Happy Tuesday todays a Transat Surprise Date contest day

first_imgHappy Tuesday: today’s a Transat Surprise Date contest day Travelweek Group Posted by Tuesday, August 8, 2017 Sharecenter_img MONTREAL — Travel agents across Canada who book Transat product by midnight tonight are automatically qualified to win one of the three monthly trips that will be drawn at random as part of Transat’s Surprise Date contest promotion.The three winners will each get a vacation package for two including Air Transat flights in economy class and a one-week, all-inclusive stay at one of these resorts: Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana and Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla or Paradisus Cancún.There’s no need to register: contest entry is automatic as soon as a travel consultant sells a Transat flight, package or cruise today.In addition, two other travel agents per region who have booked a Transat product today will be selected at random to earn $30 in Bonbon rewards. The names of the winners will be announced in the coming days.From February to November 2017, Transat is drawing a total of 30 surprise trips — three each month — from among travel consultants in Canada. On one day each month, on a milestone date in the tour operator’s history, every booking they make will earn them one chance to win.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsOn Aug. 8, 2013, Air Transat became the world’s first airline to renew its IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) registration based on the enhanced E-IOSA methodology. IOSA accreditation provides a standardized audit program for airlines’ operational management and control systems that aims at improving operations and safety in the airline industry. Over the years, Air Transat has maintained its leadership in safety management by meeting the highest international safety and operational management standards. Tags: Transat << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Air Canada announces first scheduled service between Montreal and Japan

first_imgAir Canada announces first scheduled service between Montreal and Japan Posted by MONTREAL — Air Canada has announced the introduction of nonstop service between Montreal and Tokyo Narita, a first for Montrealers that positions the Canadian hub as a “major player in Canadian and North American aviation,” said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.Starting June 1, 2018, flights will operate year round, with daily service during summer peak travel and three times a week during the winter onboard Air Canada’s flagship aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Air Canada’s new transpacific service from its Montreal hub is designed to optimize connectivity to several Canadian and U.S. cities: Quebec City, Ottawa, Halifax, Charlottetown, Boston, Philadelphia and Orlando.Special introductory fares start at $999 roundtrip, all in, and tickets are now available for purchase at aircanada.com or through travel agents.“Air Canada is continuing its global expansion by strategically building its Montreal hub, and we are thrilled to announce the launch of non-stop flights to Tokyo, Montreal’s first scheduled link to Japan,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer, Air Canada. “This new transpacific service further reflects Air Canada’s ongoing international growth strategy from Montreal, following the recent introduction of non-stop flights to Shanghai, Lima, North Africa and Europe. In addition, it enables Montreal to derive significant direct benefits including the creation of close to 130 Air Canada flight attendant, pilot and airport positions.”More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upRovinescu also noted that the new service complements Air Canada’s existing Tokyo flights from Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, and also positions Air Canada as a leader in the growing Montreal-Asia market.Coderre, who was present at this morning’s press conference at Le Westin Montreal, added: “After Shanghai and Tel Aviv, this new flight to Japan’s capital reflects a major investment by Air Canada that will generate significant economic and tourism benefits for our city.”Also in attendance was Yves Lalumière, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Montréal. “Tourisme Montréal wanted to be a partner in this new Montreal–Tokyo service because it allows Montreal to further its international influence. This important addition builds on the new flights between China and Montreal operating during the last two years. We believe that the impact on Montreal tourism will be highly strategic and showcase Montreal’s vitality, while giving us access to Japan and other Asian and oceanic destinations. I would like to congratulate Air Canada for its dynamism and its major contribution to the future of Montreal and Quebec tourism.”Air Canada, which has had its headquarters in Montreal since 1949, serviced over 8.3 million passengers at Montréal-Trudeau Airport (YUL) in 2016, up 11.5% from 2015. Summer 2017 trans-Atlantic capacity increased 19% over 2016, resulting in an 81% capacity growth in the last three years.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTAir Canada operates more nonstop flights between Canada and Japan than any other carrier, with up to 46 non-stop return flights between Canada and Japan per week. Complimenting the new service between Montreal–Tokyo Narita, Air Canada operates flights up to seven times a week flights between Vancouver–Tokyo Narita; double daily flights between Toronto and Tokyo Haneda and Tokyo Narita; flights up to seven times a week between Calgary–Tokyo Narita. Air Canada also offers summer seasonal service to Osaka’s Kansai International Airport daily up to seven times per week and Chubu Centrair International Airport in Nagoya up to four times per week with Air Canada Rouge.So far in 2017, Air Canada has launched seven new services from its Montreal hub to: Shanghai (China), Marseille (France), Dallas/Ft. Worth and Washington/Dulles (U.S.), Reykjavik (Iceland), Tel Aviv (Israel) and Algiers (Algeria) with an eighth new route to Lima (Peru) beginning in December 2017. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Share Tags: Air Canada, Japanlast_img read more

Goway has bonus rewards for booking South Africa

first_imgGoway has bonus rewards for booking South Africa Posted by Travelweek Group TORONTO — Agents booking clients on any South Africa trip lasting five days or more with Goway Travel will earn $50 directly onto their Goway Rewards Card.South Africa “is having one of its hottest years for bookings in 2017,” says the company, with bookings to the destination coming in well in advance. “Seasoned travellers are now booking with Goway for departures in 2019. Agents are therefore encouraged to book 2018 spaces as soon as possible, as space is limited and many departures dates are already full.”The reward promotion is valid for bookings to South Africa lasting five days or more and made by Dec. 31, 2017. The incentive is paid per booking, not per person. Agents who do not yet have a Goway Rewards Card can visit Goway’s Agent Rewards Card page and sign up. Tags: Agent Incentives, Goway Travel, South Africa << Previous PostNext Post >> Monday, November 13, 2017 last_img read more

