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Transat Distribution Canada hosts top agency owners in Croatia

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Transat Distribution Canada hosts top agency owners in Croatia Tags: TDC, Transat Friday, June 29, 2018 Posted bycenter_img TORONTO — Transat Distribution Canada (TDC) rewarded its valued agency owners earlier this month with a luxury trip to Croatia.Hosted by Transat executives each year, the Award of Excellence trip recognizes top-producing TDC agency owners for their exceptional sales achievement.The group comprised 34 agency owners and their guests, along with their hosts who included: Joseph Adamo, President, TDC; Nathalie Boyer, General Manager, TDC; Louise Fecteau, Commercial Director, Transat; Nicole Bursey, Commercial Director, Transat; Rita Polegri, National Director, corporate, TDC; Danielle Durocher, National Director, Franchisees and Affiliates, TDC; and Kimberley Wood, National Director, Franchisees and Affiliates, TDC.While on the trip, the group enjoyed such highlights as Plitvice Lakes National Park, wine tasting in Zagreb, a scavenger hunt in the Old City Wall of Dubrovnik, and an awards ceremony onboard a Galleon Pirate Boat.“It is important to reward and recognize this group of owners,” said Boyer. “They made a significant contribution to the overall success of TDC and we were delighted to be able to celebrate with them in stunning Croatia this year.” Share Travelweek Group last_img read more


August 19, 2019 0

LATAM to upgrade twothirds of its global fleet

first_img SANTIAGO, CHILE — A major refresh is being planned for two-thirds of LATAM Airlines Group’s global fleet over the next two years.As part of a US$400 million investment, the revamp will include the interior of more than 200 aircraft that serve both long- and short-haul routes throughout the group’s network. LATAM Airlines Peru will receive the first new-look aircraft by year’s end, followed by LATAM Airlines Brasil at the start of 2019.LATAM Airlines Group’s Chile affiliate will operate aircraft featuring the new cabins from the second half of 2019.For passengers travelling on long-haul routes, LATAM will transform the cabins of its Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 wide-body aircraft as well as apply the revamped design to new Boeing 787-9s and Airbus A350-1000s due for delivery over the coming years.The cabins will offer:• New Premium Business seats, each with direct aisle access and featuring the latest generation in-flight entertainment with an 18-inch personal screen.• On new aircraft, the economy cabin will feature ergonomic seats featuring USB power ports, larger 12-inch seat-back screens and inflight entertainment system.• Economy passengers can upgrade to LATAM+ Seats with increased space, greater recline and premium services.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesFor passengers on domestic flights within Latin America, LATAM will transform the cabin of over 150 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, which will offer:• Wi-Fi connectivity and greater in-flight entertainment options.• Ergonomic seats featuring greater comfort and USB power ports.• The chance to upgrade to LATAM+ Seats.LATAM spent three years fine-tuning the design of its new cabins. It consulted passengers and experts, conducted seat trials and ergonomic tests as well as 36- evaluations involving customers, cabin crew and LATAM team members.“Onboard experience is one of the most important differentiators in choosing an airline and the most relevant factor in customer satisfaction, so it was essential that our passengers were involved in the development process,” said Claudia Sender, Vice President Clients, LATAM Airlines Group. “We are committed to better understanding and satisfying passenger needs and we believe that with these new cabins – in addition to our unrivalled network of destinations – that LATAM is well placed to consolidate its position as the first choice for passengers travelling in Latin America.” Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> LATAM to upgrade two-thirds of its global fleet Sharecenter_img Wednesday, August 22, 2018 Tags: LATAM Posted bylast_img read more


August 19, 2019 0

Sunwing kicks off OttawaLos Cabos direct service

first_img Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, December 21, 2018 Posted by Sharecenter_img Sunwing kicks off Ottawa-Los Cabos direct service Tags: Los Cabos, New Routes, Sunwing TORONTO — Sunwing’s first direct flight from Ottawa to Los Cabos departed yesterday, marking the first of a weekly flight service direct from Canada’s capital city.Flights depart every Thursday until April 11, 2019, inclusive. With the addition of the new Los Cabos route, Ottawa residents now have access to 11 flight choices for their winter getaway, including a seasonal flight to Miami, which launched earlier this month.Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing, welcomed the news, saying, “We are delighted to be providing our customers in the Ottawa-Gatineau region with even more ways to Vacation Better this winter. Travellers will be able to enjoy two destinations in one in Los Cabos, with the lively nightlife of Cabo San Lucas and the vibrant art scene of San Jose del Cabo offering something different for travellers of all interests.”Mark Laroche, Ottawa International Airport Authority President and CEO, added: “Nonstop access to a vibrant destination like Los Cabos is exactly the type of air service that Ottawa-Gatineau residents appreciate and expect from their home airport. We’re thrilled that Sunwing sees the upside of adding more choices to their extensive Ottawa International Airport portfolio.”More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesIn Los Cabos, Sunwing passengers can stay at Riu Palace Baja California, a brand new, adults-only oasis that opened earlier this month, or neighbouring property Riu Santa Fe, a recently renovated beachfront resort featuring a new Splash Water World water park, extensive pool complex with swimup bar and an entertainment zone with weekly adults-only pool parties.Guests can enjoy exclusive RIU-topia perks when they book either property with Sunwing such as in-room liquor dispensers, unlimited reservation-free dining, spa credits and more.Also available is the Royal Solaris Los Cabos, a beachfront resort located just a short walk from downtown San Jose Del Cabo. In addition to three pools and a mini water park for kids, families can enjoy such perks as Kids Stay, Play and Eat FREE deals, exclusive pricing for teens, no single parent supplement fee, kids programs and more.All Sunwing vacation packages include return flights on Sunwing Airlines.last_img read more


August 19, 2019 0

Tico workers win battle for fair wages against Canadian firm

first_imgNo related posts. A nearly five-year battle for fair pay ended for a group of Latin American workers, most of them Ticos, who helped build the Canada Line rapid transit link between Vancouver and Richmond.A settlement was reached between some three dozen temporary foreign workers and SELI Canada and SNC Lavalin, CTV News reported on Tuesday. Foreign workers had been paid about half as much as Europeans hired to perform the same construction jobs.Two unions representing the workers say they will release video in Costa Rica of the workers receiving their paychecks in coming days.The employees, who estimated they were owed tens of thousands of dollars, had earlier won a multimillion-dollar ruling from the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. The company appealed the ruling, but eventually agreed on a negotiated settlement. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


