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PEOPLE Stewart awarded Order of Distinction for contribution to Jamaica tourism

first_img Wednesday, October 19, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Share Travelweek Group center_img [PEOPLE] Stewart awarded Order of Distinction for contribution to Jamaica tourism KINGSTON — Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart, has been conferred with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) for outstanding contribution to Jamaica’s tourism and the hotel industry.The Order of Distinction is a national honour conferred by the Government of Jamaica upon citizens who render outstanding and important services to the country. The motto of the Order is ‘Distinction through Service’. Stewart was presented with the insignia on National Heroes’ Day (Oct. 17) at the National Honours and Awards Ceremony held at King’s House, the official residence of the Governor-General.Stewart was among several Jamaicans to receive national honours. Stewart has been at the helm of Sandals Resorts International for the last 10 years and has filled multiple leadership roles within the sector, including First Vice-President for the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.“I am humbled and honoured to be bestowed the Order of Distinction, Commander Class by the Government of Jamaica”, said Stewart. “I am very proud to be Jamaican and having the opportunity to contribute to my country’s development and to the development of the region through tourism is something I’m very thankful for and something I take very seriously. I want to say thank you Jamaica, thank you to all my amazing teams across our group of companies and across the region and thanks to my amazing family.” Tags: People, Sandals Resortslast_img read more

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Fund awareness needs work says TICO These numbers have a ways to

first_img Share TORONTO — Ontario consumers are still not sufficiently aware that they are protected under the Compensation Fund, according to a new TICO survey.Consumer awareness of TICO has increased by 1%, from 33% in 2017 to 34% in 2018.Of those, about three-quarters (73%) understand that they must book with a TICO registered travel agency or website so as not to forfeit the available consumer protection. And just over one-third (38%) knows that TICO manages the Compensation Fund.“These numbers have a ways to go,” says TICO President and CEO, Richard Smart. “We want consumers to be aware that the Fund is available for their protection. Travelling can be very personal and many Ontarians save up for vacations with families and friends, so it’s important for them to know that they can have peace of mind if they book with a TICO registered travel agency or website. Just look for the logo!”Dorian Werda, TICO’s VP, Operations, adds: “More consumers are calling us after they have booked their travel but before they have departed. They have questions regarding the terms and conditions of their booking and want to know their rights, especially as it relates to making changes or cancellation. In the past, we received more calls regarding post-travel issues, but this has shifted as more consumers become aware of TICO.”More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterMore findings from the survey include:More women are travelling for business. In 2017 female respondents indicated they took an average of 2.5 business trips, compared to an average of 3.5 for men. In 2018 both numbers are up, with women taking an average of 4.3 business trips, an increase of 72%, while men were at 3.8.“Considering we are still in early 2018, that’s quite a significant increase, almost doubling all of last year’s total numbers,” says Smart. “We already know that women tend to book more travel than men and it will be interesting to see if those numbers continue to grow over the course of the year.”The number of respondents who said they book travel with their travel agency via phone or in person was up this year, from 32% in 2017 to 38% in 2018.“The more complex the trip, the more consumers want to speak with someone face to face,” says Werda. “Experiential travel is on the rise, and people are looking for adventure, so they want the reassurance of speaking with a professional travel agent who can answer their questions and provide recommendations.”Consumers who book travel online are becoming more loyal to specific websites. Some 62% in 2018 said they go directly to their favourite website for travel discounts, an increase from 2017 when 58% indicated website loyalty.More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemTICO’s survey ran Jan. 26 – Feb. 6, 2018 with a sample of 1,000 respondents in Ontario, 18 years of age and above. Wednesday, April 4, 2018 Posted by Fund awareness needs work, says TICO: “These numbers have a ways to go”center_img Tags: TICO Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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New map shows the literal translations of world cities and some are

first_imgNew map shows the literal translations of world cities, and some are real headscratchers << Previous PostNext Post >> Monday, April 30, 2018 Share Posted by TORONTO – Did you know that Rio de Janeiro means ‘river of January’? Or that Bangkok means ‘district of wild plums’?We bet you didn’t know that many city names carry hidden meanings and historic references, with some proving more obvious than others.In a revealing new map, On The Go Tours takes a look at major city in each country around the world to highlight their literal translations. Based on their meanings, where will you book a trip this summer?Here are the most unusual literal translations the company found:Tirana (Albania) – ‘Dairy’Mbuji-Mayi (Democratic Republic of the Congo) – ‘Goat water’Quito (Ecuador) – ‘Centre of the world’Accra (Ghana) – ‘Ants’Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) – ‘Muddy confluence’Ngerulmud (Palau) – ‘Place of fermented fish’Bo (Sierra Leone) – ‘Yours’Singapore (Singapore) – ‘Lion city’Bloemfontein (South Africa) – ‘Fountain of flowers’Khartoum (Sudan) – ‘End of an elephant’s trunkMore news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyDushanbe (Tajikstan) – ‘Monday’Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) – ‘City of love’Funafuti (Tuvalu) – ‘Banana’Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) – ‘Father of the gazelle’Harare (Zimbabwe) – ‘He does not sleep’To view the full map, go to: http://onthegotours.com/literal-translations-of-cities/The map is broken down into a number of different categories: People. Natural, Feelings, Man Made, Animal and Other. According to the map, it seems that nature inspires us the most when it comes to naming our cities, as 35% (67 cities) of those featured on the graphic have been named after things in nature. This includes Berlin, Germany, whose literal translation is ‘swamp’ and Reykjavik, Iceland, which translates as ‘smoky bay’.The next most popular theme we choose to name our cities is ‘manmade’. 50 cities fall under this category including Lisbon, Portugal, which means ‘safe harbour’, Kuwait City, Kuwait, which means ‘fortress by the sea’ and Canberra, Australia, whose literal translation is ‘meeting place’. There are only 11 places on the map that are named after animals; including Bern, Switzerland, named after ‘bear’ and Kampala, Uganda, which translates as ‘gazelle’.More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyThe remaining cities are named after ‘people’ (29 cities), ‘feelings’ (17 cities) and ‘other’ (16 cities).For more information on the literal translations of cities around the world, please visit On The Go Tours. The Canadian Press last_img read more

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Learn insider travel tips for London with Air Transat

first_imgTags: Air Transat, Facebook, London Travelweek Group Learn insider travel tips for London with Air Transat Share MONTREAL – Air Transat is inviting Canadians to (re)discover the charms of London during a discussion on Facebook this Friday, June 22.Taking place at noon (EDT) on Air Transat’s Facebook Page, the discussion will be hosted by travel blogger Tamara Elliott, who’ll be interviewing Emanuel, an Air Transat Sales & Service Supervisor who spent many years in London and has a passion for travel. Marie-Ève, another Air Transat employee, will also be sharing Europe travel tips, but for the city of Lisbon.Air Transat offers daily direct flights from Toronto and Vancouver, and departures from Montreal, Calgary and Quebec to London Gatwick Airport. There will be six weekly flights from Montreal and Calgary, including three direct flights. As for Quebec City, there will be one flight per week, via Montreal.In total, it will have 37 weekly departures at the height of summer, including 22 direct flights and 15 with connecting flights, said Annick Guérard, Chief Operating Officer at Transat.More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemAir Transat also has multi-destination options that allow travellers to land in one European city and return from another at no extra cost. As such, it opens up a range of itinerary possibilities and lets people combine several destinations such as London and Manchester, without having to backtrack.To find out more about other travellers’ take on London, clients are invited to check out Experience Transat, a blog by and for globetrotters, at https://www.airtransat.com/experiencetransat/search/?search=london.center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, June 20, 2018 Posted bylast_img read more

