Wednesday, December 7, 2016 SAN FRANCISCO – Travellers are going hog wild over an adorable pig named LiLou, who’s been tasked with making people happy at San Francisco International Airport.The Juliana-breed therapy pig is gaining worldwide fame for her outlandish outfits (think pink tutus and pilot hats) and brightly painted nails, and is winning hearts the world over for her calm and joyful demeanor. She is the newest member of the airport’s ‘Wag Brigade’, a team of dogs, cats and rabbits that has been trained to cheer grumpy airport visitors and calm nervous fliers prior to boarding.LiLou is the first pig to join its ranks. According to USA Today, she can stand up on her back hooves, wave at people with her snout and play a toy piano. She turns two on Dec. 15.When she’s not making people smile at the airport (she appears about once a week wearing a ‘Pet Me!’ badge, says SFist.com), LiLou spends her time making the rounds at San Francisco’s senior centres and hospitals.More news: TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamTo see LiLou hamming it up for the camera, follow her on Instagram @lilou_sfpig.Of, if you love animals like us, you can book the next flight out to San Francisco to see her in person. << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Posted by Travelweek Group Therapy pig wows crowds at San Francisco Airport
No related posts. A decree by which Costa Rica’s government sought to resolve an ongoing dispute over a law to allow photocopying of books for academic purposes was not signed Wednesday as expected.Justice Minister Fernando Ferraro announced that the executive branch accepted a request from representatives of the movement “Photocopying to Study” – mostly university students – to study the decree before it is signed.Ferraro set a Friday deadline for groups to weigh in on the proposed decree.President Laura Chinchilla vetoed in September a bill that would have authorized the photocopying of books for educational purposes. The ban was approved by business chambers and publishers associations, but it generated discontent among thousands of students who protested against it last week in a march that ended in riots in front of the Legislative Assembly building. Damages to the assembly totaled $14,000. Facebook Comments
Ed Bernhardt They belong to a race of sweet chiles called Capsicum annum. The other race we all know is the hot chile or Capsicum frutesens. These chiles are native to Mexico, Central America and South America, and the diversity in different types is amazing. The chiles are also called “peppers,” which Columbus called them after Indian black pepper of the Old World tropics. Pepper seeds were carried to Spain in 1493, and from there, spread to other European, African and Asian countries. From these original sweet chiles that were planted in Europe came most of the sweet peppers we know today. Bell peppers were later developed by plant breeders in the U.S. During this process, breeders selected plants that adapted best to the conditions in northern climates. Unfortunately, these northern varieties often grow poorly here, because they have lost their genetic code for the tropics. Northern bell peppers are sensitive to excessive water and high temperatures, which makes them very difficult to grow here without lots of agrochemicals to protect them. One the other hand, native sweet and hot chile peppers grow so well in the home garden, they need none of these products. Using only natural products you make at home, you can have dozens of fresh chiles from these bushes every day for several years! Seeds can be started in flats, and when the seedlings are several inches tall, they can be transplanted to cups or pots with rich potting soil. Two weeks later, they can be planted in a permanent site in the garden or in 5-gallon plastic containers (hopefully recycled) with several holes drilled in the bottom. The later is ideal for indoor planting on sunny porches. Prepare the soil with good compost fertilizer. Small amounts of limestone and wood ashes can be used occasionally as a top dressing with compost tea. These shrubs last several years and can produce a steady supply of peppers for the family. Hardy native varieties are resistant to bugs and diseases, however, occasional insect attacks can be controlled with a natural insect spray made from a mix of baking soda, soy oil, vinegar and glycerin soap (1 tbs. each) blended in 5 cups of warm water. A small hand aspirator can be used to spray this mix, which works well on all your vegetable and ornamental plants. For more information on tropical gardening contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook Comments Locals refer to this popular, backyard garden chile plant as OMNIS or UFOS, and they’re certainly the most curious of all the chiles I’ve seen. Also, they are super sweet! What impresses me most, though, is how these hardy plants grow in the tropical garden, and the amazing production we’ve had. No related posts.