August 19, 2019 0

Jazz icon Blue Note celebrates 75 years of cool

first_imgSo what is it about Blue Note that makes it so worth celebrating?In the 1940s and ’50s, when jazz still claimed a small slice of the pop-music market, Blue Note was one of dozens of labels that put out memorable jazz records, including Verve, Savoy, Prestige, Riverside, Pacific Jazz, Columbia and Impulse. But, from the moment of its founding, Blue Note was different. The label was devoted to jazz and nothing but jazz, and over time it acquired a distinctive sound and visual style that set it apart.Dozens of renowned musicians recorded for Blue Note over the years, from Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell to Clifford Brown, Art Blakey, Horace Silver and Freddie Hubbard. A 2009 Down Beat magazine article concluded that the Blue Note spirit was best captured by saxophonist-composer Wayne Shorter, whose 80th birthday was observed last year at the Kennedy Center. His groundbreaking albums “Speak No Evil,” “Adam’s Apple” and “Night Dreamer,” blending tradition and creativity, sound as fresh today as they did when he made them in the mid-1960s.“Whatever music was done on the Blue Note label expressed the challenge of change,” Shorter told Down Beat five years ago. “Blue Note had its finger on something — that you need that overwhelming resistance to commercial stuff to be used as fuel. It takes resistance for an airplane to take off.”“Blue Monk”: To a jazz fan, there’s always been something special about Blue Note Records. It wasn’t the first record label dedicated to jazz; it didn’t always have the biggest stars or release the most historically significant recordings. But it was always cool.Since its founding by a jazz-loving immigrant from Germany in 1939, Blue Note Records has been one of the guideposts of jazz. A Blue Note album always seemed to have a certain sound, a certain look, a certain feeling that embodied the spirit of jazz.With record labels shrinking fast and vanishing altogether in our age of YouTube and MP3 downloads, Blue Note has somehow managed to hang on to its old mystique. Books have been written about Blue Note’s music and its album covers, which are still studied by graphic designers. The sound quality on Blue Note classic recordings has never been matched. After 75 years, it’s still around — although not just a jazz label anymore — and it’s hard to think of any other record company whose legacy would merit a month-long music festival.Beginning next weekend, the Kennedy Center and several other Washington, D.C. venues in the United States will launch an ambitious celebration of all things Blue Note, including films, lectures, a U.S. Library of Congress panel discussion, a photography exhibition and no fewer than 10 concerts. (For a complete schedule, go to www.kennedy-center.org/bluenote.)Jason Moran, who is taking the Kennedy Center’s jazz program in new directions as its artistic adviser for jazz, is a major contributor to the programming, both as a performer and an impresario. He will discuss his favorite Blue Note albums with trumpeter Terence Blanchard at the Kennedy Center on May 10 and take part in a gala concert the following night, featuring some of the brightest stars of Blue Note, past and present, including saxophonists Wayne Shorter, Joe Lovano and the ageless Lou Donaldson — who first recorded for Blue Note in 1952; singers Norah Jones and Dianne Reeves; vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson; and pianist McCoy Tyner.Check out Lou Donaldson doing some “straight ahead jazz; no fusion, no con-fusion … no 50 Cent that ain’t worth a quarter”: Related posts:Springsteen turns song into book with unflinching ‘Outlaw Pete’ Neil Young vows Starbucks boycott over GMOs Cuban legends Buena Vista Social Club to play at White House A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg dies at 45center_img If Blue Note reached its apotheosis with Shorter in the 1960s, its history reaches back much further, when two teenage friends in Berlin were besotted by a new music coming from the U.S. in the 1920s. Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff listened to jazz when it was considered a dangerous and decadent form of music that could send you to jail in Nazi Germany.Lion, who was born in 1908, came to the United States in the 1920s for a short time. Recognizing the growing peril for Jewish citizens, he left Germany for good in 1933, landing first in Chile before settling in New York three years later. He worked in the import-export business while keeping his ear turned toward jazz. Guided only by his ear and his eagerness for the music, Lion held his first recording session, with boogie-woogie pianists Albert Ammons and Meade “Lux” Lewis, on Jan. 6, 1939.He sold the records under the name Blue Note, after the flatted tones that give jazz and blues their characteristic minor-key sound. Later that year, Lion recorded New Orleans-born soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet in a version of George Gershwin’s “Summertime” that remains a classic.Wolff fled Germany in October 1939 and joined Lion at Blue Note. After buying out an early investor, they owned Blue Note outright by 1947. Drummer Brian Blade is part of Blue Note’s stable of recording artists. The label has nurtured generations of jazz giants. (Courtesy of Lurah Blade)At first, Lion and Wolff favored the traditional jazz they had heard in Berlin, but they soon discovered new sounds, largely through saxophonist Ike Quebec, who became something of an unofficial talent scout for Blue Note. By the late 1940s, Lion and Wolff were in the studio with pioneering pianists Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell.The Blue Note label began to assume something of its new identity in 1953, when Lion and Wolff made 28 new recordings, including albums by Brown, Silver, Miles Davis and Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. The same year, a onetime optician from New Jersey, Rudy Van Gelder, became Blue Note’s primary recording engineer.Lion wanted his records to have the immediacy of a jazz club, and Van Gelder was able to replicate the sound, with a balance and clarity never before heard in jazz recordings. For the first time, the acoustic bass sounded distinct and alive, with a pure, wooden tone. The varied elements of the drum kit — high hat, snare, cymbals and bass drum — had a bright, punchy kick. The piano had a mellow timbre, but it wasn’t overpowered by trumpets and saxophones.There were capable engineers at other labels, but Blue Note recordings had a consistent quality that became the platonic ideal of how jazz was meant to sound.The finishing touch for Blue Note came in 1956, when Reid Miles arrived. Neither a musician nor a producer, Miles didn’t even like jazz; he preferred classical music. But by designing hundreds of album covers, he devised a Blue Note style that was bold, innovative and memorable.Many of the albums were built around Wolff’s striking photographs, most of them intimate portraits of musicians against a dark background. The images showed African American musicians concentrating on their work, as they wrote arrangements, played instruments or, in some cases, gazed directly into the camera. They were more than mere entertainers, the Blue Note albums implied; they were creative souls, giving voice to an original artistic vision.The tightly cropped photos were balanced by clean typefaces, bright colors, lines and other graphic elements that produced an identifiable Blue Note aesthetic. Decades later, fans still recall many of their favorite albums by the cover art.Through the 1950s and 1960s, Blue Note put out dozens of records by Silver, Blakey, Shorter, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Jimmy Smith, Cannonball Adderley and others, who collectively helped define a style of jazz that became known as hard bop. A bluesier, more melodic version of the harmonically complex bebop of the 1940s, hard bop became virtually the new mainstream musical form of jazz. With each new album, Blue Note codified its own style, building a legacy that would extend for generations.“All of the material stands up,” trumpeter Nicholas Payton told Jazz Times magazine in 2009, “and over time the beauty and the meaning of these records become deeper, which is a testament to how great they were initially.” Guitarist Lionel Loueke’s album, “Heritage,” was released in 2012 and produced by Blue Note labelmate Robert Glasper. The label has nurtured generations of jazz giants. (Courtesy of Brantley Gutierre)Other labels, most notably Prestige, helped propound the new hard bop style in the 1950s, but no one could match the polish of Blue Note. Musicians used to have a joke: What’s the difference between a Blue Note session and a Prestige session? Two days of rehearsals.In fact, it wasn’t a joke at all. From his very first recording session in 1939, Lion defied the established practice by paying his musicians up front and offering royalties on later sales. He asked them to rehearse — and paid for it — and brought them into the studio late at night, when they were most comfortable and relaxed. Food and drink were plentiful. Lion was always there, no matter the hour, and in some of Wolff’s photographs, you can see him massaging the musicians’ shoulders.“Alfred was totally dedicated,” Horace Silver, who became a close friend of Lion’s, said in 1987. “He saw to it that everything about his product, from the recording to the artwork, the photography, the liner notes, was flawless. He established a tradition of dealing only with music he believed in, instead of basing his plans on how well a record would sell.”The golden age of Blue Note lasted about 15 years. In 1966, the company was sold to a conglomerate, and Lion retired to Mexico and California. He died in 1987. Wolff died in 1971.After years of dormancy, Blue Note was revived in 1984 by a new company president, Bruce Lundvall, who restored much of the label’s luster. He dug through the archives to release many of the classic albums on CD, complete with their original artwork, and he was the label’s guiding force for more than 25 years.Even today, about a third of Blue Note’s sales are drawn from the remarkable backlist produced by Lion and Wolff. The secret to Blue Note, it seems, was simple: It came from a love of the music and a respect for the people who made it.© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more


