Fires force evacuation of 12000 in French Riviera

first_img BORMES-LES-MIMOSAS, France — French authorities ordered the evacuation of up to 12,000 people around a picturesque hilltop town in the southern Cote d’Azur region as fires hopscotched around the Mediterranean coast for a third day Wednesday.A raging wildfire began late Tuesday in the dry Mediterranean forests around La Londe-Les-Maures before being pushed by the southern Mistral winds to Bormes, a tourist magnet with houses clustered on a hill surrounded by dense forests of scrub and trees.The local Var Matin newspaper reported that 12,000 people were forced to take refuge in gymnasiums and other places, including thousands of campers. It said some people sought safety on local beaches.Col. Eric Martin of the Var firefighting unit said Wednesday on BFM-TV that nearly 600 firefighters were trying to contain the flames that had run through 1,300 hectares (3,210 acres) around.Four tracker planes and a fire-fighting aircraft were sent in as thick black smoke billowed above the skyline.The airport in Toulon, a city 30 kilometres from La Londe, was briefly closed on Wednesday, as well the Fort de Bregancon, which sits on a rock off the coast of Bormes.The wildfires began raging along France’s Mediterranean coast on Monday, forcing smaller, scattered evacuations with flames reaching a corner of Saint-Tropez. Since noon Tuesday, French firefighters had conducted about 100 operations.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?Further east, reinforcements were sent in to battle a blaze in Artigues that burned up to 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) of forest.Another fire was contained Tuesday evening in La Croix Valmer after burning two villas, seriously injuring one firefighter and devouring about 500 hectares (1,235 acres).France’s Mediterranean coast is particularly vulnerable to fires, with its massive back-country forests, often dry in the summer, and Mistral winds blowing across the sea to fan the flames. Smoke from the fires blew across bays on the picturesque coast, frightening some. But firefighters warned against panic _ and unnecessary phone calls. No injuries have been reported among residents and vacationers.Further south, flames ate through 2,000 hectares of forest on the northern end of the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, in what was the largest blaze in France.Summer fires, propelled by high temperatures, winds and drought – and often caused by careless humans – are not new to Europe. Both Portugal and Italy were also battling blazes.More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaAlmost 1,700 firefighters supported by 17 water-dropping aircraft were tackling wildfires in Portugal, where every summer large areas of woodland are scorched. The Portuguese Civil Protection Agency says emergency services have brought more than 20 forest blazes under control as high winds calmed during the night.The worst fires were around the town of Macao, 200 kilometres northeast of Lisbon. Deputy mayor Antonio Louro said the fires have caused “catastrophic” damage to the livelihoods of farmers, many of who work in the region’s pine and eucalyptus forests.In Italy, where fires have raged for weeks, firefighters responded to 26 requests for water and fire retardant air crops on Tuesday, throughout central and southern Italy, including Calabria, Sicily, Sardinia, Lazio and Puglia.The Coldiretti agriculture lobby said 50 billion bees were destroyed along with their hives in fires on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Coldiretti said another 20 per cent of the bee population is estimated to have become disoriented and died as a result. << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: France, Travel Alert Share By: Claude ParisSource: The Associated Press Fires force evacuation of 12,000 in French Riviera Wednesday, July 26, 2017 last_img read more



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Cayo Coco Cayo Santa Maria aim for 111 more resort updates from

first_img Posted by Tuesday, September 19, 2017 Travelweek Group Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa Maria aim for 11/1; more resort updates from Sunwing << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Tags: Cuba, Sunwing, Travel Alert Share TORONTO — The Cuba Tourism Board says Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria should be ready by or before Nov. 1, thanks to “strong cooperation” between the Cuban government, travel authorities and volunteers that’s expediting the process of repairing damaged properties and clearing debris post-Irma.“Recovery from Irma is proceeding much faster than we had envisioned, in large part due to the continued support of our Canadian partners and the larger travel community,” said Eloy Govea, Director for Canada for the Cuba Tourism Board.“We thank our friends both in Cuba and in Canada for the positivity and solidarity that motivated us through an otherwise trying time.”Havana and Varadero have been operational since Sept. 13. All international airports in Cuba, with the exception of Cayo Coco, are now operating flights as normal.Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Cayo Largo del Sur emerged from Irma are ready to receive Canadian travellers again, says Govea.At the same time restoration efforts continue in Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria.While the two islands are currently closed to tourists, the Cuba Tourism Board and their hotel partners on location are sharing supplies and information to quickly get all hotel properties open and operational, says Govea.“We see Irma not as a challenge but as an opportunity, and we will work to ensure that Cuba remains the destination of choice for those seeking a break from the Canadian cold weather,” said Govea. “Support from Canadians has been invaluable during this process, and we look forward to welcoming you back to Cuba very soon.”More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureHe said the Cuba Tourism Board will provide ongoing updates on the status of Irma rebuilding efforts as information become available.Meanwhile Sunwing has updated its list of Cuban resorts, for hotels that were advised as not ready at the time of Sunwing’s last update on Sept. 15.Be Live Turquesa: Work nearing completion, expected to re-open for Sept. 23, subject to successful re-inspection.Blau Marina Varadero: Awaiting reports from next inspection, likely re-opening in the next week.Blau Privilege Cayo Liberta: Awaiting reports from next inspection, likely re-opening in the next weekBlau Varadero: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 20 arrivalsBrisas del Caribe: Not expected to be open in short term, awaiting next inspection for a more firm dateClub Karey: Not expected to be open before Sept. 30, awaiting next inspection for a more firm dateClub Kawama: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 22 arrivalsClub Tropical: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 20 arrivalsHotel Atlantico, (Havana by the sea): Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 22 arrivalsHotel Bella Costa: Expected to reopen mid-NovemberHotel Gran Caribe Sunbeach: Expected to reopen within the week, subject to successful re-inspectionHotel Los Cactus: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 22 arrivalsHotel Playa de Oro: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 22 arrivalsIberostar Bella Vista: Work nearing completion, expected to re-open for Sept. 23, subject to successful re-inspectionIberostar Laguna Azul: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 20 arrivalsIberostar Playa Alameda: Awaiting reports from next inspection, likely re-opening in the next weekIberostar Varadero: Expected to re-open Sept. 27Islazul Delfines: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 20 arrivalsMelia Marina Varadero: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 22 arrivalsNaviti Varadero: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 20 arrivalsParadisus Princesa del Mar: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 20 arrivalsParadisus Varadero: Expected to reopen Nov. 30ROC Barlovento: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 20 arrivalsRoyalton Hicacos: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 21 arrivalsSol Sirenas Coral Resort: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 22 arrivalsStarfish Varadero: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 20 arrivalsTuxpan Hotel: Open for Sunwing guests as of Sept. 23 arrivalsVilla Sotavento: Not expected to be open before Sept. 30, awaiting next inspection for a more firm dateMore news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemIn addition Sunwing notes that Hotel Tropicoco, Havana is now not expected to re-open in the immediate future.Sunwing adds that in Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa Maria and Camaguey, destination teams continue to conduct detailed evaluations on affected hotels. “Until more information is collected, it remains too early to give an accurate assessment as to the reopening date of any specific hotel. Further updates are expected as the week progresses.”Sunwing customers scheduled to travel to any of these three destinations up to and including Oct. 31 may book an alternate date or destination, or obtain a full refund in cash.last_img read more



