Month: August 2019

New Fairmont Raffles resorts offer luxury stays in Europe US Mexico

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first_imgNew Fairmont, Raffles resorts offer luxury stays in Europe, U.S., Mexico TORONTO — Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Raffles Hotels & Resorts properties are popping up all over the globe, from Europe (Warsaw’s Raffles Europejski in 2017), to the U.S. (Fairmont Austin in 2017) and Mexico (Fairmont Costa Canuva in 2018).The new 250-room Fairmont Costa Canuva is slated to open in picturesque Riviera Nayarit in late 2018, within the new master-planned seaside community known as Costa Canuva. Set on kilometres of pristine beach, just north of Punta Mita and approximately 40 miles north of Puerto Vallarta International Airport, the development complements Fairmont Mayakoba on Mexico’s opposite coast.In Poland, the new Raffles Europejski is scheduled to open in late 2017, bringing a new luxury hotel to this up and coming European destination. Located in Warsaw’s historic district, next to the Presidential Palace, the 103-room hotel will be a significant restoration of a landmark building.In Texas, the new Fairmont Austin, the first hotel providing direct access to the Austin Convention Center, recently unveiled the first look at its guestroom design. The US$350 million concept now accommodates additional upscale features reflective of Fairmont’s luxury design and service aesthetics, including pillow top mattresses with crisp French duvets, premium thread count linens and floor-to-ceiling windows. The property is set to open August 2017.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureMeanwhile over a dozen iconic properties across the Americas are undertake significant refurbishment projects. Victoria’s Fairmont Empress has undertaken a large-scale two-year renovation to renovate all guestrooms, featuring modern luxury and upscale design inspired by Vancouver Island’s nature of gardens and the sea. And Bermuda’s iconic harbourside resort, Hamilton Princess & Club, recently celebrated the completion of the third and final phase of its $100 million restoration. The two-year process has completely transformed the 400-room property. Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Tuesday, August 30, 2016 Travelweek Group Tags: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Mexicolast_img read more

Returning guests can get a jumpstart on booking NCLs summer 2019 itineraries

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first_img Tuesday, December 19, 2017 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Tags: Norwegian Cruise Line MIAMI — Returning guests on Norwegian Cruise Line have a headstart over the general public in booking summer 2019 itineraries.Bookings are currently open to passengers who’ve already cruised with NCL. The general public, meanwhile, can begin booking on Dec. 20.The cruise line has announced a slew of exciting itineraries for summer 2019, with five ships sailing in Europe, three cruising to Alaska, two calling on Bermuda, as well as voyages that include the Bahamas & Florida, the Caribbean, Canada & New England, and the Hawaiian islands.“We have carefully crafted a mix of itineraries for summer 2019 that provide our guests with an incredible array of cruise vacation experiences in some of the most sought-after destinations across the globe,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “With exotic cultural-centric cruises in Europe, adventure opportunities in Alaska and quintessential summer beach getaways in Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Hawaii, Norwegian Cruise Line’s itinerary options will fulfill every summer travel wish list.”Here’s a run-down of itineraries in summer 2019:ALASKANorwegian Nliss, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jewel will all cruise to the Last Frontier. After making its debut in summer 2018, Norwegian Bliss will return for its second Alaska season with new seven-day Glacier Bay voyages departing each Sunday from Seattle, beginning May 5 through Sept. 22, 2019.The recently renovated Norwegian Pearl will sail seven-day Alaska cruises from Seattle departing on Saturdays from May 18 through Sept. 21. Norwegian Jewel will return to Vancouver and Seward after a bow-to-stern enhancement in fall 2018 to sail popular seven-day Glacier Bay northbound and Inside Passage southbound Alaska voyages.BAHAMAS & FLORIDAFor the first time since 2010, Norwegian Dawn will return to its first homeport of New York City after undergoing enhancements in late 2016. It will set sail from Manhattan on seven-day cruises to the Bahamas & Florida from May 25 to Aug. 31, 2019.More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamBERMUDAIn summer 2019, Norwegian will offer two convenient departure ports from which to set sail to this island. Guests can sail from Boston onboard the Norwegian Gem, a Jewel-class ship that will homeport in Beantown from March 29 through Nov. 8, 2019. Norwegian Escape, which moves to New York City for summer 2018, will continue to stay in the Big Apple through the summer 2019 season, sailing to Bermuda from April 14 until Oct. 20, 2019. Both will offer seven-day cruises to Bermuda featuring three full days in port and two overnight stays.CANADA & NEW ENGLANDNorwegian Dawn will offer four 7-day cruises to this coastline in May and June 2019, with calls in Halifax, Saint John, Bay of Fundy, Bar Harbor, Maine and Newport.CARIBBEANNorwegian Breakaway will reposition from New Orleans to PortMiami for the first time ever, where it will homeport for the summer 2019 season and cruise a mix of Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Its seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries will visit Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and harvest Cay, Belize. Its seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary will call at St. Thomas, USVI; Tortola, BVI; Nassau, Bahamas; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.EUROPEAfter a one-year hiatus, Norwegian Getaway will return to the Baltic, sailing itineraries from Copenhagen. From June 7 through Aug. 27, 2019, the ship will sail a variety of nine-day sailings with ports of call that include Berlin, Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, finland; Stockholm, Sweden; an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia; and a day cruising past the Stockholm Archipelago.More news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedNorwegian Epic will return to Europe in summer 2019 to sail seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises from May 12 through Nov. 3, with embarkation available in either Barcelona or Rome.Norwegian Jade, which was recently renovated in 2017, will spend summer 2019 cruising the Greek Isles and Italy from May 12 through Oct. 24. Its 10- and 1-day itineraries from Rome will call in Santorini, Athens, Mykonos and Crete, Greece; Valletta, Malta; Messina, Siciliy; as well as Naples and Florence/Pisa, Italy.Norwegian star, which will undergo a refurbishment in spring 2018, will also sail the Greek Isles and Eastern Mediterranean on seven-day cruises, with a small selection of nine-, 10-, 11- and 12-day sailings also departing from Venice from May 12 through Nov. 10, 2019. Ports of call include Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Cephalonia, as well as Kotor, Montenegro and Dubrovnik.Norwegian Spirit will homeport in Southampton for the summer of 2019 and sail a selection of 10-day or longer itineraries to the British Isles, Iceland, Norwegian Fjords, the Arctic Circle and the Baltics.HAWAIINorwegian is the only cruise line that offers a seven-day, inter-island itinerary on the U.S.-flagged Pride of America. Guests will cruise on an itinerary that offers nearly 100 hours of port time. Other highlights include an overnight in Kahului, Maui; a call in Hilo; Kailua, Kona; an overnight in Nawiliwili, Kauai; and an afternoon cruising past the Napali Coast. Pride of America will depart from Honolulu every Saturday through April 2021. Returning guests can get a jumpstart on booking NCL’s summer 2019 itinerarieslast_img read more

