Share Hurricane Max forms off southern Mexico, eyes landfall Thursday, September 14, 2017 Source: The Associated Press Tags: Mexico, Travel Alert MEXICO CITY — Hurricane Max has formed off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast and is forecast to hit land later today.The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Max has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph).The storm is located about 55 miles (85 kilometres) southwest of Acapulco and is heading toward the east at 6 mph (9 kph).A hurricane warning was in effect for the coastline between Zihuatanejo and Punta Maldonado on Thursday. << Previous PostNext Post >>
Earn 12% commission and 2X STAR points with Sunwing throughout October Wednesday, October 4, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — For the entire month of October, Sunwing has partnered with Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit to offer agents 12% commission at source on all new bookings.The offer applies to bookings departing between Nov. 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018 that are confirmed by Oct. 31. In addition, agents will receive 2X STAR Agent Reward Points (on new bookings made for departure between Oct. 1-April 30, 2018) that convert into cash when they confirm their clients’ bookings by Oct. 27.Moreover, each time an agents makes a booking to any participating resort, they’ll earn a ballot for a chance to win an all-inclusive vacation for two to one of the following resorts: Casa Velas Hotel, Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort, Krystal Vallarta or Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. The more bookings an agent makes, the more chances they have to win.Sunwing has partnered with a number of top-rated resorts to offer reduced rates on select vacation packages during the month. These include Friendly Vallarta Beachfront Resort and Spa, Velas Vallarta, Barcelo Puerto Vallarta, Riu Vallarta and many more.More news: ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthTravellers can also take advantage of resort credits at Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, Secrets Vallarta Resort & Spa, Now Amber Resort & Spa, and Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta. Those that opt for Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa, Hotel Mousai and Sheraton Buganvillas Resort can enjoy a host of thoughtful extras such as spa discounts, complimentary Wi-Fi and more.All packages in the promotion include return flights on Sunwing Airlines, which include a sparkling wine toast, complimentary non-alcoholic beverage service and buy onboard selection of light meals and snacks inspired by Food Network Canada Celebrity Chef Lynn Crawford. Posted by Travelweek Group Tags: Commission, Sunwing Share
Tags: Intrepid Travel TORONTO — Intrepid Travel is challenging shoppers to spend their money on “experiences, not things”, as it unveils its Vacation Vending Machine in Toronto’s busiest shopping mall today.The innovative concept kicks off the company’s $1 deposit campaign, featuring a chance to win trips around the globe. The machine will appear in the Cadillac Fairview Eaton Centre from Jan. 16-19, along with a live DJ, an authentic Thai tuk tuk, and Moroccan poufs and tea.“We’re finding more and more people are wanting to get out and explore the world, and it makes people happier to spend money on experiences rather than things,” says Leigh Barnes, Regional Director of Intrepid Travel for North America. “People want to get out and connect with other people, they want to see the world and they want to have new adventures.”Torontonians will not only be able to lock in their 2018 travel plans for just $1, they’ll also have the chance to win one of 12 Intrepid Travel trips, 60 Urban Adventures day tours, and 2,000 vouchers for $100 off intrepid Travel trips when they visit the vending machine.Barnes says “Most people start the new year with big goals, but it’s super easy to get distracted by the every day things you can spend money on. That’s why we’re trying to make it easy for travellers to do the things that really matter to them this year.”More news: Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winter“At our core, Intrepid Travel is focused on immersive experiences around the globe. Now, we are bringing that immersive experience to Toronto. The reasoning behind our $1 deposit promotion is to allow travellers to secure their next adventure with only $1, and with the vending machine we are taking that $1 and giving people the chance to travel to the world’s most exciting places for free.”“The $1 deposit promotion makes it even easier for travel agents to grab those customers. We are working with agents to help get customers coming through their doors. The $1 deposit really helps get customers into the agency interested in our product and sales on the books.”For more information, visit: intrepidtravel.com/ca. Intrepid’s new vending machine spits out experiences, not things Share Posted by Tuesday, January 16, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group
Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Share Derrell Caprietta convicted after TICO charge Tags: TICO Wednesday, May 8, 2019 MISSISSAUGA — Derrell Caprietta has been convicted on one count of operating as a travel agent without registration contrary to S 4(1)(a) and S 31(1)(c) of the Travel Industry Act, 2002.Caprietta was sentenced to a one-year probation-order, ordered to pay a total fine of $3,750 including surcharges, and ordered to pay $3,025 restitution to a consumer.
