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Agents can earn STAR points win a vacation booking Karisma with Sunwing

first_img TORONTO — Sunwing is offering agents the opportunity to earn up to 8X the STAR Agent Reward Points, redeemable as cash, with confirmed bookings of a minimum three-night stay for select Karisma Hotels and Resorts.Each booking also earns agents an entry to win an all-inclusive vacation for two to El Dorado Sensimar Seaside Suites. Bookings must occur from now until Jan. 31, 2017, with a winner chosen at the beginning of February once the promotion closes.Bookings with travel dates between May 1 to Oct. 31, 2017 and between May 1, 2018 to Oct. 31, 2018 will be eligible for 4X the STAR points. Bookings with departure dates between Jan 1, 2017 to April 30, 2017 and Nov. 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018 are eligible for 8X the STAR pointsOther resorts also applicable for this promotion are: Azul Beach, El Dorado Seaside Suites, El Dorado Casitas, El Dorado Maroma, El Dorado Royale, Generations Riviera Maya, Sensatori Resort Punta Cana and Sensatori Azul Riviera Cancun.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upThe ‘Double the Karisma Canada Cash’ deal, which can be converted to items like gift cards, will be continuing for agents who confirm minimum three-night bookings at El Dorao Sensimar Seaside Suites and Spa or Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Punta Cana, with departure dates now until Oct. 31, 2017. Customers will also receive an automatic double-room upgrade when booked through the tour operator. Travelweek Group Tags: Karisma Hotels & Resorts, Promotions, Sunwing Share Agents can earn STAR points, win a vacation booking Karisma with Sunwingcenter_img Friday, January 6, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more

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Sunwing adds direct flights from Vancouver to Montego Bay

first_imgSunwing adds direct flights from Vancouver to Montego Bay Posted by Tags: Jamaica, New Routes, Sunwing Friday, November 17, 2017 Travelweek Group center_img Share TORONTO — Starting Dec. 19, 2017 Sunwing will introduce new direct service between Vancouver and Montego Bay, operating weekly flights through the winter season until April 17, 2018. Once the flights start Sunwing says it expects to be the only airline offering the route direct from Vancouver.The tour operator already offers vacation packages from the city to Jamaica, however, this winter will be the first time that the island has been accessible via direct flights with Sunwing.“We have been offering vacation packages from Vancouver to Montego Bay for three years and are certain that the introduction of a direct flight service will be well received by vacationers in search of a tropical escape this winter,” said Sunwing’s President of Tour Operations, Andrew Dawson.Resort options include one of Jamaica’s newest properties, Royalton Negril Resort & Spa, offering unlimited reservation-free dining, outdoor lounges, nightly entertainment and a range of free sports and children’s activity programs. Hideaway at Royalton Negril boasts a dedicated beach area, adults-only infinity pool, and exclusive bar and restaurant.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaThere’s also Sensatori Azul Beach Resort Jamaica, with an enviable location on Seven Mile Beach, varied à la carte dining experiences, extensive pool complex, a fully-equipped fitness centre and daily kids programs. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Watch these adorable otters run amok on airport tarmac

first_img Share Tags: Airports, LOL Watch these adorable otters run amok on airport tarmac Travelweek Group SINGAPORE — Hold that plane! In what could be the plot for Disney’s next feel-good flick, a family of otters was caught on surveillance cameras running loose on the tarmac at Singapore Changi last week.It’s believed that the adorable sea animals were hunting for food and a place to sleep and breed. Or maybe they were just late for their flight?No flights were delayed as a result of their antics. They were promptly escorted by airport staff to nearby Changi Beach.“Besides regular wildlife patrols, a surveillance system is in place to prevent and detect foreign object debris, including wildlife. Safety is a top priority at Changi Airport. Should any wildlife be detected on the runway, flight operations will be halted temporarily so that the safety team can attend to the situation immediately,” said a Changi Airport spokesperson in a statement.We can only assume that the adorable otters have settled down in Changi Beach. But we also can’t help but wonder, had they just arrived the recommended three hours before departure, whether they’d be lying on a beach in the Bahamas right now.center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Monday, November 20, 2017 Posted bylast_img read more