WestJet breaks company record for singleday guest load

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first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group WestJet breaks company record for single-day guest load Share Wednesday, August 8, 2018 center_img Posted by Tags: WestJet, WestJet Encore, WestJet Link, WestJet Swoop CALGARY — The WestJet Group has reached a new record for passengers flown in a single day, breaking its previous record set in 2017.On Aug. 7, an estimated 80,219 guests flew across its network, surpassing its previous record of 79,961 set on Dec. 22 last year.“The WestJet Group continues to grow our guest numbers as our strategic plan is executed,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “We continue to expand our connectivity while providing more choice for Canadian travellers. Thank you to our 13,000 WestJetters for their part in our success and thank you to our guests for choosing WestJet, WestJet Encore, WestJet Link and Swoop for their summer travel plans.”The record-setting day comes on the heels of WestJet’s July 2018 traffic results, which show a load factor of 85.2%, a decrease of 0.4 percentage points year over year. Revenue passenger miles (RPMs), or traffic, increased 8.2% year over year, while capacity (measured in available seat miles, or ASMs) grew 8.7% over the same period.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”In total, the carrier welcomed an additional 144,000 guests in July, a year-over-year increase of 6.5%.In July, WestJet was named North America’s Best Low-Cost Airline at Skytrax’s World Airline Awards for 2018. It also signed an agreement to create a transborder joint venture arrangement with Delta Air Lines that will include expanded code sharing, more closely aligned frequent flyer program and reciprocal elite benefits, joint growth across their U.S./Canada transborder network, and co-location at key hubs.last_img read more

Collette welcomes aboard new Head of Sales – Canada

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first_img Travelweek Group MISSISSAUGA — Collette has announced a new Head of Sales for its Canada office.After working in both sales and business development in the finance industry for 15 years, George Christakis has made the switch to travel. In his new role at Collette, he’s now responsible for the training, development, mentoring and management of the Business Development Managers for Canada.He’s also accountable for maintaining strong communication with BDMs, communicating amongst internal Collette leaders, and monitoring the success of Collette’s sales team throughout the region.“We’re thrilled to welcome George Christakis to Collette and to witness his ability to lead his team to success,” said Elizabeth Simmons, Senior Vice President of Global Sales. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Collette welcomes aboard new Head of Sales – Canadacenter_img Share Tags: Collette, New Hires Monday, August 27, 2018 last_img read more

Outcry over Guantanamo prison grows as does hunger strike

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first_imgRelated posts:Doctors complicit in torture at CIA, military prisons: study Obama will try again to shut Guantanamo prison U.S. increase number of medics at Guantanamo over hunger strike U.S. Activists Protest Guantanamo Prison Camp in Cuba WASHINGTON, D.C. – Free them or put them on trial. Thus urges a petition to U.S. President Barack Obama over the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, jailed and in limbo for more than a decade.The petition launched by Guantanamo’s former chief military prosecutor Col. Morris Davis was signed by more than 137,400 people by late Sunday for the president to bring some kind of closure to the fate of the terror suspects at the U.S. prison on the eastern tip of Cuba.Behind the walls of the prison on the arid hills of Guantanamo, the men lost in indefinite detention seek to draw attention to an unprecedented hunger strike a third of them are waging. On Monday, the hunger strike enters its fourth month.Afghan prisoner Obaidullah echoed the sentiment of many of his fellow inmates when he said he was “losing all hope.” His testimony was declassified Friday.“Eleven years of my life have been taken from me,” he said.As of Friday, 100 of the “war on terror” suspects were observing the hunger strike, out of a total of 166, prison officials say.Of them, 23 were being fed with tubes running down their noses and three were hospitalized even though their lives were not in danger, said prison spokesman Lt. Col. Samuel House.Lawyers for the inmates say there are actually 130 hunger strikers, some of them refusing food since Feb. 6.“One doesn’t need to do the math to know that some of the prisoners trying to kill themselves are not enemy combatants, or suspected terrorists or militants, or any of the phrases we turn to when we are scared and give up on courts,” The New Yorker magazine said in an editorial.Of the prisoners still languishing at the U.S. military prison, more than half – 86 – have been cleared for release, some of them for the past five years.Why have these men ended up in “no man’s land” in Cuba, as Obama put it on Tuesday?Clive Stafford Smith, a lawyer for 15 of the inmates, said many of the prisoners were captured in Afghanistan or Pakistan and “sold to the Americans for a reward.”His clients include Shaker Aamer, a Briton who has been on hunger strike for 70 days, and jailed even though London has pledged to take him in.“There is something fundamentally wrong with a system where not being charged with a war crime keeps you locked away indefinitely and a war crime conviction is your ticket home,” Davis said in his petition.His petition drew 117,000 signatures in just 48 hours.As Guantanamo’s top military prosecutor, Davis recalled that he himself charged the only three former inmates to be found guilty of war crimes and sent home to their countries.That is just three of the 779 prisoners held at the U.S. prison over the past 11 years. Six others have been charged and now face proceedings before a military court.Obama’s administration, and that of his predecessor George W. Bush, have cleared 86 of the inmates currently held at Guantanamo, finding them to be neither enemy combatants nor war criminals.Of the remaining 80, about half cannot be tried for lack of evidence.“At the bottom line, Guantanamo is just a massive, a massive failure,” said Smith.One of Smith’s colleagues, Omar Farah, said it was time for Obama to correct “this horrible mistake” and “speak louder than the prisoners.”Farah said he just returned from Guantanamo, where he was “stunned by how much my clients are resolved.”“They have nothing to lose,” he told AFP. “They want to live, they want to live with freedom and dignity.” Some have spent more than a third of their lives there, Farah said.Commander Walter Ruiz, a military defense lawyer, urged Obama to resolve the legal limbo at Guantanamo.The president has failed to fulfill his vow to close the reviled detention center due to stiff domestic opposition to moving the prisoners to U..S soil for trial and incarceration, and to get foreign nations to accept detainees that have been cleared.“We need to see more than words, we need concrete actions,” Ruiz said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Bob Marleybranded marijuana will soon be available thanks to legalization

