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Aug
20

PEOPLE Kathleen Emmans is Collettes new BDM Central Ontario

first_img MISSISSAUGA, ONT. — Collette has announced that Kathleen Emmans has been appointed the role of Business Development Manager for Central Ontario, a major area that the company says is paramount to its expansion.After owning and operating a successful business coupled with sales and marketing experience for over 15 years, Emmans was hired by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) in 2014 to manage one of its travel centres in Central Ontario. During that time, she worked closely with various groups and organized tours, including Collette.“We are so thrilled to welcome aboard an enthusiastic Emmans to the Canadian team in such a sprouting region,” said Christian Leibl-Cote, Vice President of Service & International Business at Collette. “As an experienced business and marketing professional who has been in the travel industry since 2011, we are confident that Emmans will make a great asset in contributing to the growth of the Collette brand.”For more information go to gocollette.com. Monday, November 21, 2016 Tags: Collette Share << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img [PEOPLE] Kathleen Emmans is Collette’s new BDM, Central Ontario Posted by Travelweek Group last_img read more

Aug
19

WestJet AA move to cut ties in wake of Delta deal

first_img CALGARY — WestJet is advising passengers that its mileage program partnership with American Airlines is ending as it pursues closer ties with Delta Air Lines.A notice posted on the Partners section of WestJet’s website says: “Please be advised that our partnership with American Airlines is ending. Premium earn on American Airlines flights for Silver and Gold members is no longer available as of December 20, 2017; regular earn for all members (as indicated below) will cease on July 31, 2018.”The partnership awarded WestJet dollars on American Airlines-marketed and operated flights (including American Eagle and AmericanConnection flights) based on distance flown, plus class of service bonus, when applicable.An alert on the Partner Airlines section of American Airlines’ site, headlined WestJet partnership ending, confirms that July 31, 2018 is the last day that AAdvantage program members can earn miles on WestJet.As reported on Travelweek.ca on Dec. 6, 2017, WestJet announced it was strengthening its existing partnership with Delta Air Lines with a new joint venture that gives passengers more travel options between Canada and the U.S.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaThe two airlines, which earlier this year expanded their reciprocal frequent flyer agreement, are entering into a preliminary memorandum of understanding that will offer customers access to an extensive transborder route network, airline products, enhanced frequent flyer benefits, and shared airport facilities and amenities. Share WestJet, AA move to cut ties in wake of Delta deal Posted by Tags: American Airlines, WestJetcenter_img Travelweek Group Wednesday, December 27, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Aug
19

Good news for the travel industry It hasnt been this cold since

first_imgGood news for the travel industry: It hasn’t been this cold since 1993 Thursday, December 28, 2017 Tags: Canada, Sun Destinations, Trend Watch Share << Previous PostNext Post >> OTTAWA — Temperatures across much of Canada are plummeting and that should send booking volumes sky-high as a prolonged cold snap and extreme cold weather alerts give the travel industry a much-needed boost after two relatively mild winters.Environment Canada says it’s not about how cold it is, but how long this wave of frigid air will stay around that’s unusual.Meteorologist Alexandre Parent said Wednesday the big chill is affecting the Prairies, Ontario and western Quebec and was to spread into the Maritimes.But Nova Scotia was already dealing with a winter weather system that snapped hydro poles and knocked out electricity for thousands.The province’s utility was working Wednesday to complete restoration of power, mainly on the province’s south shore.The Christmas morning storm delivered gusts that clocked over 100 kilometres per hours in some areas.Parent said northern Ontario was being hardest hit with the current cold snap, with temperatures expected to feel like -50 C with the wind chill in some places.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portal“The size of this cold wave in terms of geographical distribution is quite exceptional for this early in the winter season.“What’s also exceptional is the duration of this episode,” he said, noting that the extreme cold weather could hang over Quebec for the next seven days.The weather specialist said he had to go back to 1993 to find a similar cold spell between Christmas and Jan 1.Temperatures were colder then, but the extreme cold didn’t stay around for long.“The last few years we had one or two days of cold weather, but usually those were compensated by a few days near zero which is not the case this year,” Parent said.“It’s the span of days with ten to fifteen degrees below normal which are exceptional.”In Ottawa, extreme cold forced organizers of the Bell Capital Cup international youth hockey tournament to cancel its outdoor games. Matches scheduled to take place Wednesday at the Canada 150 rink on Parliament Hill will be played indoors instead, tournament staff said via Twitter.More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerIn Nova Scotia, Wednesday’s weather forecast predicted wind chill values between minus 26 and minus 30 Celsius, and between minus 30 and minus 35 in New Brunswick.The cold conditions were expected to stick around until the weekend.Meanwhile, residents of northern and western New Brunswick were still digging out after the Christmas Day storm.Environment Canada said Bathurst recorded 46 centimetres of snow while Northampton, just south of Woodstock, picked up 38 centimetres.Much of Newfoundland and Labrador was under wind or blizzard warnings on Wednesday. By: Peter RakobowchukSource: The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Aug
19

Cathay who Airline spells name incorrectly on new plane

first_imgCathay who? Airline spells name incorrectly on new plane Posted by What f-stop setting did you use to take this photo?— Daryl Sng (@dsng) September 19, 2018 HONG KONG — Anyone have an extra ‘f’ to give? Cathay Pacific wants to know.The Hong Kong-based airline has sent a new plane back to the paint shop after travellers at Hong Kong International Airport noticed a major spelling mistake on the side of the aircraft.Where ‘Cathay Pacific’ should have been were the words ‘Cathay Paciic’.Yikes! Clean up in aisle one!According to Cathay, it was a genuine mistake and addressed the faux-pas on Twitter.Oops this special livery won’t last long! She’s going back to the shop!(Source: HKADB) pic.twitter.com/20SRQpKXET— Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) September 19, 2018Of course, Twitter-verse wasted no time in poking fun at the airline.You had only one job… #CathayPacific https://t.co/R4i5LP7ERa— 𝕣𝕒𝕝𝕡𝕙 𝕘𝕠𝕝𝕕𝕞𝕒𝕟𝕟 (@RalphGoldmann) September 19, 2018 Tags: Cathay Pacific, Funny Travelweek Group center_img What the “F” is going on here? #CathayPacific #avgeek #airplane pic.twitter.com/OuAkZgSGVz— Polrit Disatapundhu (@PolritTweets) September 19, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Wednesday, September 19, 2018 last_img read more