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Four days of savings with G Adventures Cyber Weekend Sale

first_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Four days of savings with G Adventures’ Cyber Weekend Sale Thursday, November 23, 2017 Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — G Adventures’ Cyber Weekend Sale includes big discounts on more than 200 trips on six continents, with deals worth up to 30% off regular prices.The sale goes live at midnight (ET) on Nov. 24 at gadventures.com/cyber-sale. Multiple departures for 2018 are priced under $1,500, says the company. Bookings must be made before 11:59 p.m. ET on Cyber Monday, Nov. 27.“This is our way of giving thanks for our thousands of passionate followers and loyal customers who share our love of travel and global adventure all year long,” says Aizaz Sheikh, Canadian Marketing Director for G Adventures. “They deserve a chance to get out there and do more with their hard-earned breaks in 2018. We hope these savings help even more people get out of their vacation comfort zones next year.”Discounted offerings include:30% off select adventures in Haiti and Jamaica25% off select yacht-based adventures in the Galapagos25% off select land tours in Southern Asia, including Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos20-25% off select land and river cruise adventures in Peru20% off select sailing journeys in Sri Lanka and Thailand20% off select land and rail tours in India20% off select adventures in Morocco, Egypt and Jordan20% off select safari tours in Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia and South AfricaMore news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemA list of all the travel industry’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals can be found here. The list will be updated daily leading up to Black Friday (Nov. 24) and through until Cyber Monday (Nov. 27). Tags: G Adventures, Promotions Posted bylast_img read more



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Aimia announces surprise deal Air Canada is out Porter is in

first_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: Aeroplan, Aimia, Air Canada, Porter Airlines TORONTO — Aimia has struck a new deal with Porter Airlines for it to become the preferred Canadian airline to issue Aeroplan Miles after rejecting Air Canada’s takeover bid just hours before the midnight deadline Thursday.Aimia said Air Canada and its three financial partners – Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Visa Canada – raised their initial bid for its loyalty plan from $250 to $325 million, but Aimia wants $450 million.The break down in negotiations comes after Aimia and the Oneworld airline alliance confirmed earlier in the day that they are in talks about a potential partnership for the loyalty points program.The Oneworld alliance, whose 13 members include British Airways, American Airlines and Cathay Pacific, is a direct competitor to the Star Alliance airline network, of which Air Canada is a member.With Air Canada out of the running, Aimia is now making way for Porter to issue Aeroplan Miles on Porter routes, effective July 2020 when its current arrangement with Air Canada ends. Porter’s fleet of aircraft is only a fraction of the size of Air Canada’s but a possible deal with Oneworld will help strengthen its air offering.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTPorter will also become a redemption partner, as of the effective time of the agreement, offering up to 60% of seat inventory for the purchase of flights with Aeroplan Miles at fixed-rate prices. The arrangement includes an extensive cooperative marketing program targeting existing Aeroplan members, with an emphasis on members who travel on Porter routes.“This is a unique opportunity for Porter to join a well-established travel loyalty program and, in the future, reach its vast member base to aggressively promote our airline,” said Michael Deluce, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Porter Airlines. “Our current VIPorter members will benefit from Aeroplan’s enhanced range of loyalty services, with an ability to earn and redeem points with a growing network of airlines and other brands.”Points from Porter’s existing VIPorter loyalty program will be converted into Aeroplan Miles when the agreement becomes effective in 2020. Porter passengers will then be able to earn and redeem Aeroplan Miles on all Porter flights, plus across the growing Aeroplan collection of more than 75 travel and retail partners. This includes international airlines covering much of the globe.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesAimia chief executive Jeremy Rabe says that his plan is to strengthen its air offering after July 2020.“We’ve committed to our five million members that they will be able to choose any seat on any airline, anywhere, any time with the new Aeroplan program,” Rabe said.The privately owned airline, whose main hub is Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ), currently serves Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and other Canadian cities from St. John’s, NL to Thunder Bay, Ont. as well as U.S. destinations including the New York City area, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C.Shortly before announcing the Porter agreement, Aimia reported that spending on Aeroplan credit cards remained strong in the second quarter and the company is “making solid progress” on streamlining its business.Aeroplan and Air Canada have each assured their customers that the Aeroplan points will be honoured as usual until their long-term contract expires.With file from The Canadian Presscenter_img Friday, August 3, 2018 Aimia announces surprise deal: Air Canada is out, Porter is in Travelweek Group last_img read more



