Air Transat nabs second place on Skytraxs Best Leisure Airline list

first_img Travelweek Group Share Air Transat nabs second place on Skytrax’s Best Leisure Airline list Tags: Air Transat Wednesday, June 21, 2017 center_img Posted by MONTREAL — Air Transat has been named the second best leisure airline in the world at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, making it the best leisure airline in North America for the sixth consecutive year.Every year, travellers from around the world take part in the largest airline passenger satisfaction survey, a global benchmark of airline excellence, to determine the winners.“It is an honour to be recognized by this prestigious international award for the sixth consecutive year”, says Jean-François Lemay, President-General Manager of Air Transat. “Thanks to our on-board experience, attentive crew and cabin comfort, passengers feel on vacation as soon as they board the aircraft. Families also benefit from special attentions, including priority check-in and boarding, as well as our Kids Club that keeps youngsters busy. Finally, our Option Plus and Club Class upgrades, as well as our recently enhanced meal offer with the Chef’s Menu by Daniel Vézina, help get the vacation started even before reaching the destination.”More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?The World Airline Awards began in 1999 when Skytrax launched its first global, airline passenger satisfaction survey. The survey collects travellers’ opinions on 320 airlines over a 10-month period and in 105 countries. Airlines are ranked according to nearly 50 criteria, from check-in and boarding to staff service and seat comfort. This year’s survey polled more than 19 million passengers worldwide. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

TPI named Top Host Agency in Canada at STAR Awards

first_imgTags: Sandals Resorts, TPI Thursday, February 1, 2018 Share Posted by TPI named Top Host Agency in Canada at STAR Awardscenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> TURKS & CAICOS — Travel Professionals International (TPI) took home a slew of awards at last week’s 16th annual Sandals Travel Agency Recognition (STAR) Awards, which took place at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa.Not only was TPI named ‘Best of the Best Agency’, thanks to high sales productivity from its independent agents between Aug. 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017, it was also once again named the Top Host Agency in Canada.And the awards kept on coming, with Travel Time TPI in St. John’s Newfoundland receiving the ‘Best of the Best Agency’ award for its outstanding sales performance, and Western Canada TPI taking home the Top Butler Travel Agency award for its high percentage of butler bookings.Moreover, Lois Barbour of Travel Time TPI was named once again to the exclusive Chairman’s Royal Club, an honour reserved for the world’s top performing agents and one that she has received each year since the program was implemented in 2011. Barbour is the only agent in Newfoundland to ever receive this honour, and one of only three in Canada for 2018.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is back“Congratulations to all our advisors across Canada for the outstanding job they do each and every day,” said TPI’s CEO Zeina Gedeon, who was on hand to receive the awards on behalf of TPI. “I am constantly amazed at all of the hard work our advisors do to grow their business. They are the backbone of our company and it is a great pleasure to see them succeed. Being recognized with awards such as these truly shows the strength of the TPI organization and the commitment our advisors have to supporting their clients and our preferred partners.”The STAR awards celebrate excellence in sales and recognize the agencies and individual advisors who utilize innovative selling techniques and employ outstanding marketing initiatives to sell the luxury Sandals and Beaches brand. Travelweek Group last_img read more

Travellers face chaos as drones shut Londons Gatwick airport

first_imgTags: Drones, Gatwick Share By: The Associated Press Thursday, December 20, 2018 Travellers face chaos as drones shut London’s Gatwick airport LONDON – Tens of thousands of passengers were delayed, diverted or stuck on planes Thursday as the only runway at Britain’s Gatwick Airport remained closed into a second day after drones were spotted over the airfield.The airport south of London – Britain’s second-busiest by passenger numbers – closed its runway Wednesday evening after two drones were spotted.It reopened briefly at about 3 a.m. Thursday, but shut 45 minutes later after further sighting and remained closed at midday – 15 hours after the first sighting.Police said the “devices used are of an industrial specification,” an indication that the drones weren’t small, inexpensive machines. A police helicopter was hovering near the airfield as officers from two nearby forces hunted the drone operators.“The police advice is that it would be dangerous to seek to shoot the drone down because of what may happen to the stray bullets,” said Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick’s chief operating officer.Eurocontrol, an international organization devoted to air safety across Europe, said on its website that the airport was expected to stay shut until at least 1800 GMT (1 p.m. EST).Woodroofe said sightings of at least one drone were continuing, and “I cannot tell you what time we will reopen.”He said the vast majority of the 110,000 passengers due to pass through Gatwick on Thursday – one of the busiest travel days of the year – would experience disruption.All incoming and outgoing flights were suspended, and the airport’s two terminals were jammed with thousands of weary travellers, many of whom had spent the night on benches and floors.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?Police said the drone flights were a “deliberate act to disrupt the airport,” but that there were “absolutely no indications to suggest this is terror-related.”There were 20 police units from two forces searching for the elusive drone operator.Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw, of Sussex Police, said the search was daunting.“Each time we believe we get close to the operator, the drone disappears; when we look to reopen the airfield, the drone reappears,” he said.Burtenshaw said new and bigger drones have more reach, making it harder for police to locate the personal control the flying device.“It’s a difficult and challenging thing to locate them, but I’ve got teams now and I’ve got investigators looking at how we do that, and I’m confident we will,” he said.Gatwick, about 30 miles (45 kilometres) south of London, sees more than 43 million passengers a year to short and long-haul destinations and serves as a major hub for the budget carrier easyJet.Any problem at Gatwick causes a ripple effect throughout Britain and continental Europe, particularly during a holiday period when air traffic control systems are under strain.Passengers complained on Twitter that their Gatwick-bound flights had landed at London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and other cities.Luke McComiskie, who landed in Manchester – more than 160 miles (260 kilometres) from London _ said the situation “was just chaos, and they had only two coaches (buses) and taxis charging people 600 pounds ($760) to get to Gatwick.”Andri Kyprianou, from Cyprus, described “freezing” conditions for passengers who spent the night at Gatwick’s South Terminal. Her flight to Kyiv had been cancelled.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish Steps“I haven’t slept since yesterday morning. We are very tired. It’s freezing, we are cold, having to wear all of these coats for extra blankets,” she said.“There were pregnant women, one of them was sleeping on the floor. There were people with small babies in here overnight. We saw disabled people on chairs. There were young children sleeping on the floor.”Gatwick briefly closed its runway last year when a drone was spotted in the area. An errant drone also briefly led to the shutdown of Dubai International Airport in October 2016.Pilots have reported numerous near-misses with drones in recent years in Britain, and aviation authorities have warned there is a growing risk that a midair collision could cause a major disaster.Strong sales of small consumer drones have led to repeated warnings about a possible threat to commercial aviation.Britain has toughened its laws on drones, and flying one within 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) of an airport carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.But opposition politicians accused the government of failing to do enough, pointing out that a registration system with safety checks for drone operators wouldn’t take effect until November.Christopher Lister, whose flight from Kyiv, Ukraine, to Gatwick was diverted to Birmingham in central England, said the scale of the disruption was “a little bit scary.”“We feel grateful it’s not a worse story this morning about an aircraft (that has) come down,” he told the BBC. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Costa Rican street performers juggle skate and march against new law

