Arenal Report

first_imgThank youTrent Duschene, owner of the Agua Inn Spa (formerly the Blue Zone Spa), for hosting the October meeting of the Ladies of the Lake. The swimming pool was refreshing and the spa staff provided chicken kabobs and a variety of fresh fruit juices. Support for Sister Alicia’s mission in Tierras Morenas was increased to meet a growing demand for her services to families in need. Victoria Torley spearheaded the formation of the Lake Arenal Garden Club with a successful inaugural meeting at her home. Next meeting is Nov. 5 at 1 p.m., and will include a plant exchange. The Little Longhorn Restaurant has opened in San Luis near Las Brisas. Owners Jason and Cindy Carroccio offer a variety of burgers with all the fixings, including French fries and onion rings with eat-in or take-out service. Call 2695-2035 for orders to go.Tico Winds will be adding paddleboard lessons and rentals to their windsurfing and kiteboarding business. For more info, visit www.ticowind.com or call 2692-2002.A new event has been added to the Arenal calendar. Every first and third Sunday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. a feria (trade fair) takes place in the parking area located behind the Remax Realty office at Cinco Esquinas. Plants, homemade foods, artisan crafts, organically-grown vegetables and other items new and used are for sale. This is a popular event, so come early for the best choices.Thanks to Lynn Farris, Sarah Benson and Rene Aoki for their assistance in writing this column.–William & Jean Priestjean_pri@msn.com Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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Whats open and whats closed

first_imgNo related posts. BANKS:BAC San José (2295-9595), closed Dec. 25 and Dec. 30-Jan. 1. Open Dec. 24 until 1 pm. Banco Proamérica (2519-8090, 2258-2212) open Dec. 24 until 3 p.m., closed Dec. 25 and Dec. 30-Jan. 1; normal business hours over the holiday period. Banco de Costa Rica (2287-9000) branches will be closed at 4 p.m., Dec. 24, and will be closed Dec. 30-31. Banco Nacional (2212-2000) branches will close at 3:45 p.m., Dec. 24 and will be closed Dec. 30-31. Banco Popular (2211-7000) will close Dec. 24 and 31. Mutual Alajuela (2437-1000) open until 3 p.m. on Dec. 24, closed Dec. 25 and 31. Scotiabank (2210-4000) open until 3 p.m. on Dec. 24, closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. DAVIVIENDA (2287-1111) call for holiday business hours.EMBASSIES: Holiday closures at major embassies are as follows: British Embassy (2258-2025) closed Dec 24-26 and Jan. 1. Canadian Embassy (2242-4400) closes Dec. 24 at noon, through Dec. 27, also closed Jan. 1. French Embassy (2234-4167) closed Dec. 24-25, 31 and Jan 1. Japanese Embassy (2232-3787) closed Dec. 25 and Dec. 29-Jan. 3. U.S. Embassy (2220-3939) closed Dec. 24-25, Jan. 1.Government offices: Most government offices will be closed Dec. 23-Jan. 2. The Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) and Supreme Court will have a limited area open 24 hours a day for emergencies, although all administrative areas will be closed. For emergencies, dial 911.Hospitals and Pharmacies: Rest assured that hospital emergency rooms will remain open 24 hours a day. The Red Cross (tel. 128) and National Insurance Institute (800-800-8000) also attend emergencies at all hours. Those who over-eat Christmas dinner can find Alka-Seltzer and more 24-7 over the holidays at Clínica Bíblica Hospital drugstore and emergency room (2522-1000) in downtown San José, La Católica Hospital drugstore and emergency room (2246-3000) in Guadalupe and Farmacia Sucre Los Angeles (2262-3111) in Heredia.Mail and Shipping: Aerocasillas (2208-4848) and DHL (2209-0000) will be open during normal business hours, except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Correos de Costa Rica (2202-2900) will be closed Dec. 25-Jan. 1.Movie Theaters: Most theaters throughout the country report no closures during the holidays this year. CitiCinemas Grecia (2444-1779) and CitiCinemas Jacó (2643-2100) will close at 7 pm. on Dec. 24 and 31. Museums: The Central Bank Museums (home to the Gold Museum, 2243-4202) underneath Plaza de la Cultura and the Children’s Museum (2258-4929) at Ca. 4, Av 9 will be closed Dec. 24-25 and 31 and Jan. 1. The National Museum (2257-1433) at Ca. 17, Av. Central will be closed Dec. 23-26 and Dec. 31-Jan.3 The Contemporary Art and Design Museum (2257-9370) at CENAC, Av 3/5, Ca. 15/17 will close Dec. 24 and reopen Jan. 7. INBioparque (2507-8107) in Santo Domingo de Heredia will be open Dec. 26, 9 a.m.- 5:30 pm. and will be closed Dec. 24-25, 31 and Jan. 1. Supermarkets: Most Auto Mercado (2257-4242) stores will be open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 25 and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 31 except Herradura, Tamarindo and Coco, which will be open 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Dec. 25 and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Jan 1. Walmart (2286-0033) stores in Heredia, Escazú, Guadalupe, San Sebastián, Cartago and Curridabat will close at 9 pm. Dec. 24, and remain closed Dec. 25, 31 and Jan. 1. Stores will be open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Dec 26-30. Most Mas x Menos (2243-7100) supermarkets will be open until 9 pm. Dec. 24 and 31 and from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. MegaSuper (2246-0400) will be open until 10 pm. Dec. 24 and 31, and 9 a.m. -7 p.m. Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Muñoz y Nanne (2253-4646) in San Pedro will be open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Dec. 24, 30 and 31 and will close at 6 p.m. Dec. 29. Pali (2243-7100) stores will be open 8:30 a.m.-7:30pm. Dec. 24, 30 and 31 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec 25 and Jan 1. PriceSmart stores in Escazú (2288-0008), Heredia (2262-4848) Zapote (2283-9464) and Tibás (2297-2343) will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1; on Dec. 24 and 31, stores will open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saretto (2228-6703) supermarket in Escazú will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 and will maintain regular business hours all other days.Theaters: Arlequín (2221-5485) at Ca. 15, Av. 2/6, is closed until Jan. 11. Teatro Torres (2256-4295 at Av. 8, Ca 11/13, closed Dec. 24 and 31 with the play Divorciados y Angelicas. La Esquina Theater (2257-0223) at Av. 1. Ca 21, reopens Jan 5. El Triciclo Theater (2222-2624) Ca 15, Av 8/10, will be closed until Jan. 6. La Máscara Theater (2222-4574) at Av. 2, Ca 13 bis, reopens Jan. 14.Veterinarians: The National University Veterinary Hospital (2260-9234) in Barreal de Heredia will be open 24 hours and requests that visitors send and email to hospitalespeciesmenores@gmail.com before arriving, unless it’s an emergency! Dr. Bitter’s clinics (2227-5017, 2228-1753 in San José and Escazú will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Dr. Adrián Molina (2228-1909, 2288-1716, emergency 2225-2500) in Escazú closed Dec. 24-25, 31, Jan. 1-2. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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With Chávez sicker Venezuela axes New Year party

