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US woman to translate and publish Costa Rica poetry

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionJulia Guez, pronounced like “guess,” recently arrived in Costa Rica on a Fulbright fellowship, to take a look at Costa Rica’s poetry. Her idea: to translate the poetry into English and introduce it to the world of literature. She found that Costa Rica has a wealth of poetry and literature, and that Costa Ricans are certainly proud of it.“There is a lot going on here in the way of poetry; salons, tertulias [literary circles], readings, festivals and events. The scene is very alive,” Guez reported. She has met with poets and writers for readings and roundtables all over the country. Through the Culture Ministry and the universities, she has made many contacts with the literary world. A poetry event at Puggo’s Restaurant that Guez attended in Montezuma drew “about a hundred poets reading their work, and an enthusiastic audience.”Guez found that Ticos appreciate their poets and writers, particularly Jorge DeBravo, Carlos, Luis Fallas (known as Calufa), Carmen Lyra and Carmen Naranjo. “Everyone is familiar with Lyra’s ‘Cuentos de Tia Panchita’ and some of her other works,” she said. She’s right. Lyra is pictured on the {20,000 bill. Calufa’s works are studied in high school. “For a small country, Costa Rica has produced many important writers and poets, and there are many poets in the general population,” Guez said. Costa Rica is also known for its ubiquitous bombas (couplets), a form of poetry. “Poets give a country an identity,” Guez said. “Ruben Daría in Nicaragua, Jose Martí in Cuba, Pablo Neruda in Chile and Octavio Paz in Mexico are known internationally. And Jorge DeBravo [1938-1967] is Costa Rica’s national poet. His birthday, January 31, is celebrated here with poetry workshops and readings.”  Guez is especially interested in the period from 1910-1940 in Costa Rica, which produced writers such as Fallas, Lyra and DeBravo. “Those were years of social foment, of rights and causes which influenced poetry and literature,” she said.Guez came to Costa Rica with a goal – to translate and publish an almost unknown work of poetry, “Testimonio de Entonces,” or Testament of Then, by Mario Picado Umaña. Picado lived from 1928-1988 and was the adopted son of Clorito Picado, the man who developed the snake anti-venom. This work is barely mentioned on the Internet, but Guez found it intriguing as a historical account of Costa Rican history, beginning with the arrival of Columbus in Limón. The University of Costa Rica Press published the book in 1978, and Guez has begun working on a translation.Her interest in Costa Rica’s poetry came about in an unconventional way. A Texas native, she graduated with an English major from Rice University and spent two years in Houston instructing English with Teach for America. Her students came from 70 different countries with a total of 42 languages. From that experience she was determined to learn Spanish by living in Argentina for two years. Work on a master’s degree in arts at Columbia University in New York followed. Two years ago she needed a vacation, so she came to Costa Rica and stopped in at the Goodlight used bookstore in Alajuela, north of San José. There, she discovered “Testimonio de Entonces” and other Costa Rican poetry books on a top shelf. “I cleaned out the whole shelf, about 15 books,” she said. She began thinking of how to present this wealth of work, but needed time off and financial help to make it happen. “I started working on my application for a grant on the plane, writing notes on napkins,” she said. Her acceptance into the Fulbright program arrived April 1, 2011, and she landed in Costa Rica in September. She’ll stay until July, but she isn’t sure yet how she will use all that she’s learned. For now she is exploring the country’s  poetry and literature. One stop on her agenda will be San Ramón – the City of Poets – in Alajuela. There she will learn about poets of the past and meet those of today. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Evangelical lawmaker sides with PLN

first_imgOpposition parties could lose control of the Legislative Assembly now that an evangelical Christian lawmaker agreed to ally himself with the ruling party. The National Liberation Party already made a separate deal with the Access Without Exclusion Party.Costa Rican Renovation member Justo Orozco confirmed his alliance with the PLN on Wednesday, giving the parties 30 votes, enough to take back control of the assembly from the opposition during the annual vote on May 1 to elect assembly leaders.Earlier this week, Libertarian Movement Party lawmaker Danilo Cubero, who was slated by the opposition to become the next assembly president, said he would no longer seek the seat. Cubero withdrew his name after he was accused of participating in illegal cockfights.Cubero told the daily La Nación he considers cockfighting a sport, and “he enjoys it as a family tradition.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Bullfighting comes to Jacó

first_imgBullfight season in Jacó Some of the first bullfights of the season took place at the Jacó Festival in mid-December.Highlights included long battles between bullriders and their toros, tranny parading around and taunting the bulls and rodeo clowns running at charging bulls, then flipping over them.In Costa Rican bullfighting, the bulls are not killed or even injured, but people often are.Anyone brave (read: dumb) enough to try their luck is welcome to enter the bullring. Facebook Comments No related posts.center_img Photo gallery last_img read more