Nevada shows off its true colours from neon to nature

first_imgTags: Nevada Share Thursday, March 15, 2018 VANCOUVER — Las Vegas gets booked again and again but there’s so much more to Nevada than the Strip, and more agents and their clients are looking to see a different side of ‘The Silver State’.Nevada tourism reps were in Vancouver recently to host an industry event for agents, trade media and partners. The “something different” factor was presented by delegates from the various Nevada territories, who came to promote their areas and attractions beyond the gaming floors of Reno and Las Vegas.The Nevada Tourism Commission has five designated geographical areas and one Indian cultural territory which encompasses the whole state.Nevada’s product ranges from travel options for adventure-driven travellers to multi-generation families. With the area rich in historical attractions and outdoor recreational pursuits, Reno and Las Vegas or even San Francisco serve as jumping off points for booking a fly-and-drive vacation.Michael Printy says Las Vegas Territory has more to offer than simply Las Vegas as a gambling hub, with a number of smaller towns with plenty of attractions and outdoor activities.Here’s a look at the highlights:PONY EXPRESS TERRITORYThe legendary Pony Express, which for 19 months ran mail from California to the East Coast in 10 days, was put out of service in October 1861 by the advent of the telegraph. But, part of the Nevada trail that these hell-bent riders travelled is now along Highway 50 where old Pony Express stations remain. “It is a perfect road trip to see rural Nevada at its best,” says Dee Helming, the representative for Pony Express Territory. The Highway 50 route runs from Carson City to the Great Basin National Park and offers history on gold mining, ranching, and current attractions such as a motorsport venue, hot springs, and festivals. “There are six communities (Fernley, Dayton, Fallon, Austin, Eureka, and Ely), 11 mountain ranges and a national park,” said Helming, adding travel agents can land clients in Reno where they can pick up a rental vehicle. The route can be travelled in approximately three days, but will depend upon what attractions in the six communities the clients plan to stop and stay. “The whole area is steeped in history,” she said. For more information contact Pony Express Territory, PonyExpressNevada.com or call (888) 359-9449.Sarah Winters, leisure sales director for the North Lake Tahoe Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the area has 12 ski resorts including many that stay open in summer, offering a mountain and lake vacation.COWBOY COUNTRYTom Lester, representing the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority and Nevada’s Cowboy Country, says the area is a multi-faceted, fly and drive destination. The area includes Gerlach, gateway to the Burning Man Festival that draws in 70,000 people over 10 days. This year’s festival takes place Aug. 26-Sept. 3 in the Black Rock Desert. Elko County is one of the largest gold producers and free mining tours are available, is home to the California Interpretive Centre, and the Northeastern Nevada Museum. Elko and surrounding areas offers hotels to book for clients and can be used as a base for exploring the area. Cowboy Country is also rich in ghost towns to explore such as Tuscarora, Metropolis, Midas, Sulphur and more. For information on booking tours, hotels, or fly-and-drive itineraries, contact Lester at tom@elkocva.com or visit www.cowboycountry.org or travelnevada.com.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterPAHRUMP AND SILVER TRAILS TERRITORYSilver Trails Territory is the largest of Nevada’s five geographical territories and encompasses 24 towns. “We can help agents with (fly-and-drive) itinerary planning,” said Karen Spalding, representing the Silver Trails Territory. The area is full of towns with history, provides trails for hiking and mountain biking, and other recreational pursuits. Clients can fly into Las Vegas, spend time at the casinos, and then head out for a tour through the territory.Sarah Winters, leisure sales director for the North Lake Tahoe Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the area has 12 ski resorts including many that stay open in summer, offering a mountain and lake vacation.LAS VEGAS TERRITORYMichael Printy, representing The D Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Territory, said the gambling capital is an ideal jumping off point for a vacation. “You can come to Las Vegas, watch the shows and then go outside and see what it has to offer,” he said. The territory offers a range of different experience from exploring the Red Rock Canyon, 20 minutes outside the city, to surrounding golf courses. “There’s something for everyone,” he said, whether it is river rafting on the Colorado, zip lining through Boulder City, visiting the Valley of Fire State Park or nearby Laughlin. In Las Vegas, the D is building a new property on Fremont Street which will open in 2020. For more information on the D properties or Las Vegas Territory, contact Printy at Michael.Printy@theD.com.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaBlair Hirtle, account manager who deals with travel agents, was on hand representing the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau. Hirtle said Monte Carlo Resort & Casino is undergoing a massive renovation and upgrade to become the Park MGM, Caesar properties have been upgraded and Planet Hollywood “from top to bottom” has been renovated. “There are also lots of super hotels that are smaller,” he said, such as the SLS Hotel Las Vegas and the new 200-room Cromwell, which has a party pool rooftop.RENO-TAHOE TERRITORYThe Reno-Tahoe area had three delegates attend the Vancouver information session: Sarah Winters (leisure sales director) for the North Lake Tahoe Convention and Visitors Bureau; Andy Chapman, president and CEO of North Lake Tahoe’s Incline Village and Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau and Art Jimenez, executive director of Tourism Sales for Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Bureau. Jimenez said Reno offers an alternative to clients who are looking for a smaller venue than the bustling Las Vegas. New properties in Reno include the new Renaissance on the river (no gaming and opened in 2017) and Whitney Peak (no gaming) boutique property which has access to climbing walls. Chapman says his area lends itself to a fly-and-drive vacation either from Reno or further out. “You can fly into San Francisco, rent a vehicle and tour the Napa Valley and then drive to Reno,” he said, adding the Reno and surrounding area offers not just casinos but historical sites such as Virginia City and museums but biking, golfing and hiking and outdoor activities. Winters, from the local tourism bureau, said the north side of the lake offers a more laid back experience and is home to 12 ski resorts, many of which are open during the summer and host visitors who come to enjoy the lake, hike, mountain bike, or partake of the spas in the area. There’s a range of hotels from the five-star Ritz-Carlton to character properties such as Basecamp Hotels. For more information contact Winters at Sarah@GoTahoeNorth.com, Chapman at Andy@GoTahoe.com and Jimenez at ajimenez@RenoTahoeUSA.com. Posted bycenter_img Nevada shows off its true colours, “from neon to nature” Jean Sorensen << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