first_imgCARACAS – Venezuela called off public New Year’s Eve festivities on Monday and social media sizzled with worry after the government said cancer-stricken President Hugo Chávez had taken a turn for the worse.The streets of Caracas were quiet as front page headlines relayed that Chávez had developed “new complications” from a respiratory infection after undergoing his fourth cancer-related surgery, on December 11 in Havana.His vice president and political heir, Nicolás Maduro, broke the news from Havana on Sunday night, saying the condition of the firebrand leader was delicate and that he faced an uphill battle.For many Venezuelans, a holiday season without their ubiquitous comandante just wasn’t the same. “We have never had a Christmas like this. Only God knows what will happen with him and with us,” said 70-year-old retiree Miguel Enrique as he prepared to attend Mass.Authorities canceled a New Year’s eve concert in a downtown plaza and Information Minister Ernesto Villegas urged families “to ring in the New Year at home, praying and expressing hope for the health” of Chávez.Crews were taking down the stage at the concert site. Passers-by watched, looking sad. On Monday on Twitter, hashtags translating into expressions such as “Chávez will live and conquer” and “I love Chávez” were aplenty.A person who signed as NeriColmenares described the loquacious former paratrooper in almost messianic terms.“Chávez will live and will conquer because he is a man who turned into a nation, into spirit, into struggle. He has the power to confront all the torments of life.”But Chávez is also deeply polarizing, even though he has ruled for nearly 14 years, and his detractors spoke out.“I do not want Chávez to die. We would look really bad as a country if a disease had to do our job of removing him from power,” one Enrique Vasquez wrote.Chávez, 58, is scheduled to be sworn in on January 10. But his ill health has raised concerns that he won’t be well enough in time for the inauguration, if ever.Under Venezuela’s constitution, a presidential election must be held within 30 days if the head of state is incapacitated or dies before his inauguration or within the first four years of his term.But Chávez’s government has said the inauguration can be postponed if the president is not fit enough to be sworn in.As the constitution says he must be sworn in on January 10, “anything else will be hard to sell without it being construed as an institutional coup,” Leon said.But Maduro and parliament speaker Diosdado Cabello — who would take over temporarily, pending new elections, if Chávez dies or is incapacitated — have left the door open for Chávez to be sworn in later by the Supreme Court.In the October 7 election, Chávez won 54 percent of the vote compared to 45 percent for Capriles — but some opinion polls had put the candidates in a virtual tie, raising opposition hopes of a long-awaited victory.In his televised announcement Sunday from Havana, Maduro spoke alongside one of Chávez’s daughters, Rosa Virginia, and other prominent Venezuelans. Hours later Villegas, the information minister, went on TV to deny rumors circulating on social media that Chávez had in fact already died.“Do you think the daughter could have sat there, so peacefully, during that appearance if that were the case?” the minister asked. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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Rolling Stones perform in Israel despite pressure from Pink Floyd founders to