first_imgTheater major Door Heyne from the Netherlands joins the protesters. She is an exchange student at the National University in Heredia, and came along to support her friends. “The city is for everyone,” she says. “They’re having fun doing their work. Better than sitting at a desk”.When the marchers finally arrive at their destination, police officer Marvin Rosales hangs around some of his coworkers watching the artists jump, race and rest on the grass. They are making sure that protesters do not damage property or pedestrians. The law reform is good and necessary, Rosales says. He sees it as a matter of public safety.Although the protest dwindled after a few hours, it seems the performers are not finished yet. Arroyo urged the crowd to call friends and meet again Oct. 9, at the University of Costa Rica, at 9 a.m. Facebook Comments Around 10 a.m. Saturday, scores of people – mainly teens and twentysomethings – descend on Parque Central in downtown San José. They greet each other and begin to play: Kids race on skateboards, jugglers toss pins and a circle of unicyclists forms. Everything indicates it will be a relaxed, fun-filled day at the park. But in fact, this is a protest.Wilson Arroyo, now carrying a megaphone around his waist, has helped spread the word for street performers to convene here today. Their goal is to pressure the government to revise a new Costa Rican traffic law, which Arroyo worries will adversely affect street art and urban sports in public areas. Article 106 indicates that pedestrians who walk between vehicles on the road will be fined. The reform also forbids the use of skateboards in public transit (Article 111).The performers are in favor of security, helmets and reflective light, Arroyo says, but they want to be allowed to express themselves.Alioska Zamora, 24, playfully juggles some green rubber balls. This is just her hobby, she says, but she believes the prohibition is wrong. The legislation will hurt honest working people, she says, some who are without education and need a way to meet their needs. Only some do it just for fun, she insists.Once the park has filled up, six policemen approach the scene. After several uncertain minutes, the impromptu meeting ends, and Arroyo calls for a peaceful march down Second Avenue. He leads the crowd in the direction of the Parque Nacional, located near the Legislative Assembly building, in the center of the capital.A voice rises up in the streets, and soon protesters chant rhythmically, “Se oye, se siente que el arte está presente” (“It is heard, it is felt, art is here”). Wilson Arroyo (center, yellow T-shirt) and a group of street performers protest in San José. Courtesy of Rebecca Aguilarcenter_img No related posts.last_img read more

Costa Rican hotels saw low occupancy during midyear vacations

first_imgFewer tourists stayed in hotels during recent mid-year holidays in Costa Rica, and owners reported that occupancy rates were 12 percentage points lower than those obtained last year.The figure comes from a survey conducted by the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) among 102 hosting businesses.Occupation during the period barely surpassed 55 percent, while the previous year, hotels reported occupancy rates close to 68 percent.The results fell short of expectations by hotel owners, who anticipated occupancy rates of at least 62 percent, mainly driven by a boost in domestic tourism.But local tourists this year account for only 45.5 percent of total visits to tourism businesses, nearly the same number as last year, when they accounted for 45.1 percent of total visitors, according to CANATUR.CANATUR President Isabel Vargas said in a press release that “the country’s current economic situation is not allowing a considerable percentage of the population to take vacations.”Vargas added that although hotels offered deals to attract more Costa Rican vacationers, “domestic tourists are reluctant to spend much on tourism.”The survey also found that beach hotels were most preferred by tourists during mid-year vacations, with occupancy rates of 61.31 percent, while hotels in mountainous areas totaled 50.84 percent. Hotels in the northwestern province of Guanacaste attracted the most guests during the two-week vacation period in early July, with 64.4 percent, while the least-visited areas are located in the northern zone. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Family of slain Costa Rican conservationist files lawsuits against government NGO and

