Nicaragua prepares for municipal elections

first_imgNo related posts. Nicaragua began a period of “electoral silence” Thursday, three days before municipal elections are scheduled on Sunday.As established by national legislation, none of the 15 participating parties can hold public gatherings until after the elections. However, the campaign was characterized by general apathy from parties and voters, the Nicaraguan daily La Prensa reported.Posts of mayor, deputy mayor and council members are being contested in 153 municipalities, with more than 33,000 candidates – the highest number in the history of elections in the country – due to changes in a law that increased the number of council members.Changes in the law by the National Assembly also favored the participation of women in local government, as gender proportionality was established for nominations.Most major cities, such as Managua, Estelí, Chinandega and Masaya, on Wednesday hosted small marches mostly in support of a coalition led by the ruling Sandinista party. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

University of Costa Rica calls for national mental health survey

first_imgRelated posts:An average of 315 Costa Ricans commit suicide every year, report says Costa Rican lawmakers submit anti-bullying bill Costa Rican health officials alarmed at spike in respiratory illnesses Costa Rican health officials confirm eight deaths from AH1N1 virus Costa Rica might be the “happiest” country on Earth but it knows very little about the actual mental health of its citizens.That’s according to a new report from the University of Costa Rica School of Psychology that says public health officials have limited data on the mental well-being of the country’s 4.5 million inhabitants.The report found that there was an “important gap” in the research conducted about what determines mental health and what helps prevent mental illness, according to a press release from the UCR.The authors of the report recommended conducting a national mental health survey that follows standards set by the World Health Organization. The hope is that the new report, which could be released in 2014, will help mental health practitioners identify at-risk populations and geographic areas and facilitate access to mental health treatment.The lack of research was especially marked for vulnerable populations, including women, migrants, children, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, the handicapped, and ethnic minorities, among others.According to, last year the Health Ministry published a National Mental Health Policy, but the plan came under criticism from academics because many of its assertions were not based on collected data.The news website added that the survey will interview residents in 10,000 homes in Costa Rica about substance abuse, impulsive behavior, violence and eating disorders, among other topics.While there is little hard data on Ticos’ mental health, the report did offer a few recommendations to fortify the mind against mental illness. Green spaces, a network of community support, good public transportation, and positive working conditions were listed as some of the factors that contribute to good mental health. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Judge orders Costa Rica govt to reimburse ship captain for seized shark

first_img Facebook Comments In a case that keeps getting more bizarre by the minute, on Monday a Puntarenas court ordered the Costa Rican government to pay $6,622.46 to boat captain Su Hsien Feng for the destruction of more than 650 shark fins seized from his boat’s hull in 2011.The court’s judge, Franklin Lara, ordered the payment as part of his absolution of Costa Rican Taiwanese businesswoman Kathy Tseng, the defendant in the case. In addition to forcing Costa Rican taxpayers to foot the bill for the destroyed fins, Lara’s ruling essentially has once again legalized shark-finning in Costa Rican waters, conservationists say.Condemned for its cruelty, shark finning involves slicing off the animal’s valuable fins — the key ingredient in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup — and discarding the body to the sea to save room in a ship’s hulls. Tseng’s case was the first-ever prosecution of a shark finning method known as spining, where fishermen kept the fins attached to the meatless spine by strips of skin in an attempt to slip through a Costa Rican regulation requiring fins to be naturally attached to the body.According to Monday’s court verdict, Costa Rica must also pay Tseng’s legal fees incurred in her defense.For the complete story see: “Judge’s ruling opens the door to legalized shark finning in Costa Rica, conservation groups say” Related posts:Judge’s ruling opens the door to legalized shark finning in Costa Rica, conservation groups say Could a shark-finning trial restore loophole in Costa Rica law? President Chinchilla pushes for elimination of Incopesca’s board of directors Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís nominated for ‘Shark Enemy of the Year’ awardlast_img read more