Aug
19

Is Justin Bieber to blame for the closure of this Icelandic canyon

first_img Share Tags: Bieber, Iceland Thursday, May 23, 2019 Posted by The Canadian Press center_img FJADRARGLJUFUR, ICELAND — A large sign warns motorists that Iceland’s Fjadrargljufur canyon is closed to visitors but drivers keep on coming down the narrow gravel road. A ranger at a roadblock has to explain why no one can pass: The vulnerable landscape cannot sustain more visitors.Blame Justin Bieber, the Canadian pop star with a worldwide reach.Bieber’s magical music video “I’ll Show You” was filmed at the canyon and seen by millions, creating overwhelming demand for the once-pristine spot. For a chance to follow in Bieber’s footsteps, his fans are not letting a few fences, signs or park rangers keep them away.Eager visitors try to sweet-talk ranger Hanna Johannsdottir into opening the gate. Some offer bribes. They should know in advance it’s not going to work.“Food from people’s home country is the most common bribery,” said Johannsdottir, who recently turned down a free trip to Dubai in exchange for looking the other way at trespassers.The Bieber-inspired influx is one part of a larger challenge for Iceland — the North Atlantic island nation may be too spectacular and too popular for its own good.Last year 2.3 million tourists visited Iceland, compared with just 600,000 eight years ago. The 20% annual uptick in visitors has been out of proportion with infrastructure that is needed to protect Iceland’s volcanic landscape, where soil forms slowly and erodes quickly.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyEnvironment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson said it is “a bit too simplistic to blame the entire situation on Justin Bieber” but urged famous, influential visitors to consider the consequences of their actions.“Rash behaviour by one famous person can dramatically impact an entire area if the mass follows,” he told The Associated Press.Bieber has the third-largest Twitter account at over 105 million followers, after Katy Perry and Barack Obama, according to friendorfollow.com — and he has over 112 million followers on Instagram.via GIPHYIn the viral video — watched over 440 million times on YouTube since 2015 — Bieber stomped on mossy vegetation, dangled his feet over a cliff and bathed in the freezing river underneath the sheer walls of the canyon.“In Justin Bieber’s defence, the canyon did not, at the time he visited, have rope fences and designated paths to show what was allowed and what not,” Gudbrandsson said.Over 1 million people have visited the area since the release of the video, the Environment Agency of Iceland estimates, leaving deep scars on its vegetation. After remaining closed for all but five weeks this year, it is expected to reopen again this summer only if weather conditions are dry.Icelanders are reluctant to fault the pop star, who enjoys enormous support on the island. About 12% of Iceland’s entire population — 38,000 people — attended his two concerts in Reykjavik, the capital, a year after the video was released.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalLocals underestimated the canyon’s potential as a major attraction because it’s relatively small compared to those formed by the country’s powerful glacier rivers. But unlike others, it is easily accessed and requires less than a kilometre of trekking.The selfies and drone images have stopped — for now — but more exposure is coming. The latest season of the popular HBO drama “Game of Thrones” features scenes filmed at the canyon. The nearby Skogar waterfall and the Svinafells glacier are also backdrops in the fictional Thrones world of warriors and dragons.Inga Palsdottir, director of the national tourism agency Visit Iceland, said a single film shot or a viral photograph has often put overlooked places on the map.The most extreme example, she said, is the Douglas DC-3 U.S. Navy plane that crashed on the black sand beach at Solheimasandur in 1973. The seven Americans onboard all survived but the plane wreck was never removed.“Then someone decided to dance on it and now it’s one of the most popular places in the country,” said Palsdottir. << Previous PostNext Post >> Is Justin Bieber to blame for the closure of this Icelandic canyon?last_img read more

Aug
19

Costa Rica cops dismantle drug smuggling ring that used local postal service

first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rican Drug Control Police (PCD) arrested seven suspects – four Costa Ricans and three foreign nationals – allegedly involved in an international drug-smuggling ring during several raids across the capital Wednesday morning.The illegal operation allegedly relied on the Costa Rican postal service, Correos de Costa Rica, S.A., to import drugs into the country and export them to Europe and Nicaragua, according to a statement from the PCD.On Wednesday morning, authorities seized 11,000 doses of ecstasy valued at more than $220,000 as it entered Costa Rica, presumably for domestic consumption. Law enforcement agents also seized 1,571 grams of cocaine destined for Europe.Raids took place at seven locations across the city, including the offices of Correos de Costa Rica and a delivery service named O.C.S. Courier, located in central San José. Costa Rica appears to have operated as a way station for the drugs.The syndicate exported drugs from Costa Rica to Nicaragua and cocaine to Holland. The group also imported ecstasy from Holland and Germany for the local market.   Public Security Minister Mario Zamora said that there were no known ecstasy laboratories in the Central American country, and Costa Rica is a net importer of the synthetic drug.Zamora opined that tourists from the United States or Europe, where there is greater familiarity with the club drug, are the typical users of the drug in Costa Rica.The drug ring’s leader was identified as a Lithuanian citizen, but the organization was international, including citizens from Colombia, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.The minister said that the investigation began on Aug. 10, 2012. Zamora did not know the quantity of drugs that were shipped via the Costa Rican mail service, but he noted that packages from the syndicate moved frequently.Authorities identified the seven suspects by their last name, including a Lithuanian citizen named Zukauskas, 55, and two Romanians, a 33-year-old named Calota and a 28-year-old woman named Vilceanu.Authorities also arrested three Costa Ricans employees of Correos de Costa Rica, a 33-year-old named Vargas who worked at the company’s Escazú branch; and two who worked in the Corres de Costa Rica Mail Processing Center – Rivera, 45, and Castillo, 41.Law enforcement arrested another Tico, a 45-year-old suspect with the last name Montero, who worked for O.C.S. Authorities found cocaine, methamphetamines and ecstasy in eight other packages seized from November 2012 to June 2013.   Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Aug
19

Biofuels would be produced at Chinese refinery in Limón says Costa Rica

first_imgCosta Rica’s National Oil Refinery, RECOPE, is set to start a new feasibility study on a Chinese-funded oil refinery in the Caribbean province of Limón, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.News of the agreement came as Costa Rican and Chinese officials reached consensus Friday on how to move forward with the $1.5 billion project after the Central American country’s Comptroller General’s Office canceled the previous project over a conflict of interest in 2013.RECOPE President Sara Salazar said that the national oil refinery would oversee the new feasibility study and there would be an “exhaustive” review of the Chinese-Costa Rican Reconstruction Corporation (SORESCO), a joint partnership between the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation and RECOPE formed to build the new refinery and upgrade in Moín, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.Salazar said the latest agreement with her Chinese counterparts would assure transparency and accountability in the project.The new refinery would produce biofuels and “green” fuels, as well as refine gasoline and diesel, Salazar added. RECOPE currently does not refine any fuel for the national market.After an investigation, the Comptroller General’s Office said that Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Corp., the company that conducted a feasibility study of the project, was a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation, a partner with RECOPE in the construction of the refinery. The office said that conflict of interest violated the concession’s contract.President Xi Jinping extended Costa Rica a $900 million loan to finance the project during his 2013 visit with former President Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014). Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica cancels $1.2 billion Chinese refinery project Costa Rica hopes Chinese tourists will think pura vida for their next vacation Ad Astra Rocket’s breakup with the government puts Costa Rica’s hydrogen future on hold World Bank court orders Ecuador to pay $1.8 billion to US oil firm Oxylast_img read more

