Porter reaches 1 million Thunder Bay passengers adds sixth flight

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: Porter Airlines, Thunder Bay Porter reaches 1 million Thunder Bay passengers, adds sixth flight Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Posted bycenter_img Share TORONTO — Porter Airlines is increasing the number of flights between Thunder Bay and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, up to six daily roundtrips, effective Sept. 6.Three direct flights are available from Thunder Bay to both Ottawa and Montreal, after a short stop in Toronto. Passengers no longer have to deplane in Toronto and change aircraft, reducing travel time by up to two hours.Thunder Bay was Porter’s initial destination in Northern Ontario and continues to attract new passengers, said President and CEO Robert Deluce. “Since we began Thunder Bay service in 2009, passengers have continued to embrace our convenient schedule and affordable fares,” he said. “The additional roundtrip flight provides even more options and convenience for travellers.”Porter’s one-millionth Thunder Bay passenger on yesterday’s flight #634 was presented with a pair of roundtrip tickets to any Porter destination.“There are many loyal Thunder Bay passengers, as well as new ones trying Porter every day,” adds Deluce. “Our entire team is grateful for each of the one-million trips people have chosen to fly with us and we are committed to providing the service they have come to expect from us.” << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Trafalgars new USA Canada program includes prices slashed by as much as

first_img Share Travelweek Group Tags: Trafalgar, USA & Canada Posted by Trafalgar’s new USA & Canada program includes prices slashed by as much as 12%center_img TORONTO — Trafalgar has revealed its new 2017 USA & Canada program, featuring an abundance of new Insider Experiences, 31 Be My Guest dining experiences, and three brand new guided vacations that highlight North and Central America.Travellers can see more and do more with new itineraries that include ‘Mexico’s Copper Canyon and Colonial Cities’, ‘California’s Great National Parks’ and ‘Adventures of the Lone Star State’ in Texas. Plus, with next year marking Canada’s 150th birthday, Trafalgar has made selling Canada even easier with prices down as much as 12% on some of its most popular Canadian itineraries, including the ‘Best of Eastern Canada.’“From the dazzling to the serene, Trafalgar’s new and expanded 2017 USA and Canada program is one that will deliver awe-inspiring experiences,” says Wolf Paunic, president of Trafalgar Canada. “Offering so much diversity from bustling big cities to majestic landscapes, Trafalgar shows clients around USA, Canada and Central America through larger-than-life vacations and the beauty of our own backyard.”More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyClients can save up to 10% across Trafalgar’s ‘USA & Canada’ program with Early Payment Discounts of up to $1,435 per couple, available when they book and pay in full before Jan. 12, 2017. Past guest discounts of 5% (land only) are also available for those who’ve previously travelled with TTC’s family of brands.For more go to Trafalgar.com. Wednesday, August 24, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Win a spot on U by Uniworlds inaugural cruise

first_imgTags: Contests, Uniworld Win a spot on U by Uniworld’s inaugural cruise Travelweek Group Share Posted bycenter_img Wednesday, July 26, 2017 TORONTO — Want to be among the first to sail with the new U by Uniworld? The new brand from Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has launched a contest for travel agents to win an exclusive spot on its very first sailing.The inaugural voyage – an invitation-only ‘Sneak Peek’ U cruise – sets sail Oct. 7-11, 2017 from Paris to Paris. The voyage will feature top social influencers, media and contest winners.According to Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld, the decision to host a contest versus hosting a traditional familiarization trip was easy. “We simply do not have the space to accommodate the tremendous enthusiasm for our exciting new brand,” said Bettridge. “Instead, we’ve decided to add to the fun by giving motivated agents the chance to win their spot on our special, preview sailing.”To enter, travel agents ages 21-45 must create and post a 30-second video to the U by Uniworld Facebook page sharing how they are going to sell U, tagging #I’mGonnaSellU to their post. Uniworld’s internal Advisory Board will vote on the final winners from entries with the most likes on Facebook. Selected content will be featured on ubyuniworld.com.More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksEntries will be accepted now through Aug. 15, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. The voting process will take place between Aug.16-22, and the winners will be announced Aug. 23.For more information, visit ubyuniworld.com/ca/make-history-contest. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Now open Air Canadas Maple Leaf Lounge at Saskatoon airport

first_img SASKATOON — Air Canada is inviting passengers to put their feet up and relax at its brand new Maple Leaf Lounge at Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport (Skyxe).Officially unveiled on Sept. 13, the sleek new lounge seats up to 40 guests in an elegant space that showcases Canadian design and art, including work by two Saskatchewan artists, Shawn Evans and Holly Friesen. Spanning 137 square metres, it features a full-service bar complete with Canadian wines and specialty coffees, a self-serve buffet area, a cyber counter equipped with PCs and colour printing, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a variety of digital newspaper and magazine content via the PressReader app.The Skyxe Maple Leaf Lounge will operate seven days a week, and is conveniently located in the departure gate area, steps away from Air Canada’s departure gates.Congratulations #yxe on your beautiful new @AirCanada Maple Leaf Lounge!! #Saskatoon #skyxe #aiccanada #lounge pic.twitter.com/UNvuBh3rcd— Deanna Dow (@DeannaADow) September 13, 2018“We are excited to welcome Air Canada and Star Alliance eligible customers to our new Maple Leaf Lounge at Skyxe, which has been created to enhance the overall travel experience for our premium customers,” said Andrew Yiu, Vice President, Product at Air Canada. “Customers will be warmly receive and enjoy a calm environment in which to work or relax before an Air Canada or Air Canada Express flight.”More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerStephen Maybury, President and CEO of Skyxe Saskatoon Airport, added: “Skyxe is thrilled to welcome a new Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Saskatoon Airport. This highly anticipated new lounge experience strongly complements our existing modern, comfortable and guest centric service offerings.”Air Canada and its regional partners operate over 110 weekly (17 daily) nonstop scheduled flights this summer from Saskatoon to seven destinations across Canada. It offers up to 1,320 seats departing Saskatoon, with up to six daily nonstop flights to Toronto, four to Calgary, three to Vancouver, two to Winnipeg, one to Edmonton, one to Regina and one from Ottawa. Travelweek Group Friday, September 14, 2018 Now open: Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge at Saskatoon airport Sharecenter_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Air Canada, Skyxe Saskatoon Airportlast_img read more

