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New luxury gaming resort to debut next month near Washington DC

first_img NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The U.S. Capital Region is set to welcome its first luxury gaming resort next month, just minutes from Washington D.C. on the banks of the Potomac River.The US$1.4 billion MGM National Harbor will make its highly anticipated debut on Dec. 8, featuring 308 rooms and suites ranging in size from 400 to 3,210 square feet, both upscale and casual dining options, a European-inspired pastry shop with a 26-foot-tall chocolate fountain, and entertainment programming at The Theater at MGM National Harbor.Other amenities and facilities include a two-storey Conservatory, 50,000 square feet of meeting space, an outdoor plaza, a bar and cocktail lounge, spa and salon, a 125,000 square-foot casino, as well as 18,000 square feet of luxury retail space. In addition, beginning in spring 2017, hotel guests will be able to enjoy an outdoor, heated, infinity-edge pool, complete with private cabanas and poolside cocktail service.“After years of planning, designing and developing, we are thrilled that the moment is almost upon us to share this very special resort with the community and visitors from around the world,” said Lorenzo Creighton, president of MGM National Harbor. “We are grateful to Prince George’s County, the state of Maryland and all of the local designers, artisans and businesses that have collaborated with us to deliver this international resort with very local roots.”More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?The resort is offering nightly room rates starting at $399, and suite rates from $599, and is now accepting room reservations for stays beginning Dec. 10. For more details go to mgmnationalharbor.com. New luxury gaming resort to debut next month near Washington D.C. Posted by Share Tuesday, October 4, 2016 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Bonus 5 commission on Europe with Air Canada Vacations

first_img Share Tuesday, May 9, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Bonus 5% commission on Europe with Air Canada Vacations MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations’ Europe packages are leading in at $999 per person, plus agents get 5% bonus commission. Clients will also earn 2,500 bonus Aeroplan Miles and receive an additional $100 off when they book a minimum seven-night package with a travel agent. All offers end May 31.ACV has packages to Scotland from $1,003 per person, to Paris from $1,174 and to Greece from $1,902. “These prices are all-in. All taxes. All fees,” says George Platanitis, Vice President, Sales & Partnerships, Air Canada Vacations. “Many travellers believe that vacations to Europe are expensive but that’s really not the case with ACV.”The tour operator’s Europe CruiseAir product also comes with 5% commission on the air portion. CruiseAir’s flexible terms include a full refund on booked flights up to 30 days prior to travel, one name change up to 30 days prior to travel and bonus Aeroplan Miles. A $100 refundable deposit holds flights.More news:  FIVE FESTIVE FOODS TO TRY AT EUROPE’S CHRISTMAS MARKETSAs an added incentive, when agents book any Europe package, including cruise, by May 31, they’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win one of four pairs of air tickets to Europe or an air-inclusive seven-night Mediterranean cruise for two on any MSC ship sailing this season.All of ACV’s Europe packages can be booked online at aircanadavacations.com, REVNET or the call centre. Each vacation package to Europe includes flights, transfers, accommodations and suggested or pre-arranged excursions based on the destination – thousands of a la carte hotel options are also available.Air Canada Vacations recently wrapped up its Europe, Cruise and Canada product launches in Montreal and Toronto. The trade shows, sit-down dinners and product presentations drew more than 400 travel agents. Tags: Air Canada Vacations, Europelast_img read more

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Search for rescue dog who bolted at Pearson ends after pup found

first_imgSearch for rescue dog who bolted at Pearson ends after pup found Thursday, July 13, 2017 By: Michelle McQuiggeSource: The Canadian Press Tags: Toronto Pearson Airport Share TORONTO — The new owner of a rescue dog that went missing after being let out of a crate at Canada’s busiest airport said he’s relieved his pet was found before any harm came to the animal.Jordan Wong said he and his family were anxious throughout the hours-long hunt for Emily, a 4.5-kilogram dog that had been brought to Canada from Greece as part of a rescue effort.Emily had been on Canadian soil for barely an hour when customs officials allegedly opened her crate to give her a walk on Monday. At that point, Emily bolted and raced across the highway near Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, according to Stray Paws from Greece, the rescue group that co-ordinated her adoption.Wong said he and his family waited at the airport for eight hours while searchers scoured the area for Emily, but eventually had to go home without the pet they’d been eagerly awaiting for the past three weeks.Credit: Stray Paws from GreeceOn Tuesday morning, however, a Toronto woman found the dog and brought her to a local veterinary clinic where the pup was eventually identified.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthWong said he’s relieved the dog was brought to safety before being injured by a car or being lost indefinitely.“I think we definitely had our doubts at times, but we definitely tried to stay positive most of the time,” he said. “It worked out in the end, and we’re really grateful.”Stray Paws could not immediately be reached for comment but alleged in a Facebook post that Emily was lost while being processed through customs in Toronto.The company accused the Canada Borders Services Agency of not following proper protocols when handling Emily and four other dogs who had made the journey. The group also alleged the border agency did not assist with the search or contact the proper authorities.Wong echoed the criticism, saying his family has yet to hear from the agency over their new pet’s disappearance.“They never spoke to us directly. They never apologized,” he said. “It’s pretty unethical for them to do something like that.”More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyThe ordeal was trying for other families waiting to receive dogs off the flight, he added, since no one knew for some time exactly whose new pet had gone missing.CBSA declined to offer comments on allegations from either Wong or Stray Paws.Wong said the family plans to take Emily to her new home as soon as possible, adding they’ve spent the past few weeks getting the house ready for her arrival.“We’ve done so many home renovations just for her and we’re super-excited to have her,” he said. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Enterprise Holdings named one of top 100 employers in Toronto

first_imgEnterprise Holdings named one of top 100 employers in Toronto Travelweek Group Share Tags: Enterprise Holdings TORONTO — Enterprise Holdings, the largest car rental company in Canada, has been recognized by Mediacorp Canada Inc. for being one of the top 100 employers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).In its annual Greater Toronto’s Top Employers competition, Mediacorp honoured Enterprise, which owns Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands, for its workplace best practices. Enterprise Holdings is the only car rental company on the list.“The GTA has always attracted the best and brightest from across the country,” says Richard Yerema, managing editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, which manages the GTA competition. “Other parts of Canada have long watched with dismay at the numbers of educated and talented young people moving to Toronto. But today the GTA is a beacon for talented people from around the world – and employers in this region now lead the nation when it comes to offering progressive HR policies and initiatives that reflect such a varied and diverse population.”More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalWinning employers who made the Greater Toronto’s Top Employers list were evaluated on eight criteria: physical workplace; work atmosphere and social; health, financial and family benefits; vacation and time-off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement.“It is an honour to be recognized among such reputable employers in Toronto,” said Margi Dolan, assistant vice president of human resources for Enterprise Holdings in Canada. “Our drive for employer excellence comes from the nature of our corporate culture, which is to take care of our employees and the communities in which they live and work.”Enterprise Holdings’ brand portfolio accounts for more than 750 neighbourhood and airport locations and more than 5,400 employees throughout Canada. This year, the company projects continued expansion across the country, with plans to open as many as 15 new neighbourhood branches and more than 500 new employees joining the Management Training Program in Canada, which gives university graduates the opportunity to learn every aspect of the business.More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsEnterprise’s promote-from-within culture encourages success among Management Trainees, allowing them to move up in the company quickly. So far this year alone, more than 15,000 Enterprise employees have received internal promotions, advancements, moves or relocations.For more information about career opportunities at Enterprise Holdings in Canada, go to careers.enterprise.ca.center_img Posted by Tuesday, December 12, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Cape Town will run out of water in less than 80 days