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Win an MSC cruise for two with TravelBrands new Facebook contest

first_img Share Tuesday, October 23, 2018 Tags: Contest, MSC Cruises, TravelBrands Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Win an MSC cruise for two with TravelBrands’ new Facebook contest MISSISSAUGA — TravelBrands has launched an exclusive Facebook contest for travel agents, with prizes that include a week-long cruise for two with MSC Cruises.Agents will receive one ballot for every MSC Cruises booking made between Oct. 19 and Nov. 2, 2018, by phone, and two ballots for every booking made online during the contest period. Members of the ‘Your TravelBrands BDM’ Facebook group will earn double ballots.Agents who answer trivia questions on the ‘Your TravelBrands BDM’ Facebook group during the contest will also receive one extra ballot.On why the company selected Facebook as the contest platform, Erminia Nigro, Director of Sales-Ontario, said: “I love using our Facebook group to connect with our agents and help them sell. We chose to host this contest through this group so we could give back to our dedicated agents and have some fun along the way.”Prizing includes a free seven-night cruise for two aboard the MSC Seaside, and $50 in Loyalty Rewards points.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalThose who book any MSC Seaside sailing will receive 3X Loyalty Rewards points during the contest period. The TravelBrands Loyalty Rewards program allows agents to collect points and redeem them for a multitude of rewards.Travel agents can join the TravelBrands Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/775161472534336/They can also visit travelbrandsaccess.com to learn more about the contest. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Even the poop is cute at this Japanese museum

first_img YOKOHAMA, Japan — Japan’s culture of cute makes no exceptions for poop. It gets a pop twist at the Unko Museum in Yokohama near Tokyo.Here, the poop is artificial, nothing like what would be in a toilet, and comes in twisty ice cream and cupcake shapes, in all colours and sizes.“The poops are colourful and come out nicely in photos,” said Haruka Okubo, a student visiting part of the museum devoted to all-important selfies. “The shape is so round and cute.” Share In Japan, little poop-shaped erasers with faces and other small items have long been popular items collected by children, and sometimes older folks. As elsewhere, scatological jokes are popular and bodily functions discussed openly: a recent morning variety show by public broadcaster NHK featured tips on how to deal with farts.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongVisitors to the museum get a short video introduction and then are asked to sit on one of seven colorful, non-functional toilets lined up against the wall.Music plays as a user pretends to poop, then a brightly colored souvenir ‘poop’ can be collected from inside the toilet bowl, to be taken home after the tour. A ceiling-high poop sculpture in the main hall erupts every 30 minutes, spitting out little foam poops.The ‘Unstagenic’ area of Instagram-worthy installations includes pastel-hued flying poops and a neon sign with the word ‘poop’ written in different languages.In another room, players use a projection-mapping game like ‘whack-a-mole’ to stamp on and squash the most poops they can. In another game, participants compete to make the biggest ‘poop’ by shouting the word in Japanese, ‘unko,’ as loudly as possible.More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyA soccer video game involves using a controller to ‘kick’ a poop into a goal.Toshifumi Okuya, a system engineer, was amused to see adults having fun. “It’s funny because there are adults running around screaming ‘poop, poop,’” he said. << Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, July 5, 2019 center_img By: The Associated Press At the end of the tour, visitors get a bag to carry home their souvenir poop. If they want still more, the museum’s gift shop abounds with more poop-themed souvenirs.The museum attracted more than 100,000 visitors in the first month after its opening in March. It will remain open until September. Tags: Japan, Museums Even the poop is cute at this Japanese museumlast_img read more

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Worlds richest 85 people now worth same amount as poorest 35 billion

first_imgNEW YORK — Global capitalism, we have a problem.We’ve long known that life isn’t fair and that the world’s wealth is unevenly distributed. But the latest factoid from Oxfam on global poverty and inequality is breathtaking. In a new report, the nonprofit reports that just 85 people — the richest of the world’s rich — hold as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. That’s half the world’s population.In other words, the top 0.00000001 percent are worth as much as the bottom 50 percent combined. The top 1 percent, meanwhile, control nearly half the world’s wealth, or 65 times as much as the world’s less-fortunate half.On a country-by-country basis, the filthy rich have only been getting richer. Between 1980 and 2012, the wealthiest 1 percent increased their share of the spoils in 24 of the 26 countries Oxfam surveyed. This includes the United States, where the wealthiest 1 percent have captured 95 percent of all economic growth since the financial crisis of 2009, while the bottom 90 percent have gotten poorer.Oxfam’s concern is not just that half the world’s population could be bought and sold by a group of individuals who could fit in a single large boardroom. It’s that this staggering disparity creates a vicious cycle. From the nonprofit’s report:Oxfam is concerned that, left unchecked, the effects are potentially immutable, and will lead to “opportunity capture” — in which the lowest tax rates, the best education, and the best healthcare are claimed by the children of the rich. This creates dynamic and mutually reinforcing cycles of advantage that are transmitted across generations.Good luck, you half of the world’s people who hold less than 1 percent of its wealth. May the odds be ever in your favor!Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America and Arizona State University.Oremus is the lead blogger for Slate’s Future Tense, reporting on emerging technologies, tech policy and digital culture.© 2013, Slate Facebook Comments Related posts:Venezuela struggles with getting basic goods under Chávez’s successor Inter-American Dialogue honors Guatemalan businessman, civic activist Salvador Paiz Qatar is building seven ‘cities’ just to house its World Cup migrant workers A cup of joe with Joelast_img read more