first_imgRelated posts:How to save Gaza Is Honduras heading for the privatization of parts of its territory? President Solís meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at UN Obama addresses the Cuban nation in historic Havana visit JERUSALEM – Recently, the two surviving founders of Pink Floyd sent the rock band equivalent of a diplomatic cable — an open letter published in Salon — to the Rolling Stones. They asked Mick Jagger and his crew to cancel their first-ever concert in Israel to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle against occupation.But Pink Floyd hit a wall.The Stones not only went on with the show Wednesday night in Tel Aviv but delayed their opening by 45 minutes to allow devout Jews time to reach the concert after the end of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, during which Orthodox Jews cannot drive, handle money — or press “Play” on the Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” album.The Stones’ decision to ignore Roger Waters and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd underscored Israel’s growing popularity as a stop for major musical acts, and it signaled a setback for a campaign known as boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). The movement seeks to apply international pressure on Israel to end its military occupation of the West Bank, guarantee the right of Palestinian refugees to return to homes they fled or abandoned after 1948, and grant full rights and equality to Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel.The BDSers are employing tactics similar to those used against the apartheid regime in South Africa a generation ago. Since 2005, the movement has pushed individuals and institutions to sever academic partnerships, boycott products such as Golan wines and Dead Sea beauty products, and divest from Israeli companies.Israel says it is the only fully functioning democracy in the Middle East, so it answers its critics by suggesting they boycott Syria or Iran. But the threat of BDS has rattled Israel. The movement has gained visibility on American and European college campuses, and it has also managed to inflict some financial pain — recently, the Dutch pension management fund PGGM, with assets of $200 billion, divested from five Israeli banks because of their stake in the occupied West Bank.The BDS movement also scored global publicity — good and bad — when the charity Oxfam tussled with one of its celebrity ambassadors, actress Scarlett Johansson, after her paid endorsement for the Israeli carbonation machine SodaStream, whose manufacturer operates a factory in the West Bank.But the campaigns to persuade musicians — some of the BDS movement’s most high-profile targets — to boycott Israel have been kind of a flop, if measured by who actually cancels a show and speaks out about it.“As in the cultural boycott of South Africa, some bands put profit ahead of human rights and end up on the wrong side of history,” said Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian activist and co-founder of the BDS movement. Barghouti said the Rolling Stones are crossing “our boycott picket line and providing Israel with a fig leaf to hide its regime of oppression with.”It is difficult to know how many bands have decided to forgo performing in Israel for financial reasons or other concerns. But only a relatively few well-known acts have publicly bowed out of performances over concerns about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians — and many of those cancellations occurred years ago. Some of the biggest names to renege include Elvis Costello and Carlos Santana.“It’s been awhile since the BDS movement had any real success in the cultural arena, and it’s not for lack of trying,” said Adam Shay, a consultant for the group Creative Community for Peace, which is funded by music industry executives to fight boycotts against Israel.Shay said, “I am not seeing a lot of chatter on the Internet and actions against the Rolling Stones,” who he said might be so huge as to be impervious to appeals. “I would say the higher the financial stakes, the lower the ideological considerations.”The Rolling Stones charged $200 for a basic ticket. Fans cheer as The Rolling Stones perform on stage at Hayarkon Park in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv, on June 4, 2014. Jack Guez/AFPWhen it comes to whether BDS is raising consciousness about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or fraying Israeli nerves, that is harder to measure. Barghouti pointed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mentions of BDS — 17 of them — in his March speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby in Washington. The BDS founder said this represents “panic.”For his part, Netanyahu was dismissive of the movement, saying some “gullible” people “actually do believe that BDS advances peace.” Netanyahu asked: “How could anyone fall for the BS in BDS?”BDS or not, Israel is now a popular stop on the global pop market. Last month, Justin Timberlake played in Tel Aviv, although after he posted an Instagram photo of himself leaning against the Western Wall, he caught some flak for hashtagging it #Israel. The wall is in the Old City of Jerusalem, which is contested ground.Timberlake tweeted, “The Holyland . . . What an experience. I will never forget this day.”Other recent acts to play in Israel include Rihanna, who cavorted in the Dead Sea in a bikini and was dragged into a mini-scandal when an Israeli journalist reported that Rihanna sang, “All I see is Palestine.” She actually sang the original lyric: “All I see is dollar signs.”Last year, BDS activist and novelist Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Color Purple,” sent R&B star Alicia Keys a public note saying, “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.”Keys played in Israel in July, anyway.Coming later this summer to Israel? Megadeth, Lana Del Rey, Neil Young and the Backstreet Boys, who have sold out three nights in July.“BDS has caused no significant damage, and most of the leaders in the West are against it,” said Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz. British musician and founding member of Pink Floyd Roger Waters performs on stage during his “The Wall” show at the Olympic stadium in Berlin on Sept. 4, 2013. Odd Andersen/AFPThis year, before U.S.-brokered Middle East peace talks collapsed, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid warned that even a limited boycott “will hit every Israeli citizen directly in his pocket.” Lapid cited an internal review that suggested Israel could lose billions in export revenue if the BDS movement kicked in.In their appeal to the bands that have scheduled shows, the Pink Floyd partners argued that “playing Israel now is the moral equivalent of playing Sun City at the height of South African apartheid.”But bands that previously canceled shows in Israel are now coming back. The alt-rock Pixies are scheduled to perform this month.Anti-boycott Israelis say the group’s appearance is especially significant because in 2010 the Pixies joined the Klaxons and Gorillaz Sound System in canceling shows after Israeli commandos killed nine activists on a Turkish vessel that was part of a flotilla trying to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.© 2014, The Washington Post  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Nicaraguas primal scream

first_imgThis time feels different.There’s an energy I haven’t felt before. A sense of urgency. A groundswell. The people of Nicaragua aren’t afraid anymore. Now the government is.I’ve covered a lot of ugly protests in Nicaragua over the past two decades. I’ve seen people fight in the streets with rocks, clubs, and machetes. I’ve heard the panic of a stampeding crowd. I’ve seen riot police truncheon protesters like they were tenderizing steaks. I’ve smelled the thick smoke of burning tires and mortar fire. I’ve hidden from gangs of masked men patrolling the city with machetes in the backs of pickup trucks.But I have never experienced the emotion of what’s happening in Nicaragua right now.The weird part is, I’m 3,000 miles away — in my other home, in the woods of North Carolina. But even from a distance I can see that the protests happening back in Nicaragua are more important than all the the ones I covered in person. This time feels different.I’m not the only one who thinks so. My friends in Nicaragua think this one’s for real. Inti Ocon / AFP Photo“There are small insurrections happening across the country. Nicaragua has experienced a before-and-after moment in the past 24 hours,” Gonzalo Carrión, legal director of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), told me in a phone conversation Thursday night. “People have lost their fear. Nicaragua’s dynastic dictatorship has cracked. Its support columns have fractured.”To be fair to history, I’ve heard Nicaraguans talk like this before. The last time the opposition talked about a watershed moment was on Nov. 21, 2009 — the one-year anniversary of the Sandinistas’ first major election fraud. Massive protests and counter-protests choked the capital that day, clouding the skies with a thousand gray puffs of gunpowder smoke from homemade mortars, Nicaraguans’ favorite protest accessory.Afterward, emboldened opposition leaders told me that day marked a before-and-after moment in the country’s short and beleaguered democratic history. The Nicaraguan people had lost their fear of Daniel Ortega’s repressive government and were ready to take to the streets to save democracy and reclaim their country. That didn’t happen. Ortega went on to steal subsequent elections, shred the Constitution, and consolidate his dictatorship. A policeman throws a stone at students during the protest. Inti Ocon / AFP PhotoToday, the reclusive and aging comandante and his bizarre wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, run the country like their personal fiefdom, ensconced behind the walls of their Managua compound. Ortega, 72, sometimes goes months without making public appearances. He made only eight appearances in the first three months of this year, according to the online news site, Confidencial. His last sighting was a week ago.Despite his prolonged absences, Ortega wields absolute authority over the country. He controls all four branches of government and every state institution. He has a Sandinista congress, but rules by fiat. His word is law; there is no legislative process anymore. Nicaragua’s democracy died years ago.The police and military, once shining examples of professionalism in Central America, now behave more like the former National Guard they replaced the last time Nicaraguans overthrew a dictatorship in 1979.But this week’s street protests have revealed a chink in Ortega’s armor. Suddenly, his control over the country — and even Sandinismo — is being challenged like never before. Students from universities that have been bastions of Sandinista strength are now leading the pushback against Ortega’s government. Sandinista revolutionaries in the heroic town of Monimbó, the cradle of insurrection in the 1970s, clashed wildly with pro-government forces in a block-by-block street fight on Thursday afternoon. Inti Ocon / AFP PhotoBy Thursday night, six pockets of protest had broken out across Managua, and similar protests in half a dozen cities across the country. Students were climbing flagpoles to tear down the ruling party’s ubiquitous red-and-black flags — an act of civil disobedience that was unthinkable just 12 hours earlier.The situation now threatens to get entirely out of hand. Events are happening fast —almost too fast for the country to fully comprehend. Sometimes history lurches forward after years of stasis. Nicaraguans have lived through it before. Some think it’s happening again.The protests started in response to Ortega decreeing a new social security tax that disproportionately affects the middle class. But this isn’t isn’t a tax protest anymore. It’s a primal scream. It’s a country that’s reached its limit. It’s a country that’s tired of being afraid, tired of being controlled, tired of the relentless absurdities and abuses of authoritarianism. Inti Ocon / AFP PhotoThe government’s response — state and paramilitary repression, a media blackout, and rumors of martial law — is only feeding the urgency of this moment. It’s showing Nicaraguans why they are in the streets in the first place.Where this goes, nobody knows. Daniel Ortega might be the only person in Nicaragua with the singular power to dial it back and restore some semblance of calm. To do so would require some type of reversal or compromise on the tax reform that triggered all this — an unlikely move for the leader of a party whose battle cry is “¡ni un paso atras!” But it might be too late for that. This isn’t just about taxes anymore; it’s the rejection of an entire system of government. It can’t be fixed by presidential decree.Nicaragua is not Venezuela. As one Sandinista told me last night, “The difference is we’ve had a successful revolution before. Thirty percent of the country is old enough to remember that moment. We know how to do this.”The students do, too.I’m telling you, this time feels different.This piece was originally published by Univision and is republished by permission.Tim Rogers is Fusion’s senior editor for Latin America, a former Tico Times reporter and the former editor of The Nica Times.  Facebook Comments Related posts:In Nicaragua 2018, living is resisting The dark side of Nicaragua Costa Rica defenseman Óscar Duarte delivers autographed jersey to Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega PHOTOS: Nicaraguans in Costa Rica gather to support their country during hard timeslast_img read more