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Catastrophic fire engulfs Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

first_img Monday, April 15, 2019 By: The Associated Press Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Catastrophic fire engulfs Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris Tags: France PARIS — A massive fire engulfed the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of the French capital Monday, toppling its spire and sending thick plumes of smoke high into the blue sky as tourists and Parisians looked on aghast from the streets below.A spokesman said the entire wooden frame of the cathedral would likely come down, and that the vault of the edifice could be threatened too.“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media. The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions.The cause of the catastrophic blaze was not known, but French media quoted the Paris fire brigade as saying the fire is “potentially linked” to a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the church’s spire and its 250 tons of lead. Paris police said there were no reported deaths.Flames shot out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most visited landmarks in the world. Sights of the flames stopped passers-by in their tracks along the Seine River that passes beneath the cathedral.French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the stunning blaze and was going to the cathedral himself.French historian Camille Pascal told BFM broadcast channel the fire was destroying “invaluable heritage.”“It’s been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris,” Pascal said. “Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame.”He recalled that Notre Dame bells sounded the death knell following the 2015 Paris attacks.“We can be only horrified by what we see,” Pascal said.Reporters at the scene saw massive plumes of yellow brown smoke filling the air above the Cathedral and ash falling on the island that houses Notre Dame and marks the centre of Paris.Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is in despair at the “terrible fire.” Hidalgo said in a Twitter message that Paris firefighters are still trying to limit the fire and urged Paris citizens to respect the security perimeter that has been set around the cathedral.Hidalgo said Paris authorities are in touch with Paris diocese.”Désolé mon fils, mais c’est pas tous les jours que Notre-Dame brûle”, dit un père à son bébé qui s’impatiente, à deux mètres d’une femme en larmes, soufflant “faut qu’ils fassent quelque chose ! faut qu’ils fassent quelque chose !” #notredame pic.twitter.com/mPxIbGh8Vp— Jean Birnbaum (@JeanBirnbaum) April 15, 2019last_img read more

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Water rates increase 25 percent next week

first_imgNo related posts. An increase in water rates will go into effect next Tuesday, according to the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP).The new system for determining residential and commercial rates will bring about an average increase of 25 percent. The increase will show up on the next bill.This means, for example, that a family that consumes 20 cubic meters per month will see an average increase of some ₡5,000 ($10).According to ARESEP, the hike is due to the elimination of a subsidy in rates to commercial and industrial users.The Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) announced Tuesday that it will file an appeal for a revision of the rates as approved by ARESEP, which “should have been higher, especially for business users.”According to ARESEP leadership, the appeal will not stop the new rates from being published in the official newspaper La Gaceta next Tuesday. This will send the new rates into effect. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Stolen cobalt60 found in Mexico curious thieves likely doomed

first_imgNo related posts. MEXICO CITY — The day after a load of stolen radioactive material was found in a field, Mexican authorities had formed a perimeter around the area and were measuring for contamination as they planned the recovery process Thursday, according to Mexican news reports.Federal police and soldiers formed a cordon of several hundred yards around the highly radioactive container of cobalt-60, stolen earlier in the week in a carjacking as the material was being moved from a public hospital in the border town of Tijuana to a storage facility in central Mexico, news reports said.The carjackers, who set off international alarm bells by absconding with the material, most likely had no idea what they were stealing and will probably die soon from exposure, Mexican authorities said at the end of a brief national scare.The prospect that material that could be used in a radioactive dirty bomb had gone missing sparked an urgent two-day hunt, which concluded Wednesday afternoon when the cobalt-60, used in hospital radiotherapy machines, was found along with the stolen Volkswagen truck. Mexican officials said no public health risk remained, although one family who lived nearby may have been exposed.The driver of the cargo truck and his assistant worked for a licensed private company, and the lethal radioactive substance was sealed in the back, according to news reports.The truck, equipped with a crane, was nearing its destination early Tuesday morning, several hours before the storage facility opened. While waiting for daybreak at a gas station in the state of Hidalgo, north of Mexico City, the drivers were jumped by two gunmen who beat them and stole the truck, said Mardonio Jiménez, a physicist and high-ranking official with Mexico’s nuclear safety commission.With lethal radioactive material on the loose, Mexican authorities posted a lookout across six states. The International Atomic Energy Agency warned that the material “could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed” from its casing.“I believe, definitely, that the thieves did not know what they had,” Jiménez said. “They were interested in the crane, in the vehicle.”The cobalt-60 was found, removed from its casing, in a rural area near the town of Hueypoxtla, about 25 miles from where the truck was stolen. Jiménez said he suspected that curiosity got the better of the thieves, and they opened the box. So far the carjackers have not been arrested, but authorities expect they will not live long.“The people who handled it will have severe problems with radiation,” he said. “They will, without a doubt, die.”© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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China offers 20 billion fund for Latin America infrastructure projects

first_imgRelated posts:China’s Xi in Cuba on last stop of Latin America swing Chinese leader’s visit has big implications for Latin America Public works deals should go back to the drawing board, says Solís in meeting with Chinese president Costa Rica, China to explore creation of ‘special economic zones’ BRASILIA – Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed Thursday to create a $20 billion fund to finance infrastructure projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.The fund was announced at the end of a summit hosted by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff that marked the launch of the China-Latin America-Caribbean Forum.“They proposed to do it immediately so that it can be ready next year. This money is an exclusively Chinese proposal,” Rousseff told reporters in Brasilia, adding that the fund would have initial capital of $10 billion.Xi also offered to extend a credit line of up to $10 billion to nations of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) via the Bank of China.In addition, a Chinese-Latin American cooperation fund of $5 billion would be launched for investments in areas that have yet to be decided.Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said foreign ministers of the new forum would meet in China next year to determine the mechanism to access the infrastructure fund.Xi met with 11 Latin American and Caribbean leaders at the end of a three-day visit to Brazil before heading to Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba.Cuba’s communist President Raúl Castro attended the talks, along with Costa Rica’s Luis Guillermo Solís, Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Save the beer Climate change adds urgency to cleanwater advocates rallying cry