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Despite drought Central American coffee harvest is looking up

first_imgCentral American coffee farmers have struggledwith a ravenous fungus, drought and low prices for the last several years. However, it looks like the 2014/2015 harvest might start to turn the corner, according to reports from governments across the isthmus. Higher potential production and rebounding coffee prices might sign a coffee recovery for the region.Costa Rica has been spared the worst of the droughts this season in Central America. The National Coffee Institute, ICAFE, estimated that coffee production would grow 4.5 percent in Costa Rica during the 2014-2015 season over the same period last year to more than 1.55 million 60-kilogram sacks of processed coffee. ICAFE said that increased rainfall in August and improved management of the roya fungus were to thank for the bump.The drought in Central America has affected millions, damaging the bean and corn crops that are staples of the local diet. Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina said that the drought, attributed in part to El Niño, has caused more economic damage than hurricanes or earthquakes that have hit the country in the last 16 years.ANACAFE, the Guatemala national coffee institute, estimated that it would see a 5 percent increase in production in 2014/2015 over the previous year despite drier than normal conditions in May and June, according to a statement from ICAFE. ANACAFE reduced its estimated crop to 3.27 million 60-kilo sacks of processed coffee from an initial 3.37 million. Honduras had estimated that its coffee crop could be up between 8 and 10 percent but depending on the impact of the drought that may shrink to something closer to 5 percent.While increased production would typically signal lower prices for the region’s coveted Arabica coffee, poor forecasts for the crop in Brazil, the world’s largest coffee producer, are pushing up prices.In 2012, a fungus known as leaf rust swept through Central America, devastating crops and causing $1 billion in economic losses, according to USAID. The coffee harvest in Central America runs from October through March.AFP contributed to this report.  Facebook Comments Related posts:Climate change is making coffee a risky bet for Central America USAID to invest $5 million to combat coffee fungus epidemic in Central America Starbucks shares decade of research with Costa Rica coffee institute Farmers generate clean-burning fuel from coffee waste in Nicaragualast_img read more

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Guatemala prosecutor confident President Pérez Molina will be removed from office charged

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala’s chief public prosecutor said Wednesday she is confident embattled President Otto Pérez Molina will be convicted of corruption, as the country’s top court rejected a legal challenge by the president’s attorneys to the stripping of his immunity.The conservative leader is against the ropes after Congress voted unanimously on Tuesday to strip him of his immunity, clearing the way for prosecutors to go ahead with their case.Investigators accuse Pérez Molina of running a scheme in which businesses paid bribes to dodge taxes on their imports, defrauding the country of millions of dollars.“There’s a criminal case and we will go to trial, and then a verdict. In my opinion and based on what I know of the case, it will have to be a conviction,” Chief Public Prosecutor Thelma Aldana told AFP.“At this time we have complete freedom to investigate whatever line of inquiry we deem pertinent in the president’s case,” said Aldana, who was appointed by Pérez Molina.The president, meanwhile, failed in his bid to block the prosecutors’ investigation as the Constitutional Court – the country’s top court – ruled against two motions filed by his lawyers. The five-judge court said it had ruled unanimously not to grant the petitions — one challenging the Supreme Court of Justice’s decision to allow prosecutors to open a criminal investigation, the other challenging the legality of the congressional investigative committee that subsequently recommended lifting his immunity.Read more coverage here A man holds a sign declaring “Peace” after the Guatemalan Congress voted unanimously to strip embattled President Otto Pérez Molina’s immunity on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. Johan Ordóñez/AFPPérez Molina is the first president in Guatemala’s history to be stripped of his immunity, a decision that caused exasperated Guatemalans to burst into celebration Tuesday night after months of unprecedented protests.A judge subsequently barred the 64-year-old retired general from leaving the country. Under Guatemalan law, he will be automatically removed from office if remanded in custody by a criminal court.Investigators say their accusations are based on some 89,000 wire-tapped phone calls that uncovered a scheme called “La Línea,” named for a hotline businesses would call to access corrupt officials and get illegal discounts on their customs duties. Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina speaks at a news conference at the presidential palace in Guatemala City, on Aug. 31, 2015. Johán Ordóñez/AFPPérez Molina has repeatedly denied involvement and rejected calls from the increasingly virulent protest movement for his resignation.The scandal, which has already felled his former vice president and a string of top officials, comes as Guatemala prepares for elections Sunday to choose his successor.Pérez Molina, in power since 2012, is constitutionally barred from running for re-election. His term ends on Jan. 14, 2016. The president has been left increasingly isolated by the scandal. Six of his 14 ministers have resigned in recent days, along with several other top officials. Facebook Comments Related posts:Guatemala’s Pérez Molina clings to power despite unprecedented pressure to resign Update: Judge orders Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina jailed pending corruption hearing In Guatemala, Pérez Molina claims US conspiracy behind corruption prosecution Guatemala ‘La Línea’ ringleader turns himself in, accuses ex-president of directing fraud schemecenter_img Thelma Aldana pedirá al juez cese del cargo de @ottoperezmolina. Siga leyendo: http://t.co/8n4GPXzNif pic.twitter.com/MTkO3t3SIA— Débora López (@dlopez_gt) September 2, 2015last_img read more