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first_imgRelated posts:Big Tobacco need not apply for work in the cannabis market Global drug policy isn’t working. These 100-plus organizations want that to change. US sheriffs are asking for armored trucks to wage war on marijuana. Yes, really. Colombia president supports allowing medical marijuana Marley reportedly smoked as much as a pound of marijuana per week. But at the time of his intense fame in the United States and around the world, he was viewed as a nonconformist symbol.Marley has become even more of a global icon and brand in the years since his death, but that it’s now happening in a world in which marijuana is decriminalized in some places is something even he didn’t foresee.“Legalize herb? Boy, I jus’ don’ know. It’s kinda legalized already,” he noted in a 1976 interview with High Times.He was referring to the widespread use and cultivation of marijuana in Jamaica, where the drug has actually been illegal for over 100 years.And change is coming there, too.In late September, the Jamaican government announced that it is considering support for a proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of what Marley and Rastafarians called the “holy herb” if it is being used for medicinal, and eventually, religious purposes.That is a direct result of the loosening of legalization laws in some U.S. states – though marijuana remains an illegal schedule I substance under Federal law. Join us as we travel this historic path. #MarleyNatural fine #cannabis http://t.co/vaVMKFSkrX pic.twitter.com/hei0cBpvcm— Marley Natural (@MarleyNatural) November 18, 2014 “If you don’t start somewhere, you’re gonna go nowhere” – Bob Marley #MarleyNatural #cannabis http://t.co/aE3Z4kVtRy pic.twitter.com/eVK5cZXLdd— Marley Natural (@MarleyNatural) November 19, 2014center_img It’s fair to say that Bob Marley probably could not have imagined that 33 years after his death, his name would be lent to what is about to be the newest entrant to the burgeoning legal marijuana market.The reggae icon was perhaps the most prominent and outspoken advocate of the drug throughout his life and at the height of his fame. He viewed it as a spiritual and creative force that was probably more likely to be legalized by “Christ’s government” than governments here on Earth.But times have changed — in a big way. Look no further than Tuesday’s announcement by Marley’s family that it plans to piggyback on successful efforts to legalize marijuana in the United States and elsewhere by introducing a new brand of marijuana products bearing the late singer’s name.“Marley Natural” is being launched by Privateer Holdings, a cannabis industry investment firm, and products will reach the market in late 2015.“My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb,” Marley’s daughter Cedella Marley said in a news release. “He viewed the herb as something spiritual that could awaken our well-being, deepen our reflection, connect us to nature and liberate our creativity.”“Marley Natural is an authentic way to honor his legacy by adding his voice to the conversation about cannabis and helping end the social harms caused by prohibition,” she added. It will offer organically grown heirloom Jamaican marijuana strains, in keeping with Marley’s preference for high-quality marijuana grown without the use of fertilizer. And it will be available in jurisdictions that allow recreational or medicinal marijuana sales. The brand also plans to offer cannabis- and hemp-infused products such as lotions and sun-repair creams. Over the years, critics of harsh marijuana laws have argued that the penalties have done little to stamp out organized crime associated with the trafficking of black market drugs, including marijuana, through the island.And of course, there is potentially huge financial upside, as the investment firm Privateer Holdings has sought to demonstrate with its recent business ventures in the marijuana space.“The time has come to provide an opportunity for Jamaicans to benefit from the marijuana industry,” said Kingston’s mayor Angela Brown Burke recently, according to the Associated Press.According to a release, the Marley brand will have an unspecified philanthropic component to “ensure that families and communities who have been harmed by prohibition have the opportunity to benefit from the new, legal cannabis economy,” the company’s announcement said.“My husband believed ‘the herb’ was a natural and positive part of life and he felt it was important to the world,” Marley’s wife Rita said in a statement. “He looked forward to this day.”© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Tico Times Pacuare story wins Chamber of Commerce journalism award

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first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican investigative reporter, data journalism pioneer Giannina Segnini wins prestigious Maria Moors Cabot Prize Another Honduran journalist murdered, bringing total since 2003 to 45 Reviving the messenger: Gary Webb’s tale on film Attacks on Mexico journalists surge, says rights group The Tico Times won top honors in journalism Friday at the American-Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce Social Responsibility in Action Awards for a story on efforts to save the Pacuare River from being dammed.Travel editor Karl Kahler won the award for his story “Dam the Pacuare? Over Turrialba’s dead body,” about efforts by whitewater rafting companies, environmentalists and indigenous people to prevent the construction of hydroelectric dams on the Pacuare. Karl Kahler with Geannina Dinarte, economy vice minister, at the American-Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce awards. (Courtesy of American-Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce)The Alberto Martén Chavarría Award is for “the best journalistic work in the area of social responsibility.” The award came with an Alcatel One Touch smartphone.“I’m thrilled that Karl has received recognition for his excellent reporting on one of the country’s long-standing controversies,” said Jill Replogle, managing editor of The Tico Times. “You’ll see from the story that he and Tico Times photographer Beto Font practically risked life and limb — and got really wet — reporting it.”On Aug. 29, four days after the article was published, President Luis Guillermo Solís signed a presidential decree banning hydroelectric dams from the Pacuare and Savegre rivers for 25 years.“This is a huge honor for me and for The Tico Times,” Kahler said. “But I’d say the hard-working organizers of these efforts to save the Pacuare deserve the real credit.”El Financiero, socially-responsible businesses also recognizedCristina Fallas of El Financiero won honorable mention for a series of stories on sustainable energy. Journalists from 7 Días and Noticias Monumental were also nominated. Cristina Fallas of El Financiero with U.S. Ambassador Stafford Fitzgerald Haney. (Courtesy of American-Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce)The Chamber also gave awards to a number of businesses for social responsibility.In the category of “Public-Private Alliances,” Procter & Gamble was recognized for its “Clean Water for Children” program.Under “Environment,” the BAC/Credomatic Financial Group won for its environmental management and carbon neutrality programs. Honorable mention went to Abbott Vascular for its Food Plus program.Bridgestone won the “Collaborators” award for its wellness program, with honorable mention going to Purdy Motor for its employee education program.The “Community” award went to Dole Standard Fruit Company for its fair trade initiative. BAC/Credomatic won honorable mention for its support for small businesses.A grand prize for all these categories went to Dole. The group from Dole Standard Fruit Company. (Courtesy of American-Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce) Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Riteve wants to hike the price of mandatory car inspections by 200

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first_imgRelated posts:Riteve vehicle inspection rates not going up Mandatory vehicle inspection agency seeks up to 200 percent increase in prices Regulatory agency rejects increase in vehicle inspection rates Riteve vehicle inspection rates to go up starting July Riteve SyC, the private company responsible for carrying out mandatory vehicle inspections in Costa Rica, asked the government this week to let it hike rates up to 205 percent next year.Riteve justified its petition by arguing that the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) rejected eight previous rate hike requests from the company over the past 10 years.If approved, the price for inspecting a sedan-type vehicle would rise from ₡9,930 ($18) currently to ₡30,320 ($56). The last increase for Riteve inspections was approved in 2005, when rates for inspecting sedans rose from ₡8,805 ($16) to the current rate.The full, current rate list by vehicle type can be seen here.In the past, ARESEP has said it denied rate hike requests from Riteve because the company failed to submit a calculation model for its rates, which is required for ARESEP to analyze a proposed change.Riteve officials said Wednesday that if the regulatory agency had approved all of the company’s previous requests, the increase this year would have been just 1 percent, or ₡287 ($0.50).The Spanish-owned company, which currently employs some 400 workers in Costa Rica, signed a contract with the government in 2000. The contract states that the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) is responsible for defining the rate-setting model for car inspections. But Riteve claims that MOPT has yet to define the model.ARESEP representatives say they have repeteadly asked MOPT for a calculation model in order to proceed with revised rates, but they have received no response from the ministry. ARESEP now has 10 days to approve or reject the new request from Riteve.Mario Zárate, director of MOPT’s Public Transportation Council, told daily La Nación on Wednesday that board members will discuss in coming days whether their staff is capable of designing the rates-calculation model for Riteve, or whether they need to hire a consultant to do it. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Brazils President Dilma Rousseff impeached will be suspended from office