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Hurtigruten is heading to Alaska starting in 2020

first_imgHurtigruten is heading to Alaska starting in 2020 Share Posted by Tuesday, December 4, 2018 Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Alaska, Hurtigruten, New Routes, New Ship OSLO — The world’s largest expedition cruise company is expanding to Alaska.Starting in 2020 Hurtigruten passengers can explore the Alaskan wilderness, on board the brand-new and hybrid powered MS Roald Amundsen, says the cruise company.Billed as the world’s greenest and most extensive expedition cruise program, Hurtigruten is adding a number of new and unique destinations. Highlights of the just released 2020/2021 expedition cruise program include:The inaugural season of the hybrid powered and eco-friendly MS Fridtjof Nansen, exploring the unspoiled and raw beauty of Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland and the Norwegian coast.The widest ever selection of Antarctica voyages – with more than 30 different itineraries to choose from.An extreme makeover for Hurtigruten expedition favourite MS Fram, scheduled to re-emerge as a brand-new expedition ship.The brand new series of expedition cruises in Alaska starting in summer 2020“Alaska is a perfect fit for Hurtigruten and our expedition cruise concept. We will go where the big ships can’t, taking you far beyond the ordinary while exploring the true beauty of Alaska,” says Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongHe adds that Hurtigruten is introducing the world’s first hybrid battery powered cruise ships, the MS Roald Amundsen and the MS Fridtjof Nansen. A third hybrid powered expedition vessel will be added to the fleet in 2021.last_img read more



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Cops in Spain go bananas over 120kilo cocaine shipment from Costa Rica

first_imgSpanish police on Tuesday intercepted a container of bananas with a stash of 120 kilograms of cocaine at the northwestern port of Marín, the Spanish daily El País reported.The drugs were valued at €4.2 million ($ 5.4 million) and had been concealed in the back of a shipment of bananas from Costa Rica. Police seized the shipment during an anti-drug operation launched on Sunday. The container was sealed with a “Tropical fruit” label.Police also found another box with security seals that supposedly would be used by the receiver of the drugs in order to reseal the container once it was unloaded, El País reported.Customs agents, drug enforcement officers and other police agencies participated in the operation, but no arrests have been made so far. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more



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Organ trafficking Mexican cartels are among Costa Ricas biggest criminal threats says

first_imgOut of the 28 victims of human trafficking reported through October 2013 in Costa Rica, 13 fell prey to illegal organ extraction and trafficking rings, according to a new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Police.Sex and organ trafficking were the two most common forms of human trafficking in Costa Rica this year, but the report also highlighted the violent side effects of increasing crack consumption here and the penetration of organized crime on the isthmus.The high number of organ trafficking cases relates to the ongoing investigation into an organ-trafficking ring run out of the public Calderón Guardia Hospital and other private clinics in San José. Doctors allegedly paid victims up to $20,000 for their kidneys, which is illegal in Costa Rica. UNODC representative Amado de Andrés said during the report’s presentation that cases of organ trafficking and other forms of human trafficking are increasing across Central America.Costa Rica operates as both a launch point and a destination for vulnerable migrants entering the country without permission, especially along its border with Nicaragua.Regionally, Costa Rica attracts labor from Nicaragua, the Caribbean and as far away as Bolivia and Venezuela, according to the report. The country is also a global transit point for Asian and African migrants, often traveling to the Untied States. De Andrés said that the migrant flows from Asia and Africa were of particular concern because they heralded drug trafficking routes, including heroin.The largest drug traffickers in Costa Rica tend to be Colombian and Mexican criminal organizations. OIJ spokesman Marco Monge told The Tico Times that the Sinaloa and Knights Templar Mexican cartels are believed to be active in Costa Rica. Drug consumption continues to increase in Costa Rica, due in part to increased drug trafficking in the region and the Tico middle class’ disposable income, the U.N. representative said.Marijuana remains the most popular illicit drug in Costa Rica, with consumption spiking 260 percent since 2006. Much of the country’s so-called “High Red” marijuana originates in Jamaica and enters the country through the Caribbean province of Limón. Costa Rican consumption of cocaine is also increasing, as is crack cocaine. The report highlighted a correlation between crack consumption and violence, noting that six of the to 10 cantons with the highest homicide rates also rank among the cantons with the highest number of crack seizures.  Drug consumption has increaesd in Costa Rica but so have drug seizures. Costa Rica has confiscated 17 tons of cocaine per year on average between 2005 and 2012, second only to Panama, according to the report.Public Security Vice Minister Celso Gamboa told The Tico Times that Central America must “harmonize” its drug enforcement policies to address the isthmus’ growing trade in illegal substances.Despite violence attributed to drug trafficking and consumption, Costa Rica’s homicide rate has fallen for the last three consecutive years since 2010. In 2012, the most recent complete year, homicides decreased to 394, bringing the homicide rate to 8.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.Partial data released by the OIJ for the first six months of 2013 showed a homicide rate of 5.4, on track to reach 8.7 by year’s end, according to calculations by The Tico Times.The report recommended law enforcement focus on local crime structures to interrupt the flow of illicit drugs through Costa Rica. Noting that the largest drug seizures have been carried out at sea, UNODC recommended increasing resources to the Coast Guard, along with improving training for police to address cases of human trafficking.  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more



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Twitter says Venezuela blocks its images amid protest crackdown

first_imgMEXICO CITY – Twitter says the Venezuelan government is blocking images on its website, the latest sign of a crackdown after violent protests that killed at least three people in the past week.Twitter users had been posting their photos of the street demonstrations, providing an alternative to state-run media. It’s unclear if photos are blocked in all Internet providers in Venezuela, said Nu Wexler, Twitter spokesman.Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro banned street demonstrations and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders after about 50,000 Venezuelan marched through Caracas to protest shortages of basic goods, creating clashes between protesters and government supporters.Billy Vaisberg, director of an online directory of Venezuelan Twitter users called TwVen.com, said he had received several reports from people who couldn’t see images on their feeds Friday.In a post on its Spanish-language account, @twitter_es, Twitter advised Venezuelan users to subscribe to its text- message service to get updates.Maduro has accused mainstream media outlets of creating confusion. He took Colombian station NTN24 off the air and in a national address yesterday criticized Agence France Presse for “manipulating information.”Frier reported from San Francisco.© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:Fugitive Venezuelan opposition leader surrenders at rally Costa Rica deplores violence in Venezuela, calls for investigation Showdown looms for Venezuela, as protest leader Leopoldo López vows new march Venezuelan opposition leader shot dead at campaign event: lawmakerlast_img read more