US hiker OK after being found in Costa Rican national park

first_imgMembers of the Red Cross on Monday located Daylor Tangey, 30, a U.S. tourist who had gone missing while hiking in the foothills of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, in the northwestern Guanacaste province, over the weekend.The Red Cross began a search operation on Sunday with staff from offices in Liberia, Cañas and Bagaces. On Monday, a special mountain unit joined the search group and found Tangey at about noon. Tangey was dehydrated but in good condition, officials said.On Nov. 23, 2009, another U.S. tourist, David Gimelfarb, went missing in the same area and his whereabouts are still unknown.The Gimelfarb family has visited Costa Rica every year since their son’s disappearance and have offered a $100,000 reward for information about David’s whereabouts. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Illegal fishing continues unabated in Costa Ricas treasured Isla del Coco National

first_imgRelated posts:Mexican fisherman accused of biggest poaching case in history at Costa Rica’s Isla del Coco still a fugitive Actor Leonardo DiCaprio talks about illegal fishing in Costa Rica’s Cocos Island In Bolivia, silver mountain at risk of collapse Drones could help spot illegal fishing around Costa Rica’s Cocos Island First in a three-part seriesISLA DEL COCO, Puntarenas – A recent report filed by park guards at Isla del Coco National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 365 miles off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, accuses 33 fishing vessels with Costa Rican licenses of frequently poaching within the 12 nautical miles of Pacific waters off the island, an area protected by law.According to the document, obtained by The Tico Times, the vessels have been identified by park guards and issued written warnings to stay out of the park’s boundary waters. But those actions have had little effect in stopping them.One of the boats, the Don David, captained by Álvaro Aguilar Villalobos and Elmer Naruces Espinoza, has been caught twice with longlines set within the protected area.Another vessel, the Franju III, captained by Tomás García Castro, was issued warnings on two separate occasions for entering the protected area. But usually, the boats enter the park’s waters, set their lines, and retreat outside the 12 miles, making policing nearly impossible.Of the 33 vessels, only six have ended up as targets of criminal investigations by the Prosecutor’s Office, Puntarenas Assistant Prosecutor Tatiana Chaves told The Tico Times.“Proving the crime of illegal fishing within the park is complicated, because it’s difficult to prove that the longlines left within the protected area belong to a specific vessel,” Chaves said. Park guards who patrol Isla del Coco National Park say their weapons are outdated. Park guard Jorge Alvarado, pictured here, says his weapon isn’t the appropriate caliber to patrol at night. The Tico TimesMaikel Pérez, an Isla del Coco National Park guard and captain of the Cocos Patrol – the island’s only patrol boat – said documenting the poaching often isn’t possible because the offending vessels flee or simply ignore orders to stop.“It’s a complicated job, because we only have one patrol boat, and our weapons aren’t ideal to deal with this. In other words, our resources are limited,” Pérez said.In 1997, UNESCO declared Isla del Coco a World Heritage site, and in 1998, Ramsar declared its wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention of 1991.Of 235 identified plant species, 70 are endemic to the island. At least 200 fish species and 18 corals have been identified in the park, which spans 24 square-kilometers on land, and approximately 23 kilometers around its oceanic perimeter. It is also a shark sanctuary and an important biological corridor linking the much bigger Galapagos Islands to the south, which belong to Ecuador. Costa Rica’s Isla del Coco National Park, viewed from aboard the Cocos Patrol. The Tico TimesChallenging patrolsFor two days, The Tico Times accompanied three park guards on patrol to verify the frequency of fishing vessels entering the park’s waters. One patrol began at 2 a.m., and almost immediately radar detected at least 13 boats within the park’s 12 nautical miles. With only one patrol boat, it was impossible for guards to confront the entire group of fishing vessels. Instead, park officials targeted one, the Santa Fe, a Puntarenas-based fishing boat.“Capitán de la embarcación Santa Fe, usted está dentro del área de protección de la Isla del Coco. Deténgase y colabore, somos guardaparques del Parque Nacional Isla del Coco,” official Pérez announced over the radio.“Captain of the Santa Fe, you are within the protected area of Isla del Coco. Stop your vessel and collaborate, we are park guards from the Isla del Coco National Park.” The Puntarenas-based fishing boat Santa Fe ignores park officials’ order to stop and flees to beyond Isla del Coco’s 12-nautical-mile boundary. The Tico TimesThe radio call is futile, and the Santa Fe motors off, retreating outside the park’s 12 nautical miles before the Cocos Patrol can stop it.“It’s really upsetting,” Pérez said as he watched the Santa Fe’s radar blip move out of range. “It’s just frustrating to be able to do nothing. They pay us no attention. In some cases, a group of boats will charge us and we can do nothing.”In several previous interviews with The Tico Times, Alex Cornelissen, global executive director of the conservation group Sea Shepherd, said his organization is willing to help patrol the island, and that stopping poaching there – compared to the much bigger Galapagos Islands – would be “simple.” However, Costa Rica’s pursuit of legal charges against Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson over a 2002 incident off the Guatemala coast has so far made cooperation impossible.Meanwhile, Guatemala has been conducting joint patrols with Sea Shepherd off the southern Pacific coast, making that country the first in Central America to work with Sea Shepherd to police poachers. In a single patrol, Capt. Maikel Pérez of the Cocos Patrol says he spots 13 fishing vessels within the 12 nautical miles of Isla del Coco’s Pacific waters. The Tico TimesForgetting about the Santa Fe, the Cocos Patrol heads back to six nautical miles. There they find fishing longlines that stretch for at least two miles. Attached to the lines are live bait and two large tuna, which in the Puntarenas market can fetch up to ₡500,000 ($1,000) each.“They come here for guaranteed catches, and they capture tuna and sharks, which are the two most sought-after species. Everything else they discard,” Pérez said.Of the 33 vessels known to frequently enter Isla del Coco’s waters, 28 have received subsidized fuel in the past three years from the Costa Rican Fishing Institute, or Incopesca, which according to park officials, means that Costa Rican taxpayers are subsidizing the destruction of one of the country’s most important natural treasures.In part two of the series, the island gets a new radar system to help track vessels illegally entering the park. Park guards confiscate fishing lines with live bait attached inside Isla del Coco National Park. The Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

