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Sweet Valentines Day deals for agents and clients from TravelBrands and more

first_img TORONTO — A round up of deals for both agents and clients is making Valentine’s Day sweeter this year.TravelBrands is showing its retail partners some love this Valentine’s Day with more commission, more loyalty points and a chance to win a trip for two to Hawaii.Bookings made today, Feb. 14, qualify for:Extra 2% commission for all online bookings including the GDS’s on all Sunquest, FIT, car, cruise and Travelgenie files.Extra 2% commission on all Exotik Tours, Boomerang Tours, Carte Postale Tours.2X the loyalty points on ALL Intair bookings made online.Plus for every booking made agents get a chance to win a trip for two including airfare, four nights at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel and transfers.For more details and information see travelbrandsagent.com.Meanwhile for clients Club Med has a Valentine’s Day Flash Sale Feb. 14 – 16 offering savings worth up to $3,000 per couple on all-inclusive escapes in addition to extra perks.More news:  FIVE FESTIVE FOODS TO TRY AT EUROPE’S CHRISTMAS MARKETSExtra perks available with the sale include free upgrades and champagne in-room. Some restrictions apply. The promotion is good for travel March 18 – Aug. 26 at Club Med’s resorts in Mexico, the West Indies and the Caribbean.“It’s the first time we are offering a sale like this for three days only. Don’t let your clients miss out,” says Carolyne Doyon, Principal VP of Club Med Canada and Mexico. “It’s the perfect time for them to book their summer escapes. Whether they are looking for relaxing or active holidays, they can find their perfect vacation at one of Club Med’s all-inclusive resorts!”For more information see clubmedagents.ca.Insight Vacations has a Valentine’s sale too, good through Feb. 28. Clients can save $400 per couple off air-inclusive journeys and take advantage of Insight’s 7.5% Early Payment Discount.Applicable tours include the 17-day Country Roads of France, the nine-day Italian from Milan, to Venice, Florence and Rome and an 18-day discovery of Iberia on Treasures of Spain, Portugal and Morocco.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin Cruises“With Insight Vacations, guests can enjoy a perfect mix of group experiences and leisure time to enjoy on their own or with a loved one,” says Insight.For more information see insightvacations.com or contact your local sales manager. Tags: Club Med, Insight Vacations, Romance & Weddings, TravelBrands Posted by Sweet Valentine’s Day deals for agents and clients, from TravelBrands and more Tuesday, February 14, 2017 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

FAA chief upbeat about prospects for Boeing 737 Maxs return

first_img FORT WORTH — After an all-day meeting with global aviation regulators, the chief of the Federal Aviation Administration sounded more upbeat than ever about prospects for clearing the troubled Boeing 737 Max to fly again.Aviation officials from more 30 countries met with the FAA to hear the U.S. regulator’s approach to reviewing changes that Boeing is making after two crashes that killed 346 people.“We are going through an incredibly intensive and robust process to make the safety case to unground the Max,” acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell told reporters when the closed-door meeting was over. He added that the agency won’t let the plane fly “until we have made that safety case.”Boeing has not yet submitted a final, formal application for its update to a flight-control system that has been implicated in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. That submission will be followed by test flights to demonstrate the changes to FAA experts.Elwell declined to put a timetable on the plane’s return or comment on reports that FAA officials told a separate meeting of airline officials in Montreal that the plane could be cleared for flights in the U.S. as soon as late June.The meeting Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, was crucial to the U.S. agency’s hopes of convincing other regulators around the world to lift their bans on the plane soon after the FAA does.Among those scheduled to attend were regulators from China, Europe and Canada, as well as officials from Indonesia and Ethiopia, sites of the two crashes that occurred before the Max was grounded worldwide in March.More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerBoeing is fixing flight-control software that in each accident pushed the plane’s nose down based on faulty readings from a single sensor. It will tie the system to more than one sensor and make it less powerful _ pilots for Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines were unable to counter the system’s automatic nose-down pitch.Elwell has said he hopes other regulators will lift their bans on the plane soon after the FAA does.However, regulators in China, the European Union and Canada have said they plan to conduct their own reviews of Boeing’s software changes and have stressed the need for additional pilot training.Once airlines get the green light, they will have to remove their Max jets from long-term storage and prepare them for flying. That will take anywhere from two days to a week, said Ali Bahrami, the FAA’s associate director of aviation safety.A far more significant delay in the plane’s return to service could occur if regulators decide that pilots should train in flight simulators first. Boeing is pushing for computer-based training only. Elwell said the FAA has not made a final decision, and that during Thursday’s meeting no other country said it would insist on simulator training.The FAA did not allow reporters to attend or watch the meeting, and it kept them away from international aviation officials who attended the all-day session at a gated FAAoffice.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsIt is unclear whether the event will do much to convince travellers that the Max is safe.Barclays said that its survey this month of 1,765 travellers in North America and Europe found that nearly half plan to avoid flying on the Max for a year or longer. About half said they would pick a non-Max flight if given the choice.Airlines are making plans for a campaign to reassure nervous customers. They know it won’t be easy.American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told NBC that because of all the news coverage of the crashes and their aftermath, no amount of marketing will sway worried passengers.“There may be some period of time” before customers are comfortable flying on the plane, Parker said, “but we will work through that.” He suggested that if passengers see U.S. pilots getting on board, they will follow.United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said this week that he will be on the carrier’s next Max flight. He added, however, that United would let passengers who don’t want to fly on the plane rebook without the customary ticket-change fee.The Flight Safety Foundation, a non-profit group based in the Washington suburbs, is urging regulators to co-ordinate recertification of the Max. The group’s CEO, Hassan Shahidi, said that would lift public confidence and be less disruptive than a fragmented, country-by-country return of the plane. FAA chief upbeat about prospects for Boeing 737 Max’s return Share Tags: Boeing 737 MAX << Previous PostNext Post >> By: The Associated Press Friday, May 24, 2019 last_img read more

US President Barack Obama arrives in Costa Rica

first_imgNo related posts. US President Barack Obama arrived in Costa Rica on Friday at 1:52 pm following a 24-hour trip to Mexico. He was received by Tico astronaut Franklin Chang, Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo and U.S. Ambassador Anne S. Andrew.The official welcome ceremony was held at the Foreign Ministry in downtown San José, where Obama met with President Laura Chinchilla at 2:55 pm. Chinchilla and members of her Cabinet are holding a bilateral meeting with the U.S. delegation. They will then hold a press conference.Pedestrians owned the streets of downtown San José due to the closure of Paseo Colón and Avenida Segunda for the arrival of Obama. The one place pedestrians could not walk, however, was the usually crowded pedestrian walkway, 200 meters of which will be closed until tomorrow.Public employees were given Friday off to help alleviate traffic during the president’s arrival.According to transit police there will be occasional opportunities for cars to cross over the street between Obama’s movements. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Chinese companies eyeing Costa Rican market

first_imgRepresentatives and managers of 500 Chinese companies will visit Costa Rica in late November to meet with local and regional business owners during the annual China-Latin America and the Caribbean Summit. Costa Rica will host the summit this year.The event is organized by the China’s Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the Costa Rican government, private-sector companies and the Inter-American Development Bank.Business owners interested in showcasing products to the Chinese market can obtain information and register for the event at: www.chinalac-cr.com. Registration is limited to 800 seats, and translators will be made available.According to officials from the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX), Costa Rica has a special interest in linking Chinese companies with local farmers and technology manufacturers.COMEX hopes to attract some 300 business representatives from the region.  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