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Armed men open fire on newspaper office in Mexico

first_img Comments   Share   Top Stories Sponsored Stories CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (AP) – An official in northern Mexico says a group of gunmen have opened fire on a newspaper building in the border city of Nuevo Laredo.Tamaulipas state Interior Secretary Morelos Canseco says no one was injured in the 5-minute-long attack at El Manana daily but the structure and some vehicles were damaged when the bullets impacted from outside.Canseco did not say whether the newspaper was the target of the shooting Friday night. Its offices however occupy more than half a block with no adjacent buildings in the city right across Laredo, Texas. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family The media in Mexico have come under attack as drug cartels wage a war to control smuggling corridors into the United States. Last week, three photojournalists who covered the crime beat were slain in the neighboring state of Veracruz.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements How men can have a healthy 2019 Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

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Liberian policemen suspected of gang raping teen

first_img The vital role family plays in society New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The difference between men and women when it comes to pain The men _ whose exact number was not immediately clear _ are suspected of sexually abusing and holding the girl as a prisoner in their dormitory for several days.A senator from the region bordering Guinea, George Tengbeh, also confirmed the alleged gang rape and called for a thorough investigation.Rape remains prevalent in Liberia following 14 years of brutal civil war which ended in 2003.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) – Authorities in Liberia say a group of police officers in the West African country are suspected of repeatedly gang raping a 16-year-old girl and holding her hostage for several days.Police spokesman George Bardue told state-run Liberia Broadcasting System on Friday that the officers based in the northern town of Voinjama have been recalled to the capital Monrovia to face an investigation. Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 0 Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

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Togos prime minister forms new government

first_img Comments   Share   The former prime minister handed in his resignation earlier this month after weeks of anti-government demonstrations.The same family has ruled Togo for almost half a century. President Faure Gnassingbe assumed power in 2005 after the death of his father, the longtime dictator. Legislative elections are set for October.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself upcenter_img Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates LOME, Togo (AP) – Togo’s new prime minister has put together a transitional government following months of political turmoil in the tiny West African country.An announcement read on national television Tuesday confirmed the formation of the 29-member government, which includes many of the same members as the previous one.Prime Minister Kwesi Seleagodzi Ahoomey-Zunu’s new government includes six ministers from the largest parliamentary opposition party. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

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Red Bull scion stirs debate on justice in Thailand

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Comments   Share   He faces charges of causing death by reckless driving but was released on 500,000 baht ($15,900) bail.His grandfather, Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhya, died in March at the age of 88. The Yoovidhya family was ranked the fourth richest in Thailand this year by Forbes magazine, with a net worth of $5.4 billion.One commentator on the popular Pantip Web forum echoed the skepticism of many: “If you’re rich, the verdict will take ages to be delivered, and will then come down as a suspended sentence. If you’re poor, the verdict comes faster than the speed of light: Go to jail immediately.”That was the outcome last week for another child of privilege who killed nine people in a car crash in 2010 and was given a two-year suspended sentence.Orachorn Devahastin Na Ayudhya was 16 and driving without a license when she crashed her sedan into a van on a Bangkok highway. A court initially sentenced her to a 3-year prison term but reduced the sentence last week, saying she had provided “helpful” testimony.One of Thailand’s most infamous untouchables recently resurfaced in headlines. Duang Yubumrung, the son of Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung, was linked to the 2001 shooting of a policeman in a nightclub brawl. He was acquitted of murder in 2004 on grounds of insufficient evidence. Duang has since joined the Bangkok police force and in July was assigned as a sharpshooter. News reports quoted his father as saying he was proud of his son’s skill because “His shooting accuracy is 100 percent!”In a country that values deference and patronage, even the police oblige, said social commentator Somkiat Onwimon.“Police are afraid of influential people,” he said. “They treat the famous people differently and let them break the law.”___Associated Press writer Thanyarat Doksone contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressBANGKOK (AP) – People in Thailand often joke that prisons are reserved for the poor, because the rich and privileged tend to get away with murder.Popular online forums were filled with commentary Tuesday about the justice system’s highest-profile test case in years, in which an heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune allegedly slammed his Ferrari into a policeman and dragged the officer’s dead body along a Bangkok street before speeding away. Police initially attempted to cover up the heir’s involvement by arresting a bogus suspect _ underlining what many people describe as selective law enforcement and the power of political connections.But Bangkok’s police commissioner, Comronwit Toopgrajank, then took charge of the investigation of Monday’s accident. He suspended the district police superintendent for attempting to subvert the probe and vowed to deliver justice regardless of the defendant’s family name.“We will not let this police officer die without justice. Believe me,” Comronwit said Tuesday. “The truth will prevail in this case. I can guarantee it.”Vorayuth Yoovidhya, the 27-year-old grandson of Red Bull creator Chaleo Yoovidhya, has admitted he was driving the Ferrari, but said the police officer’s motorcycle abruptly cut in front of his vehicle.Witnesses said they saw the sports car dragging the police officer dozens of meters (feet) as it sped from the crime scene.Police followed oil streaks for several blocks to the gate of Vorayuth’s family mansion. Photos of his charcoal gray Ferrari _ with a crumpled front fender and a shattered windshield _ were plastered on Thailand’s front pages Tuesday.center_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