August 19, 2019 0

The Salt of the Earth focuses on photographer Sebastião Salgado

first_imgFor the past 40 years, the photographer Sebastião Salgado has been creating stunning records of contemporary society around the globe, his massive black and white prints capturing intimate moments of death and wholesale environmental destruction with epic scope and scale.In such exhibitions as “The Other Americas,” “Workers” and “Exodus” he has masterfully chronicled the lives of indigenous people of South America, conditions facing modern industrial laborers and mass migrations brought on by war and famine. As adept at single-figure portraiture as startling, large-format groupings, Salgado possesses the eye of an artist but the soul of the economist he trained to be: A critique of late capitalism runs through even his most romantic, lyrical work. The photographer Sebastião Salgado’s life, career and philosophical approach are the subjects of the documentary “The Salt of the Earth.” © Sebastião Salgado/Amazonas Images/Sony Pictures ClassicsSalgado’s life, career and philosophical approach are the subjects of “The Salt of the Earth,” an adoring, ultimately limited profile of the artist, who grew up on a farm in central Brazil, worked briefly as an international economist and, with the support of his wife, Lelia, chucked it in the 1970s to hone his instinctive facility with the camera. “The Salt of the Earth” is directed by Wim Wenders and Salgado’s son, Juliano, and the two men trade off narrating what amounts to an unabashed love letter to the man they both idolize.As Salgado’s dazzling images prove, the admiration is not unjustified. And the arc of his career — which he temporarily left behind after documenting the horrors of Rwandan genocide and its aftermath, then returned to after replanting the Atlantic rain forest on his family farm in Brazil — is clearly that of a man of conscience and moral seriousness. Still, “The Salt of the Earth” remains worshipful when it should be more probing, especially around questions of ethics, privacy and consent. Without knowing more about Salgado’s own relational processes with his subjects, his aestheticized images of (mostly black) half-naked bodies, the corpses of famine-stricken infants and exotic tribes carry a whiff of hegemony and objectification rather than the friendship and deep respect he avers in the film.“The Salt of the Earth” nonetheless offers a magnificent primer, especially for those unfamiliar with Salgado’s photographs. There are just as many breathtaking moments to be found in the film as there are in the work it’s about.“The Salt of the Earth” is showing at Cine Magaly in San José on Friday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, all shows at 2 p.m. More info (in Spanish) here.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Latin America ‘presente’ at the Oscars Haiti on the outside looking in at ‘Star Wars’ delirium Panama celebrates Independence Day UCR students race toward cinematic glory in only 48 hourslast_img read more


August 19, 2019 0

British Week Costa Rica From Shakespeare to Bond

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Cowboys, coffee, and other happenings around Costa Rica Art fair, Renaissance artist, and other happenings around Costa Rica Cultural Center anniversary, vegan fair, and more events around Costa Rica UCR students race toward cinematic glory in only 48 hours The first-ever British Week Costa Rica will fill the country with the United Kingdom’s culture, tradition and heritage from Oct. 31 to Nov. 8. The Costa Rica British Chamber of Commerce (BritCham) joined forces with the British Embassy and Teatro expressivo to organize a series of activities around San José.“We want this event to be an invitation for Ticos to explore this culture, to get to know more of what the United Kingdom can offer, and finally to enjoy these activities we have prepared,” BritCham director Karen Visoná said in a statement.For the inaugural event, BritCham has brought British theater company TNT Theatre Britain to perform the Shakespeare comedy “The Taming of the Shrew.” Director Paul Stebbings recommends that even non-English speakers attend the play, because the great performances will explain the story. Renowned actor Richard Ede heads the cast. The play will featured for two days only, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, at Momentum Theater in Curidabat. (For more information call 2267-1818.)On Nov. 3, a special screening of the new James Bond movie, “Spectre,” will take place at Nova Cinemas. It will be an exclusive presentation of the film, which has not yet premiered in the United States, and the event will also feature an exhibit of British cars. On Nov. 4, the Saúl Méndez brand will host a fashion show of United Kingdom trends, including recreations of some of the best royal looks that have influenced the fashion world through the years. Finally, on Nov. 5, local bands will play some of the the best hits of British groups at the Hard Rock Café in Heredia.The week celebrates the link between Costa Rican and Britain in a more literal way as well: on Nov. 2, a new direct flight by Thomson Airways from London Gatwick to Liberia, Guanacaste, will be inaugurated. On Nov. 7-8, business executives from the United Kingdom will set up shop at the British Fair in Avenida Escazú to learn more about British business offerings in Costa Rica.Finally, as an extra activity for this year, a car will be raffled off in order to raise funds for public schoolteachers to study in the United Kingdom.“As part of the social labor of the Chamber, we want to thank those who help with the continous improvement of the country,” Visoná said. “We want to strengthen our scholarship fund  in order to send more teachers to this kind of trainings.”For more information about the activities visit British Embassy Facebook page or email info@britchamcr.com.last_img read more