US forms anticrime alliance with Guatemala and Mexico

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY — The governments of the United States, Mexico and Guatemala formed a special body Friday to fight drug trafficking and organized crime.The Trilateral Security Desk evaluates intelligence and border risks to combat human trafficking and the smuggling of illegal weapons and drugs in the region, Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez told reporters.During the group’s first meeting, at a hotel in Guatemala City, officials set a roadmap to meet security objectives.“The important thing is that we are discussing joint problems. This trilateral work strengthens our relationships and creates a new shared vision,” said US Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer for the Department of Homeland Security Alan Bersin, speaking in Spanish.To fight crime together, officials from the three countries agreed their police forces should establish protocols on information exchange and the flow of migrants.Guatemala is suffering from a wave of violence that has caused about 6,000 deaths, nearly half of them attributed to drugs and the operations of powerful Mexican cartels supported by local drug lords.With help from the United States, Guatemala last year established a special force of police, soldiers and tax officials to combat drug trafficking, organized crime and smuggling on its border with Mexico.In Mexico, turf wars between rival gangs have contributed to drug violence that has left more than 77,000 people dead in the past seven years.Mexico shares a long border spanning more than 3,000 kilometers (nearly 2,000 miles) with the United States. Facebook Comments Related posts:US drug czar approaches challenge from a different angle: as a recovering alcoholic White people are more likely to deal drugs in the US, but black people are more likely to get arrested for it At US-Mexico border, a flood of heroin, meth show drug trade is changing Judge approves extradition of Mexican drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmánlast_img read more

El Niño Kiss of death for Costa Ricas sea turtle eggs

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s Playa Ostional: A community that lives for sea turtles Police find 9,400 sea turtle eggs in car trunk outside Nicoya Mob of tourists at Costa Rica’s Ostional Beach prevents sea turtles from nesting New turtles arrive at Costa Rica’s Ostional beach, testing efforts to control tourists PLAYA OSTIONAL, Guanacaste – Annual rainfall has decreased by 52 percent this year in the Guanacaste region, according to the National Meteorological Institute, affecting the hatching rates of turtles in Ostional, a mass nesting site on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast for the olive ridley species.Approximately 70 kilometers from Nicoya, Ostional shore temperatures have been increasing and causing problems for the hatching rate of the olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea).“By this time, the rainfall would have already been at least two meters; however, this year it is probably less than half of that,” said Gerardo Chávez, a biology professor at the University of Costa Rica who is in charge of turtle research in Ostional.This year has been the most severe El Niño drought recorded since 1986, with sand temperatures rising to over 35 degrees Celsius, causing major problems for the eggs. The eggs rarely survive when the temperature approaches 35 C, Chávez said. “Over 35 degrees Celsius, they will all die.”In the middle of July, Chávez conducted a developmental assessment of the eggs on Playa Ostional and found that a significant number from June’s arribada, or mass nesting, were still buried in their nest in the sand and were already dead.During a large arribada, which usually last four days, hundreds of thousands of female olive ridley turtles come to shore and each female lays approximately 100 eggs. The eggs that survive on the shores will usually hatch within 45 to 55 days after being laid, and the scent of the ocean will draw the hatchlings there. Mollie Muchna/The Tico TimesAccording to Francisco Ortíz, an Ostional native who has been a certified turtle tour guide for six years, even if the sand becomes too hot it is possible some of the eggs in the lower, cooler parts of the nests would be able to survive. However, many times the whole nest is affected when rising temperatures occur.Occasionally, if the temperature of the sand is determined to be too high for the eggs to survive, they will be taken out in hopes of assisting their survival, Ortíz said.The temperature of the sand where the eggs incubate not only determines their survival, but also the turtle’s gender. If the sand is 29 degrees Celsius, there is a 50 percent change they will be males or females. Below 28 degrees, male turtles will almost always develop. When the sand is above 31 degrees Celsius, primarily female turtles hatch.The University of Costa Rica is planning a reforestation program within 50 meters of the Ostional shoreline in hopes of creating cooler sand and increasing the male population rates in turtles.“There is a much higher population of female turtles because of the rising temperatures,” Chávez said.According to Chávez, the idea behind this project, which he unofficially calls “La Cortina Verde,” or green curtain, is to help the turtle hatching rates while having small human impact upon the turtles, to allow the species to naturally thrive.“When humans produce the change [for species] then some species can really struggle,” Chávez said. “I don’t believe that other sorts of projects going on [to counteract the effect of the drought], like an incubation habitat, is okay for the turtles.”Mollie Muchna is an honors undergraduate student at the University of Arizona’s School of Journalism in the United States.  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US businesses love Costa Rican workers theres just not enough of them

