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TAP Portugal to add TorontoLisbon flights in summer 2017

first_img Wednesday, December 7, 2016 NEW YORK — TAP Portugal is expanding its network to six new destinations in summer 2017, including Toronto. Rounding out the new additions are Stuttgart, Las Palmas, Alicante, Budapest and Bucharest.The new Toronto-Lisbon flights are scheduled to start next June.“The new routes, along with the operations reinforcement, will result in significant growth for the summer season, clearly emphasizing TAP’s growth in the near future,” said the company. In July 2017 TAP will increase operations by 11% with over 1,176 more flights offered than in same month last year, representing a 19% increase in seat capacity.The growth planned for 2017 comes in line with the carrier’s expansion strategy launched in 2016, an intense year during which TAP not only increased its activity but also introduced quite a few changes, such as the order of a new medium and long haul fleet with Airbus (due for delivery at the end of 2017); the phase-in of two additional A330 aircraft; the cabin retrofit of 48 aircraft currently in progress; the launch of the new brand TAP Express for regional operations; the new Lisbon/Oporto shuttle service; the launch of TAP Stopover and the reinforcement of its positioning in the North Atlantic with the inauguration of two new routes in the U.S.: Boston and New York JFK.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winter After completing the restructuring of its network earlier this year, TAP said it has put in place “a new and more competitive fare policy” and is now ready to grow again with an improved and diversified product and reinforced fleet.TAP will also upgrade its offer in the domestic sector, reinforcing summer 2017 operations from Lisbon to Faro, growing from three to four daily flights. Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bycenter_img Travelweek Group Tags: Portugal, Toronto TAP Portugal to add Toronto-Lisbon flights in summer 2017last_img read more

Etihad Airways lost 234 billion last year

first_img DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates’ flagship carrier Etihad said on Thursday it lost $1.87 billion (Cdn$2.34b) in 2016, blaming “one-off impairment charges and fuel hedging losses” for the massive loss.The Abu Dhabi-based airline’s loss comes during a tough time for the Gulf’s long-haul carriers, as a diplomatic crisis with Qatar upended regional air routes and Trump administration’s travel ban on six majority Muslim nations also hurt their business.Etihad’s loss also comes as it re-evaluates its business plans following the January departure of CEO James Hogan. He led an aggressive multi-year buying spree that saw the Mideast carrier snap up stakes in airlines from Europe to Australia.Etihad said the loss included a $1.06 billion (Cdn$ 1.33b) charge on aircraft reflecting lower market values and a $808 million (Cdn $1.01b) charge on certain assets and financial exposures to equity partners, mainly related to Alitalia and Air Berlin. It also blamed a slowdown in the cargo market and legacy fuel hedging costs for the loss.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growth“A culmination of factors contributed to the disappointing results for 2016,” said Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel al-Mazrouei, chairman of the Etihad Aviation Group.Peter Baumgartner, Etihad’s new CEO, offered a grim outlook.“We are in an industry characterized by overcapacity, declining market sizes on key routes and changing customer behaviour as a weak global economy affects spending appetite,” Baumgartner said in a statement.Etihad has more than 110 passenger and cargo destinations around the world and flies a fleet of over 120 Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Etihad Airways lost $2.34 billion last year Tags: Etihad Airways, Profit Report Thursday, July 27, 2017 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Source: The Associated Presslast_img read more

Boomerang Tours launches 20182019 Downunder brochure with AATKings

first_imgBoomerang Tours launches 2018/2019 Downunder brochure with AATKings Travelweek Group Monday, August 28, 2017 Tags: Boomerang Tours TORONTO — Boomerang Tours, in partnership with AATKings, has launched its new 2018/2019 brochure featuring trips to Australia and New Zealand.“This brochure marks a milestone in our partnership with AATKings,” says Margaret Meers, Product Manager for Boomerang Tours, part of the TravelBrands group. “It features over 80 itineraries across multiple trip styles and provides travel agents with one-stop shopping for exciting, escorted Downunder itineraries.”Inside its pages, clients will find a wide range of Inspiring Journeys, Guided Holidays, Short Breaks and Day Tours. Referred to by the company as “one of the most comprehensive brochures in the marketplace,” is provides travel partners with the necessary tools to sell an extensive product line and grow their lucrative international Australian and New Zealand bookings.“Our dedicated and highly experienced Australia vacation planners will guide travel agents and their clients towards the most comprehensive travel arrangements to fulfill their needs. Whether it is an overnight in LAX, a stopover in one of the idyllic South Pacific islands or a unique and customized pre- or post-tour experience, we have it all and so much more,” adds Meers.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthThe new brochure can be ordered through Envoy or by emailing << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Sharelast_img read more