first_imgThe family ofmurdered turtle conservationist Jairo Mora, who was killed while patrolling Moín Beach on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast on May 31, filed two lawsuits Monday morning in the province of Limón against the Costa Rican government, the conservation group that employed Mora and seven of the suspects police believe participated in the murder.The Prosecutor’s Office in San José and the family’s attorney, Javier Vargas, confirmed two civil lawsuits, one against the state and another against seven suspects – six of whom were detained in Limón earlier this month. They also confirmed the submission of the initial paperwork for a civil labor suit against the conservation NGO WIDECAST.Vargas said the lawsuit against the government and the suspects seeks at least ₡200 million ($400,000), while a suit against WIDECAST seeks up to ₡75 million ($150,000) for the NGO’s alleged failure to insure Mora.“WIDECAST had a responsibility to insure this man,” Vargas told The Tico Times. “He didn’t have insurance, which violates the country’s labor laws and would have helped his family after his death.”According to Vargas, the family is suing the state on the basis that police were aware of the danger Mora faced and failed to protect him. In the weeks after the murder, Limón Police Chief Erick Calderón confirmed that Mora had sought police help and had complained of receiving threats.“This year the poachers were able to completely take over the beach because of a lack of police force,” Vanessa Lizano, the head of the Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary in Limón, and a close friend of Mora’s, told The Tico Times the day after the murder. “Why didn’t they stay with him? It was their responsibility.”Vargas also said that his team is collecting information from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) and the Prosecutor’s Office for a possible criminal and civil suit against both WIDECAST and the Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary for their part in an alleged agreement with poachers to purchase turtle eggs.According to the OIJ’s account, WIDECAST paid poachers $300 a month in exchange for eggs they collected on the beach. They would then bury the eggs in a hatchery instead of selling them. When the organization ran out of money Mora allegedly made an agreement with the poachers that allowed them to keep the eggs if they got there first. Fed up with the amount of eggs captured by poachers, Mora went to the police.“You can’t walk with God and make deals with the devil,” Vargas said. “This deal opened the door so that what happened could happen, which ended in the lamentable murder of Mora.”WIDECAST’s Costa Rica Director Didiher Chacón has vehemently denied the allegations that his organization paid for turtle eggs, but declined to comment about labor allegations.“WIDECAST has never had any agreement with any poacher,” he said. “I am sincerely sorry that the family has made the decision to sue.”Lizano, however, has said that her organization did have a poacher program, but back in 2012. Lizano says that their agreement was with 10 poachers who were hired by the sanctuary to walk the beach, and the deal didn’t involve simply paying for eggs. She said she does not believe the suspected murderers were involved with the program.As for the lawsuit, Lizano said she has been advised not to talk about details, but she is disappointed by the decision by Mora’s family to sue.“I am just extremely sad that this is happening because I was his friend and I know that he would never have wanted this ever,” she said. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Black Light troupe plays National Theater

first_img Facebook Comments When you think “black light” you probably think of a college dorm room: In a dark space, surrounded by concert posters and tie-dye sheets, the long-wave illumination of an ultraviolet lamp turns ordinary objects into neon spectacles.In 1959, Czech thespian Jiri Srnec wondered what would happen if he shed UV light on a voided stage. By using black backgrounds, black costumes, and cleverly colored puppets and props, Srnec singlehandedly invented “black light theater,” debuting his creation in Vienna at the end of the year and reprising in Edinburgh in 1962. In the half-century since, the style has gradually expanded and solidified. His company, Srnec Theatre, arrives in San José this weekend for a two-night performance at the National Theater.Billed in Spanish as Teatro Negro de Praga, this “best of” collection compiles four different works, including “The Suitcases,” “The Laundress,” “The Photographer,” and “The Violin Player.”Since the genre’s inception, Prague has become the capital of black light productions, hosting no fewer than 10 different “černé divadlo” companies, as they are known in the Czech Republic. Srnec’s performance style incorporates dance, mime, puppetry and music, and the tone is generally playful and even absurd. If kindergartners drew their rendition of Cirque du Soleil in crayon on black paper, it might look a lot like Teatro Negro.While Srnec Theatre regularly plays packed houses in Prague, the company is also prolifically mobile, having visited 68 countries and entertained more than 5 million spectators (the company boasts of performing an average of 200 times per year). Srnec’s troupe has already toured extensively in Central America, including three past engagements in Costa Rica.Monolinguals can rejoice: Srnec Theatre is mostly movement based, so no knowledge of Slavic languages is required. If you’ve ever spent too much time watching a lava lamp, Teatro Negro will likely be a pleasurable destination.Teatro Negro takes place at the National Theater in San José’s Plaza de la Cultura from Sept. 13-14. Show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets cost ₡16,500-35,000 ($33-70). For more info, visit Related posts:‘The Nutcracker’ pirouettes into the National Theater National Theater exhibit ‘Luces y sombras’ a journey into the unconscious New exhibit unveils history of National Theater Independence Day, Broadway revue, and other happenings around Costa Ricalast_img read more

El Salvador volcano has first major eruption since 1976

first_imgRelated posts:Guatemala’s Pacaya Volcano spits ash, gases Inspection shows Rincón de la Vieja Volcano still active Turrialba Volcano spits massive ash and gas trail Despite rumors, access to Poás Volcano is normal for all tourists SAN SALVADOR — The Chaparrastique volcano released clouds of ash and gas thousands of meters up into the sky Sunday, leading to the evacuation of 2,200 people from the area about 140 kilometers east of San Salvador.The eruption began at 10:30 a.m. local time, and the “most intense part” lasted through 1 p.m., according to the Environment Ministry. So far authorities report nobody has been injured. However, the whole country remains under a preventative alert.“We had an explosive eruption (of ash), which may continue for several days (…) we have been unable to verify lava,” said Environment Ministry official Celina Kattán at a press conference.One local resident described hearing a loud rumble early in the morning before noticing a frightening puff of black smoke rising out of the volcano.The airline Avianca cancelled 33 flights departing and arriving at the San Salvador airport due to fears of the ash affecting aircraft.Environment Minister Herman Rosa Chávez said the columns of ash and gas could reach as far as Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Salvadoran officials are checking to see if the volcanic ash affected local aquifers. The Health Ministry warned residents about the dangers of coming in contact with the ash or inhaling it.During the day, police and rescue workers arrived at the area to provide assistance. Dozens of onlookers also traveled there to observe the natural phenomenon.Chaparrastique is considered El Salvador’s most active volcano. It had its last major eruption in 1976. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Live Stream 2015 Latin American Cities Conference San José

