Hot off the press Goways 20182019 Downunder brochure

first_img Posted by Tuesday, February 13, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Travelweek Group TORONTO — Goway’s 2018/2019 Downunder brochure, a comprehensive guide to all things Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, is now available.The award-winning brochure features everything from private touring to cruises, family vacations and youth working holidays to luxury VIP travel arrangements.New this year are upgraded Holidays of a Lifetime, including ‘Waltzing Matilda’, ‘Best of Australia’ and ‘Best of New Zealand’, as well as ‘Great Barrier Reef Dive’ and ‘Sail Adventure’ in the Whitsundays.There’s also new luxury overnight cruises in New Zealand’s Milford Sound, adventure cruising in the Bay of Islands, and a Cook Island Combo that makes for an ideal stopover combining Rarotonga and Aitutaki.Other new highlights include: a Nelson Outdoor Lifestyle stopover idea; the Executive Rail Trail Experience, a three-day, self-guided cycle tour on New Zealand’s South Island; a new Sydney day tour, the Wilderness and Aboriginal Explorer; small group touring in South Australia’s Outback, the Flinders Ranges; and an expanded Sunny Perth stopover, now including Rottnest Island.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionAgents are invited to learn how to use the travel planner at Goway’s next webinar, taking place on Feb. 20 at 2 p.m. EST. Click here to register. Email to request a brochure. Hot off the press: Goway’s 2018/2019 Downunder brochurelast_img read more

Coming to Las Vegas in 2020 EDITION and JW Marriot hotels

first_img LAS VEGAS – A brand new resort and casino complex is coming to Las Vegas, bringing an additional 4,000 rooms and suites and over 500,000 square feet of convention and meeting space to the heart of The Strip.Marriott International, Inc. and global development firm Witkoff have announced plans to open The Drew Las Vegas, an integrated resort and casino, in late 2020. It will debut the EDITION brand in the city as well as mark The Strip’s first JW Marriott.Once open, the hotels will be managed by Marriott International.“The Drew Las Vegas will become a landmark property for Marriott International,” said Tony Capuano, EVP and Global Chief Development Officer, Marriott International. “The resort will give our more than 100 million loyalty members the chance to enjoy our brand of hospitality in one of the most exciting and popular cities in the world, whether the visit is for a convention or a leisure trip.”More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksAs an integrated resort, The Drew Las Vegas will be home to a casino, luxury hotels, convention facilities, entertainment, nightlife, retail and dining, all combined into one cohesive guest experience. It will take up residence at 2755 Las Vegas Boulevard South. Coming to Las Vegas in 2020: EDITION and JW Marriot hotels Travelweek Group Share Wednesday, February 14, 2018 center_img Posted by Tags: Las Vegas, Marriott Interntaional << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

New Jurassic Park suites debut at Loews Royal Pacific Resort

first_imgNew Jurassic Park suites debut at Loews Royal Pacific Resort Posted by Tags: Loews Hotels, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Orlando, Universal Studios Share ORLANDO — Everything ‘prehistoric’ is new again at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, which just debuted its new Jurassic World Kids’ Suites based on the blockbuster ‘Jurassic World’ film franchise.As one of the on-site hotels at Universal Orlando Resort, Loews Royal Pacific Resort transports guests to the island of Isla Nublar with these dino-themed suites, which arrive just in time for the June 22 film premiere of ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’.Dino-details include everything from beds that resemble ‘gyrospheres’, and bedding made to look like a test tube was used to create a new species of dinosaurs, just like in ‘Jurassic World’.Parents will have the luxury of privacy, as the suites (which sleep five) are separated by a door modelled after a dinosaur enclosure. In addition to having one king bed and two twin beds, the suites also include a rollaway bed.Plus, guests of Loews Royal Pacific Resort have the added benefit of a Universal Express Unlimited two-park pass, which allows them to skip the regular lines on rides like Jurassic Park River Adventure.More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?For more information go to Travelweek Group Tuesday, June 12, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Busabout launches its first ever USA Canada program

first_img Share Posted by Travelweek Group TORONTO — Busabout is heading to Canada for the first time with its inaugural 2019 USA & Canada program.Out now, the new USA & Canada 2019 brochure highlights two main travel styles: Hop-on Hop-off and guided adventures with inclusions.With Hop-on Hop-off, clients have the flexibility to design their own West Coast holiday itinerary using Busabout’s coach network. The company has one recommended accommodation provider at each stop and access to hundreds of others, plus clients can change their coach departures with 24 hours notice for ultimate spontaneity.The new West Coast Hop-on Hop-off Pass, priced at $799 per person, gives access to eight destinations, including stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and South Lake Tahoe. Clients can also add visits to cities like Santa Barbara and San Diego, or connect with nature at Yosemite National Park and Mammoth Lakes, which are optional stops. Coaches depart all eight destinations every other day between June and August 2019.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthAlternatively, Busabout’s Adventures are handcrafted trips that are led by expert guides and explore different parts of the U.S. and Canada. The USA & Canada 2019 program features 11 Adventures in total spanning from three days to three weeks, and include accommodation, daily breakfast, all coach transportation, a Busabout guide and driver, a number of included experiences and plenty of free time.Top Adventures trips include: the 22-day ‘West to East Road Trip’; the nine-day ‘Southern Blues Adventures’; and the week-long ‘Canada Rockies Adventure’. Adventures start from $989 per person for the three-day ‘West National Parks Adventure’.“We’re so excited to bring Busabout’s flexible style of travel to North America for the very first time – it’s the ultimate road trip destination!” said Duncan Robertson, Global Managing Director of Busabout. “With vacations suitable for independent travellers as well as those seeking an expertly planned North American road trip, our USA & Canada 2019 program has something for everyone.”More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsFor more go to Wednesday, July 4, 2018 center_img Busabout launches its first ever USA & Canada program Tags: Busabout, USA & Canada << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Watch out for 224 new properties in Cuba by 2030

