Agents can win dream vacation with Sunquests Deal of the Week

first_img Friday, July 22, 2016 Share Posted by Agents can win dream vacation with Sunquest’s Deal of the Week Tags: Sunquestcenter_img MISSISSAUGA – This week’s Deal of the Week’ for travel agents and clients, courtesy of Sunquest, includes savings of over $2,000 in several sun destinations, and a free stay for agents at a top resort.Clients can save up to $2,200 per couple, per week at all 13 Dreams Resorts and Spas offered by Sunquest in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. Plus, travel agents have a chance to win seven nights’ accommodation at Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort.Sunquest will be doing a random draw form the prize when the Deal of the Week ends. All Deal of the Week bookings qualify as a ballot to win. The contest runs from July 21-27.For more details go to travelbrandsagent.com. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Minister MacCharles slated to attend TICO AGM June 20

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Minister MacCharles slated to attend TICO AGM June 20 Posted by Sharecenter_img Tuesday, June 13, 2017 TORONTO — Ontario’s Minister of Government and Consumer Services Tracy MacCharles will be on hand to address stakeholders at TICO’s Annual General Meeting on June 20.The AGM starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre at 4141 Living Arts Drive.“With the Ontario Government’s comprehensive review of the Travel Industry Act and Regulation underway, these are both exciting and challenging times for the travel industry and TICO,” said TICO CEO and Registrar, Richard Smart.“We are very honored to welcome Minister MacCharles to TICO’s AGM and look forward to her providing her remarks on Ontario’s consumer protection initiatives and future government priorities.”Smart said he encourages Ontario travel industry stakeholders including travel agents and tour operators “to mark their calendars” and attend TICO’s AGM.A long-awaited review of the Ontario’s Travel Industry Act was finally given the green light by the provincial government in 2016. The goal is to update and modernize the consumer protection legislation, strengthen consumer protection and reduce burden on business. “[The] industry has been asking for a review for some time and TICO is looking forward to working with the Ministry and engaging stakeholders in ensuring a strong consumer protection framework for the future,” said TICO at last year’s AGM. Tags: TICOlast_img read more

These people booked a window seat but sat next to this instead

first_imgThese people booked a window seat but sat next to this instead @Qantas Seat 9A…Window Seat…#wheresmywindow? I’m pretty claustrophobic and this really didn’t help. QF547 pic.twitter.com/bh9KJjgaC0— Schipffy (@schipffy) February 20, 2017 Share Posted by Thanks @united! I paid for upgrade for a window seat, and THERE. IS. NO. WINDOW! #10F #wheresmywindow pic.twitter.com/RZLr1OIQQA— cant tell you (@trashmoneyyy) March 21, 2017 LONDON — You’d think that when booking a window seat on a plane, you’re guaranteed the one defining feature of that seat – a window. But alas, in an era where “no-frills” increasingly means new lows for the airline industry, even windows aren’t a sure thing anymore.A new hashtag has been making the rounds on social media these days to describe the latest gripe of ripped-off fliers. #wheresmywindow is being used by unfortunate passengers who were stuck sitting next to a windowless wall, despite having booked a window seat.According to the YouTube channel Today I Found Out, which investigated the issue last October, airlines are adding more rows of seats to aircraft to raise revenue. As a result, some rows are left without windows, an unfortunate by-product in the race towards competitive airfares.Most of the tweets poked fun of the respective airlines and were kept on the humourous side. Check out some of our favourites:My seat has no window. maybe that’s extra? #wheresmywindow #missingwindow #windowawarenessday https://t.co/tMh5L8n4F3 pic.twitter.com/0dv3OmZlao— Alistair Bates (@realAlistairB) July 21, 2017 Friday, September 15, 2017 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

International buyers invited to St Maartens SMART show May 21 – 23

first_imgInternational buyers invited to St. Maarten’s SMART show May 21 – 23 Tags: St. Maarten Share Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Tuesday, February 26, 2019 NEW YORK — Saint Martin/Sint Maarten is back in action and ready to show off its product with the Saint Martin/Sint Maarten Annual Regional Trade Show (SMART), taking place May 21 – 23.The event offers international and regional buyers the opportunity to meet and network with suppliers and other key tourism industry partners and includes master classes, workshops, activities and festivities.SMART is a collaborative initiative between the St. Martin Tourism Office, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, the Saint Martin Hotel Association (L’Association des Hôteliers de Saint Martin) and the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA).“SMART is one of the largest marketplace events where buyers and suppliers can meet one-on-one in the Eastern Caribbean Islands and is the most highly anticipated tourism industry event on-island,” says Stuart Johnson, St. Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication.“It is our goal to further connect the Caribbean’s tourism entities, ultimately strengthening its tourism-based business as a whole. We look forward to welcoming our tourism partners back to our shores in 2019.”More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksEarly bird registration runs until April. Those looking to express their interest in attending can contact SHTA at events@shta.com. Further event information will be provided on SHTA’s website: SHTA.com/SMART.“We look forward to welcoming everyone back to our beautiful island to participate in this year’s SMART conference,” says May-Ling Chun, Director of Tourism of St. Maarten. “In the 16th edition of the event, we hope to continue fostering new and long-lasting relationships between industry leaders from across the world.”This year’s marketplace will allow for a day and a half of one-on-one meetings with buyers and suppliers from across the globe, she adds.SMART annually incorporates the nearby allied destinations of Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Barthelemy, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Tortola.This year’s event will also feature suppliers from other destinations throughout the region, including Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckThe event is attended each year by tour operators, travel agents, travel writers and event planners from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Latin America. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