first_imgCosta Rica’s best kept secret is its talent pool, according to several international business leaders speaking at a foreign investment conference Thursday.Business leaders met to discuss the investment climate in Costa Rica during the Americas Society/Council of the Americas 2015 Cities Conference in San José. Costa Rica’s human talent and advanced manufacturing won accolades while analysts argued that the country needs to invest in infrastructure and right its finances.“Costa Rica’s workforce is a wonderful secret that most don’t know about,” said Vincent Guglielmetti, general manager of Intel Costa Rica.Representatives from several U.S.-based precision manufacturers, including Intel, MicroVention and General Microcircuits, said that the offering of technical and professional workers in Costa Rica was a major attraction when they decided to bring their businesses here. Proficiency in English, professional skills and work effort were listed among the advantages Costa Rican workers brought.Costa Rican labor was a big pull for U.S. businesses, but there might not be enough of it. Several panelists said they are doubtful there are enough professionals to scale up operations in Costa Rica.“There’s a need to invest in universities,” said Guglielmetti, referring to the small number of students with the necessary skills.During a recent trip to Germany, President Luis Guillermo Solís, who also addressed Thursday’s conference, spoke with Chancellor Angela Merkel about Germany’s system of “dual education,” which links universities, technical colleges and the private sector to train workers in the skills businesses need.If Costa Rica’s workforce is its biggest advantage, infrastructure is its biggest disadvantage. High transportation costs and lost productivity are two examples of how inadequate roads, public transportation and ports hurt business here.Roberto Echandi of the World Bank said Costa Rica has fallen behind its rivals because of its lack of infrastructure investment.“We’ve been waiting 20 years to address this, we need to act now,” Echandi said.Alongside the country’s infrastructure woes, other structural issues are holding back foreign investment and economic growth. Economist Luis Mesalles addresses the 2015 Latin American Cities Conference in San José on June 25 , 2015. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesEcoanálisis analyst Luis Mesalles said that Costa Rica is well positioned in the global economy but should be growing more.The country’s GDP grew 3.5 percent in 2013 according to the World Bank. Costa Rica’s growth beat the Latin American average but fell behind its neighbors Nicaragua (4.6 percent) and Panama (8.4 percent).Costa Rica has benefitted from falling global prices of petroleum and raw materials and an ascendent U.S. economy, Mesalles said. But a strong colón, rising U.S. interest rates and red tape have been drags on the country’s competitiveness. Unemployment is over 10 percent.Atop these challenges the country’s budget deficit has made some investors weary about Costa Rica’s medium-term outlook.Foreign investors have been “losing patience” with Costa Rica, said César Arias, Latin America director for Fitch Ratings. Costa Rica’s investment outlook from Fitch Ratings is a stable BB+, but the ratings agency is pessimistic on the country’s ability to address the budget deficit, he said.On Wednesday, Moody’s Rating maintained its Ba1 rating for Costa Rica. The agency downgraded Costa Rica’s credit rating in September 2014.The outlook may be negative but Costa Rica has proven in the past that it can tackle fiscal reform, Arias said. Without solid public finances, needed investment in infrastructure and higher education would remain out of reach. Facebook Comments Related posts:US medical devices manufacturer to open plant in Costa Rica Energy prices and politics weigh down business confidence, Costa Rica private-sector survey notes Some members of Costa Rica’s business sector alarmed over ‘historic’ jump in unemployment UN: Foreign investment in Latin America falls 16 percent in 2014last_img read more

US restores regular flights to Cuba

first_imgHAVANA — The United States and Cuba signed an agreement Tuesday authorizing daily U.S. commercial flights to the communist-ruled island for the first time in more than 50 years.The deal allows up to 110 daily flights to 10 destinations in Cuba, with about 20 of them to the capital Havana, where authorities have ordered renovations to double the capacity of José Martí airport.“Today is a historic day in the relationship between Cuba and the United States,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in Havana, where he signed the accord with his Cuban counterpart Adel Yzquierdo Rodríguez.“For the first time in more than five decades, the United States and Cuba will allow (airlines) to establish a service between our two nations.”Rodríguez said the agreement marked “the start of a new era in air transport links between Cuba and the United States, which will contribute to the deepening of ties between our two countries.”Currently, all flights between the two countries are charter flights.U.S. authorities said they would immediately invite American airlines to submit applications to operate the flights to Cuba, with routes to be set up within months.The Cuban government will also give “thorough consideration to future requests from the U.S. government to increase this level of service,” said U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation Affairs Thomas Engle.The agreement allows for regular flights “between any city in the U.S. and any city in Cuba,” provided it is equipped with infrastructure for international air travel, he added.Airlines in the two countries can now strike deals on code-sharing and aircraft leasing, the Cuban embassy said in December when the plan was announced.However, travel by U.S. tourists is still barred under the trade embargo that the United States slapped on Cuba in the 1960s after Fidel Castro came to power in a revolution.The U.S. Treasury Department has set 12 categories of authorized travel including for artists and journalists.Multiple destinations“Initially, the U.S. carriers will be allowed to fly 20 scheduled frequencies per day to Havana, the largest market, and remember that the current level is zero,” Engle said.They may also “fly 10 scheduled frequencies per day to any other city in Cuba that has an airport open to international service.”Besides Havana, flights will be allowed to Camaguey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba.The agreement formally opens the door for Cuban airlines to start operating future flights into the United States.But Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs Brandon Belford said Cuban airlines will still have to obtain their own licenses from U.S. authorities.“So we do not anticipate Cuban-owned aircraft serving the U.S. in the near future,” he said.Call for applicationsOn Tuesday, the Treasury Department was to invite U.S. airlines to submit applications to be allocated the new flights to Cuba.American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines have previously expressed an interest in running regular flights to Cuba as has JetBlue, which already operates charter flights.Belford said “carriers will have 15 days to submit their applications if they want to serve Havana and the other nine airports.”All final decisions will be made in within about six months.“Our expectation is that we will be in position to make a decision and make it final sometime in the summer, in terms of which carriers and which U.S. cities will have service into Cuba,” Belford said.Commercial flights between Cuba and the United States were cancelled 53 years ago but since the mid-1970s, authorized charter flights have been allowed under certain conditions.Cuba is strengthening its foreign commercial ties after formally restoring diplomatic relations with the United States in July. Facebook Comments Related posts:How Cuba is and isn’t changing, one year after thaw with U.S. Obama to make historic visit to Cuba in March Panama and ‘Panama Papers’ law firm under the media’s lenses African, Cuban migrant children in limbo at Panama-Costa Rica borderlast_img read more

