AP) – Human Rights activists in Guatemala said Friday that a joint anti-drug operation between U.S. Marines and the nation’s army threatens to revive memories of rights abuses during Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war.A team of 200 U.S. Marines began patrolling Guatemala’s western coast this week as part of a joint agreement to catch drug shipments.“Rural communities in Guatemala are fearful of the military being used to combat drug traffickers because the same techniques are applied that were used in contra (counterinsurgency) warfare,” said rights advocate Helen Mack, executive director of the Myrna Mack Foundation. “The historical memory is there and Guatemalans are fearful of that.” Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img

6 kids among 7 injured in south China attack

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement BEIJING (AP) – A mentally ill man attacked six primary school students and a woman with a cleaver in the latest of a string of attacks on Chinese schoolchildren, authorities said Wednesday.All seven victims were in stable condition and a suspect was apprehended, according to a spokeswoman from the Maoming city government in the southern province of Guangdong who, like many Chinese bureaucrats, declined to give her name.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories The attack took place as students were returning home Tuesday afternoon in a village on the city’s outskirts.Police recovered the cleaver used in the attack and detained a suspect about 10 hours later, identified in a statement from the Maoming police as a 32-year-old mentally ill man surnamed Liao.China has suffered a series of sometimes deadly attacks on schoolchildren in recent years, many of them blamed on the mentally ill. That has highlighted what critics say is a chronic lack of screening and treatment for mental illness in China, as well as the growing pressures of an increasingly urbanizing society and rapid economic changes.In the worst recent attack, a man hacked and injured 23 schoolchildren in December in the central province of Henan.Kitchen knives are almost always used in such attacks because China bans almost all private citizens from owning firearms.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Men’s health affects baby’s health too How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Cuba to eliminate currency pegged to dollar

first_img Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Quick workouts for men Four benefits of having a wireless security system Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The dual system has created special privileges for Cubans who work in tourism, and resentment among those who don’t.The government of President Raul Castro pledged in October to gradually unify the two currencies in order to prevent shocks like spikes in inflation. Many Cuban economists said the process would take years.On Friday, Vice President Marino Murillo told parliament that the peso pegged to the dollar, known as the CUC, would eventually disappear, the first time the government has explicitly said that. He promised that savings in the convertible pesos would retain their value until the change took place.“People who have the convertible Cuban peso (CUC), whether in the banks or kept at home, will not lose any financial capacity when the dual monetary system is eliminated,” said Murillo.He did not say when the change would go into effect.The double monetary system was established in 1994 amid an economic crisis sparked by the fall of the Soviet Union, which heavily subsidized Cuba for decades.It was designed to allow Cuba to receive hard currency needed for international trade from the outside world while insulating the rest of the communist economy from market influences. In October, the official newspaper Granma said that the government’s first step would be to allow several businesses that currently accept only convertible pesos, or CUCs, to do business in ordinary Cuban pesos, or CUPs.The official exchange rate will remain in effect, Granma said, meaning the goods themselves will remain out of reach for Cubans without access to the foreigner exchange-driven economy, which includes millions of dollars a year in remittances from relatives in the United States and other countries.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Comments   Share   Top Stories HAVANA (AP) – Cuba will eliminate a currency pegged to the dollar as part of a move to end its unique double-currency system, which had become a symbol of economic inequality to many islanders, Cuba’s top economic official said Friday.Tourists currently use a convertible peso roughly equal to a U.S. dollar while most Cubans are paid in ordinary pesos worth about four cents. Many goods are easier to find in government stores that exclusively accept convertible pesos, a mechanism designed to keep the flow of the special currency under government control.last_img read more

Hungarian writer Krasznahorkai wins Man Booker Intl Prize

first_imgLONDON (AP) — Acclaimed Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai has been awarded the 2015 Man Booker International Prize in a ceremony at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.He is the sixth winner of the prize, which is awarded every two years to a living author for their fictional body of work. Previous winners have included Alice Munro and Philip Roth. Krasznahorkai is renowned for “Satantango” and “The Melancholy of Resistance.” Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Marina Warner, who chaired the judging panel, said Krasznahorkai is “a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present-day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful.”Krasznahorkai will receive 60,000 pounds ($93,000).Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Top holiday drink recipes New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Comments   Share   4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Diplomats Russia and China block sanctions on 2 Libyans