Aug
19

Save water ban golf courses says Costa Rican lawmaker

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica passes 2nd ‘popular initiative’ bill, which declares water access a fundamental right City officials finally promise relief to Cartago residents facing ongoing water shortages Drought: As tourism season approaches, Tamarindo needs a good shower San José to face water rationing for at least six more weeks Broad Front Party legislator Suray Carrillo Guevara is drafting a water conservation bill that would ban golf courses in Costa Rica — both existing ones and those that are yet to be built.The bill aims at solving water shortages affecting most of the country, but especially the Pacific provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas, which are facing severe drought.Carrillo, a Guanacaste representative, said her home province is not the best place for building golf courses because it is the area facing the biggest water supply problems. “There are water supply problems at most provinces but currently there are 125 communities facing daily water shortages in Guanacaste alone,” she said.According to the National Meteorological Institute (IMN), Guanacaste is facing a 65 percent rain deficit for the year.Carrillo would not comment on the full contents of her proposal but she said it will include restrictions for tourism-related businesses, public agencies and citizens.“My initiative is a law to enforce water-saving measures and includes proposals to eliminate water waste. The ban on golf courses is just one of them,” Carrillo said.Drought: As tourism season approaches, Tamarindo needs a good showerThe legislator said many tourism megaprojects in Guanacaste have gardens filled with exotic plants brought from other continents that require large amounts of water to survive in Costa Rica’s climate. “That’s outrageous,” she said. “We have an enormous variety of beautiful plants here.”Her bill also proposes measures to demand more citizen responsibility for conservation, as well as stricter requirements for granting building permits in watersheds.“Municipalities are largely responsible for causing water shortages as they easily grant permits to companies without requiring from them any measures to protect natural resources,” Carrillo said.The legislator said her initiative has the support of several community groups, mainly from Guanacaste, where she has publicly spoken about the idea.Carrillo said she is still evaluating options for enforcing the proposed measures and all possible legal scenarios around the bill. She expects the first draft of the bill to be ready in two weeks for analysis by a special Legislative Committee that evaluates issues affecting Guanacaste.“My proposal will be subject to discussion by all sectors involved in order to negotiate and seek agreements,” Carrillo said Wednesday, stressing that ultimately her goal is to reach an agreement to resolve the lack of water. “We have real water problems and the only important thing here is to decide what are we going to do about it,” she said.Critic calls idea ‘dangerously polarizing’ between rich and poorAlthough the drafting of the bill is still a work in progress, several sectors have already voiced their opposition to Carrillo’s initiative and scoffed at what they say is a typical manifestation of her party’s left-leaning ideology.Costa Rican Hotels Chamber President Gustavo Araya Carvajal said these kinds of proposals “are dangerously polarizing the country between rich and poor, left and right, yes and no, and undoubtedly they will end up affecting the whole country.”According to chamber data, golf courses create jobs for more than 2,000 families in Costa Rica and generate revenue of $260 million a year. Araya says hotels with golf courses have better water management practices than those required by public agencies.“We strongly encourage lawmakers to invest their time — time that we all pay for with taxes — to draft bills supported by logical, scientific, economic or mathematical foundations,” the chamber said in a public statement.National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) President Pablo Abarca concurred, saying Carrillo’s proposal is based on ideological rather than technical grounds. “It is unnecessary to propose extreme measures such as banning golf courses,” Abarca said. “That will not solve water scarcity, as this is mostly a public infrastructure issue.”According to research from CANATUR, 10 percent of tourists to Costa Rica play golf here.“That 10 percent represents more than the increase in visitors recorded in the past two years. You can image the losses such a decision [banning courses] would bring,” Abarca said.The Costa Rican Tourism Board reported earlier this year that Costa Rica recorded 2,5 million international arrivals in 2014 — a 4.1 percent increase over 2013. Revenues from the travel sector last year totaled $2.6 billion — an 8.3 percent increase over the $2.4 billion registered in 2013, according to figures from the Central Bank.Guanacaste lawmakers Juan Marín Quirós, from the National Liberation Party and Johnny Leiva Badilla of the Social Christian Unity Party said this week that they will not support a bill that bans golf courses.“These proposals to limit and prohibit businesses are irrational and they might affect the country’s image among both domestic and foreign investors,” Leiva said.Marín believes banning golf courses would not help solve water shortages as long as thousands of people keep wasting water in their homes every day. “Most people do not practice any water-saving habits when they shower, do their laundry or any other domestic chores. The solution requires a broader perspective,” he said.Costa Rica currently has 15 golf courses and the National Golf Association (ANAGOLF) hosts some 40 tournaments annually. About 60 additional competitions are organized by other groups and companies.ANAGOLF Vice President Rodrigo Cordero Campos declined to comment directly on the initiative, saying the group’s board is currently gathering information on Carrillo’s proposal.Cordero did say he personally believes such initiatives should take into account golf’s economic contribution to the tourism sector and the important social contributions that charity golf tournaments make.“Golf is one of the sports that contributes the most to social causes in Costa Rica,” he said.ANAGOLF hosts annual tournaments that raise funds for the National Children’s Hospital and its burn center, Cordero said, and for several associations that help disabled people. Another ANAGOLF tournament raises funds to donate a house to a poor family each year.Cordero believes a ban on golf courses couldn’t be enforced and that lawmakers should take into consideration all the people and businesses linked to this sector.“I have no doubt that lawmaker Carrillo has good intentions, but it seems that her motivations are beyond just the water scarcity issue. It seems that she is using golf as an excuse,” he said.Lawmaker: Big tourism projects ‘do very little or nothing’ for communitiesCarrillo defends her proposal and says her fight is not something new and that it’s not based on ideology. The lawmaker said she has been a community leader for many years and that she has been part of various iniciatives to demand the government to protect populations’ access to potable water since 1999.“That was the time when the big tourism and agricultural projects boomed in the Pacific region. These are projects that are benefitting only their owners and do very little or nothing for the communities where they operate,” she said.Carrillo said her assertion is confirmed by State of the Nation Program reports. “Annual reports from those years clearly noted that these projects lacked productive chains that benefitted the population,” she said.This year, Guanacaste registered the biggest deficit in rainfall since the IMN began keeping records in 1937. The ongoing dry conditions have surpassed previous records registered in 1977.Local meteorologists have stated that current conditions are influenced by an El Niño weather phenomenon and that its effects on temperatures will peak in December. Temperatures then will gradually begin to decline through approximately mid-2016, according to IMN forecasts. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Aug
19