Jamaica Part II Will Costa Ricas La Sele find its killer instinct

first_imgRelated posts:FEDEFUTBOL official: FIFA scandal won’t affect Costa Rica’s upcoming matches FIFA arrests transform Blatter heir into face of football scandal Saprissa pounds Kansas City to advance to CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals Women’s World Cup expanded field nets lopsided scores, but perhaps long-term gains When Johnny Acosta scored on the 67th minute equalizer in last Friday’sWorld Cup Qualifier in Jamaica, Costa Rica breathed a collective sigh of relief. Disaster was avoided as “La Sele,” as the national men’s team is known, kept its three-point lead in Group B in this round’s qualifiers by tying the Jamaicans 1-1, thanks to the late goal coming from the unlikely combination of Acosta and substitute Christian Bolaños.Back at home on Tuesday, the Ticos will look to widen their lead over the rest of the group with a win over Jamaica at San José’s National Stadium. The magic number for La Sele, which currently has seven points, to automatically advance to the next round is 11, meaning any combination of a win and a tie in its next three games will secure a spot in the hexagonal round among the top six teams from CONCACAF.Though La Sele looks to be the only team in the region right now that can challenge Mexico for the top spot in qualifying, it will need a quick turnaround from Friday’s uninspired showing to prove it remains one of CONCACAF’s best.Here are some thoughts heading into Tuesday’s second leg of Costa Rica vs. Jamaica. La Sele’s Keylor Navas during a March 28, 2016 practice ahead of Costa Rica’s game against Jamaica the following day. Álvaro Sánchez/The Tico TimesCarrying over momentumNumerous injuries to some of its top stars within the past year and a new coach who wants to experiment with different lineups give La Sele some excuse for looking so out of sync on Friday.The bad news was that its first half against Jamaica was about as poor a performance as they have shown under coach Óscar Ramírez. The good news is that they escaped the island with a tie when they easily could have lost and given the Jamaicans a share of the group lead.Ramírez told reporters after the game in Kingston that although he was disappointed with the dispirited first half, he was pleased with how the team closed in the second period.“In the second half everything calmed down for us and we knew that we were able to recuperate,” he said. “We settled down a little more when some of the subs came in. The difference between this game and other games was how we controlled the game at the end.”In the second half, La Sele’s offense appeared from the depths, putting some pressure on a respectable Jamaican defense.It’s clear that Ramírez wants his offense to be patient and wait to capitalize on breakaway opportunities, where they flip the field quickly and get playmakers like Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruíz in position to create. This has the unfortunate side effect of lulling the team into passivity that relies too much on the backline to not break. But when they counter defensive stops with quick attacks, as seen in the second halves of the last two qualifiers against Jamaica and Panama, their talent at each level puts an enormous amount of pressure on an opposing defense, requiring the other side to immediately get back and be in perfect position.When playing at their best, they’re too talented to have any less than four or five real scoring opportunities against CONCACAF-level competition. If La Sele can carry that momentum from the second half into National Stadium Tuesday, that gives them the recipe for a relatively easy win. Members of Costa Rica’s national football team, La Sele, during a March 28, 2016 practice. Álvaro Sánchez/The Tico TimesUncharacteristic lapses in defenseWhen left-back Ronald Matarrita got beat on a long volley to allow Jamaica’s Je-Vaughn Watson to score a 15th-minute goal on Friday it was a perfect blueprint for how to get the ball past Costa Rica’s five-man line and goalie Keylor Navas, who couldn’t even make a play on the crossing header because it was so well-placed.It was only the third time La Sele has allowed a goal in the past six games, giving merit to the defense-first strategy that Ramírez has instilled since last August. What La Sele has done so well in that span is keep attackers in front of them, containing offenses like an umbrella and cutting off all passing lanes near goal.What Jamaica exposed, at least briefly in the first half, was a defense that can be beat with a barrage of long balls. Coach Winfried Schaefer encouraged his speedy strikers to establish one-on-one chances with Costa Rican defenders and outmuscle them to the ball.Matarrita, the 21-year-old dynamo playing for New York City in the MLS, is so key for what Ramírez wants to do with his counter attacks mentioned above, but he has to be more physical against Jamaica’s lightning fast attackers. On top of the goal he gave up, he was beaten on a similar play earlier in the game that very nearly could have given Jamaica a two-goal lead. If he again starts at left-back Tuesday over Bolaños, he’s sure to see more pressure come his way.Most of Jamaica’s scoring chances came from sudden turnovers by La Sele on their own side of the field, failing to facilitate between the backline and the midfield. Star midfielders Ruíz and Celso Borges failed to make their presence known, going invisible for large patches of the game.“I was bothered by the way we weren’t fluid in transition from defense to midfield,” Ramírez said. “We were losing the ball so easily and that made things complicated for us. It changed the entire game.”For La Sele to get three points on Tuesday, it’ll be crucial for the defense to keep the game at the center of the field, allowing Ruíz and others to find holes in Jamaica’s backline after being suffocated Friday. Costa Rica’s star goalkeeper Keylor Navas fields questions from the press on March 28, 2016. Álvaro Sánchez/The Tico TimesStill in controlIn World Cup Qualifying, La Sele has been fortunate to carve out a three-point lead over a pair of solid contenders like Panama and Jamaica while still having yet to play either one at home. The sopping wet qualifier in Panama last November realistically could have ended in a tie after Panama nearly scored multiple times in the second half, and Jamaica probably should have won last Friday in Kingston. But they didn’t, and both times Costa Rica was able to steal road games from this group’s toughest competitors. That says a lot about how much La Sele has improved in such a short time under Ramírez.With Paulo Wanchope in charge, La Sele routinely let leads get away from them and failed to close games on the right note. Composure isn’t something that can be turned on and off like a switch, but after the despairing start to their 2014 World Cup follow-up, it looks like La Sele has located that clutch gene that carried it to the quarterfinals in Brazil two years ago.But it still has to establish that killer instinct by knocking teams out early and showing a consistent pace for 90 minutes. When Costa Rica plays like it should, as one of the two best teams in this region, then a home qualifier against the likes of a solid national team like Jamaica should offer La Sele a setting to impose its will on a less-talented squad. For much of Friday’s game, they got stuck playing to Jamaica’s rhythm and seeming more like they didn’t want to screw up rather than taking aggressive shots.Tuesday gives La Sele the chance to distance itself from Jamaica with a win that would all but solidify its place in the hexagonal round of World Cup Qualifying.Costa Rica and Jamaica will kick off at 8 p.m. local time from National Stadium in San José. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US students survive 9 days in New Zealand bush