August 19, 2019 0

Guanacaste nonprofit celebrates 10 years of support for youth

first_imgRelated posts:Project provides prosthetic limbs, new hope for Costa Ricans Special needs kids enjoy beach day in Avellanas Year-end campaign invites public to share why they love Costa Rica Solís signs decree declaring emergency over arsenic in Guanacaste water supply “He was the bad boy of Villareal,” announced Laetitia Deweer as she introduced 19-year-old Abraham Meza Berrocal to the hundreds of people sitting in the audience at Pangas Restaurant last week.Meza and nine other young people were onstage to tell their stories of coming to Culture, Education and Psychology for Infants and Adolescents (CEPIA), the organization that Deweer cofounded with her friend and fellow Belgian Lotje Deridder to improve the quality of life of impoverished Guanacaste children and teenagers and their families through cultural development, educational opportunities, physical and mental health, and social integration.“Because of CEPIA, I just graduated from high school,” Meza concluded proudly at the Black & White Party, which commemorated the group’s tenth anniversary. Guests paid $40-45 each and participated in a silent auction to support CEPIA’s work. In all, the evening raised $17,000 for the organization.Another program beneficiary, Elizabeth, also shared a success story. Earlier in the week, she told about the time when Deweer, who serves as CEPIA’s executive director, came to her school, gave a talk and distributed flyers. Elizabeth was nine years old; she’s now 19.“I went home and talked to my grandmother and told her I liked it,” recalled Elizabeth, adding that her grandmother had been caring for her since she was an infant, after her mother left her behind because she lacked the resources to take care of a child. Her father is an alcoholic. She sees him once in a while walking the streets of the town where she lives, she said.“I liked CEPIA. I liked participating in the activities, especially the outdoor trips like the Beach Challenge at the (former) Country Day School,” Elizabeth explained. “I came in second and loved it. I still have the medal in my room.”She took advantage of all the classes, such yoga and art, and received much-needed school supplies. However, when she turned 14, she rebelled, left the youth group, and ended up on the streets, drinking and using drugs. CEPIA participant Elizabeth, 19. Ellen Zoe Golden/The Tico Times“I became a rebel, dropped out and disappeared. But I always liked CEPIA, and there were courses that were useful,” she recalled. “I wasn’t finding anything good on the streets, and I was growing and maturing.”She returned two years ago, started with computer training and now English, received counseling from the staff psychologist, and is currently looking for a job.Ingrid, 17, was one of the first children to join CEPIA 10 years ago. Ingrid and her mother definitely qualified for some assistance:  Her father left when she was small and they lived in a house in the small town of Huacas, near Tamarindo, without electricity. On many days, they had nothing to eat. A CEPIA volunteer brought them food, and at that visit Ingrid learned about all the available programs including summer camps, which was where she first joined up in order to play girls’ soccer.“Now I have a better character. I was not well-behaved before. I didn’t like anything, didn’t think anything was important. After joining CEPIA, I got it into my mind that I wanted to change, “ Ingrid said. “Before, I had no friends. I was talking bad and I wasn’t a nice person. I started to get friends when I participated in the activities.”See also: Guanacaste to break ground on $400,000 community center With a goal to work in tourism someday, Ingrid is taking English classes three times a week at CEPIA.“I feel she can do it,” Deweer said.Both girls were quick to note that they really enjoy the food they eat at CEPIA. The restaurant is one of four commercial operations onsite, with the profits from each going directly to the people who run them. There’s also a second-hand store, internet café, and ecocultural tourism center.The center is located in a brand-new building in Huacas. It’s a major step up from the one-room house they previously used. Now there are separate rooms for classes, computer lab, and the “well-being” room, where nine disabled children receive physical therapy every week, and trusted youth who have keys to the center can be found on any given day breakdancing and watching movies.CEPIA also has a new daycare with space for 25 infants. Kids are chosen by the government on a case-by-case basis so the parents can look for work while knowing their children are in good hands.In 2014, CEPIA had 140 trained volunteers working with the kids and adults. This year Deweer anticipates even more. Many even become sponsors, such as Octavio Suárez and Roberta Roper. These two — a businessman and a psychologist, respectively — are set to become Ingrid’s sponsor, attending to her essentials like health products, school supplies, whatever she needs.“Almost all the people who volunteer and have a little money become sponsors,” Deweer said. “They meet the kids and know their situations and decide to help them out.”Recommended: Special needs kids spend beach day at AvellanasOnsite, there are now more options to better assist the children and their families who are in extreme poverty.  For one, there are new technical training classes offered by the National Learning Institute (INA), an indication of the governmental support given CEPIA.The government is “starting to take us seriously,” said Deweer. “Now, when we ask the government for something, they are very cooperative.”Along the same lines, next year, through the Ministry of Public Education’s “Educación Abierta” programming, CEPIA will offer classes for grades 6-11. Elizabeth has already signed up for 9th grade.“This is huge. Everyone is going to come,” Deweer said, reflecting on these new options.To fund these and other programs, CEPIA relies on two major benefits per year: The Black and White Party and the Robert August Surf n Turf, a golf and surf event hosted by the famous surfer.  There’s also a golf tournament at Reserva Conchal, attended only by homeowners at that development.At this year’s Black & White party also included an Angel Tree, where people took cards from the branches, each indicating a child for whom they would buy a Christmas present (or donate $20). On Dec. 15, 400 kids will receive those gifts, along with food and school supplies.According to Deweer, CEPIA is able to do events such as the Christmas party due to the generosity of its donors.  She and her organization spends a lot of time and energy getting its message of need out to the public.“Some people don’t realize what poverty is,” she said. “That is why we try to educate the public. Without our help, who knows what would happen to these kids and families.”Ingrid knows: “If I weren’t involved with CEPIA, I would be in the street, drinking and smoking.”CEPIA is now receiving donations of used clothing, which can be dropped off at Jaime Peligro’s Bookstore in Tamarindo, or at the center itself. For more information, please visit www.cepiacostarica.org. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