5 questions for a Costa Rican aerialist

first_imgSmooth movements, clean technique, and becoming one with the silks while dancing in the air: With the music on, Carolina Cabañas approaches the aerial silks, lifts her feet off the ground, and starts to fly. Rather than defy gravity, she makes it her friend. Soon enough, it disappears, letting her almost float while dancing five meters above the floor.Cabañas is one of the pioneers of aerial acrobatics in Costa Rica. The artist started dancing ballet at the age of nine, and tried many disciplines like jazz, flamenco and hip hop, among others. However, dancing in the ground just wasn’t enough for her, and she took it to the next level when she discovered aerial dance as a teenager. Cabañas now practices aerial hammock, aerial silks, trapeze and aerial hoop, and has tried “everything” in aerial disciplines.Eight years ago, Cabañas founded the Danzaire Company, a group of artists creating and performing all around the country; three years ago she founded the Danzaire Aerial Dance School, where she trains students and teachers. It was thanks to Cabañas that the first International Festival of Aerial Dance of Costa Rica (FIDACR), a Danzaire initiative that she directed, took place in early 2016.The Tico Times visited Danzaire to talk to the artist about her role as a pioneer of the discipline in the country, and how it has influenced her entire life. Excerpts follow.How did you get into aerial dance?I was in high school. I was dancing ballet, and during one staging the director said she wanted an aerial performance. At that time, 16 years ago, no one was doing this [in Costa Rican performances], but by chance, I found a sign about [aerial acrobatics] classes. A man called Heiner and a dancer named Carolina Hovenga taught aerial silks and trapeze. As far as I know, they were the very first ones teaching aerial acrobatics here. Those were introductory classes, no mats or anything.More people started practicing at the Culture Ministry and at Metamorfosis [artistic group]. Eventually that initial group was disbanded, but I, along with some other friends, kept practicing a lot. I wanted to take it seriously. I was self-taught… I couldn’t even watch videos because by that time there was almost nothing, so I was just exploring, doing research, studying. After a while, the Culture Ministry brought in the French artist Fred Deb, who has her own aerial dance teaching methodology. Through the social project Parque La Libertad, a program for circus-school trainers got underway, and they brought in companies from Spain, Argentina, Colombia.[Eventually] Fred Deb took me to France to work with her. I met a lot of people there, and when they organized festivals in different parts of the world they invited me to work with them. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico TimesWhat was the main objective of the first International Festival of Aerial Dance?We designed it taking into account that Costa Rica is different from the United States or Europe, where they have the necessary resources. We created our festival in order to generate resources so aerial dance can be practiced and developed. In Costa Rica there are not many spaces to perform, to discuss, to talk about what is being done, to practice, to learn new techniques, and meet artists from abroad: if you can’t go to Europe to see those artists, we bring them here. To watch them is a blessing. Those performances… open your mind, your eyes, and your heart. That’s another objective, to generate audience. Here in Costa Rica art is a luxury, I mean, it isn’t a priority for some people, that’s why they don’t see it as something serious. In many South American and European countries art is part of the society. Here, people look at you as if you’re a weirdo, like “You do what? And you hang where? And why do you do that?” They don’t believe that what you do is something serious. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico TimesWhat do you love about aerial dance?When I move in the air, I’m moving in another dimension…. I’m taking advantage of the challenges gravity presents. It’s an infinite world of possibilities and creativity, and the source of inspiration never ends. I never get bored. Sometimes it’s difficult to consider myself a normal person, to have a conversation with someone about something else. I’m like, “What am I gonna talk about?”I tried to study nutrition and gastronomy, I tried to finish university, but life always gave me opportunities to work as a dancer. So I never graduated. I did get into a dancing program at the University of Costa Rica called Danza Abierta [Open Dance]. It’s a training program for dancers that lasts 4.5 years. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico TimesHow has aerial dance influenced in your life?In every aspect. On a personal level, it has helped me a lot… I was always an insecure person, perhaps due to some situations where I grew up. Aerial dance has helped me to have confidence in myself, to feel part of something. There are people who are doing something with their lives but are not happy; maybe they are not doing what actually fulfills them. I feel really lucky to be able to do what I want, even though it’s difficult. I don’t live like a queen. But abundance is in your inner happiness, in the heart. Thanks to aerial dance I have my friends, my family. Thanks to aerial dance, I met the father of [my son]. And now it has given me a job. It has given me so much, on an emotional, economical and professional level.Also, it has also been really nice to see how the country, through Danzaire, has been able to generate that platform, and show it’s not an empty practice. We try to make a difference. People know us because we are a serious group and we are commited to what we do, and that has also opened doors for us. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico TimesWhat’s the future of Carolina Cabañas and Danzaire?I would really like to expand Danzaire, both nationally and internationally. I’d like to introduce more formative programs and generate awareness… expand the teacher training course and make people want to learn more and improve, for generations to come.As for the festival, we want to make it an annual event, because people are now contacting me saying they want the festival to return soon. We have to take advange of that interest. Danzaire Company performing (Courtesy of Danzaire)Read our first-ever Weekend Arts Spotlight from August 2015, “6 questions for an aerial acrobat,” here.Our “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at kstanley@ticotimes.net. Facebook Comments Related posts:5 questions for blues musician Steve Arvey 5 questions for a Costa Rican oxcart painter 5 questions for a Costa Rican cartoonist 5 questions for a couple of clowns in Costa Ricalast_img read more

Aug
19

Number of obese Ticos has almost quadrupled in four decades

first_imgRelated posts:Mandatory prices for medical procedures rankle public, politicians Costa Rica reports lower cancer mortality rates Doctors’ Association backs down from mandatory medical fees Costa Rica welcomes first IVF baby after 16-year ban Obesity figures among Costa Rica’s population increased almost four times in the last 39 years, from 6.3 percent in 1975 to 23.7 percent in 2014.These results are part of a report prepared by the Universidad Hispanoamericana and published this week in the university’s health magazine.Researchers Ronald Evans and Jose Pérez based their evaluation on a study of the worldwide evolution of the Body Mass Index (BMI) conducted by the Imperial College London’s School of Public Health.  The BMI is a parameter for insufficient, normal and excessive human weight ranges.The researchers reviewed data for Costa Rica over 39-year period and also found that the population with normal weight fell from 50.7 percent in 1975 to 34.4 percent in 2014.Obesity concernsEvans, an epidemiologist, said in the report that results should alert health officials and the general population to the rapid increase in the percentage of overweight and obese Costa Ricans. Excess weight is a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases ranging from diabetes and hypertension to heart disease, among others.The percentage of overweight Ticos went from 24.9 percent to 36.1 percent. The percentage of people with morbid obesity rose from 0.2 to 2.3 percent of the population, an increase of 1,000 percent.People with morbid obesity are 14 times more likely to have a heart attack and 12 times more likely to die before age 70 than those with a normal weight, researchers noted.CampaignData from the Social Security System, or Caja, showed in 2015 that the care of obese patients with cost the agency an average of ₡5 million (some $9,500) per patient per year.On Tuesday, Caja officials presented an informational campaign seeking to change Ticos’ eating habits in order to prevent weight problems. Caja President María del Rocío Saenz said at a press conference that the campaign responds to high figures of patients with chronic disease, and to a spike in the number of overweight and obese people in Costa Rica.The campaign’s messages, being distributed in mass media and social networks, recommend dividing a meal in a balanced way.“Half of the plate should have fruit, vegetables or salads. A quarter should have grains (cereals, legumes) and the remaining quarter should have a protein,” the campaign states. (Via CCSS)The campaign also recommends drinking water instead of sodas or sugar-sweetened beverages with every meal.As part of the campaign, the Caja is publishing digital books with recipes. This week the agency posted a book with recommendations for salads and dressings. You can read or download the book at: www.ccss.sa.cr/recetario (in Spanish only).The agency also is posting recipes on its social media profiles along with video explainers to show the preparation. The Caja is asking people to post their own healthy recipes following the recommended proportions. The agency will record the best two recipes and the videos will be posted as part of the campaign.See a video and a recipe for a beet salad: Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Aug
19