Panama in energy crisis closes schools universities

first_imgNo related posts. PANAMA CITY, Panama – Up against the wall in a drought-sparked energy crisis, Panama said Tuesday it would shut high schools and universities for three days, in a desperate bid to reduce power usage.The Central American nation of 3.6 million has a booming economy – Latin America’s fastest-growing at 10 percent a year.But it depends heavily on power from hydroelectric plants fueled by water, and the rainy season is a month late, part of an increasingly common pattern scientists and forecasters have linked to climate change.Government officials have been warning that the country, which normally has water to spare, is now perilously close to having to ration power, and are trying anything and everything to avoid that.“We are hoping that with these steps we will be in a place where we reduce demand” significantly, presidential spokesman Roberto Henriquez said.“If we do this for these [three] days, I think we will be able to avoid rationing, which Henriquez warned could “stop, or seriously affect the nation’s economy.”On Monday, President Ricardo Martinelli said: “I ask all Panamanians to save energy, because [lack of] rains is seriously undermining our power grid and we do not want to end up rationing.”Power supplies are only part of the fallout from the drought.Emergencies have been declared in several provinces as hundreds of cows have died in the parched conditions, and farmers have had to significantly delay planting.Just under a third of the country’s power is generated at hydroelectric plants. More than half is from plants burning conventional fuels – like diesel and coal. Only four percent is from renewable sources. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Paulo Wanchope named new coach of Costa Rica national soccer team

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica great Paulo Wanchope insists Ticos will ‘keep surprising the world’ World Cup couch potatoes hurting retail sales Costa Rica’s last hurrah in historic World Cup run Costa Rica dominates Nicaragua, 3-0, in national team’s first match since World Cup Paulo Wanchope was named as the new coach of Costa Rica on Saturday, taking over from Jorge Luis Pinto who led the team to its best World Cup performance ever last year. The Costa Rican Football Federation tweeted Sunday that Wanchope would be presented to the press Tuesday as the new head coach.The 38-year-old former Manchester City and West Ham striker and Costa Rica international was assistant to Pinto at the World Cup in Brazil. Before joining La Sele, Wanchope coached CS Herediano. The former striker played in two World Cups and scored 45 goals in 76 appearances for Costa Rica.Pinto had an acrimonious breakup with La Sele after contract discussions broke down in July after the Colombian coach took Costa Rica to its first ever quarterfinal showing at the 2014 World Cup. In his final, fiery press conference, Pinto alluded that Wanchope maneuvered behind his back to get him fired. Wanchope denied the allegation.Wanchope beat off competition from Colombia’s Juan Carlos Osorio and Ricardo Gareca of Argentina for the post.AFP contributed to this report. Facebook Comments El Comité Ejecutivo de la Federación Costarricense de Fútbol designó a Paulo Wanchope como nuevo seleccionador. pic.twitter.com/fVs7JDQStU— FEDEFUTBOL (@FEDEFUTBOL_CR) January 31, 2015last_img read more

Argentina vulture funds end 15year debt battle

first_imgRelated posts:China overtakes West in development funding to Latin America Panama and ‘Panama Papers’ law firm under the media’s lenses Football: Messi denies tax evasion in Panama Papers scandal US restores regular flights to Cuba NEW YORK — Argentina’s new market-friendly government has ended a bitter, 15-year battle with U.S. creditors, parties to the dispute announced Monday, opening the door for the South American country to escape financial pariah status.The deal made good on a promise by President Mauricio Macri, who took office in December determined to reverse his predecessor Cristina Kirchner’s refusal to bargain with what she called “vultures” picking over the country’s stricken debt.Court-appointed mediator Daniel Pollack announced in New York that a deal in principle was struck late Sunday for Buenos Aires “to settle all claims” with a payment of $4.65 billion to NML, Aurelius and two other hedge funds holding long-defaulted bonds.“It gives me greatest pleasure to announce that the 15-year pitched battle between the Republic of Argentina and [NML owner] Elliott Management, led by Paul E. Singer, is now well on its way to being resolved,” Pollack said in a statement, calling Macri “heroic.”A spokesman for Elliott, which led the creditors, confirmed, saying: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Argentina.”The conflict dates back to 2001 when Argentina defaulted on nearly $100 billion in debt. Nearly all the country’s creditors eventually accepted to write off 70 percent of their bonds in a restructuring that was meant to allow the country to get back on its feet.But seven percent of the creditors refused. Elliott, a New York hedge fund which bought up debt after the default, sued together with Aurelius for full payment on the face value of the bonds.In 2012 the hedge funds won the landmark court battle when a New York judge effectively shut down Argentina’s access to capital markets to force it to pay off the restructuring “holdouts.” But Kirchner refused.In the compromise announced Monday, Argentina has now agreed to pay the funds 75 percent of what they wanted, including principal and interest and some legal fees and expenses, according to Pollack.New opportunities, new questionsThe breakthrough could lead to Argentina regaining its financial footing, both with a reopening of access to international creditors and attracting foreign investors. But plenty of questions remain.The case raised concerns that if the creditors were successful then other creditors in future defaults might take similarly uncompromising positions — undermining the ability to rescue financially stressed governments.And for Argentina, repaying the hedge funds means taking a sizable chunk out of its foreign reserves.The government — struggling to escape the stigma of a Caa1 deeply “junk” credit rating from Moody’s — says it plans to issue new debt to clear out the old debt. Yet for that, the U.S. court injunction still needs lifting.Another hurdle to be crossed is that Macri needs to get approval in the National Congress, which is dominated by the opposition.Pollack said the holdouts agreed in the new deal not to interfere with Argentina’s bid to raise capital.“It is hoped by the parties that all necessary steps can be taken in a period of six weeks,” he said.Pollack lauded Macri for turning the more than decade-long impasse around.“Immediately upon his election in November, [he] set about to change the negative course that the Republic had steered in this litigation,” Pollack said.He also praised Singer — a billionaire who has built a fortune by buying up defaulted and deeply discounted sovereign debt and suing the issuers — for his personal involvement in the final talks, calling him “a tough but fair negotiator.”“No party to a settlement gets everything it seeks,” Pollack said.“A settlement is, by definition, a compromise and, fortunately, both sides to this epic dispute finally saw the need to compromise, and have done so.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Study Costa Rica improves healthy life expectancy