August 19, 2019 0

Unlikely Vietnam considers samesex marriage

first_imgAssociated PressHANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Dinh Thi Hong Loan grasps her girlfriend’s hand, and the two gaze into each other’s love-struck eyes. Smiling, they talk about their upcoming wedding _ how they’ll exchange rings and toast the beginning of their lives together.The lesbians’ marriage ceremony in the Vietnamese capital won’t be officially recognized, but that could soon change. Vietnam’s Communist government is now considering whether to allow same-sex couples to marry or legally register and receive rights _ positioning the country to be the first in Asia to do so. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Globally, 11 countries have legalized same-sex marriage since the Netherlands became the first to do so in 2001. Only a few U.S. states allow it, but President Barack Obama provided hope for many couples worldwide after announcing his support earlier this year.The issue has remained largely off the table across Asia. In Thailand, many tourists see a vibrant gay, lesbian and transgender community, but it exists largely as part of the country’s lucrative entertainment industry, separated from politics and conservative Thai society.Muslim-dominated nations such as Indonesia have strict laws against homosexuality. Sodomy can result in up to 20 years in jail and caning in Malaysia. But that hasn’t stopped some from continuing to fight for more rights and visibility.In Singapore, more than 15,000 people _ double last year’s turnout _ recently held up pink lights in a park at night to support acceptance of the community in a modern city-state where gay sex remains illegal, even though the law is not enforced.In Taiwan, a 2003 bill to recognize same-sex marriage failed to receive enough support to make it law, though a lesbian couple is expected to tie the knot in August at a Buddhist monastery. Vietnam will also hold its first public gay pride parade Aug. 5 in Hanoi. The country is socially conservative, but the government restricts the kind of politicized religious movements that typically push back against same-sex marriage in other countries. Gay pride events also seem to pose little threat to Communist Party’s dominance.The same-sex marriage proposal still has several hurdles before it could become law. The Justice Ministry will consider opinions from the public along with government agencies before submitting its draft proposal to the National Assembly next May on whether to recommend same-sex marriage or some other type of legal recognition with rights. Then, it must be approved by a majority of parliament.“Some people told me if Vietnam could legalize it, it would be very good example for other counties to follow,” said Le Quang Binh, head of the nonprofit Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment, which is consulting on the marriage law. “People think that talking about it is a big step forward already. … I hope it will lead to more openness or tolerance for gays and lesbians in Vietnam.”As for Vietnamese partners Loan and Nguyen Thi Chi, who share a one-room apartment down a narrow alley in Hanoi, they say their love and commitment is real, regardless of whether a law exists to recognize them when they marry next month. But they hope the new proposal will ease stigma that lingers around same-sex couples. Comments   Share   And Vietnam’s gay community itself was once so underground that few groups or meeting places existed. It was taboo to even talk about the issue.But over the past five years, that’s slowly started to change. Vietnam’s state-run media, unable to write about politically sensitive topics or openly criticize the one-party government, have embraced the chance to explore gay issues. They have run lengthy newspaper stories and television broadcasts, including one live special that won a top award.Video of Vietnam’s first publicized gay wedding went viral online in 2010, and a few other ceremonies followed, capturing widespread public attention. The Justice Ministry now says a legal framework is necessary because the courts do not know how to handle disputes between same-sex couples living together. The new law could provide rights such as owning property, inheriting and adopting children.“I think, as far as human rights are concerned, it’s time for us to look at the reality,” Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong said Tuesday in an online chat broadcast on national TV and radio. “The number of homosexuals has mounted to hundreds of thousands. It’s not a small figure. They live together without registering marriage. They may own property. We, of course, have to handle these issues legally.” (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Chi, 20, knows the pain of discrimination all too well. She recently dropped out of college after being publicly outed by a note taped to one of her classroom doors saying she was “diseased.” She was harassed and bullied for a year and a half on campus until finally deciding she’d had enough.“Things must change,” she said. “Even though it was not a nice experience, more and more people are interested in knowing about the community. And the more people that know about it, the more people will have a different view on it.”____Associated Press writer Sean Yoong contributed to this report from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Follow Margie Mason at http://www.twitter.com/margiemasonap Parents, stop beating yourself up “Our love for each other is real and nothing changes regardless of whether the law is passed or not,” said Loan, 31. “But when it is passed, we will definitely go get registered. I can’t wait!”Even longtime gay-rights activists are stunned by the Justice Ministry’s proposal to include same-sex couples in its overhaul of the country’s marriage law. No one knows what form it will take or whether it will survive long enough to be debated before the National Assembly next year, but supporters say the fact that it’s even being considered is a victory in a region where simply being gay can result in jail sentences or whippings with a rattan cane.“I think everyone is surprised,” said Vien Tanjung, an Indonesian gay-rights activist. “Even if it’s not successful it’s already making history. For me, personally, I think it’s going to go through.”Vietnam seems an unlikely champion of gay-rights issues. It is routinely lambasted by the international community over its dismal human rights record, often locking up political dissidents who call for democracy or religious freedom. Up until just a few years ago, homosexuality was labeled as a “social evil” alongside drug addiction and prostitution. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Sponsored Stories How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more


August 18, 2019 0

ICC prosecutor studying Palestinian status

first_img Comments   Share   In April, prosecutors rejected a Palestinian bid to get the Hague-based court to investigate possible war crimes during an Israeli military offensive in the Gaza strip that began in December 2008.The Palestinian authority attempted to empower the court to investigate by unilaterally recognizing its jurisdiction, but prosecutors said only internationally recognized states could accept jurisdiction.Israel is not a member of the 10-year-old court.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breachescenter_img Four benefits of having a wireless security system THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court say they will study what the Palestinian Authority’s upgraded status means for its relationship with the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal.In a one-paragraph reaction to the historic United Nations General Assembly vote, the court’s prosecution office said Friday it “will consider the legal implications of this resolution.” 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more


August 18, 2019 0

Macedonia charges 30 over weekend battle with militants

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Flags flew at half-staff while sports events and political gatherings were canceled as the country observed a second day of national mourning.International officials expressed concern. A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Monday for a full investigation “in an objective and transparent manner.”“At this sensitive time, the secretary-general calls on all actors to exercise maximum restraint and to refrain from any rhetoric and/or actions that may escalate tensions further,” Stephane Dujarric said.European Union enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn called for a thorough investigation and said the event “cannot and should not distract from the very serious internal political situation” in Macedonia.The fighting came as Macedonia faces its deepest political crisis since independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, amid opposition claims that the conservative government tapped the phones of 20,000 people, including police, judges, religious leaders, journalists and foreign diplomats. The government denies that, blaming the wiretaps on unspecified foreign spies.In a strongly worded statement, the ambassadors of the United States, European Union, and other European countries said the government’s reluctance to address the allegations showed a lack of commitment to democratic principles — and “will undermine Macedonia’s progress towards EU and NATO membership.” Four benefits of having a wireless security system 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Top Stories Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski told reporters that over 40 militants had planned to attack state institutions, sport events and shopping malls. He said they had combat experience both in the region and in the Middle East, but did not elaborate on the latter.The men allegedly entered Macedonia illegally at the beginning of May and hid out in Diva Naselba, where police say they found a huge arsenal of weapons. Some of the dead gunmen wore uniforms with the insignia of the disbanded ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army, the ethnic Albanian rebel group that fought Serb government forces in 1998-99 for the independence of Kosovo.___Testorides reported from Skopje.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Most of those arrested came from neighboring ethnic Albanian-dominated Kosovo, where officials called for a “credible and transparent investigation into the killings.”A court in Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, identified the suspects Monday as 18 Kosovo residents, 11 Macedonians — two of whom were living in Kosovo — and one Albanian. All 30 were ordered detained for 30 days, the maximum period allowed under Macedonian law, which can then be renewed until the suspects go to trial.The weekend fighting is the worst since 2001, when an ethnic Albanian insurgency nearly developed into all-out civil war in the small country of 2.1 million, a quarter of whom are ethnic Albanians. No group has claimed any connection with the incident, which Macedonian authorities have blamed on ethnic Albanian paramilitary groups that fought Serbian and Macedonian forces in the area in the late 1990s and early 2000s.Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga and Prime Minister Isa Mustafa jointly condemned the involvement of their citizens in the incident, calling it an attempt to “destabilize Kosovo and the neighboring countries.”The Albanian government issued a statement calling for the protection of the ethnic Albanian population in Kumanovo.center_img Patients with chronic pain give advice Macedonian President George Ivanov met the ambassadors earlier Monday, his office said.Kumanovo is 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Skopje, near the borders with Kosovo and Serbia. The region was the center of hostilities during the ethnic conflict in 2001, which ended with a Western-brokered peace deal that granted more rights to ethnic AlbaniansPolice said the militants used assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades in the weekend house-to-house fighting in the densely built-up ethnic Albanian neighborhood of Diva Naselba. Local media said at least 10 houses were destroyed, while several more were damaged by bullets.Azem Brahimi, a 70-year-old local retired man, said he went out for morning prayers before the fighting started on Saturday only to find he could not return to the area that was besieged by police with his wife and son’s family remaining inside.Brahimi said his family was temporarily held as suspected terrorists but later released. He returned to his house only after the hostilities ended and found it in ruins.“When I saw it destroyed the way it has been the only thing that kept me going is when I saw that my children are alive,” Brahimi said. KUMANOVO, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonian authorities on Monday jailed 30 people captured in a weekend gun battle in a northern town that left 22 police and suspected ethnic Albanian militants dead, at a time of heightened political tension in the small Balkan countryThe suspects face terrorism-related charges. They are accused of participating in the fighting that killed eight police and also injured 37 people in the northern town of Kumanovo that has a mixed population of Macedonians and minority ethnic Albanians. 0 Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Habibe Biyali stands inside a room in her house heavily damaged by fighting in Kumanovo, Macedonia, Monday, May 11, 2015. Residents are returning to their homes in a northern Macedonian town where a fierce weekend battle between special police units and alleged ethnic Albanian militants left 22 dead and at least 37 injured. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more