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Costa Rican NASA pioneer answers students questions

first_imgRelated posts:Meet Sandra Cauffman, the Tica co-directing NASA’s current mission to Mars NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft enters Mars orbit NASA’s Dawn mission inspires Costa Rican students Costa Rican students get the surprise of a lifetime: a trip to NASA See also: Meet Sandra Cauffman, the Tica co-directing NASA’s current mission to MarsYoung Costa Ricans looking for a role model in scientific achievement need look no further than Sandra Cauffman. After what she has described as a difficult childhood in the Hatillo neighborhood of San José as the child of a single mother, Cauffman went on to become one of NASA’s most renowned engineers. She is now the Deputy Systems Program Director for NASA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) Program and manages a budget of $10 billion. She previously served as the Deputy Project Manager for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Project (MAVEN), which explores the Martian upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind.Cauffman recently answered questions from students who attend the Juan Alvarez Azofeifa Elementary School in Matanilla, Santa Ana, and the Tree of Life International School located near the center of Santa Ana, west of San José. The Matanilla students that took part in this exchange are science fair winners who will soon be competing in a regional fair. Excerpts follow.Ruby Méndez Toledo, age 11: Did you have the same opportunities men did to advance your career? Not while I was in Costa Rica. I was not allowed to study Electrical Engineering because I was a woman. I was allowed in the Industrial Engineering program because there were some women already there, but electrical was out of bounds. After I got to the United States and changed majors [to electrical engineering], things got a bit better, but I have always felt that I have had to work harder to demonstrate that I am capable. The next guy says, “I am an engineer,” and they take it for granted that he is capable. When I say that I am an engineer, I have to show that I am capable. Things are much better now that I am established and that my bosses know what I can do, but that took time.Dariella López Barahona, age 14: Do you think that women and men have the same opportunities to advance in research and investigation? To certain extent, yes. But there is still much work that needs to be done. (Courtesy of NASA)Matthew Turner, age 12: Can you tell us about the new GOES satellites NASA is making?  The new GOES satellite will be amazing. If you think the data we get now is great and saves lives, the new generation will be even better. GOES-R will be launched in 2016, probably October. This generation will be able to provide image updates every 30 seconds.The GOES program is carried out in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop the geostationary weather satellites utilized by the meteorologists in the National Weather Service to produce their forecasts. GOES-R’s environmental data products will support short-term weather forecasts and severe storm watches and warnings, maritime forecasts, seasonal predictions, drought outlooks and space weather predictions. The products will improve hurricane tracking and intensity forecasts, increase thunderstorm and tornado warning lead time, improve aviation flight route planning, provide data for long-term climate variability studies, improve solar flare warnings for communications and navigation disruptions, and enhance space weather monitoring.Remember Hurricane Katrina? Many lives were saved because of the forecasts produced by the existing GOES Satellites [GOES-N, O, and P]. GOES-R, the first in the new series,  will completely revolutionize weather forecasting and will also have an on-board lighting mapper that will help predict tornado activity more accurately and provide more timely warnings.Alexia Pita Oriol, age 8: What experiments did you do about the planet Mars and what experiments are you doing now? Remember that I am an engineer, not a scientist. I develop satellites and instruments for investigation; I work on technology development. Once the satellites and instruments have launched and been put into operation, I move on. The analogy I use is that I am the person who builds the cars. Then I hand the keys to the driver. Unless the drivers have problems, they don’t need me. If there are problems with the hardware then they call me back to find out how to fix it. This does not mean that I am totally out of the loop of the scientific discoveries: we are married to the missions we develop forever, and the discoveries made by those missions. I was part of the UARS, LandSat, EP/EUVE, TOPEX, TDRS, GOES, MAVEN, HST, and XTE teams, and I followed the discoveries until the missions ended [in the case of those that are no longer in operation].José Ignacio Rodriguez, age 12: Is there scientific proof that life existed on Mars in the past?No. There is water, and there is evidence that rivers, lakes and oceans existed on the surface. There is evidence that it had an atmosphere. However, there is no evidence that it ever harbored life.Jimena Montoya Álvarez, age 11: What inspired you to join NASA, and what is your favorite part of your job? The moon landing in 1969 was my motivation. I always loved everything related to science fiction. I firmly believe that if we can think it, it may be possible to construct. We may need more technologies and discoveries as part of the puzzle, but I believe that some of those things we see in science fiction can be real. Imagine Star Trek, for example, and the tablets they used. It was science fiction in the 1960s, but it is a reality now. Is time travel possible? There is no doubt in my mind that one day we will be able to time travel, but we are not there technologically. So, as you can see, the best part of my job is finding ways to make of these science fiction things a reality. It is never dull, and we are constantly pushing the state of the art.Daniel Drew, age 12: Is it true that NASA discovered an exoplanet that has exactly the same characteristics as Earth? If so, when is NASA going to send a ship there?  To date, NASA has discovered more than 1,000 newly verified exoplanets around 300 stars. One of these appears to be as close to the star as Earth is from our sun. The exoplanets were found using a statistical technique called “verification by multiplicity.” We have not actually seen these exoplanets, but we can tell they are there.Gabriel Beaumont, age 12: What is your favorite song and style of music? “Rocket Man” by Elton John is my favorite song. Chris Hadfield, an astronaut, did a nice version of the song.See also: NASA’s Dawn mission inspires Costa Rican students Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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PHOTO Playa Avellanas unofficial mascot is a giant pig named Lolita