first_imgRelated posts:GlobalTies highlights role of public diplomacy at 2015 Latin America Dialogue Costa Rica should expect 4.3 percent GDP growth, World Bank says Costa Rica ranks 83rd in the world for doing business Uber gets $200 million for international expansion The Tico Times will be live streaming the 2015 Latin American Cities Conference: San José, brought to you by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. The conference, “Costa Rica: A New Investment Opportunity,” takes place Thursday, June 25, 2015 at theCosta Rica Marriott Hotel, starting at 8:30 a.m. Below the feed, find more information about the conference, as well as a list of speakers and important links. If you have trouble viewing, please contact: Note: If you miss the live stream, watch the entire video here following the event’s conclusion. The link will be active at 8:30 a.m.Costa Rica: A New Investment OpportunityIn the past year, Costa Rica has faced cases of departures of long-standing international investors. Although the country continues to draw sophisticated investors from around the world, external and internal challenges persist when it comes to attracting greater levels of foreign direct investment. Since taking office, however, President Luis Guillermo Solís has sought to revamp Costa Rica’s efforts to boost both the volume and nature of FDI.Amercias Society/Council of the Americas, in partnership with Costa Rica’s Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX) and the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), will hold a half-day conference to focus on the country’s economic and investment outlook, convening government officials and foreign investors who span various industries.Confirmed speakersLuis Guillermo Solís, President of Costa RicaAlexander Mora, Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa RicaCésar Arias, Director, Latin American Sovereigns Group, Fitch RatingsDoyle Boyd, Solutions Director, Marketing Digital Production and Content Services, AccentureJosé Rafael Brenes, CEO, National Stock Exchange of Costa RicaDave Dalton, President, General MicrocircuitsRoberto Echandi, Global Lead, Investment Policy, Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice, World BankAlberto Franco, Economist, Founder and Consultant, EcoanálisisVincent Guglielmetti, Costa Rica Site & Mega Lab General Manager, Intel CorporationRagnhild Melzi, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the AmericasLuis Mesalles, Associate Economist of the Central American AcademyCharlie Noel, Vice President of Operations, MicroVention, Inc.Ed Sanchez, Country Officer, Costa Rica, CitiJorge Sequeira, Managing Director, Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE)Registration: 8-8:30 a.m. Conference: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.Follow the discussion on Twitter: @ASCOA or @TheTico Times, hashtag #crASCOAEvent Information: Guillermo Zubillaga,, +(212) 277-8362.Visit: and follow updates at Facebook Commentslast_img read more

At least 215 dead as powerful quake rocks South Asia

first_imgISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake which rocked parts of South Asia killed 215 people Monday, including 12 Afghan girls crushed in a stampede as they fled their collapsing school. At least 1,000 more were injured and hundreds of homes destroyed as the quake shook a swathe of the subcontinent, sending thousands of frightened people rushing into the streets in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.It was centerd near Jurm in northeast Afghanistan, 250 kilometers (160 miles) from the capital Kabul and at a depth of 213.5 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said.“Initial reports show a big loss of life, huge financial losses in Badakhshan, Takhar, Nangarhar, Kunar and other regions, including the capital Kabul,” said Afghanistan’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah.At least 63 people were confirmed dead in Afghanistan and 152 in Pakistan, according to officials, with the toll set to rise.“Exact numbers are not known because phone lines are down and communication has been cut off in many areas,” Abdullah said, adding that the government has asked aid agencies for relief.“The quake wreaked huge devastation in some districts,” said the governor of Badakhshan province, Shah Wali Adib. “So far 1,500 homes are reported to be damaged or destroyed.”Horrifying news emerged of at least 12 schoolgirls being trampled to death in a northern Afghan province.“The students rushed to escape the school building in Taluqan city (capital of Takhar), triggering a stampede,” Takhar education department chief Enayat Naweed told AFP.“Twelve students, all minors, were killed and 35 others were injured.”Arbab Muhammad Asim, district mayor for Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, said more than 100 people had been injured there alone.“Many houses and buildings have collapsed in the city,” he said.Dr Muhammad Sadiq, the head of emergency services at a government hospital in Peshawar said the injured were still being brought in.“Many are still under rubble,” Sadiq told AFP.“The building was swinging like a pendulum, it felt as if the heavens would fall,” Peshawar shop owner Tufail Ahmed told AFP.“I have never seen such a massive earthquake in my life, it was huge,” 87-year-old Peshwar resident Mohammad Rehman said.‘Very powerful’The quake, which lasted at least one minute, shook buildings in Kabul, Islamabad and New Delhi.Traffic came to a halt in downtown Kabul, with frightened people getting out of their cars as they waited for the quake to stop.Live footage from an Afghan news broadcast showed the anchor abandoning his desk as the quake shook the cameras.Restaurants and office buildings emptied in Islamabad, with cracks appearing in some buildings but no major damage reported.“We grabbed each other and were crying, we could not do anything, I felt so helpless,” 16-year-old student Farhana Parveen, whose Islamabad school was evacuated, told AFP.“I had the scary feeling that the whole world would collapse.”Hundreds of people in north India poured onto the streets from office blocks, hospitals and homes.Delhi’s metro ground to a halt during the tremor although the airport continued operating.In the Kashmir region, panicked residents evacuated buildings and children were seen huddling together outside their school in the main city of Srinagar.The rescue effort was being complicated by the lack of communications, with the region’s already fragile infrastructure hit.Gul Mohammad Bidar, deputy governor of Badakhshan in Afghanistan, told AFP lines were down and it was difficult to reach stricken communities.“The earthquake was very powerful — buildings have been damaged (in Faizabad) and there are possible casualties,” he said.Toll risingAt least 63 people were killed in Afghanistan, 30 of them in the eastern province of Kunar alone, officials said.In Pakistan at least 152 people had been killed, according to a tally from local and provincial officials.The military put the toll at 123 with 956 injured, and the National Disaster Management Authority put the official death toll at 43, but said it was checking unconfirmed reports of more deaths.One aftershock hit shortly afterwards, with the USGS putting its magnitude at 4.8.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter immediately after the quake, saying that India stood ready to assist, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan if required.Pakistan mobilised its troops and all military hospitals have been put on high alert, army spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa said, with the air force also offering support.Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.South Asia’s quakes occur along a major fault line between the two plates — one under India pushing north and east at a rate of about two centimetres (0.8 inches) per year against the other, which carries Europe and Asia.The epicentre of Monday’s quake was just a few hundred kilometres from the site of a 7.6 magnitude quake that struck in October 2005, killing more than 75,000 people and displacing some 3.5 million more, although that quake was much shallower.In Nepal twin quakes in May killed more than 8,900 people, triggered landslides and destroyed half a million homes. Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:UPDATE: Thousands dead in Nepal quake, deadly avalanche on Everest Choppers rescue Everest avalanche victims China monitoring animals to predict earthquakes Sizeable temblor shakes Costa Rica’s Central Valleylast_img read more