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Swiss rail licenses use of iconic clocks to Apple

first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Patients with chronic pain give advicecenter_img Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day SBB had approached Apple to tell the company that it owned the clock design.In a statement Friday, it said the deal’s terms including the amount of the licensing fee would remain confidential.Engineer and designer Hans Hilfiker developed the SBB railway clock in 1944.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) GENEVA (AP) – Apple Inc. has struck a deal with Switzerland’s national rail company to license the use of its iconic station clocks for the iOS 6 operating system, which is used by iPhone and iPad mobile devices.Swiss Federal Railways, or SBB, says the two parties have signed a licensing agreement, ending their dispute over Apple’s use of round clock faces with black indicators except for the second hand, which is red. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

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Wouldbe UK migrants found in truck of coffins

first_img Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center The coffins were bound for a funeral director in west London.Border officials said Wednesday the discovery was unusual, but they added that in the past the force had found people hiding in strange places, such as in shipments of dog biscuits and bathtubs.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) LONDON (AP) – British border officials have detained three people who tried to enter the country illegally by hiding in a truck full of coffins.The Border Force says a sniffer dog found the three Eritrean nationals among dozens of boxed coffins in the vehicle, which was from Bulgaria. The would-be migrants were not inside the coffins.Officials say that the three were found Monday at the port of Dunkerque in northern France, where the truck was waiting to board a ferry to Britain. They have been handed over to French border police. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How men can have a healthy 2019 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

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Rights group condemns Egypt refugee detention

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies CAIRO (AP) – An international rights group decried on Monday Egypt’s policy of detaining refugees from Syria, pressuring them to leave the country. It said dozens of those held have returned to the civil war in their home.Human Rights Watch said in statement that security officials have acknowledged that the refugees will be held indefinitely until they depart.The New York-based group says 1,200 out of more than 1,500 who have been detained for weeks and sometimes months have been coerced to leave. Some 300 remained as of Nov. 4, held at overcrowded police stations. HRW quotes Egyptian government figures as saying that there are 300,000 Syrians in Egypt of whom the UNHCR has registered over 125,000.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The vital role family plays in society Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Some of the refugees are as young as two months old and at least 400 are Palestinians.“Egypt is leaving hundreds of Palestinians from Syria with no protection from Syria’s killing fields except indefinite detention in miserable conditions,” said Joe Stork, HRW Middle East deputy director.Palestinian refugees are particularly vulnerable because Egypt prevents them from seeking protection from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the group said.Those caught were trying to escape to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. In one incident on Oct. 11, a boat carrying 150 migrants capsized off the coast of Egypt, killing at least 12 while the rest were reported missing. A month earlier, Egyptian forces fired at a boat killing two.After ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on July 3, authorities imposed travel restrictions on Syrian refugees. Heated media campaigns accused them of participating in the protests calling for Morsi to be reinstated.Egyptian officials turned back a planeload of Syrians at Cairo airport after authorities changed entry rules for Syrians, requiring them to obtain a visa prior to arrival. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said at the time that the measures were temporary and urged Syrians to stay away from protests by the Muslim Brotherhood against the new political order. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

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Survey School bullying at lowest ebb in 10 years

first_imgEducators and researchers praised the decline, but said the large numbers of students still reporting that they are victims reflects that the issue is difficult to understand and address, particularly in a world of rampant online social media where malicious statements can be made anonymously and shared quickly and broadly.Among respondents, 9 percent of girls and 5 percent of boys said they’d experienced cyberbullying either in school or outside of school. Unwanted text messages were the most common way students said they were cyberbullied followed by hurtful information posted on the Internet.Overall, bullying can be physical, verbal or relational — such as leaving someone out on purpose.Respondents said the being made fun of, called names or being insulted was the most common way they were bullied at school. Being the subject of rumors or threatened with harm was also common.Much of the effort in schools to tackle bullying has focused on helping victims understand they should come forward and will get support and educating bullies about how their actions affect others, said G. A. Buie, a longtime school administrator in Kansas and president of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Sponsored Stories Shelley Hymel, a researcher at the University of British Columbia who has studied bullying globally, said the findings are fairly consistent with other research. Still, she said, the rates are too high.“It seems we should be able to do better than that,” Hymel said.Parents should talk to their kids about reporting bullying and not participating — in school or online — because of how hurtful it is, said Katherine Cowan, a spokeswoman for the National Association of School Psychologists. Parents can also take other steps, such as limiting the amount of time their children are online and having them use computers while around adults, Cowan said. It’s also important to look for clues that a child might be a victim.“They need to able to open up a conversation with their children about it if they notice their behavior seems to be changing, or they seem to be more stressed out or more anxious or less willing to go to school or their social patterns change in some way,” Cowan said.The survey is from the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. It is a nationally representative sample.___Follow Kimberly Hefling on Twitter: http://twitter.com/khefling New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “Our biggest goal is we have to give students a voice as they battle this bullying behavior,” Buie said.Buie said one of the greatest challenges is that bullying behavior by certain individuals doesn’t typically stop after one meeting with an administrator.“I hope that it stops,” Buie said. “The reality is it’s a learned behavior from kids, and they are probably going to target someone else or go back and target the individual again.”Bullied students are more likely to struggle in school, skip class, abuse drugs and commit suicide, the department said research has found.Education Secretary Arne Duncan praised the news of an overall decline but with a caveat: “Even though we’ve come a long way over the past few years in educating the public about the health and educational impacts that bullying can have on students, we still have more work to do to ensure the safety of our nation’s children.”Among the survey findings:–About a quarter, or 24 percent, of girls said they were bullied, compared to 20 percent of boys.–A higher percentage of white students — 24 percent — said they were bullied than black, Hispanic or Asian students. Twenty percent of black students said they were bullied compared to 19 percent of Hispanic students and 9 percent of Asian students. Comments   Share   WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 1 in 4 surveyed U.S. students say they have been bullied in school. That’s an improvement, but the prevalence reinforces just how difficult the problem is to solve.The survey from 2013 found that 22 percent of students age 12 to 18 said they were bullied. That’s a 6 percentage point decline from two years earlier when 28 percent of students said they’d been bullied. It’s the lowest level since the National Center for Education Statistics began surveying students on bullying in 2005, the Education Department said Friday when announcing the results. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility ____Online:http://www.stopbullying.gov/index.htmlCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