first_imgFacebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica could launch 7 new airline routes and add 2 carriers this year Costa Rica’s lack of safety regulations comes into view after death of 6 tourists in January Intense rains in Costa Rica’s Caribbean, northern regions prompt evacuations Costa Rica’s Guayabo National Monument reopens to tourists after floodinglast_img

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Motorcycle deaths in Costa Rica skyrocketed in past year

first_imgDriving between lanes and ignoring basic traffic rules like stop signs have made motorcyclists public enemy number one for some Costa Rican drivers.Now after a record high 150 deaths were registered from motorcycle accidents in 2015, authorities say that bad reputation comes from too many motorcyclists who are disobeying laws and putting lives at risks.“We’re facing a serious problem that some motorcylcists don’t want to understand,” said Transit Police Chief Mario Calderón. “When we publish these stats we’re not looking to attack these drivers, but instead we want to make them think about their behavior on the road.”The death toll amounts to one death every other day and is higher than the motorcycle-related deaths in 2010 and 2011 combined. It’s also more than double the 63 fatalities registered from cars on Costa Rican roads last year.“Even though only two people maximum can travel on these motorcycles, the amount of deaths is double that of those who lose their lives in accidents involving automobiles, which can carry five people,” Calderón said. “It’s evident that irresponsible driving is costing lives unnecessarily.”The Public Works and Transport Ministry reported 114 motorcycle-related deaths in 2014 and 88 in 2013.Car drivers also need to do a better job of watching out for motorcycles. Officials from the ministry recommend that car drivers keep a distance of 1.5 meters when passing motorcycles in a lane.“Some drivers complain that motorcyclists drive over the lane lines,” Calderón said. “But when they drive in the center of lanes drivers yell at them to move out of the way, so there’s a double standard that exists with some drivers.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Traffic fatalities up in Costa Rica Initiative highlights Costa Rica’s need for roadway respect of cyclists Costa Rica ranks as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for drivers Costa Rica seeks improved treatment for autismlast_img read more

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Rural communities use solar power to pump water in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:How Costa Rica’s Design Festival became an educational platform Costa Rican organization seeks fresh approach to teenage pregnancy prevention This week in the Peace Corps: Celebrating a scout anniversary This week in the Peace Corps: Keeping up with computers More than 4,000 people in eight rural communities in Nicoya and the Isla de Chira, Costa Rica, have are now using solar panels to help power water distribution.The project, financed by the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) and implemented by the Center for Environmental and Natural Resource Law (CEDARENA), has installed 124 solar panels to help rural water management associations, or ASADAS, reduce their electrical costs. Electricity to pump water is one of the highest costs the associations incur.The beneficiaries of the project include La Montañita (48 beneficiaries,) Las Pozas (85), Dulce Nombre (187), Cuajiniquil (77), Corral de Piedra (100), Los Hondores (96), El Flor (95), El Piave (67) and Isla de Chira (500). The solar panels were officially inaugurated during a ceremony in El Flor on Sunday.“Access to potable water is a key factor in community development,” said Michelle Cofffey, executive delegate of the Costa Rica USA Foundation. “At CRUSA, we have supported rural aqueducts on their path to becoming more sustainable, both environmentally and economically, in order to be more efficient and provide better service to the families they supply.”The CRUSA-CEDARENA project has also beneffited approximately 7,850 people in communtiies in the province of Puntarenas, including Bajos Negros, Gigante, Río Grande, Paquera, Valle Azul, San Isidro and Pueblo Nuevo, as well as La Fortuna de Casitas, Nicoya.Learn more about this project in this video about Paquera communities: Facebook Comments This content is brought to you by the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) and Amigos of Costa Rica. Two nonprofits have created a space for inspiring stories about change and giving back in Costa Rica. Courtesy of CRUSA Six Costa Rican students receive AFS-CRUSA scholarships for year in U.S.last_img read more