Former Limón judge sentenced to jail for aiding drug traffickers

first_imgRelated posts:Defendants captured aboard supposed drug vessel accuse U.S. authorities of torture Government announces increased security measures to curb recent crime wave Costa Rican man sentenced to 50 years in prison for murder of Argentine singer Facundo Cabral Honduras foreign minister resigns over police murder scandal A former prominent judge in the Caribbean province of Limón was sentenced Friday to 14 years in prison for issuing favorable rulings to drug traffickers. Rosa Elena Gamboa was arrested two years ago on suspicion that she influenced at least two cases involving alleged drug traffickers in 2011 and 2012.One of those cases involved a man who was arrested in 2012 with a ton of marijuana and later released on a ₡3 million ($5,500) bond. He skipped bail and disappeared. Former Limón judge Rosa Elena Gamboa was convicted Friday for aiding drug traffickers and sentenced to 14 years in prison. The Tico TimesAt the time of Gamboa’s arrest in May 2014, then Chief Public Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría said Gamboa, then a superior court judge, had been under investigation for three years.“[Gamboa] maintains relationships with people involved in drug trafficking in the region, and she has tried on at least two occasions to influence judges in the preliminary and intermediary phases of trials. In both cases, [Gamboa] approached the judges and quite openly told them the suspects should not go to jail,” Chavarría said in a press conference at the time.Gamboa, who was 62 when she was arrested, retired after the scandal broke.She was convicted Friday in a Goicoechea courtroom for attempted graft and violation of drug laws.This is a developing story.   Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Taxi protest against Uber snarls traffic across Costa Rica

first_imgUPDATE 1:20 p.m. Around noon, the leader of the National Taxi Drivers Forum, Gilberth Ureña, said the group ended the protest after reaching an agreement with the head of the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP), Roberto Jiménez.Ureña said taxi industry leaders will meet again with Jiménez on Aug. 16 to hear ARESEP’s response to their petition to block the Uber app in Costa Rica.Thousands of taxi drivers attempted to block highways and other major routes across Costa Rica Tuesday morning to demand the government crack down on ride-hailing service Uber.Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata at around noon reported that police had arrested some 78 taxi drivers and seized 33 cars. Drivers will be charged for obstructing traffic and causing disorder on public roads.Arrests occurred mainly east of the capital, in Curridabat and San Pedro, and also near the Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela province.As of 10:30 a.m., traffic in front of the airport was flowing normally.Some of those arrested will also face charges for assaulting police officers and resisting arrest, the Public Security Ministry reported.National Police Director Juan José Andrade reported that a group of taxi drivers who resisted arrest in San Pedro caused injuries to three police officers. One of them had to be sent to a hospital after losing three teeth during a clash with protesters, he said.Andrade estimated that the first hours of the protests would cost police some ₡80 million ($145,000) in resources and damage to police cars.Other groups of taxi drivers clashed with police at the beginning of Florencio del Castillo Highway in Curridabat, where the Public Security Ministry had placed various squads of anti-riot officers. A report from the Traffic Police at noon said officers fined 119 taxi drivers along various roads for obstructing passage. The report also stated that the main traffic problems were caused by groups of taxis driving at very low speeds and occupying all lanes of various major routes.Traffic Police reports indicate that the biggest traffic jams at midmorning were along Route 1 between San José and Alajuela, Route 27 between San José and Puntarenas, on the Circunvalación, a belt route around central San José, along the Florencio del Castillo highway and Ochomogo in Cartago and on the Caldera road along the beach in Puntarenas.President Luis Guillermo Solís is monitoring the situation with Minister Gustavo Mata and other government officials. This is a developing story.  Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Taxi drivers to stage nationwide protest against Uber on Tuesday Taxi drivers to demonstrate against Uber in downtown San José Uber Costa Rica pulls out of job fair over security concerns  Uber driver threatened in Costa Ricalast_img read more