first_img Posted by As you walk in to Woolworths in Greenpoint. #CapeTownWaterCrisis pic.twitter.com/ghGHQOsHbf— Graeme Raubenheimer (@GraemeRauby) January 22, 2018The water shortage is leading many residents to stock up on drinking water at local springs. CNN reports that water levels at dams have dropped 1.4% in the last week.On Twitter, the hashtag #CapeTownwatercrisis has been trending, with many users posting photos and videos related to the shortage. One of the most shocking videos was posted by Alistair Coy on Jan. 24, which shows Cape Town’s largest dam, Theewaterskloof, looking completely barren. Share Travelweek Group CAPE TOWN — It’s hard to believe that a major international city can ever run out of water, but it’s true – and it’s going to happen in Cape Town, South Africa on April 12.Locals are calling the day ‘Day Zero’, when taps will run dry following the worst drought in over 100 years. The situation is so dire, in fact, that Day Zero was initially set for April 22; earlier this week, officials bumped up the date by 10 days.Residents are being urged to recycle bath water to flush toilets, limiting showers to 90 seconds, and using hand sanitizer to wash hands. However, according to the mayor’s office, the majority of people “do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero.”If you want to know how serious the water situation is in Cape Town, this footage of the largest dam, Theewaterskloof, was taken this morning! Day Zero is not far away! @CapeTown @helenzille@wwfsouthafrica#savewaternow pic.twitter.com/mL9Dr4JzKr— Alistair Coy (@alistaircoy) January 24, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img “Don’t flush this toilet”Yeah, apartheid is looking pretty good right about now.#CapeTownWaterCrisis pic.twitter.com/S25xaJWhjO— Scott Endres (@Scott_Endres) January 21, 2018In response, local authorities are taking matters into their own hands by enforcing water restrictions, effective Feb. 1. Residents will only be allowed to use 50 litres of water per person, per day, down from the current 87 litres per day.More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksIn an official statement, South African tourism said: “To counter the short-term effects of the drought, the city has put in place a number of initiatives to increase the supply of water and make provision for water shortages for locals and visitors. There will be water for tourists’ essential daily needs including access to drinking water and for personal hygiene. At present, tourists will be able to shower and maintain daily hygiene. Some swimming pools at hotels have been converted to salt (ocean) water.”Not even 6am… #CapeTown #CapeTownwatercrisis pic.twitter.com/URjdhX70fs— Waseefa (@Cfa89) January 21, 2018 Thursday, January 25, 2018 Tags: South Africa Cape Town will run out of water in less than 80 dayslast_img read more

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AMResorts new promo includes slashed prices resort coupons

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: AMResorts, Promotions AMResorts’ new promo includes slashed prices & resort coupons << Previous PostNext Post >> Sharecenter_img Posted by TORONTO — AMResorts is heading to paradise with a new promotion that includes savings and resort coupons for clients.The ‘Greetings From Paradise’ promotion can be booked until July 16 for travel by Dec. 22, 2018. Clients will receive $200 in resort coupons per room plus up to 40% off at any of AMResorts’ Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, Now, or Sunscape Resorts & Spas.AMResorts’ destinations offers a host of amenities, including Endless Privileges, Unlimited-Luxury, Defined Delights or Unlimited-Fun, with access to beaches, upscale lodgings, gourmet dining, unlimited premium drinks and more.For more information go to amresorts.com. Wednesday, July 4, 2018 last_img read more

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Air Canada reports first quarter profit operating revenue climbs higher

first_img Share MONTREAL — Air Canada topped expectations in its latest quarter, but said Monday the Boeing 737 Max grounding and political tensions between Canada and China weighed on its results.“The impact on our unit cost is expected to increase the longer the grounding persists, particularly heading towards the busy summer season,” chief financial officer Michael Rousseau said.He cited a reduction of seat capacity of between three per cent and four cent due to the grounding, which continues across the globe as the Max jetliner’s flight control system remains under scrutiny following two deadly crashes.Less fuel-efficient replacement aircraft and the cost of extended plane leases will also hurt the bottom line, Rousseau said.Chief commercial officer Lucie Guillemette said Canada’s ongoing dispute with China stemming from the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou last year has hurt travel demand between the two countries.“However, reallocating capacity from China to other markets has helped mitigate the impact,” she said on a conference call with investors Monday.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthAir Canada cancelled a total of 8,000 flights last quarter, 1,600 of which were on its higher-revenue mainline routes – a 40%  increase in mainline cancellations from the first quarter of 2018, chief executive Calin Rovinescu said.The airline’s 24 Max 8 jetliners comprise about 20% of its narrow-body fleet and carry between 9,000 and 12,000 passengers per day, he added.Adjusted cost per available seat mile, a key industry metric, increased 3.2%. The rise was caused in part by the grounding, which affected the final 18 days of the first quarter, executives said.The Montreal-based carrier said Monday it earned $345 million or $1.26 per diluted share for its first quarter, compared with a loss of $203 million or 74 cents per diluted share in the same quarter a year ago.Air Canada said the results included foreign exchange gains of $263 million in its most recent quarter compared with foreign exchange losses of $197 million in the first quarter of 2018.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsOn an adjusted basis, the airline said it earned $17 million or six cents per diluted share in the quarter compared with an adjusted loss of $26 million or 10 cents per diluted share a year ago.Operating revenue rose to $4.45 billion compared with $4.07 billion in the first three months of 2018.Analysts on average had expected a loss of 18 cents per share and revenue of nearly $4.39 billion for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. Monday, May 6, 2019 Tags: Air Canada, boeing, China, Finances, Quarterly << Previous PostNext Post >> Air Canada reports first quarter profit, operating revenue climbs higher By: The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Where is El Chapo On his home turf no ones saying