Arenal Report

first_imgIn describing themselves, the Ladies of the Lake say: “We are women of varying backgrounds and nationalities in the Lake Arenal Community who meet regularly to support one another, and who work together to have a positive impact in the extended community.”On Sunday, Dec. 9, the Ladies of the Lake will hold their 3rd Annual Art Show and Christmas Bazaar Fundraiser. They are asking you to help them help others. All proceeds go toward local community outreach programs including supporting families in crisis, spay and neutering dogs and cats, feeding street animals etc.Donations of the following items are needed: new or used clothing, shoes, books and magazines, CDs and DVDs, household items, knick knacks, kitchen utensils, furniture, bedding, appliances/electronics (if not in working order, please let us know), in other words, anything saleable!Drop off locations for donations: for the Tilaran/Tronadora area, Rene Aoki of Re/Max Rico Realty is accepting donations at the office on Tronadora Road, 200 meters from the turn-off of the Lake Road (follow the signs). For the Nuevo Arenal area, Marisol at the Iguana Tropical Bar and Grill (formerly Rumours) will take your donations and hold them. The Iguana is located next to Banco de Costa Rica across from the service station.If you have items to donate that you would like picked up from your home, call Ruth Fountaine at 8371-3015 or email lol3rdbazaar@yahoo.com. Spaces are available for artists/artisans, specialty take-away foods, services and local activities. You may also hold your own garage sale. Space rental is $10 per table. All proceeds from space rentals go to support local community outreach by Ladies of the Lake. The Bazaar will be located indoors at the huge salon area of Plaza del Café on the Lake Road opposite the turnoff to Sabalito/Tierras Morenas starting at 10 a.m. Thanks to Ruth Fountaine for her assistance with this report.–Lynn Farris, William & Jean PriestLFarris@ymail.com, jean_pri@msn.com Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Indigenous treasures at Galería Namu

first_imgIt is a Friday afternoon and the Galería Namu (Namu Gallery) in downtown San José is bustling. Owner Aisling French moves among the crowd, explaining various pieces of indigenous artwork in a soft, kind voice, no cheat sheet necessary. Come May, she will have been the proprietor for 15 years. Rebecca Aguilar Borucan artist Ricardo Morales sells masks to the gallery. The gallery, French confesses, is not always this crowded. But the slower days merely give her more time to spend with each patron. She enjoys providing background information on the tribal masks, dishes, jewelry and paintings that adorn the walls, and helping clients find things they can connect with. “{I share} their legends, their myths, their suffering … Really, I want to teach,” she says.When Namu first opened its doors, French was only displaying the work eight indigenous tribes from the national territory. But eventually, on a recommendation from her son, she broadened the scope and began accepting work from tribes in other Central American countries, including Panama and Honduras. No matter the artist, French prides herself on offering a fair price. “I am dealing with a population that is not treated with respect,” she says. “Many have been cheated out of their money.” By offering a good price, and paying the artist upfront, French believes she is able to keep her artists loyal and happy. In addition to folk art, she also collects items that represent indigenous vida diaria (daily life) as well as pre-Columbian replicas.Galería Namu is located in downtown San José, on 7th avenue between streets 5 and 7, right in front of the Alianza Francesa (French Alliance).Open Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. (Jan.-April). Phone number 2256-3412. Shop online: http://galerianamu.com Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Wildfire burns 575 hectares on Costa Ricas Central Pacific coast

first_imgNo related posts. A squad of 30 firefighters is battling a wildfire that is raging through a forested area in the central Pacific town of Esparza.Costa Rica’s Firefighters Corps reports that some 575 hectares have already been destroyed by a fire that started last week.The fire has two focal points that firefighters attack with two water pumps and three support vehicles. The area is mostly pasture, and strong winds from Costa Rica’s dry season are hampering firefighters’ efforts.Last weekend, firefighters prevented the blaze from destroying a poultry farm.Two firefighters were treated for fatigue on Sunday, and efforts were suspended at night because of dangerous wildlife in the area that could put firefighters’ safety at risk. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica Central Bank expects to maintain inflation goal for this year