first_imgKlintworth’s father Dane, of Neenah, Wisconsin, said the two students are adept at solving problems and made the right decision to wait to cross the raging river and to ration their food.He said he and his wife didn’t learn their daughter and her boyfriend were missing until Saturday morning. He said it was the worst day of their lives until they got word that night that the two were safe.The couple’s ordeal began June 1 when friend Katie Jenkins, another UW student, dropped them off at a national park on the South Island’s West Coast so they could hike in and camp for a few days.“They were just going to the hot springs, to chill out and study for finals,” Jenkins said, adding that she continued on with her own travels and didn’t realize the couple was missing until eight days had passed, which is when she raised the alarm.The couple didn’t take much food _ some carrots, rice, peanut butter and trail mix, according to Police Sgt. Sean Judd, who coordinated rescue attempts. He said that after three days, a steady rain started.“Then on Wednesday the snowstorm hit and it got progressively worse,” Judd said.Brown said that soaking in the hot pools “helped keep us warm and slow energy loss.” Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates How men can have a healthy 2019 The two students, on a foreign study program in New Zealand with University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, had planned to hike and camp for a few days at some hot springs on the country’s South Island. But heavy rains and a snowstorm during the Southern Hemisphere winter prevented the couple from being able to cross a river and return.“Unfortunately it rained and rained, day after day, and snowed,” Alec Brown wrote in an email to The Associated Press Monday.He said the nights were tough to take because the rain and sleet pounded down on the tarpaulin covering their sleeping hammock and the river roared _ reminding them all the time of their predicament.When they realized they were going to be stuck they started rationing: “a biscuit and jelly one day,” Brown wrote “and even less another.”Brown’s mother Lisa, of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, said she panicked when she first found out her son was missing.“It’s too much for a mom,” she told the AP. “Especially when they’re that far away. I just felt so helpless.”She had faith that Alec, an environmental science major, knew the outdoors well enough to survive, she said, adding that Erica, who is studying graphic design, is a strong woman. The incident comes one month after three Boston University students studying abroad were killed in New Zealand when their minivan rolled. The students were driving to a hike at the time of the crash. A fourth student who was critically injured in the crash has since regained consciousness.___Follow Nick Perry on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nickgbperry More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistcenter_img (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   It wasn’t until Sunday, Brown said, that the river finally seemed safe enough to cross again. He and Klintworth prepared for their hike out by cooking up a “good meal” of rice, marshmallows, peanut butter and chocolate, he said.“We then left and crossed the icy waters only up to our waist,” he said. “We were climbing the mountains under the dense tree cover when we first heard the helicopter we assumed was looking for us. The copter never saw us and we walked out just fine and met up with the search and rescue by the road.”It was when they attended a debriefing, he added, that “we found out what a big deal all this was.”Judd said the pair made some good choices, particularly by not trying to cross the flooded river, but could have entered the wilderness better prepared.Brown said he relied on his past experience hiking and camping and felt confident in the couple’s ability to survive.“I believe when you go into the bush you take your life into your own hands and need to be prepared to handle whatever conditions occur,” he said. “We could have been more prepared, but in the end we were prepared enough to walk ourselves out.” New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Top Stories Associated PressWELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Two U.S. students trapped in the New Zealand wilderness by a snowstorm trekked back out to safety after surviving their nine-day ordeal by rationing their meager supplies of trail mix and warming themselves in hot springs.Alec Brown and Erica Klintworth, both 21, returned to the city of Christchurch on Monday after meeting up with members of a search team _ famished but otherwise in good shape, police said.last_img read more

Mideast powers meet seek Syria peace in Cairo

first_imgAssociated PressCAIRO (AP) – Mideast heavyweights had a first high-level meeting in Cairo on Monday as part of newly-formed quartet tasked to end Syria’s civil war, cautioning that a solution would not come easy but that common ground exists between Damascus’ staunchest regional ally and its opponents.The gathering was the first time foreign ministers from the “Islamic Quartet” met for the dialogue as part of an initiative launched by Egypt’s new Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. “Nobody should expect from one meeting an immediate action plan which we agree upon and could be presented to others,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, adding that what counted was “regional ownership” of the crisis.Davutoglu was speaking to reporters in a press conference alongside his Egyptian and Iranian counterparts after the meeting in Cairo’s Foreign Ministry.The four-nation group brings together three supporters of the Syrian rebellion _ Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt _ with the Syrian regime’s top regional ally, Iran.The U.N.’s special envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Ibrahimi, and Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby had discussed Ibrahimi’s three-day trip to Syria over the weekend, where he met Syrian President Bashar Assad, before meeting the ministers for dinner.Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr also acknowledged that a plan had not emerged from Monday night’s meeting, “but there is discussion about this.”Speaking in Arabic, the Iranian foreign minister praised Egypt for its own successful uprising, which ousted the country’s longtime authoritarian leader last year and helped spark Syria’s own revolt. “The common ground between us is more than our differences,” Ali Akbar Salehi said. “Finding a peaceful solution is important.”While the Turkish foreign minister stressed that the ultimate goal should be “a strong Syria” based on the “legitimate rights and demands of the Syrian people,” Salehi said “the solution in Syria should be a Syrian solution,” not “imposed from the outside.”Asked whether the Shiite Muslim country had sent military forces to Lebanon and Syria, Salehi did not reply. Earlier in the week a top commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said Tehran had sent advisers, the clearest indication to date of Iran’s direct assistance to the Syrian regime.Notably absent was Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, who earlier this month was recovering from abdominal surgery in the United States. Last week, Saudi Arabia said that the 72-year-old foreign minister would spend several weeks in Los Angeles to recover.It was initially suggested that Saudi Arabia would send its deputy foreign minister to the meeting in Cairo, but the kingdom did not. No explanation was given. Saudi Arabia, though, did send the deputy to Cairo last week to attend a preparatory session for Monday’s meeting, and the kingdom remains part of the talks. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Top Stories Sponsored Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too Morsi was said to have offered a package of incentives for Tehran, including the restoration of full diplomatic ties and efforts toward reconciliation with wealthy Gulf nations _ a significant diplomatic prize for the Islamic Republic, especially as it comes under mounting pressure over its disputed nuclear program.Meanwhile, the carnage shows no sign of abating. Syrian activists say nearly 5,000 people were killed in August, the highest monthly total since the crisis began in March 2011 _ bringing the overall death toll from the conflict to some 23,000.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Earlier in the day, the Turkish foreign minister met with Egypt’s Morsi to discuss the Syrian crisis.Morsi’s Sunni Muslim Brotherhood backers, Egypt’s most powerful political group since the revolt, are opposed to Shiite Iran’s staunch backing of the Syrian regime and its lethal crackdown on largely Sunni protesters. Assad is a follower of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.Turkey, which hosts some 80,000 Syrian refugees, has accused its southern neighbor Syria of “state terrorism” and allowed rebels to use its territory as a base. Saudi Arabia has taken a leading role in supporting the opposition seeking to topple the regime, while Egypt’s president has urged Assad to take a lesson from the Arab Spring uprisings that deposed other leaders and step down.Syria has responded by saying Morsi’s comments were “blatant interference in Syrian internal affairs” and accused Turkey of “practicing terrorism against the Syrian people by harboring, supporting and training armed terrorist groups.”Cairo is trying to convince Iran to drop its unquestioned support of Assad in exchange for help in easing Tehran’s regional isolation, officials close to the Egyptian presidency said last week. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Canada applauds Michigan vote on bridges tunnels