first_img TORONTO — Hotel and resort openings in Cuba for 2018 include the Iberostar Grand Hotel Packard, the Paseo del Prado, the Segundo Frente and Hotel Floreale. They’re all part of Cuba’s plan to have 224 new properties completed by 2030.Cuba’s Minister of Tourism, Manuel Marrero, was in Canada last week to update commercial partners and the travel and tourism industry on the latest developments in the destination’s new tourism product. Fellow Cuban delegates joined Minister Marrero during his visit to highlight the importance of Canadian tourism to Cuba.Cuba’s Minister of Tourism, Manuel Marrero (second from left) with Eloy Govea, Director, Canada for the Cuba Tourist Board (second from right) join Cuban and Canadian tourism industry reps for a lunch event in Toronto last week“Canada continues to be our main market for tourism, and so the Ministry and our industry partners are honoured to share these exciting developments with our Canadian friends,” said Marrero.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’ns“In reaffirming our commitment to safety, hospitality, and luxury, we look forward to continuing to serve Canadians as their preferred vacation destination.”While last year’s visit by the Minister mainly concerned hurricane recovery, in 2018 development in Cuba leapt forward with new resort and hotel updates.The Minister also announced earlier this year that Cuba’s rollout of nationwide WiFi should be complete by the end of 2019.Year to date Cuba has welcomed more than 3,533,722 international visitors. That number represents 97.4% of visitors welcomed in all of 2017. It’s also a 19% increase from 2016. Share Watch out for 224 new properties in Cuba by 2030 Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Tuesday, October 9, 2018 Tags: Cuba, IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts, Statistics << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

PHOTO STORY Costa Ricas first officially franchised Oktoberfest draws thousands

first_imgESCAZÚ, San José – Whether they came for the beer, the sausage, or the cultural experience, hordes of people crowded the Oktoberfest tents in Avenida Escazú last weekend, southwest of the capital. The crowds were diverse: college kids sipping steins, couples sharing pretzels, middle-aged folks clapping along to accordion music, and clusters of children playing games and eating candy.The Germanic harvest celebration was an enormous victory for Pablo Formal, Oktoberfest engineer and co-proprietor of NuShark Media, a marketing and entertainment company. An ebullient and heavily bearded man, Formal welcomed guests as they arrived last Sunday, linking wristbands and conversing with friends.“You should have been here yesterday,” Formal told The Tico Times, looking winded by his own success. And then, getting down to business: “Did you get a beer yet?”In traditional bierhall style, patrons sat at long communal tables and drank from a variety of glasses. Meanwhile, breweries set up their own bars, displays and seating areas to best showcase their brews. Musicians played on a full concert stage, and hopefuls competed for prizes.From the looks of things, a new tradition has been born. Robert Isenberg Robert Isenberg San José’s Stiefel Pub displays some favorite craft beers. A musician plays his accordion above the din of the afternoon crowd. Robert Isenberg Robert Isenberg No related posts. Los Yoses clothier Concrete sells novelties at a vendor’s table. Robert Isenberg Sausages glisten, courtesy Maya’s Lounge Restaurant in Ciudad Colón. “Heineken Girls” pose in front of a foosball table. Smiling women in dirndls have become a staple of Oktoberfest celebrations. Long communal tables accommodate the diverse Oktoberfest crowds. Oktoberfest founder Pablo Formal with his girlfriend in front of festival entrance. Patrons dressed in traditional Bavarian outfits. One of Formal’s goals was to encourage festive dress. Robert Isenberg An Imperial bartender operates a tap. Robert Isenberg Robert Isenberg Facebook Comments Robert Isenberglast_img read more