first_imgA study by researchers from theUniversity of Washington found that over the past decade, the average Costa Rican added a full year of healthy living to his or her life expectancy.The study showed an increase in the country’s results in an indicator known as the Healthy Life Expectancy (HALE). The HALE measures health indicators across countries and time, and represents the years a person enjoys good health without physical problems.Results are part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 that the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) disclosed last week. Research includes results for 195 countries.In 2005, Costa Rica had a Healthy Life Expectancy of 69.2 years, while in 2015 the figure rose to 70.2 years. Ticos’ total life expectancy, according to the Social Security System, or Caja, is 79 years. The difference between the two figures suggests that the average Costa Rican spends nine years of life coping with disease, depression or the consequences of accidents or chronic illnesses.The IHME’s research also found that Costa Rican women enjoy more years of good health. The Healthy Life Expectancy for women is of 71.85 years, while for men is of 69.23 years. However, men showed more improvement over the ten-year period: the Healthy Life Expectancy for men increased by 1.23 years, and by 0.85 years for women.Both figures are better than the world average of 64 years: 61 years for men and 67 for women.The researchIHME researchers calculate the Healthy Life Expectancy by summarizing both mortality and non‐fatal outcomes. The most recent evaluation took into account data of 315 illnesses and 49 risks factors by country, sex, and age group from 1990 to 2015.Researchers analyzed how many people die, at what age, and what illness or accident caused their deaths. They also took into account how many people are still alive but without enjoying full quality of life.In the case of Costa Rica, the study found that diseases that most affect quality of life are heart disease, back pain, depressive disorders, hearing loss and diabetes.Caja Executive President María del Rocío Sáenz said on Monday that the results of the study confirm that the country is properly addressing the main risk factors affecting the population’s quality of life.She noted that study results show the country is getting closer to the National Development Plan’s goal of reaching a national life expectancy of 70.49 years by 2018.Pending workAccording to Sáenz, the results validate the Caja’s current strategies and programs aimed at seeking a comprehensive approach to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, as well as programs to address mental and behavioral disorders across the country. She also highlight media campaigns to combat smoking and to improve eating habits, mental health and physical activity levels.However, Sáenz added that the country still needs to expand its efforts to promote healthy living, particularly young people.Jacqueline Castillo Rivas, a Caja expert surveyed in the IHME study, agreed that work is still needed to curb  bad habits such as sedentary lifestyles, excess weight and stress.“[We must] also promote improvements in appropriate rest, sleep and recreation periods,” she said. Facebook Comments Related posts:Number of obese Ticos has almost quadrupled in four decades Costa Rica to use drones to deliver medicine to indigenous communities Dengue vaccine likely to be available at public hospitals next year Social Security System launches anti-influenza vaccination campaignlast_img read more