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Amtrak liable for no more than 200 million in crash

first_imgAt the time, Amtrak had about $200 million in liability insurance, government auditors said in a 1995 report. It was facing lawsuits totaling more than $200 million for a range of incidents.A $200 million limit on liability for passenger rail accidents was added to a compromise bill at the end of the debates.“That is what we are trying to do, is have some sort of quantifiable limit so we will know what the costs would be in the most extreme circumstances,” then-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, said on the Senate floor.Democrats supported the $200 million cap, too.“Amtrak passengers will have to bear a limit on Amtrak’s liability to them, much the same way that the airlines limit their liability to passengers,” said then-Sen. Earnest Hollings, D-S.C.Airlines do have a cap, but it’s not the same as what Congress created for passenger railroads.An international aviation convention established a per-passenger cap on damages at about $160,000. If an airline is proved negligent in court, victims’ families can sue for more, unlike the families of passenger rail victims.In 2010, some California lawmakers moved to increase the cap to $500 million, but the rail industry successfully lobbied against the measure. Using past passenger rail accidents as a guide, some lawyers expect damages from the crash to be similar to a 2008 accident in Los Angeles, which resulted in a $200 million payout to victims. In that crash, the train’s engineer was texting and didn’t stop at a red signal when the train collided head-on with a freight train, killing 25 people and injuring more than 100.The money was paid to victims by Metrolink, which provides commuter rail service in Southern California, and Veolia Environment, a French company that operated the rail service at the time.A judge divided the $200 million among the victims, with sums between $12,000 and $9 million. In some cases, lawyers said the amounts were far less than the projected costs of medical care needed as a result of the crash.Paul Kiesel, a Los Angeles attorney who represented victims from the 2008 crash, said $200 million “can be just a drop in a bucket to compensate people who are the victims of passenger rail collisions in America.”But Kiesel said he is not aware of another passenger rail incident in which the $200 million cap has been a factor.Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said he was unable to say whether Amtrak had ever paid $200 million in damages for a single passenger rail incident. In this aerial photo taken May 13, 2015, emergency personnel work at the scene of a deadly train wreck in Philadelphia. Amtrak faces what probably will be a $200 million payout to crash victims _ the cap established by Congress nearly 20 years ago as part of a compromise to rescue the railroad from financial ruin. It would be the first time that the liability ceiling, considered by many to be too low to cover the costs of the eight lives lost and 200 people injured, designed for Amtrak actually would apply to the railroad. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “Now you have people with serious injuries that may not be compensated from Amtrak for all their losses,” said Connecticut attorney George Cahill, who is representing one of the passengers injured in the May 12 crash.___Associated Press writer Jeff Horwitz and researcher Monika Mathur in Washington, writers Geoff Mulvilhill in Philadelphia, David Koenig in Dallas, Scott Mayerowitz and researchers Jennifer Farrar and Adriana Mark in New York contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, Amtrak could face a $200 million payout to train crash victims — the limit set by Congress. But that may be too low to cover the costs of the eight lives lost and more than 200 people injured in last week’s derailment in Philadelphia.That payout cap for a single passenger rail incident was part of a late effort in 1997 to pass a law that would rescue Amtrak from financial ruin and help it one day become independent. Adjusted for inflation, which the law does not consider, that amount would be just under $300 million now. And Amtrak is still far from independent.An Associated Press review of past cases found that Amtrak never before has been liable for a $200 million payout for a single passenger rail incident. The Philadelphia crash could be the first time the liability ceiling — designed specifically for Amtrak — would actually apply to the railroad.It’s not known how high the costs of victims’ deaths and injuries from Tuesday’s crash will run.The train, which left Washington headed to New York, was moving at more than twice the speed allowed on a curve when it derailed not long after it stopped at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. Investigators haven’t determined why the train was traveling so fast.On Friday, an Amtrak employee filed the first lawsuit, asking for more than $150,000 in damages. Amtrak employees are not limited by the $200 million cap because it only applies to passengers.“I don’t think Amtrak has ever faced a situation like this, and since they own the Northeast Corridor, they’re 100 percent on the hook,” said Frank Wilner, author of the book, “Amtrak: Past, Present, Future.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Sponsored Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Among the almost 20 victims from the Philadelphia crash still in the hospital, five are in critical condition.It’s difficult to put a price on a person’s life, said Howard Spier, a Miami-based lawyer and former president of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys. But the people traveling on the Amtrak train that crashed last week are typically successful, he said.“The more you’ve got going on in your life, the more your damages are worth,” Spier said.Though passenger rail crashes that lead to $200 million victim settlements have been rare in America, liability has long been a concern.“Limits on liability are essential for our economic future,” former Amtrak president Tom Downs told Congress in 1996.In 1997, the year the liability cap was passed, Amtrak faced bankruptcy, and Congress had been trying for three years to come up with a plan to turn the struggling rail line into a profitable company without government subsidies.Among issues challenging Amtrak financially were liability for all accidents involving Amtrak, even if they weren’t Amtrak’s fault. Establishing a cap on damages would help Amtrak purchase insurance at a reasonable cost.last_img read more