The Doors drummer John Densmore to play concert with Costa Ricas Sonámbulo

first_imgRelated posts:‘Psychotropic’ Sonámbulo readies for US Lineup announced for Envision 2014 Annual fest in Austin promotes Central American music in the U.S. Jacó Happenings The Doors’ acclaimed drummer, John Densmore, will play a show with one of Costa Rica’s most popular bands on Saturday night. Densmore is teaming up with Sonámbulo Psicotropical for a 10 p.m. show at Jazz Café Escazú, southwest of the capital. Tickets at the door cost ₡5,000 ($10).Densmore, 68, also will be a guest speaker at the Planet People Peace (P3) Conference, an environmental tourism conference that runs from Sunday through Nov. 6. The drummer played with The Doors from 1965 until the group disbanded in 1973, a couple years after the death of mythical frontman Jim Morrison. In Costa Rica, Densmore will collaborate with an ensemble that sounds nothing like his former legendary band.Sonámbulo features a fusion of danceable Afro-Caribbean, Latin and funk rhythms. The group has been playing at a frantic pace recently in an effort to raise money for lead singer Daniel Cuenca, who’s battling a life-threatening illness. This special show isn’t designed as a fundraiser, but the chance to play with Densmore was a chance the group couldn’t pass up.The band’s manager and trumpet player, Mario Vega, said the event came about rather nonchalantly. Organizers for the P3 event contacted Sonámbulo and asked the group if they wanted play with The Doors drummer. Of course the band members agreed to the show, Vega said. They haven’t spoken with Densmore yet, Vega added, but the plan is to play a mixture of Sonámbulo songs and Doors covers. Densmore even sent the group a list of Sonámbulo songs that he wanted them to play.In the days following the show, Densmore will move from music to another one of his major passions: protecting the environment.P3 begins with a Sunday reception at the Museum of Costa Rican Art in western San José’s La Sabana. The National Chamber of Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism (CANAECO) and the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) are sponsoring the event. They’ve invited experts from around the world to talk about promoting more environmentally friendly experiences for travelers. Participants are paying a couple hundred dollars to attend the event.The four-day conference takes place in San José, primarily at the Children’s Museum. Presenters hail from all over the world, including U.S. author Elizabeth Becker, Kenyan Land Trust Director Judy Kepher-Gona and Rainforest Alliance Vice President of Sustainable Tourism Ronald Sanabria. This year’s theme is “motivation and innovation,” and panelists will tackle such issues as tourism economics, national policy and environmental responsibility. Densmore also has strong activist cred. In 2001, he and blues artist Bonnie Raitt were arrested in Chicago while leading a Rainforest Action Network sit-in against a major paper products company.In the early 2000s, he had a falling out with surviving Doors members Ray Manzarek and Robby Kreiger after refusing to let Cadillac use the The Doors’ hit “Break On Through (To the Other Side).” Cadillac had offered $15 million to use the song. In a recent memoir, “The Doors: Unhinged: Jim Morrison’s Legacy Goes on Trial,” Densmore defended the decision. He also talked about the consequences of the incident. Manzarek and Kreiger sued Densmore for $40 million and lost. Only after Manzarek was diagnosed with cancer in early 2013 did the two parties reconcile and begin speaking again. (Manzarek died of bile duct cancer in May.)At P3, Densmore will share his years of experience with activism. He’ll also give a lunchtime poetry presentation for guests Monday, and play a drum show Thursday.“In parallel with his musical and artistic career, John has always been an activist for the environment,” said CANAECO President Glenn Jampol in a statement. “So when we proposed that he appear at P3, he was delighted.”For more information on P3, visit Times staff photographer Alberto Font and Tico Times correspondent Matt Levin contributed to this report. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Texas governor Rick Perry indicted over effort to remove official

first_imgRelated posts:In New Hampshire, Clinton pledges to stand up to the gun lobby US President Obama weeps as he pleads for ‘urgency’ of gun control Armed ‘Jesus’ nabbed after plotting to kidnap Obama’s dog Bo US arrests relatives of Venezuela first lady over drug-trafficking allegations WASHINGTON, D.C. – Texas Governor Rick Perry, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, was indicted Friday over an effort to force a local Democratic prosecutor to resign.A grand jury in Austin indicted Perry on two felony charges — abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant for his threat to veto $7.5 million in state funding to the Public Integrity Unit run by the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.After Lehmberg was convicted of drunken driving, Perry said he would withhold the funding if she did not step down.When Lehmberg refused to leave her office, Perry carried out his veto.“Despite the otherwise good work the Public Integrity Unit’s employees, I cannot in good conscience support continued state funding for an office with statewide jurisdiction at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility of that unit has lost the public’s confidence,” Perry said in a statement accompanying his June 2013 veto. “This unit is in no other way held accountable to state taxpayers, except through the state budgetary process. I therefore object to and disapprove of this appropriation.”The Texans for Public Justice watchdog group, which filed a complaint in the case, said “the grand jury decided Perry’s bullying crossed the line into law breaking.”“Any gov under felony indictment should consider stepping aside,” it added in a tweet. Facebook Commentscenter_img The grand jury decided Perry’s bullying crossed the line into law breaking. Any gov under felony indictment should consider stepping aside.— Texans4PublicJustice (@TxPublicJustice) August 15, 2014last_img read more