Working at a language school in Costa Rica may sound like a dream short-term job. But before signing any contract, ask first whether you’d be expected to hide in the bathroom if immigration police show up.On Feb. 26 Immigration Police raided the Máximo Nivel language school in the San Pedro neighborhood of San José. In all, 12 U.S. tourists between 18 and 21 years old were ordered to hand over their passports and report to the Immigration Administration to verify their status in Costa Rica.The 12 tourists who studied and taught at the school were informed last week that they had 72 hours to leave Costa Rica, Immigration Administration spokeswoman Andrea Quesada told the Tico Times.Authorities allege that the students were working as instructors without proper work permits, in violation of Costa Rican immigration law.Máximo Nivel’s owner, Ken Jones, said that the 12 individuals were studying and doing community service in Costa Rica, not working.Still, former Máximo Nivel employees told The Tico Times that the company has hired international tourists to work under the table in the past, and asked them to hide their status — literally — from authorities.Two former Máximo Nivel employees, who agreed to speak to The Tico Times on the condition that they remain anonymous, said they knowingly worked under the table for the language school for months at a time without formal work permits. The sources asked to remain anonymous because of their relationships with current Máximo Nivel staff.Both former employees said people working illegally at Máximo Nivel had been asked to hide in a back room when government inspectors arrived.One of the employees said she was told to go out a side door and not come back to work on a day when inspectors arrived.She said Máximo Nivel employees without work permits were told by management that they were responsible for maintaining a legal tourist visa, which involved leaving the country every 90 days, but that the company would not sponsor a work permit. The former employee, who began working for Máximo Nivel in 2013, shared her job offer from the language school with The Tico Times. The offer was sent from Jones’ Máximo Nivel email account.One clause reads: “It is important to note that you will be working in Costa Rica without the benefit of proper work visas and residence permits. You and I have discussed this and you understand that you are responsible for keeping yourself ‘legal’ during your time in Costa Rica.”Jones denied the alleged subterfuge, and said he wasn’t aware of employees being asked to hide from immigration authorities.“None of that is something that I would have knowledge of. It sounds funny,” Jones told The Tico Times.He said that all his staff are legally employed.Máximo Nivel advertises courses taught by native English speakers on its website. The school offers English and Spanish classes, and language teaching certification. Máximo Nivel also organizes homebuilding, environmental conservation and healthcare volunteer opportunities for students.Jones said that instructors are typically students seeking certification to teach English as a foreign language, known as TEFL. Part of that certification involves a teaching component but students are not paid, Jones said.Students typically attend Máximo Nivel’s TEFL courses on a tourist visa, he said, which was the individual student’s decision. Costa Rica does offer student visas, but immigration law requires a letter of acceptance from an academic institution in order to apply for one.When asked what kind of work permits Máximo Nivel offered its international staff and how staff were compensated for work, Jones declined to comment, saying the company’s human resource policy was confidential.“We’re very careful about not compensating people for work they do in Costa Rica,” Jones said, “We’re not illegally employing anybody.”Jones said that Máximo Nivel contributes $10,000 monthly to the Costa Rican Social Security System, commonly referred to as the Caja, and provides $350,000 to local host families for students annually.One of the former employees who spoke to The Tico Times specifically referenced the school’s community service opportunities as one of the reasons they chose to work there, regardless of the lack of legal immigration status.The Immigration Administration has taken a hard line on the status of the 12 individuals rounded up at Máximo Nivel in February.“Someone who comes to Costa Rica on a tourist visa only has permission to, well, be a tourist here,” Quesada, the Immigration spokeswoman said in a telephone interview.She noted that there are specific visas for tourism, study and volunteering. Even if someone is teaching English at the beach for a summer, they are legally required to have a work permit, she said.A tourist can request to change his or her immigration status while in the country, Quesada pointed out. She also said there are work permits for short-term employment available that take less time to get than the lengthy process for obtaining residency.But some employers may not be fully versed in Costa Rican immigration law.Anna Karina, a lawyer with the firm Arias & Muñoz and director of the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce’s Human Resources Forum, said some firms are unaware of the various options for work permits and visas. Others simply may not be willing to commit the time and resources to get them, she said.If businesses in Costa Rica plan on hiring foreign nationals on a regular short-term basis, they should consider registering as a “known business,” or empresa reconocida, with the Immigration Administration, Karina said in an email. The human resources expert said that this step can help cut application times for new foreign workers.Karina acknowledged that Costa Rica’s immigration laws can be labyrinthian and recommended hiring a lawyer who’s knowledgable about the system.Despite the inconvenience, the 12 people rounded up at Máximo Nivel in February were told that they could re-enter Costa Rica as tourists. The Immigration Administration has not taken any additional sanctions against them or Máximo Nivel, according to an email from Immigration Administration spokeswoman Andrea Quesada.It’s hardly just language schools that hire employees under the table. According to the most recent State of the Nation report, more jobs were created in Costa Rica’s informal sector — jobs without government-mandated healthcare, vacation time or legal work status — than in its formal sector in 2013.The 2014 National Housing Survey reported that more than one in three middle and upper class Costa Ricans surveyed work in the informal sector. That number jumped to 72 percent for those living in poverty.Working under the table is common for tourists looking to scrape together enough cash for a longer stay on Costa Rica’s beaches, and for some perpetual tourists who have made a life for themselves here, but never formalized their residency. But it’s still illegal. Facebook Comments Related posts:PHOTOS: American Colony celebrates US Independence Day at annual picnic Pilot, pianist, entrepreneur expat Richard Johnson dies at 91 Driving in Costa Rica: The rules of the road Costa Rica police chief accused of illegally detaining US expats subject to court-ordered restrictions