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Kerry slams North Korea vows security for South

first_imgKerry noted North Korea’s refusal to return to the table, saying “all they are doing now is isolating themselves further and creating greater risks to the region and to their own country.” He said the U.S. remained open to talks but only if “we …. have some indication from the leader of North Korea that they are serious about engaging on the subject of their nuclear program.”Kerry also expressed hope that the successful conclusion of a nuclear deal with Iran would send a positive message to North Korea to restart negotiations on its own atomic program. Kerry said he believed an Iran agreement could have “a positive influence” on North Korea, because it would show that giving up nuclear weapons improves domestic economies and ends isolation.“Perhaps that can serve as an example to North Korea about a better way to move, a better way to try and behave,” he said.International negotiators are rushing to finalize a nuclear deal with Iran by the end of June under which Iran’s program would be curbed to prevent it from developing atomic weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions that have crippled its economy. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement International nuclear talks with North Korea, which has already developed atomic weapons despite previous attempts to forestall it, broke down in early 2009. A 2012 food-for-nuclear-freeze deal between Pyongyang and Washington fell apart soon after being settled. The North has continued atomic tests and other belligerent behavior, including ballistic missile launches.North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006 and is now believed to have at least 10 such weapons despite some of the toughest international sanctions in existence. It conducted its third nuclear test in February 2013, and U.S.-based experts forecast that it could increase its nuclear arsenal to between 20 and 100 weapons by 2020.In addition to talks on issues related to North Korea, Kerry in Seoul will be laying the groundwork for a visit to Washington in June of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.Kerry is to deliver a speech on cyber security and related issues. Both North Korea and China pose major cyber security challenges. South Korea has faced hacking attacks it has blamed on North Korea, and the United States accuses the North of being behind the massive attack on Sony Pictures last year that resulted in new U.S. sanctions. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday accused North Korea of a litany of crimes and atrocities while reassuring South Korea of America’s “ironclad” security commitments.Kerry blamed North Korea for continuing to break promises, make threats and “show flagrant disregard for international law” by continuing provocative nuclear and missile activity while oppressing its own people. He said North Korea’s “horrific conduct” must be exposed and vowed to ratchet up pressure on Pyongyang to change its behavior, particularly since it has rebuffed repeated attempts to restart denuclearization negotiations. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry inspects an honor guard upon his arrival at the Seoul Military Airport in Seongnam, South Korea, Sunday, May 17, 2015. As Kerry wrapped up a visit to China on Sunday, both sides stressed the importance of dialogue to resolve competing claims in the waterway. But neither showed any sign of giving ground over Chinese land reclamation projects that have alarmed the United States and China’s smaller neighbors. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)n center_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Check your body, save your life “They have grown the threat of their program and have acted with a kind of reckless abandon,” Kerry said, referring to North Korea and its leadership, less than a week after South Korea’s spy agency said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his defense chief executed with an anti-aircraft gun for complaining about the young ruler, talking back to him and sleeping during a meeting Kim presided over.That allegation, if true, adds to concerns about the erratic nature of Kim’s rule, particularly after Pyongyang claimed last weekend it had successfully test-fired a newly developed ballistic missile from a submarine.Kerry called the reported killing just the latest in a series of “grotesque, grisly, horrendous, public displays of executions on a whim and fancy.” He said that if such behavior continued, calls would grow in the international community for North Korea to be referred to the International Criminal Court.South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said “the severity of recent threats and provocations” made it essential to bolster the security relationship.The actions come despite a recent U.S. diplomatic overture to North Korea to discuss resuming denuclearization talks that have been stalled for the past three years. The U.S. quietly proposed a meeting with North Korea in January, before the U.S. and South Korea began annual military exercises that North Korea regards as a provocation. The two sides, however, failed to agree on who could meet and where. Top Stories Kerry will use the opportunity to lay out U.S. efforts to combat the threats and to stress the importance of a free and open internet, according to U.S. officials.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Patients with chronic pain give advicelast_img read more

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Myanmars Aung San Suu Kyi to visit China next week

first_imgBEIJING (AP) — Myanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will visit Communist Party-ruled China for five days next week.Suu Kyi, who is an international symbol of democracy for her yearslong defiance of an authoritarian military regime in Myanmar, now has ambitions for her country’s presidency, which would involve the need for smooth relations with Beijing.Suu Kyi will visit from June 10 to 14 as chairwoman of her National League for Democracy party at the invitation of China’s Communist Party for an inter-party exchange between the two countries, China’s Foreign Ministry announced Friday. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Sponsored Stories “China has maintained long-term friendship with Myanmar’s various parties including the National League for Democracy,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a news briefing.“We hope to further enhance bilateral communication and understanding through this visit to push ahead with the friendship development between China and Myanmar in various areas.”During her 15 years under house arrest, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate won admiration for her fiery speeches and scathing criticism of the military regime that ruled Myanmar, or Burma, at the time. Her critics note that she now carefully chooses her battles because of her presidential ambitions.Fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo remains in prison in China, serving an 11-year sentence after being convicted in 2009 of subversion for penning an appeal for democracy.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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2 years after spying flap US Brazil seek to turn the page

first_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Brazil pledged to curb illegal deforestation and expand renewable energy use as it gears up to unveil its contribution to a global climate treaty that Obama has been championing and world leaders expect to finalize this year. Although the announcement stopped short of a commitment to bring deforestation down to zero, as many environmentalists wanted, the pledge offered some of the first signs of how Brazil intends to curb its greenhouse gas emissions as part of the treaty.The South American nation also vowed to restore and reforest 12 million hectares — an area roughly the size of England — by 2030. About three-quarters of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions come from destruction in the Amazon rainforest, which acts as a giant absorber of carbon dioxide.Both the U.S. and Brazil announced plans to increase the share of renewable, non-hydropower electricity sources to 20 percent by 2030. That will require tripling the amount of renewable energy on the U.S. electricity grid, while doubling it in Brazil. The White House said it was counting on gains from Obama’s controversial power plant emission rules to meet the new goal.From its inception on Monday with a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Rousseff’s stay in Washington appeared designed to show that the U.S. and Brazil were no longer saddled by the spying flap that drew headlines and outrage from Brazilian lawmakers in 2013 and 2014. WASHINGTON (AP) — Two years after revelations about U.S. spying frayed ties between their countries, President Barack Obama and visiting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff publicly closed that chapter Tuesday, declaring that the relationship between the U.S. and Brazil is on an upward swing.Rousseff canceled a 2013 visit to Washington in the wake of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s disclosures that the U.S. tapped her intercepted emails and phone calls, and U.S. leaders have been working to repair the damage ever since. On Tuesday, the two leaders were all smiles in the East Room of the White House, trading bets about the 2016 Summer Olympics, to be held in Rio de Janeiro. Comments   Share   And after an Oval Office meeting and joint news conference with Obama on Tuesday, Rousseff headed to the State Department for lunch, where she was toasted by Vice President Joe Biden — the point person in the White House’s charm offensive to regain Rousseff’s trust.Rousseff had been scheduled to be honored with a state dinner in October 2013, an honor meant to demonstrate the growing importance of Latin America’s largest nation and a particular nod to Rousseff, who adopted a friendlier foreign policy toward the U.S. than her predecessor when she took office in 2001.That visit was indefinitely postponed after Rousseff learned the NSA had not only read her emails but also mapped out her closest aides and tracked patterns of how those aides communicated with one another and with third parties.“There will always be some frictions,” Obama conceded. But he praised Brazil as a global power and called it an “absolutely indispensable partner” in U.S. efforts to promote its interests and security around the world.___Associated Press writers Adriana Gomez Licon and Brad Brooks in Rio De Janerio contributed to this report.___Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “I believe President Obama,” Rousseff said, referring to the U.S. pledge to no longer engage in intrusive spying on friendly nations.“I trust her completely,” Obama rejoined.Both leaders acknowledged that the NSA leaks had strained the relationship between two of the hemisphere’s largest powers. Even still, Rousseff said the conditions today are different than they were in 2013, noting that Obama has since told her that should he ever need confidential information about Brazil, he’ll pick up the phone and call her directly.“Countries do go through crises and difficulties. It’s just natural,” Rousseff said through a translator.Aiming to move past those difficulties, Obama and Rousseff put a spotlight on areas of growing cooperation between the U.S. and Brazil as she wrapped up her two-day visit to the White House. The leaders touted a recent defense agreement as well as a U.S. decision Monday to begin allowing fresh beef imports from all 14 of Brazil’s states — a longstanding Brazilian request.Yet the capstone of the attempt to show common cause was a joint announcement on climate change, an issue Rousseff deemed “one of the central challenges of the 21st century.”center_img The vital role family plays in society Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home President Barack Obama shakes hands with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Obama and Rousseff aim to show they’ve moved beyond tensions sparked by the revelation nearly two years ago that the U.S. was spying on Rousseff. 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IATA tells Germany to axe its proposed air taxes