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first_img© 2016, The Washington Post BRASÍLIA, Brazil – Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff was impeached Thursday and will be suspended from office after senators voted overwhelmingly to put her on trial for allegedly breaking budget laws.Following a marathon debate session that lasted through the night, 55 of Brazil’s 81 senators voted against Rousseff, who once enjoyed widespread popularity in South America’s largest country and an economic powerhouse in the region.That was far more than the simple majority needed to suspend for up to 180 days while an impeachment trial is held.The total also exceeded the two-thirds majority that would eventually be needed to permanently remove her once the trial is over, a sign of the remote odds she faces for making a comeback.Weary-looking lawmakers lightly applauded the final vote on the Senate floor.The outcome was nothing like the raucous celebration that took place when Brazil’s lower house of congress voted to impeach Rousseff last month and her opponents broke into chants of “bye-bye darling.”Rousseff’s impeachment is a once-unthinkable blow to her leftist Workers’ Party, which presided over years of prosperity and robust social-welfare spending that lifted more than 30 million Brazilians out of poverty. Now Rousseff and her party are paying for Brazil’s crash.With the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro less than three months away, South America’s largest country is facing its most severe economic contraction since the 1930s, and a massive corruption scandal has tarnished nearly all of Brazil’s political leaders.The impeachment vote was the culmination of months of legal and political maneuvering by Rousseff’s administration and its opponents, a process that has produced a gripping drama that has left Brazilians frustrated and increasingly worried that their country is sliding into long-term dysfunction.Brazilians followed Senate proceedings closely, with TV networks providing live coverage and news sites offering a running tally of the senators denouncing Rousseff. Many of the lawmakers described her impeachment as the essential first step toward turning the country around.Rousseff, 68, a former Marxist guerrilla who became Brazil’s first female president, is one of the few top political figures not under suspicion of bribe-taking or other corruption, although her party is accused of involvement in dirty deals.That difference had emboldened Rousseff’s defenders and raised doubts among international observers about the legitimacy of the impeachment effort. Some independent analysts and Rousseff allies called the proceedings an excuse to get rid of an unpopular leader, and a sign of political immaturity in a country whose democracy was restored in 1985 after two decades of military rule.Attorney General Jose Cardozo, who is leading her defense, said lawmakers were condemning “an honest and innocent woman.”“All the previous governments did the same thing,” he said of the budget law offenses Rousseff is accused of. “Where is the bad faith of the President of the Republic?” he shouted.But one of the last lawmakers to address the chamber, Sen. Romero Jucá, called the accusations against Rousseff a “crime of responsibility.”“We know that the Titanic will sink if it keeps going in the direction it’s going,” he said.Rousseff will be forced to step down Thursday upon formal notification of the Senate’s decision. Vice President Michel Temer would assume the presidency on an interim basis, and he would serve out the rest of Rousseff’s term if she was found guilty.The vote puts Rousseff among a small number of democratically elected leaders who have been impeached. They include former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who was impeached in the House in 1998 but acquitted in a Senate trial.The procedure is not unfamiliar to Brazilians. In 1992, then-President Fernando Collar Collor de Mello resigned after he was put on trial by the Senate on corruption charges. He later returned to politics and won a Senate seat. On Wednesday, he said Rousseff’s government was “in ruins.”Rousseff is accused of improperly using billions of dollars in loans from government banks to patch budget gaps and fund popular social programs.Rousseff’s opponents say she deceived lawmakers and the public about the state of the country’s finances to conceal her mismanagement of the economy. She denies any wrongdoing and insists that her predecessors used the same bookkeeping procedures.One Rousseff opponent compared her presidency to “gangrene” sickening Brazil. “If we amputate the leg, we save the body,” Sen. Magno Malta said.Anti-impeachment demonstrators on Wednesday blocked roads with burning tires in cities including São Paulo and the capital, Brasília, where police fired tear gas and clashed with a small group of protesters. Groups backing Rousseff have called for a national strike. Groups backing Rousseff called for a national strike.But Rousseff’s support base has withered, and a climate of resignation has settled over her administration and the Workers’ Party, with some supporters conceding that Wednesday was likely to be her last day in office.Rousseff was not waiting for the vote either: She ordered her photos, books and other belongings packed up at the presidential office Wednesday afternoon in anticipation of her suspension, according to Brazilian news reports.She was expected to hold a news conference Thursday morning and release an online video, but there was no indication that she was preparing to resign.Rousseff narrowly won reelection in 2014, but recent polls show that her approval rating has slumped to about 10 percent. Critics say her brusque personal style and disdain for retail politics added to her isolation by turning onetime allies against her. She made no speeches or public statements Wednesday and was photographed strolling through the grounds of the presidential palace in exercise clothing, among long-necked rheas – large, flightless birds native to South America.Some prominent international observers had cautioned that Rousseff’s removal could set a bad precedent for democracy by promoting the idea that a presidential mandate from voters can be interrupted by lawmakers.Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, has questioned the legality of Rousseff’s possible removal, but he said he would seek the opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights changed his mind less than 24 hours later, clearing a path for the Senate vote. Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Brazil’s Rousseff condemns ‘coup’ as judge blocks Lula Lula’s detention rattles Brazil as heat on Rousseff increases Lula is the big test for Petrobras prosecutors Brazilian bribe money funded Rousseff’s reelection, daily reportslast_img read more