The Bahamas reports strongest tourism numbers ever

first_imgThe Bahamas reports strongest tourism numbers ever Travelweek Group Friday, March 22, 2019 NASSAU — The Bahamas has achieved its highest number of international arrivals ever, thanks in part to a boost in lift from source markets including Canada. The strong numbers have resulted in record hotel occupancy levels.According to The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation’s data partner, ForwardKeys, which tracks inbound visitor data 365 days in advance, international arrivals to The Bahamas grew by 15% in January 2019 versus the same month in 2018, with several key markets registering double-digit growth. February was also strong for the destination, with an 11.1% year-over-year increase in international arrivals.The forward booking situation for the next three months (March to May) is “optimistic”, says the Ministry, with forward bookings running 9.0% ahead for international arrivals. April, ahead by 15.6%, shows the most favourable outlook.Air capacity grew by 20.0% in January year-over-year, with a solid seat growth from international markets like the United States (+23.9%) and Canada (+12.7%). The USA and Canada will continue to lead capacity growth in the next three months. The growth trend continues, as international air capacity grew by nearly 21% year-over-year in February.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesLast year also saw record-breaking numbers for cruise ship and stopover arrivals. By the end of 2018, foreign air and sea arrivals had totaled more than 6.6 million visitors, up from the 6.1 million recorded in 2017. Stopover visitors alone had increased 16.7% in 2018, as compared to 2017, and Freeport saw a surge of sea visitors by 49%.The Nassau and Paradise Island hotel industry reported a spike in average daily room rates and revenue per available room in 2018 compared to 2017. The year ended with room revenues up 34%, gains not seen in the past 10 years.“It is my great pride and pleasure to report that The Bahamas is experiencing its strongest tourism numbers ever on record,” said Bahamas Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar. “We look forward to building upon the success of our progressive plans and continuing the momentum in 2019 as we forge ahead with exciting new initiatives.”More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTComing off this record-breaking year, The Bahamas kicked off 2019 with the launch of a brand new campaign in partnership with rock legend and Bahamian-American Lenny Kravitz. Set to the lyrics of Kravitz’s hit song ‘Fly Away’, the television commercial and supporting marketing campaign captures his deep personal connection to the island as well as encourages travellers to ‘fly away’ to The Bahamas.In addition to the new campaign, the Ministry is also preparing for the development of a new cruise port in Nassau. << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Posted by Tags: Bahamas, Nassau, Statistics Sharelast_img read more

Costa Rica secures 670 million loan for hydroelectric dam

first_imgThe Inter-American Development Bank (BID) approved $670 million in loans to finance the Reventazón Hydroelectric Dam – the most complex hydroelectric project ever built in Costa Rica – near the Caribbean slope town of Siquirres.The 305.5 MW project is expected to provide energy for some 525,000 families and comes with an estimated price tag of $1.1 billion. It is slated to start generating energy in 2016 (TT, April 15, 2011).Funding for the project will go to “the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a 305.5 MW hydroelectric plant and its associated facilities including transmission lines, substations and access roads,” according to the bank’s website.Costa Rica currently generates about 90 percent of its electricity from renewable resources, namely hydroelectricity. The country aims to reach 95 percent renewable energy generation by 2014, and by 2021 – the same year it hopes to become the world’s first carbon-neutral country – Costa Rica wants to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable resources (TT, Dec. 08, 2011). Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Costa Ricas government issues warning on dengue outbreak reports 14000 cases in