Young people speak out in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:A teenager’s quest to fight cancer in Costa Rica: Meet ‘Slimes Pura Vida’ Costa Rican entrepreneur launches swimwear line to empower women This week in the Peace Corps: Moving Out in Costa Rica This week in the Peace Corps: Jumpstarting English with Peace Corps Volunteers On May 6, 350 people, both Costa Ricans and foreigners, gathered at the María Aguilar River in downtown San José to plant trees in an activity organized by the Magic Trees Foundation. Young participants in the event also attended the Youth Speaks Forum hosted by the global organization AIESEC at the Colegio de Abogados in Zapote about climate change.The Tico Times and Vecinos Activos spoke with the young participants, from inside and outside Costa Rica, to learn more about their aspirations for the country. Excerpts follow.Katherine Rodríguez Katherine Rodríguez is a Costa Rican who works as a volunteer for AIESEC. Augusto Bolaños / Vecinos ActivosKatherine is Costa Rican and she’s 23 years old. She’s a volunteer at AIESEC and worked for nine months to support the organization of the Youth Speaks Forum in Costa Rica. Her desire for Costa Rica is for people to participate in more events of this nature to create awareness.“I want more people to be interested in this… to go to events like this one and feel this passion to act, to create awareness oi other people. I want people to really have this initiative [to do things].”Andra Enache Andra Enache is a Romanian volunteer in Costa Rica. Augusto Bolaños / Vecinos ActivosAndra is from Bacău, Romania. She’s 23 years old and studied public relations and communications in her home country. She moved to Costa Rica as an AIESEC volunteer. As a foreigner living in Costa Rica, she also has desires for peace in this country.“My dream actually is to see a Costa Rica in peace. I know Costa Rica is known for peace, but I believe that there are a lot of things that make Costa Rica less than peaceful. My mission in everything that I’m doing is to bring as much peace as possible to the country. First, in people’s minds and souls, because it starts with us, then we will be in peace with others.”Oriel Quintero Oriel Quintero is a Panamanian student that visited Costa Rica for the Youth Speaks event. Augusto Bolaños / Vecinos ActivosOriel is student at at Panama’s Technological University and hails from Bocas del Toro . He’s 22 years old and has a profound interest in nature, conservation and the environment. He visited Costa Rica to attend the Youth Speaks Forum in order to get inspired about what he can do for the environment in his country. His desire for his country is for other young people to get involved in these topics as he has.“I’d like for more young people to join and participate. At least in Panama, young people are not passionate and they’re not attracted to these topics. I’d like for more young people to work on this. The greatest success in conservation is our environment.”Thales Lópes Thales Lópes is a Brazilian volunteer in Costa Rica. Augusto Bolaños / Vecinos ActivosThales is from Sao Paulo, Brazil and has volunteered with AIESEC in Costa Rica for the past eleven months. He is 23 years old and says that Costa Rica reminds him of his home country because of people’s receptivity, but also the inequality. He’s convinced there is only one solution.“For me, education is essential both for Costa Rica as well as Brazil, and any other part of the world.” Camila Egúsquiza is a Peruvian volunteer in Costa Rica. Augusto Bolaños / Vecinos ActivosCamila EgúsquizaCamila, 23, is from Lima, Peru, and has been working as a volunteer in Costa Rica for 10 months. She hopes Costa Rica will continue caring and working to conserve the environment, and that she can apply what she has learned here in her home country.“Costa Rica is a country very rich in the diversity of its flora and fauna, and you don’t necessarily have to go to another part of Costa Rica to find it. I’d like for these initiatives to continue and to be able to take them to my country.”John Solano John Solano is a Costa Rican who works as a volunteer for AIESEC. Augusto Bolaños / Vecinos ActivosJohn is from San José and is 18 years old. He studies Special Education at the University of Costa Rica, practices martial arts and works as a volunteer for AIESEC. His desire for his country is to help reduce inequality and for other Costa Ricans to acknowledge the inequality within the country.“Even though we’re the pura vida country, the peace country, there’s big social inequality and the tico does not want to see it. There’s a lot to do. We all have to do something, and simple things do make a change.”María Laura Villalobos María Laura Villalobos is a Costa Rican who works as a volunteer for AIESEC. Augusto Bolaños / Vecinos ActivosMaría Laura Villalobos is from San Ramón. She is 19 years old and studies electromechanical engineering at the Costa Rican Technological Institute (TEC). She’s a volunteer at AIESEC and has learned the importance of interacting with people and helping each other. Her hopes for Costa Rica focus on its leaders.“I want representative leadership. I want… young people in Costa Rica to have someone who they can admire because of what he or she does.”Alejandro Moya Alejandro Moya is a Costa Rican who works as a volunteer for AIESEC. Augusto Bolaños / Vecinos ActivosAlejandro is from Cartago. He’s 25 years old and an informatics engineer as well as a volunteer at AISEC. For Costa Rica he hopes for poverty reduction and a better education model in which children are taught a variety of subjects in a more integral way.“Costa Rican education is very good, but we have to do an [180 degree] turn and focus on other things: i’s not only about teaching Spanish or math, but also teaching how to live. Teaching things like going out and planting trees.”Darling Carvajal Darling Carvajal is a Costa Rican who works as a volunteer for AIESEC. Augusto Bolaños / Vecinos ActivosDarling is from Palmares. She’s a psychologist who is 27 years old; she volunteers with AIESEC and is a mother. She wants Costa Rica to become a more egalitarian country in which everyone has access to the same opportunities.“I’d really like a Costa Rica with more access for all people. A Costa Rica where we all really have awareness of the need to create change. We can’t keep waiting for things to simply happen.”This photo story was possible thanks to a collaboration between journalists Augusto Bolaños from Vecinos Activos, La Carpio’s local digital news site, and Elizabeth Lang, Assistant Editor of The Tico Times.Disclaimer: The Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) and Amigos of Costa Rica sponsor the Tico Times Changemakers Section to provide a space for stories and information about philanthropic work in Costa Rica. CRUSA and Amigos do not endorse any of the organizations, individuals, fundraising solicitations or opinions shared in this space unless otherwise stated. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Aug
19

Where to watch the Super Bowl in Costa Rica

first_imgIf you know of a place that isn’t mentioned, let us know and we’ll add it to the list!Enjoy the Super Bowl, but don’t forget — if you want to watch “real” football, La Sele faces the United States in an international friendly on Saturday.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Super Bowl LIII kicks off Sunday, Feb. 3 at 5:30 p.m. CST. The game features the NFC West’s Los Angeles Rams facing the New England Patriots of the AFC East.While this type of football is not the country’s most popular sport, the National Football League has grown in Costa Rica. It’s now common to find NFL games with Spanish-speaking broadcasters on television on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays (and sometimes Saturdays).And there will be no shortage of places to watch the Super Bowl in Costa Rica. Among the locations is a watch party at Texas Tech University of Costa Rica, which will have food vendors, family-friendly games and a big-screen viewing experience.Entrance is free with registration at this link.No matter where you are in Costa Rica, though, there’s bound to be football fans. Check out last year’s guide of locations that hosted watch parties for the big game across the country: Where to watch the Super Bowl in Costa Ricacenter_img Related posts:NFL: Coldplay honored by Super Bowl but puzzled by game NFL’s Super Bowl Sunday is here, with Cam Newton and Peyton Manning set to battle Broncos beat Panthers, 24-10, to win Super Bowl 50 Seahawks flatten Packers as NFL seasons kicks offlast_img read more