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Costa Rica will not recognize Venezuelan government under Maduro

first_imgThe Lima Group, with the exception of Mexico, announced Friday in the Peruvian capital that it will not recognize the Venezuelan government if President Nicolás Maduro assumes a new term on Jan. 10, on the basis of it being the product of illegitimate elections.“This statement has a forceful political message: The main message is without a doubt the non-recognition of the legitimacy of the new period of the Venezuelan regime,” said Peruvian chancellor Néstor Popolizio, reading the most important aspects of the statement of the group, which met with the unpublished participation of the United States to define actions against the government of Maduro.The group called on the Venezuelan ruler to step down and not assume a new term (2019-2025), considering that his re-election was illegitimate.The Lima group asked Maduro to temporarily transfer power to the National Assembly until free elections are held.“Nicolás Maduro is urged not to assume the presidency, to respect the powers of the Assembly and to temporarily transfer power until new elections are made,” said the chancellor.The Peruvian chancellor emphasized that the Lima Group had declared the electoral process that brought Maduro back to power illegitimate. On the contrary, the Group reiterated its support for the National Assembly, which it recognizes as “a constitutionally elected body” in Venezuela.Its members also agreed, the Peruvian Chancellor said, to allow the 14 countries the freedom to adopt concrete measures to assess the level of their relations with Venezuela or prevent entry to officials of the regime.Peru had proposed that the countries of the group break relations with Venezuela a month ago.“It is very important that the Lima group has issued this pronouncement to continue to exert pressure with a view to the restoration of democracy in Venezuela,” concluded the minister, who was the only one of the chancellors who took the floor at the close of the meeting.The Lima Group, created in 2017 — a year of protests against Maduro that left about 125 dead in Venezuela — is composed of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana and Saint Lucia.​​​​Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. ​​​​Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Venezuela accuses Costa Rica of ‘subordination’ to U.S. Costa Rica, EU and Latam contact group on Venezuela will meet Thursday Guaidó-appointed ambassador takes possession of Venezuelan embassy in Costa Rica Costa Rica again voices support for new elections, peaceful transition in Venezuelalast_img read more

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Costa Rica attempts to control guns to decrease crime rate

first_imgRelated posts:Public Security head decries failure to enact stricter gun control in Costa Rica Government announces increased security measures to curb recent crime wave More than 500 arrests made in raid against arms trafficking in eight Latin American countries Costa Rica announces drop in murders, increase in gun seizures Costa Rica wants to reform the law and reduce the number of weapons on the street in order to decrease the alarming crime rate.The government’s new attempt to establish additional control over weapon possession, which was regulated by legislation in 1994, provoked criticism from those who support the right to carry weapons. They believe the initiative is an unnecessary punishment.“We have seen a significant correlation between firearms and violence,” said Vice Minister of Security Eduardo Solano. “Of all the homicides last year, 68 percent were committed with firearms, and of all the offenses committed in the country, half involved weapons.”Costa Rica has experienced an alarming increase in homicides between 2012 and 2017, when it reached a level of 12.1 violent deaths per 100,000 citizens, according to the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).The figure decreased in 2018 to 11.7, still significantly higher than the worldwide average of 5.3 in 2015, according to the UN office on drugs and crime.The reform of the 1994 law seeks to control the number of weapons and increase punishments for black market purchases.Under current law, the possession of a weapon without proper registration is punishable by community service. The reformed law proposes prison sentences.Solano also aims to control the gateway between the legal and illegal market.The vice minister also cited official information, which states that during recent years 5,270 weapons from private security companies went missing and are possibly in the hands of delinquents.The reform aims to give the state control over weapons when a security company closes or has their license suspended. The company would have a deadline to legally sell them or get back their operating license. Otherwise, the weapons will be destroyed.The reform also wants to reduce the number of firearms a civilian can register from three to one. It allows the state to remove weapons under certain conditions.The objective, Solano notes, is to make a positive impact on security, remove firearms from criminals and, consequently, decrease the homicide rate. Rudier Fuentes, who runs a security firm that also provides weapons training, shows how to use a pistol in an attempted assault in San Jose, on February 16, 2019. (Ezequiel Becerra / AFP)More controlsPro Defensa, an association for licensed weapon carriers, is firmly opposed to decreasing the number of weapons in the hands of civilians and questioned other aspects of the reform.The engineer and secretary of Pro Defensa, Mauricio Alvarado, says many aspects of the reform are misguided. He cites the proposed prohibition of 762×39 caliber as an example. It’s used in the AK47- a rifle often used in crimes- and in sporting rifles.“This shows that there is a lot of ignorance and naivety, because if criminal groups can access the black market easily, they will not go to the legal market to buy ammunition. That’s absurd,” Alvarado said.Citing OIJ data, Alvarado claimed that between 2015 and 2018, there were 36,820 reported crimes with firearms. Of the 442 weapons that the police recovered, only 48 were licensed. In his opinion, this shows the reduced number of legal weapons in crime.“The restriction imposed on those licensed to carry weapon will have no effect on the rate of crime,” Alvarado said.Alvarado stated that the members of Pro Defensa are advocates of the regulation of firearm possession, but question the changes currently in discussion.Enrique Sánchez, a legislator for the Citizen’s Action Party, highlighted that the desired controls won’t be retroactive, and will not affect those who currently have three or more registered weapons.“A greater quantity of weapons in the street increases the possibility of violence,” Sánchez said. “A weapon in the case of domestic violence increases the risk of femicide; in a street fight, it increases the risk of homicide.” Costa Rican deputy Enrique Sanchez, of the ruling Accion Ciudadana party, offers an interview to AFP in his office at the Legislative Assembly in San Jose, on February 6, 2019 (Ezequiel Becerra / AFP)He admitted that the restriction is the biggest challenge that the government’s reform faces.The representative Zoila Rosa Volio, of the opposing National Integration Party, asked that the controls focus on security companies so that the weapons do not fall into the hands of criminals.“Why focus on the licensed carriers of weapons that don’t create problems? It is the security companies and the weapons misplaced by the State that are creating problems. Let’s focus the fight where it should be,” insisted Volio.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Former Maltese PM Mintoff dies at 96