first_imgCHICAGO — On a recent evening, two inches of rain soaked the city, overwhelming the combined sewer system and forcing human waste into the Chicago River. It triggered an outfall sensor. Ian Hughes’ iPhone chirped. New email. He clicked the link and shook his head.Another day, another storm. Another threat to his favorite beverage, a threat his government blames on a warming world.Hughes, 32, is the assistant manager of Goose Island Beer Co. Like a sudsy Clark Kent, he leads a double life: By day, he makes beer. On nights and weekends, he defends it.Goose Island uses about 50,000 gallons of Lake Michigan water every day to produce a rotating selection of craft brews. The best seller, poured countrywide, is 312 Urban Wheat Ale.That beer mostly starts out as water from Chicago’s municipal supply, which is copious, glittering and immortalized in two blue bands on the city’s flag. The water is a brewer’s dream. Hughes wants to keep it that way. Climate change appears to be complicating his task.Nowadays, sewage empties into the Chicago River when an inch of rain falls citywide, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council. Hughes, a self-described water fanatic, signed up for a city email alert to track how often this happens: 63 days last year, 36 days so far this year. When five-inch storms drench Chicago in a 12-hour window, the river is reversed away from the Mississippi Basin and into Lake Michigan, shutting down the area beaches for three days and tainting Goose Island’s most important resource. That happened about once every 10 years until the 1970s, city records show. In the past five years, it’s happened an unprecedented three times.The National Climate Change Assessment, released by the Obama administration in May, claims the “frequency and intensity” of these downpours could triple in the Midwest over the next century. Scientists blame climate change, although rainfall patterns are murkier to gauge than rising sea levels. About 40 percent of the region’s annual rainfall can come from the 10 heaviest storms — the kind that propel feces into fresh water.Hughes can’t single-handedly fix Chicago’s water woes — or the changing climate that the government says exacerbates them. He can make people care, he said: “Public health threat” just doesn’t grab attention like “endangered beer.”“Without that resource,” the brewer said of clean water, “we don’t have a business.” The Goose Island Beer Co. brewery in Chicago, shown in May, draws water from Lake Michigan to make its craft beers. Ian Hughes, a brewery manager, has leveraged concerns about beer quality to raise broader questions about threats to clean water. Photo for The Washington Post by Carlos Javier OrtizHughes lived in four states growing up. He found home in water.Each Fourth of July, his family, no matter how far they’d scattered, met at his grandparents’ Ohio farm. He couldn’t wait to leap off the single dock into their pond. Dog-paddling through the cool, clear water. Swaying plants. Flitting minnows.His paradise.Years later, as a graduate student at Ohio University, Hughes’ environmental science course work led him down a stream in the state’s southeastern woods, testing Ph levels where no fish swam. Sulfur bit his nose. The culprit: Acidic drainage from a former coal mine.It was the first time he stood angry near water.“I saw that a stream had turned orange — traffic cone, electric orange,” he said. “There was no wildlife, no people, no anything. The complete opposite of what water should be.”He returned home and grabbed a beer. At 22, he started making his own. When friends came over to snag a free bottle, Hughes noticed something strange: They let him complain.“Beer is a powerful tool,” he said. “You sit a beer in front of someone? They listen to you. About anything. It’s like magic.”That’s when Hughes discovered his super power.After graduation, he worked at a water resource-consulting firm in Cleveland for three years before transferring to Chicago. He volunteered evenings at Goose Island, cleaning tanks and chopping ginger for Christmas ales. He wanted to combine his passions.One night, the brewmaster offered him a job as an environmental safety manager, at a slight pay cut. Hughes accepted immediately. Free beer and less stress made it feel like a raise.Last year, an environmentalist friend asked him: Can you turn a keg into a soapbox?“Water isn’t sexy,” she said, “but beer is.”“Hell, yes,” he responded. “You’re melting my mind.”Now Hughes lectures about the importance of clean water at Northwestern University, the Great Lakes Water Conservation Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., and, this spring, at the South By Southwest festival/conference in Austin, Texas.His is a Chicago face of the Brewers for Clean Water Campaign. He loves the rush of public speaking. He nerds out naturally, 24-7, at home and at bars and on Twitter. (@HughesBrews: “It’s a beautiful day for a beach cleanup!” and “This is awesome! ‘Save The Rain’ Preventing Combined Sewer Overflows.” )Each week, Hughes hosts a water-testing panel, sipping aqua specimens from seven brewery faucets, taking notes. He keeps an archive (summer lake, for example, typically tastes musty). If samples don’t pass inspection, brewing must halt — and a delay that costs the company thousands of dollars.He likes to point out that beer is 90 percent water. You can’t make beautiful art, Hughes says, on a messy canvas.During that recent storm, water pooled in the streets. Curb streams vanished into drains. And sewage emptied into the Chicago River. Hughes checked his email to see where, exactly.“Swimming, canoeing, or other activities where immersion in water is possible should be avoided,” the city alert said. It included a map. A red dot marked the South Fork of the South Branch — a stretch called Bubbly Creek.Hughes almost laughed. He knew the area.Gnarly, he thought.A century ago, meatpacking plants dumped cow carcasses into that stretch of water. Muckraker Upton Sinclair covered the aftermath in the novel “The Jungle”: “The grease and chemicals that are poured into it undergo all sorts of strange transformations, which are the cause of its name. . . . Bubbles of carbonic acid gas will rise to the surface and burst, and make rings two or three feet wide.”It was the worst pollution in Chicago history. Residents say Bubbly Creek still stinks.The past is a warning, Hughes believes. Meatpackers chucked carcasses into the river for years before Sinclair’s classic expose shocked the world. Human waste has been directed into the water, to prevent flooding, for just as long.It has not spoiled Hughes’ beer. Not yet. Facebook Comments Related posts:Canadian entrepreneur gives water bottles new life as roof tiles Big Oil’s heirs join call for action as climate summit opens Obama to pledge $3 billion for new UN climate change fund Island collective to recycle garbage into gift itemslast_img read more