Poetry Cacique and memories at San Josés cultural dive bar La Bohemia

first_imgRelated posts:A hangover, brunch and a classic bloody mary at Maza Espresso gets NSFW treatment in Franco’s ‘carajillo’ cocktail Drinks, conversations and a view to remember at Hotel Presidente’s Azotea Buchón cantina: Spritz cocktails to dine for La Bohemia is something you can really only experience sitting with a self-made cheapskate gin and tonic in hand, watching the bar’s natural course take place on a Friday night.Guitar players and bolero trios come in from time to time and you will certainly pay them to play some sad songs.In the middle of a deep conversation, you will be interrupted by someone selling flowers, ceramic turtles or even pairs of socks. Maybe you won’t buy the socks, because that would be weird, but you will certainly buy some souvenir. I have bought and lost several ceramic turtles in these past four years.At La Bohemia, I have sung happy birthday with a bunch of strangers who later handed me a slice of cake on a napkin. I have had romantic dates hoping to bond over their tasty bocas. The meatballs in tomato sauce are my favorite, but the garbanzos are just as good. Natalia Diaz / The Tico TimesIt’s really easy to feel at ease in a place where you can leave a tab open and a promise to buy beers next time. If you’re there enough, like me, people might leave beers in your name that you can cash anytime.Whether it’s trendy or not, La Bohemia is a family business and frequent clients eventually become part of their family history.“Los borrachos no los hacen como antes,” the owner, Don Giorgio, told me with a snigger while standing behind the wooden bar at La Bohemia.They don’t make drunkards like they used to.Don Giorgio used to clean tables stacked with empty pachas, those quarter liter glass bottles where cantinas serve their guaro. Guaro isn’t as popular these days, so he says it’s more common to clean up scattered beer bottles.From Monday to Saturday, after closing at midnight, he climbs up to bed on the second floor of the pink building that stands three blocks south of the Garantías Sociales Plaza at San José. It’s the same place his Italian grandfather first used as a cantina in 1936.“Around 25 years ago, La Bohemia was known as a retirement cantina because clients were well over their fifties. In the ’90s we started to tend to a younger generation and they started to drink with the older ones. A lot of those customers have been coming in regularly for the past 20 years,” he said right after he mixed me a gin and tonic in a lowball glass. A fresh apple slice was soaking in the Bulldog Gin.I seldom ask him for a mixed drink. Both don Giorgio (whose real name is Jorge Motta, but nobody ever calls him that) and waitress Nancy Ramírez know that when I sit down with a party, we’ll ask for the usual: some beers and one pacha of Cacique (we’ll end up drinking two or three more), soda water, a bowl of ice, lime slices and salt.We mix our own cocktails: we call them cheapskate gin and tonics. The cheapskate gin and tonic Natalia Diaz / The Tico TimesI wasn’t even of legal age when La Bohemia became a popular bohemian Chepe icon a decade ago.It was around that time that architectural heritage researcher and National Award winner, Andrés Fernández, gave a big conference there about San José and its buildings. He chose this bar over any other auditorium in the city.“The first one who started talking about us was Andrés, and that was 15 years ago… Speak of the devil,” don Giorgio joked as Fernández entered La Bohemia.Fernández asked Nancy for a whiskey pacha and soda water. They are used to this routine.“It’s common to confuse a cantina with a chichera but La Bohemia, it’s not like that,” said Fernández after he started drinking. He usually drinks at the bar for a few hours, sharing conversation with don Giorgio and other patrons. A conversation would be impossible in a chichera — or chinchorro, as younger people call them — because clients sit down just to get drunk, not to enjoy the ambiance.Fernández calls the bar a cultural center and describes the sorts of bohemian intellectuals who come around — musicians, writers, film directors, art curators, painters and other journalists like me.The place is so valuable for those communities that two years ago, poet Fabián Coto presented one of his books at the bar. This year, two other writers hosted events there during Costa Rica’s International Book Fair.A few months ago, a female director, Natalia Solórzano, made an hour-long documentary about La Bohemia that will air on both TD+ and Canal 13 on September 30. Natalia Solórzano’s documentary on La Bohemia will air on September 30. Photo courtesy of Caramba FilmsI was invited to appear as an extra on some of the shots because I love La Bohemia like that.“I have even seen comics where the characters are sitting in here. You can recognize the place because they draw the same windows and tables,” describes Fernández.Sometimes Nancy or don Giorgio are kind enough to add an extra shot of Cacique for free — just because they take special care of their most frequent customers. And that’s the kind of honorable title I expect to uphold for many years to come, pacha de Cacique in hand.Natalia Díaz is a freelance journalist. She likes her reading the same way she likes her music: with a side of gin and tonic. Natalia just started this new liquid diet and she’s writing all about it. You can follow her on Twitter @natdiaze. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica issues invitation to Commission on Human Rights following murder of