President Solís reaffirms carbon neutrality goal in UN Climate Summit address

first_imgCosta Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís doubled down on his country’s pledge to reach carbon neutrality by 2021 during an address at the U.N. Climate Summit in New York, on Tuesday morning. There, the president called on wealthier nations to do more to facilitate climate adaptation and mitigation efforts in middle and low-income nations.Solís said that his administration would push for a new biofuel bus system and electric railway along with a continued push for renewable energy sources to address climate change.“This will permit a substantial decrease in metropolitan traffic flow, revolutionize car culture in my country and will significantly reduce the use of private and public vehicles as well as carbon emissions,” Solís said.Despite the negative impact on Costa Rica’s hydroelectric capabilities due to changing rain patterns, Solís said the country was still able to generate 90 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, including wind and geothermal. The president claimed that once the Reventazón Hydroelectric Project is operational in 2016, Costa Rica’ electrical matrix will be 100 percent renewable.Solís also called on the globe’s largest carbon dioxide emitters to take a greater leadership role alongside smaller countries like Costa Rica. The president expressed his support for a universal climate change plan and said that any such agreement must “recognize the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.”“Developing countries cannot continue subsidizing emissions from the most polluting countries. The time for talk is over and the time for action is now,” Solís said.The president said that continued investment in renewables and energy efficiency would not be possible for middle-income countries like Costa Rica without financial support from wealthier nations.The U.N. Economic Commission for Latin Ameria and the Caribbean released a report Monday estimating that climate change could cost Latin America and the Caribbean 2.5 percent of the region’s gross domestic product if temperatures rise 2.5 degrees Celsius over the historical average. While Latin America is a low carbon emitter, the region is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, according to the report.Tuesday’s climate summit followed worldwide demonstrations on Sunday in support of a carbon-curbing deal. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon convened the meeting of 130 world leaders to drum up support for scheduled climate talks next year in Paris. Related posts:Small but vocal turnout in Costa Rica for global climate march Carbon neutrality won’t solve everything, environmentalists say Obama to pledge $3 billion for new UN climate change fund High-level reinforcement for final climate push Facebook Commentslast_img read more

California fires expected to continue

first_imgRelated posts:At least 17 dead as tornadoes strike southern US Big Oil’s heirs join call for action as climate summit opens Costa Rica tops Central American ranking in latest climate change adaptation index Hurricane Arthur puts a damper on July 4 celebrations in US An unprecedented drought that has parched Northern California has led to one of the most active fire seasons on record in the U.S. state and there is little hope of a wet and cool end in sight.In an interview, Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said his agency has fought almost 5,000 fires this year, a thousand more than the five-year average. Over the past five years, the agency has battled an average of 3,951 fires between Jan. 1 and Sept. 20. This year, the agency has fought 4,974 fires throughout the state.In truth, the dry conditions mean fire season never stops. State firefighters started the year fighting a 330-acre fire in Humboldt County, one of the wettest counties in the continental United States.“We’ve been in year-round fire season conditions since April or so of 2013. We haven’t been out of fire season for a year and a half and, quite honestly, don’t anticipate going out of fire season this year unless we see a significant change in the weather,” Pimlott said.This week, Pimlott’s agency, better known as CalFire, is battling an 89,000-acre blaze known as the King fire, east of Sacramento and southwest of Lake Tahoe. The King fire began 10 days ago; high winds and parched conditions allowed it to grow by a stunning 50,000 acres in a single afternoon. Pimlott said it was the fastest single-day growth of a fire in memory.By Tuesday, the King fire was about 35 percent contained, nearly double the containment level reported a day earlier. But weather forecasts hinted at possible problems in the coming days, pointing to a combination of wind gusts, warm temperatures and low humidity that could “provide an environment for rapid fire spread,” the National Weather Service said.And the approach of fall means the worst could be yet to come in the rest of the country.“With little rain or precipitation in three years, we are seeing again just explosive conditions. The vegetation is so dry,” Pimlott said. “There is no end in sight. While we’ve had moderate weather conditions this week, we anticipate getting into the Santa Ana winds season in Southern California, which happens traditionally in the summer months.”The Santa Ana winds blow across the deserts from Arizona and Nevada at high speeds, which act as fans that can turn a small fire into a large event very quickly.Washington Post staff writer Mark Berman contributed to this report.© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