Air FranceKLM and WestJet now offer reciprocal frequent flyer benefits

first_img Wednesday, August 30, 2017 Tags: Air France, KLM, Loyalty Programs, WestJet Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img CALGARY — Taking their codeshare partnership to the next level, Air France-KLM and WestJet have launched the ‘earn’ phase of both carriers’ reciprocal frequent flyer agreement.Passengers can now accumulate their choice of Flying Blue Miles or WestJet dollars on all WestJet, Air France and KLM flights.“The ability to earn Flying Blue Miles or WestJet dollars on Air France-KLM will bring significant benefit to guests of all three airlines,” said Ed Sims, WestJet Executive VP, Commercial. “We are confident that our members are going to love earning WestJet dollars while flying on the Air-France-KLM global network, and we are equally excited to welcome their frequent flyers aboard and offer them the opportunity to earn Flying Blue Miles on the growing WestJet network.”Jean-Noël Rault, Vice-President and General Manager of Air France-KLM Canada said the airline is “delighted” to be further bolstering its partnership with WestJet and to now offer its 27 million Flying Blue members the chance to earn flights with its Canadian partner. He added, “We are already working on the next phase, which will enable our members to soon enjoy award tickets on flights operated by WestJet. We also look forward to offer WestJet guests the possibility to experience our service and discover the extent of our worldwide network.’’More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsThe next phase, to be implemented by the end of 2017, will enable members of both frequent flyer programs to redeem their miles or dollars on all Air France, KLM and WestJet flights.Air France and KLM launched the Flying Blue loyalty program in 2005. With more than 27 million members, 37 member airlines and more than 100 non-airline partners, it’s now the most powerful loyalty program in Europe. Air France-KLM and WestJet now offer reciprocal frequent flyer benefits << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Transat promotes Annick Guérard to COO announces latest Surprise Dates contest

first_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> MONTREAL — Annick Guérard, President and General Manager of Transat Tours Canada, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Transat A.T., effective Nov. 1.In her new role, Guérard will head all of Transat’s travel operations, including the Air Transat business unit. Development of Transat’s future hotel company will continue to be overseen directly by Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer.Guérard first joined the Transat team in 2002, serving several senior management posts involving operations, customer service, marketing, e-commerce and product development.“Annick Guérard’s appointment to this new position marks a major step forward for the company. This is a new generation that is finally getting ready to take over the controls,” said Eustache. “During her 15 years at Transat, Annick has acquired in-depth knowledge of the workings of the company and of the tourism and airline industries. Her past five years heading our tour operating and distribution activities have prepared her well for her new duties. In her new role, Annick will use her vision and leadership qualities, as well as her passion for customer service and operational efficiency to build Transat’s successful future over the years to come.”More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsIn other Transat news, the company’s Surprise Dates contest is back with its penultimate edition. Every booking of a Transat product made today by midnight automatically earns travel agents a chance to win one of the three monthly trips that will be drawn at random in these three regions: Quebec-Ottawa, Ontario-Atlantic and Western Canada.The three winners will each enjoy a package for two, including Air Transat flights in Economy class and a one-week, all-inclusive stay at one of the following IBEROSTAR resorts: IBEROSTAR Punta Cana in the D.R., IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Beach in Jamaica, and IBEROSTAR Paraíso Beach in the Mayan Riviera.In addition, two other travel agents per region who have booked a Transat product today will be selected at random to earn $30 in Bonbon rewards. The names of the winners will be announced in the coming days.No need to register, contest is automatic as soon as agents sell a Transat flight, package or cruise during the day.More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?Transat’s Surprise Dates contest commemorates the company’s 30th anniversary on dates that are significant to its history. On Oct. 11, 2016, Transat launched its newest advertising campaign and slogan, ‘Vacation is Calling’ across a variety of media. Posted by Wednesday, October 11, 2017 center_img Transat promotes Annick Guérard to COO, announces latest Surprise Dates contest Tags: Transat Travelweek Group last_img read more

Flamingo Potrero News

first_imgCountry Day School held their 10th annual Beach Challenge on May 12 at Playa Tamarindo. The day was sponsored by the CDSG as a fundraiser for the sports programs at CDSG and for CEPIA. There were 150 attendees, including school students and their families, along with CEPIA students and their families.The events included a 4K, a 2K, a 1K, a 500-meter run, a 500-meter bike race, several sack races, a tug of war, a long jump, volleyball, soccer, a sandcastle contest and more. Winners were all presened with awards, and the event raised $1,200. Congratulations to all who participated in making the beach challenge a great success!The last presentation in the hot topics series for May at the Village Commercial Center is emergency procedures and numbers. Dr. Andrea Messeguer will present the topic on Wednesday, May 30, from 9-10:30 a.m. in the Salon. This workshop will include what to do in an emergency, and will provide a list of important numbers. There will also be a Q-and-A session. For more information, contact Pam at rock ‘n’ roll band Local Legend played at Perla’s in Surfside/Potrero on Friday, May 11, and brought down the house. An artisan fair was held at Marie’s Restaurant on Friday, May 11, from noon-6 p.m., with lots of new vendors selling unique, handcrafted items, jewelry, hand-painted silks, water colors, prints, leather goods, imported clothing and more. Located next to Guido’s Supermarket in Surfside is a new cafeteria and juice bar called El Loco Frutariano. Café owner Greivin Marchena was born and raised in Potrero and is 27 years old. He had a desire to open a business and to offer pesto pasta, personal vegetarian pizzas, vegetarian quesadillas, eggplant parmesan stuffed mushroom and other meals, fresh specialty drinks and juices. The hours of operation are from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The café is closed on Sundays until the high season, so come by and have a taste.The Conchal/Brasilito flea market will take place Saturday, May 26, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Village Commercial Center. For more information, contact Pam at–Babe Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