At MexicoUS border pope decries migrant tragedy

first_imgRelated posts:Refugee program for Central Americans ‘still on the drawing board’: US official Pope Francis preaches to marginalized indigenous in a fight to keep Catholics Mexico to contact US candidates to rebut ‘disinformation’ US Supreme Court decision on immigration could resonate most in Los Angeles In a highly symbolic gesture, the pope climbed a ramp facing the Rio Grande that separates Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, Texas, laid flowers under a cross and blessed hundreds of migrants on the American side, who waved at him.Francis then celebrated mass with more than 300,000 Catholic faithful on the Juárez side of the border, with tens of thousands more following it on a giant screen in an El Paso stadium.Immigration is a hot-button issue on the U.S. presidential campaign trail and White House hopeful Donald Trump criticized the pope‘s decision to hold such a mass.But Latin America’s first pontiff did not talk directly about the politics across the border, focusing instead on the plight of migrants.“We cannot deny the humanitarian crisis which in recent years has meant the migration of thousands of people, whether by train or highway or on foot, crossing hundreds of kilometers through mountains, deserts and inhospitable zones,” Francis said.“The human tragedy that is forced migration is a global phenomenon today,” he said on the last day of a five-day trip to Mexico.Central Americans have been leaving their poor and gang-infested countries in droves, crossing Mexico’s porous southern border with Guatemala on their way to the United States.The trek across Mexico is filled with dangers — from gangs that steal, kill or seek to forcibly recruit them, to corrupt officials who demand bribes to let them travel.Many others have died under the U.S.-Mexico desert’s scorching sun.“Injustice is radicalized in the young; they are cannon fodder, persecuted and threatened when they try to flee the spiral of violence and the hell of drugs. Then there are the many women unjustly robbed of their lives,” Francis said.“No more death. No more exploitation. There is still time to change, there is still a way out and a chance, time to implore the mercy of God.”Pope and Trump in verbal sparThe fate of 11 million undocumented immigrants is the source of vivid debate in the United States.Trump, who wants Mexico to pay to build a wall along the border, has called the pope a “very political person.”“I think that he doesn’t understand the problems our country has. I don’t think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico,” the billionaire real estate tycoon told the Fox Business channel last week.In response, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said that, while the pope‘s job was not politics, “one should not be surprised that his pastoral and spiritual message has political repercussions.”María Ortega Cruz Bautista, 62, traveled from Chicago to be with her family at the mass in Ciudad Juárez, a city she left 14 years ago.She voiced hope that the pope‘s message will prompt authorities “to have more compassion and more consideration for migrants.”In El Paso, Sandra Ovalle, 32, shared a similar feeling as she headed with her family to the Sun Bowl stadium, where the jubilant crowd performed a wave.“We hope that the pope will make our leaders change, so that we get support and that things change for the better,” said Ovalle, a native of Mexico’s northern Chihuahua state who now lives in the U.S. state of New Mexico.Inmates as ‘prophets’Before the mass, Francis visited a prison, nearly a week after a riot killed 49 inmates at another Mexican penitentiary.He visited its chapel and addressed hundreds of inmates in the prison yard, telling them they should use their experiences to help “put an end to this cycle of violence and exclusion.”“The one who has suffered the greatest pain, and we could say ‘has experienced hell,’ can become a prophet in society. Work so that this society which uses people and discards them will not go on claiming victims,” he said.The Juárez prison was the scene of deadly riots a few years ago, with dozens of prisoners killed in recent years, but it has been held up as an example of efforts to improve Mexico’s notoriously overcrowded prisons.Ciudad Juárez stands as a grim symbol of Mexico’s violence, but also of hope.It became the country’s most dangerous city a few years ago as the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels fought for control of drug routes.Their turf war left as many as 3,000 dead in 2010, but the murderous rampage gradually eased afterward, with the toll falling to 300 last year. Ciudad Juárez, Mexico — Pope Francis on Wednesday decried the human tragedy of migrants fleeing violence as he celebrated a huge mass on Mexico’s border with the United States, where many have died while crossing it.center_img Facebook Commentslast_img read more