first_imgNo related posts. Inflation in January and February showed significant increases, driven mainly by hikes in public services taxes – including water and electricity – and in fuel prices. Nevertheless, Central Bank officials said there is no need to change the government’s goal of 4-6 percent for 2013 inflation, a report released this week said.“What the government needs is to implement measures to contain the growth in the Consumer Price Index and bring it back into the inflation goal range,” Central Bank President Rodrigo Bolaños said.He said officials expected a similar economic situation to that of 2012, but with a lower colón interest rate, “as long as the country manages to cut the incentives to short-term foreign investments that saturated the market last year.”These inflows of capital forced the Central Bank to buy more than $1.5 billion to prevent the currency from falling below the lower-band limit of ₡500.Costa Rican Vice President Luis Liberman also said he is optimistic, mainly because state banks this year have been able to reduce the excess of cash caused by these investments, thereby maintaining affordable interest rates for those in need of credit.However, Liberman also said it is urgent that lawmakers approve a bill to prevent these types of short-term investments from entering the country. The purported law would tax by up to 30 percent short-term currency investments.“We were able to significantly collect excess cash at this time, and unless a spike in these short-term investments occurs, surpluses are manageable,” Bolaños said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Experts debate approaches to stemming Central America gang violence

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican special operations unit participates in regional ‘war games’ Global drug policy isn’t working. These 100-plus organizations want that to change. Nephews of Venezuelan first lady deny US drug charges Sinaloa drug cartel lives on despite ‘CEO’ El Chapo’s capture WASHINGTON, D.C. – This year’s highly publicized influx of child migrants from Central America via Mexico to the U.S. border has sparked intense debate about the proliferation of gangs in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. But efforts by the three countries to eliminate gang violence have been ineffective and often counterproductive.Last week, half a dozen experts met Wednesday at Washington’s Hudson Institute to discuss the issue – just days after President Barack Obama announced he would postpone action on comprehensive immigration reform until after the November midterm elections. Evan Ellis, professor of Latin American studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, speaks Sept. 10 at a Hudson Institute event in Washington, D.C., titled “Children of Misery: Guns and Gangs in Central America.” Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesThat was a deeply unpopular decision among Latino activists advocating for children in crisis, said Celina Realuyo, a professor at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at Washington’s National Defense University.“We’re about eight weeks from midterm elections, and this was a very clear calculation by the president to delay any decision on immigration to buttress support for Democratic candidates in really tight races,” Realuyo said. “My friends are very disappointed, because this is a crisis at our border, and it had been in the headlines until the deterioration of ISIS in Iraq.”Complicating that crisis is the governments’ inability to put a stop to gang-related violence in the “northern triangle” countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.In the Sept. 10 panel moderated by Jaime Daremblum, director of the Hudson’s Center for Latin American Studies and Costa Rica’s envoy in Washington from 1998 to 2004, speakers roundly criticized the region’s “mano dura” approach to gang violence.“Back in 2003, El Salvador had ‘Strong Hand Power.’ Guatemala had the ‘Tornado Plan,’ then the ‘Broom Plan’ with which it would sweep the problem away. In Honduras, they had the ‘Zero Tolerance Plan.’ Along with the dramatic titles came some very severe consequences,” said Armando González, chief editor of Costa Rica’s La Nación newspaper.Police estimate membership in MS-13, Barrio 18 and other maras in El Salvador at about 60,000 – outnumbering the army itself.“They’ve been jailed by the thousands,” said González. “The response has been almost exclusively repressive. Tougher laws have gone to the point of criminalizing gang membership itself. Populist politicians compete to take tougher stands, and once in power, produce draconian solutions.”For example, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, the new president of El Salvador, plans to implement “mano inteligente” (intelligent hand), while Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina doesn’t discard the possibility of negotiating with the gangs.“Guatemala’s minister of justice recently visited El Salvador and said something to the same effect, but political reaction in Guatemala was very strong,” he explained. “And the government had to clarify that it never said what it apparently had said.” As a young girl looks on, police on June 4, 2014 raid a home in the Barrio Abajo district of Tegucigalpa, Honduras where gang members were believed to be residing. Police raids involve an average of 25 officers, but the number can sometimes go as high as 260. Gangs in the Honduran capital constantly battle for control of neighborhoods and the trade in drugs and arms. Photo by Sean Sutton/Panos Pictures for The Washington PostIn Honduras, where authorities fear Mexico’s Los Zetas drug cartel is arming gang members, President Juan Orlando Hernández agreed to fire the country’s police chief, Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares – nicknamed “El Tigre.”“He was a poster child for the strong-hand approach, but his firing does not indicate any change in policy,” González said. “This was more a product of international pressure because El Tigre was suspected of ordering summary executions,” including those of minors.Evan Ellis, a professor at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, puts Central American gang membership as high as 70,000. Quoting a recent survey, he said half of all children reported the presence of gangs in their neighborhood.The problem is far less pronounced in Nicaragua, Panama, Belize and Costa Rica, so the focus is clearly on the “northern triangle” – where almost 80 percent of all small businesses are subject to extortion, particularly those in the public transportation system. The subsequent destruction of economic opportunity further contributes to emigration.“So does the wave of emigration itself,” said Ellis. “These people carry cash and valuable belongings, so they’re in a high-risk situation while in transit. They’re paying the coyotes to take them, and also becoming easy prey for those who would extort them.” Celina Realuyo, a professor at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesIn Guatemala, about 700 people have been killed so far this year for not paying extortion money. The gangs heavily tax human trafficking through Central America, yet police are often bought with drug money – and the policemen themselves often live in the same poor neighborhoods where gangs flourish, making them even more vulnerable.“Governments often try to impose quick solutions with a lack of resources, like arresting anybody with tattoos. But nobody is going to come forward and testify against them because the people living there are intimidated by the gangs,” said Ellis, noting that in Guatemala, 74 percent of all extortion threats are made from jail using mobile phones smuggled in by corrupt prison guards.“We’re seeing a new generation of maras, many of whom are sophisticated and without tattoos. These include accountants and lawyers, and infiltrators into the police, and to some degree, the armed forces,” he said.In El Salvador, the homicide rate fell dramatically after a church-brokered truce between MS-13 and Barrio 18 went into effect in March 2012. That year, El Salvador reported 41.2 killings per 100,000 inhabitants, down from 69.2 per 100,000 the year before. But by February 2013, the truce began to crack and murders started rising again.Earlier this month, the leaders of MS-13, Barrio 18 and three other Salvadoran gangs – Mo Mao, Maquina and Miranda Locos 13 – offered to stop attacking police and military targets if the government would provide support to church and civil group mediators who could facilitate dialogue and prevent conflicts among the rival gangs.Despite its poverty, Nicaragua has managed to steer clear of the gang problem.“Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America, but remarkably we have the lowest murder rate, together with Costa Rica,” said Bosco Matamoros, former Nicaraguan ambassador to Spain and Sweden. “In the 1980s, Nicaragua, like El Salvador, experienced a civil war in which both countries were involved in the confrontation between East and West. But there are no maras in Nicaragua because of the relationship Nicaraguan police have with the community, which is proactive instead of reactive.”Matamoros, who now lectures at the Universidad Americana de Managua, criticized Washington’s much-hyped Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). The Obama administration is asking Congress for $130 million for CARSI expenditures during fiscal year 2015. Jaime Daremblum, senior fellow and director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Latin American Studies, served from 1998 to 2004 as Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesInstead, Matamoros said, the region needs a long-term plan that offers at least $10 billion over a five-year period for development and education.“CARSI does not offer a solution for Central America. It represents $3 per capita in a region of 45 million people,” he complained. “It’s basically irrelevant. It doesn’t offer job creation, access to education that our region needs.”The Nicaraguan ex-diplomat added: “We view the drug problem as oriented by demand from the United States. As long as there’s no integrated approach, we’ll continue to follow the security approach. Continuation of the war on drugs, with an emphasis on security, is threatening the stability of the region. Central America needs a more serious engagement by the U.S. based on the concept of shared responsibility.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Waze partners with San José to improve city traffic