In El Salvador citizens reject Halloween and celebrate a unique Day of

first_imgTONACATEPEQUE, El Salvador — Painted carts carrying torches and characters from mythology paraded through the city of Tonacatepeque, 25 kilometers north of San Salvador, on Nov. 1. The indigenous tradition known as “La Calabiuza” precedes the arrival of the Spanish to Americas. Only recently has the festival regained its prominence as the country’s most popular way to celebrate the Day of the Dead.The caravan of chanting revelers – some painted an ashen red and others acting as skeletons – attract the attention of locals and foreign tourists.   Other characters in the mythology include La Siguanaba, a beautiful woman who flirts with all the men, and is later punished by a god for abandoning her son Cipitío. La Siguanaba is cursed to look lovely from far away and hideous up close. There also is the devil, el Cadejo (a frightening, otherworldly black dog) and la Llorona (the Weeping Woman). All these characters are seen throughout Central American folklore, but with their own twists in each country. In Costa Rica, La Siguanaba is known as La Segua – a siren-like woman who woos drunken men to come to her rescue before transforming into a terrifying horse-beast.But El Salvador’s La Calabiuza brings together all these legends into one full day of partying.In the central plaza of Tonacetepeque, residents cook with improvised stoves and use huge metal bowls to cook pumpkin and honey to share with attendees late into the night. The Day of the Dead concludes on a dais in the downtown plaza where the participants with the best costumes are honored. In 1530, Spanish conquerors tried to enforce their own traditions on El Salvador. But Tonacatepeque historian Luis Silva, 66, explained that Salvadoran ancestors did not attend the festival and instead fought hard to emphasize “La Calabiuza,” a word that means “skull” in the local language.“What the Spanish brought has virtually disappeared, and this has stayed the same and it is an hour for us,” Silva said.Tonacetepeque Mayor Roberto Herrera said the festival not only maintains tradition but most importantly it turns young people away from violence. Due to gang violence, El Salvador has the second highest homicide rate in the world, only surpassed by its neighbor Honduras. No related posts.center_img Facebook Comments “We participate in the Calabiuza festival to not lose the tradition and to reject the Halloween of the United States,” said 15-year-old Francisco Siliezar, while dressed as Cipitío, a person that according to the legend loves the most sympathetic woman after his mother left him. The chubby character eats ashes and wears a wide pointy hat.The tradition disappeared due to the country’s civil war from 1980 to 1992. But after young people started to the imported Halloween, the community decided to take up La Calabiuza again, and today it is one of the most prominent festivals in the country.last_img read more

Environment Ministry loses court battle to close Costa Ricas zoos

first_imgPublic zoos will remain open in Costa Rica for at least 10 more years following a court ruling last Friday. An administrativecourt ruled in favor of nonprofit group FUNDAZOO, which administers San José’s Simón Bolívar Zoo and the Santa Ana Conservation Center, citing a contractual technicality that will allow the group to continue operating the zoos until 2024. The Environment Ministry, or MINAE, had said it would close both zoos in May.Following years of complaints about the two public zoos’ conditions, MINAE announced last July that it planned to convert them into cageless bio-parks, and either release or place in rescue centers some 400 animals.Following that announcement last year, FUNDAZOO filed a lawsuit citing a clause that would automatically renew its contract to operate the zoos every 10 years. In order to halt the contract’s renewal, MINAE would have to notify FUNDAZOO more than a year before the contract ended.According to the suit, MINAE was obligated to notify FUNDAZOO that it would not renew its contract before March 7, 2013.  While MINAE filed the resolution on March 6, FUNDAZOO was notified, via email, the following day. The court ruled that this late notification constituted a breach of contract, and ordered MINAE to renew FUNDAZOO’s contract and pay damages and legal fees.This is the second time MINAE has tried to terminate FUNDAZOO’s contract but failed to give proper notice. The last attempt was in 2003, when FUNDAZOO was granted the current contract after a two-year battle in three different courts. In that case, the courts reached the same ruling. What will happen to the animals remains uncertain. Shortly following the announcement of FUNDAZOO’s lawsuit, Environment Minister René Castro told members of the press that the ministry’s decision to remove all animals from the zoos was non-negotiable.“Even in the hypothetical case that FUNDAZOO wins in court and does not turn the zoo back over to the state, which is unlikely, the truth is that they will not be able to have animals in cages or replace any of their current animals that die or are returned to the wild with new ones,” Castro said last July.The environment minister said he intended to phase out animal captivity in Costa Rica, including private zoos and animal exhibition centers. The Tico Times is awaiting a response from the Environment Ministry regarding their plans for the animals, but for now, zoo spokesman Eduardo Bolaños says the zoos will continue operating as normal.“We have no idea if MINAE has the authority to take away the animals,” Bolaños said. “For now we will stay open as we always have, with the animals, like nothing has changed.”The Tico Times will update this story with the Environment Ministry’s response to the court ruling as soon as it becomes available.  Facebook Comments Related posts:Ministries confirm relocation orders for Kivú the lion Officials demand the removal of Kivú the lion from public display Environment officials move Kivú the lion to a new home Kivú the lion recovers at his new homelast_img read more