first_imgRelated posts:5 Mexico children detained over 6-year-old’s murder ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán and the Sinaloa cartel have growing ties to Costa Rica, authorities say Clash in El Chapo’s hometown leaves 2 dead in Mexico At least 52 dead in Mexico prison riot BADIRAGUATO, Mexico — El Chapo’s gone now, on the far side of his tunnel, a man on the lam in a wide-open world.But where would he go?If the past is a guide, questions about the billionaire drug baron, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, tend to find their answers in the rugged Sierra Madre mountains. In these electric-green highlands of eastern Sinaloa state, checkered with plots of marijuana and opium poppy, Guzmán was raised into his illicit profession.It’s a region where peasants praise the trafficker for giving them jobs drilling post-holes and stringing wire fencing on his cattle ranches. Where residents tell tales about how his buzzing Cessnas would air-drop money into remote villages. Here, on the poorly paved, switch-backing road to Guzmán’s hometown in La Tuna, convoys of Mexican soldiers and police are now swerving around fallen boulders as their hunt for Guzmán begins anew.“In situations like this, people tend to be creatures of habit,” Jack Riley, the deputy administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said in an interview. “If he was comfortable there and in control of the surroundings and has warning signals when the good guys are approaching, that’s probably what he’s going to do.”“What matters is that he’s out,” Riley said. “And we’ve got to get the cuffs back on that guy.”On Saturday night, Guzmán escaped from his cell inside the Altiplano maximum security prison in Mexico state, slipping through a hole cut in the floor of his shower stall and out an underground tunnel. He was gone 18 minutes before anyone noticed his absence. He could be anywhere.Top Mexican security officials informed legislators on Thursday that Guzmán is likely still in the country, and may have not left the central region, where the Altiplano prison is located, according to Mexican news reports.Mexican marines, soldiers and some 10,000 federal police officers are involved in the hunt for Guzmán, authorities said. They have set up checkpoints to search vehicles in nearly two dozen states. U.S. law enforcement officials said they would do everything in their power to help recapture Guzmán, including providing intelligence and using technology to monitor cellphones. Such phone tracking was crucial in the roundup of Guzmán’s lieutenants and bodyguards that led to his capture in a condominium in the beach town of Mazatlán in February 2014. Guzmán was known to spend time in mountain hideouts before that arrest.The U.S. government had formally requested Guzmán’s extradition less than three weeks before his escape from the Altiplano prison. He faces indictment in federal courts in several American states for murder and drug trafficking. American officials had wanted to hold Guzmán so that he could not escape and so that they could gain his insights into the drug trade. But Mexican officials took it as a point of pride that their most important criminal could be held securely within their country.Since his embarrassing escape, Mexican authorities have vowed they will not let him go unpunished.“We want to be very clear: We’re going after everyone involved, we’re going after everyone who betrayed our institutions, and with them, our society,” Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong told reporters. “The objectives are clear: recapture this criminal and punish each and every one of his accomplices.”But if Guzmán has headed back to his home region in Sinaloa, catching him will be a daunting task, given the difficult terrain, the local support for the drug lord and the astounding wealth and evasive skill of Guzmán’s inner circle. Up and down the hills are networks of spotters, often teenagers on four-wheelers. Residents tend to back Guzmán, whose business interests permeate the Sinaloa economy, from local vegetable markets to real estate to auto sales. After his arrest last year, hundreds of people marched in the state capital of Culiacan in protest. A girl holds her baby cousin at her family’s restaurant on in Santiago De Los Caballeros, Mexico. This area is a base of operations for El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel and his support among the locals, combined with the area’s rugged terrain, will make capturing him a challenge should he choose to return to the area, July 17, 2015. Jonathan Levinson/The Washington PostPeople here are accustomed to keeping quiet, and many hesitated to even mention Guzmán’s name when a foreigner with a notebook came around asking. When they bumped into verbal dead ends, residents would refer to him as “the one frequently mentioned recently” or El Viejón, “the big old man.”“To judge if he’s done something bad or not, that’s God’s job,” said Esmirle Almeda Ortíz, the director of the medical clinic in Badiraguato, the seat of the municipality.A 46-year-old clothing-store owner who gave only her first name, Maria, noted that sales dropped off sharply after Guzmán’s arrest, as federal forces pushed deeper into the mountains.“Right now there’s a lot of government all around, and people don’t come down to town because they’re afraid. We’re not selling anything,” Maria said. “There’s nobody in the plaza right now. Just journalists.”Guzmán was “a normal guy, very good with people,” she said. “When somebody needs something, he helps them.”Guzmán’s home region has produced many famous narcos, as they are from illicit family businesses linked by blood ties. The traffickers include Rafael Caro Quintero, who was released from prison in 2013, despite being convicted of the killing of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985. In the tiny roadside town of Santiago de los Caballeros, residents said the crumbling marble tomb that looks like a Roman ruin was built for their local boy, Ernesto Fonseca Carillo, a drug lord now serving his sentence in the prison where Guzmán had been held.In the town shop, Francisco López Peña, 53, said Guzmán employed many residents and has a reputation for treating people well.“They say that jobs went away when he got arrested,” López said.But not everyone was enamored of the famous outlaw.“For some people he’s a hero but not for me and my family,” said a man in a computer shop who asked not to be identified out of concern for his safety. “For me, a hero is someone who works day after day, under the hot sun, who has to provide for his family without many resources, that’s a hero to me. But this guy, no.”© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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PHOTOS Hurricane Otto leaves behind devastation in northern town

first_img (Gustavo Nuñez/Facebook Casitas Tenorio) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) Facebook Comments Hurricane Otto’s path across northern Costa Rica took a disastrous toll on communities there, as 10 deaths have been confirmed and thousands of people were affected. In Bijagua, Alajuela, the rising waters led to five deaths and widespread losses of infrastructure that will be a major focus of the government’s impending multi-million dollar repair job required in the coming days and weeks.Casitas Tenorio, a family-run hotel in Bijagua, chronicled the devastation left behind with photos of a community that lost nearly everything to the storm. Because of the massive scale of destruction there, the local business created a fundraiser page for anyone looking to donate money or goods that go in to repairing the northern town.According to the hotel web site: “A month’s worth of rain was dumped in a few short hours. A head of water turned a small stream into a raging river and swept though the town taking everything in its path. Houses, roads and bridges were completely destroyed.  Five community members lost their lives and we are all in mourning.”The photos below collected by the hotel show exactly what kind of impact Otto had on the village located between the Tenorio and Miravalles Volcanoes. We thank Casitas Tenorio co-owners Donald Varela Soto and Pip Kelly Varela for sharing these images with us. (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Moisese Watson/Facebook Casitas Tenorio) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) Related posts:Solís promises rapid rebuilding in Hurricane Otto’s wake; donation drives continue PHOTOS: Hurricane Otto begins path of destruction through Central America Here’s how you can donate to Hurricane Otto relief in Costa Rica What to do as Costa Rica braces for Hurricane Ottolast_img read more

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How a refugee family opened their home to me