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Top 6 crime stories of 2014

first_imgCosta Rica had a pretty “pura vida” year in 2014 when it came to crime. Compared to 2013’sunidentified helicopters, $6 billion money laundering schemes and the breakup of an organ trafficking ring, 2014 was a more pedestrian year, but there were still a handful of standout crime stories this year. As a bonus, scroll down for our rundown of some of the dumbest crimes of the year. One of the ceremonial metates, or mealing stones, confiscated by police on Oct. 22, 2014 in a Santa Ana home. (Courtesy OIJ)1. Police seize $1 million collection of pre-Columbian art in German expat’s homePolice and officials from the National Museum’s Department of Cultural Heritage Protection acted on an anonymous tip and uncovered an unregistered collection of pre-Columbian art that could have been worth upwards of $1 million in the Santa Ana home of a German expat. The collection included ceremonial and domestic items such as ceramic vases, pendants, metates (mealing stones used to grind corn and seeds) and mortars from Costa Rica’s Pacific northwest dated between 300 and 700 AD. According to a statement from Prosecutor’s Office, 14 of the ceremonial mecates could claim as much as $100,000 each on the black market. Pimp My Narco-Ride: More than 200 kilos of cocaine were discovered in a false bottom of a truck seized by Costa Rican Drug Control Police in Carrillo, Guanacaste, on Thursday, June 26, 2014. (Courtesy Public Security Ministry)2. Costa Rica seizes record-breaking haul of cocaine — againSecurity officials have boasted two years in a row now that Costa Rica is the top drug-seizing country in Central America, a region through which some 86 percent of the cocaine destined for the United States passes. Public Security Minister Celso Gamboa announced that the country’s 2014 haul would likely exceed 26 metric tons of the narcotic. Several significant seizures over 1 metric ton each highlighted a troubling trend of young fishermen without criminal records who are pulled into the drug trade in the face of dwindling fish stocks and few economic opportunities. But a significant amount of cocaine also is shipped through Costa Rica by land, as witnessed by a seized pimped-out flatbed truck pictured here.3. US expat Ann Patton convicted of murdering Wall Street husband in retrialThe case had all the making of tropical gothic tragedy: A wealthy, eccentric couple with a passion for conservation and animals move to a reclusive mountain mansion in Costa Rica’s southern jungle. Police respond to a call to find former hedge fund manager John Bender dead from a gunshot to the head in 2010. The only other person in the home was his wife, Ann Patton. Patton was convicted on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 of the murder of her husband, U.S. financier John Felix Bender, and sentenced to 22 years in prison. Patton, members of her family, and even Bender’s friends insist his death was a suicide, and the incident has been featured in several media stories, including on CNN and CBS’ “48 Hours.” Lizards, snakes, frogs and tadpoles were among the 400-plus animals that a German man attempted to smuggle out of Costa Rica on Sept. 9, 2014. (Courtesy of SINAC)4. Police seize 400 wild animals from German tourist’s luggageThat would have been an excuse to hear: “No, officer, I don’t know how 400 animals ended up in my luggage.” Airport police at Juan Santamaria International Airport found hundreds of reptiles and amphibians in a German tourist’s luggage as he tried to board a plane to Panama. Carlos Víquez, the head of airport security at Juan Santamaría, outside San José, said that this was the largest wildlife seizure in at least 20 years. Even though the culprit was caught red-handed, he was released without a fine or jail time, save the brief period he spent in detention awaiting trial and deportation.5. Authorities spy on Keylor Navas After Costa Rica’s historic run in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the country fell in love with National Men’s Team goalie Keylor Navas. Navas went on to sign with the Spanish soccer club Real Madrid, but not long afterwards, news emerged that more than 20 Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) officials had used a police database to search for personal information about the star player and his family. Navas was furious, and OIJ Director Francisco Segura had to appear in court to try and explain why these fan boys were searching for dirt on Navas and his sisters.6. Costa Rican newspaper accuses government of ‘unprecedented’ spying on its reportersCosta Rica routinely lands near the top of international indices for freedom of expression and the press, but Costa Rica had its own government surveillance scandal when the newspaper Diario Extra accused the OIJ of intercepting phone calls from its reporters and editors. The investigative police contended that they were investigating a leak — or a whistleblower, if you’re Diario Extra — and that their search of the reporter’s phone records was within the bounds of the law. The Supreme Court thought differently.Bonus! Dumbest Crimes of 2014Inept criminals sentenced to prison for attempting to steal a truck they couldn’t drive.U.S. beachgoer tries to burn down police station after his arrest in Tamarindo.Police arrest US man allegedly carrying pot brownies through Juan Santamaría Int’l Airport.Bandits steal thousands of boxes of crackers from parking lot in Alajuela.Read more Year in Review 2014 stories here. Facebook Comments Related posts:U.S. beachgoer tries to burn down police station after his arrest in Tamarindo CBS to air documentary questioning Costa Rica’s murder conviction of US expat Ann Bender Following recent crime wave, Solís announces new investment in San Carlos police force That’s loco! 12 bizarre stories from 2014last_img read more

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La Sele adds legendary football fixture Oscar Ramírez to coaching staff

first_imgRelated posts:Óscar Ramírez faces first adversity as La Sele’s head coach Final thoughts from Costa Rica’s short-lived Copa América: Is Ramírez in the hot seat? Costa Rican Men’s National Team hopes to make history again in Mexico La Sele announces 23-man roster for Copa América tournament While head coach Paulo Wanchope fumbles through his utility belt in search of anything that might lead to his first win, an experienced sidekick joins the cause to help turn around the Costa Rica men’s football team.Wednesday night the Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) announced the hiring of Oscar Ramírez, the former head coach of decorated club Alajuelense, to fill “La Sele’s” assistant coach role.The beloved football figure’s contract begins on Aug. 16 and runs until the 2018 World Cup in Russia, according to the federation’s secretary general Rafael Vargas. This will be Ramírez’s second stint as assistant manager of the national team: he was previously on Hernan Medford’s staff from 2006 to 2008.“It’s important to note that Ramírez is only coming to serve as assistant coach,” Vargas said, adding that the 50-year-old coach will not oversee Costa Rica’s separate Pre-Olympic team.Earlier in the week, FEDEFUTBOL President Jorge Hidalgo told television reporters that the team had no other candidates for the job behind Ramírez.As a player, Ramírez won a combined seven national titles with Alajuelense and Saprissa, the country’s top two clubs. He also played for Costa Rica during the 1990 World Cup in Italy, where the Ticos advanced to the knockout stages.Costa Rica’s national team has not won a game since last October, when Jorge Luis Pinto was in charge. La Sele will next take the pitch on Sept. 5 in New Jersey, where it will take on Brazil before coming back a few days later to host Uruguay at the National Stadium. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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COD 2910 Excellent ApartmentCondo in Escazú for sale

first_img https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/img20150515151845.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/img20150515152411.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/img20150515152121.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/img20150515151739.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/img20150515152244.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/img20150515151701.jpeg No related posts. https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/img20150515152132.jpeg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/img20150515152734.jpeg Facebook Comments https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/img20150515152629.jpeg info heading info content Price: $295,000COD: 29-10Email: realestate@ticotimes.netPhone: +(506) 2258-1558Province: San JoséCantón: EscazúConstruction: 320m2Bedrooms: 3Bathrooms: 2Parking: 2Located in the area of Bello Horizonte, Escazú, this condo offers a great location and beautiful views of the city. It is situated in an 8 house complex with 24/security and a playground.This 2 story house consists of: 3 bedrooms (master with jacuzzi and walk in closet) and TV room on top floor, living/dinning room, kitchen, service bedroom with bathroom, laundry area, terrace with garden, and a 2 car garage on the ground floor.See this and other listings in the new Tico Times Real Estate section here. Previous Image Next Imagelast_img read more

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For Pope Francis an unfinished mission in Cuba