Hey NFL are you out of your minds

first_imgRelated posts:NFL: Coldplay honored by Super Bowl but puzzled by game Dylan’s restored basement tapes with The Band set for debut Leonard Cohen announces new album for 80th birthday Stevie Wonder revisits landmark album ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ Apparently the National Football League doesn’t make enough money.The United States’ most lucrative professional sporting league, which according to CNN generated $10 billion in 2012 – ranking it just above the country of Malta’s GDP (no offense, Malta) – is asking its musical acts to pay to play during the much-hyped Super Bowl halftime show, according to The Wall Street Journal.Forget about player concussions, maybe NFL execs are the ones who should have their heads examined.According to the Journal:The NFL has narrowed down the list of potential performers for the 2015 Super Bowl to three candidates: Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Coldplay, these people said. While notifying the artists’ camps of their candidacy, league representatives also asked at least some of the acts if they would be willing to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league, or if they would make some other type of financial contribution, in exchange for the halftime gig.Granted, Super Bowl XLIX, which takes place in Arizona on Feb. 1, 2015, undoubtedly will bring important exposure to whichever act the NFL decides to select. The last Super Bowl, for example, gave a boost to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who arguably haven’t put out a good album since 1989. (OK, to be fair, half of “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” was decent.) During the show, headlining act Bruno Mars and the Chili Peppers reached 115.3 million viewers, more than the game itself, the WSJ reported (emphasis ours).And remember, the NFL is registered as a nonprofit organization, exempt from paying U.S. federal taxes. Bruno Mars performs with Anthony Kiedis and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFPNo official response yet from Rihanna, Katy Perry and Coldplay, as the NFL requires secrecy for contract negotiations. But the whole idea of pay to play at halftime is enough to make Chris Martin’s music even more depressing.Maybe I’m naive and the NFL is hedging its bets over bad publicity regarding the concussions (not to mention lawsuits). Last year, the NFL announced plans to boost revenue by $25 billion in 15 years, according to CNNMoney. And it’s not like these acts are poor. So I’ll make a proposal. I have a band, and between the six of us, I think we can come up with at least $125. Are we in?What d’ya say, Roger? Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Tourism sector wants government support to boost competitiveness

first_imgRelated posts:Solís blocks added sales tax on national park entrance fees, a decree passed days before he took office Tourism entrepreneurs urge President Solís to block retroactive sales tax Another decree angers Costa Rica’s tourism sector Tourism chamber leaders vow to escalate fight against added sales tax Tourism leaders want President Luis Guillermo Solís to do more to boost the industry in Costa Rica, including building a new international airport and attracting more airlines.Industry leaders, including members of the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR), the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH), the Costa Rican Restaurants Chamber (CACORE) and representatives of car rental companies, met with Solís on Tuesday and asked for better conditions so they can “compete more aggressively with other countries in the region.”They also asked Solís for “more active participation in government decisions” from Tourism Minister Wilhelm Von Breymann. The minister did not attend the meeting.Chamber of Hotels President Gustavo Araya Carvajal said he was surprised by Von Breymann’s absence and said the minister needed to take a more prominent role in such discussions so that the government can be fully aware of the tourism sector’s needs.Among their main priorities, tourism leaders cited the construction of a new international airport and attracting more airlines to increase visitation.Three new airlines — U.S.-based Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines, and U.K.-based Thomson Airways — are launching service to Costa Rica this year.For the past few years, Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation Authority has been studying the possibility of building a new airport in Orotina with double the capacity of Juan Santamaría International Airport.Tourism leaders want that process sped up. They say visitors are currently too few to provide a sustainable income for many tourism-dependent businesses.“Annual average hotel occupancy is at around 55 percent,” Chamber of Hotels President Araya said, “with a few peaks of up to 95 percent in some special seasons such as Holy Week.”CANATUR president Pablo Heriberto Abarca also said his group wants a more effective tourism minister.“We have been tolerant but we also want to make clear our opinion that we need more support from the government,” he stressed.Following the meeting President Solís acknowledged tourism as one of the main drivers of the national economy, and said his administration is making “determined and consistent efforts at boosting the tourism industry.” He also acknowledged that there’s room for improvement.According to the Costa Rican Tourism Board some 2.5 million visitors entered the country on a tourist visa last year, generating revenues worth some $2.6 billion. The tourism sector employs about 400,000 people, directly or indirectly. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Al Jazeera America news channel to close up shop

first_imgRelated posts:News Milestone: The New York Times tops 1 million digital subscribers Twitter has a huge problem — and it’s all in your head Rescued Costa Rican monkeys star in IKEA commercial The New York Times eyes more changes to meet digital challenge Al Jazeera America, the low-rated cable news network that sought to take on Fox News and CNN, will shut down operations at the end of April, less than three years after going on the air, the network told its staff Wednesday in a surprise move.The New York-based network, part of a media empire owned by the royal family of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, launched in August 2013 after its parent company paid $500 million to buy Current TV, a struggling cable channel founded by former vice president Al Gore.AJA hoped to be a straightforward, non-partisan alternative to other news channels and was often praised by news analysts for the thoroughness and objectivity of its reporting. It hired a number of TV news veterans as program hosts and managers, including people from NBC, CNN and Fox News.But the channel ran into trouble even before it started. AT&T, a major cable-system owner, dropped it from its channel lineup over a contract dispute, cutting off access to several million homes. Time Warner Cable also dropped its predecessor, citing low ratings, several months before Al Jazeera America hit the air.It then spent months rebuilding its distribution. As of Wednesday, it was available in about 64 million households, or about a third less than its major rivals.It never gained traction in the ratings; some programs had such small audiences that the Nielsen rating service was unable to detect any viewers.The channel was also wracked by turnover among its top executives, and a lawsuit filed last year by a former employee that alleged sexism and anti-Semitism in the workplace.The news comes only nine months after Al Jazeera – “peninsula” in Arabic, reflecting Qatar’s landmass – said it was expanding its live programming. The channel added two hours of morning programming in March, anchoring its coverage from its New York headquarters and mixing in reports from its studios in London and Doha, Qatar.It also comes a month after Al Jazeera America broadcast perhaps its best-known story – an undercover investigative report called “The Dark Side” that alleged the use of performance-enhancing drugs by star pro athletes. Among others, it said the wife of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning received shipments of banned substances around the time in 2011 that Manning was recovering from a series of neck surgeries that threatened his playing career.The documentary suggested, but did not say outright, that Manning, then with the Indianapolis Colts, was taking the drugs. Manning has denied using any banned substances.Two of the athletes named in the story, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, have sued the network, reporter Deborah Davies, and an athlete named Liam Collins who conducted undercover interviews, claiming libel and invasion of privacy.Al Jazeera continues to maintain an Arabic-language channel and its English-language forerunner of Al Jazeera America called Al Jazeera English. Both channels are distributed outside the United States.© 2016, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