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Venezuela protests lose momentum as Maduro toughens his response

first_imgRelated posts:Showdown looms for Venezuela, as protest leader Leopoldo López vows new march Venezuela’s Maduro caught between pragmatism, ideology Venezuela rating cut by Moody’s as oil plunge hits finances Venezuela’s Maduro secures another $5 billion loan from China for oil sector CARACAS, Venezuela – Fewer Venezuelans came out to protest against the government over the weekend after President Nicolás Maduro threatened to use the military to “liberate” middle-class districts from makeshift barricades.A march against alleged Cuban infiltration of the armed forces attracted a few thousand people Sunday in the Caracas borough of Chacao, the heart of the month-long anti-government protests that have taken 28 lives. Similar rallies in past weeks drew more than 10,000 people.At night, National Guard troops in Chacao dispersed a few hundred protesters with tear gas and water cannons as residents shouted “assassins” from surrounding apartment blocks and removed manhole covers to block the advance of Chinese-made armored trucks. To reduce the shortages of goods that are fueling the protests, the central bank has said it will start a new foreign currency system this week that will allow companies and individuals to buy and sell dollars at a price determined by the market.“Prepare yourself, we are coming for you,” Maduro warned demonstrators in an address to thousands of soldiers gathered in support of the president on March 15. He then played John Lennon’s song, “Give Peace a Chance.”A tougher police response and fatigue from daily marches have drained some of the momentum from the protest movement, said David Smilde, senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights organization.“Venezuela has been experiencing a progressive criminalization of protest over the past couple of years, with repression rarely seen under Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez,” Smilde said by email from Caracas Sunday. “As the inherent flaws of economic policies and political model” make Chávez’s revolution “increasingly fragile, the government seems more willing to rely on force.” Two women walk by National Guard members deployed at opposition stronghold Altamira square, in Caracas on March 17, 2014. Venezuela’s authorities deployed hundreds of security forces into the opposition stronghold to stamp out protests in Caracas against the government. Leo Ramírez/AFPCentral Bank President Nelson Merentes said Sunday Venezuela’s economy “is a crisis.”“You’ve got inflation, you have shortages and growth that’s not robust,” he said in an interview on the local Televen network. “Venezuela has the ability to overcome this not-so-good patch.”Consumer prices rose 57 percent in the 12 months through February and the central bank stopped publishing data on shortages after last month’s report showed that more than one in four basic goods were unavailable in shops at any one time.To cut the illegal contraband of subsidized products, Maduro said Sunday the government will issue citizens with electronic cards for food purchases in state supermarkets. The so-called Secure Supply Card is to protect the people from speculators and not a way to ration food, the president told a rally of supporters in the capital.Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said he’s ready to talk to Maduro about ending protests after boycotting at least two other meetings with the president.“This debate needs to happen,” Capriles said in a separate interview on Televen Sunday.Opposition parties and students have vowed to continue protesting across the country until Maduro releases political prisoners, improves the supply of products and ends police repression. The president has called the protesters “fascists,” charging them with attempting a “slow-motion coup” against him with help from the U.S.© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Commentslast_img read more



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President Solís calls for regional bloc to push for climate change policy

first_imgPresident Luis Guillermo Solís is hoping that strength in numbers will garner results for Central America in the upcomingParis climate talks beginning in late November.Solís, in a letter delivered by Vice President Helio Fallas, asked the presidents of Central American nations, Mexico and Colombia to join together as a bloc to set a regional agenda for the COP21 climate talks. Presidents from across the region were meeting in Antigua, Guatemala for the Central American Integration System (SICA).The world’s nations are negotiating a new, global pact, which must be inked in Paris in December, to curb climate change through greenhouse gas emission cuts.“I would like to propose to the presidents the possibility of adopting a joint position before the climate change conference that will take place in Paris. I understand complexity that this matter brings and its sensitivity both domestically and internationally,” Solís said, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial on Friday.The president offered San José as a meeting place for climate negotiators from the region’s countries to agree on common goals for the isthmus, Mexico and Colombia to present a unified, technical proposal.Together, Solís said the countries could mount a “revenant and capable” geopolitical unit to curb rising global temperatures.Although Central America accounts for only 0.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, scientists consider the region a “hotspot” for climate-related damages in the future. Central America’s seven countries also suffer a disproportionate share of the consequences of global warming, including floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters.See also: The Guardian names Costa Rican journalist among ‘young climate campaigners to watch’ ahead of Paris 2015 Facebook Comments Related posts:The Guardian names Costa Rican journalist among ‘young climate campaigners to watch’ ahead of Paris 2015 Small but vocal turnout in Costa Rica for global climate march Some scientists worried about surprisingly cold ‘blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean It’s official: 2015 ‘smashed’ 2014’s global temperature record. It wasn’t even closelast_img read more