Three Billboards Outside San José Costa Rica Can fish bring a country

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first_imgRelated posts:Your dream photo isn’t worth it: leave the fish in the water King of the silver kings Jacks or better to open 80 years of illegal (tarpon) immigration If you are driving from Juan Santamaría International Airport toward San José, you will pass two sets of billboards. Lettered in Spanish, the signs translate to English as:There are foreign boats fishing illegally in Costa RicaThey are taking our marine resources without permitsTogether we can change this… Find out how at fecop.org[Editor’s note: The author of this story works as the communications director for FECOP, the Costa Rican Fishing Federation.] The campaign billboards were modeled after the ones in the award-winning film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” The signs were designed to be simple but effective. It is estimated that more than 25 percent of all tuna fished by foreign purse seine boats in Costa Rican territorial waters goes unreported or is taken by vessels not licensed to fish in Costa Rica — resulting in zero benefit to the country.In an interview on Monumental Radio, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of Environment and Energy, denounced that the country loses millions of dollars in the illegal fishing of tuna. Thanks to the international licenses that the country provides for tuna fishing, this sector generates legal profits of $50 million and pays only $1.3 million for it. He went on to say if more tuna were available to Costa Rica fishermen, they would target tuna rather than engaging in controversial shark fishing.Data collected by Amigos de la Isla del Coco Foundation (FAICO) during a study called “Characterization and analysis of industrial fishing pressure in the ACMC and the adjacent Exclusive Economic Zone” found that fishing vessels entered the prohibited areas for purse seining more than 130 times during the span of the study.An analysis by Conservation International and the Coast Guard using satellite technology determined more than 100 vessels were involved in illicit activities in 2016-17.The yearly average legal take from these boats had been around 25,000 tons of tuna. Of this, 9,000 tons goes to the cannery in Puntarenas and most of the rest never lands in Costa Rica. A study done by Federacion Costarricense de Pesca in 2013 showed Costa Rica only benefitted $37 a ton from tuna taken by foreign vessels. This brought about the first tuna reform in 2014, which moved the tuna boats offshore 45 miles and protected other important areas like the waters around Coco Island and a total of 200,000 square kilometers from purse seine fishing. In 2017, INCOPESCA, the governing board of fishing regulations in Costa Rica, reduced the number of legal licenses from 43 to 13 and this year put limits on the capture. But with very little oversight, illegal fishing activity is bound to increase.To better understand all this one needs to understand all the pieces of the puzzle. Not all of them see eye-to-eye on many issues. Since this campaign was started by FECOP, we start first with:Sport fishingSport fishing generates nearly $380 million for the Costa Rican economy and generates thousands of jobs for Costa Ricans. FECOP — which advocates for sport fishing as a sustainable business model as well as ocean management — represents many of them. A study recently conducted by Henry Marín, project manager for FECOP, showed that in a social-economic quality of life model study, Costa Ricans who work in sport fishing earned more than the average Costa Rican. Those who work in areas like Herradura and Quepos, where there has been a substantial investment in sport fishing infrastructure, have even higher incomes. There are also a good number of non-anglers who believe sport fishing is a senseless sport, where people torture animals for sport.Commercial fishing A tuna fishing vessel circles dolphins off the Osa Peninsula, on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast. Shawn Larkin/The Tico TimesThis is another very important part of the Costa Rican economy that employs thousands in coastal communities. Costa Ricans consume a lot of fish and almost all the millions of tourists that come here each year want to experience fresh Costa Rican seafood. The exportation of fish products is also huge. Opponents complain about non-selective arts of fishing with a high incidental catch of non-targeted or over-exploited species.Tuna purse seine fleetCosta Rica does not have a purse seine vessel. The fleet consists of licenses sold to foreign-owned companies that capture tuna by circling a school with a net when closed captures everything inside. Opponents claim the bycatch — species caught other than tuna — include marlin, sailfish, dorado, wahoo, sharks, turtles and marine mammals. More than 50 different species have been documented as bycatch in the tuna fleet. By examining previous catch records, it is estimated the fleet reduction saved 25 tons of would have been marlin bycatch in 2017.CanneryThe tuna cannery in Puntarenas is a major player in the local community. It employs well over 1,000 Costa Ricans and requires 9,000 tons of tuna annually to operate. Because the demand of sustainably caught “one by one” tuna is growing so fast, the cannery is forced to import pole- and line-caught fish from other countries to fill their orders.GovernmentThe government, including INCOPESCA, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of the Environment, the Coast Guard, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Legislative Assembly all have input in the fishing licenses, controls and enforcement. Some have been accused of favoring one sector over another or business over environment, or that they don’t have the budget to operate more efficiently.NGOsThere are many non-governmental nonprofits headquartered in Costa Rica that specialize in marine conservation issues. Many have done great things in Costa Rica. At times, conservation is a competitive business. Organizations compete for donor contributions. Because of this, they don’t communicate well with each other. Many times, they are working on similar projects but for fear of losing donations or credit for successes — which turn into more donations — they don’t share information. If they did a little more, positive changes could come more rapidly on smaller budgets.General publicCosta Rica is the most expensive country to live in in Central America. Many sectors have been on strike or protesting the proposed tax reforms since September 10. They are especially displeased with some tax breaks companies receive whose products manufactured in Costa Rica cost nearly double in Costa Rica as the same product sold by the same company in neighboring countries. Many feel it is unfair to give away Costa Rica’s resources to other countries with little benefit to the country while they are asked to pay higher taxes.TunaTuna are the most prized fish on the commercial market and have a much higher market value than other species. Many people do not know how most of the tuna captured in Costa Rica are caught. A large purse seine vessel cruises the ocean looking for obvious signs that tuna is present. This could be feeding birds, tuna feeding, giant pods of dolphins, or floating objects like tree trunks. Often these boats will place artificial floating objects, which are illegal to use in Costa Rica because they attract juvenile fish.DolphinsA lot of the tuna caught here are caught under dolphins. Dolphins and tuna have a symbiotic relationship and swim together — the dolphin on the surface and tuna below. They will use speed boats to corral the dolphins into the net. If you net the dolphin, you will also catch the tuna. In the past, up to 6 million dolphins perished in tuna boat nets until there was a public outcry.Today boats fishing legally will lower one end of the net to release the dolphin. According to data, the mortality of dolphin is now around 1,000 annually using this method, but Sierra Goodman, founder and president of the Vida Marina Foundation in Drake Bay, on the northern Pacific side of the Osa Peninsula, believes the actual number of dolphin mortality is highly underreported. Goodman’s concern is that tuna companies that fish and net dolphins are labeling their product dolphin safe.“Ok, so this is my question: Are the dolphins still chased and encircled in the nets to get the tuna?” she asked. “Are dolphins involved in any way for tuna that is labeled dolphin-safe? Because any time free and wild dolphins are chased and entrapped, it is not dolphin-safe. I saw what happens in those nets. While I’m sure the lowering of nets helps with mortality, what about stress factors? We know that these tuna boats are out there for days in a row netting the same group of Costa Rican spinner dolphins.”One question is whether the boats fishing illegally careful with dolphins. They have been witnessed throwing explosives from helicopters or speed boats to herd dolphin. And do they take the time to make sure the dolphin is released from the net carefully? I have never known a thief who sweeps up the glass after he has broken your window to enter your house.Green Stick and pole & lineGreen Stick is the common name for a piece of fishing equipment that was originally made from a long, green bamboo shoot that has a main line attached to a device that is designed to make a large splash on the water. It is trolled a couple hundred yards or more behind the fishing vessel. Off the main line, a half dozen or more lures are placed at intervals. This method has a 99 percent catch rate of tuna compared to catching species other than the targeted tuna.Pole and line is basically done by chumming the water with live minnows to keep the tuna close in a feeding frenzy and catching them one a time, helping meet the growing demand for sustainably caught seafood — seafood caught without impacting the environment or other species. Green Sticks now made of fiberglass are nothing new. They have been used in Japan and in the Eastern United States for years. Innovating commercial fishermen like Robert Nunes has been using them some success in Costa Rican waters. After FECOP supplied the technical support to the government, INCOPESCA began issuing licenses to fish green sticks this year.Adam Baske, Director of the Pole and Line Foundation based in the United Kingdom, recently visited Costa Rica and with FECOP staff met with long-line commercial fishermen in Puntarenas and Quepos to discuss the tuna industry and the market need for sustainably caught tuna. They heard the same from both groups. They explained that even though the sport fishermen are seeing a great increase in tuna catches since the Tuna Decree in 2014, there is still too much tuna being taken illegally or licensed to foreign vessels for them to successfully fish more selective gear and make a decent profit.According to them, they would love it if they could. Tuna is a premium-value fish and would become the target species, taking pressure off sharks and billfish as bycatch in longline fishing. The incidental catch rate of other species would drop drastically. FECOP then met with six marine related NGOs to discuss the issue.This writer has lived in Costa Rica worked in fishing going on 28 years and is a naturalized Costa Rican citizen. His wife is Tica, his kids are Tico and at many times feels as if he is at heart a Tico trapped in the body of a gringo. He has been here long enough to know if just one sector lobbies for change, nothing happens. When different sector joins on a common goal, change happens. The first tuna reform in 2014 is a good example of sport fisherman working together with longline fishermen. Giving tuna back to the Ticos would have a domino effect for all groups. Better income for struggling coastal communities, less bycatch of billfish, sharks, turtles, dolphin and other marine mammals. With more tuna available, the longliners could see the advantage of switching gear because the fish would be available to them and NGO’s protecting sharks, turtles and billfish would all benefit also.It is not an easy task, but working together, it can be done. There is a petition to the government at www.fecop.org. The site is in English and Spanish; just click your preference. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Iconic Israeli newspaper on the verge of collapse