first_imgTraffic is notoriously bad in Costa Rica’s capital, San José, but the navigation app Waze thinks it has a solution for the city’s traffic woes.On Wednesday evening, the real-time traffic and maps mobile app Waze announced in New York it would partner with eight cities around the world, including San José, as part of its Connected Citizens Program. Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, Jakarta, Tel Aviv, Boston, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles also were named along with the U.S. state of Florida and the New York Police Department. As part of the announcement, Waze released time-lapse videos of traffic in San José and other participating cities (see above). Related posts:Why Waze is so incredibly popular in Costa Rica No more mandatory email registration for drivers, Constitutional Chamber rules Waze now gives Costa Rica drivers advice on skirting vehicle restrictions New Tinder-inspired apps will help you keep your girlfriend … then dump her The new program has been up and running since 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, where the Centro de Operações (COR) uses crowdsourced information from Waze users to manage city traffic and respond to accidents or emergencies. COR’s NASA-like control center might be a bit much to hope for in Costa Rica, but based on Rio’s experience with the API, developers think the information will improve public response time and keep drivers alerted to road conditions.Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) Vice Minister Sebastián Urbina confirmed the agreement in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon. MOPT’s statement said that Costa Rica was selected because the coffee-producing country is one of the five countries in Latin America that most uses the app. Urbina said that Waze data reached authorities faster than emergency mechanisms like 9-1-1 calls.The vice minister said that MOPT could start using Waze data as early as November. He added that the API would allow MOPT to give drivers warnings and alternate route when major events, like presidential visits or the Festival of Lights event in December, effect traffic flows.Urbina said the information collected is anonymous and there is no cost to MOPT or Waze users for the service. The Tico Times requested additional information from Waze about how and what information is shared with the ministry.Waze, which Google purchased in 2013, is a free app for iOS,  Android and Windows Phone.Check out the video below explaining how Waze worked with Rio de Janeiro to improve traffic and municipal response time to accidents and other emergencies. Facebook Comments Launching our partnership with departments of transportation in cities all around the world, tonight in NYC! #WazeW10 pic.twitter.com/BBe8aEsBnt— Waze for Brands (@WazeAds) October 2, 2014last_img read more