Related posts:To conserve the Amazon, the forest must become an economic ‘asset’ Travelers beware: Plane ticket to Peru no guarantee of visa Ayahuasca, the sacred jungle vine that lures Westerners to the Amazon Honduras to convert US-built airbase into airport for capital IQUITOS, Peru — We have to get our entrance stamp for Peru before the office closes at 5 p.m. The cargo boat is scheduled to leave for Iquitos at around 8 p.m., so we have some time to kill in the little port of Santa Rosa. It’s basically a row of wooden shacks with corrugated iron roofs by the Amazon River.Workers load kilos and kilos of fish into a container with ice. It must be hard work for them under the blazing sun and in this Amazonian heat and humidity. Their shirts are soaked with sweat.We sit down for a beer and watch the sky above the jungle turn purple and red. Smoke rises from the houses between the hazy jungle growth, and when the sun sets we see lights switch on, on the Colombian side of the river in Leticia. This is the point in the Amazon jungle where the three countries Brazil, Colombia and Peru come together. From here, you can go by boat to the east, into Brazil towards Manaus, or like us, you can move against the current into Peru, to Iquitos. Eline van Nes/The Tico TimesIquitos is one of those places we have wanted to see for years. It’s an outpost of civilization: Almost 400,000 people living in the biggest city in the world that’s not connected to anything else by road. This means you can only get there by boat or small airplane.After sunset, when our cargo boat heads off, we hang our hammocks from the metal rails on the upper deck, which is basically built on top of the roof. The boat is divided into three parts: The first deck is for cargo – from freezers to scooters and piles of bananas; The middle deck is overcrowded with dozens of locals of all ages; And the upper deck is just me, my travel partner, a blaring television and three Peruvian men. As you have to take the stairs to get to the bathrooms, most people don’t want to be up here. The sleeping quarters on the top deck of the cargo boat. Eline van Nes/The Tico TimesOne of the Peruvian men, in his 50s with a thick mustache, introduces himself as Gustavo Palomino Boza. We chat a bit while the boat finds its way out into the river. It turns out Gustavo just broke up with his girlfriend and decided to move to Leticia, to start life over again – according to him it’s easier to find work in Leticia as it is not as full of restaurants as Iquitos, yet. He’s headed back to Iquitos now to get his stuff.I lie down in my colorful hammock, which a wrinkled lady in a little roadside shop in Leticia sold me for a few dollars, and watch the dark trees along the riverbank. The sound of the motor rattles, but the view of the jungle, which is softly lit by moonlight, is mesmerizing.The boat stays close to the bank, as the current is less strong there. A worker from the boat comes by to collect the 80 soles ($25) for the three-day boat ride, which includes food. For awhile the television has a signal, and everyone is glued to the image of an Evangelical priest giving a sermon. But earlier than we expected every sound on the boat, except for the engine, dies down, and people lie silently in their hammocks. Jungle life means early sleeping, early waking. A girl brushes her teeth on the boat. Eline van Nes/The Tico TimesRiver of cocaine“Sometimes the narcos use a boat like this one,” Gustavo, the friendly Peruvian man, tells us the next morning. We are leaning on the railing in the early morning, observing the little village where we just stopped to let some people get off the boat. Apparently Gustavo saw some suspicious packages unloaded during the night, which he thinks may have been cocaine. The only thing I had seen during the night, when I awoke a bit shivering from the cold wind blowing over the boat, was an old man taking a leak in the corner of the deck. That’s the way you avoid having to take the stairs to the mid deck for the toilets.“Sometimes they are on a little boat,” he says, launching into a lecture on the local trafficking business. “This is basically lawless territory. I would use a submarine if I were them, like they do in Central America. It would save a lot of hassle and dodgy middle-of-the-night transactions.”The waiter, a transvestite boy with an attitude, brings our breakfast: sweet porridge in a cup and two rings of dry bread. The trip on the cargo boat isn’t what you would call a gastronomic experience. Lunch consists of rice, a few vegetables and half a chicken wing; Dinner is a watery chicken soup. But, along the way the boat stops at many little villages, where the locals are keen to earn some income by selling fresh fish with cassava to the hungry travelers for a dollar a plate. The author playing chess with another passenger. Eline van Nes/The Tico TimesThe first part of the journey, from Leticia to a small jungle city called Caballococha, is where the Amazon divides Colombia and Peru. It’s an area famous for drug trafficking, just like the Putumayo River some 130 kilometers to the north. In 2012, Peru became the biggest coca producing country in the world — surpassing even Colombia — and somehow all this production has to find its way through the Amazon to the consumer markets in the U.S. and Europe.After breakfast we stop at Caballococha, where a group of teenagers climb up to our upper deck and hang their hammocks. They could have easily been from Lima, with their fancy clothes and smart phones, taking selfies as they install themselves near the electrical outlet to be sure they can charge their devices during the trip.But they weren’t from Lima; They’re the nouveau riche of the jungle. Caballococha has become a big coca producing area since a genetically modified version of the coca plant emerged that can resist the humidity and heat of the lower jungle. Coca production in the area means more money around for kids like these to buy smartphones and fancy clothing.The silent jungle The bar on the boat. Eline van Nes/The Tico TimesIt’s amazing how many villages, how much human activity we pass during a day. I always imagined the Amazon as a vast tract of jungle devoid of human civilization, where anacondas hang dangling from trees, monkeys jump all over each other and play and jaguars drink from the river at clearings in the forest. Instead, we see village after village of wood and corrugated iron, people in motorized canoes moving along the river, and piles of plastic waste on the river banks. In between these villages, you only see the trees. It’s a phenomenon called the ‘silent jungle’ in conservation circles: The wildlife has run away from human encroachment, leaving only silence behind.Still, with some 1,500 different bird species in the Amazon, which is more than Europe and the U.S. combined, there are opportunities to spot them all day: Predators circling high up in the