first_imgA week after the Health Ministry releaseda warning on dengue, the Costa Rican Social Security System (Caja) reported that 14,284 cases have occurred in the country so far this year.Elenita Ramírez, spokeswoman for the Caja, told the daily La Prensa Libre that this year the country is seeing approximately four times as many cases as the previous year. Ramírez also said that in years past, the age group most at risk was 20 to 29-year-olds, but that has now expanded to those between 15 and 65.Severe cases of dengue are rarer, with only 30 having been reported so far Only three deaths have been attributed to the virus.Dengue is a mosquito-transmitted virus with no vaccine. The rainy season, which lasts until November for most of Costa Rica, is the peak season for mosquitoes and dengue.“Epidemiologists said that, right now, the Costa Rican population is vulnerable because three strains of the dengue virus are circulating, and the probability of a second infection by this virus is highly elevated,” the Caja released in a statement on Wednesday.In San José, the areas most affected were Santa Ana, Mora, La Carpio, Pavas, México, and Guido, according to the daily La Nación.Outside of the capitol, the most affected provinces were Guanacaste, Puntarenas, Limón and Alajuela.The Caja also released thirteen tips on fighting the disease.1. Wash sinks, boats, tins, buckets and other receptacles where water accumulates.2. Cover all receptacles where you store water.3. Turn over boats, ferries and other watercraft.4. Fill tree hollows, flowerpots and other cavities.5. Recycle all plastics, aluminum and glass that can accumulate water.6. Reuse in a creative and friendly fashion receptacles of plastic, aluminum, glass and tires.7. Make holes in tires that you find in parks and parking lots so they do not accumulate water.8. Bury seeds, coconuts, stalks and other organic refuse.9. Put objects below the ceiling that can accumulate water and cannot dissolve.10. Only discard material that can accumulate water in the trash.11. Fumigate dark areas of your residence below the sink, below furniture, the closet, etc.12. Organize with neighbors so that mosquitoes who transmit the disease cannot reproduce.13. Protect yourself if you live in or visit an area where there is an active transmission of dengue with repellent, especially in those most exposed areas of your body. Facebook Comments Related posts:Dengue numbers finally drop in Costa Rica Costa Rica dengue epidemic not slowing down in a record-breaking year Dengue fever deaths climb to 12 in Nicaragua Costa Rica dengue epidemic sets all-time record for calendar yearlast_img read more