first_img Facebook Comments When I traveled from Costa Rica to Belgium and began my exchange program there, a refugee camp near the high school where I studied caught my attention. For some reason that I didn’t understand at the moment, we went to visit the camp to provide social aid. There, I met the Al-Aid family.The first person I saw was Kiffah, the mother, 34, who was sitting in a wheelchair. She spoke only Arabic and almost no English. My two other classmates spoke only French, and I had a basic level of French at the time. Kiffah looked at me with joy and recognition: she thought that because of my brunette complexion and Latina features, I was from Pakistan. She immediately tried to communicate with me.As I explained to her with my basic English that I was a Latina, she understood that we were both foreigners. With the help of Google Translate, we began speaking.She explained to me that she had fled Iraq and showed me an old photo of her home, shattered by a bomb, but I couldn’t understand much more. Luckily, her kids were there. I began visiting them frequently. While my French improved, theirs also improved.The children, Azra, Mariam and Ali, who were five, seven and nine years old, helped their mother and me to communicate with each other. I spoke French and they’d translate it to Arabic. In this way, we communicated with each other for my entire exchange year.Azra is a very talkative and loving girl. Ali, the middle child, was the one with whom I had more difficulty communicating, because he was very shy and sweet. Mariam complied with her role as the older sister by controlling her siblings with an impressive maturity.The three children and I came to have a relationship in which I was a sort of babysitter by default; they didn’t have the slightest idea of who I was, just that I appeared at their home to say hi and bring them candies, home appliances and shoes. There was one time when my tutor and I had to buy groceries for the family, and the children came with us with their parents’ permission. I had never seen a group of children as happy as they were at the supermarket, playing in between the goods and sliding over the waxed floors as if they were in an amusement park.That day, Mariam, the oldest child, told me something I’ll remember forever. She stared at me, smiled and pointed out: “We have the same eyes.”Read also: Half a century of statelessnessThat was the way – in between children who exaggerated phrases and got distracted every now and then, and a cell phone with Google Translate – I communicated with this family.It was not until the middle of my exchange that I got to meet the husband, Mohammed. He spent much of his time outside of his home. I could not speak too much with him, but he did receive me with hospitality in his home every time he saw me.With Kiffah I developed a meaningful relationship. Even though we couldn’t communicate directly, she once took her phone, spoke in Arabic to it and then showed me the screen. I wanted to cry when I saw the words: You are my best friend.During my time at Belgium I never discovered the reason that Kiffah was in a wheelchair. I wanted to communicate with her, so I found an Arabic translator who was the children’s religion teacher at school. He was the one who told me that the children paid regular visits to a psychologist because they had night terrors and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. With all the kindness possible, he agreed to translate my questions for Kiffah from French to Arabic, and then translate her answers back to French for me.Two days before I had to return to Costa Rica, I went to visit her, but she wasn’t home. Her husband, through signs and gestures, managed to communicate to me that she had been taken to Saint-Luc Hospital in Brussels to have surgery. He also told me that she would have to spend a month there in recovery.The possibility of not being able to say goodbye before leaving made me cry when I received the news. My Belgian tutor, who had also developed an emotional attachment with the family, decided to drive to Brussels with me the day before my return to Costa Rica. I immediately placed a video call to Kiffah and asked her to show me the door of her hospital room. That way I was able to write down the room number; given that the hospital is enormous, I would have never found her without that reference.She was not expecting my visit. When she saw me, she shouted in excitement.She explained to me that her surgery had been a success and she proudly stood up next to the hospitas bed. She took a cane and showed how she was given back the ability to walk. She had one more surgery to go, but she was really excited.Our happiness didn’t last long. I had to tell her that I would return to my country the next day. She didn’t want to accept it. She cried and told me that she wouldn’t be able to be happy. I tried to tell her that I had to return, to go back with my mother in order to feel protected, and that she had to be strong for her children so that they would also feel protected. She cried and talked to her phone.She showed me the message through the translator and it said: You are my sister. I love you.We both cried together and she gave me a bracelet and hijab as a gift. I asked for the interview questions; she did not realize until that moment that the questions had come from me. She asked me if I could help her to gain residence in Belgium. I explained to her that I was simply an exchange student, with no power. At least I could do one thing for her: I could take her voice, her cry for help in Arabic, and translate it so that we can all listen to it. We don’t all need to speak the same language in order to understand laughter and pain.When you have the privilege to get to know a family like this one, full of compassion and love, it’s impossible for me to understand how people would close their nation’s doors to them. Upon my return to Costa Rica, I got the interview back with my friend’s answers. I had to translate them from French to English and Spanish and it broke my heart to read the same answers in different languages: “I escaped because I feared for my life and my family’s life.” “They had no compassion.” “They beat us voluntarily.” “My daughter was in a deplorable state.”I can’t do much more than just love them from afar, but the multilingual shout is there for all of us to respond to.After all, we all have the same eyes: some more privileged, some lighter and other more worn out, but in the end, the same.This piece, translated from Spanish to English by Elizabeth Lang, is published through The Tico Times’ partnership with Contexto, a new Costa Rican digital media community. You can find selected Tico Times content in Spanish at contexto.cr, and The Tico Times will share translated selections from Contexto’s talented community of writers, photographers and artists.Our sincere thanks go to the author of this piece, writer Lari Quesada, from this story from her time abroad. Are you a Costa Rican who is living outside the country, with a story to share for our series “A Letter Home”? Please write to us at kstanley@ticotimes.net.  Related posts:NATO ships to combat migrant-smuggling networks in Aegean Mud-soaked migrants fight for food as Greek border blockade drags on Cynthia Castro: the Costa Rican psychologist fighting for global gender equality Authorities detain Cuban migrants, boat captain in the Southern Zonelast_img read more

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Leilani McGonagle surfs into the record books

first_imgIndividual Results for the Costa Rica National Surf Team:Gabriel Córdoba: 49thFrancisco Coronado: 49thAndré Chacón: 49thOscar Urbina: 33thAldo Chirinos: 25thSebastián Mora: 13thMalakai Martínez: 17thJoseph Méndez: 13thCoral Wiggins Araya: 17thEva Woodland Solano: 17thZulay Martínez: 9thLeilani McGonagle: 2th Final Results:1 (Gold) – USA2 (Silver) – Hawaii3 (Bronze) – Japan4 (Copper) – Australia5 – France6 – Brazil7 – Costa Rica8 – Argentina9 – Portugal10 – New ZealandTo view full team ranking, click here.Girls U-161 (Gold) – Alyssa Spencer (USA)2 (Silver) – Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW)3 (Bronze) – Samantha Sibley (USA)4 (Copper) – Gabriela Bryan (HAW)Boys U-161 (Gold) – Joh Azuchi (JPN)2 (Silver) – Taro Watanabe (USA)3 (Bronze) – Keanu Chris Kamiyama (JPN)4 (Copper) – Lucas Vicente (BRA)Girls U-181 (Gold) – Brisa Hennessy (HAW)2 (Silver) – Leilani McGonagle (CRC)3 (Bronze) – Summer Macedo (HAW)4 (Copper) – Kirra Pinkerton (USA)Boys U-181 (Gold) – Ignacio Gundesen (ARG)2 (Silver) – Noah Hill (USA)3 (Bronze) – Cody Young (HAW)4 (Copper) – Dylan Moffat (AUS) Facebook Comments Leilani McGonagle, the Costa Rican surfing star from the Southern Zone community of Pavones, had her sights set high. She went into her fourth consecutive final at a global Juniors championship this past weekend at the VISSLA International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Junior Championship in Hyuga, Japan, with every intention of winning the gold this time. Already on her mantle are silver,  copper, and bronze medals earned the last three times she completed in the under-18 category.On Sunday, in waves of short stature, McGonagle looked to be on her way to finally taking the top spot, as she held 1st place for most of her Under 18 Girls heat. The competitors taking to the waves with her included two past ISA Junior World champions Summer Macedo and Brisa Hennessy, both of Hawaii, as well as Kirra Pinkerton from the United States.Alas, when Hennessy scored a beautiful 8.50 wave in the final minutes for a total score of 16.27, she was able to eek past McGonagle who was carrying a total of 14.17 (7.00 + 7.17).  However, McGonagle’s second-place finish still puts the Tica in the record books with a total of six medals throughout her international championship competitions, both Juniors and Open.Her final position also added significant points to the Costa Rican National Surf Team total, allowing the group as a whole to meet its goal of finishing in the Top 10 with a seventh-place position among the 41 countries that participated in the week-long surf competition, hosted at the soon-to-be surfing locations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Costa Rica’s Malakai Martinez surfs in the Under-16 Boys competition. (Courtesy of Sean Evans)The silver was the second medal to hang around her neck in Japan this weekend. Members of the Costa Rican contingent brought home their second Aloha Cup Tag Team medal at the event that took place on Saturday.  The Aloha Cup, which may end up being the format for the Olympic competitions, is a one-of-a-kind mixed-gender relay event made up of the seven best teams from last year’s World Junior Championship in the Azores, as well as the host country’s surfers. After beating Brazil and Australia in the semis, the Ticos fought hard and it was close between Japan, France, and Hawaii. Costa Rica earned the fourth place and copper for their stash.“We qualified for the final after an incredible heat and against incredible competitors,” reported Jim Hogan, Costa Rica’s National Team coach. “We have talent, but we need to grow a little more to rub shoulders with the current Top Four. However, the team’s great partnership and commitment has made us return home with a well-deserved result and we must be very proud of it.”Organizers of the VISSLA ISA World Surfing Junior Championship in Japan were pleased with the event, where a record-breaking number of 41 countries attended with 300 competitors.“What an incredible week of competition. We have witnessed history here in Japan on many levels. The sport of surfing is growing and advancing all around the world as it was fully on display at the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “We are looking into the future of surfing. We certainly will see some of the athletes that competed this week in Japan among those representing their nations at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in three years.” ISA Aloha Cup Results:Gold – JapanSilver – HawaiiBronze – FranceCopper – Costa Rica Related posts:World Surfing Games in Jacó: 5 things to know about attending Leilani McGonagle makes history by winning North American Junior surf title Costa Rica’s national team departs for World Surfing Games in France Leilani McGonagle wins bronze medal at World Surfing Gameslast_img read more