August 18, 2019 0

Currency tumbles as Venezuelans look to unload bolivars

first_img Top Stories CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelans are dumping their rapidly-depreciating currency at a quicker pace, leading to a staggering plunge in its free-market value, as the crisis-plagued economy edges closer to an outbreak of hyperinflation.DolarToday, a widely followed website that tracks exchanges made near the Colombian border, reported Friday that the bolivar had lost a quarter of its value over the last seven days. Four benefits of having a wireless security system 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 “We’re going to put those people at DolarToday who are waging an economic war against Venezuela behind bars sooner rather than later” he said.The site, which is sometimes blocked within Venezuela, responded with a cheeky video documenting its popularity set to the club hit “Turn Down for What.”Copyright © 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 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The administration of President Nicolas Maduro keeps tight control over the legal exchange of bolivars, using a byzantine three-tier system. The system is meant to subsidize crucial imports, but also has led to widespread corruption and speculation.One official rate is 6.3 bolivars per dollar. The weakest official rate, which was billed as an alternative to illegal currency exchanges when it was rolled out earlier their year, has inched up to 200 bolivars per dollar. The fact many people are willing to pay double that on the black market indicates the supply of dollars is limited.The Maduro administration has been hoarding dollars as it grapples with falling oil prices. That has contributed to shortages and other economic distortions.DolarToday is openly hostile to the socialist government and frequently picks up articles attacking the administration. But the site insists its exchange-rate reports are based on actual trades at the border and are not manipulated to undercut the government.In April, Maduro repeated his assertion that the site’s shadowy managers, whose identities are not public, are collaborating with the speculators and opposition leaders he blames for the country’s problems. He accused them of purposely sowing chaos and promised to have them arrested. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   FILE – This Jan. 4, 2008 file photo shows bank workers handling Venezuela’s currency, the “Bolivar Fuerte,” or Strong Bolivar, at the Central Bank in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelans are expressing disbelief as the country’s currency has lost a quarter of its value on the black market in the space of a week in 2015, between May 14 and 22. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File) Men’s health affects baby’s health too Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Everyone in smartphone-obsessed Caracas seemed to learn of the crash at the same time as the DolarToday app, a ubiquitous tool in the South American country, sent out a series of messages announcing the new rates under the headline “hyperinflation!”Venezuelan currency was trading at around 420 bolivars per dollar Friday afternoon, according to the site. That was down from 300 bolivars per dollar on May 14 and 173 at the start of the year.Many black market dealers paused transactions until the rate stabilized, but some Venezuelans said they had changed money at the 400 bolivar rate Friday.It’s not immediately clear what triggered the latest bout of panic buying and selling. But for many Venezuelans, who have lost faith in their currency, the dollar is the best way to protect themselves from inflation, which last year hit 68 percent and which economists say has already soared past the triple-digit threshold this year.A Barclay Capital Inc. report issued Friday pointed to government expansion of the money supply as an underlying cause for inflation. The bank projected the Bolivar could dip as low as 600 to the dollar this year.“We do not see any signal of change from the authorities but these risks should make them reconsider their policies,” the report said.last_img read more


August 18, 2019 0

Mexicos 1st independent candidate leads in exit polls

first_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Protesters burned ballot boxes in several restive states of southern Mexico in an attempt to disrupt elections, but officials said the vote was proceeding satisfactorily despite “isolated incidents.”“Considering the challenges we faced in this election, the balance has been positive,” electoral institute head Lorenzo Cordova said in a national address after polls closed.Thousands of soldiers and federal police guarded polling stations where violence and calls for boycotts threatened to mar elections for 500 seats in the lower house of Congress, nine of 31 governorships and hundreds of mayors and local officials.The elections drew a turnout of between 47 and 48 percent, the electoral institute said.Midterm elections usually draw light turnout, but attention was unusually high this time as a loose coalition of radical teachers’ unions and activists vowed to block the vote.The teachers’ demands include wage hikes, an end to teacher testing and the safe return of 42 missing students from a radical teachers’ college. Those students disappeared in September, and prosecutors say they were killed and incinerated by a drug gang.Protesters burned at least seven ballot boxes and election materials in Tixtla, the Guerrero state town where the teachers’ college is located. Soon after, there was an exchange of rock-throwing between protesters and hundreds of people who said they intended to defend their right to vote. There were no immediate reports of injuries.Ballot boxes were also destroyed in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. In Oaxaca’s capital, masked protesters emptied a vehicle of ballots, boxes and voting tables and burned the material in the main square.The state government reported 88 arrests related to the destruction of election materials and disturbances in the capital, Tuxtepec and Salina Cruz.In Monterrey, two political parties reported that armed men were intimidating voters in three towns near the border with Texas.Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong called it the “most watched-over” vote in Mexican history and said there were only “minimal” problems so far.“That is good for all of us, to be able to carry out a calm process in which citizens may determine their next leaders and for that to be something normal,” Osorio Chong said.Mexico’s National Electoral Institute reported that nearly 100 percent of polling places were able to open.Among the most volatile states is Guerrero, where at least 10 people died in a clash between community self-policing groups Saturday, but it did not appear to be linked to the election. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   Check your body, save your life Campaign signs and other election related material confiscated from passing vehicles burn at a roadblock set up by a community group protesting Sunday’s elections, in Tixtla, Mexico, Saturday, June 6, 2015. A group of men and women, many with faces covered by bandanas, stopped all traffic entering and leaving the Guerrero state town of Tixtla along one main road, to search for and burn any material related to the elections. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s ruling party has lost seats in congress but may gain a majority from its coalition with the small but growing Green Party that was everywhere during the campaign, according to official voting trends released late Sunday by the electoral institute.Voters also elected Mexico’s first independent governor after a reform allowing unaffiliated candidates, a move seen as a jolt to all political parties.center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Independent Jaime Rodriguez, known as “El Bronco,” had at least a 6-point lead in the race in Nuevo Leon state, according to exit polls conducted by the television network TV Azteca and other media.The margin of error in the Azteca survey, however, was 3.8 percentage points. The ruling party candidate, Ivonne Alvarez, acknowledged the vote was close.Rodriguez’s popularity in a state that is home to the business hub of Monterrey was attributed to voters’ disgust with all political parties, each with its own corruption scandals.“Nuevo Leon has shown that through the ballot box, you can change things,” Rodriguez said in addressing his supporters, adding that he will wait for the official count to confirm his victory. “We’re going to give the parties six years of vacation.”His support harkens back to 2000, when another plainspoken cowboy candidate, Vicente Fox, managed to topple the PRI’s 71-year rule and win the presidency for the opposition National Action Party.The voting, marred by sporadic outbursts of violence, was seen as a litmus test for President Enrique Pena Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party.The PRI lost seats, according to the official early count. But a surge in Green Party representatives, from 27 in the current congress to as many as 48, could give the PRI-Green coalition 251 of 500 votes, a majority the party has lacked until now. Some cast blank ballots as a protest against a political class they consider corrupt and ineffective.Violence ahead of the elections has already claimed the lives of three candidates, one would-be candidate and at least a dozen campaign workers or activists.___Associated Press journalists Jose Maria Alvarez and Jose Antonio Rivera in Tixtla, Mark Stevenson in Oaxaca and Christopher Sherman, Maria Verza and Peter Orsi in Mexico City contributed.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more