first_imgMichigan voters on Tuesday defeated Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun’s efforts to require a public vote before any competing international crossing can be built with state money. It came in response to the proposed construction of a new government bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.Moroun is the billionaire private owner of the Ambassador Bridge, Canada’s busiest border crossing. Moroun wants to build a new span of his own, and spent millions of advertising dollars to support Proposal 6.Michigan Gov. Rick. Snyder opposed Moroun’s ballot measure and calls Moroun a special interest against Michigan interests. Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has said Moroun’s motivation is to maintain a near monopoly on truck and trade traffic with his Ambassador Bridge.Snyder and Canadian leaders reached a deal in June on a new government bridge. Snyder has said that under the agreement Michigan isn’t on the hook for any of the bridge costs, which would be repaid to Canada through tolls collected on the Canadian side.The governor’s office has said the new bridge would relieve traffic congestion at the crossing and enhance the $70 billion-a-year trade relationship between Michigan and Canada. Harper has called a new bridge one of Canada’s best investments and said revenues would recoup the cost. The United States and Canada share the world’s largest trading relationship. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Associated PressTORONTO (AP) – A decision by Michigan voters to defeat a proposal that would have meant referendums on whether new bridges or tunnels are built between their state and Canada helps clear the way for a new Canadian-financed bridge deemed critical to trade, Canada’s government said Wednesday.Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said a new bridge is important to the economies of both countries and said he’s very pleased to see the people of Michigan support it. Canada’s auto sector has said a new bridge is critical to alleviating gridlock at the country’s most important trade conduit.Canadian Transport Minister Denis Lebel said the bridge will be built as “as soon as possible” and said they are awaiting a presidential permit from the Obama administration.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Check your body, save your life Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Top Stories Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Yemeni politicians say UN peace talks indefinitely postponed

first_img SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A United Nations-sponsored Yemeni peace conference that was to start Thursday in Geneva has been indefinitely postponed, officials said, as battles raged across the country.The talks were meant to end weeks of heavy fighting and Saudi-led airstrikes against an Iran-backed rebel group amid a humanitarian crisis that has left millions in the Arab world’s poorest country short of food and fuel. Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The U.N. had urged all parties to attend the talks, announced last week, without preconditions. But the exiled government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi reiterated its demand that the Houthis first pull out of cities and towns seized in recent months, including the capital, Sanaa.The Houthis backed the talks and said they would participate. Houthi rebel leader Abdul-Malek al-Houthi had described talks as the only solution to the war. He boycotted an earlier conference hosted by Saudi Arabia, demanding that peace negotiations be held in a neutral country.The talks were the first major initiative of the new U.N. special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who this month held meetings in Yemen with rival political players. Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, told reporters Thursday that Ahmed “believes he has the assurances he has to proceed” with the talks.Saudi-led airstrikes began March 26. Fighting on the ground has pitted Hadi’s forces against the Houthis and military units loyal to Saleh.The Saudi-led coalition has portrayed the Houthis as a proxy for an expansionist Shiite Iran. Iran supports the Houthis but denies arming them. Smoke rises after a Saudi-led airstrike targeted a military base in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Fighting raged on in Yemen on Sunday, with airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition hitting rebel targets in multiple cities, including the capital, while street battles in the city of Taiz killed several civilians. (Photo/Shohdi Alsofi) 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Warplanes had fired missiles overnight at several army camps and weapon depots in Sanaa, in the northern Houthi stronghold of Saada and in the southern city of Aden. The airstrikes came a day after some of the heaviest bombardment carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in Sanaa.The U.N. estimates that at least 1,037 civilians, including 130 women and 234 children, have been killed between March 26 and May 20. The cities of Saada and Aden have endured the most extensive damage to their infrastructure.Humanitarian groups have said a five-day truce that ended last week was hardly enough to get aid in. The cease-fire was breached several times.___Associated Press writer Cara Anna in New York contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The difference between men and women when it comes to pain New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Three officials from the Houthi, socialist and unionist parties said late Sunday they were notified the talks had been postponed and that no new date had been set. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.A U.N. official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and therefore also spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the talks would be postponed.The setback came as Saudi-led warplanes on Monday pounded Shiite Houthi rebel positions in the capital and across the country.Heavy fighting continued in the city of Dhale, where witnesses and military officials said that fighters loyal to the exiled president managed to seize several military sites from the rebels, surrounding them in some areas and demanding they surrender. The officials, along with hospital workers, said that dozens were killed and some 70 were wounded.In the city of Taiz, the officials said 13 civilians died and some 200 others were wounded after a truck carrying oil was hit by crossfire and caused a raging fire.They added that in the capital, Sanaa, warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition struck a house owned by Ahmed Saleh, son of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is allied with the Houthi rebels, leaving it destroyed and in flames. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists. Comments   Share   last_img read more

Global stocks lower after Greece delays IMF payments

first_img LONDON (AP) — Greece’s decision to bundle together its upcoming repayments to the International Monetary Fund roiled financial markets Friday as investors fretted over the possibility of a Greek debt default and the country’s exit from the euro. U.S. jobs figures later will provide investors with a distraction from the mounting uncertainty over Greece’s financial future.KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Greek shares led the way lower with the benchmark Athens index down 5 percent. Elsewhere, France’s CAC 40 slid 1.5 percent to 4,912 while Germany’s DAX fell 1.4 percent to 11,180. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.9 percent to 6,793. U.S. stocks were poised for a lower opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.5 percent. GREEK TURMOIL: The decision Thursday by the Greek government to bundle together its four payments totaling 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) due to the International Monetary Fund this month into one on June 30 raised fears across markets that the country’s financial position is even worse thought, threatening its place in the euro. It’s the first time a developed economy has taken the option of bundling payments together — an emergency maneuver that’s allowed by the IMF but taken up last by Zambia in the 1980s. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is scheduled to address an emergency session of parliament Friday as discontent rises within his party.ANALYST TAKE: “Last night’s sudden change of mind has raised the stakes even further as this high stakes game of Jenga goes on between Greece and its creditors,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. “One false move from one side or the other, and the whole fragile edifice could well come tumbling down.”AMERICAN JOBS: Though clearly focusing on the developments surrounding Greece, investors have key U.S. data to digest before Wall Street opens for business. May’s nonfarm payrolls data could well set the market tone for a while as investors assess when the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates. Economists predict that employers added 227,500 jobs in May and the unemployment rate will hold steady at 5.4 percent. “Having seen the previous three sets of figures being revised lower, and the slightly cooler economic data releases the U.S. has had, expectations could be forgiven for dropping a little,” said Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG. FILE – This Oct. 8. 2014 photo shows a Wall Street address on the side of a building in New York. U.S. stocks are following European markets lower Thursday, June 4, 2015, as a deadline approaches in Greece’s debt talks. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Men’s health affects baby’s health too New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Sponsored Stories center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes CURRENCIES: The payrolls data could have a big bearing on the dollar. Ahead of the figures, the euro was flat at $1.1225 while the dollar rose 0.2 percent 124.79 yen.ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.1 percent to close at 20,460.90 and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.2 percent to 2,068.10. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.1 percent to 27,260.16 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1 percent to 5,498.50. Southeast Asian benchmarks were also mostly lower but the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China gained 1.5 percent to 5,023.10.ENERGY: As traders awaited the latest decision to OPEC, benchmark U.S. crude rose 50 cents to $58.50 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. OPEC is expected to keep its production unchanged at 30 million barrels a day. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, rose 50 cents, too, to $62.532 in London.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Question mark over Erdogan as Turk parties jockey for power