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first_imgMaariv editor-in-chief Nir Hefetz made a front page plea the following day asking the government and advertisers to help and for everyday Israelis to purchase subscriptions.“If everyone contributes their part, if everyone joins the effort, together we can save Maariv,” he wrote.Hagai Matar, head of the Maariv journalist’s union, said that just as the government has assisted struggling factories, it should do the same to save the newspaper. “Only massive public pressure will convince the government that it is a public interest to save Maariv,” he said.Matar is leading the battle to keep the paper alive and lobbying hard for adequate severance and pension if he and others are sent home.Last week, he led about 1,000 people through the streets of Tel Aviv, blocking a major junction. Following the court order, the union dropped its threat to strike, which would have stopped publication Tuesday for the first time ever.Established in 1948 three months before Israel gained independence, Maariv prided itself as a beacon of quality journalism and beholden neither to political parties nor media moguls. It was the nation’s No. 1 paper until it was overtaken by Yediot in the 1970s. Patients with chronic pain give advice Israel Hayom’s success has raised questions about whether a wealthy foreigner has bought power and influence on behalf of the prime minister. Adelson also has contributed $30 million to super PACs supporting Republican candidates and has attended major fundraising events for U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney.Israel Hayom denies the accusations and says its economic model is simply more effective.“(We) won’t apologize for our success, the readers prefer us and we thank them,” the paper said in a statement.The loss of Maariv would leave Israel, a country of nearly 8 million people, with three national Hebrew newspapers: Adelson’s Israel Hayom, Yediot and Haaretz, a small but influential publication popular with Israel’s dovish elite. A number of smaller niche publications, including the English-language Jerusalem Post, also exist.Other newspapers have announced layoffs and popular TV station Channel 10 is struggling to stay on the air as it awaits a request to the state to defer its crippling debts. The station says the government, which has deferred debts for other struggling companies, is using a technicality to eliminate a pesky source of criticism. Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes The newspaper has evolved from broadsheet to tabloid and its ownership has passed hands among a series of wealthy businessmen, including the late British media mogul Robert Maxwell.Yuval Karniel, a law and communications expert at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, a college near Tel Aviv said Maariv’s near-collapse reflected the evolution of Israeli society.“Maariv has declined along with its readers. When we look at Maariv, we look at ourselves … it is an Israeli story,” he said.(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 Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Critics also charge the government of making political appointments to Israel’s public broadcasting system, sidelining prominent critics on state radio and passing anti-libel legislation meant to stifle investigative reporters.Comments by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, a Netanyahu confidant from his hawkish Likud Party, captured on tape at a recent party function highlight the animosity.“We are dealing here … with a media that is not only against the Likud _ it is true, it mostly prefers the left and is not entirely objective _ but beyond that it is a media that has lost respect for one small, simple word _ the truth,” he told a group of Likud activists.Ben Caspit, Maariv’s leading political columnist, has written that Maariv’s blood is on Netanyahu’s hands.“The man who wanted to go down in history as the man who destroyed the Iranian nuclear threat could go down as the one who destroyed the free media in his country,” he wrote.In his first comments on the issue, Netanyahu told the Israeli economic paper Globes that Maariv’s plight was due to the “dramatic technological changes that are affecting the written press” all over the world. He said he has no intention of getting involved. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The 64-year-old Maariv has suffered in the fallout. The newspaper was sold this month by its cash-strapped owner to a rival publisher. Most of its 2,000 employees are facing likely dismissals.The iconic newspaper has been hemorrhaging money for years and its downfall is linked to the struggles facing print media around the globe, with the emergence of online news sources and a steep drop in subscribers and ad revenue rendering the traditional newspaper economic model untenable.But against the backdrop of a perceived anti-media blitz by the hard-line government, Maariv staffers believe their final blow was delivered by Israel Hayom.Adelson’s paper recently passed Yediot Ahronot as the top-read daily in Israel, leaving Maariv in third place, according to a survey by TGI, a leading Israeli polling company.Besides its flattering coverage of Netanyahu and questionable political agenda, critics charge that its cheap ads and deep pockets are running everyone else out of business.“We can’t compete with a machine that prints money and hands out papers for free,” said Avi Ashkenazi, Maariv’s veteran crime correspondent. “We are the first ones to enter the slaughterhouse but we likely won’t be the last. It’s only a matter of time.” “On the one hand I’m told `leave the media alone,’ and on the other hand I’m told `intervene to save this outlet or another.’ There’s a contradiction here,” he said.Dalia Dorner, a former Supreme Court Justice who is president of the Israel Press Council, said that in France, for instance, the government intervenes with subsidies and encourages youths to read newspapers. But in the hostile Israeli climate it is unlikely the government will lend a helping hand to the struggling industry.“I hope something can be done. For there to be good journalism, we need journalists,” Dorner said. “For there to be democracy, we need a free and varied media.”Israeli businessman Nochi Dankner, whose IDB holding company is wobbling under a pile of debt, this month sold Maariv to Shlomo Ben-Tzvi, the publisher of a hard-line religious publication, for $21 million.Ben-Tzvi has indicated he will fire all 2,000 employees and rehire between 300 and 400. It’s not clear whether he will incorporate them into his Makor Rishon daily or keep Maariv alive in a limited capacity.On Sunday, a Tel Aviv district court handed Maariv a temporary lifeline, appointing two trustees who will try to revive the paper and ensure employees’ rights. The court cited a “heavy public interest in saving Maariv” and froze the transfer of ownership for a month. Associated PressJERUSALEM (AP) – Throughout much of Israel’s history, the Maariv daily was known as the “country’s paper,” the newspaper with the highest circulation and a cornerstone of Israeli media. Now it is on its last legs _ the victim, some say, of a Jewish-American billionaire who is a close friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson launched his free “Israel Hayom” or “Israel Today” daily five years ago. The tabloid has steadily gobbled up market share since then. Handed out by ubiquitous distributors clad in red overalls at busy intersections, it has become the most read newspaper in Israel. 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img

Australian yacht designer killed in Philippines

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first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project MANILA, Philippines (AP) – An acclaimed Australian yacht designer was hacked to death inside his residence in the northern Philippines, police said Wednesday.A neighbor found the body of 81-year-old Joe Adams early Monday and blood scattered on the floor of his two-story house that was left open in the village of Tuding in Benguet province’s Itogon township, said regional police director Benjamin Magalong. Comments   Share   Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Hack wounds on Adams’ hands suggest that he tried to fight off attackers armed with a machete, Magalong said. He said police are investigating the motive for the killing and that forensic experts are examining possible fingerprints left by the suspect or suspects.The Sydney-born yacht designer was behind the record-breaking Sydney-to-Hobart winner Helsal in 1973. After moving to the Philippines, he became an investor in a property development company in northern Baguio city.Tuding police investigator Julius Acay said Adams may have been killed between late Sunday and early Monday. His valuables were left intact although his wallet contained no money when it was found, Acay said.Acay said Adams had been a Philippine resident for about 10 years and lived for many years in Tuding’s Alphaville subdivision. During that time, there was no record of disturbance or altercation involving Adams, who lived alone after separating from his third wife, a Filipino who now lives in Australia, Acay said.The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed Adams’ death.Acay said that Adams recently let go of his Filipino maid because he could no longer pay her. He was last seen walking his maid to her new employer within the village Sunday afternoon. The vital role family plays in society (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Mexicos AG says no motive yet in US car shooting