August 18, 2019 0

Director Zhang Yimou sues exproduction partner for 25M

first_imgIn this July 2, 2015 photo, movie director Zhang Yimou speaks at a press conference of his latest movie “The Great Wall” at a hotel in Beijing. Zhang has sued a production company that he has worked with for more than a decade, seeking 15 million yuan ($2.5 million) he says he is owed as his share of the distribution money of one of his movies. His lawyers argued Tuesday, July 7, 2017 at Beijing Chaoyang District Court that Zhang hadn’t received his share of money for his 2009 film “A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop,” a dark comedy about a noodle shop owner scheming to murder his wife and her lover. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 0 Comments   Share   In its defense, Beijing New Picture Film Co. argued that Zhang started his lawsuit in 2014, after a deadline expired, the court said on its microblog.Zhang and the production company have worked together on many films, including two of Zhang’s best-known: “House of Flying Daggers” and “Hero.”Zhang wasn’t in court for the hearing, and the court didn’t say when the judgment would be announced.Zhang is making his first English-language film, a $150 million Chinese-Hollywood fantasy movie “The Great Wall” starring Matt Damon. It’s due to be released late next year.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Parents, stop beating yourself up Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk BEIJING (AP) — Chinese director Zhang Yimou has sued a production company that he has worked with for more than a decade, seeking 15 million yuan ($2.5 million) he says he is owed as his share of the distribution money of one of his movies.His lawyers argued Tuesday at Beijing Chaoyang District Court that Zhang hadn’t received his share of money for his 2009 film “A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop,” a dark comedy about a noodle shop owner scheming to murder his wife and her lover. Top Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more


August 18, 2019 0

Top Egypt militant urges holy war against Egyptian president

first_imgCAIRO (AP) — A former army officer who is one of Egypt’s most wanted militants called on his fellow countrymen to wage holy war against President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, describing him as a “new pharaoh” in a new recording.The call purportedly by the militant, Hisham el-Ashmawi, marks at least the third time a former military officer has been named as a suspect in major attacks against troops in recent months, a reflection of the increasing polarization in Egyptian society. It also suggests a new insurgent group has joined the fighting in the country’s lawless Sinai Peninsula. On Wednesday, el-Sissi spoke to mark the anniversary of the 1952 coup that toppled Egypt’s monarchy, telling military cadets their work is similar to a religious duty.“Egypt’s national security will remain our top priority,” he said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Officials say el-Ashmawi has worked closely with the Sinai-based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or “Champions of Jerusalem,” militant group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group last year and is blamed for some of Egypt’s most high-profile deadly attacks.In the recording, el-Ashmawi, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Omar el-Muhajir, appears to be announcing a new group in Egypt called al-Morabtoon that’s allied to al-Qaida. That’s a name previously used by a militant group that operates in Algeria and Libya, but it is unclear if the new Egyptian group is linked to it.El-Ashmawi also purportedly allies himself in the audio with the Islamic State rival, al-Qaida, led by Egyptian militant Ayman al-Zawahri.In the audio, a quote by al-Zawahri comes before el-Ashmawi speaks, criticizing el-Sissi.“He is following the footsteps of his ancestor pharaoh, who declared himself God the great, using the worst type of torture and harassment of Muslims and using the deceptive magic of the media,” el-Ashmawi purportedly says.The U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks militant messages, first reported on the audio Tuesday. The message later was later widely shared on social media websites by militant sympathizers, though The Associated Press couldn’t independently verify it. Top Stories This is at least the third time officials say a former military officer has been named as having leading roles in Egypt’s widening insurgency. A naval officer has been named as a suspect in November attack on a navy patrol boat that saw eight sailors go missing. Another infantry officer has been accused of plotting attacks in the Sinai and being involved in the failed assassination attempt on the interior minister with el-Ashmawi.Omar Ashour, a senior lecturer in security studies at the University of Exeter, said el-Ashmawi’s new audio highlights the factionalism within Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, as some pledged to the Islamic State group while others prefer to work with al-Qaida.“We will see how this develops,” Ashour said. “If they split now things may be undermined” for the militants.There has been a surge in militant attacks in Egypt following the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president. The military, led by el-Sissi, forced Morsi out of office, and has since put him on trial. Authorities also cracked down on Islamists and other critics, deepening instability in the country.As an elected president, el-Sissi has made restoring stability and improving the economy his top priorities. While there have been some improvement in economic indicators, militants’ attacks have grown more brazen. Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories One military official said el-Ashmawi was named as a suspect in the July 11 bombing outside the Italian Consulate in Cairo that killed a bystander, the first attack on a diplomatic mission in Egypt. El-Ashmawi also is named as a suspect in the killing of the country’s chief prosecutor late last month, the first successful assassination since the 1981 killing of President Anwar Sadat. His assassins were military officers turned militants.He also is wanted over the failed assassination attempt against the interior minister in 2013 and a brazen attack against troops last summer near the border with Libya. His name was among two dozen militants named in an Interior Ministry video released to the public in January 2014.Two other senior security officials said el-Ashmawi was a major in the special forces dismissed in 2009. They said he faced a military trial for espousing radical ideas, leading to his dismissal. Two other officials said his dismissal was effective in 2011. The discrepancy couldn’t be immediately reconciled.The officials said el-Ashmawi has traveled to Libya, Syria and Gaza to train militants there. The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Four benefits of having a wireless security system How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more