This week in the Peace Corps Sports for Costa Rican youth

first_imgLast month, U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Brian and his community partnered with student athletes from Marquette University through Courts for Kids to build a multi-use court. In addition to this, the student athletes put on a sports clinic where they introduced kids of the community to lacrosse and worked with them in volleyball, soccer, and football skills. In the future, the court will serve as an after school outlet for youth in the community.The Peace Corps has been bringing U.S. citizens to Costa Rica since 1963 and has had approximately 3,747 volunteers since then. Today there are 106 volunteers in Costa Rica working with their communities on projects in education as well as community and youth development and education.The Peace Corps photo series in The Tico Times Costa Rica Changemakers section is sponsored by the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), a proud financial supporter of Peace Corps Volunteer projects nationwide. Learn more here. To donate to support the Peace Corps Costa Rica, visit the official donation page.  Volunteers’ last names and community names are withheld from these publications, per Peace Corps policy.Connect with the Peace Corps Costa Rica on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Brought to you by the Costa Rica USA Foundation (CRUSA). Courtesy of CRUSA Facebook Comments Related posts:This week in the Peace Corps: Cacao in Talamanca This week in the Peace Corps: Celebrating English learning This week in the Peace Corps: Building sustainable recycling projects This week in the Peace Corps: Connecting with the community, one goal at a timelast_img read more