first_img Patients with chronic pain give advice Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement VALLETTA, Malta (AP) – The government says former Maltese Prime Minister Dom Mintoff, who was in power when the island nation became a republic, died Monday. He was 96.Mintoff was Malta’s longest-serving lawmaker, representing the Labor Party from 1947-1998. He was prime minister from 1955 -1958 and from 1971-1984.Malta became a republic in 1974, installing a president as head of state in the place of the British monarch. Mintoff then worked to close Britain’s military base in 1979. Known for his confrontational character, Mintoff engaged in tough disputes with Britain over its role, the Roman Catholic Church over its influence and western Europe over his ties with Libya, China and North Korea.He also brought down his own government in 1998 in a party dispute. Labor has been in opposition ever since.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

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Jamaican ordered held in slaying of US couple

first_img Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (AP) – A judge in St. Maarten has ordered a Jamaican security guard detained as a suspect in the slaying of a South Carolina couple who were stabbed to death in their Caribbean vacation home.Meyshane Johnson was making his first court appearance since his arrest on suspicion of killing Michael and Thelma King of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. His white T-shirt was pulled over his head as was led into the courthouse Wednesday.center_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy The hearing was closed to the press and public, but Solicitor General Taco Stein said later that the magistrate ruled there was enough evidence to detain Johnson for at least 10 more days pending further investigation. Prosecutors must return to court after that if they want to keep holding Johnson.His lawyer says he denies killing the couple.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

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Uruguays president cancels Spain trip for health

first_imgThat’s a potentially deadly situation that can happen if a blood clot breaks free from a vein and travels to the heart.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) – Uruguay’s president has canceled his trip to the Ibero-American Summit in Spain, saying doctors have ordered bed rest after a painful blood clot was found in his lower right leg.The 77-year-old Jose Mujica says the clot was found with a sonogram and that he’s following doctors’ orders to relax at home for two or three days while taking anti-coagulant medicine.Mujica announced his medical condition Thursday during his regular radio interview on Uruguay’s M-24 station, and the presidency confirmed that he won’t be traveling to the summit in order to avoid the risk of a thrombosis. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   center_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

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SKorea says NKorea tested 2 shortrange missiles

first_img How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea test-fired a pair of short-range missiles into its eastern waters this past week in a likely response to ongoing routine U.S.-South Korean military drills, a South Korean official said Saturday.The North launched what appeared to be KN-02 missiles during its own drills, the military official said. He would not say on which day the missiles were fired or give other details, and declined to be named, citing policy. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Check your body, save your life Sponsored Stories North Korea routinely launches short-range missiles in an effort to improve its arsenal, but the latest test comes at a time of rising tensions. Pyongyang has threatened nuclear strikes on Seoul and Washington because of the U.S.-South Korean drills and recent U.N. sanctions over its third nuclear test.Analysts say Pyongyang’s threats are partly an attempt to push Washington to agree to disarmament-for-aid talks.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