Envision kicks off with long lines high spirits community service

first_imgEnvision Festival kicked off its fifth edition Thursday in the Southern Pacific beach town of Uvita with a long line but mostly high spirits. It took some attendees as long as five hours to get into the sold-out event, but they weren’t letting the hot sun and long wait get them down: People were making new friends and painting signs, and one man even took it upon himself to entertain those around him with a magic show. Sporadic cheers and song broke out throughout the day to keep the mood elevated.The renowned festival sold out on Tuesday for the first time in its history, with approximately 4,200 tickets sold and an estimated 5,500 total participants. There are no tickets at the gate, and many people without tickets were turned away throughout the first day. Even with most of the attendees outside in line, waiting to get in, the first yoga class was packed, and yogis were spread out on their mats and towels in any shady spot as far as the sound reached.Also for the first time, Envision Festival hosted a Permaculture Action Day the day before the festival in Uvita, in order to mobilize the music and festival community for a greater cause and to make a difference in the community that hosts the event. David Sugalski, Stephen Brooks, and Ryan Rising organized and initiated three projects each at two schools and an extracurricular education center: planting fruit trees and gardens, painting murals, and sharing song and dance with the students.More stages, structures, shade, and socializing areas have been added this year. The ground is not as uneven as last year and the reorganized layout is flowing much better. As of Thursday afternoon, many structures were still under construction.The official opening ceremony was set to begin after sunset at the Luna Stage, followed by the first musical acts; music and workshops will continue almost 24 hours per day until the closing sunset ceremony on Sunday. Many post-festival events are planned as well – and if you’re already thinking about next year’s festival, keep your eyes peeled, because Envision 2016 tickets will go on sale in just a couple of weeks.Check out the Envision Facebook page for more info. Facebook Comments Related posts:Envision Festival announces 2016 music and arts lineup Big Band of Costa Rica to celebrate 25 years Yoga Day, Father’s Day exhibit and other happenings around Costa Rica Dub sounds in Costa Rica: Mad Professor and Mad Elainelast_img read more

At world court Costa Rica claims Nicaragua violated border treaty

first_imgCosta Rica’s legal team on Wednesday wrapped up a first stage of hearings at The Hague-based International Court of Justice with closing arguments in a case against Nicaragua for the alleged invasion of three square kilometers of wetlands during dredging operations in the border area.Costa Rica on Tuesday also began highlighting evidence of alleged infringements by Nicaragua of provisional measures ordered by the world court in March 2011. At the time, justices ordered both countries to stay clear of the area pending a final ruling.See related: Costa Rica, Nicaragua enter final hearings at The Hague in border disputeCosta Rica said Nicaraguan nationals had repeatedly entered the disputed area, known by Costa Ricans as Isla Portillos and by Nicaraguans as Harbor Head.Attorney Kate Parlett said Nicaragua had maintained a continuous military presence in the disputed territory despite the court’s orders, and that members of Nicaragua’s Sandinista Youth Movement also had camped on Isla Portillos with Managua’s and President Daniel Ortega’s blessing.Costa Rica added that Nicaragua had built three artificial canals in 2010 and 2013 to connect the Río San Juan – a natural border between the two countries – to the Caribbean Sea in order to change the geography of the area and claim that territory as its own.Justices heard testimony in favor of Costa Rica from experts who had conducted scientific studies included as evidence in the case.Following the hearing, Nicaragua’s ambassador to the world court, Carlos Argüello, told journalists that the mouth of the Río San Juan had changed significantly since the countries signed the Cañas-Jerez border treaty in 1858, and since arbitration was held by U.S. engineer Edward Porter Alexander at the end of the 19th century.“Edward Porter Alexander, 120 years ago, described the border, but his writing was based on the [river’s] trajectory at the time. The river has changed, the river’s mouth has changed, and that justifies Nicaragua’s claim of sovereignty over the area,” Argüello told the AFP.The Nicaraguan lawyer said canals connecting the Río San Juan to the Caribbean Sea already existed, and dredging by Nicaragua aimed only at removing debris and foliage.“According to Porter’s demarcation, the triangle of land that lies between the canal, the San Juan and the Caribbean Sea belongs to Nicaragua,” he said.Costa Rica’s legal team also denounced alleged acts by Nicaragua to block navigation by Costa Rican citizens along the Río San Juan. That situation has exacerbated the dispute between the two countries and appears to contravene a 2009 world court ruling granting Costa Rican citizens navigation rights on the river, except for armed personnel.Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel González Sanz on Wednesday said the closing arguments demonstrated Managua’s policies to systematically ignore several world court orders beginning in March 2011.“Nicaragua’s actions are a mockery not only of Costa Rica but also of the court. We hope this behavior is not tolerated because it calls into question the effectiveness of international law,” González said.Nicaragua will have the opportunity to refute Costa Rica’s arguments on Thursday and Friday.Next Monday, hearings will begin in a case brought by Nicaragua against Costa Rica for alleged environmental damage to the Río San Juan caused by the construction in Costa Rica of a 160-kilometer road that runs parallel to the border.Nicaragua had asked the court to order Costa Rica to halt construction of Route 1856, but the court denied that request, stating that Managua had failed to demonstrate a “real and imminent risk” to the environment.Argüello on Wednesday said Nicaragua does not oppose the construction of the road, “but the manner in which it was designed, which harms the environment.”“Nicaragua, obviously, cannot oppose the construction of the road, but [Costa Rican officials] need to do it properly,” he said. “They [officials] are fully aware that they’ll have to change the road’s trajectory in several areas to prevent it from being too close to the San Juan.”The final stage of the legal process will continue through May 1. A final ruling is expected later this year.AFP contributed to this story. Facebook Comments Related posts:Nicaragua denies Costa Rica’s claims of environmental damage Nicaragua government praises ‘balanced’ ruling in border dispute with Costa Rica A key week for Costa Rica in border dispute with Nicaragua Costa Rica seeks $6 million in environmental damages from Nicaragua in border disputelast_img read more