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first_imgMEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico’s attorney general says authorities have yet to determine a motive in the alleged attack by federal police officers on a U.S. Embassy vehicle that wounded two CIA officers six months ago.Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said Thursday that the still expects to get a strong sentence against the 14 officers charged with attempted murder.The CIA officers were heading down a dirt road to a military installation south of Mexico City on Aug. 24 with a Mexican navy captain when a carload of gunmen opened fire on their SUV with diplomatic plates and gave chase. More vehicles joined in the pursuit, and the armored SUV was riddled with bullets. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day How do cataracts affect your vision? Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How men can have a healthy 2019center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   The two CIA officers’ injuries were not life-threatening. The captain was not injured.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Merkel rejects suggestions public misled over nospy deal

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first_img How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober However, a report Saturday by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and two broadcasters, based on email correspondence between the governments, suggested there was no firm indication at the time that the White House would contemplate such a deal.Pofalla was untruthful “for the purposes of electoral tactics,” Torsten Schaefer-Guembel, a deputy leader of the center-left Social Democrats, the junior party in Merkel’s governing coalition, told the daily Tagesspiegel.The report followed questions in recent weeks over the extent of cooperation between Germany’s own spy agency and the NSA. Merkel on Monday reiterated her willingness to testify before a parliamentary panel that is looking into the NSA’s activities.“I can only say that everyone worked according to their best knowledge and conscience — that goes for today’s chief of staff but also his predecessor,” Merkel told reporters.The government has faced allegations recently that Germany’s own Federal Intelligence Agency, better known by its acronym BND, may have helped the U.S. spy on European companies and officials as long ago as 2008.The agency is overseen by Merkel’s chief of staff, and the Social Democrats — who are struggling in opinion polls — have appeared keen to put her office under pressure. However, there has been no sign yet of questions over NSA surveillance damaging her party’s popularity. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “For me, it is a matter of course that intelligence agencies must keep to German laws when they are active in Germany,” Merkel said.“Enforcing that may perhaps be difficult, may take longer than we want, but it remains a political aim for me.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press conference in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 11, 2015, the day after the state election in the German state of Bremen. Germany’s main center-left party won the election in the country’s smallest state, Bremen, and is expected to prolong its decades-long dominance there despite losing significant support. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology BERLIN (AP) — The German government on Monday rejected suggestions that it intentionally misled the public about the United States’ willingness to negotiate a “no-spy” agreement between the two countries.Chancellor Angela Merkel’s then-chief of staff, Ronald Pofalla, said a few weeks before German elections in 2013 that the two countries would start talks on an agreement not to spy on each other. The statement came after revelations by Edward Snowden about surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency.last_img read more

US Cuba push to finalize talks on reestablishing embassies

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first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility WASHINGTON (AP) — American and Cuban officials are trying to complete talks to re-establish embassies in each other’s capitals after a half-century interruption.The top U.S. diplomat for Latin America, Roberta Jacobson, is meeting with her Cuban counterpart, Josefina Vidal, at the State Department on Thursday.The talks come as two of the biggest obstacles to the restoration of U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations are being removed. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Cuba will come off the U.S. state sponsor of terrorism list on May 29. Also, the U.S. says Cuba’s Interests Section in Washington has established a relationship with a U.S.-based bank, meaning it won’t have to operate on cash anymore.Other issues remain.The U.S. is trying to ensure its diplomats can travel throughout Cuba and meet with dissidents without restrictions.Officials say a breakthrough is unlikely Thursday.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta S. Jacobson, second from left, heads the U.S. delegation during the fourth round of talks to re-establish diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, Thursday, May 21, 2015, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Feminist group forced to close in China after detentions

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first_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Wu said staff members were baffled by the police obstruction because they weren’t breaking China’s laws. They were working in the interests of “many young women who don’t know how to deal with gender-based unfairness,” she said.One of the five previously detained women, Zheng Churan, is a full-time employee at Weizhiming. The other three women are its working partners.The detentions of Wu, Zheng, Li Tingting, Wei Tingting and Wang Man drew much attention overseas. Foreign governments, rights groups and figures including U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton criticized the arrests as an overreaction by a repressive Chinese government.The women were released after 37 days without any formal charges, but they remain criminal suspects. Foreign governments and rights groups have urged Chinese authorities to drop the investigations. China’s foreign ministry responded by saying the investigations are an internal matter and foreign entities should not interfere.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober BEIJING (AP) — A women’s rights organization connected to five feminist activists whose detentions prompted international concern earlier this year said Friday it has been forced to shut down permanently because of mounting pressure from authorities.Founder and executive director Wu Rongrong said she was “sad beyond words” at the closure of Weizhiming in the eastern city of Hangzhou and that there now would be “even fewer opportunities” to speak out publicly in support of women’s rights. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Weizhiming has campaigned against discrimination in the labor market, violence against women and sexual harassment on public transport. It also helped a woman with her successful legal case in November against a culinary school for recruiting only men to one of its positions.In a blow to women’s rights activism in China, Wu was detained along with four other activists in March, just ahead of International Women’s Day, when they were planning to hand out stickers and flyers against sexual harassment in several Chinese cities. The detentions happened as China’s legislature held its annual meeting when authorities are especially sensitive to protests.Following the detentions, police questioned several volunteers and others who worked with the organization and seized computers and cell phones. Soon after the center opened in August last year they had six employees and more than 100 volunteers, but they lost many people because they couldn’t afford to work on many projects anymore and authorities were pressuring staff and their families, Wu said.“Because of the mounting pressure from authorities, we had fewer and fewer projects going on, so we can’t afford the rental and operation of the center,” Wu said. “Plus some of our colleagues also had trouble entering mainland China from Hong Kong. So we have no other choice but to shut the center down.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Check your body, save your lifelast_img read more

Electrical wire falls on bus in India at least 17 dead

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first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The vital role family plays in society Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Comments   Share   India’s power transmission infrastructure is often poorly maintained and electrical cables sometimes fall, electrocuting nearby people.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories JAIPUR, India (AP) — An electrical wire fell on a bus carrying people to a wedding in western India on Friday, killing at least 17, a local official said.Government official Rekha Gupta said the bus was carrying more than 50 people to the wedding in Rajasthan state’s Tonk district. The bride and bridegroom were not on board, he said.At least 23 others were injured and taken to a hospital.Few other details were immediately available. Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