Wreckage definitely from missing Malaysia Airlines jet Malaysia PM says

first_imgRelated posts:UPDATE: MH370 clues mount as wreckage identified as Boeing 777 One of Sea Shepherd’s missions in Costa Rica: Protecting whales Australian politician calls for US travel warning after California shooting Red Hot Chili Peppers to play Lollapalooza as new album emerges KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Debris found on an Indian Ocean island a week ago is from flight MH370, Malaysia’s prime minister said Thursday, confirming for the first time that the plane which mysteriously disappeared 17 months ago met a tragic end.“Today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a very heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts has conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370,” Najib Razak told reporters.French prosecutors used more cautious language, saying only there was a “very high probability” the wreckage came from MH370.The Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared on March 8 last year, inexplicably veering off course en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, sparking a colossal but ultimately fruitless multinational hunt for the aircraft.Last week’s discovery of a two-meter-long wing part called a flaperon on the French island of La Reunion has provided the first glimmer of hope for relatives desperate for answers.It was examined at a military lab outside the French city of Toulouse in the presence of Malaysian and Australian experts, Boeing employees and representatives from China — the country that lost the most passengers in the disaster.Malaysia Airlines hailed the news as a “major breakthrough.”“We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found which would be able to help resolve this mystery,” the airline said in a statement.Sara Weeks, the sister of MH370 passenger Paul Weeks of New Zealand, said the confirmation ended “a week of turmoil.”“We’ve had 17 months of nothing … so actually finding something is the first step towards pinpointing where it is,” Weeks told the Fairfax New Zealand media group.Some families said the confirmation was not enough to lay the matter to rest, as they reiterated demands to know why the plane went off course, flying for hours after its communications and tracking systems were shut down, in what remains one of the biggest mysteries in the history of aviation.“Now I want to know where the main body of the plane is so that we can take out the passengers and get the black box so we can know what happened. Only that, for us, will be full closure,” said Jacquita Gonzales, wife of MH370 chief steward Patrick Gomes.Meanwhile, Weeks said it was “pretty disgusting” that she heard about the confirmation from a reporter and had not been contacted beforehand by the Malaysian authorities.‘A huge step’Gerry Soejatman, a Jakarta-based aviation consultant, said proof the flaperon came from MH370 was a “huge step.”“People want all the answers, but look, let’s be real. We must be glad that we found something at all. Now we know roughly where it might have crashed,” he said.“This answers a lot of questions actually. It eliminates other theories, conspiracy theories. If the black box is found later on, it is likely we could get more answers.”The Malaysian premier gave no indication that the analysis of the debris yielded any clues into the cause of the disappearance.Many relatives accuse his government and the airline of a bungled response to the disaster, possible cover-up, and insensitive treatment of families, charges that are vehemently denied.“I would like to assure all those affected by this tragedy that the government of Malaysia is committed to do everything within our means to find out the truth of what happened,” Najib said.“MH370’s disappearance marked us as a nation. We mourn with you, as a nation.”Meanwhile, Australian authorities said Thursday that they were confident the search for MH370 was being carried out in the right area and the plane would be found.“(The La Reunion find) is consistent with all the work we’ve done so we’re confident that we’re looking in the right area and we’ll find the aircraft there,” Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, told ABC radio.But Dolan added that it was “too early to tell” what happened to the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet, adding that “close examination (of the flaperon) is what’s necessary to access how much we can learn.”Australia has been leading the hunt for the plane.Starting grieving processIt is hoped that more detailed examination in the coming days can yield information on the final moments of the plane by showing how it detached itself from the wing, or whether it showed traces of an explosion or fire.Scientists have also pointed to the barnacles attached to the flaperon, saying these could give an idea of how long the fragment had been in the water, and perhaps where it had been.“If it has cold-water barnacles on it that might tell them it went down further south than they think. Or if it’s got only tropical barnacles, that might tell them it went down further north,” said Shane Ahyong, a crustacean specialist from the Australian Museum.For the victims’ loved ones, any tangible piece of information is likely to help them in seeking closure, according to psychologist Carole Damiani, who specializes in helping the families of people who died in disasters.“The grieving process is about untying oneself from someone, accepting that they will not be found and they have gone forever,” she said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Few rules govern treatment of transgender prisoners in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s Supreme Court orders release of Nicaraguan unjustly imprisoned for 17 months Costa Rica’s justice minister: ‘We are not releasing inmates’ Latin America’s prisons in critical condition Costa Rica court refuses to hear sex reassignment case Mónica Navarro pulls her long black hair behind her ear and lets it fall down her back where it stops just above her waist. Mascara gives her eyes a kohl look. She has high cheek bones. The way she carries herself, she might be a model if she weren’t serving 10 years for armed robbery.Navarro, 25, is one of 10 transgender prisoners serving time in San Rafael Prison.Last year, the Ombudsman’s Office decried a lack of access to health services and education for trans prisoners at San Rafael. At a time when the Costa Rican prison system finds itself bursting at the seams after a decade of overcrowding, there are few set criteria governing how transgender inmates should be handled by the prisons. The Ombudsman’s Office is expected to release a report on the issue later this month.Transgender prisoners are sent to either a men’s prison or to Costa Rica’s only women’s prison, El Buen Pastor, based on the sex assigned to them by the court system at the time they are sentenced, according to Justice Ministry spokesman David Delgado.Once prisoners like Navarro, who was born male, are processed they are typically sent to men’s prisons where they live among the general inmate population. Reynaldo Villalobos, director of the Costa Rican Penitentiary System, said that trans prisoners were once isolated in prisons but a court decision ordered the system to integrate transgender prisoners, arguing that segregation violated their human rights.Villalobos admitted that being assigned to gen pop was a frightening prospect for many trans prisoners.“They come in with a lot of fear,” said Villalobos. “We try to reassure them.”He said there were no reports of violence against any of the transgender prisoners in San Rafael.Navarro said she would prefer to be separated from the general population in San Rafael. She said that while she hasn’t suffered any physical violence she and other trans inmates have been verbally harassed by other inmates. A transgender inmate shares the same communal space with male prisoners at La Reforma prison. Alberto Font/The Tico Times“There’s a lot of homophobia, transphobia,” Navarro said. “I don’t push back against it. We have to keep quiet, just let them yell at us, treat us like they do. We can’t do anything.”Mariela Matarrita, who worked on the forthcoming investigation from the Ombudsman’s Office, said her interviews with San Rafael’s transgender prisoners provided no consensus on the issue.“It’s very relative,” when it comes to trans prisoners’ housing preference, Matarrita said. “From the interviews we’ve conducted, some say they would prefer to be housed with women prisoners. Others say they prefer to stay where they are now,” in gen pop at San Rafael.Unsurprisingly, prisoners like Navarro stand out from the prison crowd. In 2012, a prisoner at La Reforma Prison — just down the road from San Rafael — successfully petitioned the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court for the right to dress as he liked, including in women’s clothing. The court said discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation was unconstitutional and that establishing an “arbitrary limitation” on how the prisoner dressed violated his (the court considered the prisoner male) right to equal treatment and human dignity.The court did say the prisoner’s clothing choice could not be “scandalous,” call undue attention, or risk the security of the other inmates. (An earlier, 2003 court case ruled that high heels were not appropriate prison wear.)Navarro, the trans prisoner at San Rafael told The Tico Times that conditions there were “terrible.” The prison population is nearly 80 percent over capacity. Overcrowding is one of the impediments to any prisoner getting access to health services, let alone a prisoner potentially with special needs, said Kattia López, spokeswoman for Proyectos en Salud Integral, which runs sexual health workshops at San Rafael on a regular basis.López said that PSI has been offering health classes at the prison for five years now. She said the group’s services address the general prison population, not just transgender prisoners, but that the organization had held separate meetings for trans prisoners to express any needs or questions that they might otherwise feel uncomfortable addressing in front of others.“The conditions that create vulnerable situations in prisons for the trans population are very similar to those that they are exposed to outside of the penitentiary,” López said.López said that beyond transgender prisoners, the group also addresses health issues for men who have sex with men, who may not identify as gay, with a focus on HIV prevention and testing.She said some transgender prisoners worked in the sex trade prior to their incarceration and if they continue to offer those services in prison they need to be aware of the risks. Ideally, she said, they would have access to condoms for sex work or consensual relations between inmates.Inmate Mónica Navarro told The Tico Times that she could not get access to condoms at San Rafael.Along with the pending report from the Ombudsman’s Office, Justice Ministry spokesman David Delgado said that the penitentiary system would be starting a study this month to collect more information about transgender, gay and lesbian inmates. Such information is currently not tracked by the ministry, he said in an email.Mariela Matarrita of the Ombudsman’s Office said that the prison has made progress addressing access to health services, educational opportunities and gender expression for transgender prisoners at San Rafael.“Prison officials have been very open to recommendations and observations from the Ombudsman’s Office when it comes to this very special, specific population and the specific needs they require,” Matarrita said.Mónica Navarro said that her family was “marvelous” and has always supported her decision to come out as a girl, which she did at age 9. But beyond her family, many of the negative stereotypes and confusion about transgender people have followed her into prison.“Lots of people are uncomfortable,” she said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Europeans Latin Americans to meet on Venezuela crisis