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Epsy Campbell will become Latin Americas first AfroLatina vice president

first_imgWe can’t close out ourElections 2018 coverage without noting another way in which history was made tonight: Epsy Campbell, a longtime presence in the Legislative Assembly and Citizen Action Party (PAC), is now set to become the first female Afro-descendent vice president in Costa Rican history.Stay tuned for more on Alvarado, Campbell, tonight’s surprising landslide and the plans for the new administration. And thanks once more to our incredible team of freelancers who helped us tell the story of this unusual Election Day.From all of us at The Tico Times, good night! Carlos Alvarado’s victory speech: ‘This election held up a mirror to Costa Rica’ Katherine Stanley Obando, Managing Editor: Proud to be experiencing my fourth Costa Rican election, this time at the helm of what we believe is the first-ever all-Costa Rican reporting team in The Tico Times’ 62-year history. Twitter/Instagram @TheTicoTimes, katherinestanley.com.Elizabeth Lang Oreamuno, Assistant Editor: Has a strong passion for culture and its effects on a social change. Enjoys listening to music as well as talking about art. Twitter: @elangoreamunoPaula Álvarez: A couple weeks away from my journalism degree, I like music, books and speaking as much English as I can. Twitter: @PauAlvarez23 / Instagram: @paualvarez23Augusto Bolaños Morales: Strategic Communication Advisor with more than seven years’ experience working for nonprofit organizations on topics such as education, poverty reduction, sustainable communities construction and gender equality. Twitter: @Augus1411 / Instagram: @augustiiiiilloGabriela Brenes: Multimedia journalist with diverse experience in immersive technologies and social media platforms. She works at Rise Up, by Fusion Media Group, and collaborates in VR projects with SeirenFilms. In a Venn diagram with digital strategy, social research and multimedia literacy, she’d be right where the circles overlap. Facebook: www.facebook.com/riseupasone. Twitter: @gabybregRoberto Delgado Webb: Photographer and content creator at his own small business, Visualia. Instagram: @delgadowebb.Gregory Calvo Aguilar: Journalism student at the Universidad Latina of Costa Rica. Passionate about photojournalism. 2017 winner of the European Union’s “Europe through My Lens” contest in Costa Rica. Instagram: @gregorycalagCarlos Andrés Madrigal: Journalist. Lover of music, films and drawing, and collaborator for various media in Costa Rica. Twitter: @charliecamf4 / Instagram: @charliecamfJonathan Jiménez Flores: Photographer and audiovisual producer. Publications include La Nación, Semanario Universidad and La Voz de Guanacaste. Instagram: @jjimenezflJuan Osorno M.: Digital marketing consultant at Coral Agencia de Mercadeo Digital. Editor at the digital media Noticias.CR. Passionate about technology, culture and Asian history. Twitter: @maguz_zealAlexander Villegas: Born in the United States, raised in Costa Rica, and educated in Canada, Alexander Villegas is a freelance journalist and photographer focusing on under-reported issues across Latin America. Alexander’s stories and photographs have appeared in the Guardian, CBC, the Tyee, Bluff, and others. Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Meet Epsy Campbell, the first Afro-Latina vice president-elect New poll in Costa Rica: another small Fabricio lead, another statistical dead heat Experience Election Day in Costa Rica with The Tico Times’ first-ever 360 video BREAKING: Carlos Alvarado wins 60.6 percent of vote with 90.6 of votes recorded in Costa Ricalast_img read more

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Independence torch travels through a fractured Central America