first_imgRelated posts:Pope Francis to visit Cuba in latest move to support US-Cuba relations Cuba marks Castro uprising anniversary with call for US embargo end Pope Francis meets the Castros after mass on iconic Havana square Obama to make historic visit to Cuba in March HAVANA — Pope John Paul II’s groundbreaking trip to Cuba in 1998 made such an impression on the Rev. Jorge Mario Bergoglio that he wrote a book about it.Bergoglio’s “Dialogues between John Paul II and Fidel Castro” was published that same year, just a few months after he was named archbishop of Buenos Aires. The book fell quickly into obscurity but since then it has led many to assume Bergoglio — now Pope Francis — was present in Cuba for John Paul II’s visit. He was not.Before he lands in the United States on Sept. 22, Francis will arrive in Havana on Sept. 19 for a four-day, three-city tour of Cuba that will put a spotlight on his political and diplomatic skills as never before. His challenge: to accelerate the process of reconciliation between the United States and Cuba charted by John Paul II and push the Castro government to hasten and deepen the pace of change on the island.PHOTOS: Cuba as it was – A glimpse of life before the US arrivesOn Friday the Castro government announced it would pardon 3,522 prisoners ahead of Francis’ arrival as a “humanitarian” gesture. The amnesty did not appear to extend to jailed political activists, but rights groups said they were trying to determine if any of their comrades would be freed.The government made a similar gesture prior to Pope Benedict’s 2012 visit, freeing nearly 3,000 inmates, and several hundred were released when John Paul II made his trip.Francis’s book about that 1998 visit remains an essential window into the Pope’s thinking about the long U.S.-Cuba standoff and the broader ideological divide it came to symbolize in his native Latin America and around the world.The book was critical of Cuba’s version of authoritarian socialism, but it echoed John Paul II’s call for an end to the punitive U.S. trade embargo. It urged dialogue instead, and the soft-landing approach famously expressed in John Paul II’s appeal for Cuba to “open itself to the world, and for the world to open itself to Cuba.”Seventeen years later, that approach has become official White House policy — with guidance from Pope Francis. President Barack Obama bids farewell to Pope Francis following a private audience at the Vatican, March 27, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)High stakesThe pope’s role as an intermediary and peace broker between the Obama administration and the communist government of Raúl Castro will be a major theme of his Cuba trip, which the Vatican says will focus on families and Cuban youth.“I think the pope wants to be in places where there is conflict, and he knows that the time has come for the United States and Cuba to overcome their differences,” said the Rev. Roberto Betancourt, the priest at Havana’s Our Lady of Regla church, in an interview.By devoting so much time to Cuba prior to his arrival in the United States, Francis will almost certainly add momentum to the push for Congress to lift Kennedy-era trade sanctions against the island, as President Obama has called for.Related: With embassy open in Havana, U.S. diplomats face a changing missionLess clear is how far the pope will be willing to press the Cuban government to embrace democratic reforms to the tightly controlled, one-party system Fidel and Raúl Castro have ruled for the past 56 years.Many will be watching for Francis to deliver the kind of tough messages he has directed at the global capitalists he blames for the world’s inequalities. A gentler hand for Cuba’s communists would almost certainly reinforce the perception among conservatives that Francis is a liberal with Marxist sympathies.Conservative dissent is brewing inside the VaticanHis career in Argentina — and his 1998 book — belie that view, describing socialism as an “anthropological misreading” of human nature that fails to address man’s spiritual needs, mistakenly believing that the state is the solution to all of society’s problems.“Cuba and other nations need to transform some of their institutions and especially their policies, substituting corrupt, dictatorial and authoritarian governments for democratic and participatory ones,” he wrote in the book’s conclusion. “The free participation of citizens in public life, the guarantee of civil and human rights, are an imperative condition for the full human development of all people.”Related: Pope Francis: It’s ‘pure scandal’ that women earn less than men for the same workDuring the 18 months of secret talks between U.S. and Cuban negotiators leading up to last December’s announcement that the two countries would restore relations, Francis sent personal letters to Obama and Raúl Castro and hosted high-level meetings at the Vatican.Just as importantly, Francis provided Obama the political cover to make sweeping changes to U.S. policy over fierce objections from Cuban American lawmakers.Originally billed as a “stopover,” Francis’s trip on the island will be far more, amounting to nearly half of his time away from Rome.He will be on unfamiliar ground, at least geographically. Federico Wals, a close confidant of Francis and his former press aide in Argentina, confirmed it will be the 78-year-old pope’s first time in Cuba. U.S. bishops say it will be his first trip to the United States as well.Francis will address the U.S. Congress and the United Nations and celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and in Madison Square Garden, as well as the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, during his Sept. 22 to 27 trip to D.C., New York and Philadelphia.But first Francis will land in Havana and celebrate Mass on Sept. 20 in the city’s Plaza of the Revolution, flanked by a giant portrait of militant atheist (and fellow Argentine) Ernesto “Che” Guevara.Government buses will bring tens of thousands of Cubans to the square. It is the same place where Pope Benedict spoke during his 2012 visit, and Pope John Paul II in 1998. Four-year-old Angeline Viciedo, left, smiles as she watches her 3-month-old sister, Alejandra Salazar, baptized at Our Lady of Charity, a Roman Catholic church in Havana. Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington PostAn itinerary and an agendaThe church in Cuba has come a long way since then. Christmas and Good Friday are once more national holidays. Religious believers are no longer stigmatized or barred from the Communist Party. The church has received government permission to build new cathedrals for the first time in nearly 60 years. The steady rehabilitation of the church in Cuba’s civic life has made it the only major institution on the island not under government control.Yet Cuba’s priests say freedom of worship and freedom of religion are not the same. The island remains the most restrictive environment in the Americas for the church. There are no K-12 Catholic schools, and the church does not have its own television or radio broadcasts.Related: Cuban artist pushes boundary between art and politics, and pays a priceMany here will be watching to see what sort of new concessions Francis may secure from the Castros. The church would like to open a Catholic university and recover properties confiscated by the government in the early 1960s, including the Jesuit prep school, Colegio Belén, attended by Fidel and Raúl Castro. It is now a military academy.Francis’ Cuba itinerary will include a mix of public events and closed-door meetings, including a likely encounter with the 89-year-old Fidel Castro, according to Vatican officials cited in several reports.Francis will also celebrate Mass in Holguín and Santiago de Cuba, the two largest cities in eastern Cuba, and visit the Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre basilica, the island’s most sacred Catholic shrine.Is Cuba on the verge of major political reform?Cuban President Raúl Castro, 84, has said he plans to be at the pope’s side throughout the trip. After an hour-long private meeting with Francis at the Vatican in May, Castro told reporters he was so impressed with the pope that he was considering a return to the church.Such effusive praise for Francis, and his sky-high popularity here, have left the Cuban government perhaps more exposed than ever to potential public criticism from the pope. As with other papal visits, Francis’s travels around the island are expected to receive streaming coverage from Cuba’s state media, giving him a powerful platform to address the Cuban people directly.“It would be a disappointment if the pope doesn’t say in Cuba what he has said in Rome and elsewhere around the world: that all the ideologies of the 20th century have ended up in dictatorships,” said dissident and Catholic intellectual Dagoberto Valdés, editor of the magazine Convivencia, in an interview.Francis arrives in Cuba at a critical moment, Valdes said. “We have normalized diplomatic relations with the United States, but what we need is the normalization of democratic relations between the Cuban government and the Cuban people.”PHOTOS: Cuba, US reopen embassies to end 54-year estrangementCuban dissidents have requested a meeting with Francis during his visit, asking him to help free jailed dissidents. Rights activists on the island say there are 71 political prisoners in Cuban jails, though their list includes militant Castro opponents serving time for violent attacks.Many Castro opponents say Cuba’s church and its leader, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, have been too accommodating to the communist government. Ortega has met regularly with Raúl Castro in recent years, after negotiating the release of more than 100 jailed activists, most of whom left for Spain.But Ortega has avoided a confrontational approach, preferring to work quietly to carve out a greater role for the church in Cuba’s spiritual and public life.Like Francis, Ortega is 78 and past the mandatory retirement age for bishops. The two men are kindred spirits in a sense, as survivors of violent Cold War-era ideological conflicts that split their nations in two.Francis preached reconciliation after the Argentine Dirty War that left at least 10,000 dead between 1976 and 1983. Ortega preaches it today across the still-bitter divide of the Florida Straits.It was Ortega who approached the Argentine just before the papal conclave in 2013, when Francis delivered a brief but pointed speech to the College of Cardinals about the evangelical mission of the church, criticizing a Catholic hierarchy he said was “sick” with insularity.Ortega was so impressed that he approached his colleague to ask for a copy. Francis handed over some notes and gave Ortega permission to publish the remarks. For many Vatican observers, it was that speech that got Francis elected.Read more coverage of Cuba and Pope Francis.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Locals in Manuel Antonio prevent robbery of US tourist with citizens arrest

first_imgA pickpocket attempt on crowded Manuel Antonio Beach on New Year’s Day quickly went haywire for three men who tried to snatch the purse off a U.S. tourist.According to Juan Carlos Arias, the head of police in the Quepos region on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast, townspeople and local visitors on the beach saw the men try to steal the purse and quickly swarmed the men and their nearby car.“The version of the story we were told is that the men tried to steal a purse from the foreign tourist, and from there a large argument broke out that included damages to the car,” Arias told The Tico Times Monday during a phone interview. The robbery attempt happened around noon Monday in the middle of the popular beach destination, the police director confirmed. Pictures from social media show that locals on the beach broke through the car windows in attempt to stop the would-be thieves from fleeing. (Taken from Accidentes de Costa Rica/Facebook)Though the three men failed to steal the purse, they were apprehended by police on the scene. Arias said, however, that the men were eventually released since the U.S. citizen did not want to press charges and the men had no prior incidents on their personal records.No charges were brought against locals, either, for damages done to the would-be robbers’ vehicle during the citizens’ arrest. Facebook Comments Related posts:Former U.S. convict Dan Fowlie speaks out against being barred entry to Costa Rica again Cuba Dave set to finish year in preventive prison on allegations of promoting sex tourism Notorious crime family members indicted; alleged ties to Costa Rican sportsbook Foreigner caught stealing hours after being detained for threatening neighbors with machetelast_img read more