first_imgAn international meeting to negotiate a solution to the Venezuelan crisis was set to open Thursday in Montevideo as President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó sparred over allowing humanitarian aid into the crisis-wracked country.The European Union, eight other European countries and five Latin American nations were scheduled to meet in the Uruguayan capital with the goal of creating conditions for a peaceful political process, according to a European diplomatic source.The initiative, originally launched by Mexico and Uruguay as a “neutral countries” conference on Venezuela, has evolved into a meeting of a “Contact Group” launched by the EU in late January, and joined by Costa Rica, Bolivia and Ecuador.On Wednesday, Maduro — having rejected an EU ultimatum on organizing snap presidential elections — welcomed the meeting and expressed support for “all steps and initiatives to facilitate dialogue.”But Guaidó, who on Jan. 23 declared himself Venezuela’s interim president and is now recognized by 40 countries, has strongly rejected any talks with the government, dismissing it as a way for Maduro to buy time.“The opposition … will not lend itself to any kind of false dialogue,” he reiterated Wednesday.Humanitarian aid blockedThe same day, Guaidó had warned the army of its responsibilities after soldiers blocked a key border bridge, sparking angry demands from the United States to allow desperately needed humanitarian aid to enter the country.Venezuela’s army had to choose between “a dictatorship that does not have an iota of humanity, or to side with the constitution” from which he takes his legitimacy, Guaidó said in an interview on Colombian radio.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Venezuela’s military was deliberately blocking the aid “under Maduro’s orders.” Washington has pledged $20 million in aid, while Canada has pledged $40 million and the EU $7.5 million.Maduro, who is supported by Russia, China, Turkey, Cuba and Iran, has refused all humanitarian aid shipments to Venezuela, which he says would open the way to allow a U.S. military invasion. The 56-year-old has repeatedly accused the United States of fomenting a coup.He dismissed the need for aid on Wednesday as a “political show.”“Imperialism does not help anyone in the world,” he told Russia Today.Divided viewsBut while tensions remained at a peak, participants in Thursday’s meeting intended to “find a way between” the positions of US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and others, an EU source told AFP.It is “not easy”, added the source, whose delegation will be led by EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini.Even around the negotiating table, views are divided.On Wednesday, ahead of the meeting, Uruguay and Mexico — among the few Latin American countries that did not recognize Guaidó — proposed a dialogue without pre-conditions.“If we demand elections at this time, we impose conditions that make dialogue difficult,” Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa said in a joint statement of the two governments.Meanwhile among the Europeans, France, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden are among the 21 out of 28 EU member states that officially support Guaidó. Italy has not done so.Mexico agreed to attend the meeting but did not wish to formally join the Contact Group.Above all, the EU diplomatic source told AFP the meeting was about agreeing on “working methods.”Meanwhile, 35-year-old National Assembly chief Guaidó has continued to ramp up pressure on the regime with a series of mass protests, the next of which is scheduled for February 12.His fledgling alternative administration will hold talks in Washington on February 14 on responding to “the largest hemispheric humanitarian crisis in modern history.”This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica, EU and Latam contact group on Venezuela will meet Thursday Who is Juan Guaidó Contact Group pushes for progress on Venezuela impasse Venezuela withdraws diplomatic credential from Costa Rican diplomatlast_img read more