Off the eaten path Salt Traders

first_imgWilliam Ayre is a Canadian born chef and restaurateur who has spent the last half of his life doing business in Costa Rica, where he now considers to be home. Inspired by Anthony Bourdain, Ayre’s passion of experiencing different cultures through food has taken him to 35 different countries over five continents. Whether it’s a 20-course meal at a fine dining restaurant in Toronto, or cantina hopping in search for the best chifrijo here in San José, he fits in just fine.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Salt Traders doesn’t always have food. As their name implies, their main trade is peddling salt. They produce small batches of one-of-a-kind blends, as well as a selection of superior, craft salts — for lack of a better phrase. But the real reason I find myself there is for their pop-up food events.They announce them every few weeks on their Instagram page and they usually last from Thursday to Saturday, unless they sell out. Sometimes they do.Each event focuses on one single menu item, so you don’t really have a choice.Their cheeseburgers are famous and they also rotate between offering pulled pork sandwiches, empanadas, tortilla aliñada (handmade corn tortillas with cheese and/or sour cream) and tacos. Everything is homemade and fresh. Again, all of these will never be available at the same time, but depending on which pop-up event you attend, one of them will be flying off of the shelf.I have been able to visit on two occasions. From what I was able to devour and understand, two of their most popular items are the cheeseburgers and pulled pork sandwiches. Both are absolutely delicious, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the cheeseburger. The delicious burger at Salt Traders. I miss it already. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)For me, it is the best in the country. It’s unmatched. I have no idea how much salt these guys sell, but I do know they could sell thousands of their cheeseburgers. It’s a winning recipe. The cheeseburger is made up of a hand-formed, quarter-pound patty, which is “smashed” on the grill. They select their own prime cuts of beef and ground it themselves, which makes for an incredibly tender and juicy patty. It’s topped with a generous portion of cheddar cheese that covers the patty and melts off around the sides. The cheese then hardens at the edges into crispy bits that are an absolute treat when you get one in a bite. On top of that, you can get lettuce, caramelized onions — that have been reduced for 18 hours on low heat — house-made dill pickles, and a secret sauce. That’s all squeezed into a brioche bun. The homemade bun is pillowy soft, and everything tastes so good together, that I’ll get two next time. The hand-cut french fries on the side are just as good. They’re fried twice at different temperatures and seasoned with one of Salt Traders’ custom saltsThe pulled pork is served on the same brioche bun. The contents are substituted for fresh coleslaw, BBQ sauce, and pulled pork. The pork is brined for four days and then smoked low and slow for about 24 hours. This makes it fall-apart tender, with an authentic smokey flavor. This sandwich is also a winner, no doubt about it. The pulled BBQ pork sandwich at Salt Traders is also a winner. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)The sandwich comes with a side of hand-cut sweet potato chips. They were the definition of crunchy. Everything here is really made with love and I love to eat it. You have a couple of different drink options of fresh fruit flavors mixed with club soda. I chose the starfruit, which was tart and refreshing, both times.The sandwich and the cheeseburger both cost 6,000 colones (about $10), including the side of chips or fries, and a house blended soda. Prices here include tax, and major credit cards are accepted. Salt Traders is in the center of Santa Ana, 200 meters south of Ekono and 300 meters to the east, in a traditional white-and-blue corner house.You pay on arrival and then take a seat. When your food is ready, it’s served to you at the table. I enjoy taking a seat in their outside patio area, which is decorated with a scattering of different plants. The greenery makes for an enjoyable setting, especially with the beautiful and sunny summer weather in Santa Ana. This meal is an experience, but it’s nothing fancy. Don’t get that confused. The guys are friendly and passionate. That reflects in the cool ambiance and fee lof this place. Salt Traders initially started as a business school project between Adrian Arroyo and Russell Davis. Their assignment was to bring a business plan to life and now that project has turned into a lifestyle for the two partners. The casual ambiance at Salt Traders. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)Six years after the project started, Salt Traders is a space that promotes unique, quality products that vendors believe in. They might consider opening another location, which they say would then operate more like a traditional style restaurant with a set menu. For now, the concept is dynamic and varies. Street parking is available, but limited. These events are intentionally rare and elusive, so it can fill up. They are gaining a well-deserved reputation with these eats, so you might have to figure out where to leave your car. You can also look for “Salt Traders” on Waze or Uber to arrive conveniently. Make sure to follow them on Instagram, to see when they will be back at it next. I myself look forward to going again and again.  Know of a restaurant you think we should cover? E-mail us at Related posts:Off the eaten path: Taj Mahal Off the eaten path: Don Doner Off the eaten path: Ristopizza Napolitano A Vit è N’Attim Off the eaten path: Aguila y Sollast_img read more

Chinas distinctive CCTV headquarters is completed

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top holiday drink recipes Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Associated PressBEIJING (AP) – The futuristic building _ with two leaning towers linked with a 90-degree twist at the top _ has attracted much controversy since the day its design debuted a decade ago.Now, it is ready for occupation by China’s staid state TV broadcaster, China Central Television.Construction of CCTV’s new headquarters officially concluded Wednesday _ 10 years after Dutch architectural firm OMA envisioned a skyscraper that would symbolize China’s rise on the world’s stage. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breachescenter_img CCTV looked worldwide for the design of its new headquarters building in 2002, shortly after China joined the World Trade Organization and won its bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. That forward-looking momentum explains China’s embrace of an unconventional design, Scheeren said.China “was set to appear on the world’s stage in a new era,” Scheeren said. “That psychology of a very future-oriented moment was very important to make this project possible.”Construction began in 2004. By summer 2008, its exterior was completed, just in time for the world to view it during the Olympics.But then disaster struck. A fire in February 2009 engulfed an adjacent 159-meter (520-foot), 44-story building in the CCTV complex that was to house a luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which was only weeks away from opening. An illegal fireworks display arranged by CCTV to mark the end of the Lunar New Year started the blaze. One firefighter died and eight others were injured.The disaster became an embarrassing episode for CCTV. The head of CCTV, Zhao Huayong, was replaced amid a high-level investigation and 20 people were sentenced to prison. That building is now being repaired, but the blaze prompted mocking from some Chinese who resent CCTV for producing dull propaganda-style programming while spending lavishly on grandiose projects such as its new headquarters. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Like the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube _ signature venues for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games _ the CCTV building is part of a new architectural wave that is redefining the landscape of Beijing _ a city that is transforming from drabness to vibrancy.Officials from the powerful CCTV, inspectors, engineers and architects did a final walk through the 54-story, 234-meter (772-foot) structure on Wednesday, chief architect Ole Scheeren said.Nestled amid a cluster of skyscrapers in the city’s central business district, the CCTV building has two leg-like structures that lean toward each other, meeting in mid air with a right-angled deck-like connecting body that hangs 160 meters (528 feet) above the ground.Its bold design has drawn praise and detractions and earned the nickname of “big boxer shorts” from local residents. Scheeren _ a German who co-designed the building with Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas _ said the building is designed for interconnectivity crucial for a media giant like CCTV.“One thing this building has done is it has asked a lot of questions. It has questioned what is architecture, what can architecture be, what can it do,” Scheeren told The Associated Press. “This question can be answered far more deeply and interestingly now that the building will start to live and will start to be utilized.” Men’s health affects baby’s health too Scheeren declined to reveal the project’s cost, though outside estimates have put it at hundreds of millions of dollars.He said the architects hope the building can be a force of progress in China’s development.“It’s mainly the end of our work, but it’s actually the beginning of its life,” Scheeren said. “From here on, the building finally will be what it’s made for.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Key issues forces in Northern Irelands conflict