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Off the eaten path Wongs

first_img An assortment of dim sum at Wong’s. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)During peak hours, they will have most of these already prepared, hot and ready to serve off of a traditional cart that they roll around the dining room. If not, they will order it from the kitchen for you. The cart is ideal though, as it makes it very quick and easy to keep ordering more and more. It makes for a real feast.Each plate is served in their steamer basket and everyone prepares their own empty plate with a mix of soy sauce and spicy vinegar to dip the dim sum.In China, they usually eat dim sum for breakfast, brunch, or early lunch; but at Wong’s they serve for as long as they’re open. So why not break the rules? I have ordered dim sum at midnight on several occasions. At that time of night, the one-litre bottles of Tsingtao beer are the perfect accompaniment. Served over ice, they seem to drain as quickly as a regular size bottle of beer would. But that’s OK, we’re breaking the tradition.Or, if you’re having lunch, maybe grab a can of their milk tea with tapioca pearls.Aside from their dim sum menu, Wong’s also has a lunch buffet available, we well as an eight-page “a la carte” menu featuring the greatest hits of Chinese cuisine.I’m talking about egg rolls, wontons, soups, fried rice, and stir fries with different meats and seafood. They also offer a great selection of dishes where tofu and vegetables are the focus. So Wong’s is definitely a vegetarian-friendly option. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)Dim sum is a light style of Chinese appetizer or share plate. This idea is to order an assortment of different dim sum dishes —that usually come with 3 or 4 portions apiece— and share them amongst the table. This way you get to try a wider selection of food, which I am a fan of, and you are guaranteed to leave with a full stomach – because if you’re not full yet, you just keep ordering more.The dim sum menu at Wong’s is a simple, one page, double-sided document with 40 different plates that are mostly dumplings. Thankfully, the most popular ones include a photo, which makes ordering a little easier. Don’t be shy to ask the waiter for recommendations, either.If you are, I can just tell you what to order. Try #20 Siumai, #9 shrimp and vegetable empanadas, #12 shrimp and celery empanadas, #21 rice soup, #2 steamed pork bun, #7 pork roll or #28 pork and peanut empanadas.Shumai is one of the most popular dim sum items in the world. At Wong’s it’s a mix of pork, chives and ginger, wrapped in some sort of thin wonton-like dough before steaming. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)I am a creature of habit and have not tried anything off of their main menu. For me, their dim sum feast reigns supreme. The dim sum always arrives quickly and you never have to wait long to be seated either.While the upstairs and downstairs seating can easily fit 150 people, the restaurant does fill up, especially during lunch and late at night. Many of their tables are large too, so this is a great option for groups of more than 10.Wong’s is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. They did have a few street parking spots, but a neighboring construction site has taken them over.*Instead, look for Parqueo Publico La Paz, which is around the corner, only 100 meters away. There are other pay parking lots in the area, but Wong’s customers are entitled to a free hour of parking at La Paz. Just make sure that when you are paying for your meal at the counter, to get their staff to stamp your parking ticket before you leave the restaurant. Search “Restaurante Wong’s” in Uber or Waze to arrive conveniently.*As of Nov. 23, 2018. We’ll keep you updated when they open back up.William Ayre is a Canadian born chef and restaurateur who has spent the last half of his life doing business in Costa Rica, where he now considers to be home. Inspired by Anthony Bourdain, Ayre’s passion of experiencing different cultures through food has taken him to 35 different countries over five continents. Whether it’s a 20-course meal at a fine dining restaurant in Toronto, or cantina hopping in search for the best chifrijo here in San José, he fits in just fine.Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Just up the street from the Jade Museum in San José, there’s a Chinese-style roof displaying a large gold and red sign with a glaring typo: there’s no “t” at the end of the word “restaurant.” I guess it makes sense, as a Tico would probably say Restauran Wong’s if they’re speaking in English.The same happens when Ticos say my name. I am often Willian.Maybe I’m easy to humor, but there is something I enjoy about the restauran sign. It’s the perfect misinterpretation of English, Costa Rica and Chinese. It’s a giant gold letter literally lost in translation.The food is just Chinese, though. And it’s authentic.Wong’s is a large, traditional style Chinese restaurant, that has been open for more than 10 years in the heart of San José. It’s located on Avenida Central, just west of Calle 15, and just across from la Plaza de la Democracia. This place is the Mecca for dim sum in Costa Rica.center_img The shumai at Wong’s. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)The shrimp empanadas are perhaps self-explanatory. They’re empanadas stuffed with shrimp. The differences is that #9 comes with chives while #12 comes with celery.Number 21 is a rice soup called congee. It’s China’s version of porridge, made with rice instead of rolled oats or wheat. You can add different meats and garnishes to it. Personally, I like to add some scallions and fresh ginger to mine, along with soy sauce and even a tiny bit of sesame oil. Request some if need be.Number 2 is a sort of bread-like bun, stuffed with BBQ pork. Number 7 is ground pork meat, rolled up in what I believe is some sort of tofu wrapped. Finally, #28 is another empanada, but filled with pork, instead of shrimp.All of these are steamed. It makes them light and easy to keep eating. Almost too easy. Most of them actually taste quite similar, especially as the ones I prefer to order always seem to be the pork and shrimp based option, but don’t be scared of a little repetition. It tastes so good that you won’t mind. Related posts:Off the eaten path: La Tacopedia Off the eaten path: Villa Oro Off the eaten path: Lidia’s Place Off the eaten path: Cebolla Verdelast_img read more

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Actress wife in key role for Mexican frontrunner