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Russia plans to use prison labor for 2018 World Cup

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Top holiday drink recipes Khinshtein said his plan to employ prisoners was “of course” an extension of the government’s policy of so-called import replacement, under which Russian-made production is expanded to fill the gap left by costly imports.The workers would continue to live in their prison camps and would be transported to their place of work each day. A typical wage for a prisoner on such projects might be 15,000 rubles ($300) a month, Khinshtein said.There are no plans as yet to employ prisoners on World Cup stadium construction sites, he added.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Russian prison labor schemes have faced allegations that prisoners are routinely underpaid or forced to work long hours. In 2013, the then-imprisoned Pussy Riot band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova went on hunger strike in protest at working conditions in her prison camp.Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service has been working with Khinshtein to draw up the proposals, said the lawmaker, adding that they will be submitted to parliament soon.The service declined to comment on the plan when contacted by the AP on Monday, but deputy director Alexander Rudy told the Kommersant business newspaper that his agency was keen to use prisoners for “tasks that, let’s say, wouldn’t appeal to the ordinary citizen.”Workers’ rights are a hot-button issue for World Cup organizer FIFA, which is under pressure over the high rate of deaths among migrant workers in 2022 host nation Qatar.When asked about the Russian plans to use prison labor, FIFA spokesperson Delia Fischer told the AP: “We have not received any information on the below mentioned plans yet and as such cannot comment for the time being.”Russia’s move toward prison labor comes at a time when the World Cup budget of 637.6 billion rubles ($12.7 billion) is under pressure after the ruble dropped in value compared to last year, making imported materials more expensive. The ruble has recovered much of its lost value this year, but is still worth around a third less against the dollar than at the start of 2014, before international sanctions and a drop in the price of oil dented the Russian economy. MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities want to use prison labor to drive down the costs of holding the 2018 World Cup.The Russian prison service is backing a bid by Alexander Khinshtein, a lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party, to allow prisoners to be taken from their camps to work at factories, with a focus on driving down the costs of building materials for World Cup projects.“It’ll help in the sense that there will be the opportunity to acquire building materials for a lower price, lower than there is currently on the market,” Khinshtein told The Associated Press. “And apart from that it’ll make it possible to get prisoners into work, which is very positive.” Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Top Stories last_img read more

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Eccentric centuriesold customs at Queens Speech

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Before the queen travels to Parliament from Buckingham Palace, royal bodyguards known as Yeomen of the Guard perform a ceremonial search of the cellars of the Palace of Westminster. The tradition, which dates from the 1605 “gunpowder plot” to blow up Parliament, is followed by a police sweep.Another quirky tradition is the “hostage” lawmaker — a government whip is “kidnapped” to be held at Buckingham Palace to ensure the monarch’s safe return after she delivers her speech. The custom dates centuries back to a time when the monarch and Parliament were on less cordial terms.The queen delivers her speech from the House of Lords — no monarch has set foot in the Commons since Charles I tried to arrest five lawmakers for treason in 1642.___THE REGALIAWhile the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, travel to Westminster in a state coach, the traditional items symbolizing the authority of the monarch — the Imperial State Crown, the Cap of Maintenance and Sword of State — travel in their own carriage ahead of the queen.As the queen arrives at the House of Lords, greeted by a 41-gun salute, she walks up a set of stairs to the Robing Chamber, passing between cavalry soldiers in full dress with drawn swords. They are the only troops to bear arms within the palace. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Sponsored Stories The queen puts on the crown and the parliamentary robe in the room before emerging for the ceremony in the House of Lords. The sword and the cap are carried in front of her.___THE BLACK RODOnce the queen takes the gilded throne, an official known as the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod — or simply Black Rod — acts as her messenger and summons the lawmakers gathered in the House of Commons. As he approaches the chamber, the door is slammed in his face, a symbol of the Commons’ independence from the monarchy as well as its supremacy over the Lords.Black Rod has to knock three times with his ebony staff at the door, which has a visible dent from all the knocking over the years, before he is allowed to enter.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Yeomen of the Guard hold their lanterns as they prepare to conduct a ceremonial search in the Palace of Westminster, before the State Opening of Parliament in London Wednesday, May 27, 2015. The Queens Speech outlines her governments legislative plans for the forthcoming parliamentary year and the laws and bills they hope to pass. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)n Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk LONDON (AP) — The Queen’s Speech, which formally opens Britain’s parliament each year, is a colorful ceremony steeped in traditions dating back centuries. The costumes and elaborate rituals may appear eccentric today, but many reflect historic tensions between the monarchy and Parliament.Here’s a look at the pageantry and customs of the event and what they mean:___SECURITY ‘PRECAUTIONS’ 0 Comments   Share   3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

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