Trinidad Work on turtle nesting beach was crucial

first_imgThe leader of Trinidad’s Environment and Water Resources ministry said Wednesday that officials “regret that any killing of eggs or hatchlings has taken place.”___David McFadden on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dmcfadd Sponsored Stories “We truly regret the slaughter of these magnificent sea creatures,” Mohammed said in a government statement issued Wednesday.The director of the local Turtle Village Trust, Allan Bachan, said the area where machinery was used was determined to be the best place to move sand on the 1-kilometer beach “in order to save the remaining 97.9 percent of the eggs, which is estimated to be over a million eggs.”Witnesses in Trinidad’s tiny coastal town of Grand Riviere, where locals depend on ecotourism for their livelihoods, claim they saw leatherback eggs and healthy hatchlings wantonly crushed by a heavy machinery operator over the weekend as crews redirected a shifting river that was eroding nesting sites and threatening a hotel where tourists stay to catch a glimpse of a tiny leatherback hatchling or a massive adult.Local residents said they managed to rescue hundreds of tiny hatchlings dredged up by the machinery, but others were injured and eventually devoured by vultures and dogs on the beach, where experts say roughly 3,500 nesting females deposit over 200,000 eggs a year.Diego F. Amorocho, species program coordinator with the World Wildlife Fund’s Caribbean and Latin American programs, said even if 2,000 eggs were lost during the weekend operation in Grand Riviere it would represent only about 1 percent of the total production for the northern Trinidadian beach. 0 Comments   Share   (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “Even though this is a terrible situation, fortunately it does not represent a significant threat to the stability of the leatherback turtle colony in Trinidad. Nonetheless, local authorities in Trinidad should take the necessary measures to avoid such a tragedy from happening again,” Amorocho said in an email.Leatherback sea turtles have existed since prehistoric times, but are endangered today. Only a small fraction of hatchlings survive and even fewer go on to reach adulthood and reproduce.Italian hotelier Piero Guerrini, whose Mt. Plaisir Estate Hotel had been threatened by the shifting river, which began meandering closer to his business in December, has said the work redirecting the waterway was “done too late and it was done in the wrong way.” He and other local stakeholders said they had pressed the government for months to intervene.Government officials have not explained why it took so long to organize the much-needed intervention, which came around the peak of hatching season.Marc de Verteuil, of the Papa Bois Conservation Organization in Trinidad, said the Grande Riviere River had eroded some of the dense nesting areas on the beach before the weekend, but the government work crews made a bad situation worse. His group has called for an investigation into the matter, claiming the work crews blatantly failed to follow protocol. Top Stories Associated PressKINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – Authorities in Trinidad and Tobago said Wednesday they regret that heavy machinery may have crushed leatherback eggs or hatchlings on a section of a prime nesting beach but stressed the work was crucial to redirect a meandering river that was threatening to erode bigger nesting areas for the endangered sea turtle.Shamshad Mohammed, drainage director for Trinidad’s Environment and Water Resources Ministry, insisted the nesting areas on Grand Riviere beach where heavy excavators shifted sand was waterlogged and 80 percent of the eggs were already destroyed. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Four benefits of having a wireless security system More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more