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Two months before an election Pena Nieto is expected to easily win, he and his wife have become Mexican’s most glamorous couple. They’re also ushering in a mix of politics and show business already common in the United States but never as out front as it’s been this year in Mexico.Government and show business have intertwined in the past in Mexico with a senator fathering the child of a TV star, a former president marrying a popular actress in 1970s lucha libre, or kitschy wrestling, films, and the current Mexico City mayor marrying a soap opera actress and later divorcing her.But what Mexicans are seeing for the first time with Pena Nieto and his wife, analysts say, is an orchestrated attempt to make celebrity allure a central part of a campaign short on concrete proposals by a man characterized largely by his good looks and charm. The formula seems be working. Pena Nieto leads his challengers by as much as 20 percentage points in the polls.“The fusion of these two characters is extremely attractive for the public,” TV critic Alvaro Cueva said. “It is the first time we see a candidate arm in arm with a telenovela star.”Known as “La Gaviota,” or The Seagull, the nickname of one of her most popular characters, Rivera is also redefining the role of a Mexican political spouse. Presidents’ wives had for decades stayed largely behind the scenes in Mexico. That changed starting in 2001 when Marta Sahagun took on a very public role after marrying then-President Vicente Fox. The wife of current President Felipe Calderon, Margarita Zavala, is a popular political figure and the first Mexican first lady to have served in Congress. But with Rivera, the country may soon see a first lady with her own TV-style rags-to-riches story, and the fame and glamour of France’s Carla Bruni or even Jacqueline Kennedy.“Angelica is a fairy-tale come true,” Cueva said. “It’s the story of a hard-working girl who became a protagonist of popular telenovelas and who finds love and is now seen in the highest of the highest political spheres of Mexico. She is a person dear to the hearts of Mexicans.”Rivera, 41, attends most of Pena Nieto’s events, recording her husband with a cellphone and posting the videos on the candidate’s YouTube site in what’s become a kind of campaign reality show. The actress offers gushing, running commentary during the video series, which sports a title straight out of Mexican soap operas: “What My Eyes See and My Heart Feels.” One of the videos has racked up nearly half a million views.“He is walking among the crowds. That’s what he does,” she says in a video recorded during the tent rally in the city of Nezahualcoyotl, a rough area on the eastern outskirts of the country’s capital.Amid images of the crowd and Pena Nieto’s successor as governor of Mexico state, the camera pans down to show Rivera’s hand holding Pena Nieto’s. As they leave the rally, Rivera tells her husband, “People wait for you until the end, sweetheart,” though in fact thousands of people left early that day, according to news accounts. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help “We support the two of them,” said 56-year-old activist Juana Chavez. “They look beautiful together.”__________Follow Adriana Gomez Licon on Twitter at http://twitter.com/agomezlicon In an interview with the AP, Pena Nieto acknowledged Rivera’s star power but said he wants their fans to see her as a mother and his wife.“Clearly she is known because of her longtime profession, but what I want to highlight is that we show her like the family we are, a family newly integrated with both of our children,” he said. “I appreciate very much all she is doing to support my campaign, but it’s even more important to me the strength, inspiration and encouragement that I get from knowing that she is here and that I can count on her. That she is with me at every moment.”Homemaker Maria Elena Escobedo, 45, like most of the women at the tent rally, waited hours to see Pena Nieto and Rivera visit Nezahualcoyotl. When the couple arrived, she joined the crowd in screaming: “We are with you all the way to Los Pinos!”“She is his wife and supports him no matter what,” Escobedo said. “She is a woman like us, and she doesn’t want us to suffer.”Rivera and Pena Nieto sat together throughout the rally, and at one point she discreetly grabbed his right hand with her left. He removed it to dry his sweaty forehead with a handkerchief, but quickly grabbed her left knee and whispered something in her ear. More than anything, the media strategy has created an image of Pena Nieto and his wife as victors enjoying the charmed life, offering a welcome distraction for Mexicans anxious over rampant drug war violence and the economy. It’s also a radical change from the old regal image of the Mexican president, whose personal life was rarely seen until 2000, when the PRI’s 71-year grip over the presidency ended.“Pena Nieto, with his good looks, and his wife, being an attractive woman, make a couple with a happy ending,” said political analyst Jorge Zepeda Patterson. “It’s part of the idea that the country needs a winner in Los Pinos,” the country’s presidential mansion.Or as Alejandra Lagunes, social media adviser to Pena Nieto’s campaign, said, “These videos from their SUV or in the house with the family, people love them.”The campaign did not grant a request by The Associated Press to interview Rivera.Having grown up in Mexico City, Rivera had no family or other ties to show business. As a teenager, she approached a popular actress filming a video on the street and asked for advice about breaking into the entertainment world. Rivera was counseled to participate in a beauty pageant and soon won a newspaper-sponsored contest. She was then cast in supporting roles in the TV melodramas known as telenovelas, beginning in the late 1980s. Top Stories center_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Her big break came in 1991 where she played a villain alongside singer Ricky Martin in a youth-targeted soap opera, the most successful of the decade, according to the country’s largest network, Televisa. Rivera starred in more soap operas in the 1990s and 2000s and married her longtime boyfriend, TV producer Jose Alberto Castro, in 2004.Her last show, in 2007, was the massive hit “Destilando Amor,” or “Distilling Love,” a soap opera set in a tequila-making region of Mexico. Rivera played an agave plant harvester known by the whimsical moniker “The Seagull,” who falls in love with the son of the influential hacienda owner.Rivera divorced Castro in 2007. In a story that could have been written for Televisa, Rivera met Pena Nieto the next year, while she was filming promotional videos for the state of Mexico while he was governor. A widower, Pena Nieto acknowledged months later that he was dating the TV star. Skeptics have called it a marriage of political convenience between one of the television monopoly’s biggest stars and the man who would be Mexico’s most powerful. Pena Nieto has denied that.The couple, each with three children from previous marriages and Pena Nieto with a fourth from an extramarital affair, wed in 2010 in a ceremony that drew crowds to the main cathedral of Toluca, the capital city of Mexico state. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Associated PressNEZAHUALCOYOTL, Mexico (AP) – A staccato drum beat rolled over a crowd of thousands packed into a sweltering tent as adoring fans screamed a single name to the rhythm of a popular soccer chant. “Angelica! Angelica! Ra! Ra! Ra!” they sang while watching a copper-haired beauty make her way down to the stage, past heavy crowds held back with metal barriers.The admirers were clamoring for Angelica Rivera de Pena, one of Mexico’s most popular soap opera stars, along with her husband, presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Walking onstage, the telegenic former governor waved to the crowd, then grabbed his wife’s hand and raised it in the air, like a referee with the winning boxer at the end of a match. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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Taiwan investigates navy ships missing laptop

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   News reports, citing unidentified military officials, say the laptop was connected to a main computer on board the boat that contains confidential data about Taiwan’s anti-ship missiles.Opposition lawmakers said they feared the laptop had been stolen by Chinese spies.Lin Yu-fang, a lawmaker with the Legislative Defense Committee, said he was told that the missing laptop did not contain “crucial” military secrets, but it indicated a security loophole that could undermine the island’s defenses against a possible Chinese attack.Taiwan and China have conducted espionage against each other since they split amid civil war in 1949.Relations between the two sides have warmed in recent years. However, China still claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory and has refused to renounce the use of force to put the island under its fold.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top holiday drink recipescenter_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – Taiwan’s military said Monday it is investigating how a laptop went missing from a guided-missile ship, with opposition lawmakers pointing the finger at Chinese spies.Defense Ministry spokesman David Lo said the laptop went missing two weeks ago from the stealth ship docked at a navy port.The ship, Kuanghua 6, is among a fleet of ships with stealth technology that Taiwan built in the last decade to carry out swift attacks against Chinese warships in the case of an invasion from the mainland. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

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Panama passes intellectualproperty protection law

first_img Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 0 Comments   Share   Four benefits of having a wireless security system Other artists support the law, hoping it will cut down on pirated versions of their works.Lawmakers passed the measure Wednesday night.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Top Stories PANAMA CITY (AP) – Panama’s legislature has approved an intellectual-property law that would allow commerce officials to impose fines of up to $100,000 for copyright infringements without a trial or civil suit.The legislation is meant to bring Panama into compliance with a U.S.-Panama free trade agreement approved in 2011. It must still be signed into law by Panama’s president.Some civic groups and organizations representing audio-visual artists and musicians are criticizing the measure, saying it threatens free speech. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