A whopping 88 percent of Guatemalans disapprove of President Otto Pérez Molinas

first_imgRelated posts:Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina dismisses ‘spurious’ corruption case Guatemala prosecutor confident President Pérez Molina will be removed from office, charged with graft PHOTOS: A look back at how Guatemalan citizens demanded justice – and won In Guatemala’s capital, little enthusiasm for country’s next president GUATEMALA CITY – Walk around Guatemala these days and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks Otto Pérez Molina is doing a good job as president.A poll conducted by the firm Prodatos and published Tuesday by the Guatemalan daily Prensa Libre shows that OPM’s disapproval rating tanked a staggering 25 percentage points in the past three months, thanks to ongoing corruption scandals linked to his administration. Eighty-eight percent of polled Guatemalans disapprove of his job in office. Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina. Johán Ordóñez/AFPThe poll was conducted among 1,201 people in both urban and rural areas from July 27 to Aug. 2, and has a margin of error of 2.8 percent. Despite the president’s credibility crisis, 56 percent of those polled said he should finish his term, which expires on Jan. 14, 2016.Guatemala is confronting an ongoing governability crisis since a massive corruption scandal broke on April 16, prompted by an investigation by prosecutors and the U.N.’s  International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala. That scandal led to the resignation of Vice President Roxana Baldetti on May 8, as her private secretary, Juan Carlos Monzón, was named as the ringleader of a massive customs fraud and bribery case. Monzón is still a fugitive.As imagined, Baldetti’s rating was even worse, with 92 percent of Guatemalans disapproving of her job before she stepped down.On Sept. 6, more than 7.5 million Guatemalans will head to the polls to elect Pérez Molina’s replacement, along with 338 mayoral seats, 158 lawmaker seats and 20 seats on the Central American Parliament.See also: How Guatemala’s former dictator Ríos Montt dodged a stay in a notorious psychiatric hospital Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Public Works minister defends governments progress on infrastructure projects

first_imgRelated posts:Lawmakers to discuss San José-Cartago highway expansion Ferry service between Puntarenas and Playa Naranjo to restart on Sunday Travel Alert: Temporary road closures on Route 32 start Wednesday Chauffeurs break negotiations with government officials in ongoing permit row Public Works and Transport Minister Carlos Segnini Villalobos defended the government’s progress on major infrastructure projects Thursday. Segnini took the hot seat before the Legislative Committee on Public Income and Spending Control to field questions from lawmakers, some of whom have criticized what they say isMOPT‘s minimal progress on major infrastructure projects, mainly highways.Segnini told lawmakers that most projects are not stalled, despite suggestions to the contrary. “I believe we are moving forward with all of them, even though progress on some is not clearly visible. I can assure that there is advancement on all our projects,” he said.Severe criticism for the agency has also come from Comptroller General Marta Acosta, who earlier this month said the backlog in public infrastructure projects “is caused by the improvisation, negligence, and lack of commitment and supervision by MOPT officials.”Segnini has been blasted particularly for the alleged lack of progress on expanding Route 32, the main highway connecting the Central Valley with the Caribbean province of Limón. The route is key for trade: approximately 70 percent of Costa Rican exports leave the country through Caribbean docks, according to the Costa Rican Chamber of Exporters.Critics also say MOPT hasn’t made progress on the highway improvement project between the capital San José and the Alajuela canton of San Ramón.Segnini said the government has been slowed down mainly by the red tape involved with approving projects and expropriating land for the highways.National Liberation lawmaker Antonio Álvarez Desanti asked Segnini whether the government has sufficient resources to carry out the projects. The minister said MOPT currently doesn’t have the equipment or staff to move any faster.“We have a reduced staff to manage all expropriations. In the specific case of Route 32, we’ve faced delays caused by the relocation of families from the Triángulo de la Solidaridad,” he said.The minister said most residents of the slum, located northwest of San José, have rejected the Housing Ministry’s offer to build new homes in a different location.Spending committee chairman Mario Redondo, from the Christian Democratic Alliance (ADC), also questioned Segnini for failing to draft a bill to close the National Roadway Council, set to be replaced by a new agency called the National Infrastructure Institute.Criticism of Segnini in recent days prompted lawmakers from various parties to call on President Luis Guillermo Solís to remove him from office.Petitions even came from the ruling Citizen Action Party (PAC) in late October. Legislators Javier Cambronero, Henry Mora and Víctor Morales sent the president a letter calling for the immediate dismissal of Segnini.At the time, Solís ruled out taking any action against the minister and said Segnini had already addressed every claim issued by lawmakers. The president even offered to set up a meeting between Segnini and the lawmakers to “clear their differences.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

El Salvador exPresident Francisco Flores has irreversible brain damage

first_imgRelated posts:El Salvador ex-President Francisco Flores to stand trial for embezzlement El Salvador’s Funes urges Panama to give up fugitive ex-President Flores After 7 months on the run, El Salvador’s ex-President Flores turns himself in Court revokes house arrest for former president of El Salvador, orders him to prison pending trial SAN SALVADOR – El Salvador’s former President Francisco Flores, who faces trial accused of embezzling millions of dollars in aid money for earthquake victims, has irreversible brain damage after suffering a stroke, doctors said Thursday.Flores, who was under house arrest, was rushed to a hospital Sunday after having a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body and he has been in a coma ever since.“The patient has irreversible neurological damage,” a team of specialists at Rosales hospital in San Salvador told the court where Flores faces trial.He has undergone several operations, his lawyers say.Flores, 56, is accused of stealing $15 million donated by Taiwan for victims of a 2001 earthquake.El Salvador’s president from 1999 to 2004, he turned himself in in 2014 to respond to the allegations, which he denies.He had previously been hospitalized in December for possible bleeding in the digestive tract, and had also undergone treatment for blood clots. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Rousseff Europe must act in unison facing crisis