air; Herons on the waterside. As we pass the next little village, we see the famous pink dolphin gliding through the water. They are curious creatures, attracted to the sound of the motor. They come a bit closer to see who we are. The Amazon is home to two different species of river dolphins: grey and pink, the latter of which can grow to up to three meters long. They like to hang around at the convergence zones, where side rivers connect to the Amazon, a good place for hunting disoriented fish.We hang over the railing to catch a glimpse of their pink skin as they lift their heads above water to breathe. Their curiosity can be dangerous for these creatures: Some fishermen hunt them to use their meat as bait for the carnivorous Mota fish. This is mostly done in Brazil but slowly starting to happen in Peru, also. The dolphin are safe with us today, though. A village on the Amazon River. Eline van Nes/The Tico TimesBack in civilizationAfter two days on the boat we start to get into a certain rhythm of lying in our hammocks, chatting with people and playing chess. We watch the loading during stops at little villages, where the workers pull the chains of the crane, their shirts soaked in sweat.And at certain moments, the rain pours down in such enormous quantities it feels like you might as well be in the submarine Gustavo was talking about. The sound of millions of drops drumming the roof of the boat and flaps on the side has a soothing effect. A downpour in the Amazon viewed from the cargo boat. Eline van Nes/The Tico TimesOne afternoon, just after we pull away from one of the villages, everyone gets excited. A Brazilian girl, with whom I played some chess earlier that day, had left the boat to take a look around the village. She hadn’t returned in time. We go to the deck to see if she is on the pier, and right at that moment we can see her running to the docks. Some of the Peruvians try to persuade the captain, a chubby old man, to turn around, but he won’t hear of it.We can see the girl jump into one of the motorized canoes and chase us. We have to slow down to turn back into the Amazon from the little tributary we’re in, so the girl manages to catch up with us and climb back on the boat. People on the boat are more aware of their fellow passengers than it had seemed. A girl on the boat. Eline van Nes/The Tico TimesGuidebooks and bloggers warned us of people stealing luggage on the boat, but after two days we have the feeling we can basically leave our stuff behind when we go to the middle deck for a coffee. But maybe it’s because we have Gustavo and the others around us, who we have befriended and who take care of our stuff like we take of theirs when they need to leave.On the last morning, as we get closer to Iquitos, we see more and more boats pass by on the river. Some are speedboats moving back and forth to jungle resorts. They can cover the same distance we did in 14 hours — saving time but taking a toll on passengers’ backs with the constant bouncing over the waves. The first glimpses of the city are chimneys atop the only factory there. It’s the electricity company that provides Iquitos with power for their lights and television sets. A passenger on the Amazon River cargo boat. Eline van Nes/The Tico TimesAs we enter the dirty and industrialized port of Iquitos, we see the large stacks of wood, trunks and sawdust. There are cargo boats loaded full of trees. It’s the big war of the Amazon: organizations and environmentally-minded locals try to conserve the last bits of rainforest, while other locals cut down trees for a few bucks and corrupt local governments ensure the big shipments make it out of the jungle. According to a report from Global Witness, between 2002 and 2014 some 57 environmental activists were killed in the humid Peruvian jungle — mostly over land rights, mining and illegal logging.The harbor of Iquitos is a mess of people running over the muddy roads, cargo ships being offloaded, and little boats passing by with their noisy homemade engines. After we say goodbye to our friends from the boat, we jump onto a mototaxi that takes us to our hostel. As we ride into the noisy city of Iquitos, where hundreds of mototaxis rule the road, we would almost forget this is still a city in the middle of the jungle.It seems we are back in civilization. Facebook Comments
With so many visitors in Costa Rica during this high tourism season, The Tico Times decided it was time to compile the ultimate (though relatively simple and short) guide to taxi service here.The ride-hailing service Uber arrived in Costa Rica last year, and continues to be controversial, while private chauffeurs, known as porteadores, waged a battle with the government in 2015 over the latter’s decision to renew only half of their permits.If you’re a newbie, we hope the following guide will make clear your options. And if you’re a citizen or long-term resident, we hope you’ll learn a few things you might not have known. Without further ado, here are five options for getting a paid, private ride in the land of pura vida. Airport taxis: Orange airport taxis are the only ones officially authorized to pick up and drop off passengers at Juan Santamaría International Airport outside San José. They’ll take you anywhere in the country. You can call ahead for reservations, 2221-6865 or 2222-6865, or just grab one when you arrive.In practice, red taxis (see below) drop passengers off at the airport all the time.Official red taxis: There are just over 11,000 of them across the country. These are probably your best bet if you’re on the street and a torrential downpour suddenly makes you think twice about walking home. In San José, and in many other major cities and towns, red taxis are ubiquitous from sunup to sundown, though you might have a harder time hailing one at night to, say, get from your house to a bar. Vice versa, no problem.Red taxis are regulated by the government and their fares are set – and regularly tweaked — by the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP). All red taxis are supposed to have meters, which means there should be no negotiating over the price of a ride between driver and customer. Taxis also have a yellow taxi hat on top and a yellow triangle on the door displaying the taxi license number and the area where the taxi is permitted to operate.Besides hailing one on the street, an app launched last year called Easy Taxi lets users in San José and Nicoya hail a red taxi through their smartphone. The app uses the phone’s GPS location to signal nearby participating taxis that there’s a fare waiting to get picked up. Riders get an estimated wait time and can track the taxi’s location on the app’s map. Easy Taxi works exclusively with licensed red taxis.You can also call a taxi company or cooperative that owns multiple vehicles and they’ll radio a car to come pick you up. If you prefer this to hailing one on the street, ask the nice man or woman who took you on your last ride for his or her card, or call one of the large cooperatives such as Coopetico (2224-7979). Alternatively, you can just search “taxi service Costa