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Warscarred Sri Lankan Tamils see hope in election

first_imgAngajan Ramanathan, a 30-year-old businessman and the leading candidate for President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party, says working close to the government will bring more benefits to the war-hit community.Election campaigning had been marked by sporadic attacks and threats, mainly against Tamil Alliance supporters.In the latest incident, an election monitor said soldiers armed with clubs attacked supporters of Tamil Alliance candidate Ananthi Sasitharan at the candidate’s home late Thursday, wounding eight people. Sasitharan, the wife of a former Tamil Tiger rebel leader, escaped unharmed.On Saturday, fake copies of a newspaper supportive of the TNA was circulated in parts of Jaffna saying the party had withdrawn from the elections, in what appeared to be an effort to confuse voters.As voting closed, anxious residents in the fishing village of Kurunagar gathered at a polling station to make sure ballot boxes were safely dispatched to the counting centers.Several voters whom The Associated Press tried to interview were afraid to talk, fearing the army would visit their homes and question them.Tamils have been demanding regional autonomy to the country’s north and east, where they are the majority, since Sri Lanka became independent from Britain in 1948. The campaign took the form of nonviolent protests for many years, but in 1983 civil war broke out between government forces and armed Tamil groups calling for full independence. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories JAFFNA, Sri Lanka (AP) – Ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka’s war-ravaged north voted Saturday to form their first functioning provincial government, hoping it is the first step toward wider regional autonomy and a cornerstone to prevent another cycle of violence.Tamils fought for self-rule for more than six decades after the country gained independence, first through a peaceful struggle and then a bloody civil war, but failed. The provincial council was created in 1987 as an alternative to separation. But the Tigers _ the strongest of the rebel groups, and eventually the de facto government across much of the north and east _ rejected it as inadequate. The fighting that followed prevented the council from functioning.The military defeat of the Tigers meant Tamils were back to where they had started 60 years earlier, with no tangible achievement, tens of thousands of deaths and losing another million who fled the country as refugees.The United Nations has called on Sri Lanka repeatedly to more thoroughly investigate war crimes allegedly committed by both sides. A U.N. report has indicated Sri Lankan troops may have killed as many as 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final months of the conflict. The Tigers are also accused of killing civilians, holding them as human shields and recruiting child soldiers.The U.N. estimates that 80,000 to 100,000 people died in the conflict, but the number is feared to be much higher. Few outsiders had any access to combat zones in the bloody final phase of the war.The Tamil Alliance has said if it wins control of the provincial government, it also will push for an international war crimes investigation. Comments   Share   At least 80,000 people were killed in the war, and northern cities, including many on the Jaffna peninsula, were reduced to rubble.The Tamil National Alliance, considered a political proxy for the Tamil rebels during the conflict, was favored to win the elections and fielded a former Supreme Court Justice, C.V. Wigneswaran, as its chief candidate.More than 700,000 voters were registered to elect 36 members to the provincial council, though voter turnout was not immediately known.The provincial council, however, will not have much power. A governor appointed by the central government retains almost all of the control, and Wigneswaran says that if elected, his party would lobby for wider self-rule based on federalism.The central government is against devolving such wide powers and says even existing powers in provincial hands, such as those over land and policing, are a threat to the country. It hopes to win over Tamils by rebuilding roads, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure destroyed in the war.But residents say the army is taking over large swaths of private land to build camps and even businesses such as hotels, and bringing in Sinhalese people to change the province’s ethnic breakdown.center_img However, Saturday’s elections are expected to give them a limited say in their own affairs _ a taste of democracy after decades under rebel or military control.Polls closed Saturday evening, and results are expected by Sunday afternoon. No major violence was reported, but election monitors reported that army soldiers and pro-government party members stood near polling stations and threatened voters.The elections are seen by the United Nations and the world community as a crucial test of reconciliation between the Tamils and the majority ethnic Sinhalese, who control Sri Lanka’s government and military.“Our political problems must be resolved, another generation must not be destroyed,” Rasathurai Balasubramanium, a 56-year-old mason, said after voting in his village, Thavadi.“We believe that there is a … (slice) of democracy and law and order is still available in this country,” said Gunaratman Manoharan, a 52-year-old businessman who traveled from the capital, Colombo, to vote.The country’s ethnic divisions widened with the quarter-century civil war that ended in 2009 when government troops crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels, who were fighting to create an independent state. Check your body, save your life Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

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Somali militants moving into Kenya official says

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Al-Shabab and other militants are under increased scrutiny in Kenya following the Sept. 21 grenade-and-gunfire attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, an attack that killed at least 67 people.The trial of four suspects arrested in conjunction with the mall attack opened in a Nairobi court on Wednesday. Two prosecution witnesses described how the mall came under attack by four gunmen.Infighting between al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and other top militant leaders who support the inclusion of foreign fighters in the group has left the foreigners being “mistreated and mistrusted,” the official said.The foreigners include recruits from Western countries and some information about their movement into Kenya was provided by security organs of their home countries, he said.Al-Shabab boasts several dozen American and European members, mostly men of Somali heritage. Authorities worry the foreign fighters who fled Somalia will form their own groups to carry out attacks, the official said.Matt Bryden, the former head of the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea and a top expert on al-Shabab, said the migration of foreign fighters into Kenya also includes Kenyan members of al-Hijra, a Kenyan cell of al-Shabab sympathizers or fighters that Godane trusts. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Last year, an American who joined al-Shabab, Alabama native Omar Hammami, was ambushed and killed by rivals. Hammami had used Twitter to accuse Godane of being a dictator.Godane, though, appears to be in firm control. It was Godane who announced in 2012 that al-Shabab was allying itself with al-Qaida.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Although Kenya remains relatively accessible to jihadist groups, and is rich in potential targets for terrorist attacks, it is unlikely to serve as a base for such groups, Bryden said. He noted that some analysts believe al-Hijra may have played a role in the Westgate attack.Even as that original crop of foreign fighters seems to be fleeing, other African recruits from countries like Tanzania and Uganda are heading to Somalia, said Musa Yego, the chief of criminal investigations in Kenya’s Garissa Country, which borders Somalia.Already this month police intercepted six men between the ages of 18 and 25 from Tanzania and Uganda headed for Somalia, said Yego.“They had visas which showed they are on a business trip and on being interrogated they claimed they are heading to Somalia to invest there,” Yego said. “We asked them on how they can head for a war zone to invest there. These are among many youths being recruited to join the militants there.”Kenyan authorities arrested 60 men from Kenya traveling to Somalia in 2013, he said.Godane, al-Shabab’s leader, has had a falling out with several formerly influential al-Shabab leaders. Four militant commanders were killed in June, including two co-founders of the group, while its spiritual guide, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, fled for his life and was captured by Somali forces who are holding him in Mogadishu. Sponsored Stories center_img Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Dozens of foreign fighters have defected from the al-Qaida-linked militant group in Somalia due to internal disputes, and many of those men have moved into Kenya, a security official said.Since early last year Kenyan security officials have observed movements by people suspected of being part of al-Shabab in Somalia, said a senior police official who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press. 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

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