first_img Top Stories Check your body, save your life Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Patients with chronic pain give advice UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia and China have blocked sanctions against two Libyans accused by the United States, Britain, France and Spain of undermining peace efforts in the deeply divided north African nation, U.N. diplomats said Friday.The four Western countries had urged the U.N. Security Council to impose an asset freeze and travel ban on the Libyans to send a signal ahead of new peace talks on June 8 “that spoilers of the political process will not be tolerated.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Libya has been torn among powerful armed militias that have left the country with two rival parliaments and governments, while groups allied to the Islamic State extremist group grow in strength.Libya’s U.N. Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi wrote a letter to council members Thursday opposing sanctions on Othman Mlekta, a militia commander whose forces ssattacked parliament in May 2014, and Abdulrahman Swehli, a Misrata politician who supports a rival government in the capital Tripoli run by Islamist-allied Misrata militias.Two diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the process is private, said Russia and China raised objections ahead of the Friday afternoon deadline.A spokesman for Russia’s U.N. Mission said the request was put on “technical hold” for an inter-agency review in Moscow, adding that this applies in all sanctions cases. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.The Misrata militias pushed the elected parliament out of Tripoli and it now meets in the eastern city of Tobruk. Government forces and allied militias are also battling Islamist radical groups who operate in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The U.N. envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, who has been mediating talks, has urged the warring parties to agree on a unity government before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on June 17. The next round of negotiations are scheduled to begin on June 8 in Rabat, Morocco.The United States said on behalf of the four countries in a note to council members that “a balanced and progressive approach to sanctioning spoilers — leaving more senior names for another time — could give a much needed push to those seeking to participate in Rabat.”According to the four countries, Mlekta, whose surname is also spelled Maliqta, is the commander of the Zintani Qaqa Brigade, a militia that attacked parliament using trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns, mortars and rockets on May 18, 2014, and throughout last summer carried out missile attacks against civilians and Libyan oil facilities.Swehli reportedly pressed for an attack by Libya Dawn militias from Misrata against the oil port of Sidra in February to disrupt peace talks and sought to carry out sieges of government ministries by revolutionary militias, the note said.“His actions have inflamed the continued conflict in Libya and undermined the successful completion of Libya’s political transition facilitated by the U.N.-led dialogue process,” it said. Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