first_imgDozens of people waited for the independence torch in Peñas Blancas, the Costa Rican town on the border with Nicaragua. There, the two countries are divided by a diagonal line where Costa Rican asphalt meets Nicaraguan cement.There are two huts, just a few meters apart where police from different nations stand guard all day. It’s exactly there where dozens of people await the torch, which has traveled the same path for more than fifty years.But this time’s different.For days, the torch moved through a Central America submerged in protests, repression, assassinations, and violence. In the early hours of Sept. 13, it passed through that asphalt line at Peñas Blancas and through an implicit enmity between Ticos and Nicaraguans, which has been stronger in recent months. The independence torch crossing the line that divides Nicaragua and Costa Rica. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)There are serious and angry faces in the north. Flags of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) fly above the Nicaraguan one. A giant sign with the faces of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo welcoming you or saying goodbye looms over travelers. Soldiers with military weapons roam the place with an air of despair and distrust. Nicaraguan border officials stand guard at the border. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)Some Costa Rican police spoke among themselves:“Do you realize that the torch is moving from North Korea to South Korea?” one immigration officer said.Nicaragua’s partisan alienation and political radicalization has made it worthy of comparison with the enigmatic Asian nation.“Don’t you read the news? It’s not perfect here. There are protests too,” his partner said.Costa Rica has been enveloped in protests against a proposed tax-reform law since Monday. It was a central part of Carlos Alvarado’s campaign but now unions, public sector employees, students, and political groups opposed to the ruling party have hit the streets to oppose it. Public sector employees, union members and citizens during a general strike against a proposed tax-reform law on Sept. 10, 2018. Protesters at the general strike in San José on Sept. 10, 2018. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)The protests stopped Édgar Mora, Minister of Public Education (MEP) from attending the torch handover at the border. Vice Minister Rosa Odolio had to take his place.It’s ironic to think that this symbol of international freedom and liberty passed through Daniel Ortega’s hands a day earlier. The same man who the United Nations (UN) says does not provide an environment of peace and freedom for his people.Costa Rican journalists and government officials who hadn’t signed up beforehand weren’t allowed to cross the border to document the delivery. I asked one of the Costa Rican immigration authorities if it is common to see the scene. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (R) receives the torch of Peace and Freedom of Central America for the 197th anniversary of the Nicaraguan Independence during a ceremony at the National Palace in Managua on September 12, 2018. (AFP Photo / Inti Ocon)“[The Nicaraguan immigration police] are like that. That doesn’t surprise me. You’ll get used to it,” he said.According to reports from the MEP, the delivery between countries only had a few formalities from Nicaragua and the notes of the Costa Rican hymn were played. It was something small, simple.In her speech, Miriam Raudez, Sandinista Minister of Education, insisted that in “Nicaragua everything was normal and peaceful,” contrary to reports from the Organization of American States (OEA) that say there is a serious state of repression in Nicaragua. Raudez affirmed that there wasn’t any type of crisis.“A victorious greeting from the president Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo. We are not a people that get scared, we are a people of peace, we want peace. This country has been able to transcend any plan to destabilize and break peace in Nicaragua, they couldn’t and they won’t. These heroic people work for peace,” said the minister, according to La Nación.Later the torch was taken by Deylin Ugarte, a student at of La Cruz’s night school.Six years ago, Deylin, tall and imposing, had to leave school because she got pregnant. This year she was chosen as the best student of her school and was in charge of crossing this symbol between the two borders.The torch, which has been recognized as a Costa Rican patriotic symbol since 2005, entered Costa Rica late. It was held up in Liberia because of strikes and delayed more due to blockades in Guanacaste and Puntarenas. A roadblock in Puntarenas during the general strike on Sept. 13, 2018. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)In these provinces, a group of protesters decided to block roads to the capital to protest tax reform and protect themselves from police.As reported by the MEP, protesters with the National Association of Educators (ANDE) and the Association of Teachers of Second Education (APSE), detained and harassed students, teachers and MEP officials, forcing them to airlift the torch Cartago.The Education Minister, Edgar Mora, acknowledged these reports and noted that this was the first time the torch’s route was interrupted in since the tradition started 54 years ago.“It is a lie that there were no deliberate acts to delay, delay, interrupt and use this patriotic symbol in a different way than we have used it for years,” Mora said. Deylin Ugarte and other students from La Cruz’s night school were the first Costa Ricans to carry the independence torch this year.  (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)The torch will end up in San José on Sept. 15, the Independence Day of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.The future of Central America is uncertain. The region is home to some of the most violent cities in the world. Nicaragua is engulfed in a dictatorship. Costa Rica, a beacon of stability in the region, is facing an economic crisis.Central America, a territory that was celebrating its liberation and independence 197 years ago, is filled with people fighting for freedom and peace again.It seems like a cycle that will never end. Facebook Comments Related posts:Celebrating 193 years of Central American independence Epsy Campbell asks the United Nations to intervene in Nicaragua Central American leaders confident Trump won’t revoke CAFTA U.S. tourist victim of hit and run involving Presidency Ministry carlast_img read more

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Guaido vows to oust Maduro as thousands of Venezuelans protest

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica recognizes Juan Guaidó as President of Venezuela; Maduro severs ties with US, expels diplomats Europeans, Latin Americans to meet on Venezuela crisis Crowds cheer Guaidó as opposition leader returns to Venezuela Read: Int. Contact Group declarations on Venezuela following meeting in Costa Rica Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido vowed Tuesday to take Nicolas Maduro’s place in the presidential palace “very soon,” as thousands of people took to the streets of Caracas to protest.“We need an office to work in, so very soon, and when we have the armed forces totally on our side, we’ll go to find my office there in Miraflores. Very soon,” Guaido told supporters, who chanted back: “Yes, you can!”Demonstrators banged pots and sounded car horns at the protest in a square in the east of the capital. Many waved large banners calling on Maduro to go.“The situation is very difficult, we are hoping that this government will change. We’ve had enough of this chaos!” said one of the demonstrators, Miguel Gonzalez.“With courage and strength I asked you to believe in yourselves, that Venezuela would emerge from the darkness, that the end of the usurpation is very close,” said Guaido, who is recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries.Venezuela’s state prosecutor, Tarek William Saab, told reporters he would place Guaido under investigation for “his alleged involvement in the sabotage of the Venezuelan electric grid.”It is the first government move against the U.S.-backed Guaido since his return to Venezuela last week after defying a travel ban to visit several allied South American leaders.‘Electricity war’Maduro has blamed a devastating multi-day blackout plaguing Venezuela on Washington, and declared “victory” in what he called an “electricity war” triggered by the Pentagon.He also called for support from allies including Russia and China as well as the United Nations in investigating the U.S. “cyber attack” he said was responsible for the blackout.While Maduro pointed the finger at Washington, critics have long blamed the government for failing to maintain the power grid.Guaido, 35, is seeking to capitalize on public anger over the blackout, which has piled misery on a population suffering years of economic crisis and shortages of food and medicine under Maduro.The youthful opposition chief — locked in a power struggle with Maduro since declaring himself interim president on January 23 — has branded the socialist leader a “usurper” over his re-election in May, widely dismissed as neither free nor fair.Outlining the case against Guaido, Saab said the opposition leader had disseminated a series of messages that have “stoked violence.”“At this moment, he appears as one of the intellectual authors of this electrical sabotage and is practically calling for a civil war in the middle of this blackout,” Saab said.’New sanctions’The U.S. kept up the pressure, with special envoy Elliott Abrams saying Washington would soon impose “very significant additional sanctions” on institutions doing business with Maduro’s government.It has already targeted a growing list of individuals and companies linked to the Maduro government, including state oil company PDVSA.At Guaido’s urging, the opposition-dominated National Assembly declared a “state of alarm” on Monday to pave the way for the delivery of international aid, 250 tons of which has been stuck for a month at Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil.However, with Maduro controlling the military and security services — which are currently preventing aid from entering the country — he has no means of enforcing it.Maduro used the military to begin distributing food, water and other assistance in several districts on Tuesday.Marshalled by security forces, crowds formed impatient lines at water trucks in some areas, as they waited to fill containers. But tensions were running high amid the shortages.“I saw people lining up for a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of rice, and the shopkeepers had to fire shots in the air to keep the lines under control,” Alberto Barboza, 26, told AFP in the oil capital Maracaibo.“I heard a lot of shooting,” said Barboza, adding that a local bakery and a tire shop were looted.The blackout has left millions without running water. Many people lined up to buy bottled water in Caracas supermarkets, but most are reduced to desperate means — besieging fountains in public parks and any available water sources around the capital.‘Active resistance’Maduro had called for armed grassroots groups known as colectivos to hit back against what he called attacks encouraged by the U.S. against the country’s electrical grid.The opposition says the colectivos have been armed by the government and act as militia.Power has been restored to some areas since the weekend, but service has been intermittent and often drops out.Businesses and schools remained shuttered on Maduro’s orders, as they have been since the blackout began.Luis Carlos Diaz, a well known Venezuelan journalist who was detained Monday, was released Tuesday and will be charged with hacking the electrical grid in connection with the blackout, the national press union said.As the situation worsened, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington is withdrawing all its remaining personnel from the US embassy in Caracas. All non-emergency staff were ordered to leave on January 24.The State Department said all U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Venezuela “should depart” the country, citing “crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure and arbitrary arrest and detention of US citizens.”This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5% Club. If only 5 percent of 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 Commentslast_img read more