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements She also says getting the global economy back on track “cannot rely solely on the measures adopted by developing nations.”An expanding middle class in nations like Brazil and their demand has helped the bottom lines of many multinational companies.Spain’s King Juan Carlos says that his nation has the “commitment and determination” to shrug off the crisis and that its governing institutions are solid.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   SAO PAULO (AP) – Brazil’s president says European nations must cooperate better to exit the financial crisis they face _ and they shouldn’t rely on growth in developing nations for help.President Dilma Rousseff spoke Monday in Brasilia alongside Spain’s king, who is visiting Brazil leading a business delegation.Rousseff says Brazil’s message to the upcoming G20 meeting is that Europe needs to stop bickering and act in unison. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Four benefits of having a wireless security system Sponsored Stories center_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

300000 march through Moscow with portraits of WWII veterans

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Local residents march as they carry portraits of relatives who fought in World War II, in central Moscow, Russia, Saturday, May 9, 2015. The march of the so-called Immortal Regiment is part of Saturday’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Earlier in the day, 16,500 troops took part in a military parade on Red Square.Putin said that his father “like millions of simple soldiers, and he was a simple soldier, had the right to walk across this square. But their fate turned, so that not all of them could.”Similar marches were held in other Russian cities.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes MOSCOW (AP) — About 300,000 people have walked through central Moscow holding portraits of relatives who fought in World War II.As the head of the vast column reached Red Square, the marchers were joined by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who held a photograph of his late father in his naval uniform.The march of the so-called Immortal Regiment was part of Saturday’s commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Comments   Share   Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

US inconsistent in pressing Chinas banks on secrecy

first_imgSpecial agents were able to buy counterfeit jerseys for, among others, the New York Yankees, the New York Giants, the Baltimore Orioles, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots, the Boston Red Sox, the New York Knicks, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Bears.“We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to target these unscrupulous operators where it hurts them most — at the bank,” U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said in a statement at the time.The counterfeiters’ money wasn’t actually in the United States. It was in China. But the Bank of China and ICBC themselves maintain bank accounts in America. U.S. law allows the government — but not private companies — to seize funds from such correspondent accounts to make up for dirty money a bank may be holding, out-of-reach overseas.The Bank of China and ICBC showed in court documents that the alleged counterfeiters’ accounts had relatively low balances at the time of the lawsuit, so the U.S. Treasury Department had to return most of the funds it had seized. The Treasury was able to keep $130,945.50 of the initial $2.3 million.Gucci and Tiffany & Co., which have waged years of expensive but ineffective lawsuits against online counterfeiters, have been trying to do a similar thing. They are fighting the Bank of China and ICBC in federal court in New York to force the banks to produce account information and freeze counterfeiters’ funds in China. The banks refuse, saying compliance would put them in conflict with China’s bank secrecy laws. 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too On one hand, the U.S. Justice Department has sued Chinese banks, seizing the assets of counterfeiters under a law that gives the government the power to do so. On the other hand, the Justice Department, under pressure from China, has argued that U.S. courts should more carefully consider China’s sovereign interests before ordering Chinese banks to freeze counterfeiters’ funds on behalf of private companies.Geoffrey Potter, a partner at New York’s Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler law firm, said brand owners should lobby Congress to let private companies have greater power to seize counterfeiters’ funds, like the government does.“To state the obvious, criminals manufacture and sell counterfeits to make money,” Potter said. “Thus, you will deter the counterfeiters to the extent that you can limit or eliminate their ability to get paid.”The lack of legal cooperation between China and the West has allowed counterfeiters to use Chinese banks as financial shelters, The Associated Press showed in an article last week. Four of China’s top five government-controlled banks — the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of Communications and the Agricultural Bank of China — along with the smaller China Merchants Bank have all been identified in U.S. lawsuits and investigations as facilitating credit card payments for online sales of fake goods or holding accounts for alleged counterfeiters. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top holiday drink recipes The Justice Department declined to comment on the inconsistency, or whether it would use its power to file more lawsuits to seize counterfeiters’ funds held at Chinese banks.U.S. law draws a distinction between private and public interests, granting the government more sweeping powers than the private sector. The Justice Department, in coordination with the State Department and the Treasury Department, must evaluate how seizing U.S.-based assets of a foreign bank will impact the relationship with the foreign government before proceeding.Such cases, “will be approved only if there are no other viable alternative means” of getting the tainted funds, Justice Department policy guidelines say. “It, therefore, should be considered only as a last resort.”__Associated Press writer Louise Watt contributed from Beijing.__Kinetz can be reached at –http://twitter.com/ekinetzCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. China’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment Friday, saying the issue did not fall under its remit.The banks do not dispute that the accused counterfeiters held accounts, but refuse to comply with U.S. court orders to freeze funds or disclose information about accounts in China, saying that would violate bank secrecy laws. The banks say they are committed to fighting counterfeiting, have broken no laws, and are caught in a jurisdictional dispute between China and the United States. Chinese regulators say the only legal ways to freeze funds or get information about accounts in China is through Chinese courts or the Hague Evidence Convention, both of which critics dismiss as too cumbersome.“It could make a sea change if you could get that type of information and seize those funds,” said Robert Barchiesi, the president of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, a non-profit industry group whose members include Eli Lilly & Co. and DuPont.In 2012, the U.S. Justice Department seemed to agree.That year, it filed two separate lawsuits against the Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), seizing $2.3 million in counterfeiting proceeds it said had been wired to accounts at the two banks in China. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement SHANGHAI (AP) — Counterfeiters use several of China’s largest state banks as safe havens, relying on them to process credit card payments or move money beyond the reach of law enforcement in the United States, where many fake products are sold online. But the U.S. government has not taken a clear stand on whether to push Chinese banks to be more cooperative in tracing and seizing counterfeiters’ money. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories People walk past a Bank of China branch as customers wait to use ATMs in Beijing Monday, May 11, 2015. Bank of China is one of several large, state-owned Chinese banks that has been identified, in U.S. lawsuits and investigations, as facilitating credit card payments for online sales of fake goods or holding accounts for alleged counterfeiters. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) Chinese regulators, diplomats and courts have uniformly backed the Chinese banks’ position.In a May 2013 letter, the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. urged the U.S. State Department to “take concrete actions to safeguard the overall interest of the judicial and law enforcement cooperation between the two countries.” The embassy asked the U.S. to “intervene” in the Gucci and Tiffany cases, by filing a brief admonishing U.S. courts to “respect China’s sovereignty and laws.”One year later, the U.S. Justice Department did just that. In a May 2014 friend of the court brief for the Gucci and Tiffany lawsuits, the Justice Department argued that U.S. courts must consider more carefully whether it is reasonable to force Chinese banks to freeze client accounts in violation of Chinese law — despite the fact that the U.S. government itself had seized counterfeiters’ money from Chinese banks two years earlier.Statements by foreign governments on their “sovereign interests are to be respectfully received and evaluated,” the Justice Department brief said. The district court, the brief added, was wrong to dismiss the banks’ efforts to block asset freeze orders that conflicted with Chinese law without further review. 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Police disperse rally against electricity prices in Armenia