first_imgIn context: Costa Rica’s struggles with indigenous land rights This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5% Club. If only 5 percent of our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Costa Rica’s struggles with indigenous land rights  ‘A tragic day for the Bribrí people’ as leader Sergio Rojas is killedcenter_img Costa Rica on Friday invited the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to visit indigenous territories in the country’s southern zone after the murder of a leader who fought for the defense of native lands, the government announced.The invitation was sent by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lorena Aguilar, to follow up on the precautionary measures ordered by the IACHR to protect the Teribe and Bribrí indigenous communities near Salitre, Puntarenas, in southern Costa Rica.These territories have been the subject of intense police surveillance after Sergio Rojas, a leader of the Bribrí indigenous group, was shot dead Monday.Rojas was a prominent fighter for the recovery of indigenous lands. The IACHR issued precautionary measures in favor of the communities due to the threats they faced in the defense of their lands.Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado condemned the assassination of Rojas and said it was “a tragic day for the Bribrí people, for indigenous peoples and for all of Costa Rica.”The judicial police and the prosecutor’s office sent specialized teams to investigate the murder of the indigenous leader.Read more in The Tico Times: ‘A tragic day for the Bribrí people’ as leader Sergio Rojas is killed  Related posts:IACHR mission visits Costa Rica to evaluate protections for indigenous communities Bribrí women commemorate Sergio Rojas and vow to keep his fight alive Costa Rica meets with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to discuss Nicaragua, Venezuela, indigenous rights U.S. family works to set up Costa Rican halfway house in wake of son’s deathlast_img read more

Authorities clear roads overnight after President Alvarados address

first_imgAfter President Alvarado said in aspeech to the nation that Costa Rica “would act to clear the roads” of protester-made blockades, authorities took to the streets early Tuesday to do just that.The Public Security Ministry (MSP) launched an overnight operativo to clear Route 32, which connects San José and Limón, in addition to other blocked throughways across the county.“The will of the Government is dialogue, but the blockades must stop,” Alvarado said Tuesday morning. “The right of Costa Ricans to free transit must be respected by everyone.”According to Michael Soto, the Minister of Public Security, officials first warned demonstrators impeding roads to leave, and they did so without further incident in a majority of cases.However, in Liverpool, Limón, authorities faced resistance from protesters armed with weapons and Molotov cocktails. One official was injured, though not seriously, Soto said.In Perez Zeledón, nine protesters participating in a blockade of Route 2 were arrested.“This is a high-risk operative,” Soto said. “These activities followed a repeated call to dialogue.”While the government continues to prioritize dialogue, Soto said, food and gas shortages, in addition to financial impacts, led to more forceful action.“What we want is peace, tranquility for everyone, and that the situation flows in the best way possible,” Soto said. “Thankfully, in this instance, we had minimal difficulties.”The blockades, which began last week and increased in number over the weekend, caused millions of dollars worth of losses due to delays at the Moín shipping terminal in Limón, according to Costa Rica’s Chamber of Exporters (CADEXCO).Additionally, many people throughout the country — including business owners and the 83,000 international tourists currently in Costa Rica — faced unexpected and significant travel interruptions.“Several of our employees left Puerto Viejo de Talamanca at 8 a.m. Friday and arrived [in San José] at 12 p.m. Saturday,” said Paul David Johnson, owner of Caribeans Chocolate in Puerto Viejo. “They were forced to walk about 10 km to transfer buses.”Alan Kinsella, a tourist visiting Costa Rica from the United States, said the blockades had negatively impacted a vacation.“We wish to leave this country with a positive memory, and as of now that hope is in deep jeopardy,” he wrote to The Tico Times.The blockades were largely in opposition to a new value-added tax, which went into effect July 1, though there were also demonstrations against Education Ministry policies.Update; 11 a.m.: Teletica is reporting at least three new blockades in San Carlos. Continue exercising caution when driving, and use navigation apps such as Waze for up-to-date, crowdsourced road information.Update; 2:50 p.m.: The Public Security Ministry said debris blocking a bridge in Monterrey de San Carlos caused a 30-minute delay for an ambulance transporting a 10-month-old in critical condition.National Police cleared the bridge, but “valuable time was lost,” according to a MSP spokesperson. Via MSP. Via MSP. Facebook Comments Related posts:President Alvarado addresses Costa Rican protests, urges peace and dialogue Costa Rican Congress, President Alvarado approve controversial tax reform President Alvarado visits Germany, meets with Chancellor Angela Merkel Unrest in Costa Rica over Education Ministry, new value-added taxlast_img read more

Mexican cell firms join forces to gain coverage

first_imgMEXICO CITY (AP) – The Mexican subsidiary of Spanish cell carrier Telefonica SA and local carrier Iusacell are joining forces to share mobile networks in a bid to expand coverage.The companies say the five-year agreement could benefit 27 million subscribers.The Mexican market is currently dominated by Telcel, which is owned by telecom magnate Carlos Slim, considered the world’s richest man.Telefonica’s Mexico brand Movistar has an estimated 22-percent market shares and Iusacell has less than 5 percent of the market. Telcel controls most of the rest. Iusacell SA said Wednesday it still awaiting final word from regulators on whether they will allow another proposed alliance with the owners of the Televisa television network, who want to buy a 50-percent stake in the firm.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Political wrangling leaves Gaza patients stranded