Related posts:Lawyers for defendant in Facundo Cabral case will file a human rights complaint Facundo Cabral murder suspect unfit for trial following heart attacks Nicaraguan police on Sunday arrested 11 people, including a prominent judge, who were linked to Alejandro Jiménez, the man accused of plotting the attack that killed Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral in Guatemala last year, local media reported.A police spokeswoman, Glenda Zavala, said those arrested are members of a drug-trafficking and money-laundering network led by Jiménez, who was arrested in March.The suspects include judge Julio Cesar Ozuna, who has been charged with providing members of the criminal group with false identification cards. Karla Fariñas, sister of Nicaraguan Henry Fariñas – the target of the attack that killed Cabral – was also arrested, although charges against her were not disclosed.Zavala said police are investigating the whereabouts of four more individuals linked to Jiménez, aka “El Palidejo” (“Pale Face”).Jiménez, a Costa Rican national, was arrested in Colombia on a boat which had set off from Panama. Facebook Comments
No related posts. Wednesday, March 13, at 11 a.m. will mark the beginning of a new year for The Women’s Club of Costa Rica. The group will hold a special luncheon at The Aurola Holiday Inn’s Salon el Grande Augusto. A special feature will be a stylish selection of handbags of every variety at bargain prices.Join a vibrant group of women actively furthering educational development in Costa Rica for a sumptuous Mediterranean/Exotic luncheon. Select from a great collection of almost new handbags and purses – for the beach, the office, evening wear, travel and more – lots of bargains, with proceeds supporting WCCR’s scholarship program and supplying public school textbooks to students in need.Win one of two elegant new handbags donated by luncheon sponsor, the prestigious handbag designer TOUS. “WCCR is one of the oldest, continuously operating service organizations in Costa Rica,” said in-coming president Michele Cote. “2013 marks our 73rd anniversary and we would especially like to invite new members and guests to this, our annual year-opening event.” The Aurola Holiday Inn is located in San José at Calle 5 and Avenida 9. Luncheon tickets cost $24 (including vouchers for free parking) and are available at 2249-9071. The Women’s Club of Costa Rica’s membership numbers over 300 women of all ages from Costa Rica and many countries of the world, drawn together by the motto of Friendship Through Service. Facebook Comments
Starting this week, milk and dairy prices will increase in Costa Rica. Dos Pinos Cooperative, Costa Rica’s biggest dairy producer, hiked prices on most of its dairy products, as well as those from its Coronado brand.According to the company, increases in production costs forced an adjustment of 2.28 percent on average.With the increase, the price of a carton of milk jumped from ₡545 to ₡555 ($1.09-$1.11), while a bag of milk (leche en bolsa) increased from ₡280 to ₡290 ($0.56-$0.58).Flavored milk, yogurt and cheese prices will also increase. The price of milk with a longer expiration date will remain the same.Inflation on dairy products from September 2012 to February 2013 is 3.17 percent, which according to the company is “lower than the country’s inflation, which reached 3.92 percent during the same period.” Facebook Comments No related posts.
No related posts. Hours after one poll placed Broad Front Party candidate José María Villaltain the lead in Costa Rica’s presidential race, challengers went on the offensive, saying the upstart candidate would reshape the country along the lines of the most notorious socialist governments in the region.The poll, released by the daily La Nación on Sunday, showed the Broad Front Party nominee ahead of National Liberation Party (PLN) candidate Johnny Araya – the first poll to have the ruling party’s candidate in second place.Araya spoke to La Nación later that day, saying that he offered a more moderate ideology than Villalta.“He has recognized part of the discontent that exists. We are going to work hard with that discontent because there’s no doubt that the Villalta option does not suit Costa Rica,” Araya told La Nación. “It’s a dangerous proposal for our democratic system. They have not hidden their ideological inclinations, nor their sympathy for the Venezuelan regime.”La Nación also spoke with Libertarian Movement Party candidate Otto Guevara, who compared Villalta’s policies to those of Hugo Chávez’s former government in Venezuela, the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and Cristina Kirchner government of Argentina. Guevara, who also saw his poll numbers rise, tying for second with Araya, indicated his campaign would shift to focus on Villalta.“That page of polarization between Otto and Johnny has turned, and now comes a new transitional step,” Guevara told La Nación.Villalta took to social media to urge his followers that the new poll was only the beginning of a long fight.“Do not demonize the polls, nor blindly believe in them,” Villalta wrote on his Facebook page.“The most important thing about the UNIMER poll is that it begins to reflect what we are seeing in the street, which we perceive every time we visit the community.”While La Nación’s poll has stirred the election, a more recent survey by CID Gallup for the business newspaper La República still had Araya as the strong frontrunner. Gallup reported 45 percent respondents supporting Araya, with 21 percent supporting Villalta. Guevara earned 15 percent support. Gallup polled from Nov. 23 to 27.La Nación polled from Nov. 8 to 20, reporting Villalta with approximately 19.5 percent support and Araya and Guevara at 16.5 percent support. La Nación’s numbers included those who had no preference or who were undecided, which totaled 35.5 percent.Full results below. Facebook Comments Learn About Tableau