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F The German government’s plan to introduce an environmental tax of EUR 1 billion a year on air travel tickets out of Germany has met with fierce resistance from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO commented on the tax proposal at the 66th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Berlin. “This is the worst kind of short-sighted policy irresponsibility. It’s a cash-grab by a cash-strapped government. Painting it green adds insult to injury. “There will be no environmental benefit from the economic damage caused,” said Bisignani. Bisignani brought to light three of his major concerns with the German environmental tax proposal. “The proposal should be axed. It is the wrong measure at the wrong time; and it ignores the lessons learned from the failure of a similar tax in the Netherlands,” said Bisignani.The wrong measure: “Climate change is a global issue. The solution requires a global approach, not uncoordinated regional taxes. “What will this do for the environment? Absolutely nothing. If the Chancellor is serious about aviation and climate change, the focus should be on finding a globally coordinated solution at the International Civil Aviation Organization in advance of the climate talks in Cancun,” said Bisignani.The wrong time: “Airlines have an important role in driving economic growth, particularly as we struggle to recover from the recession. “This is not the time to burden the aviation industry with more taxes. European GDP growth is expected to be 0.9% this year—the lowest among the world’s major regions. “Operating in this environment, Europe’s airlines will be the only region in the red with losses of $2.8 billion. “This tax is a body blow to the weak economy and a fragile industry. And it is a kick in the teeth to travelers at a time when they can least afford it,” said Bisignani.Lessons unlearned: “Even as a cash-grab, the proposed tax makes no sense. The Dutch government tried to raise EUR 300 million with a similar tax. “It cost the Dutch economy EUR 1.2 billion in lost business. It also failed as an environmental measure, sending travelers across the border to start their journey from more tax-sensible regimes.“The Dutch had the good sense to repeal their tax. Why repeat past mistakes?” questioned Bisignani.Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told the Australian that he thought the tax was “crazy” and that it would hit Australian travellers on the airline’s Frankfurt route. “We’ve been saying we want a global approach to this because you’re going to have ETSs that are going to overlap, and these types of country-driven taxes that are double dipping.””And you’ve got an industry that’s made a half a per cent margin, just coming out of the worse period in its history — it can’t afford this.” <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/18e44/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

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Major tourism win for Nitmiluk Tours

first_imgSource = Geotourism Nitmiluk Tours has taken out the Major Tourist Attraction category at this weekend’s Northern Territory Tourism Awards, the Brolgas.As the 100% wholly owned commercial operation of the Jawoyn Association and the exclusive provider for touring within the breathtaking Nitmiluk National Park, Nitmiluk Tours is the representative face of Nitmiluk National Park and the well known Nitmiluk Gorge, Katherine.“This win confirms Nitmiluk Gorge’s place as a major destination in the Northern Territory”, said General Manager of Nitmiluk Tours, Mr Clive Pollack. “This combined with our amazing international visitor results for the season show that the Katherine region is becoming a must see destination for domestic and international visitors alike”.Since the Jawoyn Association gained 100% ownership, Nitmiluk Tours has undertaken significant improvements to the commercial operation which have raised the calibre of tourism product in the region considerably. Nitmiluk Tours commitment to providing an authentic Indigenous experience through Indigenous training, development and employment has provided an Indigenous experience that meets the client’s expectations, particularly International markets.The Jawoyn people are very proud of Nitmiluk National Park which is, without doubt, one of Australia’s most remarkable natural assets, and from the park they are creating a sustainable future for their people through the preservation and sharing of the land and their culture.last_img read more

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SAS Economy Extra named the worlds best

first_imgScandinavian Airlines’ long-haul premium economy offering, Economy Extra, has been named the world’s best in a new survey by Global Traveler. Over 36,000 frequent travelers participated, of which almost all travel in a service class other than Economy. SAS placed first in the category Best Airline for Premium Economy with its Economy Extra class. SAS was one of the first airlines in the world to introduce a premium economy back in 2001, and it is available on all long-haul flights between Scandinavia and Asia and the US. Source = Scandinavian Airlines “This award is an honor to SAS, especially as it is the most frequent travelers that have voted for us. Our Economy Extra product is well-liked by both business and leisure travelers wanting greater comfort, more leg room and even better service than in Economy, at a very competitive price,” says Rickard Gustafson, CEO, Scandinavian Airlines.                      Economy Extra on SAS’ long-haul routes is a separate cabin with wider seats than in Economy, more legroom, greater choice of meals and drinks and audio/video-on-demand entertainment. Economy Extra customers can also access Fast Track security, travel with more luggage and earn more EuroBonus points.last_img read more

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