Zimbabweans trade in old currency for peanuts

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first_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of “I used a dollar just to get into town. I will need another dollar to return home. Tell me, where will I get that dollar when they are offering me 36 cents for 90 trillion (Zimbabwe) dollars?” she asked clutching a plastic bag with her Zimbabwe notes.At its worst, in 2009, inflation ran 230 million percent and the government was printing a 100 trillion dollar note — that is now worth 40 cents.Economic decline led to a collapse of the Zimbabwean currency in the 2000s and it finally had to be abandoned in favor of U.S. dollars and South African rand.The trade is part of a process of phasing out the local currency for good, says the government.“Zimbabweans are excited. At least we are giving them something for the notes,” Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya told the Associated Press Monday.But the few that have taken up the government on its offer have been disappointed.“Surely, $1.40 for all that money?” said Elijah Risinamhodzi, a 67-year-old pensioner trading in 410 trillion dollars. “And to think I have been keeping that money for years and years; this is so unfair. People have loads and loads of these notes at home but they will not exchange them for such peanuts.” Others fear the trade-in is just a prelude to revive the local currency — a plan the government denies.“Zimbabweans are so traumatized and as a result there is no confidence among us as a nation,” said bank governor Mangudya about inflation. “We are trying to end that trauma by officializing the death of the Zimdollar.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 0 Comments   Share   Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Harare resident Alice Mhandara spent a U.S. dollar to take the bus into town to answer the government call to trade in her old Zimbabwe dollars, but she left the bank in disgust when her 90 trillion in old currency wouldn’t even cover the bus ticket home.Starting this week, Zimbabweans started trading in their stashes of the defunct local dollars for U.S. dollars as part of a process to phase out a currency that hasn’t been used since 2009 and features bills with at least 12 zeros. But few have taken them up on their offer. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

Cuba Mariel port economic zone attract 1st foreign firms

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first_img Sponsored Stories Containers lay stacked at the port in the Bay of Mariel, Cuba, Monday, July 13, 2015. With Mariel, Cuba is looking ahead to when the U.S. embargo may be lifted as part of a rapprochement begun by presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro in December. Washington and Havana plan to officially restore diplomatic relations on Monday. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan) But Lopez-Levy said that, at least in principle, the rules at Mariel should do much to ease concerns, such as lessening bureaucratic bottlenecks.Mariel has the potential to be “an exporting platform at a time in which the stars seem to be aligning in a favorable way for the Cuban economy in terms of improving (relations) with the United States and the European Union,” he said.___Associated Press writer Peter Orsi in Havana contributed to this report.___Andrea Rodriguez on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ARodriguezAPCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Igarza said visiting U.S. businesspeople also have expressed interest.Tractor assembly company Cleber LLC of Alabama has already applied for a U.S. Treasury license with an eye toward building a plant at Mariel.“We see this as attractive and necessary for our economy, and we told them to go ahead with preparing the documentation,” Igarza said.Located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Havana, the first part of the port and planned development zone are to occupy some 11,000 acres (4,500 hectares) of bay shore and low hills.Mariel bay is being dredged to a target depth of 59 feet (17.9 meters) to accommodate deeper-draft ships than those that can use the port of Havana, which cannot be expanded because of an automobile tunnel that traverses its mouth.Container shipping has already been transferred from Havana to Mariel, though the capital still receives fuel tankers and grain shipments.A new railroad line will transport cargo and workers from Havana. Not counting the construction, there are currently just 328 people working at Mariel, though officials project the development zone could ultimately create some 70,000 jobs, including manufacturing, biotech and other areas. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How do cataracts affect your vision? In selling Mariel to investors, Cuba touts its well-educated populace, low labor costs and strategic location in the Caribbean. Officials also talk of the port eventually becoming a center for transshipment activity.“Without haste, but without pause,” said Igarza, echoing the oft-repeated mantra of Castro and other officials about the pace with which Cuba intends to implement broader economic reforms that in recent years have allowed a smidgen of free-market activity in the communist-run country.Some observers say that speed is too slow to attract much foreign investment to Mariel.“The timetables from those who are promoting reform along the lines of the slogan ‘without haste, but without pause,’ I think they’re inadequate,” said Arturo Lopez-Levy, a Cuban economist who teaches at New York University.Some potential investors are skittish because of how Cuba nationalized properties following the 1959 revolution, and more recent cases of missed payments and assets seized from foreign companies accused of corruption. Several foreign businessmen were even imprisoned.Many also may be happy to let others test development zone rules that offer tax breaks and other incentives and, Cuba says, guarantee assets and access to arbitration if disputes arise. Others are wary about entrenched bureaucracy or disapprove of the requirement that Cuban workers be hired and paid through a government-run employment agency. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   center_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall MARIEL, Cuba (AP) — At Cuba’s new mega-port project west of Havana, shipping containers are stacked five-deep the length of its 2,300-foot (700-meter) dock alongside four massive, Chinese-built offloading cranes.Neon-vested workers are busy laying roads and building a convention center, and trucks filled with dirt rumble over rutted roads and coat the vegetation with dust.Not far from the Mariel container terminal, workers have finished grading a flat area the size of a football field for the first private companies to establish operations in a special economic development zone billed as a key part of the country’s effort to attract foreign investment and jumpstart a sluggish economy. A year and a half after the port’s launch, only seven companies — five foreign and two domestic — have the green light to operate here. But with six of those approvals coming since January, officials say things are getting off the ground.“We’re in July and we have approved almost one company per month,” Ana Teresa Igarza, director of the Special Development Zone at Mariel, said in an interview this week, when The Associated Press received access to the site. “The pace is what we expected from the beginning.”“The first ones are the trickiest,” she added. “After they begin to invest, it’s simpler for others to do so. But there’s an exploratory phase.”Igarza declined to say which companies are coming to Mariel, except that the foreign firms include two from Mexico, two from Belgium and one from Spain. They cover sectors including food, chemicals and logistics, represent total investment of around $50 million and are expected to launch operations in the first half of 2016.With Mariel, Cuba is also looking ahead to when the U.S. embargo may be lifted as part of a rapprochement begun by presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro in December. Washington and Havana plan to officially restore diplomatic relations on Monday. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories last_img read more

Kyrgyz president fumes over award to jailed journalist

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first_img Comments   Share   Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev told reporters on Monday that he views the award to Askarov as a “deliberate provocation aiming to flare up ethnic tensions” in the south of the country.“This award that the State Department gave to Azimzhan Askarov is like a cinder being thrown into dry grass: it can either go out, or a fire can get started,” Atambayev said, adding that he is expecting “legal experts” from the United States and the European Union to arrive in Kyrgyzstan and review the case file in order to make sure that the case against Askarov is rock solid.More than 450 people, mostly but not exclusively ethnic Uzbeks, were killed and tens or even hundreds of thousands were displaced by the unrest. Dozens of people are still missing.The majority of those convicted for taking part in the deadly clashes have been ethnic Uzbeks.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories Top Stories center_img How men can have a healthy 2019 Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — The president of Kyrgyzstan on Monday lambasted the United States for honoring a jailed Kyrgyz journalist.The U.S. State Department earlier this month conferred a share of its annual Human Rights Defender award on Azimzhan Askarov, an ethnic Uzbek journalist and activist who is serving a life sentence in prison for stirring up “ethnic hatred.”Kyrgyzstan, angry at the award, last week dissolved a 1993 cooperation agreement with the United States, saying that Askarov is a dangerous criminal. Check your body, save your life New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more