Israels Netanyahu struggles to govern with narrow majority

first_imgAnother Likud lawmaker, Yaron Mazuz, called for revoking the citizenship of Arab lawmakers during a parliamentary debate. “We are doing you a favor by letting you sit here,” he pointedly told the Arab lawmakers.Netanyahu distanced himself from the comments but could do little more. Without Mazuz or Hazan, he would lose his parliamentary majority.The incident sparked Arab lawmaker Ahmad Tibi to mock Netanyahu by saying that this is what he gets when Likud voters head to the polls “in droves.”____Follow Aron Heller on Twitter at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Netanyahu has already met with opposition leader Isaac Herzog following the nuclear deal, raising speculation that a unity government could be in the works. But Herzog threw cold water on that idea this week, rejecting a partnership with Netanyahu, despite their shared opposition to the Iran deal.Regardless, Netanyahu says he is confident he can govern effectively — and his associates point to precedents in which previous narrow Israeli majority governments managed to thrive.Political analyst Nehama Dueck said there is “strength in the weakness” of Netanyahu’s narrow coalition and that once he passes the state budget this summer, he should be able to breathe easy the next two years.“They are all dependent on each other and know that if they don’t stick together, they are finished,” she said. “It’s a zero-sum game and everyone in the coalition has an interest to stay there so they won’t tug the rope too hard.”Even so, no one is expecting major changes during Netanyahu’s new term in office.The ultra-Orthodox religious parties have already scrapped a bill on Jewish conversions the previous government had promoted to help include more liberal streams of Judaism. They are also scaling back a law that would force their young men to serve in the military, which is compulsory for other Jews. Hawkish partners have no interest in promoting a peace process with the Palestinians, though Netanyahu — much to their chagrin — has also quietly put the brakes on further settlement expansion, at least in the short term, to stave off international criticism. International pressure on Israel to restart peace efforts is expected to increase this fall, setting the stage at home for a delicate balancing act by Netanyahu.The biggest move his new government has pushed for has been a deal to split revenues with gas developers that would inject billions of dollars into the economy. The opposition fiercely rejected the deal, saying it would create a gas monopoly controlled by business interests.Because three of Netanyahu’s ministers have stated conflicts of interests in the matter due of their close ties to the gas companies, he was forced to shelve the vote.In another setback, Israel’s attorney general ordered a criminal investigation Monday into excessive spending at the prime minister’s residences.Netanyahu has also had to deal with scandals involving Likud backbenchers.The biggest mess has involved Oren Hazan, the lowest ranking Likud lawmaker, who faced allegations in a TV investigative piece that he pimped prostitutes and provided crystal meth to Israeli tourists while running a Bulgarian casino before he entered politics. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology But his victory came with a price. The votes Netanyahu earned in the final hours were largely sapped from his traditional nationalistic allies, leaving him with fewer coalition options.Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s ultranationalist party then abruptly chose to join the opposition, leaving Netanyahu’s government with the smallest of majorities, just 61 out of parliament’s 120 members.To ensure the votes of his shaky majority, Netanyahu barred coalition members from traveling abroad without his approval. In the closest call yet, a Cabinet minister had to filibuster aimlessly in parliament while the coalition whip scrambled to gather supporters for a vote that could have technically toppled the government. Eventually, Netanyahu’s closest ally, Cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz, was awoken from his sick bed and rushed in wearing slippers at 1:30 a.m. to save the day.Ironically, Netanyahu’s defeat over the Iran nuclear deal could work in his favor. He has stated hopes of expanding his coalition and has been urging opposition politicians to join him in a show of unity as the country confronts the Iranian threat. Netanyahu has argued that the deal, by easing sanctions, will allow the Iranians to funnel newfound cash to hostile militant groups and continue to develop its nuclear infrastructure in the coming years. FILE – In this Tuesday, July 14, 2015 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at his Jerusalem office. On course to become the longest serving prime minister in Israeli history, Netanyahu’s legacy has not been marked so far by bold measures of war and peace that defined his predecessors. But the hallmark mission of his professional career, keeping Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, is seen as having taken a big hit with last week’s U.S.-led nuclear deal. (AP Photo/Oren Ben Hakoon, File) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Unruly backbenchers in Netanyahu’s own Likud party have embarrassed him with their antics, and now he is facing growing criticism at home for failing to stop the international community’s nuclear deal with Iran.Insiders say Netanyahu is in no danger of being toppled anytime soon, despite calls by opposition politicians that he step down over the Iran issue. However, it remains to be seen whether he will actually be able to get anything done in his fourth term in office.“He can survive. The question is what quality of life he will have,” said Amit Segal, a political commentator for Channel 2 TV. “It’s hard to see him pushing forward with anything big.”Some would say that is just how Netanyahu likes it. On course to become the longest serving prime minister in Israeli history, his legacy thus far is one of longevity rather than bold measures of war and peace that defined his predecessors. His lobbying against the Iran nuclear deal — which he insists will not keep Tehran from attaining an atomic weapon — took a big hit with last week’s U.S.-led agreement. The Iran issue has been a hallmark of his political career.The fact that Netanyahu is still standing is an impressive feat itself given his situation in the days leading up to the March 17 election. Trailing in opinion polls and facing a potential uprising within the Likud, Netanyahu rebounded and surged to victory, in part through fiery election-day rhetoric that shunned Palestinian statehood and railed against Israel’s own Arab minority. By warning that Arabs were heading to the polls “in droves,” Netanyahu scared passive right-wing voters into voting. JERUSALEM (AP) — When Benjamin Netanyahu called early elections last year, he said his unwieldy coalition was untenable and that Israel needed a more stable government to carry out vital reforms.But two months into his new term in office, Netanyahu finds himself depending on an even narrower majority, susceptible to the extortion of practically any lawmaker.His political footing is so tenuous that he had to keep his defense minister from attending an international security conference in June because he couldn’t spare the minister’s vote. Another time, an ailing Cabinet minister was forced out of bed to save the government from the humiliation of losing a crucial late-night budget vote. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Four benefits of having a wireless security system 0 Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Cabin crew given goahead for walkout

first_imgBritish Airways’ cabin crew are expected to strike next week after a court of appeal overturned an injunction against the walkout yesterday.Unite had applied for the appeal on Monday after a judge ruled the strikes illegal as the union had not properly informed its members of ballot results.However, the U.K. Court of Appeal said on Thursday that Unite’s failure to provide a breakdown of ballot results didn’t make the vote on a walkout invalid.After the ruling Unite said it would take a three-day “pause for peace”, in case negotiations with the carrier are successful, before going ahead with a five-day strike from Monday May 24.According to Bloomberg, a five-day walkout from its 12,000 cabin crew will ground more than 30 percent of flights, with its services from Heathrow expected to be slashed by up to 50 percent.“We are very disappointed for our customers that Unite’s appeal has been upheld and that the union intends to go ahead with its unjustified and pointless strikes,” the carrier said.BA is expected today to report a pretax loss of around £600 million for the year ending March 31. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.Llast_img read more