first_imgENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland (AP) – Queen Elizabeth II’s two-day visit to Northern Island, where she will meet Wednesday with a key figure in the IRA-aligned Sinn Fein party, is seen by many as a watershed event in the building of a lasting peace.Northern Ireland was created in 1921 as a predominantly British Protestant corner of the United Kingdom months before the Irish Catholic rest of Ireland won independence. But Northern Ireland’s Catholic minority never accepted partition and opposed its Protestant government. Sponsored Stories All five major parties participate in Northern Ireland’s 5-year-old unity government, the cornerstone of the U.S.-brokered Good Friday accord reached in 1998. That landmark pact proposed police reform, paroles for convicted militants, paramilitary disarmament and British military reductions. It reaffirmed that Northern Ireland will remain in the U.K. as long as most residents want that.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) ErrorOK ErrorOK How men can have a healthy 2019 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Comments   Share   center_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories ErrorOK ErrorOKIn the mid-1960s, Catholics organized civil rights protests against discrimination in housing, jobs and political power. Protestant police and militant civilians suppressed many of the demonstrations. Britain deployed troops as peacekeepers amid 1969 riots.Irish Catholic hard-liners soon formed the Provisional IRA to try to force Northern Ireland out of the U.K. and into the Republic of Ireland. The group pioneered the use of car bombs as a terror tactic. Its violence did force Britain to abolish Northern Ireland’s Protestant government and take direct charge of Northern Ireland in 1972, the worst year of decades of bloodshed. Britain slowly imposed reforms that met most of the Catholic rights demands.IRA violence encouraged vengeful attacks by Protestant paramilitary groups, chiefly the Ulster Defense Association and the Ulster Volunteer Force. They killed more than 1,050 people, chiefly Catholic civilians often picked at random.In all, several IRA factions killed more than 2,150 people, including about 125 in attacks in England. British troops and police killed 370 people. The Provisional IRA, the UDA and the UVF all ceased fire in the mid-1990s to support peace talks. But other small IRA groups still mount occasional shootings and bombings. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