Related posts:Suspected US serial child predator taught at American Nicaraguan School Brazilian Police release Tico accused of allegedly paying a minor for sex US woman killed in southern Costa Rica after attacker hits her in head with a rock Nicaraguan man sentenced to 183 years in prison for killing US-Costa Rican family A December 2013 photo of William James Vahey, a U.S. citizen suspected of sexually abusing at least 90 boys starting in 2008. Vahey committed suicide in March. (Courtesy FBI)The American Nicaraguan School, where a suspected U.S. serial child molester taught for almost a year, denied that any of its students were among the predator’s 90 victims, but the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation would not confirm the school’s claim as the investigation into the abuse continues.The suspect, William James Vahey, now deceased, passed a background check carried out by the school despite pleading guilty to a charge of child molestation in California in 1970.Vahey, 64, was suspected of molesting at least 90 boys between 2008 and 2014, based on photos found on the suspect’s flash drive. Vahey committed suicide in Minnesota on March 21 after the ANS fired him and the FBI requested a search warrant of the electronic device from the Southern District Court of Texas in Houston.The ANS board of directors contends that the photos found on the device were taken before Vahey’s time in Nicaragua. ANS employed Vahey from Aug. 12, 2013 until the school fired him on March 11, 2014, following the discovery of the flash drive.According to an unsealed affidavit The Tico Times received, a cleaning woman allegedly stole several items from Vahey’s home in Nicaragua in November 2013, including the jump drive.ANS, who employed Vahey’s maid, fired her following the accusation. She returned to the school on March 11, 2014 to admit that she had taken the drive and viewed some of its contents. She said she came to the school because of what she saw.An ANS employee made a cursory view of the material on the drive, which included folders named “Costa Rica Trip,” and “Panama Trip,” among others. One folder named “Spring 2013” included sexually explicit photos.Vahey traveled to Costa Rica several times between 2004 and 2011, according to the Immigration Administration. His last trip to Costa Rica was between April 9-19, 2011, when he was employed by the Southbank International School in London, United Kingdom. He worked there from 2009 to 2013.ANS said that none of the photos on the thumb drive had timestamps that coincided with Vahey’s period of employment at the school.“We feel fortunate that Mr. Vahey did not take part in any extracurricular trips, inside or outside of Nicaragua, during the time that he worked for the school,” the board’s statement said.FBI Special Agent Shauna Dunlap told The Tico Times that the FBI could not yet rule out if there were victims during Vahey’s time in Nicaragua, and the investigation remains open while new evidence is reviewed.The ANS employee informed the Regional Security Office of the U.S. Embassy in Managua, which contacted the FBI.Vahey left Nicaragua for the United States on March 12.The school said that it conducted “the usual relevant verifications prior to hiring professor Vahey, checking his references with previous employers, among other documents, and requesting the most up-to-date mandatory police record, which did not reflect any criminal records.”Vahey pled guilty to one count of child molestation on Jan. 22, 1970 in Sacramento, California, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years’ probation.Vahey was required to register in the State of California Sex Offender Registry for the rest of his life but had not renewed his registration since 1970.Nicaragua and Costa Rica require foreign workers – including teachers – to present a certified copy of their police record from their country of origin or their previous legal residence during the last three years as part of their visa application.Dunlap said that if Vahey provided a criminal record check from his previous residence outside the United States, it was unlikely that the 1970 charge would appear.Some ANS employees were critical of the school’s response and assertion that none of its students were involved.“Note that the director said she didn’t look at all the pictures, so how would she know if it included Nicaraguan children. Even if it is true that the photos were not of Nicaraguan children, it is still illegal to have child pornography in Nicaragua and he was in the photos so totally incriminated,” an unsigned letter by three current employees of the school read, published by The Nicaragua Dispatch.The employees go on to criticize the school’s decision not to alert local authorities, instead opting to contact the U.S. Embassy in Managua. The letter continued that Vahey was allowed to go home, suggesting that he might have destroyed more evidence, and that an ANS van drove Vahey to the airport the next day to leave Nicaragua.The authors claim that the school sent a letter to faculty saying that Vahey would not return “due to health issues.”In its statement, the school said that it alerted students, parents and faculty about the case in a “timely and responsible manner.”“The American Nicaraguan School wishes to express sympathy for the possible victims of sexual abuse that might have occurred during the educational career of professor Vahey for over 40 years, in nine different schools and countries,” the statement concluded.The FBI’s Office of Victim Assistance asks anyone with information about the suspect to come forward. Anyone who believes he has been abused should complete a Victim Assistance confidential questionnaire, or send a confidential email to: HOvictimassistance@ic.fbi.gov.Victims can also contact a local FBI office or the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Facebook Comments
The Clínica Bíblica Hospital celebrated its 85th anniversary Thursday night with a spectacular presentation from the Costa Rican Philharmonic Orchestra at the Melico Salazar Theater in San José. The orchestra played songs from its recent show “Somos Latinos, ” and had the audience rising out of their seats to dance.“At its 85th anniversary, the hospital is looking more like a ‘quinceañera’ – vital and growing, but stable and smart,” said Jaime Cabezas, president of the hospital’s board of directors. Facebook Comments Related posts:A national festival, a grand old opera and other happenings around Costa Rica Costa Ricans psyched for this weekend’s Philharmonic Orchestra tribute to Pink Floyd