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Costa Ricas Juan Santamaría Airport expands capacity with new departure lounges boarding

first_imgRelated posts:Juan Santamaría International Airport now offers discounted long-term parking Costa Rica’s new international airport expected to open in 2027 Costa Rica’s Tobías Bolaños International Airport to reopen nighttime service Costa Rica airport restricts liquids in carry-ons Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) inaugurated on Tuesday two new waiting areas and two new boarding bridges that will allow for larger aircraft.The expansion project, which also includes room for shops, restaurants and other businesses, represents a $19 million investment by terminal administrator Aeris Holding Costa Rica.The new facilities expand the terminal by 2,668 square meters along two floors.The construction features environmentally-friendly design for air conditioning, and energy-saving lighting systems, the terminal’s executive director Rafael Mencia said at the opening. There’s also a system to collect rainwater for reuse at the airport, he added.The expansion comes on top of recent investments unveiled in April, including a new building for administrative staff, new security and surveillance facilities, a new wall and other security improvements to the terminal’s perimeter.Aeris also plans to begin construction on new facilities for cargo and domestic flights later this year. The project will require an additional $20 million and is expected to be ready by next year.SJO, outside of San José, is Costa Rica’s main air terminal. Last year, just over 3.5 million travelers passed through SJO, a 5.1 percent increase over 2013, according to Aeris. Facebook Commentslast_img read more



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Following Trump Guatemala begins process to move embassy to Jerusalem

first_imgGuatemala said Monday it is starting the process of moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, after President Jimmy Morales announced the day before that he would follow U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial lead on the holy city.Morales wrote a message to Guatemalans on his Facebook page Sunday, saying he had spoken with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that “one of the most important topics was the return of Guatemala’s embassy to Jerusalem.”“For this reason I am informing you that I have given instructions to the foreign ministry… to make this happen,” Morales wrote.On Monday, the foreign ministry said it was implementing the order.“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the presidential order and is starting the process of implementing this foreign policy decision,” it said in a statement.Guatemala’s leader made the embassy announcement on Christmas Eve, three days after two-thirds of UN member states – Costa Rica among them – denounced Trump’s decision to have the United States recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.Netanyahu on Monday hailed the decision, saying Guatemala would not be the only nation to follow Washington’s lead.“Other countries will recognize Jerusalem and announce the relocation of their embassies. A second country did it and I repeat it: there will be others. It’s just the start, and it’s important,” Netanyahu said in a statement.Israel’s deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely told public radio that “we are in contact with at least 10 countries, some of them in Europe” over the possible transfer of their embassies to Jerusalem.‘Shameful and illegal’“So far we have only seen the beginning,” Hotovely said.But the Palestinian foreign ministry slammed Guatemala.“It’s a shameful and illegal act that goes totally against the wishes of church leaders in Jerusalem” and of a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution condemning the U.S. recognition, the ministry said in a statement.Guatemala’s decision also drew fire from Bolivian President Evo Morales.“In a complete act of mockery of the international community, the government of Guatemala ignores the resolution of the UN [General] Assembly and decides to move its embassy to Jerusalem,” he wrote on his Twitter account. A picture taken on December 25, 2017, shows Guatemalan flag hanging outside the building housing the offices of the Central American Embassy, in the Israeli city of Herzliya, near Tel Aviv. / AFP Photo/Jack GuezIn all, 128 nations voted to maintain the international consensus that Jerusalem’s status can only be decided through peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.Only eight countries stood with the United States in voting against the resolution in the UN General Assembly, among them Guatemala and Honduras.Guatemala and Honduras are both reliant on U.S. funding to improve security in their gang-ridden territories.Violence, corruption and poverty have made the two countries, along with El Salvador, the main source of illegal migration to the United States, which is providing the countries with $750 million to provide better conditions at home.Morales, like Trump, was a television entertainer with no real political experience before becoming president of Guatemala in 2016.Guatemala ‘pro-Israeli’On Friday, Morales foreshadowed the decision he was to make regarding Jerusalem as he defended his government’s vote at the UN backing the United States.“Guatemala is historically pro-Israeli,” he told a news conference in Guatemala City. “In 70 years of relations, Israel has been our ally… We have a Christian way of thinking that, as well as the politics of it, has us believing that Israel is our ally and we must support it.”Morales’s position has become fragile in recent months because of allegations of corruption against him being investigated by a special UN-backed body working with Guatemalan prosecutors.U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley had said her country would “take names” of the states opposing its position, and Trump threatened to cut funding to countries “that take our money and then vote against us.”Several significant U.S. allies abstained from the UN vote, among them Australia, Canada, Mexico and Poland.Others, such as Britain, France, Germany and South Korea, were among the nations denouncing any unilateral decision to view Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.Along with Guatemala and Honduras, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo were on the U.S. side of the vote.Following the U.S. decision on Jerusalem, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said he would “no longer accept” any peace plan proposed by the United States, dealing a preemptive blow to an initiative expected by Washington next year. Facebook Comments Related posts:VIDEO: New Costa Rican documentary explains forced Central American migration U.S. ends protected status for 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants Venezuela dominates agenda ahead of Trump’s Latin American visit Toll rises in Guatemala volcano as more bodies recoveredlast_img read more



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Tan lindo Tamarindo

first_imgThe Tico Times is in Tamarindo this week, and we’re continuing to drink in the views of the Guanacaste beach town: yesterday, we took in a sky-high (or seems that way, at least) panorama of the beach, estuary and miles of gorgeous green.This view of Tamarindo at Hotel Diria owner Wolfgang Gollas’ penthouse in Tamarindo, Guanacaste. For more information about the hotel visit their webpage and Facebook page.Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series, or learn more about how your hotel or other business can sponsor a photo from your corner of the country? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to kstanley@ticotimes.net. We’d love to see the sights with you. Facebook Comments Related posts:Enjoying the vibes from Ocaso Flying away Relaxing among Costa Rican cacti Coming soon: Tamarindo’s Ocaso Music Festivallast_img read more