Sinai buildup shifts tenet of EgyptIsrael peace

first_img“No one is talking about changing the treaty,” said Israeli lawmaker and former defense minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer.Asked about calls to amend the deal, the spokesman for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, of the Brotherhood, avoided a direct response. “The state respects international accords but at the same time serves the interest of the nation and Egyptian citizens,” Yasser Ali told reporters Tuesday.The new Sinai offensive was sparked by a stunning surprise attack Sunday by militants that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai near the border with Gaza and Israel.It has underlined how much security cooperation still continues between Egypt and Israel despite the Brotherhood’s new prominence. Morsi may be president, but Mubarak-era military generals long accustomed to dealing with Israel still hold dominant authorities over him.Middle-ranking security officials from the two nations communicate regularly. Cairo airport officials say hardly a week goes by without the arrival of a private plane of Israeli security officials who get whisked away from the tarmac for talks with their Egyptian counterparts and fly home hours later.The 1979 peace deal won Egypt the return of the Sinai Peninsula, captured by Israel in the 1967 war. But it restricted numbers of troops and types of weapons Egypt could station there. Nothing more than a light weapon was allowed in most of the peninsula. Only police, no soldiers, were allowed in the zone directly on the border. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories But talk of formally changing the treaty remains just that, talk.The reason may lie in the delicate realities of the new Egypt, where the fiercely anti-Israel Muslim Brotherhood has risen to political power _ with one of its own as Egypt’s first president since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak last year. The Islamist group has said that Egypt will continue to abide by the accord. At the same time, it has repeatedly called for changes in the treaty’s limits on troops in Sinai, seen as humiliating.But its calls may be mainly rhetoric for an Egyptian public among which anti-Israel feeling is high and amending the deal is popular.Actually renegotiating the accord would require diplomatic gymnastics for the Brotherhood to keep its vow never to meet with Israeli officials. And any deal could be spun as the Brotherhood signing a peace agreement with its nemesis, no matter how much technical deniability the group tries to maintain.Israel is willing to bend troop limits. But it is tepid to formal amendments for fear of enshrining too much firepower on its border, especially when Egypt’s post-Mubarak future remains unclear.A senior Israeli official told The Associated Press in Jerusalem that the question of amending the treaty was not raised by the Egyptians so far, or by the Israelis. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Comments   Share   5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Last weekend’s attack was an alarm bell over the increasing boldness of Islamic militants in Sinai. The attackers struck a military checkpoint, caused the Egyptian military’s worst non-wartime casualties, stole an armored vehicle and ammunition and drove into Israel, apparently to carry out an attack. There, they were hit by Israeli airstrikes.It was at least the third attack into Israel by militants from Sinai since early 2011. Militants have also repeatedly attacked Egyptian army and security forces positions in northern Sinai, killing at least 50. Various militant groups, some with links to al-Qaida-inspired groups in Gaza, have cropped up, calling for an Islamic state in Egypt.Militant activity in Sinai has grown for several years, fueled in part by resentment among many native Bedouins over police heavy-handedness and lack of adequate government services.Things rapidly worsened after Mubarak’s ouster. Police largely melted away and are still too afraid to patrol many areas. A massive flow of smuggled arms from Libya, including heavy machine guns, RPGs and anti-aircraft guns, is making their way to Sinai militants.The crisis has been left to fester in the 18 months since Mubarak’s fall while the military rulers who took power after him were tied down in political wrangling with the Brotherhood and other Egyptian factions. That has been altered twice since. After it pulled out from the Mediterranean coastal Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel allowed Egypt to deploy 750 military border guards.Last year, the lawlessness in Sinai after Mubarak’s ouster prompted the Israelis to allow the deployment of some 3,500 troops with armored vehicles in the border zone.Some estimates by Israel say Egypt deployed no more than 40-50 percent of the 3,500 troops. Egyptian officials have refused to comment on the troop numbers.Now Egypt is moving in more soldiers and sharply hiking its firepower after last weekend’s attack. After intensive contacts between Egyptian and Israeli officials, Egypt early in the week sent at least two attack helicopters, 20 armored vehicles laden with an unspecified number of troops and elite counterterrorism policemen to the border zone, security and military officials in the area said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the movements.Overnight Tuesday-Wednesday, attack helicopters carried out their first strikes in the peninsula.On Thursday, 60 more vehicles, including 40 light tanks, complete with their crews, headed to the border region. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk “The military has been consumed by the political struggle that continues and issues of governance have not received diligent attention, Sinai included,” said Michael W. Hanna of the Century Foundation in New York. “This negligence has been exacerbated by the overall deterioration of security in the post-Mubarak period.”Israel has been urging Egypt to go after militants. But its attitude has been that Egypt can do that with expanded troop limits, without amending the treaty.“There are things that can be done … to add (Egyptian) border forces of a higher quality in terms of weaponry, perhaps free movement of helicopters in certain areas, but not much more than that,” said Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt.“Israel sees Sinai as a strategic buffer zone of paramount importance. It should never be a springboard to launch any attack against Israel,” he told the AP.Israel remains the archenemy in the eyes of most Egyptians, and many dislike the treaty. Still, Mubarak was a reliable ally, building close security cooperation and economic ties with Israel during his 29 year rule.The treaty, negotiated under U.S. sponsorship, has been diligently observed by both sides’ governments for 33 years. It successfully ended a state of war between the most powerful Arab nation and Israel after four ruinous wars. It also changed the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – Egyptian troops, light tanks, armored vehicles and attack helicopters are pouring into the Sinai desert to root out increasingly aggressive Islamic militants in the most significant easing to date of a key provision in the landmark 1979 peace treaty with Israel: The demilitarization of the peninsula.For more than 30 years, Egyptian soldiers with heavy weapons were virtually banned from much of Sinai to create a buffer between the longtime enemies. Now, Israel has green-lighted the surge in hopes militants on its doorstep will be defeated. Sponsored Stories But the threats have changed, as Sunday’s attack made clear, said Nimrod Novik, who advised Israeli President Shimon Peres when he was prime minister and foreign minister. Novik advocates amending the treaty’s military annex to let in Egyptian troops more suited to fighting militants, such as airborne paratroopers.Moreover, if amended by mutual consent, Novik explained, it would amount to an endorsement of peace by what he called the “new Egypt” _ a reference to its Islamist leaders.“Since the peace treaty is a paramount strategic asset for Israel, this symbolic act is significant, too.”Defense Minister Ehud Barak says he does not doubt Egypt’s ability to clean up Sinai, but was not so certain about its political will to do so.“Time will tell,” he told Israel Radio, but added: “We see operations we didn’t see in the past. They are acting with a sweep and resolve I don’t remember in the past.”___Teibel reported from Jerusalem.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Investor wants 20 million for Argentine flagship