Starbucks will have 10 coffee shops in Costa Rica by years end

first_imgCoffee giantStarbucks on Thursday will open its eighth location in Costa Rica in a renovated house in Los Yoses, east of San José, and company managers confirmed they will open two more by the end of the year.The Los Yoses location will open at 11 a.m. and will be the chain’s first in Costa Rica with drive-thru service.Two new stores are scheduled to open in coming weeks in the capital – one downtown near the Plaza de la Cultura and the other at San Rafael de Escazú, southwest of San José.Starbucks Costa Rica Director Mónica Bianchini said the goal is to open an average of three new stores per year from 2016 to 2020, for a total of 15 new locations, and an overall total of 25.Current stores, including the new one at Los Yoses, employ 163 employees. By 2020 that number will reach 337, Starbucks’ Regional Director for Central America David Batres said. He did not disclose the amount of investment or the locations of the 15 new shops, citing company policy. He did say some new locations could be outside of the Greater Metropolitan Area.By the end of 2015 the company will have a total of five openings this year. The chain opened its first store here in 2012, and Batres said the company attributes its growth to good results among Tico customers.The local franchise belongs to Premium Restaurants of America, a corporation that also manages Starbucks franchises other Central American countries.In addition to traditional blends customers here also can purchase Costa Rican coffee from Bella Vista, a farm in the Cartago canton of Tres Ríos.The Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. also has a direct presence in Costa Rica as it owns a coffee farm next to Poás Volcano, in Alajuela province.At the experimental farm researchers develop new coffee varieties through hybridization – which is not genetic modification – and different processing techniques that result in new flavored coffees, Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said in 2013, when the company acquired the property.In 2012, Starbucks introduced its most expensive coffee ever, Costa Rica Finca Palmilera, in a limited number of U.S. stores. The $7 cup is brewed from a coffee variety called Geisha found in various Central American countries. It is famously difficult to cultivate. The variety used for the expensive coffee is grown in Tarrazú, south of San José, by brothers Marvin and Didier Sánchez, who set aside just three hectares of their estate to grow Geisha coffee.In addition to $7 cups, the Reserve Costa Rica Finca Palmilera Geisha varietal coffee is being sold at limited Clover Starbucks stores (in the Pacific Northwest), at $40 for a half-pound. Facebook Comments Related posts:Starbucks shares decade of research with Costa Rica coffee institute Costa Rica’s franchise sector grows by nearly 13 percent in 2014 Grupo Britt opens gourmet coffee store in San José Starbucks opens second Costa Rica location on Thursdaylast_img read more

Costa Rica confirms 2 more cases of Zika virus

first_imgRelated posts:World Bank: Zika will cost Latin America $3.5 billion in 2016 Costa Rica’s inclusion in Zika travel warning has tourism leaders worried Costa Rica’s rainy season brings rise in Zika cases Health Ministry confirms sixth case of a baby born with Zika virus Costa Rican health officials this week reported the two latest confirmed cases of Zika virus, contracted by a man and woman who recently traveled to Nicaragua. They bring the total number of confirmed cases in Costa Rica to 12.The woman lives in San Rafael de Heredia, north of the capital, and the man in San José.The list of people who contracted the virus abroad includes a man who was infected in Honduras and another who contracted it in Colombia.All eight cases of local transmission occurred in the Guanacaste canton of Nicoya, in the communities of Nosara and Sámara. The Northern Pacific area is a major destination for beach-bound tourists.Health Minister Fernando Llorca confirmed the first two local cases of Zika on Feb. 22. Both are women from Sámara and one is pregnant. Her baby is in good condition, Llorca said at the time.The ministry’s director of health surveillance, Daniel Salas, said measures to curb the proliferation of the mosquito-borne virus in the northwestern province of Guanacaste have been effective in containing the spread of the virus there.A report issued Wednesday states that ministry officials in the first eight weeks of this year have ruled out 129 suspected cases of Zika.Following the confirmation of the first local cases the Health Ministry and the National Emergency Commission issued a health alert to launch an active search for patients with fever and other symptoms, mostly in coastal communities.The alert allows public agencies to allocate resources to fight the proliferation of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, the main carriers of the virus. It also triggers a health protocol that includes visits to fumigate homes, distribute information and allocate resources for the local municipality.Currently the alert is in force in 31 cantons in all seven provinces. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Germany sees rising threat from militant Islamists