Aug
18

Camerons triumph may weaken movement for Britains EU exit

first_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Cameron’s Conservatives also represent big business, which is terrified at the prospect of losing billions in trade that comes from EU membership. The prime minister himself is more of a pro-business pragmatist than a true Euro-skeptic, and that lack of ideological investment may lead him to argue that Britain’s economic interests lie within the EU.The election result “will give him a momentum to negotiate hard, get a deal which he feels confident enough that he can put to the British people and ask them to vote ‘yes’, ask them to vote ‘yes’ to Britain’s future in the European Union,” said Professor Maurice Fraser of the London School of Economics European Institute.For their part, European leaders may now start thinking twice about their hard-line stance against granting Britain concessions. The EU leadership knows that losing a big player like Britain would deal a massive economic and psychological blow to the European project. Sensing that Cameron may now have reason to preach the virtues of EU membership to his people, EU leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel may want to nudge things along by handing out goodies.The European mood appeared to shift just hours after the extent of Cameron’s victory became clear — with the EU’s two top officials coming out with conciliatory messages. “I stand ready to work with you to strike a fair deal for the United Kingdom in the EU,” EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a congratulatory message.EU President Donald Tusk was hardly less glowing.“I count on the new British government making the case for the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union,” Tusk said. “In that I stand ready to help.”He lauded Britain’s “common sense agenda, keeping the emphasis on a competitive economy … non-intrusive regulation, openness to trade with other nations, and a confident foreign policy. Objectives which I share.”Cameron will also feel the hot breath of British business in his neck to keep Britain in the EU. It needs Europe for exports, and if the U.K. leaves, British corporations will be pushed to the sidelines, facing much bigger financial costs to maintain a foothold in the world’s wealthiest market.Britain already enjoys more autonomy than other EU countries. It has stayed outside the euro common currency used by 19 EU nations, and kept its borders controls out of the joint Schengen zone used by almost all other member states. Still, the imposition of EU-wide rules on travel that has allowed many east Europeans to settle and work in Britain has enraged many British voters. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Cameron’s task may now include persuading these voters that welcoming workers from across the EU has helped to invigorate the British economy — instead of taken away jobs.Another challenge Cameron faces is his delicate diplomatic dance with European leaders — and his past shows a tendency to step on toes. He will have to be discreet enough to couch his demands for more independent decision-making in terms that won’t rile the likes of Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, who face elections in the same year Britain is set to hold its referendum.But Cameron must also create the impression at home that he’s imposing a British vision on the EU.“The U.K. government is likely to want to have some reforms to argue they are staying within the ‘reformed EU’ rather than the ‘old EU’,” said Fabian Zuleeg of the European Policy Center think tank.___Follow Raf Casert at http://twitter.com/rcasertCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   BRUSSELS (AP) — It might seem logical that triumph for David Cameron’s traditionally Euro-skeptic Tories would boost the likelihood of Britain splitting from the European Union in a referendum the prime minister has promised to call by 2017.But things are rarely so simple in European politics.Victory has given Cameron his best chance yet to push through enough reform within the EU to avoid “Brexit.” And the poor showing of the UK Independence Party — whose iconic leader Nigel Farage resigned after failing to win his seat — greatly frees up the British leader to seek a compromise with his EU counterparts. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Check your body, save your life Sponsored Stories Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha return to 10 Downing Street in London, Friday, May 8, 2015. The Conservative Party surged to a surprisingly commanding lead in Britain’s parliamentary election, with returns Friday backing an exit poll’s prediction that Prime Minister David Cameron would remain in 10 Downing Street. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)last_img read more

Aug
18

Justice NSA may have to wind down bulk collection this week

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department warned lawmakers that the National Security Agency will have to begin winding down its bulk collection of Americans’ phone records by the end of the week if Congress fails to reauthorize the Patriot Act.Faced with the expiration of the law on June 1 and uncertainty on Capitol Hill, the department circulated a memo on Wednesday that described the powers that will lapse and the actions NSA will have to take in advance to avoid legal challenges. The House overwhelmingly passed a bill to end the bulk collection and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said the Senate will act on the issue before beginning a Memorial Day recess scheduled for week’s end.Final congressional approval before the deadline is no certainty, though. Controversy surrounding the issue flared in the Senate when Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and 2016 presidential candidate, plunged into a lengthy speech declaring the Patriot Act unconstitutional and opposing renewal of the program.“I will not let the Patriot Act, the most un-Patriotic of acts, go unchallenged,” Paul said as he commandeered the floor.Officials said it was possible the White House contender would hold sway until midnight or later, but his office offered no word on his plans after he started speaking at 1:18 p.m. EDT. Paul’s campaign sent out a fundraising appeal while his longstanding opposition to bulk collection, a pillar of his campaign, stirred social media.The issue has divided Republicans and Democrats, cutting across party lines and pitting civil libertarians concerned about privacy against more hawkish lawmakers fearful about losing tools to combat terrorism. Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Top Stories ___Associated Press writer Erica Werner contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Check your body, save your life Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Among the other Republicans eyeing the White House, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina favor extending the program while Ted Cruz of Texas supports a version of the House bill.Last week, the House backed the USA Freedom Act, which would replace bulk collection with a system to search the data held by telephone companies on a case-by-case basis. The vote was 338-88, and House Republican and Democratic leaders have insisted on their bill.But McConnell and several other top Republicans prefer to simply reauthorize the post-Sept. 11 law. McConnell has agreed to allow a vote on the House bill, but has indicated that there may not be enough votes to pass it in the Senate.If Congress fails to act, several key provisions of the law would expire, including the bulk collection; a provision allowing so-called roving wiretaps, which the FBI uses for criminals who frequently switch cellphones; and a third that makes it easier to obtain a warrant to target a “lone wolf” terror suspect who has no provable links to a terrorist organization.The Justice Department said the NSA will have to act within days.“After May 22, 2015, the National Security Agency will need to begin taking steps to wind down the bulk telephone metadata program in anticipation of a possible sunset in order to ensure that it does not engage in any unauthorized collection or use of the metadata,” the department said. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The department also said that if Congress allows the law to expire and then passes legislation to reauthorize it when lawmakers return to Washington the week of June 1 it would “be effective in making the authorities operative again, but may expose the government to some litigation risk in the event of legal challenge.”The White House backs the House bill and has pressed for the Senate to approve the legislation and send it to President Barack Obama for his signature.The House bill is the result of outrage among Republicans and Democrats after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA program.Although Paul called his action a filibuster, it technically fell short of Senate rules since the bill the Senate was considering was trade, not the Patriot Act.Fellow Republicans were not overly concerned by Paul’s move.“I think many of us anticipated that he would probably at some point use the floor on Patriot Act, on FISA, so I guess if he’s going to, doing it now as opposed to doing it on the weekend is maybe preferable,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.Asked whether Paul’s speech met the definition of a filibuster, Thune said: “It’s going to be talking for an extended period of time. Around here I suppose that’s a filibuster.” 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Aug
18