Outlook grim in Venezuelas essential oil industry

first_imgMORON, Venezuela (AP) – Only the filthy water from broken sewer pipes keeps the dust down in front of Ramon Boet’s shop, which sells statues of saints and other religious objects.In the distance, massive tankers pull up to a half-century-old refinery that processes much of the oil that earns Venezuela more than $100 billion a year.“It doesn’t help us at all,” Boet, 58, says as a blackout snuffs the lights in his shop in this Caribbean coastal town. He closes before dusk. Too many robbers. 0 Comments   Share   ___AP writer Michael Weissenstein contributed to this report.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) He said that “you can see PDVSA is in trouble” at the $100-a-barrel level because of the many millions lost to gasoline subsidies and spending on domestic social spending and PDVSA’s use as a “geopolitical tool” to maintain regional alliances.Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves but PDVSA’s production, earnings and income all appear to be on a downward slide and its debts to suppliers rose 35 percent. Its debt to the Central Bank of Venezuela reached $26.19 billion last year, a nearly eight-fold increase in two years.The government makes no apologies. It says it is employing the country’s most important natural resource for the good of the people and promises increased production and revenues in the immediate future.Ramirez said that PDVSA’s efforts remained focused on developing the remote Orinoco belt, site of the world’s biggest oil reserves, with the aid of oil firms from China, Russia, the U.S., Italy, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan and Spain. Venezuela hopes to lift overall production to some 3.32 million barrels a day, 200,000 more than last year.“We’re in a process of trying to attract investment in dollars other than ours,” Ramirez said, assuring reporters that PDVSA would work with private investors to not take on more debt to make new investment. Top Stories And despite promises to increase the flow of dollars it pumps into the economy, independent economists don’t see how it can be pulled off. Crude prices fell about 10 percent over the last three weeks and analysts say they could stabilize at $90 a barrel.At the same time, official figures show Venezuela produced 3 million barrels a day last year, a 95,000 barrel-a-day decline from 2011. Independent organizations such as OPEC estimate Venezuela’s production could actually be around 2.7 million barrels a day.Ramirez has played down questions about the company’s performance, and PDVSA says it invested billions in exploration last year, drilled 2,010 wells, more than double the previous year, and projects increased production to reach 4 million barrels a day in 2014 and to 6 million by 2019.Venezuelans such as Zaida Eleonora Mejicano are skeptical of such talk and are impatient to see the benefits.Mejicano used to travel around Venezuela buying gold jewelry that she resold in Moron, her hometown. Now, she says, she’s amazed by the deterioration of the quality of life. She can’t travel anymore for fear of being robbed.“You can’t get anything here. Here women have to wait in line four, five even six hours for a stick of butter,” she said. “I’ve always worked hard but now one’s afraid to even travel. Things are really ugly here.” Ramirez said that a rise in daily domestic oil consumption to 650,000 barrels this year is expected to drive down exports by 7.8 percent to 2.36 million barrels a day, inevitably damaging revenues for PDSVA and the broader Venezuelan budget.The alliance’s Caribbean and Central American member nations receive hundreds of millions of dollars annually in deeply discounted oil, part of Chavez’s bid to project Venezuela’s influence in the region. Socialist ally Cuba is the largest recipient.Maduro made his first major foreign trip as president to Cuba last weekend, recommitting to sending it some 130,000 barrels of oil a day.Now, Maduro must wrestle with the consequences of Chavez’s energy and economic policies, which included a campaign spending spree last year ahead of Chavez’s re-election.In order to control capital flight, Chavez imposed controls that require any business that wants to import goods to purchase dollars directly from the government, which rations them out in relatively small amounts at an artificially set official exchange rate.Even with gasoline at roughly $100 a barrel over the last six months, the government hasn’t been meeting the demand for dollars. That’s created frequent and worsening shortages of staple goods such as flour, sugar and cooking oil. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Parents, stop beating yourself up Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories The oil flowing from the El Palito refinery sells for more than five times what it cost when President Hugo Chavez took office in 1999. Yet when Chavez died in March he left Venezuela’s cash cow, its state-run oil company, in such dire straits that analysts say $100-a-barrel oil may no longer be enough to keep the country afloat barring a complete overhaul of a deteriorating petroleum industry.The situation is more urgent than ever, analysts say. The price of crude has slumped in recent weeks and Chavez’s heir, Nicolas Maduro, appears to have done little to address declining production, billions in debt and infrastructure deficiencies that have caused major accidents including a blaze that killed at least 42 people at Venezuela’s largest refinery last year.Maduro has retained Chavez’s oil minister and the head of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., Rafael Ramirez. And he appears intent on continuing to send cut-rate oil to members of the 18-nation Petrocaribe alliance, for which Venezuela is hosting a summit on Saturday.Ramirez said Friday that Maduro would use the meeting to propose creating a special economic zone for group members.PDVSA, which accounts for 96 percent of the country’s export earnings, no longer “generates enough income to cover all its costs and finance its commitments,” said Pedro Luis Rodriguez Sosa, an energy expert at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Administration in Caracas. Outside experts, however, are deeply skeptical. They say PDVSA is badly mismanaged and that even a radical overhaul would take years to show results.Rather than reinvesting enough profits in exploration and maintenance, Chavez dedicated oil revenues to social spending such as building hundreds of thousands of homes and free medical clinics for the poor, they say. Last year PDVSA said it spent $28.83 billion, nearly a quarter of its income, on various state programs.PDVSA also loses billions subsidizing gasoline for Venezuelan drivers, who pay less to fill up their tanks than people anywhere else in the world.“The government of Venezuela today uses PDVSA as its petty cash box to lead populist social programs,” said Jorge R. Pinon, associate director of the Latin America and Caribbean Program at the University of Texas, Austin. “Whatever capital is left in PDVSA is being mismanaged, mismanaged because they’re just not focused on running the company. … They’re focused on building hospitals and schools.”On top of that, state oil company PDVSA dedicates 42 percent of its production to favored partners in the Caribbean and to consumption inside Venezuela, where gasoline is almost free, which means it can sell less than 60 percent at market price. How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Jordan King to meet Obama Feb 14 in California

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – The Royal Palace says Jordan’s king will meet U.S. President Barack Obama in California on Feb. 14 for talks on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, Syria and ways to boost traditionally strong political, economic and security ties.Announcing Abdullah II’s tour, the palace says the monarch will continue on to Washington, where he is also scheduled for meetings with Congressional leaders, Jewish, Muslim and other religious groups. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The palace says Abdullah will start off his trip next week with a state visit to Mexico.Jordan is a close U.S. Arab ally and one of the largest recipients of U.S. aid, which averaged $1 billion annually for the past five years. The kingdom also maintains close security cooperation with Washington and is one of the strongest supporters of America’s global war on terrorism.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