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World Cup 2018 Two Costa Rican fans travel to La Seles rival

first_imgRelated posts:Serbia defeats Costa Rica 1-0 at the 2018 World Cup Costa Rica, Brazil battle rumors of tension and injury before high-stakes matchup Costa Rica fans descend on Saint Petersburg Brazil knocks Costa Rica out of World Cup after hard-fought game How can one project capture the excitement surrounding the World Cup; the love Costa Ricans feel for their National Team,La Sele; a deep dive into the cultures of Costa Rica’s first-round World Cup opponents; and the adventure of international travel?That was the challenge before Costa Ricans Boris Alonso Sosa and Ricardo Cerdas when, in 2015, they came up with an idea for a World Cup odyssey. Sosa, a TV presenter and comedian, and Cerdas, an audiovisual producer, spoke with Christian Bulgarelli, executive producer and co-founder of La Productora audiovisual production agency, who signed on. Boris Sosa (left) and Ricardo Cerdas (right) with a fan from Trinidad and Tobago. Courtesy of El TripazoBy 2016, the project had its own Facebook page.“We named it El Tripazo,” Cerdas told The Tico Times of the Spanglish- and slang-inspired name for a giant trip. “We then realized that El Tripazo sounds as if one has a stuck fart [from tripa, or intestine], but we had a couple of sponsors. It felt like this: we have the money, we have the idea, we have the characters.”Sosa and Cerdas followed La Sele to five different countries during World Cup classifying matches – Panama, United States, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras – and documented the experience. Boris Sosa (left) and Ricardo Cerdas (right) at the Rommel Fernández Stadium in Panama. Courtesy of El Tripazo Boris Sosa (left) and Ricardo Cerdas (right) with two Panamanians. Courtesy of El Tripazo“The videos were doing pretty well. We noticed that what people really liked was the friendship and the interaction between us. We also realized that the experience out of the country was much more interesting,” Cerdas said.The pair decided that the key to their project was combining these factors, as well as embracing the unexpected: “When everyone expected A, and the result was B, something magical happened.” Ricardo Cerdas (left) and Boris Sosa (right) ready to fly. Courtesy of El TripazoWith all this in mind, the plan for El Tripazo fell into place. The pair would celebrate the 2018 World Cup by traveling to the countries whose National Teams will play against Costa Rica in the first round of the tournament, and watch those matches from the rival countries. For six months now, Sosa and Cerdas have been planning the 15 days they’ll spend this month in Serbia, Brazil and Switzerland.“It’s not only about the results of a match. It’s what happens before and after. It’s the dynamic of the fans. It’s about the rituals that people do to go watch the game and finally, about the adventure,” Cerdas said. Boris Sosa (left), former soccer player Rolando Fonseca and Ricardo Cerdas (right). Courtesy of El TripazoWatching soccer isn’t the only activity on the menu. In Switzerland, they’ll participate at a traditional race that commemorates the work of cherry pickers. In Brazil, they’ll learn samba and capoeira. And in Serbia they’ll travel the country with a friend of theirs as a guide, and visit the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade.The project has also made a point to create a social impact. Here in Costa Rica, Sosa and Cerdas played soccer in the shantytown of La Carpio with children from the community and National Police officers.“It was very cool that the National Police invited us to a mejenga (pickup soccer game) in La Carpio called #lamejenga. We went to speak with the children, provide a positive message and play with them. We saw that it was a mejenga that doesn’t happen every day, so we made a video. These are opportunities that appear and we try to take advantage of them,” Cerdas said. El Tripazo during the Fuerza Pública’s event #lamejenga in La Carpio. Courtesy of El Tripazo El Tripazo during the Fuerza Pública’s event #lamejenga in La Carpio. Courtesy of El TripazoInspired by that experience, the pair has set up a visit to a favela in Brazil while traveling there to play soccer with the children there. The travelers will be presenting some of their material with Teletica’s “Revista Mundialista.” However, they say their main goal is to enjoy themselves while showing their audience a new experience from two friends who are combining their love of sports with culture, travel and social impact.“I believe that when you invest more than one year of your life in a project, when there’s money involved, when everyone is involved in this, it’s because you really believe in it,” Cerdas told The Tico Times. “I don’t think we’re in the project just to see what will happen. It’s because we all faithfully believe that the project can be a success, it can become sustainable and it can have a long life as a content creator.”For more information visit El Tripazo’s Facebook page or their Instagram page. Facebook Commentslast_img read more



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Babybel boycott after slogan offends mentally ill

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Babybel later admitted the slogan was not properly thought out.“It was a short marketing campaign and as a result there was an error in validating the slogan. We admit it was very clumsy,” Babybel Director General Etienne Lecomte said Thursday.On Monday, France’s leading association for the mentally handicapped, Unapei, called for a nationwide boycott of the cheese packs. It said the slogan sends “discriminatory values” to children.The boycott initially covered all cheese products made by the Bel Group, the cheese conglomerate that also produces “The Laughing Cow” cheese.But Babybel apologized Wednesday, prompting disability groups to limit their boycott only to the packs containing the toys with the toy inkpads.Babybel said it has stopped their production and is trying to take the remaining packets off shelves.“Yes, Babybel has apologized, and it’s sincere. But the damage might already have been done,” said Unapei President Christel Prado.“Kids go back to school soon, and they’ll get asked about their holidays. Kids pick up things easily. Our fear is that they’ll repeat: `We had mentally ill holidays.’” Associated PressPARIS (AP) – Disability groups in France are calling for a boycott of some Babybel cheese following accusations that a promotional summer toy insults the mentally ill.Toy inkpads featuring the term “Mentally ill holidays” were included as free gifts throughout July in bags of Mini Babybel, the round cheese with the iconic red wax coating.In using the slogan “des vacances de malade mental,” Babybel seized on the youth slang expression “malade mental,” which means “extraordinary.” Parents, stop beating yourself up Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Ludovic Gregoire, whose six-year-old son suffers from a form of autism, was one of many who wrote messages on Babybel’s Facebook wall protesting the slogan.“It’s just hurtful, when I read it. They call it humor. But if there was more education, negative campaigns like this wouldn’t happen. In France, we are so behind other countries,” Gregoire said. “‘Malade mentale’ is a common expression, but French people need to know how it actually feels. It’s offensive.”Babybel management has agreed to talk about ways to fight discrimination in a meeting with disability groups scheduled for September.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories Comments   Share   Check your body, save your life Sponsored Stories last_img