first_imgThe existence of the National Socialist Underground only came to light last November, when two of its three core members were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide after a failed bank robbery. The third alleged core member, Beate Zschaepe, is in custody pending trial.The NSU murders, as well as subsequent revelations that one of Fromm’s agents had shredded files linked to the case, prompted him to resign earlier this month. He retires at the end of the month.The government on Wednesday appointed Interior Ministry official Hans-Georg Maassen as Fromm’s successor.Officials estimate that the wider membership of neo-Nazi groups in Germany fell to 22,400 from 25,000 in 2010, but the number of far-right extremists prepared to use violence grew last year to 9,800 from 9,500.German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said authorities were on alert for possible attacks by neo-Nazis inspired by the NSU killings.“I see that the potential, in particular for copycat acts, is present,” Friedrich said.Federal police say at least seven wanted neo-Nazis are currently on the run in Germany.Recent left-wing extremism in Germany has been largely restricted to outbursts of violence during street protests, and acts of sabotage. The number of left-wing extremists in Germany fell by 400 to 31,800 last year, according to the report. It counted 7,100 violent left-wing extremists, up from 6,800 in 2010. The wider number of Muslims with extremist views is estimated at more than 38,000, according to the report.“Our focus remains on Islamist terrorism,” Heinz Fromm, the head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, told reporters in Berlin. “This is where the main threat currently comes from.”Fromm cited the killing of two U.S. airmen at Frankfurt airport last year as an example of the acute but unpredictable nature of Islamist-inspired extremism.Arid Uka, 22, was convicted in February of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors said Uka, an ethnic Albanian born in Kosovo who grew up in Germany, became radicalized on his own by reading and watching jihadist propaganda on the Internet.“In the coming years the intelligence work of the security agencies will continue to be dominated to a large degree by the problem of individual jihadists,” Fromm said.His agency’s annual report also noted an increasing number of members of militant far-right groups. Authorities were deeply embarrassed last year by the revelation that a small group of neo-Nazis apparently managed to commit as many as 10 murders over a seven-year period while remaining largely off the radar of the intelligence services. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Associated PressBERLIN (AP) – Germany faces a growing threat from militant Islamists and far-right fringe groups, including small extremist cells and lone wolf operators, top security officials said Wednesday.A report by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency puts the number of Salafi Muslims in the country at 3,800 last year, with a small number of those prepared to use violence to achieve their aims. It is the first time the agency has counted the number of German-based Salafists, a religious movement that adheres to a strict interpretation of Islam and which has attracted young Muslims as well as recent converts. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Comments   Share   Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths ErrorOK ErrorOK Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Plight of 2 baby gorillas raises fears in Congo

first_img 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Virunga park rangers have shed blood to protect the park and its animals: 11 were killed last year in armed confrontations; this year one has been killed and several wounded, according to de Merode.He said the first baby gorilla, a 9-month-old female now named Isangi, was brought to wildlife authorities Sept. 13 by a community conservation group that said it had rescued the infant from a local militia group called Raiya Mutomboko, which means Angry People in Swahili.On Sept. 20, rangers and local officials acting on a tip-off carried out a sting operation and rescued a 4-month-old female who has been named Baraka, which means Blessing in Swahili. Baraka’s captors claimed to have rescued the infant gorilla from the Walikale area where several armed groups compete for control of mines.Isangi is in good shape after six weeks in captivity, veterinarian Eddy Kambale said in a statement, but Baraka is weak and dehydrated after two weeks’ captivity.On Monday, she appeared much better, Kambale said: “She is eating and drinking and appears to be stable. She is crying a lot like a normal baby.”The two infant gorillas are being cared for in a sanctuary at Virunga that is home to three mountain gorilla orphans whose parents were killed in the park in 2007. Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressKINSHASA, Congo (AP) – The plight of two infant gorillas, rescued after being kidnapped from their wild families, highlights the dangers confronting the endangered Grauer’s gorillas that have become victims of ongoing violence and a new rebellion in eastern Congo.A decision to allow oil exploration in a national park there may put the gorillas at greater risk.Virunga National Park said Monday that wildlife authorities rescued two baby gorillas in the space of a week this month. “Baby gorilla trafficking is terribly damaging for endangered gorilla populations because many members of the gorilla’s family will probably have been killed to obtain the infant,” said the park’s director, Emmanuel de Merode.Fighting between rival militia groups is making it impossible for wildlife authorities to find out how many of the Grauer’s gorillas have been killed. Grauer’s, also known as eastern lowland gorillas, exist only in eastern Congo. Experts estimate that fewer than 4,000 remain, down from about 17,000 in 1995, de Merode said in a statement.The poaching comes as the park itself faces oil exploration. Congo’s Hydrocarbons Minister Crispin Atama Tabe announced Monday that the government is authorizing the British firm SOCO to explore for oil in the park, Africa’s oldest created in 1925 under Belgian rule. Virunga National Park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in the 1970s, is the only place on Earth that boasts all three African great apes in addition to elephants, buffalo, hippos, larges antelopes, lions, leopards and a plethora of smaller animals and birds. Virunga and the SOCO concession encompass Lake Edward, one of the Central African great lakes, that provides a livelihood for some 40,000 fishermen. Top Stories Quick workouts for men 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Atama Tabe told The Associated Press that oil exploitation could help bring security to volatile east Congo, although mining of the region’s massive mineral riches has had the opposite effect with various armed groups vying for control of revenues the minerals bring.Monday’s permission contrasts with the Environment Ministry’s decision last year to suspend oil exploration in an area of Virunga that is home to more than 200 gorillas. Environment Minister Bavo Nsamputu said he was unable to comment on Monday’s news as he had been out of the country.Park officials say Congo’s law protects national parks from any kind of exploitation, including logging of timber for charcoal that is a lucrative business for armed militias, or even farming by peasants. That argument persuaded the French oil group Total to promise last year that it would not exploit the one-third of its concession that falls in Virunga.SOCO, with 58 percent of its concession in the national park, argues, among other things, that the Nature Conservation law allows “geological research for scientific purposes.”SOCO also quotes exemptions in the Nature Conservation law for “research work, such as sampling materials, digging, excavations, surveying, and all other work that may change the look of the land or vegetation.” Virunga has a small family of Grauer’s gorillas. Most live in Kahuzi Biega national park and forests, including the Walikale area.—Faul reported from Johannesburg.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   last_img read more