PHOTOS Costa Ricas Festival of Light

first_imgCosta Rica’s traditional Festival de la Luz, a holiday parade through the heart of San José, filled the capital with holiday spirit on Saturday. This year’s winner: the float from flour and corn products company Demasa, followed by Kolbi and the National Insurance Institute (INS). Hard to tell which has higher wattage: this float, or its small rider’s smile. AFP Photo/Ezequiel Becerra Crowds waited all day in order to snag a front-row view of the parade. AFP Photo/Ezequiel Becerra Dragons and tigers and stares. AFP Photo/Ezequiel Becerra AFP Photo/Ezequiel Becerra Related posts:Can’t-miss events for a truly Costa Rican Christmas Delicious eats for your holiday celebrations A reader’s glimpse of Monteverde recovery PHOTOS: Carnaval in San José Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Luscious green

first_imgOur Costa Rica insiders reveal their favorite hidden gems Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series – the view from your home or favorite Costa Rican spot, or any other image you care to share? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to We’d love to see the sights with you. Facebook Comments The coast of Manuel Antonio National Park shows off its lush green vegetation in a view from the water. As the 2017-2018 high season continues, those leafy branches will shade monkeys, sloths, birds, and plenty of human visitors as well.Read our High Season Insiders’ Guide panelists’ favorite hidden spots around the country, from tree houses to a very special strangler fig:center_img Related posts:A piece of paradise Costa Rica dreamin’ Waiting for the train Tan lindo Tamarindolast_img read more

The heart of Fabricio Alvarado part I Pocora Limón

first_img Facebook Comments On Feb. 4, 2018, Fabricio Alvarado – a presidential candidate who just weeks before was at only three percent in some polls – capped off his upward surge by winning the first round of voting in Costa Rica’s national elections. In no community did he receive a higher percentage of votes than in Pocora, Guácimo, in the province of Limón.The Tico Times is pleased to translate David Bolaños’ in-depth feature, originally published by Radioemisoras UCR and the weekly Semanario Universidad examining the factors that led to Alvarado’s massive support in Pocora. Part I of IV.“It’s not the same mentality of certain candidates for the presidency who aren’t Christians, as that of a person who has Christ in his heart. A difference that marks Fabricio is that he has Christ; he’s a son of God.”Pastor Rocío Thomas spoke these words to a dozen listening congregation at the Christian Pentecostal Sendas of God Church, one recent Saturday night in the center of Pocora, a small district of the canton of Guácimo in the province of Limón.That same day, congregants listened to their leaders’ messages in 15 similar churches in the district. Semanario Universidad LogoAt first glance, Pocora is no different from many of the towns that sprung up next to the Atlantic railway in the province of Limón at the beginning of the 20th Century and those that, in the railroad’s eventual absence, grew alongside Route 32.However, during the elections of this past Feb. 4, Pocora stood out from the rest of the country: this was the district that voted the most heavily for the National Restoration Party (PRN) candidate Fabricio Alvarado.See the audiovisual chronicle of this report.While Limón was in general a huge source of support for Alvarado, an evangelical journalist, preacher and former legislator, Pocora stood out even in that PRN-heavy province: 55.5 percent of valid votes, which is a fourth of the population in that area. No other party was close to that proportion of victory in other regions.The other districts from Limón that had similar margins for the PRN are the canton of Matina: Carrandí (54.5 percent) and Matina (51.8 percent).The second-place party in said locations was the National Liberation Party (PLN) with an average of barely 17 percent of the valid votes, after years of dominating the entire province. Besides the abundance of evangelical churches, Pocora, Carrandí and Matina share the characteristic that their inhabitants live in the shadow of abandonment cast over their region by a political system focused on the capital.Those communities also turned out like no others for a party that before 2014 only existed in San José and that was almost invisible, electorally speaking, in Limón before now. Likewise, they were motivated by a candidate who spent the majority of his life in Desamparados, an urban municipality just south of San José.What created this connection between towns such as Pocora and a politician like Fabricio Alvarado? “Here, people go to church and trust a lot in God, and Fabricio is promising that. We think that because he’s a Christian person and goes to church, he’s not going to change paths,” says Yanory, a resident of Carrandí. David Bolaños / Radioemisoras UCRWith its 5,200 inhabitants, Pocora is far from being one of the most populated settlements in Limón. That’s why that 55.5 percent of support for Fabricio Alvarado translates to only 1,548 valid votes.However, the rest of the parties obtained miniscule numbers in comparison. For example, the Citizen Action Party (PAC), who is now competing against the PRN in the two-man presidential runoff that will culminate on April 1, only received 265 votes in favor of said district (9.4 percent), coming in third in Pocora overall.This political scenario was vastly different from the 2014 elections, when the National Liberation Party, the left-wing Broad Front (FA) and the Libertarian Movement (ML) led in Limón.Jairo Adams, business manager and collaborator of the Church Created to Adore in Pocora, considered that his community turned its back to the parties from four years ago because “they didn’t show results.”“I was surprised in the elections because people voted for Liberation, and I said: ‘How is it that people keep voting for Liberation?’ I went to work with them because a friend asked me to do so; if not, I wouldn’t have gone,” explained a resident Venecia, Carrandí, who asked to be identified only as Yanory.Ubaldo Urtecho, a former union member from Matina, said that he voted for Liberation even though the evangelical congregation he goes to, the Shekinah Apostolic Mission, “agreed” to vote for the PRN.The pastor from that church, Pedro Cubero, admitted that he has promoted the PRN.“Since one has the opportunity to speak to many people from here, one can tell people that if we want a change, we’ll try it. It’s telling others: ‘I believe this is the one’ – take it or leave it,” said the pastor, whose congregation in Matina comprises 80 people, in addition to 70 other followers in the next district, Batán.Urtecho said that the church promoted the production of of shirts and flags of the PRN for Election Day.Article 28 of the Political Constitution establishes that “clergy or laypeople” cannot make political propaganda “invoking motives of religion and using themselves as a medium of religious beliefs.”Stay tuned for Part II in this series, which examines some of the problems facing these communities and their hopes that a Fabricio Alvarado presidency will address these challenges. This article was originally published in Spanish at Radioemisoras UCR and  Semanario Universidad on March 6 by journalist David Bolaños. Related posts:The heart of Fabricio Alvarado, part II: Dashed hopes The heart of Fabricio Alvarado, part III: Evangelical growth The heart of Fabricio Alvarado, part IV: ‘Incorruptible people’ Presidential candidate Fabricio Alvarado pulls out of UCR debatecenter_img Live blog: Costa Rica’s 2018 election results Evangelical Alliance lawyer: Costa Rica should reduce limits on religious propagandalast_img read more