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Cyprus rival leaders take stroll through divided capital

first_imgGreek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met inside the United Nations-controlled buffer zone before sitting down at cafes on both sides of the divide for coffee, olives, smoked ham, pastries and Zivania, a traditional vodka-like clear spirit.A smattering of applause and shouts of “well done” greeted both leaders as they walked through the narrow, shop-lined streets on both sides of the divide. One Turkish Cypriot man strumming a mandolin-like instrument serenaded the leaders with a song appealing for peace.“I want to send a strong message that we shall work tirelessly in order to find a peaceful solution at the earliest possible (date),” Anastasiades said.Akinci said the leaders must avoid yet another failure after decades of talks have led nowhere.“We very much would like to give the message of hope because after so many disappointments we need this hope,” said Akinci, a moderate who handily defeated the hard-line incumbent in the north’s leadership election last month.“Both sides want peace and this thing has to finally end, we’re all Cypriots,” said Turkish Cypriot Mehmet Ekingen, the 70-year-old owner of a handicrafts shop inside the Buyuk Han, a 16th century inn in the north where the leaders first sat. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Comments   Share   In the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south, the leaders sat at a cafe in the shadow of the 19th-century Phaneromeni Greek Orthodox Church.Greek Cypriot Miltiades Philippou, 58, said the stroll would create a positive atmosphere that will help the leaders in negotiations.U.N.-facilitated peace talks resumed last week after an eight-month hiatus. The leaders said they would unveil a number of measures aimed at building trust between the two sides.A peace accord would bring a huge boost to the island’s economy, improve regional security and unlock cooperation on the region’s offshore gas reserves. But many thorny issues need to be tackled including how to share power in an envisioned federation and military intervention rights.Copyright © 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 Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, center right, and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, center, walk at a main shopping street at the breakaway northern part of the Cypriot divided capital Nicosia on Saturday, May 23, 2015. Cyprus’ rival Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders took a stroll together on both sides of the divided capital’s medieval center to raise the feel-good factor, as talks aimed at reunifying the ethnically split island kick into gear. It’s the first time that the leaders have done so together since the east Mediterranean island was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after coup by supporters of union with Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) Check your body, save your life Quick workouts for men NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Rival Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders took a stroll together on both sides of the divided capital’s medieval center on Saturday to raise the feel-good factor as talks aimed at reunifying the ethnically split island kick into gear.It’s the first time that the leaders have done so since the east Mediterranean island was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey, which maintains more than 30,000 troops in the breakaway north, recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence.last_img read more



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Malaysia climber says lucky to live as quake kills 13

first_img Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology 5 ways to recognize low testosterone KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Rescuers on Malaysia’s highest peak on Sunday searched for six climbers after recovering 13 dead from a strong earthquake that had trapped scores of trekkers. One survivor said she waited for a rescue helicopter that never came.A magnitude-5.9 earthquake on Friday sent rocks and boulders raining down the trekking routes on 4,095-meter (13,435-foot) -high Mount Kinabalu in eastern Sabah state on Borneo island. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies About 60 rescuers and four helicopters were combing the mountain, where loose rocks and boulders that fell during the quake blocked part of the main route.The quake also damaged roads and buildings, including schools and a hospital on Sabah’s west coast. It also broke one of the twin rock formations on the mountain known as the “Donkey’s Ears.”The mountain will be closed for three weeks for maintenance work, and flags will be flown at half-staff in Sabah on Monday to mourn the victims.Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan blamed the tragedy on a group of 10 foreigners who “showed disrespect to the sacred mountain” by posing naked at the peak last week. He said a special ritual would be conducted later to “appease the mountain spirit.”The foreigners, who included two Canadians, two Dutch and a German national, broke away from their entourage and stripped naked before taking photos at the mountain peak on May 30, officials have said.Five of the tourists are believed to still be in Malaysia and will be barred from leaving on the offense of gross indecency, according to police.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mount Kinabalu is photographed hours after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake shook the area in Kundasang, Sabah, Malaysia, Friday, June 5, 2015. The quake struck northwest of Ranau district in Sabah state in Borneo early Friday at a depth of 54 kilometers (34 miles), Malaysia’s meteorological department said. (Source via AP) MALAYSIA OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE Sponsored Stories center_img Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Nine of the bodies found Saturday were flown out by helicopter, while the other two were brought down by foot, said district police official Farhan Lee Abdullah.Most of the other climbers made it down the mountain in the darkness early Saturday, some with broken limbs and one in a coma.One of them, Amanda Peter, said local guides told her group that a helicopter would pick them up, but when it did not, they decided to walk after a frustrating nine-hour wait.“There were risks of us dying up there of cold overnight,” she said. “The guide said we either die of waiting or we die trying. So we all chose to try walking down ourselves.”She said she saw two bodies lying on a flat rock on the way down. “It really affected me as it could have been me. I was lucky to be given a chance to live,” she said.She said that the descent was “very risky and we were all starving, dehydrated and tired but at least we tried saving ourselves.”The two dead retrieved Friday evening were a 30-year-old local guide and a 12-year-old Singaporean student, Farhan said.Police said earlier Saturday that they were looking for 17 other people, including eight Singaporeans and one each from China, the Philippines and Japan. The rest are Malaysians. The nationalities of the 11 dead recovered Saturday were not immediately clear.last_img read more