Rica” on the Internet or, if you still believe in such things, flip through the Yellow Pages and you’re sure to find many options.One big upside to calling a taxi? If you leave something behind or have any other problem with the ride, the company or cooperative can track the taxi that served you. At least one Tico Times staff member has recovered a cellphone that way.Also, if something seems off with the red taxi you hail – e.g. driver slurring his words, no meter — you can report it to ARESEP at 800-027-3737.Porteadores: This kind of transportation service is technically called a SEEtaxi (Special Stable Taxi Service), though everyone just calls them porteadores. These are private chauffeurs who shuttle people around for a fixed or negotiable price. You can find porteadores at the airport (even though they’re not supposed to pick up passengers there) and in tourist areas. Porteadores used to be piratas, but in 2001 the government decided to recognize the out-of-control pirate taxi business and give some of them permits to operate legally.The porteadores business is big, and has some powerful interests, including some legislators who own dozens of permits and pay drivers to operate cars. Last year, the Luis Guillermo Solís administration tried to reign in consolidation of the porteadores business by announcing that it would only renew half of the existing permits, those owned by individual drivers.Protests erupted and periodically blocked streets for several months but the government has thus far held its position. Solís did try to appease some of the drivers who lost their jobs by letting a certain number of them become regular red taxis.Pirate taxis, taxis piratas: These are guys who will take you where you want to go, and charge you whatever they want for it because they’re not regulated by the government. You can often find piratas at key spots off bus and train lines where other public transportation is scarce.A taxi pirata also might be your neighbor’s trusted driver who comes highly recommended and will give you a great deal on rides to the airport in his or her unmarked, smooth-driving car.Piratas are illegal, though, for the most part, tolerated by the government. (Still, more than 4,000 piratas were fined during the first six months of 2015, according to Traffic Police Commissioner Mario Calderón.)If a pirate taxi gets caught carrying a passenger, he or she could get fined. If a driver spots a Traffic Police officer up ahead and is worried about getting caught, you might be asked to make a quick exit from the vehicle. More likely, though, a pirate taxi driver will ask you to sit up front in the passenger seat to begin with and, if stopped, pretend like you know him or her. Because pirate taxis are unlicensed, you should avoid taking one unless a specific driver or association of drivers (some pirate taxis are actually, er, formally organized) is recommended by a trusted source.Uber: The giant taxi industry disrupter arrived in Costa Rica in August to the same mix of applause and controversy that the company elicits over nearly all of its ever-expanding turf. Uber offers services in the Greater Metropolitan Area, which includes the capital San José and parts of Heredia, Alajuela and Cartago.Uber drivers here now number several thousand, the company says.Services include the company’s basic ride-hailing service, UberX, and UberXL (formerly UberVAN), designed for groups of between seven and 14 looking to take day trips from San José.Would-be Uber riders should note that unless they have a local SIM card in their phone and have updated their Uber account with that number, they won’t be able to communicate with their driver, for example, to verify the pick-up location. Travelers might have roaming enabled on their phones but drivers may not be willing or able to make an international call.The Solís administration has reiterated on numerous occasions that it considers the company to be operating illegally, but has made very little effort to do anything about it. Meanwhile, Uber drivers say they’ve been attacked by disgruntled taxi drivers, and the company recently abandoned a job fair following sustained protests and confrontations with job-seekers. It was a rare retreat for the company, and while official taxi drivers will likely keep up the fight, by all appearances, Uber is here to stay — until the next big thing takes its place. Recommended: La horma de mi zapato: On love and taxis Facebook Comments Related posts:Taxi drivers to stage another demonstration against Uber Uber rival Cabify coming to Costa Rica Guanacaste airport expansion set to begin in January President Solís pledges to repair road to Monteverde by next year
Facebook Comments Related posts:Ballet performance raises funds for low-income patients and families Great food for local causes: ‘Festival de Vida’ begins in Atenas 13’30 Restaurant hosts exhibit by Guatemalan artist Herssonoe This week in the Peace Corps: A Costa Rican Country Christmas On Sunday, Costa Rica and Mexico will host simultaneous concerts to benefit the victims of the Fuego Volcano eruption in Guatemala on June 3, which caused the deaths of hundreds and has affected close to two million.Costa Rican producer Destiny Recordings, which is now established in Mexico, along with Amón Solar (Costa Rica), Mexican record label Mula Terca Records and Multiforo Alicia joined forces to organize the event with various bands and local media from each country.The concerts will take place simultaneously on Sunday in San José and Mexico City. According to a press release from Destiny Recordings, the profits of both concerts will be donated to volunteer firefighters in Guatemala who have been helping and rescuing people. Meet the Costa Rican woman who saved 300 lives in Guatemala The concert in San José will take place at El Sótano in Barrio Amón with concerts both in Amón Solar (upper part of El Sótano) and El Sótano (the basement).The bands that will play in Amón Solar include Seka, Los Waldners, Entre Lobos, The Great Wilderness, Las Yakets, Golpe Bajo, and The Codex Mind. The bands and musicians at El Sótano are Magpie Jay, Adrián Poveda from Monte, Pana from Alphabetics, Ricardo Arias from Overseas, Kenneth Medina from Diger, and Rey Tigre.Both Destiny Recordings and Mula Terca Records will share their donation receipts on social media.The concert in San José will take place at El Sótano in Barrio Amón on Sunday, June 24, starting at 2:00 pm. Entrance fee is of ₡3,000. For more information visit the event’s Facebook page.Disclaimer: The Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) and Amigos of Costa Rica sponsor the Tico Times Changemakers Section to provide a space for stories and information about philanthropic work in Costa Rica. CRUSA and Amigos do not endorse any of the organizations, individuals, fundraising solicitations or opinions shared in this space unless otherwise stated. Authorities in Guatemala: search for survivors ‘almost impossible’