145000 to go without water in Escazú Santa Ana and western San

first_imgSaturday would be a bad day to try and take a bath.An estimated 145,000 residents across the western San José cantons of Escazú, Santa Ana, Desamparados and Alajuelita will go without water due to maintenance on Saturday, Feb. 21, according to an announcement from the Water and Sewer Institute (AyA). Water service will be interrupted between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday.AyA asked residents of the following communities to plan ahead:Escazú:Centro, San Rafael, Corazón de Jesús, Rosalinda, Bello Horizonte, Anonos, Trejos Montealegre, Maynard, Los Elíseos, Altos de Bello Horizonte, Santa Teresa, Profesores, Santa Eduviges, Vista de Oro, Guachipelín (north of Route 27), Loma Real, Real de Pereira.Santa Ana:Centro, Don Lalo, Gavilanes, Concepción, La Chispa, Pozos, Obando, Valle Soleado, Lajas, Casa Blanca, Calle Pilas, Bosques de Santa Ana, Honduras.Alajuelita:Centro, San Felipe, La Aurora, Tejarcillos, San Josecito, Calle El Alto, Concepción, El Tejar.Desamparados:Novedades, Alpino, Méndez, Los Ángeles, Santa Cecilia, Tolima, Maiquetía. Facebook Comments Related posts:Water bandits are the latest concern in worsening drought Water rationing will continue for at least one month, agency says A love letter to Costa Rica’s second language 7 things to consider before retiring abroadlast_img read more

Why Midwestern farmers want to break the Cuba embargo

first_imgHAVANA – Cuba policy sometimes makes strange bedfellows, which is how a man like Thomas Marten, a burly Illinois soybean farmer with a bushy red beard, had come to Havana to make a statement about the principles of free enterprise. “As a Republican, I believe in trade for the betterment of all people,” he said, as he rushed to another business meeting with communist officials. “Prohibiting it is something that hurts us all.”Printed on Marten’s business card was a large, undulating U.S. flag, and his title: Zanesville Township GOP Committeeman.Marten is the kind of man whose views about Cuba may ultimately lead to the undoing of the so-called Cuba embargo, 54 years after the United States first imposed trade sanctions on the Castro government and two months after President Obama announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Havana.Over the years, no country in the world has triggered more U.S. government penalties and fines on private businesses than Cuba, and Marten had come to Havana with nearly 100 other U.S. farmers, farm lobbyists and former agriculture officials looking to throw a little weight behind a new push against those sanctions.Calling itself the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, the group isn’t shy about its interest in selling more U.S. food to the communist government, but its members also appear sincerely interested in helping the island’s small farmers after decades of technological isolation and the disastrous legacy of state-run agriculture.The group met with Cuban government officials Monday, then planned to visit local farmers and “get our boots directly in the mud,” said Devry Boughner Vorwerk, the coalition’s leader, a Cargill executive.The Cuba effort isn’t a new one for the farm lobby. But after Obama’s announcement, it had produced a new enthusiasm, said the group, telling foreign reporters and television cameras from Cuban state media that supporters of the embargo in Congress were “a minority.”Lawmakers have offered new proposals to lift U.S. trade and travel restrictions on Cuba, but it’s unclear whether Republican leaders will allow the measures to come up for a vote.“Obama has set the tone for the termination of the embargo,” said Mike Espy, former agriculture secretary under President Bill Clinton. Joining him was John Block, who held the job under President Ronald Reagan.“This is a two-way street,” Block said. “We want to help Cuban agriculture and we want to sell corn and soybeans to Cuba.” A Cuban worker harvests tobacco leaves on Feb. 25, 2014 at a plantation in the San Juan y Martínez municipality, Pinar del Río province. Adalberto Roque/AFPSee also: What the new U.S.-Cuba travel rules mean for US citizens hoping to visit CubaU.S. food sales to the island peaked at more than $700 million in 2008, according to trade figures. That made the United States one of Cuba’s largest trading partners at the time, despite the sanctions.But because the U.S. sanctions limit the sales to a cash-only basis and bar U.S. banks from financing the sales, Havana has increasingly looked elsewhere to cover its import needs. Last year the Castro government spent less than $300 million on U.S. food, mostly frozen chicken and soybeans.Cuba has stopped buying U.S. wheat entirely, and rice shipments have plunged as well, the farm group said.Instead Cuba has turned to Brazil, Argentina and other nations whose banks can finance the food sales.Despite the country’s ample land and favorable climate, Cuba imports some 60 to 70 percent of its food, costing the cash-strapped government some $2 billion a year. Much of what the island’s 11 million residents consume through the government’s ration card system consists of imported chicken, oil and rice.“People think of Cuba as a tiny market, but as recently as 2010, it was the fifth largest market in the world for U.S. food exports,” said Mark Albertson of the Illinois Soybean Association.The new Cuba regulations put in place by the Obama administration do not allow the island’s farmers to export to the United States. Albertson said one way to make U.S. food sales to Cuba more competitive would be to have “two-way” commerce, in which international shippers wouldn’t charge extra for returning empty.The inability to offer financing will continue to hurt U.S. producers, Albertson said. “Nowhere else in the world are we forced to do business without being able to offer credit, so that will be the main problem,” he said.With its benevolent winter climate, economists say Cuba could one day export tomatoes and other vegetables all across the eastern United States during the cold-weather months, along with traditional crops like sugar, coffee and tobacco.Agriculture is one of the few sectors of the Cuban economy that has seen significant liberalization under Raúl Castro. But the government still doesn’t allow farmers to freely import tractors, trucks and other modern equipment, and Cuban growers say they won’t be able to significantly boost output until the state gets out of the way.Miroff is a Latin America correspondent for The Post, roaming from the U.S.-Mexico borderlands to South America’s southern cone. He has been a staff writer since 2006.Read all of our Cuba coverage here© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:As talks with US begin, Cubans anticipate changes in their lives No opening date for US, Cuba embassies; more talks set US, Cuba agree on restoration of ties, embassies to reopen Obama administration to further ease travel and business restrictions with Cubalast_img read more