AlQaida accuses France of endangering hostages

first_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Comments   Share   When a Tuareg tribal rebellion wrested control of northern Mali from the government, al-Qaida took advantage of the situation and allied with local Islamists to dominate the whole area.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The statement added that al-Qaida was always ready to negotiate, while criticizing French President Francois Hollande for exacerbating the situation by calling for an invasion of Mali, where the northern half has been conquered by Islamist extremists and the hostages are believed to be held.The statement came as French President Francois Hollande, attending a meeting on the Sahel at the United Nations, called on the Security Council to meet quickly and adopt a resolution that would allow an African military intervention in Mali “as quickly as possible.”France would provide logistical support to an African bid to recover northern Mali from the extremists now in control. Referring to the extremists, Hollande said “there is no question” of negotiating with terrorists.On Sept. 8, the group issued a seven-minute video showing the four hostages sending greetings to their families and pleading they not be forgotten.The hostages urged French President Francois Hollande to negotiate for their release with their captors.Al-Qaida in North Africa grew out Algerian Islamist groups the fought the government in the 1990s. They have been largely driven out of northern Algeria but offshoots have flourished in the poorly governed wastes of the Sahara desert and the Sahel, where they have linked up with smuggling networks and involved in kidnapping foreigners for ransom. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Sponsored Stories Associated PressRABAT, Morocco (AP) – The North African branch of al-Qaida said Wednesday that France has broken off negotiations over the French hostages it has held over the past two years, endangering their lives.Al-Qaida kidnapped four French employees of the Areva nuclear energy corporation from the northern Niger town of Arlit in September 2010.“We call on the families of the hostages to make noise about this issue and say that silence is the biggest danger to your children,” said the statement, which appeared on jihadi websites. “We cannot guarantee the health of the hostages if your government continues to neglect (this matter).” Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Visiting vintage Havana involves some oldschool hassles

first_imgFILE – In this Jan. 16, 2015 photo, the driver of a collective taxi steers his classic American car through Havana, Cuba. Travel experts and upscale magazines are urging travel to Cuba before it changes. But visitors envisioning salsa in the streets and glamorous vintage cars should also be prepared to manage without ATMs, credit cards, Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, seat belts or toilet paper. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 0 Comments   Share   Granted, I was in a “casa particular,” a Cuban homestay booked through Airbnb in a rundown part of town. Street vendors sell Che Guevara T-shirts and tropical fruit. But good luck buying sunscreen or Band-Aids. The fancy hotels sell some things in shops onsite, of course, but Havana just doesn’t have many stores. Even Harris Brothers, a market on Monserrate at O’Reilly Street, isn’t overflowing with consumer goods — though you can buy souvenir bags of coffee.Public bathrooms aren’t bad, but I was glad I’d brought a roll of toilet paper in my bag.___HUSTLED IN HAVANA“Happy holiday, lady!”This cheerful salutation greeted me as I walked past crumbling buildings and rubble-filled streets in many sections of Old Havana. Blonde, 5 foot 10, map in hand: Yeah, I stood out. But conversations with overly friendly strangers often devolved into shakedowns. They wanted to sell me cigars or exchange my dollars. Could I buy them drinks or give money for their children?Violent crime in Havana is rare. I never felt threatened — just hassled.___LOOKING FOR LOGIC IN ALL THE WRONG PLACESFor my flight home, I got to Havana’s airport at 5:30 a.m., just like the paperwork specified. Too bad the airport didn’t open until nearly 7 a.m. If you must go online in Havana, hotels sell Internet cards for lobby Wi-Fi for $4 or $5 per 30 minutes. Even then, though, the Wi-Fi may not work.A paper map is essential; drivers don’t have GPS and there’s no Googling an address on the fly.___ABOUT THOSE CARSCuba’s vintage cars sound picturesque — until you’re in one with no seat belts, no air-conditioning in 90-degree heat, broken windows, belching smoke and doors that open in transit.The old cars aren’t just American. One 20-something driver told me he inherited his 1981 Russian-made Moskvitch car from his grandfather, who was awarded the car for being a good worker.Havana’s official, government-owned taxis seemed to be in better condition than privately owned cars — though tourists are routinely overcharged. Meters supposedly exist, but I never saw one.___FOOD AND DRINKGovernment-run cafeterias in public places like museums are dreadful. Stick to “paladares” — privately owned restaurants. You’ll need reservations for the best. Prices are moderate but not cheap; food is good but not outstanding. My best meals were at 304 O’Reilly (the restaurant name is also the street address), which offers trendy, light fare (terrific ceviche, lobster and pasta), and Cafe Ajiaco in Cojimar (Calle 92, number 267), whose owner showcases what he sees as the best of traditional Cuban cuisine. A safe bet in most eateries is a ham and cheese sandwich — called a Cuban in the U.S., but jamon y queso here. Cafe con leche is uniformly superb, as is tropical fruit.For a drinking tour, consider Ernest Hemingway’s advice: “My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita.” The handwritten quote, allegedly scribbled by Hemingway himself, is framed at La Bodeguita del Medio over a bar mobbed with tourists. The Floridita is nicer: great air-conditioning, icy daiquiris and a bust of Hemingway, perfect for selfies.The Hotel Nacional’s outdoor bar is lovely, on a lawn with a view of the sea. Have a Cuba libre (rum and cola, but not Coke) or a Cristal beer, then check out the photo gallery of famous guests — mobsters and Hollywood celebs.___ATTRACTIONSHavana’s best attractions include the waterfront promenade known as the Malecon, Old Havana, Hemingway’s estate at Finca Vigia and the Museo de la Revolucion, where “Cretins’ Corner” mocks Ronald Reagan and the Bush presidencies. The stunning Cuban collection at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes ranges from colonial portraits to 20th century political pop art.The Tropicana show is on many top 10 Havana lists. If spending nearly $100 to see skinny dancers in see-through bodysuits with sequin pasties and chandeliers on their heads sounds fun, by all means, go. Otherwise, try the music scene at Casa de la Musica in Central Havana. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories HAVANA (AP) — Travel experts and upscale magazines are urging travel to Cuba before it changes. But visitors envisioning salsa in the streets and glamorous vintage cars should also be prepared to manage without ATMs, credit cards, Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, seat belts or toilet paper. Here are eight tips for visiting Havana.___IF YOU NEED IT, BRING ITI forgot to bring my toothbrush to Havana. It took me three days to find a new one. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona I also went to the famous H. Upmann cigar factory for a tour, only to be sent to a different location for a ticket. There I was told, “There are no tours today, but we can sell you a ticket for tomorrow!”And so it went. Havana is not always a logical place.___MONEYAre you old enough to remember traveling without credit cards, ATMs and smartphones? Then visiting Cuba will be a trip back in time. Bring cash to change into convertible pesos, also known as CUCs (not CUPs, the currency used by locals). And budget carefully: There are only a handful of ATMs in Havana and U.S. bank cards aren’t currently accepted.On paper, one U.S. dollar is worth one CUC, but the Cuban government takes a 13 percent fee, so you get 87 cents for your dollar. Privately, Cubans may offer 90 cents or more on the dollar; be careful whom you trust.I have MasterCard, Visa and American Express cards, but none could be authorized for use in Cuba in May. Even when the rules change (or if your card is from a non-U.S.-bank), businesses rarely accept plastic.___WI-FICuba’s offline culture makes trip-planning complicated. It takes days to confirm arrangements because most Cubans can’t check email from home. Automated online reservations are rare. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Moldovans choose between Europe Russia in local elections