Related posts:Solís put on the defensive as joint US-Costa Rican patrols come up for renewal Costa Rica cocaine seizures top 23 metric tons in 2014 Explainer: What do Costa Rican authorities do with 4.1 tons of seized cocaine? Costa Rica seized record-breaking 26 metric tons of cocaine in 2014 On Tuesday afternoon a U.S. surveillance plane spotted a suspicious ship 36 nautical miles off of Quepos, on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast. The boat was carrying at least 810 kilograms of cocaine, according to a Public Security Ministry statement on Wednesday.When the five operators of the 30-foot drug boat realized it was being tracked by the plane, the crew began throwing the cocaine overboard. By the time Costa Rica’s Coast Guard intercepted the drug boat, which was flying an Ecuadorian flag, 17 nautical miles off the coast from Quepos, there was no cocaine left on board, ministry spokesman Jesús Ureña said in a telephone interview. Drug Control Police recovered 810 kilos of cocaine in the waters around the boat.The crew consisted of three Colombians with the last names Góngora, Solís and Obando; and two Costa Ricans identified as Elizondo and Cabalceta. Cabalceta reportedly had a sizable rap sheet, including crimes for extortion and aggravated robbery.Costa Rica’s Public Security Ministry seized 21 metric tons of cocaine in 2014, making it the largest single confiscator of the narcotic in Central America, according to comments from minister Celso Gamboa during an end of the year review.See also: At US-Mexico border, a flood of heroin, meth show drug trade is changing Facebook Comments
https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/001-copy.jpg Price: $126,000Web: www.rc.crEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone: +(506) 2588-7900Province: PuntarenasConstruction: 67m2Bedrooms: 2Bathrooms: 2Featured:100 percent concrete builtAluminum framing for windowsTiled kitcken and bathroomTerrace for each apartmentBedroom closetsGranite kitchen countersMarble bathroom sinkOpen space kitchen and living roomLaundry areaCheck out all of our offerings in our new real estate section here Facebook Comments No related posts. https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/002-copy.jpg Promoted Ad Rock Constructions 07 https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/007-copy.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/004-copy.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/009-copy.jpg Previous Image https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/005-copy.jpg info heading info content https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/006-copy.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/003-copy.jpg Next Image https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/008-copy.jpg
Facebook Comments Related posts:Severe drought in Guanacaste causing millions of dollars in losses Arcadio’s World More rains expected over Costa Rica starting Tuesday evening Tropical wave increases rains over Costa Rica
The ongoing renovation of theGran Hotel Costa Rica, one of the most iconic buildings in downtown San José, has elicite outrage from citizens, architects, and others who claim the new design will strip the building of the characteristics that earned it a declaration of Historical and Architectural Heritage by the Culture Ministry.Renovation work on the hotel, inaugurated in 1930 in front of the National Theater, began in June and are expected to be completed in December.The investor group Elite Hotels and Resorts Costa Rica signed a Hilton Worldwide franchise to operate the hotel under its Curio Collection by Hilton brand.On Sunday, the daily La Nación published an detailed story about the changes being made, including renderings of the expected results provided by construction company OBP Arquitectos. The images show a total transformation of the building façade, which provoked severe criticism of the firm and of the Culture Ministry’s Heritage Conservation Center, responsible for granting the work permit.Op-Eds, letters and messages on social media from citizens and groups have since criticized the design. Former President Laura Chinchilla who described it as an eyesore on her Facebook page.Architect Andrés Fernández, a specialist in the capital’s architecture, told La Nación that “more than remodeling, the Gran Hotel Costa Rica is undergoing a reconstruction.” Top: Render of the approved plan by the Culture Ministry. Bottom: Render provided to La Nación by OBP Arquitectos. (Culture Ministry)‘Just paint’Culture Ministry and Heritage Conservation Center officials met with members of the Federated Association of Engineers and Architects (CFIA) on Wednesday to discuss the situation, prompted mostly by public backlash against the project.The Culture Ministry issued a news release on Wednesday evening saying that “the only visible change that the Gran Hotel Costa Rica will undergo after renovation work is done will be in its color,” adding that “in that sense, only the use of shades of gray was approved.”The statement denied that the colors will be black and white, as shown in the La Nación story. The ministry also provided renders of the approved plans, and noted that officials from the Heritage Conservation Center are supervising the work and conducting weekly inspections.The ministry said that the hotel’s arcades, one of its most popular features, will not undergo any modifications.Fifth floor controversyHowever, it seems clear the conservation is far from over. Citizens and architects who criticized the works lamented the total demolition of the hotel’s fifth floor. The Culture Ministry’s statement noted that it authorized the works as “that floor was not part of the original construction in 1930.”According to Heritage Conservation Center research, the fifth floor was built years later and has already been replaced and rebuilt several times.Describing changes to that floor, the ministry said: “the last renovation, which remains in the people’s collective imagination, was made about 30 years ago […] We were able to verify that it was the product of a combination of interventions and construction techniques dissimilar from the original building, and using low quality materials… Clearly, it was not part of the original four-story building.”CFIA members agreed to appoint a group of additional experts who will join Heritage Conservation Center officials on their inspections in coming days.Conservation requirementsThe Gran Hotel Costa Rica was inaugurated in October 1930, with U.S. architect Victor Lorenz in charge of the project.Besides its architectural heritage, the hotel’s suites hosted several important visitors including U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter. U.S. actor John Wayne, Mexican comedian Mario Moreno “Cantinflas”, Panamanian boxing champion Roberto “Mano de Piedra” Durán, and Brazilian football legend Pelé