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Local newspapers in the United Arab Emirates say authorities are investigating an Egyptian couple who tried to sneak their infant into the Gulf country by hiding him in their carry-on luggage.Monday’s reports say authorities discovered the baby at Sharjah airport when it showed up on an X-ray scan of the bag. Carry-on luggage is typically scanned at Emirati airports on arrival, after passengers have their passports stamped. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments Share Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk The Gulf News says the baby boy had no passport, visa or other documents allowing him entry to the UAE.The paper and The National daily are quoting police as saying the unidentified parents put the child’s life at risk with the scheme. The case is being handed over to prosecutors.Sharjah officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Quick workouts for men
Comments Share New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths “He was almost 22 years alive and now he’s 10 years dead _ it’s an awkward, revolting feeling and it’s come about so quickly,” Deegan said of his son.“It’s 10 years since I saw him alive; it’s a long time, but it’s also a short time,” he said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top holiday drink recipes Sponsored Stories “A number of the family members of those who lost their lives will want to be in Bali at the commemorative events there, and as a government we will be providing some assistance for family members,” Gillard told reporters.Last year, the government was advising Australians to “reconsider the need to travel” to Indonesia, including Bali, to mark the ninth anniversary.The government downgraded its travel warning in May, although the threat of a terrorist attack is still described as high.Australian visitors to Bali are now advised to “exercise a high degree of caution.”Brian Deegan, an Australian lawyer whose 21-year-old son, Josh, was killed in the blasts, said government help for families to make the journey was “a positive thing,” if security on Bali was going to be tight.Deegan said he planned to go to Bali for the anniversary regardless of whether the government offered him help.He said he had visited Bali only once, in 2003, to see one of the terrorists, Amrozi Nurhasyim, face court. Nurhasyim was one of three ringleaders executed in 2008 for the crime. Deegan said he thought he would never return to Bali, but the approaching anniversary had changed his mind. Associated PressCANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia plans to fly relatives of tourists killed in the 2002 Bali bombings to the resort island to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks, in a sign that fear of terrorism in Indonesia is waning.Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced Thursday that her government was discussing with families of victims what financial help they need to attend commemorative events. Two bomb blasts triggered by the al-Qaida-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, on Oct. 12, 2002. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements
Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Gayoom and his deputy, Mohamed Jameel, were sworn in Sunday by the country’s chief justice.Gayoom received 51.4 percent of the vote Saturday, according to the Elections Commission. Mohamed Nasheed, who led the Maldives’ struggle for democracy and was elected president in the country’s first multiparty election in 2008, had 48.6 percent.Nasheed, who resigned last year amid protests, was the leading vote-getter in the Nov. 9 first round, with 47 percent to Gayoom’s 30 percent, but a runoff was required because no candidate got 50 percent.Gayoom improved on his first-round performance by courting supporters of tourist resort owner Qasim Ibrahim, who finished third in the first round with 23 percent of the vote. Ibrahim drew his support from conservative Muslims who accused Nasheed of undermining Islam because of his friendly relations with Israel and Western nations.Addressing the nation after being sworn in, Gayoom said his main priority would be to “increase the love of the religion and the nation” and bring back stability. He also promised economic policy changes that would give more opportunities to youth, fishermen and farmers.Nasheed was the clear pre-election favorite, but lost his momentum amid long delays to complete the election. Comments Share How men can have a healthy 2019 Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories The Maldives has seen much upheaval in the five years since its first multiparty election. There has been conflict between the judiciary, Parliament and the presidency, which often worked in different directions. The judiciary and bureaucracy were often accused of being loyal to Gayoom, the former autocratic ruler.Nasheed was elected in 2008, but resigned midway through his term last year after weeks of public protests and declining support from the military and police over his decision to detain a senior judge whom he perceived to be biased. He later said he was ousted in a coup, but an inquiry commission rejected the allegation.The Maldives is a predominantly Muslim nation of 350,000 people. About 240,000 people were eligible to vote Saturday, and turnout was more than 91 percent.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Quick workouts for men MALE, Maldives (AP) – The brother of the Maldives’ former authoritarian ruler was sworn as the country’s new president on Sunday, a day after his runoff victory capped a messy election that raised concerns that the tiny archipelago nation’s fragile new democracy was in jeopardy.In a close runoff on Saturday, voters chose Yaamin Abdul Gayoom, the brother of former autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the Indian Ocean nation for 30 years, over the Maldives’ first democratically elected leader. He conceded the election Saturday and said he would not challenge the results.“This is a very happy day for all of us. We now have an elected president,” he said. “We don’t want to go to the courts.”The Maldives had failed to elect a president in three attempts since September, raising international concerns that the fledgling democracy may slip back to authoritarian rule.Nasheed received 45 percent in a Sept. 7 election, but the result was annulled by the Supreme Court after Ibrahim complained that the voters’ register contained made up names and those of dead people.Last month, police stopped a second attempt at holding the election because all the candidates did not accept a new voters’ list as the court had mandated.The court intervened again to change the runoff election date, which had been set for the day after the Nov. 9 vote. It also ordered incumbent President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to continue in office despite the official end of his term on Nov. 11, purportedly to avoid a constitutional void because the country was past the legal deadline to elect and seat a new president.The U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka congratulated Gayoom and said it looked forward to working in partnership with him.