Intl Court No probe on RwandaCongo arms issue

first_imgRwanda has denied reports by the United Nations and rights groups that it is supporting the M23 rebel movement in East Congo, which has sparked new fighting in the area that has forced more than 200,000 civilians from their homes since April.The U.S. government cut this year’s planned military assistance to Rwanda amid concerns that the government in Kigali is supporting rebel movement.Earlier this month the ICC issued a second arrest warrant against Ntaganda focusing on crimes he allegedly committed in the Kivus for a year starting in September 2002.Judges said he is wanted on three counts of crimes against humanity and four of war crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery, persecution and pillage.Ntaganda’s first arrest warrant charges him with three war crimes committed in the Ituri region of Congo for allegedly using child soldiers.Ntaganda was first indicted in 2006 but has evaded capture since then. He was co-opted into Congo’s army as part of a peace deal, but defected from the armed forces in April with other renegade soldiers and regrouped as the M23 rebel group. The name comes from the date in March 2009 when Ntaganda and his rebels were integrated into the army they have again deserted. Among the four suspects facing trial at the ICC next April is Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Education Minister William Ruto. Both plan to run for president.Kenyatta is the son of Kenya’s founding president, Jomo Kenyatta, and the country’s richest citizen.The Kenyans face charges for allegedly orchestrating the violence that broke out in Kenya after the 2007 election. More than 1,000 people died and 600,000 others were displaced by the violence.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressNAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – The International Criminal Court is not investigating Rwanda’s alleged support of a rebel group committing atrocities in the Congo, a court official said Thursday.The court’s focus is on the arrest of the rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda of the M23 rebel group, said Phakiso Mochochoko, head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division at the ICC.“We are not in any way looking at Rwanda and in addition to that Rwanda is not even a state party to the ICC,” Mochochoko said. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Sponsored Stories Congolese President Joseph Kabila dismissed calls for his arrest under the first ICC warrant and argued until recently that Ntaganda’s cooperation was essential to keeping the peace in Congo’s troubled east. U.N. peacekeepers in Congo who should have been arresting Ntaganda were forced to work with soldiers under his command.Ntaganda denies any part in the mutiny that has again shattered the fragile peace in eastern Congo this year, and the new M23 movement denies that Ntaganda is its leader. But a U.N. experts report that accuses Rwanda of helping create and arm the rebellion, says Ntaganda is behind it and that new recruits from Rwanda are bedded and fed at a hotel Ntaganda owns on Congo’s border with Rwanda.Separately, Mochochoko, who spoke in Kenya after meeting the country’s leaders, said cases against four prominent Kenyans, two of whom have declared their intentions to run for the presidency will continue no matter what the outcome of Kenya’s March election is.“There is no immunity of the crimes under the ICC statute. ICC statutes are clear that whether you’re the head of state, whether you are prime minister, whether you are a king, if there are crime or if you are alleged to commit the crimes then there is no immunity against you and that you will be investigated and prosecuted,” Mochochoko said.center_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   Top holiday drink recipes Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debateslast_img read more

New Belarus foreign minister named

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix MINSK, Belarus (AP) – Belarus’ authoritarian president has named a new foreign minister in what is being seen as an effort to improve relations with the European Union and United States.Vladimir Makei, the head of the presidential administration, replaces Sergei Martynov, who had been foreign minister for nine years.Political analysts saw Monday’s appointment as an overture to the West from President Alexander Lukashenko. The vital role family plays in society 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img The EU has imposed punitive sanctions on Belarus over human rights abuses. Relations soured further this month when Lukashenko’s government effectively expelled Sweden’s ambassador after he met with opposition activists.Makei, however, is also on the list of 243 Belarusians targeted by EU travel bans and asset freezes.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Top Stories last_img read more

Russias Putin tells critic his stunts were staged

first_img Four benefits of having a wireless security system Comments   Share   3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Putin confirmed to journalist Masha Gessen that “of course, (the jugs) were planted” and added that “swindles happen” when his subordinates organize his stunts, according to her story published in the Bolshoy Gorod magazine Thursday. He says he is angry over the set-ups.Gessen, the author of a book critical of Putin, lost her editing job at a travel magazine after refusing to cover his flight with cranes on a hang-glider last week.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top Stories MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted that some of his most publicized stunts were staged.Putin’s media appearances _ riding a horse bare-chested, petting a polar bear and putting a tracking device on a Siberian tigress _ have endeared him to many Russians and provoked scorn among others. Last year, he was shown on Russian television with two ancient Greek jugs he allegedly found while scuba diving.last_img read more

Swiss magazine censured over Roma boy cover

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The picture taken in 2008 by Italian photographer Livio Mancini actually depicted a boy playing with a toy gun on a Kosovo garbage dump.European Roma and Sinti groups condemned the cover as likely to fuel prejudice against members of the two ethnic minorities, also called Gypsies.The press watchdog’s decision carries no penalty beyond public censure. The magazine did not respond to requests for comment.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Comments   Share   center_img 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day GENEVA (AP) – Switzerland’s press watchdog has upheld a complaint against a magazine that used a picture of a Roma boy waving a gun to illustrate a story about alleged threats from Gypsy gangs.The Swiss Press Council said Tuesday that Zurich weekly Weltwoche was guilty of “distortion” and “discrimination” for publishing the image on its cover above the headline “The Roma are coming: raids in Switzerland.” Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