Sydney Airport seeks ACCC approval for regional fees increase

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Sydney Airport will seek ACCC approval to implement the first regional aeronautical fee increase since 2001. This proposed increase would be in accordance with the Government’s declaration under the Trade Practices Act 1974.The fee increases would include a security charge: to increase by 3 cents from 87 cents to 90 cents per passenger in addition to a passenger facilitation charge for the T2 Terminal: to increase by 13 cents from $4.50 to $4.63 per passenger. The proposal also includes a runway charge: to increase by 10 cents from $3.44 to $3.54 per tonne on a per passenger basis.According to the CEO of Sydney Airport, Russell Balding, the proposal represents a maximum increase of 2.9% in fees, which only represents one year of inflation and is considerably less than the 28.9% increase in the CPI since 2001.“Since 2001 a host of business costs have increased, which is why this fee increase is now being sought.“Regional fees have not increased since 2001, but Sydney Airport feels it is now fair and reasonable to seek a modest increase. “Sydney Airport is unique in the Australian aviation industry in that its regional aeronautical fees are subject to government price regulation, so the approval of the ACCC will be required before the increases take effect,” Mr Balding said.QantasLink, Jetstar or Virgin Blue will be exempt from the full regional fee increases as they have already successfully negotiated commercial agreements on a normal business-to-business basis with Sydney Airport. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Tahiti Travel Connection unveils comprehensive brochure

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J an easy-reference ‘Honeymoon Gift’ guide – simply look for the red hearts throughout the brochure to find hotels and resorts offering gifts to honeymooners (gifts range from champagne upon arrival to couples’ massages and romantic dinners). returning due to popular demand – dedicated information about weddings, cruising and sailing, tours and sightseeing, and pensions (authentic, small, family-run hotels) a new ‘Why we love it!’ section for the most popular Bora Bora properties – where TTC’s resident experts tell us what they love about each property to assist agents in choosing the best resort for their clients. a helpful introduction page for each of the main islands (Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and archipelagos such as The Society, Tuamotu, Austral, Gambier and Marquesas) – this includes a destination map with hotel locations and a list of ‘Must Do’ activities compiled by TTC’s expert team. a new ‘Tips from the Team’ page –designed to support agents in selling the destination. a brand new section featuring diving, surfing, spa treatments and car hire.center_img an expanded range of budget hotels on Tahiti, Moorea and other islands. Tahiti Travel Connection (TTC) has released a new Tahiti brochure to act as a 48-page reference tool for Australian travel agents.Being distributed amongst agencies during the first two weeks of April, the new guide includes more detailed coverage than prior brochures, including first-hand knowledge on accommodation, island activities and tours, as well as tips for the best places to eat, drink and sightsee. New features for 2013 include: a full destination overview map. the largest and best range of accommodation options – not just on the main islands, but off the beaten track on islands such as Maupiti, Makemo, Rimatara and Fakarava. more unique and exclusive-to-TTC products such as a private tour of Le Meridien Bora Bora Ecological Centre and Turtle Sanctuary, where TTC is a proud foundation sponsor.last_img read more

Aussies enjoy educational travel

first_imgImage: Prague, Czech Republic (ETB News) These figures were somewhat lower for New Zealand overseas travellers, with just 33 percent visiting a city, 28 percent touring historical sites and 22 percent going to museums. A substantial amount of Australian travellers also visited historical sites (39 percent), museums (35 percent) and gardens or parks (32 percent); many completing more than one of these activities. “By their very nature many overseas destinations offer historical experiences,” Roy Morgan Research international director of tourism, travel & leisure Jane Ianniello said. In the last 12 months to September 2013 Australian tourists visited at least one city (43 percent), while almost the same amount went shopping (44 percent) and dined at restaurants (42 percent).  “Destination marketers and tourism organisations need to understand what kinds of experiences their target market is seeking so as to tailor appropriate messages that inspire them to book.”center_img Europe is incredibly attractive for Australian tourists seeking historical experiences (62 percent), major cities including Paris, London and Rome (63 percent) and museums (63 percent). “By contrast, island destinations such as Fiji, Hawaii and Bali offer more of a beach paradise experience, complemented by restaurants and shopping. These destinations compete directly with iconic Australian favourites such as Surfers Paradise, Noosa, Byron Bay and the Whitsundays. City and historical experiences are the most popular activities for Australian international travellers, according to the results of a new study. Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more