China labels Japan a trouble maker

first_imgHua told a regularly scheduled news conference that China’s military posture is purely defensive and Japan is stirring up trouble with its own moves to expand its armed forces and alter its pacifist constitution. She accused Japanese officials of making inflammatory statements aimed at denying or glorifying the country’s militarist past, and said Japan should explain its strategic intentions.“I think everybody will agree with me that Japan has already become a de facto trouble-maker harming regional peace and stability,” Hua said.Hua’s comments were the latest salvo in a war of words between the countries that has seen their diplomats invoke the villain from the Harry Potter books, Lord Voldemort, in describing each other’s motivations. Never very warm, bilateral ties took a nosedive after Japan in 2012 nationalized a string of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that China claims as its own.Also Tuesday, the standing committee of China’s National People’s Congress reviewed a proposal to designate days to commemorate the country’s 1945 victory over Japan in World War II and to remember the victims of the 1937 Nanking Massacre, when Japanese troops killed large numbers of Chinese civilians. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Check your body, save your life Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   BEIJING (AP) – China on Tuesday labeled Japan a “trouble maker” that is damaging regional peace and stability, firing back at earlier criticism from Tokyo over a spike in tensions in northeast Asia.Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was responding to comments by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida that China’s military expansion in the region is a concern, although Kishida stopped short of calling China a threat. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The official Xinhua News Agency said the move would reveal Japanese war atrocities while commemorating Chinese people’s resistance.In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Kishida sought to distance his government from recent right-wing comments on World War II, calling them “regrettable” and saying they don’t represent the government’s views.China’s growing maritime activities and lack of transparency in military development “are common concerns of the entire region” that Japan will watch closely, Kishida said. Japan is particularly concerned about Chinese attempts to strengthen its claims to the disputed islands by sending ships into waters off the islands and creating a new air defense identification zone that overlaps them.Asked if he sees China as a threat, Kishida called China one of the most important countries for Japan. “If China develops peacefully, it is a benefit and an opportunity for Japan, and for the region. … In that sense, I think China is not a threat to our country.”(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finisheslast_img read more

Tunisian train hits truck blocking tracks 18 dead

first_imgSome of the passengers were ejected upon impact, said Mongi Kadhi, an official with emergency services. The train engineer was among those who died.The crossing had a warning sign, but lacked guardrails, lights or barriers.“Accidents like this one happen at crossings, and it’s usually due to the lack of attention by the cars and trucks, because the train has to follow the rails,” said Yousfi.But Habib Jouini, the engineer of a train not involved in Tuesday’s crash, faulted the security of the railway.“We have these level crossings but they’re not secured, there is no guard,” he said.___Bouazza reported from Tunis, Tunisia.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywallcenter_img Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories EL FAHS, Tunisia (AP) — A Tunisian passenger train smashed into a semi-trailer truck racing to cross the tracks early Tuesday morning, killing 18 people as two carriages derailed.At least 86 people were injured when the speeding train hit the truck at 6:30 a.m. outside the town of Fahs, 60 kilometers (37 miles) southwest of the capital, Tunis, authorities said.Local media had initially reported the truck driver was among the dead, but Lt. Col. Selmi Yousfi said he escaped when he saw the train barreling toward him at about 130 kph (80 mph), and later surrendered. Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Some of UKs top dogs are best in show but maybe too

first_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too LONDON (AP) — There was too much puppy fat on about one quarter of the top dogs in Britain’s biggest dog show, according to a new analysis that provides more evidence the U.K.’s obesity epidemic is widening to the country’s canines.Researchers analyzed nearly 1,000 photos of dogs between 2001 and 2013 which placed in the top five at Crufts, the U.K.’s national dog show.While show dogs are supposed to be ideal specimens, the study authors estimated 25 percent of the dogs were too chunky. The paper was published online Monday in the BMJ journal, Veterinary Record. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Previous studies have suggested more than half of Britain’s pet dogs are too heavy, often just like their human owners.The breeds most likely to be heavy were pugs, basset hounds and Labrador retrievers, while the skinniest were poodles, Rhodesian ridgebacks and Dobermans.“Most people see dogs as another member of the family so if the owners are eating too much and not exercising enough, it’s not surprising the dog will be overweight too,” said Alexander German of the University of Liverpool, one of the study authors.He said it wasn’t clear why certain breeds are predisposed to being rotund, but noted that our perceptions about dogs’ appearances have become skewed over time.“If you’re always seeing pugs with some extra padding, it becomes normal,” he said. “But there are some slender pugs out there.”German said some of the criteria governing the Crufts show, set by the U.K. Kennel Club, should be revised, noting the standards for basset hounds says those dogs should be of “considerable substance” but gives no guidance on whether that means muscle or fat.The Kennel Club said it takes dog obesity very seriously and that “judges are trained to only reward healthy dogs.” Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Patients with chronic pain give advice Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like German said owners should take more responsibility for their dogs’ bulging bellies. Though he isn’t a dog owner, he did once have a Garfield-like cat named Clarence.“There’s no reason for a pet to be overweight,” he said. “It’s often just a case of reforming the owners first.”___Online: http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/lookup/doi/10.1136/vr.103093 Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