have also spent the night there.For those historical reasons, the Heritage Conservation Center permit demands building owners’ strict compliance with a series of requirements to maintain the hotel’s original design.These include recovering the original texture of the terrace floors — currently covered by lower-quality flooring — and keeping all original floors and mosaics in the building, except for carpets.The room used by President Kennedy must be preserved, maintaining all windows and their original closing mechanisms, as well as the arcades as they exist today at the hotel’s entrance. The work permit stipulates renovation works must preserve the arcades in the hotel’s entrance and its mosaic floors. L. Arias/The Tico Times Both the north and east faces of the building on June 6 were fully covered, as well as part of the hotel’s façade. L. Arias/The Tico Times Construction works on the new fifth floor are visible from the Plaza de la Cultura. L. Arias/The Tico Times The east face of the building, in front of Plaza de la Cultura, is fully covered. L. Arias/The Tico Times A Tico Times archive photo from the early 1980s shows tourists at the Grand Hotel Costa Rica, across from another landmark of San José, the National Theater. María Esquivel and Katherine Lambert/The Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:San José’s Plaza de la Cultura scheduled to reopen in November Tourism entrepreneurs oppose license, royalty payments to canopy patent holder VIDEO: Rebooting Costa Rican cuisine at Al Mercat Only 17 cantons will enforce dry law during Holy Week
Related posts:Disfigured Costa Rican toucan stars in Discovery documentary Grecia, the toucan with the prosthetic beak, now receiving visitors New cases of animal abuse spark criticism of President Solís, lawmakers President Solís signs new Animal Welfare Law Just one day after President Luis Guillermo Solís signed the newAnimal Welfare Bill into law, officials from the private refuge ZooAve confirmed the death of a toucan from injures that were apparently caused by a BB gun.Officials from the Firefighters’ Corps rescued the bird after receiving a report that it had fallen in the backyard of a house in Atenas, in the province of Alajuela, on Monday morning.The toucan had a severe wound under its wing that caused exposed fractures.Firefighters rushed the bird to ZooAve in La Garita, also in Alajuela. The private center specializes in birds and is the current home of the world famous toucan named Grecia, also a victim of animal cruelty.The bird did not survive the loss of blood and the stress of the situation, ZooAve spokeswoman Mariann Ortega confirmed.The wound had all the characteristics of those caused by BB guns, ZooAve vets said in a public statement.Local residents told firefighters that they have seen a group of youngsters shooting BB guns “at everything” in the San José de Atenas neighborhood.On Sunday, President Solís signed into law Bill #18,625 which introduces prison sentences ranging from three months to one year for those found guilty of killing a domestic or a domesticated animal. The law will take effect as soon as it is published in the official government daily, La Gaceta.However, Costa Rica’s existing Wildlife Law already prohibits hunting in Costa Rica, and sets fines of up to ₡1.5 million (some $2,600) for those responsible for killing a wild animal. Facebook Comments
Comments Share Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day About 30 naval aircraft, mostly helicopters, also participated. For the first time, Japan’s navy was joined by warships from the United States, Singapore and Australia. Representatives from more than 20 countries, including China, attended the event staged in waters south of Tokyo.___Associated Press writers Ian Mader in Beijing and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The carrier was launched last month without aircraft or an accompanying battle group, and actual flight operations could be years away. But it is widely seen as a symbol of China’s ambitions to be a leading Asian naval power, especially as it faces sharpening territorial conflicts with Japan and other countries.Japan’s navy, meanwhile, marked its 60th anniversary with a major exercise on Sunday. Japan also plans to hold a joint exercise with the U.S. military later this year, reportedly using a scenario of taking a remote island back from a foreign intruder.Asked how China sees the reported scenario, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, “To maintain the peace and stability of Asia-Pacific is beneficial to all sides.” He added: “Increasing tension is against the bigger trends of regional security, peace and the buildup of political and security trust. We reserve the right to take further action.”Defense Minister Morimoto declined to confirm the scenario or give other details.In Sunday’s exercise, about 40 ships _ including state-of-the-art destroyers, hovercraft able to launch assaults on rough coastlines and new conventionally powered submarines _ took part in Fleet Review 2012, the maritime equivalent of a military parade. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Top Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Associated PressTOKYO (AP) – Japan and China are trading a new round of criticism after Japanese military aircraft spotted seven Chinese warships in waters off a southern island not far from a chain of isles at the center of a heated territory dispute. China said the ships were on a routine training mission.The Chinese ships were sighted Tuesday about 49 kilometers (30 miles) from the island of Yonaguni, in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture (state), according to Japan’s Defense Ministry. They were about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from a chain of small islands that have sparked a heated dispute between Japan and China. “The Chinese military is closely following the actions of the Japanese side and demands Japan halt all actions complicating or escalating the situation,” the ministry said in a short statement on its website.Japan angered China last month by nationalizing part of the chain of uninhabited East China Sea islands called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. The move sparked violent protests in China.Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Tokyo has urged Beijing to “avoid any actions that would go counter to the mutual benefit.”Nearby Taiwan also claims the islands, which are uninhabited but surrounded by rich fishing grounds and possibly lucrative undersea energy deposits.China and Japan have recently stepped up naval activities in the area around Okinawa because of the dispute, but there have been no clashes between their warships, which have generally stayed away from the disputed islands themselves.Wary of missteps that could lead to a sudden escalation of tensions, the countries have instead sent less threatening coast guard ships. Over the past week, however, both have made a point of showing off their naval prowess.Chinese websites were abuzz Monday with photographs of navy pilots practicing touch-and-go landing exercises on China’s first aircraft carrier. It wasn’t clear when the pictures were taken, and they did not appear on the Defense Ministry’s website or in official media. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix How men can have a healthy 2019 The ships were believed to be returning to China after training in the Pacific. Japan’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday said the ships were not headed for the disputed islands, but said it was the first time the Chinese navy has been spotted using the narrow sea passage near Yonaguni.Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said Japan is monitoring the ships’ movement. Japan considers the area part of its contiguous waters, but it is not illegal for foreign vessels to transit them.It is not unusual for the Chinese navy to transit waters around Okinawa en route to the Pacific, but they usually go through wider straits. The ships included frigates, a guided missile destroyer, a supply ship and two submarine rescue vessels.Defense Ministry officials said the ships might have been trying to avoid an approaching typhoon.China’s Defense Ministry said the ships were on a scheduled cruising exercise and were acting in a manner that was “appropriate and legal.”Underscoring China’s sharper stance, it also protested the scrambling of a Japanese military plane in the direction of the disputed islands, calling that a “gross violation” of Chinese sovereign rights.
Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments Share Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day For ordinary Gazans, moving sometimes doesn’t help.Pediatrician Sami Dawood moved twice. On Sunday, he evacuated his wife and three children from their high-rise apartment in Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood after a missile hit the roof. Fearing Israel would strike the building again, the family moved to the home of his father-in-law near the Palestine Stadium in the center of the city. Early Monday, while the family was asleep, missiles hit the stadium as a suspected rocket-launching site.“Now we are back home again,” said the 40-year-old doctor.Gaza City housewife Amal Lubbad lives across the street from a house flattened in an airstrike Sunday. The blast, which killed 11 members of the Daloo family, including a Gaza policeman, also blew out the windows of her home.The 39-year-old Lubbad, her husband and eight children spent a restless night, sleeping on the floor in the room farthest away from the Daloo house, but there was no airstrike.“We were afraid,” she said, adding that the family has nowhere else to go. On Monday, she and her daughters swept up the glass shards as bulldozers in the alley below cleared away the ruins of the Daloo home. Now, he has two-member teams deployed at each of Gaza’s 13 hospitals. They work in 12-hour shifts and update him with each new casualty. Equipped with two mobile phones and a walkie-talkie, the former physiotherapist and acupuncturist says he has barely slept since the offensive began Nov. 14.One of his team members, Alaa Saraj, made the rounds in Shifa’s emergency room Sunday. Amal Mattar, 38, was lying on a gurney, her face cut by shrapnel from an airstrike near her home in Tel al-Hawa, the Gaza City neighborhood. Saraj snapped her picture, and a doctor said she would need six stitches.___After more than a decade of on-and-off fighting with Israel, Gazans are not easily shaken.A warning in Arabic by Israel’s military that “Hamas is gambling with your fate and playing with fire,” delivered Sunday by briefly taking over the frequencies of local radio stations, elicited mostly amusement.A group of men hanging around a Gaza City taxi office tried to outdo each other in making fun of the warning. “Let’s get some warmth from the fire that Hamas is using to burn us,” one of them joked.Hamas appears to have solid popular support for continued rocket attacks on Israel, despite the new hardships it has brought. Many here expressed satisfaction that Israelis should get a taste of the fear Gazans know so well. Hani said she and her children feel scared when they hear the bombardment.“But a few minutes after that, we start to cheer and laugh when we see another rocket landing in Tel Aviv,” she said of attempts by Hamas to strike Israel’s main metropolis.___Photographers in white lab coats hanging around the emergency room of Gaza’s largest hospital, Shifa, are part of a different type of Hamas battle: They are members of a Health Ministry team documenting deaths and injuries in the fighting.The head of the group, Ashraf al-Kidra, keeps journalists updated with casualty figures _ 106 dead as of Monday evening. In the long term, he hopes the information will serve as the basis for possible international legal action against Israel.“We learned a lesson from the last war,” said al-Kidra, referring to Israel’s previous major offensive against Hamas targets in Gaza four years ago. Casualty figures at the time were hotly disputed, with Palestinians saying most of some 1,400 people killed were civilians, while Israel gave a lower figure and said most were militants.In the chaos at the time, many Israeli attacks were not properly documented, al-Kidra said. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Scenes showing Israelis ducking for cover from rocket fire were discussed with relish, and jokes have popped up on social media, including Facebook. In one, an Egyptian broadcaster with a popular music program asks a listener what he would like to hear. Answer: “The sound of the air raid siren in Tel Aviv.