Presidents of Argentina Uruguay to meet regarding Venezuela crisis

first_imgThe presidents of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, and of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, will meet on Wednesday with an “open agenda” that will include discussing the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela, the Uruguayan presidency announced Monday.The meeting will take place in the presidential residence of Anchorena, in the Colonia Department, 200 km west of the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.“The situation in Venezuela and the constant search for a consolidation of Mercosur will be issues that will surely be on the table of dialogue” in the closed-door meeting, a source from the Uruguayan presidency told AFP.Mercosur, or the Southern Common Market, is a South American Trade bloc.The summit will be held in times of tension in Venezuela, where the opposition party, led by self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó, has demand that the military ignore President Nicolás Maduro’s order to prevent the entry of humanitarian aid from the United States.After a meeting last Thursday in Montevideo, the International Contact Group — made up of eight European countries and three from Latin America (France, Germany, United Kingdom, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Uruguay, Ecuador and Costa Rica) — issued a call for free presidential elections to be held in Venezuela as a peaceful solution to the nation’s crisis.Argentina, meanwhile, is one of the 11 countries of the Lima Group (comprising 14 nations, including Costa Rica) that have recognized Guaidó, while Uruguay has refused to recognize the self-proclamation of the Venezuelan politician and favors dialogue to avoid a foreign intervention.Vázquez and Macri may also continue to address the 2030 World Cup, which Uruguay and Argentina aspire to host alongside Paraguay.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:At Costa Rica’s request, Guaidó-appointed ambassador temporarily leaves embassy Venezuela: three months of crisis Maduro exhorts Venezuela military to fight ‘any coup plotter;’ Costa Rica to host international meeting Read: Int. Contact Group declarations on Venezuela following meeting in Costa Ricalast_img read more