first_img Sponsored Stories ISTANBUL (AP) — Two weeks after Turkey’s parliamentary elections, experts agree on one thing: No one really knows what’s going to happen next.Turkey’s June 7 election left Turkey’s long-ruling Justice and Development Party, known by Turkish acronym AKP, short of the majority it needs to govern alone, meaning it will have to turn to at least one of the three opposition parties to secure its hold on government. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, waves after his speech following a traditional iftar, the first meal to break the Ramadan fast, during a visit at the Midyat refugee camp in Mardin, southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, Saturday, June 20, 2015. Erdogan visited the camp which is sheltering those who have fled the 4-year conflict in neighbouring Syria. The UN refugee agency has said the number of Syrian refugees seeking its help now tops two-million – and could be far higher. Turkey is the world’s biggest refugee host with 1.59 million refugees, according to the most recent U.N. figures. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall “If they can’t do that … Then I’m afraid it’s the good old authoritarian politics we’re going to be dealing with,” Kalaycioglu said.___Suzan Fraser reported from Ankara.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. “I can take Turkey back to those days when its star glittered,” the book quotes Gul as saying.Then there’s the prospect of political mischief. Lawmakers could be enticed to defect from the opposition in return for ministerial appointments, for example. Erdogan’s critics fear his party could deliberately sabotage coalition talks, using the instability to argue for a re-run of the election in the hope of clawing back its majority.In comments carried Sunday by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, Erdogan hinted that his patience with the coalition-building process would be limited, railing against the prospect of “gridlock” if a government could not be formed quickly.“If politicians fail to resolve this issue, the sole reference point to resolve it is the nation,” he said in an apparent reference to the possibility of a new vote.Turks will get an early hint of which way things are going next week, when lawmakers are formally sworn in and elect a speaker. Kalaycioglu, who is critical of Erdogan, said there might just be a chance that the opposition parties can elect a non-AKP speaker. That, he said, would be a sign that Erdogan’s political fortunes were turning after 13 years in power. Quick workouts for men Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Negotiating such a coalition will be complicated by the vitriol of the campaign, the differences between the four camps and the ambitions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, still a dominant force in Turkish politics despite his theoretically neutral role as head of state.“Neither can I or anyone else make any predictions as to what’s happening,” said Ersin Kalaycioglu, a professor of Turkish politics at Sabanci University in Istanbul.Sinan Ciddi, the director of the Institute of Turkish Studies at Georgetown University, said he wouldn’t rule out anything either.“There are as many credible scenarios out there as there are plausible political parties,” he said.One of the more credible ones involves a deal between Turkey’s ruling party and the hardline nationalist party MHP, which opposes the two-year-old peace process with Turkey’s autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels. Both parties sit on the right wing of Turkish politics, but such a deal could damage AKP’s relationship with Kurdish voters, a key constituency.Alternatively, AKP could swallow its pride and strike a deal with its arch-nemesis, the secular CHP. Such a pairing would have an unassailable majority, but the rivalry between the two runs so deep it’s difficult to envision them acting in tandem. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Top Stories Perhaps most importantly, all the opposition parties want Erdogan to stay out of politics. It’s hard to see the notoriously outspoken president backing away quietly.It’s just about conceivable that Turkey’s three opposition parties, including the leftist HDP, could all band together and freeze AKP out of power, a scenario floated by Sukru Kucuksahin, a columnist for the secular-minded Hurriyet newspaper.But even he acknowledged that was a long shot.Ilnur Cevik, a columnist at for the pro-government Daily Sabah said coalition-building would be difficult because of “deep-rooted enmities” although he said a tie-up between AKP and the nationalists was the most likely bet. As for an alliance with the secularists, Cevik said, that would leave a bad taste in supporters’ mouth.“The grassroots don’t want it,” he said.There are personal rivalries at play too, with some observers warning of a struggle within the ruling party itself. One wild card is former President Abdullah Gul, a co-founder of AKP still popular within the party. Gul has long been seen as an Erdogan ally, but a provocative memoir just published by one of Gul’s former aides reads like a call for a return to frontline politics. The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

3 Chinese Uighurs get 6 years over terrorism in Indonesia

first_imgThe men were arrested in September, along with another Uighur (WEE-gur) named Ahmet Bozoglan and three Indonesian men, while they allegedly were trying to meet Indonesia’s most-wanted militant, Abu Wardah Santoso, in Central Sulawesi province.Santoso, the leader of a group called the East Indonesia Mujahideen, is accused of killing several Indonesian policemen and has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. Indonesia has outlawed membership in the group.Presiding Judge Kun Marioso said the panel of three judges found the defendants had conspired with a Santoso-led terrorist group in Poso in Central Sulawesi and used fake Turkish passports. Poso was the site of violence between Christians and Muslims in 2001 and 2002 in which more than 1,000 people died.The defendants were also ordered to pay $7,535 each or spend six additional months in custody.Bozoglan and the three Indonesian men are being tried separately, with verdicts expected later this month.Indonesian authorities initially thought the four Uighurs were from Turkey, which has linguistic and ethnic ties with the Uighur homeland of Xinjiang, a region in northwestern China.Starting in around 2009, groups of Uighurs have traveled across Southeast Asia from China hoping to reach Turkey to claim asylum from what they say persecution by Chinese authorities. JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian court on Monday sentenced three members of China’s ethnic Uighur minority community to six years in prison after finding them guilty of conspiring with Indonesian militants, including a fugitive who is on the nation’s most-wanted list.A panel of judges at the North Jakarta District Court ruled that Ahmet Mahmud, 20, Abdulbasit Tuzer, 24, and 28-year-old Abdullah — who also goes by Altinci Bayyram — guilty of violating the nation’s anti-terrorism and immigration laws. Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Men’s health affects baby’s health toocenter_img 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Suspected Islamic militants, from left to right, Abdulbasit Tuzer, Ahmet Mahmud and Abdullah sit on the defendant’s chairs during their trial hearing at North Jakarta District Court in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, July 13, 2015. The court has sentenced the men believed to be members of China’s ethnic Uighur minority community to six years in jail for conspiring with Indonesian terrorists. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim) China has alleged that members of the Muslim Uighur minority have in the past joined the Islamic State group and returned home to engage in terrorist plots.Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has been hit by a series of deadly attacks by members of the Jemaah Islamiyah network, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. However, in recent years, smaller and less deadly strikes have targeted government authorities, mainly police and anti-terrorism forces.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Kenya press freedom rapidly deteriorating rights group says