Low rainfall in Central Valley northern regions La Niña still a noshow

first_imgRelated posts:El Niño heat expected to last through May Water rationing in Central Valley to continue for two more weeks Costa Rica nearing record rainfall for May Landslides block roads, cause losses at farms in Tilarán Anincrease in rainfall levels expected for August due to the pending influence of a La Niña weather phenomenon did not occur, the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) confirmed.Earlier this year, the IMN predicted that precipitation levels would return to normal after a dry 2015 rainy season. But, rainfall has been lower than expected this year and lower than the monthly average in various regions.During August, the Central Valley, Northern Zone and central Caribbean have received 37 to 72 percent less rain than normal, IMN’s Meteorologist Luis Fernando Alvarado said. The driest places were the capital San José, the northwestern province of Guanacaste and the northern Alajuela cantons of Upala, Los Chiles and Guatuso.Accumulated rainfall in all other regions of the country was within the expected ranges, Alvarado said.An IMN report in June predicted that La Niña would likely cause an increase in rains starting in July, by some 30 percent overall and up to 70 percent in Guanacaste, with above-average rainfall along the Pacific coast and in the Central Valley.Now, forecasters think La Niña will develop and strengthen in the coming months, though the weather phenomenon will likely be shorter and less intense than expected. Weekly forecastDespite the delay, IMN experts are expecting an increase in general rainfall levels starting this week, along with an increase in relative humidity and atmospheric instability.These conditions will likely cause warmer temperatures during the mornings that will favor conditions for moderate to high intensity showers during the afternoons and evenings, mainly along the Pacific coast and in the Central Valley.IMN also expects occasional showers in the Northern Zone and in the mountains of the Caribbean region.High winds toward the end of the week are expected to bring heavy rains to the central and southern Pacific regions. IMN also expects scattered showers for the northern Pacific region.Meteorologists said they expect rainfall levels to keep intensifying in the coming weeks. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Gas prices in Costa Rica to drop this week

first_imgRelated posts:Two requests to lower fuel prices await Sala IV ruling Motorists get cheaper fuel prices starting this week Fuel prices set to rise for the second time this year Request to raise fuel prices provokes sharp criticism Prices of premium and regular unleaded gasoline will drop by ₡24 and ₡22 per liter respectively this week, thanks to a new fuel price setting approved by the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP).The agency passed the cut in fuel prices after taking into account recent changes in the international price of oil.The price calculation also resulted in lower prices for diesel, though the per-liter price will go down by only ₡5.New fuel prices will come into effect the day after their publication in the official newspaper La Gaceta, which is expected to occur later this week.Approved cuts mean a liter of premium, commonly known as “Super,” will go from ₡590 to ₡566 ($1.60-1.01). A liter of regular, known as “Plus,” will drop from ₡563 to ₡541 ($1.01-0.97), and a liter of diesel will slip from ₡448 to ₡443 ($0.80-0.79).This is the third cut in gas prices approved this year. ARESEP in late July approved a ₡13 cut in the per-liter prices of Super and Plus gasoline, as well as a ₡4 reduction for a liter of diesel.The National Oil Refinery said growing inventories recorded between July 28 and Aug. 11 translated into lower costs for finished fuels acquired this month. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Controversy surrounds Costa Ricas decision on gender identity

first_imgCosta Rica’s Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) announced Monday that citizens can change the name on their government issued ID cards to fit their “self-perceived gender,” setting off a chain reaction of jubilation and backlash.Opponents of the decision, including the bishops of the Catholic Church and members of the National Restoration Party (PRN) and Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC), have criticized the decision in the days following the announcement, while advocates of LGBTQ rights acclaimed the change.The decision allows person whose name assigned at birth does not fit his or her desired gender identity to request a name change directly with the TSE, rather than going through the court system, as is required for citizens who wish to change their legal names for any other reason.The TSE also announced it will no longer print a gender designation on Costa Rican identity cards, or cédulas, although it will still register each citizen’s gender in its official records. These changes will take effect once the TSE ruling is printed in the official government daily, La Gaceta. VIDEO: Will Costa Rica recognize this same-sex marriage? The decision came in response to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruling in January of this year that all member countries, including Costa Rica, must provide full and equal rights to same-sex couples and citizens whose self-perceived gender is different from their birth gender.The IACHR set off a firestorm in Costa Rica, dramatically affecting the course of the presidential campaign and boosting the campaigns of both same-sex marriage opponent Fabricio Alvarado and LGBTQ advocate Carlos Alvarado, the ultimate victor.As for marriage equality, the TSE decision announced Monday states that before it can register same-sex marriages, Article 14.6 of the country’s Family Code must be annulled, something that only the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica’s Supreme Court (Sala IV) or Legislative Assembly can do. Related posts:Investigation continues into causes of plane crash in Costa Rica Costa Rica’s Epsy Campbell speaks out against Venezuelan elections President is safe after confrontation with protesters The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Jan. 14, 2019center_img Same-sex marriage issue shifts presidential elections in Costa Rica Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Chavez seeks friendly ties with Catholic Church