Ozzy Oman air services approved

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Aussie travellers will have increased access to Oman, after the country’s Sultanate and the Australian government completed a draft agreement to conduct air services between the two countries. Under the temporary Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier this month, four flights will be organised to run per week between Oman and Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, Zawya reported.The Memorandum also highlighted that an indefinite number of flights will run between other Australian cities and the Sultanate. Qantas and Virgin Blue have been selected to fly on behalf of Australia’s side of the agreement, while national carrier, Oman Air was appointed by the Sultanate. last_img read more

lastminutecomau picks up top gong for flights business

first_imgTravel and lifestyle website www.lastminute.com.au, has been recognised as an industry leader, taking out the online travel flights category ahead of the likes of Webjet, Qantas, and Virgin Australia, at the Third Annual AMBER Awards.  Held in Sydney last week, the AMBER Awards celebrate and recognise excellence in eServices, customer service and eCommerce in Australian and New Zealand industries including online travel. Commenting on the award win, lastminute.com.au Brand General Manager Kirsty Harrison said: “We are incredibly proud of our flights offering and this award is a great reward for the hard work of our team. Travellers today are incredibly savvy and not only appreciate but expect a user-friendly online service that we’re only too happy to provide.” Aside from competitive pricing, Harrison also highlighted the brands’ ‘Cheap Frills’ offering – a selected airfare promoted with a best price guarantee advertised exclusively to newsletter subscribers – as one example of the way lastminute.com.au is delivering additional benefits to its customers. Source = lastminute.com.aulast_img read more

Possible delays as Suvarnabhumi runway closes for maintenance

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The industry has been advised to update their clients of possible delays at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport from 11 June to 10 August this year.Destination Asia explained that one of the airport’s runways will be closed for maintenance during the period and airlines and agents should advise travellers to allow a minimum of 80 minutes for connecting flights in Bangkok.The bureau said flights could also be put on hold for 20-45 minutes during peak periods but expects no cancellations or widespread disruption.“Aviation officials are reportedly planning to use Don Muang Airport to ease congestion during the 60 days maintenance period although no official announcement has been made yet,” the company said. “Although this contingency plan will take the pressure off Suvarnabhumi, especially if domestic flights are switched to the older airport, passengers will need to allow a minimum 60 minutes travel time between Suvarnabhumi Airport which is located 29km east of the city and Don Muang Airport which is situated 25km north of the city.”Keep an eye on e-Travel Blackboard for further updates. last_img read more

Etihad withdraws from Skytrax

first_imgEtihad Airways has formally announced its decision to withdraw from Skytrax, including Skytrax World Airline Awards and the Skytrax Audit, amidst a disagreement regarding the way airlines are rated. Although the airline has not elaborated further on its decision, it stressed that the measurement of customer satisfaction and feedback is important to Etihad Airways with the airline undertaking comprehensive monthly industry research and surveys to monitor customer satisfaction in order to continually improve its products and services. The move has come as a major surprise as just last year, the airline praised Skytrax as “a global benchmark for airline excellence because they go straight to the source – the traveller,” now sparking debate in the industry over the value of such award systems, The National reported. A statement from Etihad said the decision was made to leave the aviation industry’s biggest awards scheme after the airline carried out a review of the ratings criteria and measurement of the Skytrax Airline Rating System. Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovichlast_img read more

MasterCard and AccorHotels enter threeyear partnership

first_imgMasterCard and AccorHotels have announced a partnership that will offer MasterCard cardholders exclusive privileges when they stay at selected AccorHotels properties in Asia Pacific.From delicious meals and award-winning spa retreats to a complimentary night’s stay, MasterCard cardholders can look forward to an exciting range of indulgent treats and deals when they stay at more than 550 AccorHotels properties in the region.As part of the three-year partnership, AccorHotels and MasterCard have introduced three programs to make cardholders’ holidays a little more special.Cardholders looking for a much needed escape can book a three-day, two night stay at any of AccorHotels’ participating resorts and enjoy a complimentary night with AccorHotels’ Dream Getaway program from now until 31 March 2016.They can also look forward to an array of personalization services, including bespoke butler and nanny services, and kick start their day with breakfast included for up to two people for each day of their stay.Those longing for some fun in the sun can enter AccorHotels’ My Resort Moment competition – by snapping and sharing a special moment at an AccorHotels hotel or resort on Instagram, one lucky cardholder stands to win one of four luxury resort stays worth up to US$1,000 each month from now till 31 March 2016.To unlock these exclusive deals, all cardholders need to do is visit the MasterCard-AccorHotels partner page, enter their Le Club AccorHotels loyalty number, and the last four digits of their MasterCard card. Cardholders who are not yet a Le Club AccorHotels member can sign up here.“We are very excited to partner with MasterCard to offer their cardholders special privileges and offers when they stay with AccorHotels and hope that this partnership will encourage their members to explore more of our hotels and resorts across Asia Pacific,” said Michael Parsons, AccorHotels Vice President Marketing & Strategic Relationships, Asia Pacific.“AccorHotels has more than 550 participating hotels across 17 countries and we continue to open one new hotel per week on average across the region, so there are choices for every type of stay, from city centres to beachside resorts and everything in between.”“Asia Pacific has long been home to some of the world’s top tourist attractions, and MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index 2015 showed that six of the most visited cities in the world are now right here in Asia,” said Nagesh Devata, group head of Merchant & Acceptance Development, Asia Pacific, MasterCard.“Through our partnership with AccorHotels, we want to provide MasterCard cardholders traveling to countries in the region with not just great value but also access to an array of exclusive rewards and privileges that will make their trips even more priceless.”Hotels under the AccorHotels brand include Sofitel, MGallery by Sofitel, Pullman, Grand Mercure, The Sebel, Novotel, Mercure, Adagio and ibis. Learn more hereSource = MasterCard/AccorHotelslast_img read more