Liberians launch campaign against gay marriage

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressMONROVIA, Liberia (AP) – A few hundred Liberians representing the Christian and Muslim faiths and civil society organizations gathered here Saturday to launch a campaign to press the government to ban same-sex marriage.The campaign is seeking 1 million signatures supporting a resolution to ban gay and lesbian activities here.More than 25,000 signatures have already been gathered, the head of the citizens’ movement spearheading the campaign, Jim Tornonlah, told The Associated Press. The Liberian senate recently passed a bill strengthening the law against homosexuality. It must be approved by the House of Representatives before it is sent to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to sign into law.Earlier this year Johnson Sirleaf expressed her opposition to same-sex marriage saying that if a law supporting it was brought before her she would not sign it.However after the United States State Department took exception to her stance on gay rights, she softened her position and said that her government would “guarantee people’s civil liberties.”At Saturday’s anti-gay marriage rally, an outspoken clergy, representing the Liberia Council of Churches, Rudolph Marsh, lashed out at the influence of foreign powers.“There are good things in America that we can copy,” he said, “we don’t have to copy the bad ones; let’s leave the bad ones with Americans.”Marsh called on Liberian Christians and Muslims to remain united “and stand together and tell the world that Liberia is a place of civilized people and will not allow same-sex marriage.”Muslim leader Sheikh Omaru Kamara, representing his faith at the ceremony, hailed the unity of purpose that both Christians and Muslims were showing against homosexuality. Liberia’s only known gay and lesbian rights campaigner, Archie Ponpon, insisted Saturday that Liberians should be allowed to practice what they want.Ponpon was mobbed at least twice after he announced the formation of his group, the Movement for the Defense of Gays and Lesbians in Liberia (MODEGAL) in April.“It is also their right to do what they are doing today,” Ponpon told the Associated Press of the campaign to ban same-sex marriage in Liberia. But he said the campaigners are wrong to make “verbal attacks on me and trying to kill my advocacy.”Ponpon, whose mother’s residence was set alight and razed to the ground earlier this year when he announced the formation of his gay-rights body, said he’s still coming under attack for his beliefs.Ponpon said over the phone that he “is trying to liberalize the minds of people about the rights of others to do what they want to do.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Top Stories last_img read more

Hospital Palestinian man shot dead by Israeli army

first_imgJERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian man was killed Thursday morning during a clash between Palestinians and Israeli troops in the West Bank, a Palestinian hospital official and the Israeli army said.Falah Abu Maria, 53, was killed by three live bullets shot at his chest at close range, said Yousef Takrouri, deputy director of Al-Ahli Hospital in the West Bank city of Hebron. He said Abu Maria’s 22-year-old son was shot in the legs, and another one of his sons was brought to the hospital with light injuries to his face. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy In a plea bargain, a Jerusalem court on Wednesday sentenced Nahman Twito, 18, to two and a half years in prison and Shlomo Twito, 20, to two years in prison. A third suspect is still on trial.The brothers confessed to setting fire to a classroom in the Jerusalem school, which has both Jewish and Arab students, last November. Graffiti was also found on the walls reading “death to Arabs.”As part of the plea bargain, the court dropped the charge of incitement to violence.The two brothers are part of the Jewish extremist Lehava group opposed to Arab-Jewish coexistence. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted by vandals in recent years by mostly teenage Jewish extremists to protest what they perceive as the Israeli government’s pro-Palestinian policies. The acts have been widely condemned by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.___Associated Press writer Miriam Berger contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Palestinian Authority’s official news agency Wafa said Abu Maria was killed “in cold blood” while trying to protect his two sons.The Israeli military said its troops were carrying out an arrest raid in the village of Beit Omar when they were confronted by “a violent mob.” It said a Palestinian attacked a soldier, who responded by firing at the attacker’s legs.As forces left the scene, the army said, Palestinians threw rocks and bricks at them and forces fired toward the “main instigator.”Later, hundreds of Palestinians flowed through the streets in a funeral procession. Palestinians hurled rocks and firebombs at Israeli troops, who responded with “riot dispersal means,” the army said.In Jerusalem, Israeli police said vandals drew swastikas at a Jewish seminary and set fire to a decorative curtain on the ark that holds a Torah scroll.Yonatan Steinberger, a student at the Jewish studies seminary, says the Torah scroll was found on the floor of the seminary a few days before. Police said they are investigating.Also, two Israeli brothers convicted of setting fire to a bilingual Hebrew-Arabic school in Jerusalem last year have been sentenced to imprisonment, a court spokeswoman said. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more