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – President Hugo Chavez says he’s seeking friendly relations with representatives of the Roman Catholic Church.Their dealings have been tense in the past. Church representatives have accused the socialist leader of becoming increasingly authoritarian and Chavez has strongly criticized Cardinal Jorge Urosa, saying he has misled the Vatican with warnings that Venezuela is drifting toward dictatorship. Chavez said Wednesday that he hopes relations improve between his government and representatives of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference.Chavez spoke a day after Vice President Elias Jaua met with members of the conference.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milkcenter_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous oflast_img read more

Snark flies in US EmbassyBrotherhood Twitter spat

first_imgThe embassy’s tweets implied that the Brotherhood, whose longtime member Mohammed Morsi is Egypt’s new president, has been sending mixed messages, fueling public anger over the movie.It started when Ikhwanweb, the Twitter page of the Muslim Brotherhood, retweeted a message in English from the group’s deputy head, Khairat el-Shater.“We r relieved none of (at)USEmbassyCairo staff were harmed & hope US-Eg relations will sustain turbulence of Tuesday’s events.”“Thanks,” the embassy replied. “By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too.”“We understand you’re under a lot of stress,” came the Ikhwanweb retort, “but still it will be more helpful if you point out exactly the Arabic feed of concern.”“Guys guys! stop! take it outside please…” came the plea from Abdelrahman Ghareeb, one of many tweeters who weighed in in amusement over the exchange.There was no immediate counter-tweet from the embassy.The Brotherhood has put out statements in Arabic and English saying the breaching of the grounds was unacceptable. It has also vehemently denounced the film while insisting Egyptians have the right to demonstrate peacefully against it and urging the U.S. to prevent it from being shown. It has called for protests Friday outside of mosques against the movie, which denigrates Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Comments   Share   Tuesday’s protest, which was not called by the Brotherhood, was dominated by ultraconservative Islamists.The U.S. has seemed impatient with Morsi’s response to the violence. The Islamist president made no public comment beyond a vague Facebook posting until Thursday, after he spoke with President Barack Obama. He then condemned the attack while also harshly criticizing the movie.“We condemn strongly … all those who launch such provocations and who stand behind that hatred,” Morsi said, adding that he had asked Obama “to put an end to such behavior.”____Online: https://twitter.com/USEmbassyCairo Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – The snark is flying between the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the Muslim Brotherhood in a Twitter spat that erupted in the wake of an assault on the mission by protesters in the Egyptian capital.The sarcastic exchange Thursday gave a “frenemies” tone to relations that have been strained by the Tuesday night action. In the assault, hundreds of protesters angry over an anti-Islam film climbed up the wall of the embassy in downtown Cairo, entered the grounds, pulled down the American flag and replaced it with a black, Islamist banner. Security forces did nothing to stop them. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist https://twitter.com/Ikhwanweb Four benefits of having a wireless security system (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Side story of slain Salvadoran archbishop A family divided