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Physicians for Human Rights-Israel charged Sunday that Israel exploits the vulnerability of the Gaza patients, interrogating some as they cross the border.The group said two Gaza patients and an escort were arrested after being interrogated in July. One has since been released.An Israeli security official said one of those arrested was suspected of being a Hamas activist involved in making weapons.___Associated Press writers Diaa Hadid in Jerusalem and Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah contributed reporting.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Omar Nasser, a spokesman for the Health Ministry in the West Bank, said that after the new appointments, Hamas police entered the offices of the committee and expelled those working there. Ashraf al-Kidra, a spokesman for the Health Ministry in Gaza, denied there was a raid. He said local employees refused to work with the newly appointed committee members.The committee handled about 18,000 patient cases last year, and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank paid about $42 million for their treatment in hospitals in the West Bank, Israel, Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world, said Nasser.It was not immediately clear why the West Bank health minister replaced all committee members. A similar dispute between the rival governments in 2009 was blamed for the death of nine patients, including a cancer-stricken child.“We are the victims of selfish political factions who don’t care about people’s health,” said Tawfik, 55, the husband of the patient with the brain tumor. Tawfik said he was bounced from Hamas-loyal officials to those linked to Abbas for the past week.Israeli officials said they have not received any requests from the Gaza committee for transferring patients since Wednesday. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Sponsored Stories “No one wants to help. No one wants to hear,” Iyad Alami of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights said of the politicians involved in the dispute. He said several patients are in danger of dying if they are not moved quickly.Alami’s group has been trying to mediate between the Hamas government in Gaza and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority of internationally backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.Israel and Egypt restricted movement in and out of Gaza after Hamas seized the territory from Abbas in 2007, leaving him with parts of the West Bank. Gaza and the West Bank are separated by about 40 kilometers (25 miles) of Israeli territory.Gaza hospitals offer only basic medical care, and patients seeking treatment abroad need a referral from a medical committee in Gaza before they can cross into Israel or Egypt.The committee technically reports to the West Bank government, but it operates with the tacit approval of the Hamas authorities in Gaza.Last week, the West Bank’s health minister appointed a new committee, replacing one that was set up in 2009. Rival health officials in the West Bank and Gaza offered conflicting explanations of why the committee then stopped working. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementscenter_img How men can have a healthy 2019 Comments   Share   Associated PressGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – A dispute between the two rival Palestinian governments is preventing hundreds of patients in Gaza from receiving urgent medical care abroad, officials said Sunday.One Gaza man said he has tried unsuccessfully for the past week to get his wife transferred out of Gaza for the removal of a brain tumor. Salman Tawfik said his wife Rasha, 50, lapsed into a coma two days ago, while he was caught in a bureaucratic maze. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

Floods in France prompt evacuations in shrine town

first_img Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona The regional government issued a statement late Saturday saying 427 people had been evacuated from their hotels. The Red Cross and regional authorities provided food and shelter to the escapees, as authorities warned of forecasts for more rain in the region.In one televised image, a rescuer waded waist-deep into a hotel lobby with a red boat in tow and teams helped elderly visitors inside for a trip to higher ground. Others showed a fast-flowing, white-water river rumbling through the town, and the grotto _ or cave _ was filled with about 1.5 meters of water, under a niche statute of the Virgin Mary.Visits to the grotto were temporarily suspended. Officials say the town draws about 6 million visitors a year _ mainly looking to see the grotto. The shrine has special meaning for the suffering, many of whom believe its spring water can heal and even work miracles.Thierry Castillo, director of the nearby Lourdes sanctuary, said visitors had shown “understanding” and predicted that the grotto would remain closed at least through Monday.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Sponsored Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like PARIS (AP) – Pilgrims trek by the millions each year to the Roman Catholic shrine in Lourdes, many looking to drink its spring waters reputed for their healing powers. This time, visitors were fleeing a different kind of water _ floodwaters _ in the southwestern French town.Rescue teams helped hundreds of pilgrims escape waterlogged hotels on Saturday after heavy rains led the Gave River to overrun its banks _ and even wash up into the town’s famed grotto, where many Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared to a 14-year-old girl named Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img read more

SKorean city to remake village into Macau rival

first_imgBut the Yongyu-Muui project saw little progress partly due to the global financial crisis. Incheon officials said they hope to gather fresh momentum for “EIGHTCITY” island to create a growth engine for the country.The EIGHTCITY chief said it secured $2.8 billion from South Korean investors and $1 billion from Britain’s Sanbar Development Corp., which will help get the project off the ground. The initial investment will be used to compensate island residents early next year. Building infrastructure and reclaiming land will cost another $27 billion.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) How do cataracts affect your vision? 0 Comments   Share   Incheon hopes the tourism complex will lure the growing middle and upper class from China, who are spending more on leisure and travel, and tourists from Japan.To increase its appeal to Chinese tourists, the new island will be named “EIGHTCITY” and built in the shape of “8” after the auspicious number in China.The 5.7 million passengers passing through Incheon International Airport every year will also be targeted, a head of the project developer told a briefing.“It will become the world’s top city that has the creativity of Dubai, convention centers and casinos of Las Vegas and Macau, as well as the shopping centers and financial hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore,” said Park Seong-Hyun, vice chairman of EIGHTCITY Co., the project’s developer.International hotel operator Kempinski AG and South Korea’s flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. are among the shareholders in the developer.When completed, Incheon said the area will be three times larger than Macau at 80 square kilometers (30 square miles).In early 2000s, Yongyu-Muui district was designated as a free-economic zone, along with several of Incheon’s other districts, to boost foreign investment in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. Top holiday drink recipes Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Top Stories AP Business WriterSEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea’s Incheon city said Wednesday it aims to transform a small fishing island off the country’s west coast into a hub of tourism, shopping and gambling to rival Macau and Las Vegas.The city, 28 kilometers (17 miles) west of the capital Seoul, hopes to eventually attract up to $290 billion in investments by 2030 to build casinos, hotels, auto racing tracks, a marina and K-pop concert halls in its district of Yongyu-Muui. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Nigerian presidents brother dies

first_img Top holiday drink recipes 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – The Nigerian presidency says President Goodluck Jonathan’s younger brother has died.Spokesman Reuben Abati said in a statement that Meni Innocent Jonathan died Tuesday at the National Hospital in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja following a brief illness.The hospital is considered one of most modern hospitals in a country where the political class typically seeks medical treatment abroad. Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix President Jonathan’s brother died on the president’s 55th birthday.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 0 Comments   Share   5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Top Stories last_img read more