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories About 5,000 demonstrators marched Monday to the presidential headquarters, but were stopped by phalanxes of riot police backed by water cannons.The protesters then sat on the road, blocking traffic and ignoring repeated demands by police to leave.They refused the government’s offers to appoint representatives to present their demands to President Serge Sarkisian and demanded that he attend the rally.Police repeatedly told the demonstrators to disperse, but several hundred remained there through the night. Riot police eventually moved to break up the protest early Tuesday, using water cannons.Some protesters resisted police and threw rocks at the officers, who responded by beating them with truncheons.Armenian police spokesman Ashot Agaronian said that 237 demonstrators were detained. He said seven demonstrators and 11 police officers were injured.Early Tuesday, police also broke up a small rally in Armenia’s second-largest city of Gyumri held in support of the main protest in the capital, arresting 12 people.The demonstrators were demanding that the government reconsider its decision to increase electricity prices for households by 17-22 percent. Initially they weren’t making any political demands, but later some participants in the protest called for Sarkisian’s resignation. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Check your body, save your life The opposition Armenian National Congress’s faction in parliament walked out in protest against the rally’s break-up during Tuesday’s parliament session and demanded the release of all those who were detained.Raffi Hovannisian, the leader of the opposition Heritage party who challenged Sarkisian in a 2013 presidential election, also denounced the government over the crackdown on the protest, calling it “the national shame.”Sarkisian, who is serving his second term, hasn’t yet commented on the protest.The landlocked country’s economy is hobbled by the longstanding closure of its borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey over the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and depends on close ties with Russia.Russian companies control some of the most prized economic assets in Armenia, including the country’s power grid whose price hike triggered the protest.The protest was organized by activists, who recently had succeeded in blocking a hike in bus ticket prices.“We will come to the end to defend our rights,” one of the protest organizers, 28-year old lawyer Rimma Sarkisian, said over the weekend. She said they weren’t affiliated with any of Armenia’s political forces. Alexander Iskandarian, the head of the Caucasus Institute, an independent think-tank, said the protest reflected “the radicalization of opposition activities.”Another protest is set to be held later on Tuesday.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Riot police armed with water cannons on Tuesday forcefully dispersed demonstrators who blocked a central avenue in the Armenian capital to protest a hike in electricity prices, arresting more than 200 people.The scope of the protest and its tough dispersal represented the most serious unrest Armenia has seen in years, raising concerns about political stability in the impoverished ex-Soviet nation that hosts a Russian military base and is part of a Moscow-dominated economic alliance.last_img read more