first_img Sponsored Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Press freedom is deteriorating in Kenya as a result of government legislation, threats and attacks, a media rights group said Wednesday.Kenya’s constitution adopted in 2010 guarantees media freedom but since taking power in 2013 President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee coalition has introduced several bills calling for harsh fines and jail terms for journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. “Security operations, anti-terror operations, the ICC case, state spending, land deals, and corruption are the most sensitive topics most likely to get journalists in trouble,” said the CPJ report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Check your body, save your life One law, currently suspended by the courts, could de-register journalists and prevent them from working for not following vague principles such as “sticking to issues,” the report says. The law also created a government-controlled tribunal which could impose fines on individual journalists of $5,000 and to media companies of $200,000 for breaching the code of conduct.Journalists are being threatened, intimidated and attacked and the government is often the culprit, the report said.The deteriorating climate for the media comes at a time when press scrutiny and public discussion are essential for continued development of Kenya’s democracy and economy, the report said.The report said that one of the issues that need public discourse and press scrutiny is the security threat from al-Shabab, the Islamic militants based in neighboring Somalia who’ve claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in Kenya including for the April massacre at Garissa University that killed at least 147 people and the 2013 extremist attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall. Also needing press scrutiny, according to the report, is the situation for Kenya’s deputy president who is under indictment from the International Criminal Court, although similar charges were dropped against the president. Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

DriveAway Holidays nominated in the World Travel Awards

first_imgSource = DriveAway Holidays DriveAway Holidays has announced that they are a finalist at the 2011 World Travel Awards in the category of Australasia’s Leading Business Car Hire for the third year running. The World Travel Awards serves to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry.DriveAway Holidays are also announcing their nomination in the Best Wholesaler Category and the Best Sales Executive category at the 2011 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards. This is the second year in a row that Nathan Baber, DriveAway’s National Industry Sales Manager has been nominated and he is hoping this year to take out the title. Travel agents can cast their votes online at www.afta.com.au/NTIANominationsVotingChris Hamill, Driveaway’s CEO says that “to be nominated for these awards year after year is a real honour. We are continually setting the bar higher when it comes to improving service levels so it is great that these efforts are recognised. We want to take this opportunity to thank our clients, agents and suppliers including Peugeot Sodexa for their nominations and continued support.For voting and more information on the World Travel Awards go to www.worldtravelawards.comlast_img read more

Social media needs to better target China SinoTech

first_imgUsing social media platforms to target the burgeoning Chinese travel market is an effective way of drawing visitors to a destination, but tourism authorities should not underestimate the value of empirical social media research to guide their decision making, according to Dr Mathew McDougall, chief executive of SinoTech Group.Dr McDougall, who founded the social media analytics and consulting firm, said that whilst there was evidence of social media making a direct impact in “developing awareness and influencing the Chinese traveller’s consideration of a destination”, organisations needed to utilise “simple research” to ensure their social media campaigns targeted the right audiences.   “The Chinese social media platform that is ultimately used by a tourism authority to reach Chinese travellers should be determined by the audience you are looking to reach,” Dr McDougall said, highlighting sites SinaWeibo (the Chinese version of Twitter), Renren (the Chinese version of Facebook) and travel blog sites like China Travel or TravelBlog.“Some simple research can help refine your site selections but it is critical that your social media campaign does not start and stop at this stage,” the SinoTech boss added.“Simply put, you need to undertake your social media programs in a planned, measured and methodical approach that ensures your good intentions are not disrupted or sabotaged by disgruntled netizens looking to right a wrong or promote negative messages regarding your destination.”Dr McDougall also said that organisations needed to be aware of the different user behaviour social media forms would attract in the East, even if the platforms “looked and felt” the same as the ones in the West.“My parting thought is that what works in the West is not a measure of what will work in China,” Dr Mc Dougall said.“Therefore cutting and pasting social media campaign ideas from Facebook to Renren or Twitter to Weibo may not result in the same outcomes.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

IHG under UN scrutiny over Lhasa hotel plan

first_imgStudents for a Free Tibet (SFT) and Free Tibet are leading a global campaign against the company over its Lhasa hotel plan. The letter of complaint addressed to IHG, signed by Eleanor Byrne Rosengren, director of Free Tibet, and SFT campaigns director Pema Dolma says: “make written comments and send them directly to [Free Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet], with the Global Compact Office in copy. We also ask to be informed of any actions that you take to address the situation which is the matter of allegation.” (5) IHG has until March 15 to provide a written response. “assist participants in aligning their actions with the commitments they have undertaken with regard to the Global Compact Principles.” (5) The office of the Global Compact wrote that their aim in communicating such complaints is to: The Compact recommends that companies should have “transparent” policies on corruption (8). IHG’s billionaire business partner in the Lhasa hotel is being investigated for fraud and illegal tax deals (9) but IHG has refused to provide any information to campaigners about its anti-corruption policies. Issues raised in the complaint include: The Compact advises companies to undertake consultation to assess the impact of their activities (7). The campaigners have repeatedly asked IHG who it consulted in and beyond Lhasa but it has refused to answer. It has previously referred to consulting “local government”, ie the Chinese Communist authorities in Tibet, but has refused to elaborate further.center_img “Given the Compact’s emphasis on consultation, engagement and transparency, it is inappropriate for [IHG] to hold itself unaccountable to the global community and legitimate stakeholders. IHG has repeatedly declined to provide evidence that it has undertaken due diligence in regard to the Lhasa development. In our view, your unwillingness to both engage constructively with criticism of your corporate behaviour and to demonstrate your support for Global Compact principles in regard to the development in Tibet falls short of the standards of transparency, engagement and evaluation of its own performance that a Compact signatory should exemplify.” IHG promotes its status as a Global Compact member on its corporate responsibility (CR) website (2). Although the scheme strongly encourages dialogue between signatory companies and stakeholders, the company has repeatedly declined to answer specific questions from Free Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet regarding the Lhasa hotel (3). The organisations have now submitted the six-page complaint to the office of the Global Compact (4) which has passed it on to IHG and instructed the company to: The Global Compact is a “policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations . . . with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption” (1). Its board is appointed and chaired by UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon. The Compact advises companies to take steps to avoid providing “material support” to human rights abuses (6). Free Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet have repeatedly asked IHG how it intends to prevent officials involved in human rights abuses using the hotel’s facilities but it has given no answer; Satellite image of the ‘Intercontinental Resort Lhasa Paradise’InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has been directed by the office of the United Nations Global Compact to respond to a complaint submitted by Tibet campaigners about its controversial plan to open a luxury hotel in the capital of occupied Tibet. IHG is a signatory to the Global Compact, a scheme designed to foster best practice in corporate responsibility by multinational companies. The campaigners maintain that the hotel plan and the company’s refusal to answer questions about it are incompatible with the principles of the compact. Source = Free Tibetlast_img read more

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