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Some Cubans see US thaw as a boon others pessimistic

first_img“It’s going to be an improvement for the country,” Rojas said. “More American tourists are going to come, which is a boon for us.”Rojas has managed to purchase a house in Havana, something that was illegal for decades until a real estate reform in 2011, and he believes Cuba is on the right track.“There have been changes. I was able get my taxi license and I bought my home,” he saidHe sees neighborly relations with Cuba’s longtime foe, Washington, as the next step.“There doesn’t have to be bad blood.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories She also hopes to see a day when there’s no more U.S. embargo choking off commerce to the island and feels that will help Cuba get better economically.“Having relations between the two countries, I’m sure it will be a very beautiful thing,” Guas said. “We are so close. For 50 years we have lived with this anguish.”But she also worries that with change, consumerism and crime could creep in.“It wouldn’t be smart to open the country up too quickly, because we have lived for years with a process of little by little. It wouldn’t be good for the country or for us as citizens.”___Royde Rojas, 48, was educated as a topographer and used to be the boss of local offices of Geocuba, a state-run surveying company, in his native province of Holguin, on the eastern side of the island.But four years ago he quit his low-paying job, figuring he could make more as a taxi driver. He’s among hundreds of thousands of people now working in Cuba’s incipient private sector under the economic reforms of recent years.Rojas said he’s upbeat that better relations with the United States will attract investment and tourism — meaning more clients to drive around in his shabby, gray, Soviet-made Moskvitch sedan. He’s convinced better ties between Cuba and the United States will do nothing to improve his life, or those of Cubans in general.“Relations should exist, yes, but benefit me? They don’t benefit me at all, because for 56 years it has been demonstrated that there is no respect for the people” by the government, he said.Gonzalez is a member of a dissident organization called the Republican Popular Party, and he was waiting to enter the U.S. Interests Section to use the free Internet it offers. Opposition groups have no legal recognition in Cuba, and he believes things won’t get better until the country’s communist leadership is gone.“What Obama said about empowering the people, that’s not going to happen as long as Fidel and Raul are around.”___Amarylis Guas hasn’t seen her son since his dad took him to the United States 15 years ago. Today he’s a man of 27. She hopes looser relations will help them build their relationship further.A 48-year-old former professor of language and literature, she went through a deep personal crisis when her son left and now works at a small privately owned cafeteria where she arrives every morning at 5 a.m. Top Stories HAVANA (AP) — As Havana and Washington move to restore full ties, Cubans are watching closely. Some hope rapprochement will help them make a small business prosper or keep in touch with relatives in Florida, while others doubt it will do anything to improve their lives.The Associated Press spoke with islanders in Havana on Wednesday about the two countries’ announcement that they will reopen embassies later this summer, more than 50 years after the diplomatic relationship was severed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to homecenter_img New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like ___Eleven years ago, Elba Gil cried for a week when her daughter left to live in the United States. As her last child remaining on the island now prepares to make the same move soon with her own family, Gil feels more nostalgic than anything.That’s because improved political ties are making it easier for families divided by the Florida Straits to stay in touch. If phone service gets cheaper and the Internet becomes more easily available in Cuba — two things that islanders anticipate will come with the thaw — things could get even better.“If there are good relations between the two countries I can visit them and she can come here. If there are good communications, it wouldn’t be like before when people left and you never heard from them. The sadness is less,” Gil said.She spoke as she waited outside the U.S. Interests Section with her daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren, who have been approved for a U.S. family reunification visa to join the other daughter, now a nurse.Gil plans to visit whenever she can.“I have my home here and my husband, and I don’t want to throw that away.”___Joan Gonzalez is a 40-year-old husband and father who hasn’t held a job in five years and makes do with “whatever comes along” — odd jobs like painting a house or fixing a patio. He used to work in a soap factory. Quick workouts for men New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Elba Gil, 61, housewife, poses for a photo in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Eleven years ago, Gil cried for a week when her daughter left to live in the United States. As her last child remaining on the island now prepares to make the same move soon with her own family, Gil feels more nostalgic than anything. That’s because improved political ties are making it easier for families divided by the Florida Straits to stay in touch. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan) Comments   Share   last_img read more



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Signs show consumer confidence returning Peter Collins JTG CEO

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2a01d/” 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> Fifteen months since its merger with Qantas Holidays, Jetset Travelworld’s CEO, Peter Collins says actions is what has allowed the company to continue earning support from other key suppliers and growing its agent network.“From the day we signed the merger, we explained it to all our retail partners,” he said, speaking to e-Travel Blackboard during an exclusive interview at the JTG National Conference in Cairns last week.Mr Collins said the company has continued to keep a close eye on relations and evaluate business agreements throughout the year, and has managed to retain all of its partners since the merger.He said the publically listed company had a responsibility to its shareholders to return profitable dividends, which includes Qantas Holidays’ 58 per cent ownership, and a level playing field amongst all of its suppliers is required in order to do so.JTG’s recent decision to sign a five year deal with Sabre was also described as a commercial decision by Mr Collins, saying it was “the most rewarding” instead of renewing Galileo’s contract.  The Travelport company however continues to work closely with 40 per cent of JTG agents.Mr Collins said the company would also be reviewing their commercial agreement with Travellers Choice in early 2010.“It is a unique arrangement, and will be reviewed next year,” Mr Collins said.Looking ahead, Mr Collins said 2010 shows signs of resurgence in consumer confidence, which he believes is one of the key aggregators to increasing travel bookings.last_img read more



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Indian Pacific reduces services due to competing markets

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T After celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2010, the once popular Australian train has had to cut services early this year.Amidst rival modes of travel, such as low-cost airlines and cruise ships and a diminishing tourism economy, the service will only run once per week beginning March 28, two months earlier in the season than the usual scale back. Owned and operated by Great Southern Railway (GSR), the Indian Pacific runs between Sydney and Perth via Adelaide.The Ghan, another iconic Australian rail service will also limit operations to a weekly service from April 4.The primary threat comes from cruise ships, offering heavily discounted fares and running at low cost, due to international offshore staff award wages.Staff could be next in line to be reduced if interest in the products doesn’t take a dramatic turn.“This is a commercial decision; like we saw Qantas have to do last year. We know it will have an impact on guests, but it is what we need to do for the survival of the industry,” General Manager, Russell Westmoreland said. Tourism group Australia’s Golden Outback Chief Executive Jack Eerbeek said GSR could ensure its future by “freshening up” its “fantastic” product and catering for retiring baby boomers.“While the Indian Pacific has been well maintained, there is nothing new, like an observation deck, or a double-decker train cabin,” Mr Eerbeek said. last_img read more



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