Puerto Rico bail referendum sparks rights debate

first_imgAssociated PressSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – A day after his teenage son was killed in a drive-by shooting, Luis Arvelo found some comfort in the arrest of a body shop worker suspected in the slaying. But that quickly evaporated hours later when he learned the man had been freed after posting a $33,000 bail bond.Puerto Rico currently is the only place in the Western hemisphere where all people, including those charged with rape and murder, are always entitled to bail. But under an upcoming referendum that would allow judges in the U.S. territory to deny bail in certain cases, the man charged with killing Arvelo’s son could have remained behind bars. “It wasn’t out of fear,” the elder Arvelo said. “One time I ended up in a fight with him.”Rosa was eventually found guilty and sentenced to 129 years in prison.Arvelo said he’s baffled by people who have had family or friends killed and do not support the referendum. “How is it possible that those people have gone through this situation and are not in favor?” he said.Myra Rivera Torres, whose daughter was killed by a stray bullet in 1997 while at a club in historic Old San Juan, is among referendum opponents. No one was arrested in her daughter’s killing.“We don’t want to take away anyone’s rights,” said Rivera, founder of a nonprofit group that seeks social justice and equality while still defending victims’ rights. “A person is presumed innocent until they are found guilty. One has to think about these things objectively, not viscerally.”Rivera said her organization instead demands a more efficient judicial system that would award more protection to witnesses, noting that several have been killed in recent years.But Luis Guillermo Romero, whose 19-year-old son was fatally stabbed last April, backs the referendum effort. Because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, its federal judges have the right to deny bail, and they have done so for 264 suspects out of 280 arrested for violent crimes, Fortuno said. “It is time that judges in Puerto Rico tribunals have the same discretion,” he said.The leader of Puerto Rico’s main opposition party also supports the referendum, which is among several measures to fight crime, including a plan to create courts that will deal exclusively with murder cases and authorize the permanent revocation of bail for those charged with killing security guards, police officers and other judicial officials.If approved by voters on Aug. 19, the measure would allow judges to refuse bail for certain kinds of murders: those that were pre-meditated, committed during a home invasion, during a sexual assault or kidnapping, or during a drive-by shooting, or targeting public officials.However, voters in 1994 rejected a similar referendum, with 46 percent in favor and 54 percent against. Legislators said that earlier measure lost because it was too far-reaching and would have allowed judges to deny bail in any case, regardless of the crime involved.In the latest referendum effort, a committee to fight the measure was formed last month by several prominent groups and institutions including Puerto Rico’s Association of Lawyers, a local private university and the Council of Churches. “They are massacring the constitution of Puerto Rico,” former senator Victoria Munoz Mendoza said at the committee’s first meeting. But crime victim advocates largely support the referendum, saying that victims and their relatives often fear pressing charges or testifying against someone they could run into on the small island if they are freed on bail.Currently, Puerto Rico’s constitution prohibits judges from denying bail or setting a bail considered excessively high, a determination left up to the interpretation of the court. Defense attorneys can also demand that a different judge establish a new bail if they don’t agree with the original amount set.“I have seen a case in which someone set a $1 million bond and someone else lowered it to $50,000 and it was posted,” said Justice Secretary Guillermo Somoza.During fiscal year 2010, there were more than 3,700 requests to lower the original bond, and judges granted most, Somoza said, adding that no department keeps statistics on the highest bail set.Felix Arvelo was riding home in a friend’s car in May 2010 when someone shot into the vehicle and hit the 16-year-old in the back of the head, killing him. The next morning, police arrested Juan Rosa Perez, a body shop worker they believe had personal issues with the boy.Rosa remained free for the year and 10 days before the trial, according to the dead boy’s father, who said he stayed at home for days at a time because he didn’t want to run into the suspect in San Sebastian, a town of about 42,000 people an hour’s drive inland from Puerto Rico’s northwest coast. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like The referendum has sparked a debate on the island about the rights of suspects and those of victims and their families.“It was painful to see this person and know that my son is 7 feet underground and he was out on the street,” Arvelo said.The right to bail has long been enshrined in the U.S. territory as a legacy of the islanders’ historic distrust of American authorities, and Puerto Ricans have defended an individual’s right to freedom, especially those who have been marginalized.Elsewhere in Latin America and across the Caribbean, it’s common for suspects to languish in jails even if they haven’t been charged with anything. In the U.S., meanwhile, judges have the right to deny bail if someone has been charged with a violent crime or if prosecutors prove the suspect is a danger to the community or at risk of fleeing.In Puerto Rico, legislators see the referendum as a way to fight crime and the perception among many that the violence is out of control, with police reporting a record number of killings last year. Gov. Luis Fortuno, whose party supports statehood, also seeks to align himself with U.S. authorities during an election year as Puerto Rico prepares for an unrelated referendum that would help decide the future of the island’s political status. “The most important right that exists is the right to life,” Romero said, adding that he understands others’ objections. “People are suspicious about the government. As a result, they have a visceral reaction of doubting things that come from politicians.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories center_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 4 must play golf courses in Arizona New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments   Share   last_img read more

3 commandos 11 militants killed in Georgia

first_imgTBILISI, Georgia (AP) – At least 3 Georgian commandos and 11 militants have been killed during an operation to free hostages held along Georgia’s border with Russia, authorities said Wednesday.The police operation was launched Wednesday after militants from Russia’s Dagestan province, which has been plagued by extremist Islamist insurgents, crossed into Georgia and took five people captive.Georgia’s Deputy Interior Minister Nodar Kharshiladze told The Associated Press that the militants freed the hostages, but that they then opened fire on security forces after being asked to surrender. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top Stories center_img Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Quick workouts for men Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Kharshiladze confirmed the death tolls. Several militants also were wounded, Georgian TV station Imedi reported. The hostages were believed to be civilians.Islamist militants used Georgian districts adjacent to the Russian border as hideouts during two wars between Chechen separatists and Russian forces.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Spain migrants storm enclave border fence

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility MADRID (AP) – More than 200 sub-Saharan African migrants brandishing bottles, sticks and stones stormed into Spain’s northwest African enclave of Melilla from Morocco on Friday.In a statement from the Interior Ministry’s Melilla office, the storming was the second in a week and led to the injury of one police officer, who was apparently struck by a migrant on the head with a stick in the pre-dawn melee. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches According to the police, some 300 migrants attempted to cross the six-meter (20-feet) high double barbed wire border fence, with 214 managing to get in.Thousands try each year to enter the city, which is on the Mediterranean Sea, and Spain’s other coastal enclave, Ceuta, in the hope of achieving a better life in Europe.On Feb. 6, at least 15 migrants drowned while trying to enter Ceuta by sea.Carlos Montero, who runs the temporary accommodation center in Melilla for migrants, told Spanish National Radio that the facility now has 1,300 migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa. The center was intended to only house 500.Those that manage to cross into the enclaves are normally placed in temporary centers while authorities try to repatriate them.In recent months Moroccan authorities have been trying to clear forest areas around the enclaves, moving migrants to cities far from the border. There are an estimated 25,000 sub-Saharan Africans living illegally in Morocco, most hoping to make it to Europe.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories center_img Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