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Fists fly in Ukraine over use of Russian

first_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths How men can have a healthy 2019 Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Opposition lawmakers on Friday blocked the Ukrainian Parliament a day after a brawl in the chamber sent one legislator to the hospital.The melee was sparked by a proposed bill to make Russian an official language in eastern regions of the country with large native Russian-speaking populations. Lawmakers grappled and threw punches. One was hospitalized with a head injury.On Friday, deputies opposed to the bill blocked the Parliament speaker’s podium, preventing the session from starting, while some 200 demonstrators held a noisy protest against the bill outside the building. Top Stories center_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn on Friday said the brawl had “completely destroyed” the legislative process and called for new elections. But most parties do not support an emergency poll, because regular elections are set for October.The bill would allow the use of the Russian language in courts, hospitals and other official institutions in the regions where Russian-speakers make up more than 10 percent of the population. Pro-government lawmakers, who draw their support from the Russian-speaking south and east of Ukraine, say it will allow people living there to use the language of their preferences.Opponents of the bill say it will stem the development of the Ukrainian language, by creating no incentive for millions of Ukrainians to learn and use it.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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Guy Spitaels Belgian socialist leader dead at 80

first_img 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Spitaels was party leader and premier of Wallonia in the 1980s when his party became embroiled in a bribery scandal linked to the purchase of Italian helicopters for the air force. He always denied any wrongdoing.Details of the scandal first surfaced during the investigation into the July 1991 murder of a socialist power broker in Liege by two hired killers.Bribe-taking charges also extended to socialist leaders in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, including Claes, then Belgium’s economics minister. Claes received a three-year suspended prison sentence in 1998. Three years earlier, as the scandal was growing, he had quit in disgrace as NATO secretary general, the military alliance’s top civilian job.Spitaels received a two-year suspended sentence.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) BRUSSELS (AP) – Guy Spitaels, a Belgian socialist leader who was convicted in 1998 of corruption along with ex-NATO Secretary General Willy Claes, has died of a brain tumor, his party said Tuesday. He was 80.Spitaels held pivotal political jobs in national politics and in Wallonia, Belgium’s French-speaking south, where the Socialist Party reigned supreme under his leadership but was never far from fraud and corruption allegations. He died late Monday or early Tuesday, local media reported. Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Four benefits of having a wireless security system Comments   Share   center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

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Haiti veterans in hiding renew vow to remobilize

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist They said the group’s members have been training at the site.The meeting came a day after Haiti’s Ministry of Defense issued a statement warning the group not to cause disruptions.The ex-soldiers said they planned to press their campaign without violence.“They know we can tear down the country _ easily,” said one of the former sergeants, David Dorme, 44. “But if we destroyed this country where are we going to go?”The National Armed Forces of Haiti was abolished in 1995 because of its history of toppling governments and crushing dissent.Many veterans have long complained that they’re owed $15 million in pensions and lost wages. The current administration began registering veterans in April for back pay and pensions and says it has made some payments.After police took back the illegally occupied old bases in May, leaders of the ragtag group of former soldiers and their young recruits stashed their camouflage uniforms and pistols and returned to their day jobs.The ex-sergeants said they spent the time reorganizing and preparing to renew their campaign to demand that President Michel Martelly’s government honor his campaign pledge to re-establish the military and appoint one of them as commander. Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Quick workouts for men Police arrested about 30 pro-army men at an old military base north of the capital Thursday after they tried to seize it, Dorme said.A newspaper reported the raid turned up homemade weapons, uniforms and radio communication. A police spokesman declined to comment on the report.___Associated Press writer Evens Sanon contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressMARIANI, Haiti (AP) – The leaders of a small group of ex-soldiers who embarrassed Haiti’s government earlier this year by seizing old military bases to press for the restoration of the disbanded army emerged from six months of hiding Saturday to renew their demand.Contacted on their cellphones after several months of keeping them off, four former sergeants arranged to meet with The Associated Press on a hillside clearing in Mariani, a beach resort town southwest of the Caribbean nation’s capital. For several months, the pro-army group defied warnings to leave several old army bases and to stop posing as military personnel. Then in May, police cleared out the bases and locked up 50 demonstrators following a pro-army demonstration that passed in front of the National Palace.The group’s leaders shut off their cellphones and largely vanished.Lafalaise denied that he and colleagues went into hiding, saying they were just keeping a low profile.“The military’s not hiding or running away,” he said. “We’ve just retreated.”The former sergeants, one of whom had a pistol sticking out of a pants pocket, said they had held meetings and secured the hillside clearing that affords a broad view of the ocean. They said they have been using the land as a training ground twice a week.A white dome tent was described as the group’s office. The red-and-blue Haitian flag hung on a pole tied to a barren tree. Yellow butterflies fluttered among the bushes.The ex-sergeants said they held a low-key ceremony on Nov. 18 to mark a military-themed holiday associated with Haiti’s fight for independence from France. That day, rumors circulated that the group would march in the nearby city of Carrefour, but it didn’t. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy “Today we want the army to remobilize, to speak in the ears of the leaders,” said one of the sergeants, Jean-Fednel Lafalaise, 45.Jean Venel Casseus, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, referred AP to the public warning telling people “pretending” to former soldiers not to disrupt public order.“This note went out on the radio so everyone heard it,” Casseus said by telephone. “They can’t go out with their uniforms and weapons until the government establishes that the army has been reinstated.”Asked what the authorities would do if the band of ex-soldiers ventured into the streets, Casseus said: “If the government needs to take action it will.”Despite its parades and base takeovers, the pro-army group never really posed a serious threat to the government or the United Nations peacekeeping mission, which it accused of being an occupying force.Still, the group’s parading around Port-au-Prince and the countryside wearing mismatching, ill-fitting uniforms while carrying pistols did embarrass the U.N. mission and the government, which is trying to lure foreign investors.The armed marches made both institutions look weak and ineffective, raising questions about whether Haiti might be returning to its paramilitary past.last_img read more

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SKorea Satellite working normally sending data