US Turkey plan for safe zone free of IS in northern Syria

first_img Sponsored Stories BEIRUT (AP) — Turkey and the United States have agreed on the outlines of a plan to rout the Islamic State group from a strip of Syrian territory along the Turkish border — a plan that opens the possibility of a safe haven for tens of thousands of displaced Syrians but one that also sets up a potential conflict with U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces in the area.The move further embroils Turkey, a key NATO ally, in Syria’s civil war, and also catapults it into a front-line position in the global war against IS. A senior Obama administration official said Monday that U.S. discussions with Turkey about an IS-free zone focused on a 68-mile stretch still under IS control. The U.S. has been conducting airstrikes there, which will accelerate now that the U.S. can launch strikes from Turkish soil, the official said.No agreement between Turkey and the U.S. has yet been finalized, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby said that any joint military efforts with Turkey would not include the imposition of a no-fly zone. The U.S. has long rejected Turkish and other requests for a no-fly zone to halt Syrian government air raids, fearing it would draw U.S. forces further into the civil war.While details of the buffer-zone plan have yet to be announced, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara and Washington have no intention of sending ground troops into Syria but wanted to see Syria’s moderate opposition forces replace IS near the Turkish border.“Moderate forces like the Free Syrian Army will be strengthened, a structure will be created so that they can take control of areas freed from ISIL, air cover will be provided. It would be impossible for them to take control of the area without it,” Davutoglu told Turkey’s A Haber television. ISIL is an alternate acronym for the Islamic State group. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall “The two key points in Turkey remain: one — topple the Assad regime, and two — prevent the establishment of a continuous Kurdish territorial entity in the region,” he said.___Pace reported from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey; Bassem Mroue in Beirut; Vivian Salama in Baghdad; Barry Hatton in Lisbon, Portugal and Josh Lederman and Wendy Benjaminson in Washington contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The discussions came amid a major tactical shift in Turkey’s approach to IS. After months of reluctance, Turkish warplanes started striking militant targets in Syria last week, and allowed the U.S. to launch its own strikes from Turkey’s strategically located Incirlik Air Base.Turkey has also called a meeting of its NATO allies for Tuesday to discuss threats to its security and its airstrikes. Davutoglu said “NATO has a duty to protect” Turkey’s border with Syria and Iraq, and that Ankara will seek the alliance’s support for its actions at the meeting in Brussels.But a Turkish-driven military campaign to push IS out of territory along the Turkish border is likely to complicate matters on the ground.U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria, who have been the most successful in the war against IS, control most of the 910 kilometers (565 miles) boundary with Turkey, and have warned Ankara against any military intervention in northern Syria.The Islamic State controls roughly a 60-mile stretch of that border, wedged between Turkish-backed insurgents with Islamist ideologies to the left and Kurdish forces from the People’s Protection Unit, known as the YPG, to the right. Top Stories The Turkish-U.S. plan raises the question of which Syrian rebel forces would be involved in a ground operation against IS. The U.S. has long complained about having no reliable partners among them. Defense Secretary Ash Carter acknowledged earlier this month that the U.S. has only 60 trainees in a program to prepare and arm thousands of moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against IS militants.The Obama administration official said the U.S.-led coalition was looking to anti-IS forces such as Syrian Kurds and the Free Syrian Army. He did not elaborateSyria’s main Kurdish militia — the YPG or the People’s Protection Units — is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey and maintains bases in remote parts of northern Iraq.Nawaf Khalil, head of the Germany-based Kurdish Center for Studies, said Ankara is likely trying to limit advances by the Syrian Kurdish forces by using the war against IS as a pretext and to steer Washington away from the YPG, but “this will not work.”In a reflection of the complexities involved, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday refused to draw a distinction between the Islamic State group and the PKK. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Comments   Share   center_img Mesa family survives lightning strike to home “There is no difference between PKK and Daesh,” Cavusoglu said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State group. The PKK is fighting the IS “for power, not for peace, not for security,” he said.Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said “Turkey has a right to defend itself” against the PKK.In a series of cross border strikes since Friday, Turkey has not only targeted the IS group but also Kurdish fighters affiliated with forces battling the extremists in Syria and Iraq.Also, the YPG and an activist group said Turkish troops had shelled the Syrian border village of Til Findire, targeting Kurdish fighters and hitting one of their vehicles on Sunday night. The village is east of the border town of Kobani, where the Kurds handed a major defeat to the Islamic State group earlier this year.But Turkish officials dismissed the claims, insisting their forces were only targeting the IS group in Syria, and the PKK in neighboring Iraq.An Ankara official said Turkey returned fire after Turkish soldiers at the border were fired upon, in line with Turkey’s rules of engagement.“The Syrian Kurds are not a target of the operations. Our operations only target IS in Syria and PKK in Iraq,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of rules that bar officials from speaking to journalists without authorization. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Late on Monday, a major in Turkey’s military police died after suspected PKK militants fired on his car in the southeastern province of Mus, said the region’s governor, Vedat Buyukersoy. The major was among the highest ranking Turkish officers to be killed in attacks in recent years.Turkish police raided homes in a neighborhood in the capital earlier in the day, detaining at least 15 people suspected of links to the Islamic State group, the Turkish state-run news agency said. The number of suspects detained in a major anti-terror operation launched on Friday has reached 1,050, according to the office of Turkey’s prime minister.However, in the absence of a no-fly zone to neutralize Syrian President Bashar Assad’s warplanes, it is not clear how the possible buffer zone may be considered a safe haven where displaced people could return.And despite the U.S. and Turkey’s shared interests in fighting the Islamic State, the Turks have also prioritized defeating Assad. While the U.S. says Assad has lost legitimacy, it has not taken direct military action to try to remove him from office and says he is not the target of its efforts in Syria.Ege Seckin, a Turkey expert at IHS Country Risk, said IS is a national security threat for Turkey, but was nonetheless secondary. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like A police officer checks IDs as Turkish police raid homes in the Haci Bayram neighborhood of the capital Ankara, Turkey, Monday, July 27, 2015. Security forces has detained at least 15 people suspected of links to the Islamic State group, the state-run news agency said. The Anadolu Agency said those detained in the Haci Bayram neighborhood include a number of foreign nationals. It did not give details of the foreigners’ home countries. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici) Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

Aug
18

Officials say Pakistan likely to host KabulTaliban talks

first_imgISLAMABAD (AP) — Two Pakistani officials say the second round of peace talks between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban is likely to be held in Pakistan on Friday.The two officials said Tuesday that Islamabad was finalizing arrangements to host the talks, which are aimed at ending the 14-year war in neighboring Afghanistan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were still being organized. Afghan government officials have refused to provide details of the location or timing of the next round of peace talks.Last week, two members of the High Peace Council, the body charged with negotiating a settlement with the insurgents, said China was the most likely venue for the next round of talks. Both also said they would take place on July 30.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to homecenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How men can have a healthy 2019 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more