Modi vows cleaner India but no clear path to get there

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober All project clearances would be handled by a single government-appointed panel and eliminate the need for forest communities to approve diversion of their lands for industrial use. The Subramanian Committee report also suggests revising the mandate of India’s environmental courts so that they consider only existing law and not scientific arguments and other considerations.While it’s unclear which recommendations Modi’s government will adopt, environmentalists believe it will embrace most of them within legislation soon to be presented in Parliament.“If the laws aren’t working properly, you don’t just throw them out. You’re supposed to implement them, or make them better,” said Leo Saldanha of the Environment Support Group, which has campaigned against the report’s recommendations.“Most of these changes will have adverse implications for decades. Modi won’t even be around to see the consequences of what he’s doing.”Modi and many of his ministers have made clear they see India’s environmental laws as roadblocks to economic development, holding up industry and halting infrastructure such as dams, highways and railways. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility That was the first and last time the public saw Modi with a broom. As he passes one year in office, India is as filthy as it ever was with some of the world’s most polluted air, rivers stinking with sewage and more than half the 1.2 billion population still defecating in the open. Despite lofty promises of a new pristine world filled with smart cities, sparkling waterways, solar panels and toilets for all, it is a mystery how Modi plans to get there.At the same time, environment experts say, the government is laying the groundwork to dismantle hard-fought laws for protecting the environment. With hundreds of millions mired in poverty, many believe economic growth at any cost is the only thing that matters. The latest budget slashed environment funds by 25 percent, with little outcry. And business leaders have been effusive about Modi’s leadership, crediting his constant globe-trotting with boosting investor sentiment and raising India’s profile worldwide.Modi’s approach embodies “the idea that like the West we will grow and clean up later,” said historian Ramachandra Guha. “But we don’t have access to colonies like Europe had,” he said. “There is no part of India where no one lives. If you excavate a coal mine, or build a factory on a river, you are depriving someone of land, or clean water, or forests.” India’s growth languished between 4 and 5 percent for several years as business confidence and investment wilted under the weight of chaotic bureaucracy, policy U-turns and epic corruption scandals. But economists forecast India to overtake China as the world’s fastest growing economy this year with a 7.4 percent expansion.Environmental degradation, meanwhile, is already costing India at least 5.7 percent of its GDP each year, according to the World Bank. Those losses are expected to increase as the compound effects of pollution sicken more people while more of India’s forests vanish, soils continue to degrade and aquifers run dry.Past governments have opened debate to communities and activists, but the Modi government has cracked down on groups such as the Ford Foundation, Greenpeace and Action Aid.Critics warn Modi may be courting a backlash by undermining the rights of local communities and by sacrificing decades of environmental laws that required rigorous assessment of industrial consequences, even if those laws weren’t always implemented.Fishermen have begun protesting coastal pollution, while tens of thousands of farmers rallied last month against plans to make land acquisitions easier. A decades-long Maoist insurgency continues unabated and with support from forest-dwelling communities who also seek a greater share of the country’s natural resource wealth. “I have this feeling that all of this will ultimately go wrong,” said Pushp Jain, director of a Delhi-based environment consulting group ERC.“If they take away public hearings, which is where affected people can be heard, then you have a problem.”___Follow Katy Daigle on Twitter at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Sponsored Stories NEW DELHI (AP) — Four months after becoming prime minister, Narendra Modi stunned Indians by picking up a crude straw broom and, holding it like a dance partner, gently sweeping at a small pile of green leaves on a New Delhi street.Modi, ever the darling of photo ops and grinning selfies, seemed to be calling for a cultural revolution, defying centuries-old hierarchies that make the idea of an official cleaning a street anathema in Indian society. By leading a new campaign called “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan” or “Clean India Mission,” Modi challenged those divisions while dignifying labor and elevating cleanliness as a nationwide goal. In this Monday, May 25, 2015, file photo, traffic moves on a bridge over Bellundur Lake which is filled with froth from industrial pollution in Bangalore, India, Monday, May 25, 2015. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s first year in office was punctuated with promises of clear rivers, clean energy and toilets for all, but environmentalists worry his government is on an entirely different path: dismantling hard-won environmental laws in the name of boosting growth. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi) India has a long record of making plans that come to nothing. Previous governments also vowed better sanitation, cleaner rivers, renewable energy and various anti-pollution measures.Modi’s promises on the environment include expanding solar power five-fold by 2022, ensuring everyone has access to a toilet by 2019, and cleaning the Ganges river of sewage and pollutants. The sanitation pledge alone requires building 70,000 toilets per day. The country is still 100 million toilets short of its goal while funds for sanitation were halved in the last budget.Environmentalists worry most about what is to come from Modi’s government. They point to a mounting assault on environmental protections meant to check pollution, prevent unfair land-grabbing and establish legal rights for tribal communities to oversee the land they live on.Specifically, the critics object to the loosening of rules such as requiring local consent for mineral prospecting as well as to longer-term plans for overhauling the country’s six keystone environment laws.One of Modi’s first acts as prime minister was to form a committee that within three months issued a report recommending a wholesale shift in environmental regulation. The recommendations include eliminating independent pollution regulators and having industries police themselves. How men can have a healthy 2019 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

British Airways strike to become reality

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a238f441″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L British Airways is set to face a strike in the next few weeks as more than 80 percent of its cabin crew voted in favour of industrial action against the airline.In results released from a ballot yesterday, more than 7400 members of Unite showed strong support for a strike over jobs, pay and working conditions.It is the second vote for a strike by BA cabin crew, following its first failed attempt over Christmas which was blocked after it surfaced that votes were made by members who had already left the airline.The dispute surrounds BA staff being forced to accept a pay freeze and the carrier’s determination to cut staff costs to compete in the recession, reducing the number of staff on long-haul flights from 15 to 14 and forcing its most senior crew to start serving meals and drinks as well rather than oversee operations.Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey said the fight was aimed at keeping BA “a premier airline”“This is not a mindless bunch of workers who are determined to bring BA down. They have a real sense of grievance” he told the UK’s Telegraph.The union is expected to set the dates of action later this week but has promised it will not call a walk out during the Easter school holidays.The impending strike, which will most likely be in March, is expected to affect more than 700,000 travellers and see BA lose as much as £25 million a day.However, BA has said it is prepared for a fight and will do everything it can to keep a basic service flying if the strike goes ahead.last_img read more