Aviation industry to stay in red in 2010

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L Airlines are expected to lose US$5.6 billion this year despite improved demand for international air traffic in January, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said today.In January 2010, international passenger traffic hiked 8.6 percent compared to the low point of the cycle in February 2009.However, IATA said demand needs to improve by a further 2 percent to return to the peak levels of early 2008.Similarly, international freight traffic has improved 28 percent, but must improve 3-4 percent to return to peak levels.Passenger demand for January was up 6.4 percent while load factor improved 1.2 percentage points to 75.9 percent compared to 72.2 percent in the same period a year ago.The strongest upturns were seen Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.“We can start to see the future with some cautious optimism, but better volumes do not necessarily mean better profits” said IATA Director General and chief executive Giovanni Bisignani.“Passenger yields are still 15% below peak. And we expect 2010 losses to be US$5.6 billion,”Bisignani called again for governments across the globe to open their skies.“Unfortunately, the constraints of the archaic bilateral system limit airlines from being able to respond as normal businesses to market opportunities” he said.“Political borders limit opportunities for consolidation. And we still require governments to negotiate open markets”“With each open skies bilateral, we take a step in the right direction. Recovering from the years of lost growth as a result of this crisis is a long and hard journey. Governments should not make it any more difficult by maintaining policies that restrict airlines ability to do business” <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/291e9/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Royal honeymoon hikes Seychelles searches

first_imgSeychelles is hiking in popularity amongst travellers, as travel site Kayak reported a 250 percent increase in searches to the island region since news released of Prince William and Kate’s secret honeymoon location.The Group found that flight searches for the Seychelles rose from 0.04 percent of all bookings on 5 May this year to 0.14 percent last week.“Destinations usually get a lift if celebrities holiday there, or if it is featured in a hit TV show – but this dramatic increase shows that the Royal Wedding interest is still riding high,” Kayak UK managing director Annie Wilson said. “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge might have flown to the hot spot by private jet and rented an entire island, but our customers come to the site searching for slightly cheaper deals at this Royal-worthy location.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

qualia takes out two new awards

first_imgSource = qualia World-class luxury resort qualia took out two awards at the Australian Gourmet Traveller 2012 Travel Awards last night.qualia was named Best Australian Island Resort and Spa qualia was named Best Spa for the third year running, adding to the multi-award winning resort’s array of national and international accolades. Michael Shah, qualia’s General Manager, said: “These awards are testament to the position we hold not only in Queensland as a unique island resort, but in the wider context of high end hospitality across the country. Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine is iconic, and the awards reflect that the readers are the people who enjoy the laid-back, understated elegance and ease of qualia.“Our philosophy for qualia is that exceptional guest experiences cannot be artificially formulated; it must come from within the guest. qualia’s environment allows each guest to respond to his or her own experience in their own way. When you combine exceptional service with zero pretension the result is what we describe as “The qualia Effect’, and winning these awards demonstrates that the qualia effect is clearly resonating with our guests.”Testament to its names’ Latin origins, ‘a collection of sensory experiences’, qualia occupies Hamilton Island’s unashamedly beautiful and sun-drenched northern-most tip. A member of Relais & Châteaux, qualia’s unique design combines a sense of space, openness and harmony that draws the outside in. Set amongst native Eucalypts, and with breathtaking views of the luminous Coral Sea and neighbouring Whitsunday islands, the 60 luxurious pavilions with a sundeck or private infinity edge plunge pool provide the perfect space for guests to unwind in. The resort’s outstanding facilities include two tranquil infinity-edged pools, two bars and exclusive restaurants, a private dining room, library, fitness centre and Spa qualia, an award-winning venue unto itself. qualia also hosts several special events for its guests throughout the year, including the popular Australian Ballet ‘Pas de Deux in Paradise’ and Great Barrier Feast series.Nestled privately in the very heart of the resort, Spa qualia exemplifies the resort’s meaning by offering guests a completely unique sensory experience. The indigenous Australian treatments have been meticulously designed to relax, revitalise and replenish the mind, body and soul. A beautiful Meditation Pavilion is perfectly positioned to capture the tranquil views of the Whitsundays, the ideal place to unwind and reflect.Spa qualia features anti-stress, anti-aging, detoxifying and cleansing treatments; including Spa qualia’s signature “Bularri Yarrul” hot stone massage using 300 million year old stones; and beautiful aromatherapy treatments using essential Australian oils designed to release emotional blocks through the body’s energy centres or chakras.last_img read more

Travelers urged to study foreign languages

first_imgDr Milena Savova is the Director of NYU-SCPS  Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpreting Preparing for an overseas vacation involves more than just packing a bag and thumbing through a phrase book, says New York University’s Dr Milena Savova, who encourages would-be travelers to undertake a three-week intensive language course pre-trip.Often, newly arrived travelers may know how to ask a question in a foreign language, but they may not understand the reply, Dr Savova told e-Travel Blackboard.“We want to make sure that people can communicate beyond the phrase book.” New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers three-week intensive language classes over the summer for the beginner or low intermediate speaker. Classes include cultural field trips to ethnic communities in New York and make use of “authentic materials” to provide students with “a more comprehensive course”, Dr Savova said.For visitors to New York City, accommodation can be arranged at the NYU dormitories, making the course part of a vacation in and of itself. New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies also offers evening courses over the spring and fall. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.Alast_img read more