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Associated PressGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Sleep away from windows, stock up on food, get the family car off the street _ these are the lessons Gazans have learned in previous rounds of fighting between Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers.This time, some are adding “change houses” to the list as Israel increasingly targets homes of Hamas activists, making it difficult to guess where missiles might hit. Over the weekend, Israeli airstrikes struck the homes of some two dozen Hamas activists, killing 24 civilians. ___Ola Hani, a 31-year-old mother of four, said that since the last Gaza war four years ago, she’s kept a week’s worth of food and other supplies in her house. “Even in normal days, I don’t touch any of it, only when I have a chance to replace it,” she said.Her stash includes canned food, lentils, rice, milk powder, two small radios and candles. Her husband, a banker, is away in Jordan for a training course, and she asked a friend to drive the family car to another friend’s yard, to keep it out of harm’s way. The Hani family lives in a high-rise and does not have a parking garage.At a bakery, bank teller Jibril Alawi bought 250 pieces of pita bread for his clan of 35 _ his immediate family and the wives and children of his four brothers who all live in the same building. He said they take turns going on vital errands to minimize exposure to risk.Like others in Gaza, the Alawis have moved mattresses into inner hallways and rooms away from windows.Still, sound sleep is impossible in Gaza these days. The massive booms from the airstrikes, often just minutes apart, rattle windows. The wailing of ambulances and the buzz of unmanned spy planes, or drones, make up the background noise. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Sponsored Stories Top Stories
Comments Share After the country of 50 million started moving from dictatorship to democracy in 2011, newfound freedoms of expression lifted the lid off deep-seated hatred of the dark-skinned religious minority, making them even more vulnerable. Up to 280 Rohingya have been killed since mid-2012, and some 140,000 were chased from their homes by machete-wielding extremist Buddhist mobs. They now live under apartheid-like conditions in camps where they can’t work, get an adequate education or receive medical care.They have been told there’s little chance they will be allowed to vote in upcoming general elections and that those who cannot prove their families have been in the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1948 could face deportation or indefinite detention in camps.As result, more than 100,000 Rohingya and neighboring Bangladeshis have fled by boat in the last three years, the biggest exodus of boat people in the region since the Vietnam War, says Chris Lewa of the non-profit advocacy group Arakan Project.Now it is not just religious and ethnic persecution but abject poverty, desperation and greed within their own communities that have torn the social fabric and driven Rohingya to leave. Sponsored Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Rohingya have been fleeing persecution in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar for years, but that was not the central reason Mohammad Tayub ended up on the ship anchored off the coast of western Rakhine state two weeks ago.He said he was simply tricked by brokers, now capitalizing on poverty and a growing sense of desperation.Two men approached him while he was tending cattle, he said, offering him a job in Malaysia and saying that if he wanted to help earn money for his family, this was his best chance.They took him to the shore on the back of their motorbike, offering assurances he wouldn’t have to pay for the boat ride. He hoped at least to go home, pack a bag and say goodbye, but by that time, it was already too late.“I’m never going to see my mother again,” he thought when inside the ship, his body pressed up tightly against strangers on all sides. “I wanted to cry, but I knew I’d be beaten again if I did.”Tayub had no way of knowing there is little chance of an exit for thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshis stranded in the sea since a crackdown on human trafficking networks in Thailand earlier this month left the region grappling with a monumental humanitarian crisis. They are growing weaker each day as the navies of three Southeast Asian nations have pushed crowded rickety boats out of their respective waters, each nation fearing that any sign of acceptance could trigger a mass exodus that would swamp its shores. Survivors say dozens have died and an increasingly alarmed United Nations has warned that the boats could turn into “floating coffins.”But that has not stopped brokers like the ones who approached Tayub in Myanmar. All are still eager to earn the $100 they receive from the ship’s captain for each body delivered regardless of what happens after they leave, according to Maung Maung, a community leader who has researched trafficking in camps in and around Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state.The captains know they can earn more money — thousands of dollars per person from family members — once they leave the country’s terrestrial waters.For those trapped inside the vessels until the crew is given the go-ahead to leave, the shore is tantalizingly close, a few hours away by boat.“I wanted to jump in the water and swim back home,” Tayub said, “but the crew were all armed. I knew they’d shoot me.”The government claims Myanmar’s 1.3 million Rohingya are illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh, though many of their families arrived generations ago. Denied citizenship, they are effectively stateless and have faced violence and state-sponsored discrimination for decades. How do cataracts affect your vision? On Tayub’s 12th night on board, he heard a boat pull up and loud voices. He was shocked to hear someone call, “Come out people from the Sittwe area!” He rushed to the deck with 13 other boys and girls, tripping between the bodies and legs of the other tightly packed passengers.The kids didn’t know it then, but their parents had learned what had happened and paid a local community leader to rescue them. They argued, negotiated, and eventually, after handing over hundreds of dollars, the ship’s broker let them disembark. When they arrived at shore hours later, eyes red from crying and their stomachs concave after days of eating nothing but a few handfuls of rice and slices of potato, they rushed to their parents’ arms.Some said they knew when their children disappeared that there was only one place they could be: the ships. Every village and camp in the area had stories about missing children or relatives and friends.