Aug
17

Tourism Australia names new board members

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/26de1/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP announced the appointment of three new members to the Tourism Australia board at the Tourism Futures Conference in Brisbane today. Former Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey has joined the board alongside current CEO of Parks Victoria, Mark Stone and former CEO of Rising Sun Pictures and founder and CEO of Cultural AMP, Didier Elzinga. Existing board members Geoff Dixon (formerly deputy chair) has also been appointed as the new chairman of the board and Kate Lamont has been selected as deputy chair.Minister Ferguson also noted the contribution of outgoing TA members Grant Hunt, Peter O’Brien and Chairman Rick Allert who haven’t been re-appointed to the board.  “While global demand for tourism dropped by four per cent in 2009 international visitor numbers in Australia remained steady,” Minister Ferguson said.”This was a great result which the incoming members, Mr Godfrey, Mr Stone, and Mr Elzinga, can now set their sights on building upon. They join Tourism Australia at a very important time. “Tourism Australia has recently launched the second phase of its $150 million There’s nothing like Australia global marketing campaign.“The new board will have an important job to do maximising our return on this significant investment in Australia’s tourism future.“Tourism is an important industry. It contributes $41 billion to our bottom line and employs nearly half a million Australians.“The Board of Tourism Australia plays an important role directing the organisation in successfully marketing Australia as a premier visitor destination.“They are also pivotal in encouraging companies to back Government investment with increased private sector expenditure – working together to drive the industry forward both at home and abroad.“I am confident the new board members will be up to the task and will bring to the board the depth of knowledge, skill and experience required to achieve solid results for our tourism industry.”last_img read more

Aug
17

Constellation Hotels Wins Chain of the Year

first_imgConstellation Hotels Team – (Bottom row – left to right) Matthew Ryan, Nick Walker, Bill Bradley, Vince Wilson,(Top row – left to right) Nikki Walton, Darryl Courtney O’Conner, Ann Whitelock, Peter Sweeny, Cameron Stewart, James Gardiner, Kristen Carville, Jodie Cairns. Constellation Hotels is toasting their success after winning the award for Hotel Chain of the Year at the Hotel Motel & Accommodation Association’s 2010 National Accommodation Industry Awards for Excellence which took place at RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast on Friday 24th September.The glittering function was attended by over 200 leaders and representatives from the tourism and accommodation industries in addition to the newly appointed Shadow Minister for Tourism, Regional Development and Federal Member for Paterson, the Hon. Bob Baldwin MP. McLeod’s Daughters and Home and Away actress, Sophie Cleary, performed the role of MC at the event with the assistance of former Sydney Swans player Jared Crouch.“The HMAA National Accommodation Industry Awards for Excellence are all about achieving and maintaining the highest standards in the accommodation industry”, said Lorraine Duffy, HMAA’s Chief Executive. “HMAA understands and rewards the vital contribution of accommodation operators in creating, inspiring and promoting tourism, through providing the highest standards of service to their guests”.Constellation Hotels Managing Director, Jonathan Wooller said, “Winning the highly coveted Hotel Chain of the Year provides wonderful recognition for all of the properties that are part of Constellation Hotels extensive network across Australia and New Zealand.In the past year we have worked hard to grow our hotel network, to build our brands in the regions in which they operate, and to develop our people as the future leaders in the hospitality industry, so we are thrilled to take home this award”.Constellation Hotels was selected as a winner from among four other finalists in the Hotel Chain of the Year category, where properties are judged in equal parts by a written submission and a mystery assessment. HMAA’s Awards for Excellence are one of the only annual accommodation awards to incorporate a true mystery guest component in their judging process. Constellation Hotels was also well represented across a wide range of individual award categories with the following hotel finalists recognised; Australis Diamond Beach Resort and Spa ((4 ½ Star Luxury Self Contained Accommodation), Chifley Eastern Creek and Chifley Doveton (4 ½ Star Luxury Hotel Accommodation), and Chifley Penrith (3 ½ Star Superior Hotel Accommodation).In addition to the chain and property categories, Constellation Hotels Founder, Darryl Courtney O’Connor received an HMAA ACES award, which recognizes the outstanding contribution of long serving members within the accommodation industry. Source = Constellation Hotel Grouplast_img read more

Aug
17

Princess returns to Egyptian ports

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Princess Cruises announced that it has reinstated calls to Egypt’s ports, with the first shipped scheduled to dock in the country on 15 May this year.According to the cruise lines online statement, the ship was forced to remove Egypt from 18 of its itineraries in February this year, after political unrest boiled across the country.”The situation in Egypt has calmed considerably since wide-spread protests earlier this year, and the tourist areas aren’t currently being affected,” Princess Cruises executive vice president Jan Swartz said. “So we’re pleased to tell passengers they can once again plan to experience this country’s iconic pyramids and other ancient wonders.” However, the cruise line stressed that it would continue to monitor the situation in Egypt as well as consult with authorities on information and advice. Star Princess, Dawn Princess, Ocean Princess and Pacific Princess are among the ships returning to Egypt in May and will serve the ports until November. last_img read more

Aug
17

Expedia unveils new mobile app for hoteliers

first_imgExpedia unveils new mobile app for hoteliersExpedia Inc., one of the world’s leading travel companies, today introduced the Expedia® PartnerCentral App for iPhone and Android. This mobile app is touted as a new way to help hoteliers manage their business on Expedia anytime, anywhere, and was created to help solve the everyday problems hoteliers face in an increasingly fast-paced and competitive world.The Expedia PartnerCentral app experience is designed to provide Expedia hotel partners with easy to use tools and actionable insights at their fingertips, affording busy hoteliers the ability to:–          Stay on top of reservations with up-to-the-minute booking information and notifications–          Receive real time alerts and insights on events taking place in their markets with the new Activity Feed–          View and reply to guest Real-Time Feedback during their stay–          Stay informed 24/7 by using seamless fingerprint log in on devices that support Touch ID–          Create, optimize and renew promotions or join Expedia Group campaigns to target and attract travelers–          Benchmark performance against the competition using MarketWatch–          Quickly promote last minute inventory  with Sell Tonight–“The Expedia PartnerCentral app was designed to complement the online website experience for hoteliers on the go,” said Benoit Jolin, VP Global Product, Expedia Lodging Partner Services. “We aim to provide our partners with the information they need exactly when they need it, and the ability to quickly and easily take action. We are continuously improving the app experience taking into account both hotelier feedback and monitoring interactions to provide the best possible user experience.”“The mobile app was built with hoteliers from across the world in mind- at every property type and size,” continued Jolin. “Take a small B&B managed solely by a busy couple who rarely have time to sit down in front of their computer; they can now receive booking notifications directly on their phone. Or the San Francisco independent hotelier that uses the app while commuting on the BART to load a last minute promotion. Or a General Manager who is able to respond immediately to feedback from his guests to ensure they have the best possible experience at his property. This level of interaction with the Expedia marketplace is unprecedented.”The app is free for download in the US, Canadian, UK and Australian marketplaces for the Apple App Store and Google play. The app requires an iPhone running iOS 7 or higher, or an Android phone running OS 4.0.3 or higher and is expected to roll out globally throughout the remainder of 2015 and into early 2016.Source = Expedialast_img read more