Industrys best recognised as 2016 NTIA nominees are revealed

first_imgSource = Australian Federation of Travel Agents Industry’s best recognised as 2016 NTIA nominees are revealedThe Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is delighted to announce the 2016 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) Nominees.More than 800 nominations were received across the 37 award categories.As with previous years, popular nominee categories were Best Travel Agency Retail – Single Location, Best Travel Consultant – Retail, Best Travel Agency Manager – Retail Single Location and the Emirates Travel Consultant Scholarship.An impressive number of nominations were also received across the supplier categories; Best Tourist Office – International, Best Speciality Wholesaler and Best Sales Executive – Industry Supplier.The full list of nominees is available on the AFTA website.Voting in the 2016 AFTA NTIA will commence at 9:00am (AEDT) this Thursday, 17 March and will run until 5:00pm (AEST) Friday, 8 April 2016.AFTA congratulates all those nominated and wishes you the best of luck through the voting and judging process. Full list of nominees herelast_img read more

Sabre and HNA Aviation Group solidify relationship

first_imgSabre and HNA Aviation Group solidify relationshipSabre and HNA Aviation Group solidify relationshipSabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), the leading technology provider to the global travel industry, has entered into an agreement with HNA Aviation Group to provide its airlines with software that will help create more revenue opportunities while operating more efficiently. Sabre Airline Solutions will play a key role in helping the airlines navigate the highly complex operating environments that are seen in China and the global aviation landscape. HNA Aviation Group is one of the fastest growing airlines in China and has earned a 5-star Skytrax rating for its level of service.“We are honored to work with the HNA Aviation Group to help them with their technology and business needs as they continue to grow,” said Hugh Jones, executive vice president and president, Sabre Airline Solutions. “China is a critical aviation market for Sabre because of its rapid growth. With that growth comes an increase in operational complexities. Our technology with help with that complexity and will allow HNA’s airlines to compete more effectively in a very competitive global environment.”“HNA Aviation Group, one of HNA Group’s core entities, is built on the enormous tourist market in China and is devoted to the development of aviation and tourist industry,” said Mr Xie Haoming, COO of HNA Tourism Group. “The industry-leading solutions that Sabre has developed will make our airlines more efficient and profitable and enable us to better service our customers.”HNA will harness the AirVision Planning and Scheduling and AirCentre Movement suite of products. The AirVision Planning and Scheduling solution will enable HNA to accurately forecast demand and deliver profitable schedules across their network all while enabling its airlines to capture more revenue. It also takes a comprehensive view of the airline to deliver solutions on time and on budget while providing around-the-clock global customer care.The AirCentre Movement Manager and Recovery Manager will help HNA enhance cross-functional operations control through integrated workflow and systems that intuitively manage daily operations and disruptions to protect on time performance and passenger experience.“This relationship with HNA Aviation Group is a great opportunity to introduce new tools and continue to build a stronger team in China,” said Dasha Kuksenko, vice president and regional general manager, Asia Pacific, Sabre Airlines Solutions. “Sabre has significantly increased its presence and engagement in Asia Pacific by developing an operations center in Shanghai, which complements our team in Beijing.”To commemorate the agreement between the two companies, a signing ceremony was held yesterday in Beijing with executives from HNA Aviation Group and Sabre in attendance.About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is the leading technology provider to the global travel industry. Sabre’s software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than US$120 billion of global travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world.About HNA Aviation Group HNA Aviation is making a leading global modern aerial transportation comprehensive operator in solving problems by focusing on air transport enterprise cluster and integrating all kinds of trip elements. Based on the cluster of air transport enterprises, HNA Aviation seeks global expansion and presence in the entire industrial chain by establishing supporting industries of aviation maintenance technology (MRO), general aviation (aviation academy), business trip service (sale), ground support and aviation logistics. HNA Aviation holds 18 airline companies, possessing aircraft fleet of more than 700 carriers in total, and the passenger volume has mounted to 90 million people each year.Source = Sabrelast_img read more