first_imgSpending on science and technology is expected to increase under South Korea’s incoming President Park Geun-hye, who takes office next month. She pledged during her campaign to increase such spending to 5 percent of South Korea’s GDP by the end of her five-year term.____Associated Press writers Hyung-Jin Kim in Seoul and Matthew Pennington in Washington contributed to this report.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Associated PressSEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The first satellite launched from South Korean soil is working normally, officials said Thursday, a day after Seoul achieved its space milestone during a time of high tensions over archrival North Korea’s recent threat to test a third nuclear device.A South Korean rocket carrying the satellite blasted off from a launch pad Wednesday in the southwestern coastal village of Goheung. Science officials told cheering spectators minutes later that the rocket delivered an observational satellite into orbit. In a brief statement Thursday, the Science Ministry said the satellite was working normally and transmitting data on its orbit. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories A crowd gathered around a TV at a train station in downtown Seoul to watch the afternoon launch. “I’m proud we have entered the ranks of satellite powers,” office worker Hyun Day-sun said.The launch is a culmination of years of efforts by South Korea _ Asia’s fourth-largest economy _ to advance its space program and cement its standing as a technology powerhouse whose semiconductors, smartphones and automobiles command global demand. North Korea’s long-range rocket program, in contrast, has generated international fears that it is getting closer to developing nuclear missiles capable of striking the U.S.South Korea’s success comes amid increased tension on the Korean Peninsula over North Korea’s threat to explode its third nuclear device. Pyongyang is angry over tough new international sanctions over its Dec. 12 rocket launch that also put a satellite into space, and it has accused its rivals of applying double standards toward the two Koreas’ space programs.Washington and Seoul have called North Korea’s rocket launch a cover for a test of Pyongyang’s banned ballistic missile technology.North Korea recently acknowledged that its long-range rockets have both scientific and military uses, and Kong Chang-duk, a professor of rocket science at South Korea’s Chosun University, said the same argument could apply to the South. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Seoul may eventually be able “to build better missiles and scrutinize North Korea with a better satellite,” Kong said. “… There are dual purposes in space technology.”State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. had observed the “successful” satellite launch.She said there was no basis for comparing the South and the North’s rocket programs. Unlike the North, the South has developed its technology responsibly and is an active participant in international nonproliferation agreements, showing its program has no military intent, she said.“The North should not see it as a threat because they too can enjoy the same transparency with regard to the program that the rest of us have, which is a far cry from how the DPRK behaves,” Nuland told reporters. DPRK stands for the formal name for North Korea.Both Koreas see the development of space programs as crucial hallmarks of their scientific prowess and national pride, and both had high-profile failures before success. China, Japan and India have led the region in space exploration.South Korean satellites were already in space, launched from countries including Japan, the United States and Russia. Seoul tried and failed to launch satellites on its own in 2009 and 2010; more recent launch attempts were aborted at the last minute. U.S. experts have described the North’s satellite as tumbling in space and said it does not appear to be functioning, though Pyongyang has said it is working.Pyongyang’s state television made no mention of the South Korean launch, but about an hour after liftoff it showed archive footage of North Koreans cheering the North’s three-stage rocket from last month. Images from the launch frequently appear in North Korean propaganda.The satellite launched by Seoul is designed to analyze weather data, measure radiation in space, gauge distances on earth and test how effectively South Korean-made devices installed on the satellite operate in space. South Korean officials said it will help them develop more sophisticated satellites in the future.South Korea did need outside help to launch the satellite: The rocket’s first stage was designed and built by Russian experts. North Korea built its rocket almost entirely on its own, South Korean military experts said earlier this month after analyzing debris retrieved from the Yellow Sea in December.Kim Seung-jo, South Korea’s chief space official, told reporters that his country should be able to independently produce a rocket capable of putting a satellite into orbit by as early as 2018. 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Greece says court bid for Parthenon Marbles still an option

first_imgXydakis also told the AP that conservation and restoration work is under way that will eventually allow public access to a resplendent — albeit plundered — ancient tomb excavated amid a media frenzy last year at Amphipolis, in northern Greece.The excavation uncovered vaulted chambers decorated with big marble sphinxes, a pair of larger-than-life statues of young women and an ornate mosaic pavement. But there was nothing to back up initial speculation linking the monument with a relative or aide of ancient warrior-king Alexander the Great.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s culture minister said Friday he has not ruled out court action to try and force the return of the ancient Parthenon sculptures from the British Museum in London, but diplomacy seems like the most effective option.Nikos Xydakis told The Associated Press the latter course has worked well so far, winning over British public opinion — although the London museum insists it legally acquired the marble works and has no plans to return them. Greece’s culture minister Nikos Xydakis listens a question during an interview with the Associated Press in Athens, Friday, May 15, 2015. Xydakis says he has not ruled out court action for the return of the ancient Parthenon Sculptures from the British Museum in London, but diplomacy still seems the most effective option. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “Our priority is to seek the marbles, in any way,” he said in an interview. “Court action is one of many courses. But the political and diplomatic path … remains our basic advantage.”Lord Elgin, a Scottish nobleman, removed the marble works from the Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis more than two centuries ago, when Greece was still an unwilling dominion of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.Athens has long maintained that the 5th century B.C. sculptures, which stood on the temple for over 2,000 years, were illegally taken and should be reunited with other surviving sections in a landmark new museum under the Acropolis.The prospect of a legal challenge gained momentum last year when a team of London lawyers, including Amal Clooney, wife of U.S. film star George Clooney, visited Athens and met officials from Greece’s previous conservative government.International advocacy groups backing Athens expressed dismay Thursday after Xydakis was quoted as rejecting the idea.But the minister said that, while any legal opinion is useful, neither the previous government nor the current, radical left-led administration had ever committed to court action as their only option. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

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Mexicos deportations of Central Americans rise sharply

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober FILE – In this Aug. 27, 2014, file photo, an immigration official checks a bus for Central American migrants, at a roadblock north of Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico. According to data from Mexico’s National Immigration Institute, Mexico has deported 79 percent more Central Americans in the first four months of 2015 than it did during the same period a year earlier. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Deportation of Guatemalans rose 124 percent, followed by Salvadorans at 79 percent and Hondurans at 40 percent.The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday expressed its “concern over stepped-up actions reportedly being taken against migrant persons” that were put in place after Mexico initiated its Southern Border Plan last year under pressure from the United States.In 2014, more than 46,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America crossed into the United States, leading the U.S. government to turn to the governments in Mexico and Central America to try to stanch the flow.Mexico responded with an initiative that included sending 5,000 federal police gendarmes to Chiapas, a Mexican state bordering Guatemala. More border checkpoints were opened, raids on migrants increased and authorities focused on keeping migrants off the northbound freight train known as “the Beast.”On Thursday, Adam Isacson, head of regional security at the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights organization, said in a statement that the wave of immigration seen from Central America in 2014 continues.“Enormous numbers of Central Americans are still fleeing, but most of them are now getting caught in Mexico instead of the United States,” he said. Comments   Share   Top Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 In Guatemala, Ursula Roldan, migration coordinator at Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala City, also raised concerns about the crackdown leading migrants to take bigger risks.“They have changed the migration corridors,” Roldan said. “The route north is changing. Maybe, too, they are beginning to use maritime routes, even more dangerous than the other migration routes.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The countries the migrants are returned to remain extremely dangerous. Honduras and El Salvador have the highest per-capita homicide rates in the world. El Salvador is averaging 20 killings a day as the conflict between gangs, police and soldiers intensifies.The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said it was also worried about reports of attacks on migrant advocates in southern Mexico.Migrant activist Ruben Figueroa in Tenosique, a town in Mexico’s state of Tabasco, said police are waging a violent campaign against migrants.“Masked officers with rifles run operations on the train to keep (migrants) off and to remove migrants from the train,” Figueroa said. “They set up checkpoints on the highways, above all in the southern states of Tabasco, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Veracruz. They enter hotels in the areas where migrants take shelter waiting for rides.”Figueroa said the flow of migrants has not decreased because conditions in their countries have not improved. He said Mexico’s crackdown is only exposing migrants to greater risks of human trafficking, extortion, assault and other crimes.“Every day there are more people who walk, every time more exposed,” he said. “Women with children walk hundreds of kilometers at night in big groups.” MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico deported 79 percent more people from Central America’s northern triangle in the first four months of 2015 than it did during the same period a year earlier, according to government statistics.Data from Mexico’s National Immigration Institute say that 51,565 immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were deported between January and April, up from 28,736, during that period in 2014. Sponsored Stories Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

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