August 18, 2019 0

Melbourne tops popularity list Sydney last

first_imgMelbourne has managed to surpass the Gold Coast in the popularity stakes, with more Aussies saying they’d prefer a domestic holiday in the Victorian city.A recent study by Roy Morgan Research shows that Melbourne is a clear front runner, ahead of the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Sydney, as the most preferred domestic holiday destination.In March 2009, Melbourne and the Gold Coast were equally popular with Australians, but as of March this year, 21% of Australians said they would like to holiday in Melbourne in the next two years compared to only 19% in the Gold Coast.The Sunshine Coast also continued to lose popularity, despite recording a few spikes in 2008, with 13 percent of votes.However, Sydney was at the bottom of the list with only 12 percent of votes. This was already an increase from the 10 percent experienced between 2007 to late last year.“Australians increasingly want to holiday overseas and as a result most domestic destinations have lost appeal for Australians,” said Tourism, Travel and Leisure International Director Jane Ianniello.“Melbourne is the exception, having lifted its preference level over the past decade. Melbourne is renowned for it events; cultural attractions; shopping; café society; and fine dining. “Sydney by contrast has lost popularity, especially after the negative media surrounding the Cronulla riots in December 2005. However the recent lift in preference indicates that Sydney’s latest marketing campaign has been successful.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2248a/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

HighPraise for The Gallery at HBA London

first_imgSBID International Design Awards 2011HBA London’s design of the restaurant and cocktail bar Améthyste at the InterContinental Phoenicia in Beirut was honoured with the top prize as Overall Winner in the SBID Awards (Society of British Interior Design). Once known as the “Paris of the Middle East”, Beirut’s resurgence as a glitzy and vibrant destination is epitomised by The Gallery’s transformation of this once-famous hot-spot into a brilliant new destination. Nostalgic aspects, such as the poolside projection of vintage black and white films depicting Beirut’s legendary panache, have been layered with a “story” derived from the 1001 ArabianNights folk tales and the amethyst stone. “We were instantly captivated with the jewel-toned purple colour that seemed prevalent throughout various illustrations and interpretations of the tales,” says Inge Moore, Principal of HBA London. “Thus, purple became our signature colour and everything started to work around this element”. In addition, the team’s design of the ESPA at the Istanbul Edition was shortlisted in the Best Interior Design, Best Commercial Design and Overall Winner categories. The first SBID International Awards 2011 ceremony was held at design exhibition Maison & Objet in Paris last month. HBA London has recently won and been shortlisted in three awards programmes for hospitality projects created by The Gallery, the salon within the interior design practice which focuses exclusively on high-concept, bespoke schemes for clients seeking to achieve one-of-akind guest experiences. Source = HBA FX Design Awards 2011The ESPA at the Istanbul EDITION has also been shortlisted as a Leisure or Entertainment Venue for the FX Design Awards 2011, while the Fairmont Nile City, Cairo, has been named a finalist in the programme’s Hotel category.The interior architecture of the Fairmont Nile City, Cairo, connects the Nile’s natural beauty with Egypt’s ancient and modern forms, imbuing the hotel with a dramatic and timeless mystique. The Gallery was engaged to create a sophisticated environment suited for the world traveller that evokes the romantic Cairo of the Twenties. To that end, the design team delivered a comprehensive present-day retelling of the Deco period in Cairo, giving guests the sense of having stepped out of time into an altogether complete moment that makes the finest examples of the period relevant in the present. The hotel is home to one of the most distinctive and cohesive commercial collections of contemporary Egyptian art anywhere. Sourced with the help of consultants from a major Cairo gallery, the works have been carefully planned, collected and commissioned from international prize-winning painters and sculptors whose pieces are featured in important collections around the world. The FX Design Awards programme recognises the very best interior products and projects as enteredby international design talent and will culminate in an awards ceremony on 29 November, 2011, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. European Hotel Design Awards 2011The ESPA at the Istanbul EDITION has been shortlisted in the Spa, Health and Leisure category of the European Hotel Design Awards, an international celebration of excellence in European hotel design and architecture. As a brand that prides itself on providing guests with unique experiences, EDITION Hotels granted The Gallery full reign to develop an imaginative design for its ESPA. The design brief given to the team was to provide a contemporary, atmospheric and masculine interpretation of a traditional Turkish spa. Throughout the ages, the architecture of hammams has featured a dome with star-shaped cut-outs which filter the natural light. The spa’s concept was inspired by the dramatically layered shadows cast by these, becoming the thread which weaves together the design details.The European Hotel Design Awards ceremony will take place on 22 November, 2011, at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge in London as part of The Sleep Event, the only event of its kind in Europe combining a conference, exhibition and awards programme all dedicated to hotel design, development and investment.last_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

Qantas looks forward to International profitability Asian airline on

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Qantas CEO Alan Joyce announced today where the airline wanted to be in five years time, how they will get there and how they will measure the success along the way, in a 2011 Strategic plan focusing on improving return to shareholders. While facing challenges from increasing Chinese carriers in the international market and competition from the Middle East, Mr Joyce recognised a weakness in Qantas International with the short term objective for the airline to return Qantas International to profitability.  To do this, Qantas is working with alliance partners to open a broader range of destinations, connections and frequencies through gateway ports such as Dallas Fort Worth and Santiago.  Plans to invest in a premium airline based in Asia are also on the table, positioning the airline within the South East Asian marketplace and capturing premium customers who have been frustrated with the lack of frequencies and flight time options throughout the region.In a bid to drive down operating costs, Qantas will in the next five years take major steps towards a simplified and highly flexible fleet of next generation aircraft.   Already operating the A380, Qantas will be one of the first to operate the game-changing Boeing 787.Mr Joyce recognised that even with a strong Australian resource-based economy, the airline would not be immune from challenges with the gloomy economic prognosis. “As a business we are highly adaptive, scalable and capable of moving quickly to respond to challenging circumstances.  Our fleet strategy is a clear example of this,” Mr Joyce said.The airline plans to continue its focus on lowering cost and improving productivity by capturing targeted growth opportunities.Mr Joyce closed by saying although it has been a challenging period for the business and shareholders, with unprecedented level of operational and external issues, the business has prevailed because of focused strategy to drive long-term shareholder value.“We have the right team, the right business model and the right approach to capital management to succeed and generate sustainable returns.” Mr Joyce said.last_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

Royal Caribbean awarded Middle Easts Leading Cruise Line

first_imgRoyal Caribbean has been awarded the accolade of the Middle East’s Leading Cruise Line at the World Travel Awards, having won this award four consecutive times.The 20th annual World Travel Awards took place on May 5, 2013 at the Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa in Dubai and was attended by hundreds of travel executives from around the world.Royal Caribbean’s Regional Director, Helen Beck, accepting the award and said, “This prestigious award is a testament to Royal Caribbean International’s ongoing commitment to creating the unforgettable memories for our guests onboard our ships through the personalized service they receive from our dedicated staff.”Royal Caribbean International’s experience is delivered according to the standards of the ‘Gold Anchor Service’ programme, which was established more than a decade ago and contributes to the building customer loyalty.”The award came as Royal Caribbean ended its fourth season in the Gulf with all of sailings out of Dubai fully booked, with Serenade of the Seas now based in Europe for the summer, where she will be sailing 12 night roundtrip Mediterranean cruises starting from Barcelona. Source = e-TB Cruise Expertlast_img read more


August 17, 2019 0