first_imgCHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldovans voted in local elections Sunday which are seen as a test of whether the country is committed to European integration or will move closer to Russia’s orbit.The elections in the former Soviet republic come two days after pro-European Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici resigned amid questions about the authenticity of his high school diploma and university degree.In the mayoral race in the capital, Chisinau, early results with about a fifth of the votes counted showed Zinaida Greceanai, the candidate of the pro-Russian Socialists, leading with 41 percent while Dorin Chirtoaca, the pro-European mayor since 2007, had 34 percent. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories The vital role family plays in society Turnout was just under 49 percent, less than the number of people who voted in the 2011 local elections. Early returns were announced late Sunday, with near-final results expected Monday.About 2.8 million voters were eligible to choose mayors and local councils. A runoff is slated for June 28 in cases where no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote.Gaburici, a businessman who headed a minority government, had criticized a probe into the disappearance of $1.5 billion from three Moldovan banks before the November parliamentary elections.Analysts say anger over the missing money may be reflected in the local elections, giving a boost to pro-Moscow parties against their pro-European rivals.Moldova signed an association agreement with the European Union in 2014, angering Russia which then placed an embargo on imports of some fruits and vegetables from Moldova.___Associated Press writer Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Comments   Share   last_img read more

Morocco breaks up cell allegedly planning attacks

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   The statement said the cell planned to host IS fighters traveling to Morocco so that they could carry out attacks on security personnel and other targets to destabilize the country.The men would be traveling on foreign passports. On Friday, security forces announced the arrest of a Syrian carrying a Tunisian passport with alleged links to the Islamic State group.Police said Tuesday the men arrested also had links to former al-Qaida members who fought in Afghanistan.Morocco’s internal security forces frequently announce the arrest of small cells of IS sympathizers but the group has not been able to carry out an attack on Moroccan soil yet.Last year, Morocco boosted its state of alert citing IS plans to attack the country and placed foot patrols of army and police around tourist sites and public areas.The attack in June on a Tunisian beach resort that killed 38 foreign tourists has raised alarm in Morocco as well. That attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Moroccan authorities announced Tuesday the dismantling of an eight-man group that they say had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and was planning attacks inside the country.The Interior Ministry statement said the suspects were arrested in the northern cities of Tangier and Taounate as well as in the towns of Khouribga and Bouznika to the south and were in contact with the radical group based in Iraq and Syria. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Four benefits of having a wireless security system How do cataracts affect your vision? Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Branson Borghetti prepare new face of Virgin Blue

first_imgVirgin Blue is preparing to unveil its new branding tomorrow at Sydney Airport, with special guest and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson making an appearance. Also attending the event at the domestic airport tomorrow morning will be the carrier’s chief executive John Borghetti. The two will reveal the long awaited “new face of the Virgin Blue Group of Airlines”. While the carrier group has held off confirmation, Virgin Enterprises recent application submitted to IP Australia on 15 April, suggests the carrier could be renamed to Virgin Australia. Virgin Enterprises also applied for trademark approval to use the title Virgin Australia Coast to Coast. For more on the “new face” of Virgin Blue visit e-Travel Blackboard tomorrow. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img