Parador Resort Spa and AMPR Receive Platinum Level Leader in S

first_imgWith a crowd of more than 800 industry and agency professionals, The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) presented the winners of its 55th annual Adrian Awards at the New York Marriott Marquis on Monday night to the top companies and individuals in hospitality, travel and tourism for achievements in advertising, public relations and digital marketing. Founded in 1957, the Adrian Awards embraces every segment of the industry, including hotels, airlines, cruise lines, car rental companies, destinations, credit card companies and more.  Within this distinguished framework, Costa Rica’s Parador Resort & Spa and its agency, Andria Mitsakos Public Relations (AMPR) received the Platinum award for “Leader in Sustainable Tourism.” Chosen by a judging committee from National Geographic Travel and HSMAI, Parador was upheld as a leading example of sustainable leadership in tourism and hospitality, having shown demonstrable leadership and innovation in preserving and communicating an authentic sense of place through its wisely managed tourism campaign. This year, there were more than 1,000 entries for awards. “It’s an honor to be recognized among so many deserving participants with this prestigious award,” said Andria Mitsakos, President and CEO of AMPR. “We are committed to providing the best service possible to each and every client, as is Parador Resort & Spa. They are truly unique in their class, with an incredible dedication not only to conservation and preservation, but to making the guest experience as amazing and unforgettable as it should be.”The prestigious Platinum winners were chosen as the most extraordinary entrants from the field of Gold winners. Nominees were judged by how their efforts preserve the environmental, cultural and historic integrity of their destination, and how the program demonstrated leadership, innovation and accomplished its goals. “The fact that National Geographic Travel was a part of the judging committee and chose us as Platinum winners takes our breath away,” said Marja Schans, President of Parador Resort & Spa. “We put our heart and soul into our resort and our commitment towards sustainable tourism, community outreach and education. We are thrilled and want to thank HSMAI and National Geographic Traveler for this honor.”Winners will also be recognized in a National Geographic Traveler and USA Today ad announcement, plus National Geographic will design a custom created ad unit in a spread in Traveler’s May issue celebrating the winners with photos from the Gala Awards event. Source = Parador Resort & Spa / AMPRlast_img read more

New South Wales still home of international visitors

first_imgNew South Wales still home of international visitorsNSW has once again been named the number one destination in Australia, with a record 3.3 million international visitors, and the State welcoming almost 1.1 million visitors more than either Victoria or Queensland during the last 12 months.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) results confirm NSW is still Australia’s number one destination, with international visitation worth almost $7.5 billion to the State’s economy in the year ending March 2015 – an increase of 9 per cent on the previous year.“NSW is still number one for visitors – there were 3.3 million visitors to our great State in the last year, up 7 per cent. This compares to Victoria and Queensland that both recorded around 2.2 million visitors during the year,” Mr Ayres said.“Visitors stayed a record total of almost 79 million nights in NSW, compared to 53 million nights in Victoria and 48 million nights in Queensland. We are clearly number one in Australia.“International visitors to Sydney increased by 7 per cent, mainly due to growth of 9.7 per cent in holiday visitors. Visitors in the regions also grew by 6.7 per cent, with international visitors to the HunterValley up by 14 per cent and Blue Mountains up by 15 per cent,” Mr Ayres added.Three important visitor markets also recorded significant growth, with China up 19 per cent, USA up 8 per cent, India up 23 per cent and Germany up 12 per cent. China remained the top market for international guests to NSW with 500,000 visitors, and there were almost 400,000 visitors from New Zealand. The United Kingdom remained third, with around 340,000 visitors to NSW.During the March quarter NSW hosted events such as the APIA International Sydney, the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Australian Open of Surfing, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, the Sydney International Rowing Regatta, and the Touch Football Australia National Touch League in Coffs Harbour.Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said the results show that the NSW Government’s initiatives to attract more visitors from around the world are working.“The latest results demonstrate our success in ensuring NSW remains Australia’s number one destination, and with a fantastic line up of events coming this year including the NRL Grand Final, the 2015 Netball World Cup, Matilda: The Musical and Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour, we will continue to attract visitors to our great state.”Source = Destination NSWlast_img read more

Rail Plus and Sabre release first Red App developed in Australia

first_imgRail Plus and Sabre release first Red App developed in AustraliaRail Plus and Sabre release first Red App developed in AustraliaTravel agents booking rail travel will now have a high-speed booking tool to match the popularity of high speed rail, with the news today that Rail Plus and Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) have unveiled a new Sabre Red App. The new ‘Rail Plus Red App’ will make it easier for travel agents in Australia and New Zealand to book and process rich international rail content from Rail Plus, Australasia’s leading international rail specialist general sales agent (GSA), within the agent booking workflow.The Rail Plus Red App – the first Sabre Red App developed in Australia – will give travel agents and corporate travel managers the ability to search and book Rail Plus products in the Sabre travel marketplace and then integrate all rail booking details seamlessly within the Sabre PNR.Rail Plus Chief Executive James Dunne says the new Sabre Red App is a major development for international rail merchandising in Australia and New Zealand, specifically designed to meet the needs of travel agents here.“More consumers are looking to high-speed rail as an option within their trip itineraries today, and the advantages it offers, for corporate travel in particular, are becoming widely recognised amongst agents and corporate travel managers – from the convenience of travelling between centrally-located train stations to fewer baggage restrictions, less onerous security checks and on-the-go connectivity through access to free Wi-Fi,” says Dunne.“The launch of this new App will improve agent productivity by embedding rich rail content within the agent workflow, alongside air and other non-air content in the Sabre travel marketplace, making shopping and comparing travel options faster and more efficient,” adds Dunne.Sabre’s Red App Centre currently offers more than 100 published applications.Sabre Travel Network South Pacific Regional Director, Richard Morgan, says the release of the first locally-developed Sabre Red App represents an important milestone for Sabre in Australia.“Rail Plus has successfully driven demand for international rail within the Australasian market over the last three decades and today, more travellers than ever are considering rail travel as a component within their overseas itineraries,” comments Richard. “This new Red App, which integrates directly to the agent booking workflow to bring rail products into a Sabre PNR, will make it even easier for travel agents to respond to these traveller demands.” Rail Plus Sabre Red App Source = Sabre – Rail Pluslast_img read more