“When we left from the ship, the rest of the people were crying and shouting,” Tayub said. “They wanted to go home, too.” Instead, he said, the crew beat them, and shot their guns in the air to shut them up.__ Associated Press writer Robin McDowell in Yangon, Myanmar, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. In this In this Tuesday, May 12, 2015, photo Mohammad Tayub, right a 14-year-old who returned to his home in village of Thetkabyin, North of Sittwe, western Rakhine State, Myanmar, explains how he was forcibly held for 12 days on a trafficking boat. Tayub says he was shoved onto the wooden vessel with hundreds of other Rohingya Muslims, some fleeing persecution and others like himself tricked by brokers who made money by turning him into a migrant. He describes sitting with his knees bent into his chest, pressed up against other sweaty bodies in the cabin’s rancid heat, while members of the crew hit anyone who made a sound with iron rods and belts. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe) Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober SITTWE, Myanmar (AP) — The boy was shoved onto the wooden vessel with hundreds of other Rohingya Muslims. For days, the 14-year-old sat with his knees bent into his chest, pressed up against sweaty bodies in the cabin’s rancid heat.Women cradled coughing babies. The crew paced back and forth with belts and iron rods, striking anyone who dared to speak, stand up or even those who vomited from the nauseating stench and rolling waves. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Those who could pay continued onward, usually to Malaysia, because the Muslim country faces a shortage of unskilled workers. Those who couldn’t come up with the money were sometimes beaten, killed or left to die. At suspected migrant camps in the mountains of southern Thailand, authorities have unearthed dozens of bodies from shallow graves since May 1. They have also arrested dozens of people, including police, politicians and a suspected trafficking kingpin.The crackdown, however, had the unintended consequence of spooking agents and brokers, who started holding the migrants offshore in overloaded boats. Fearing arrest, captains abandoned vessels, leaving thousands of men, women and children to fend for themselves on the open ocean.Off the Myanmar coast, Tayub and everyone else on the wooden boat seemed destined to meet the even more uncertain fate once the vessel left, though it was unclear to those on board what they were waiting for.As the number of passengers climbed to about 300, they were convinced the ship would soon set sail and their families would never know what had happened.Some were able to leave, but only if they could somehow pay the brokers anywhere from $100 to $300 to disembark. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Though police, navy and other government officials profit, the brokers themselves are almost all Rohingya.The Associated Press interviewed nine families whose children have been taken by traffickers. It also interviewed six young victims, several community leaders and a smuggler in Sittwe.Maung Maung, one of the community leaders, rattled off names of more than a dozen men and women working full time to fill ships with human cargo. Residents were quick to confirm them, saying it’s no longer a secret. The giant wooden vessel that carried Tayub was among five migrant ships bobbing last week in the Bay of Bengal that separates Myanmar and Bangladesh.The brokers promise men jobs and offer pretty young girls the prospect of marriage if they agree to board the ships. It may cost them nothing to board, but the migrants are unaware that they will be held hostage in jungle camps or at sea until their poor families somehow come up with enough money to pay their ransom. Activists also say some women end up being sold into prostitution.Until recently, the first stop for boats leaving the Bay of Bengal was Thailand, long considered a regional trafficking hub. Men, women and children were often held until brokers could collect up to $2,000 from relatives. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies
Skål International Sydney held a golden anniversary luncheon at Four Points by Sheraton Darling Harbour yesterday to commemorate 50 years since the club was first founded. 160 Skålleagues and their guests participated in the celebrations, which were also attended by Skål International Secretary General, Jim Power and a number of past presidents from 1960 to the present. Guest speaker, Retired New York Fire Department Chief Dan Daley shared his first hand memories of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the audience and participants also made sizeable donations to Skål’s chosen charity through the sale of raffle tickets. One lucky skålleague won a trip for 2 to Fiji with Air Pacific, staying at the Sheraton Fiji Resort for 3 nights and a 3 night cruise with Captain Cook Cruises on the Reef Endeavour. Mr Power travelled to Sydney for the anniversary celebrations from Spain and while he joked that it was a “long way to travel for lunch” he said he was thrilled to offer his congratulations in person. During his trip to Australia, Mr Power was able to oversee some of the preparations for the 71st Skål World Congress, which will be held in Sydney from 7-12 October this year. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F He said he was very impressed with the preparations which have been made for the congress by the host club under the guidance of Russel Butler, President Skål International Australia. He also said the congress, which he expects to attract over 750 attendees, has received the full support of Business Events Sydney, Tourism NSW and Tourism Australia. Skål International Sydney also offered their congratulations to the 7 other Skål Club’s which are celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year – Cork, El Salvador, Houston, Karnten, Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth), Pittsburgh & San Diego. Skål International Sydney will also be hosting their annual 2010 Skål Travel & Tourism Ball on Saturday, 7th August 2010. Past Skål International Australia presidents Rhinda Macadie, General Manager i-go andCarole Perrin, hotelbeds Sales DirectorAustralia/New Zealand Russel Butler, President Skål International Australia and Skål International SecretaryGeneral, Jim Power