first_img The difference between men and women when it comes to pain SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Maria Luisa de Martinez is one of the staunchest defenders of the memory of slain Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero.She sits on the board of the foundation that bears his name. She’s organized commemorative celebrations on the anniversaries of his birth and death. She lobbied for years for his beatification by the Roman Catholic Church.De Martinez is also the sister of Roberto d’Aubuisson, the man widely believed to have ordered the cleric’s 1980 assassination as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel. And there’s no doubt in her mind about her brother’s guilt. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “I don’t want to have anything to do with you,” she told him.“That’s when we distanced ourselves from each other completely,” she said.Romero was killed March 24, 1980, at a cancer hospital chapel by a sniper’s bullet believed to have been fired from a car outside. The assassination came a day after he made a bold and public demand that soldiers stop repressing civilians. Nobody was ever prosecuted for the killing, and the gunman has not been identified.De Martinez became a devotee of the slain archbishop and in 1999 helped launch the Monsignor Romero Foundation, where she remains on the board of directors. She is still estranged from her family.D’Aubuisson founded the conservative Arena political party in 1981 and ran unsuccessfully for president three years later. He always denied being behind Romero’s assassination, and died of cancer in 1992, a year before the U.N. truth commission officially named him as the mastermind.“How could a member of my family be involved in such terrible acts?” de Martinez said. “It’s a feeling of … total rejection of the things he did.”Now 66, de Martinez has said she forgives her brother. Though she never confronted him directly about Romero’s killing, she visited him at his death bed and begged him to ask forgiveness. By then he was unable to speak. Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober “He didn’t say a thing, just tears streaming down his face,” de Martinez said.More than two decades later, she said she’s still not sure if he wept out of anger at her, or repentance.___Associated Press writer Marcos Aleman in San Salvador and Peter Orsi in Mexico City contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Maria Luisa de Martinez poses for photos at her home in San Salvador, El Salvador, Thursday, May 21, 2015. De Martinez is the sister of Roberto d’Aubuisson, the man widely believed to have ordered the Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero’s 1980 assassination. In 1979 de Martinez learned that her brother belonged to a paramilitary group called ORDEN, or “order,” whose mission was to identify and eliminate supposed communists in rural communities. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)center_img “Unfortunately, yes, I’m convinced. Because of the way he used to talk about the priests, the Jesuits and Monsignor Romero,” Martinez told The Associated Press ahead of Saturday’s beatification of Romero, the first step toward canonization and sainthood.Maria Luisa and Roberto d’Aubuisson were born into the same conservative family, educated in Catholic schools and raised by a mother who lectured them about the evils of international communism. Ultimately they chose paths that could not have been more divergent. Albeit an extreme example, theirs is the story of countless families who found themselves split by El Salvador’s long and bloody civil war.Maria Luisa, who today goes by her married name, de Martinez, called herself a “normal girl” who grew up in a traditional and devoutly Catholic environment. She studied at a school run by nuns, taught catechism and twice made visits to a Mayan community in neighboring Guatemala that opened her eyes to entrenched poverty.De Martinez became a novice, or nun in training, though she never took up the habit. She studied liberation theology, met Romero as a member of grassroots ecclesiastical groups and dedicated herself to working to defend poor Salvadorans. Top Stories How men can have a healthy 2019 It was potentially dangerous work at the time, in the middle of the Cold War, when authorities viewed such groups as sympathetic to leftist revolutionary movements — or worse — and targeted them for harassment and violence.“My family was against it,” de Martinez said. “They warned me that I could run into problems.”She began avoiding them, tired of defending her choices.By contrast Roberto, five years her senior, opted for a career in the military. He trained at the United States’ School of the Americas, rose to the rank of army major and, according to a U.N. truth commission’s findings years later, commanded right-wing death and torture squads as El Salvador slid toward civil war. Supporters lionized d’Aubuisson as the man who defeated communism in El Salvador, while critics considered him a bloodthirsty vigilante. In the early 1980s, the U.S. ambassador called him “a pathological killer.”The siblings’ disgust for each other was mutual.In 1979 de Martinez learned that her brother belonged to a paramilitary group called ORDEN, or “order,” whose mission was to identify and eliminate supposed communists in rural communities. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Quick workouts for menlast_img read more

US stocks open higher led by health sector gains

first_imgNEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are opening higher, led by gains for the health care sector.The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 100 points, or 0.6 percent, to 18,044 as of 9:35 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose nine points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,110. The Nasdaq composite gained 29 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,095.Oracle dropped 7 percent in early trading after the software company reported earnings late Wednesday that fell short of analysts’ expectations. Oracle said that the stronger dollar continued to hurt its earnings. Check your body, save your life 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Comments   Share   Bonds edged lower, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to 2.33 percent from 2.32 percent late Wednesday.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories center_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

ATEC calls for a new convention centre in Sydney

first_imgThe Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) believes a new world-class Conventions and Exhibitions Centre would help Sydney grow as an international tourism destination. ATEC Managing Director Matthew Hingerty said Sydney needed to up its game in order to compete against new state-of-the-art convention centres in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East. “For Sydney to truly be a global financial and human services centre, we must appeal to the major corporations, non-government organizations and associations wishing to meet here, sometimes in numbers that Sydney’s current convention infrastructure cannot handle,” Mr Hingerty said. According to Mr Hingerty the city’s current infrastructure, including the Darling Harbour Convention Centre and many good conference facilities in hotels had served Sydney well, but it is time to take our offering to a new level. “After years of stagnation, things are starting to really move in Sydney which, in tourism terms, is our internationally recognized draw-card,” Mr Hingerty said. “With the proposed Barangaroo development and the new Westfields retail development around Sydney Tower, the city will soon have its sizzle back.”Mr Hingerty concluded, “We need to match these developments with stand-out conventions and exhibitions space. “To that end, I am delighted that the Coalition, the alternate government in NSW, is taking such a keen interest in this issue and we look forward to providing them with assistance in developing their policy”. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1d749/” 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

Ryanair warns end of cheap fares

first_imgRyanair’s cheap air fare will be a thing of the past, Ryanair head Michael O’Leary has threatened as the carrier recently pulled out of five airport routes across the UK.According to the controversial Mr O’Leary, Ryanair’s low fares are not sustainable given the company’s cost-cutting measures and plans to move into more central (and expensive) European airports, reported the Belfast Telegraph.Instead, the carrier will focus on quality rather than price.“We have to move away over the next number of years from being obsessed with having the lowest fares in the market,” Mr O’Leary told the newspaper. “At the moment we just pile it high and sell it cheap.” Mr O’Leary looked to the success of global discount supermarket chain Lidl, which “started off cheap and cheerful but now it is very sophisticated.” carhiremarket.com product manager Anel Bruns claimed that Mr O’Leary’s warning of the end of low air fares “will cause alarm among today’s price sensitive consumers”, but added that savvy travellers would look at other ways to save money when travelling.“Now is the time for consumers to consider their options in order to get the best deal,” Ms Bruns said. “For example, alternatives like coach travel or car hire rental can not only provide a cheaper way to travel, but can also help to reduce carbon footprints when compared to air travel.”Mr O’Leary was recently in hot water after denying global warming and man-made climate change, Greenpeace spokesperson Joss Garman quoted in The Guardian as saying, “Personally, I wouldn’t trust ‘O’Really’ to tell me the price of a seat on his own airline, but to be fair his position [on climate change] does have the support of such intellectual heavyweights as Nick Griffin, Sarah Palin and George W Bush.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.Alast_img read more

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