Top Stories An estimated 130,000 people have been killed in the war that began in early 2011, and as many as 8 million others have been forced from their homes, Kerry said. The number of refugees stands at about 2 million, he said.But even the tentative steps forward that were announced Monday carry high risks of being thwarted by militants.Lavrov noted that rebel insurgents attacked a recent government-sanctioned humanitarian aid convoy to the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk where there were fresh reports of illnesses and deaths among residents from hunger-related ailments this weekend.A U.N. official last week confirmed at least 15 people have died in Yarmouk in recent weeks, but residents say the real number is close to 50. The U.N.’s Relief and Works Agency that supports Palestinian refugees had until recently shipped food into the area, but has not been able to do so since September as the government tightened its blockade.The U.N. humanitarian chief said last month that an estimated 250,000 people in besieged communities in Syria were beyond the reach of aid. Both sides have resorted to blockades and the government has kept outside aid sharply limited. Key humanitarian routes are increasingly cut off by the fighting, and kidnappings of aid workers are on the rise U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are still pushing for a cease-fire in local pockets around the country and a prisoner exchange, which they said would help set the tone for compromise in the run-up to a peace conference scheduled for next week.Both men grimly conceded that a final settlement for both sides to build a new government would happen no time soon _ if ever.“But we must begin, and we must begin now,” Kerry told reporters in Paris. He said the process “will be difficult and will take some time.”Lavrov said, “We’re going to do everything in our power to initiate a process…. This is not going to be a one-time event.”The peace process has been beset in recent weeks by chaos within the Western-backed opposition group, known as the Syrian National Coalition, which is one of the only alliances of rebel fighters and political leaders willing to deal with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government. The coalition is in exile, and has lost widespread credibility within its ranks and among rival opposition officials and rebel groups in Syria who have broken away and are fighting for the upper hand against al-Qaida-linked militants. Four benefits of having a wireless security system Lavrov also noted that an attempt to deliver aid from the International Committee of the Red Cross to hard-struck areas near Damascus was being planned.Kerry acknowledged what he described as an unacceptable uncertainty that insurgents and extremists have created in Syria as other nations try to nudge it toward peace.“We do not want a ceasefire which would be used by a terrorist group, because that would be against the interests of everyone,” Lavrov said.“And those terrorists greatly complicate this equation,” Kerry said. “And if disorder is allowed to continue to grow, it is extremists who will benefit, and it’s all the people who want a peaceful solution and stability who will lose.”He said the moderate opposition coalition has agreed to enforce a cease-fire in places they can control, including Aleppo, the country’s largest city, but suggested the militants would not abide by one.The Syrian National Coalition is deeply divided over whether to attend peace talks scheduled for Jan. 22 in Montreux, Switzerland, and will vote later this week to decide. The group’s president, Ahmad al-Jarba, met with Kerry on Monday for the second time in as many days as the United States made clear that the coalition must show up or suffer a severe credibility hit within the Western world. While Kerry and Lavrov said they agreed on several points, their nations remained at an impasse on whether Iran, Syria’s strongest ally, should attend next week’s talks.Kerry said he would welcome Iran’s participation _ but only if Tehran signs off on earlier diplomatic agreements that a transitional government in Syria would be created by mutual consent and, therefore, likely not include Assad or his close allies.Lavrov, however, said Iran should attend, adding that some other participants have rejected parts of the earlier agreement. He did not specify, but Assad’s government, which is sending a delegation, has said the president will not surrender power and may run again in elections later this year.The U.N., which is hosting the talks, has not yet invited Iran to attend, although a final decision had yet to be made.In Beirut, where he was visiting Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif fueled the debate by saying he is “always ready to go” to help Syria find a way out of war.___Associated Press writers Zeina Karam and Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this report.On Twitter: https://twitter.com/larajakesAPand https://twitter.com/lhinnant How men can have a healthy 2019 New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility (Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement PARIS (AP) – In a first yet fragile step toward peace, Syria’s government and the main but disputed moderate opposition group seeking to oust it have agreed to allow humanitarian aid into some blocked-off parts of the scarred Mideast country.The agreement was announced by the top envoys for the U.S. and Russia, who together are working the opposite sides to broker progress in any possible way to ease the bloody strife that has engulfed Syria for nearly three years without an end in sight. Comments Share The vital role family plays in society
AP10ThingsToSee – Workers hang a banner depicting actress Ingrid Bergman on the Palais during preparations for the 68th international film festival in Cannes, southern France on Monday, May 11, 2015. The festival runs from May 13 to May 24. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) The 114-minute feature uses never-before-seen documents, diaries, letters and personal images from Bergman to tell the incredible story of how a young Swedish girl went on to win three Oscars and become one of the most respected actresses in world cinema. The film artifacts Bergman had handed down to her daughter just before she died of cancer in 1982.“When my mother died, she was very orderly, Swedish. She left a lot of letters, contracts, all the scripts. She said to me ‘I know that this is important, but I don’t know what to do with it,’” said Rossellini.“There is some preciousness,” she added, her face lighting up.–By Thomas AdamsonCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. CANNES (AP) — There’s no getting away from Ingrid Bergman at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.The actress’s youthful eyes stare out from the giant poster billboards speckled town, special film screenings celebrate her classic movies, and her daughter, actress Isabella Rossellini, is at the festival as jury president of the Un Certain Regard competition.Tuesday will also see Rossellini, 62, present a documentary, directed by Stig Bjorkman, called “Ingrid Bergman, in her own words.” Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Patients with chronic pain give advice Men’s health affects baby’s health too Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories
Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories MOSCOW (AP) — Russian space officials say this month’s launch failure of a Proton rocket was due to excessive vibrations in the engine of the rocket’s third stage.Igor Komarov, head of the Roscosmos space agency, told reporters Friday that the vibrations came from a rotor shaft and were due to the material it was made of. He said using a different material to solve the problem would not be excessively costly, but he didn’t specify an amount. The May 16 launch failure, which resulted in the loss of a Mexican communications satellite, came a few weeks after a Soyuz booster rocket broke down as it was trying to send an unmanned supply ship to the International Space Station. The cargo ship later fell to Earth, disintegrating in the atmosphere.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities on Friday were investigating the murder of a journalist in the southeastern state of Tabasco, as a prominent press watchdog group expressed concern over the killing and urged transparency in the probe.Ismael Diaz Lopez was stabbed to death in the chest Thursday in Teapa, south of the state capital of Villahermosa, the Tabasco prosecutor’s office reported via Twitter. It added that that the strongest line of investigation suggests a possible family conflict, given a prior legal history that it did not specify.The newspaper El Criollo, Diaz Lopez’s employer, wrote that he had been involved in a domestic dispute.The Inter American Press Association acknowledged that the facts behind the killing are not certain, but urged an exhaustive investigation “to determine whether the motive for the crime is connected to the victim’s work and to punish those responsible.”The IAPA said Diaz Lopez, who worked for El Criollo and the newspaper Tabasco Hoy, was slain inside his home by unknown intruders.According to the United Nations and the Organization of American States, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Check your body, save your life
Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli settlement watchdog group says Israel has advanced plans to build or retroactively approve 1,065 housing units in West Bank Jewish settlements.The settlements are built on land the Palestinians claim for a future state. Most countries consider them illegitimate.Peace Now said on Thursday that an Israeli military committee retroactively approved 24 housing units in the Beit El settlement, though Israel’s Supreme Court ordered them demolished by the end of July because they were built on private Palestinian lands. Sponsored Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home In total, the group said, the Israeli military Wednesday approved 541 new housing units, retroactively legalized 228 existing housing units, and approved infrastructure for a plan that includes 296 housing units. The military also approved the construction of two industrial structures, a Jewish religious school and a winery.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Check your body, save your life Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day
Comments Share At least three policemen and 16 protesters were injured when authorities used water cannon to push back the activists, who hurled rocks and bottles at the police, according to police and Red Cross volunteers.Aquino, whose six-year term ends next June, is expected to report on the progress of his fight against corruption and poverty, his campaign battle cry that landed him a landslide victory.But problems have persisted in a Southeast Asian country where about a fourth of its 100 million people remain mired in long-entrenched poverty. Communist and Muslim insurgencies that have raged on and off for more than four decades have combined with natural disasters in the typhoon-prone archipelago and law and order problems to turn governance into a tough and complex dilemma.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Left-wing protesters clashed with riot police amid a downpour Monday as they tried to breach a barricade of barbed wire and shipping containers ahead of the Philippine president’s final state of the nation address.Some of the approximately 4,000 drenched protesters started to push away the metal cargo containers and iron railings blocking them from getting close to the House of Representatives in suburban Quezon city where President Benigno Aquino III is to deliver his speech later Monday, police said. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Quick workouts for men Top Stories
Source = AAT Kings AAT Kings has won the highly regarded Best Tour Operator – Domestic award for the fourth consecutive year at the 18th annual National Travel Industry Awards. The award ceremony was held on Saturday 10th July, 2010 at the Westin Sydney.The ceremony was attended by the cream of the travel industry, all hoping to have secured the votes of the industry.Tammy Marshall, managing director of AAT Kings, said, “We are absolutely thrilled to have won this award. We pride ourselves on being the domestic touring specialists and I am honoured that the industry recognises and values our team’s efforts. “This award really goes to show how AAT Kings is seen as the leader in our field. We offer an extensive product portfolio, given our retail partners the opportunity to increase their sales for clients travelling domestically or across the pacific to New Zealand. “I would like to thank my team at AAT Kings for making this award a reality and I’d also like too thank our travel agent partners for once again voting for AAT Kings”. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/27a76/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>
Rolls-Royce Australia has denied the company knew about problems with the engines before last November’s mid-air explosion involving a Qantas A380 jet.Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald at the Avalon air show, Rolls-Royce Australia Services’ chief executive Andrew Dudgeon said the company was not aware of any known problem with the A380 engine before the accident, which occurred over Batam Island on November 4.But Mr Dudgeon told the newspaper he could not confirm whether details from the European Aviation Safety Agency about two subsequent modifications were sent for re-certification.”Nothing flies without certification,” he said.”We had the [turbine] disc back at Derby (in the United Kingdom) for analysis within two days.”We investigated, isolated and fixed the problem.”He said Rolls-Royce Australia had already placed 350 engineers to investigate the reason for the explosion.Mr Dudgeon said there was no relevance between November’s explosion and an oil problem on a Qantas A380 flight to London on February 15 that caused a partial power loss.”It was only a very small oil leak,” he told the newspaper.”It did not require an engine shutdown.”Problems for the engines have continued recently, after another partial power loss occurred on a Qantas A380 jet on February 24 caused by decreasing oil levels. Qantas said both leaks last month affected different parts of the engine than those involved in the November explosion.Australia’s air safety investigators found a fire from leaking oil led to the QF32 engine explosion, traced to a badly manufactured oil stub pipe.A Qantas spokesperson told E-Travel Blackboard the company was continuing to negotiate compensation terms with Rolls-Royce. Mr Dudgeon told SMH the company was “close to settlement” with Qantas, but declined to indicate a ballpark compensation figure.The airline estimates the accidents would have cost $80 million and another $100 million in aircraft damage and repair costs. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: V.V
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: V.V Online small ships operator eWaterways will expand into the Australia and New Zealand market following the appointment of Peter Smith as its new General Manager on Wednesday. Formerly the head of NRMA Travel and Leisure’s Creative Cruising department, as well as at ZUJI and OctopusTravel, Mr Smith said it was a good time for eWaterways to move into the region. “Small ships have traditionally been hard to find and book, just like hotel rooms were 10 years ago,” he said. “It’s the right time for the product here, given growing consumer demand for cruising, our comprehensive range of niche small ship supplier content, and the simplicity of the eWaterways technology platform. “In short, we’re doing for small ships, what OctopusTravel helped do for hotel bookings ten years ago.” eWaterways CEO and co-founder Daniela Wagner said Mr Smith’s experience and reputation in the Australian market would be a valuable asset to the company. “We are confident that with him at the helm we will see significant growth in AU/NZ, which we believe is a perfect and substantial market for this product,” she said. Mr Smith’s appointment sees him reunite with his old colleague from OctopusTravel Daniela Wagner, who was previously its managing director.As part of his new role, Mr Smith’s first focus will be to introduce the business to Australian travel agencies.