first_img Sponsored Stories Argentina responded that it won’t bend.“Argentina will exhaust all judicial possibilities in Ghana and in international courts in defense of its sovereignty, against the vulture funds and those who try to impose a global system in which people’s lives are subjected to the speculation of capital,” the foreign ministry said.Robert Raben, director of the American Task Force Argentina, a Washington lobbying group representing bondholders, said the people of Ghana will benefit from Thursday’s ruling.“As a country upholds the rule of law, investment increases and the economy grows. This is precisely the opposite direction that Argentina has gone _ repudiating debt that it has the ability to pay,” Raben’s statement said. “As a result of these policies, investment into Argentina has evaporated, and it has become isolated from the international community.”___Associated Press writers Almudena Calatrava and Michael Warren in Buenos Aires contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help ACCRA, Ghana (AP) – International investors put a $20 million price tag on an Argentine navy training ship Thursday after a judge in Ghana ruled that the ARA Libertad cannot set sail until the South American country settles claims for unpaid debts.The U.S. creditors are demanding payment in full on Argentine bonds for which most investors accepted 30 cents on the dollar in 2005.Justice Richard Agyei-Frimpong had ordered the tall sailing ship held at Tema harbor days earlier after creditors cited judgments in the U.S. and Britain approving the seizure of Argentine assets anywhere in the world. On Thursday, he said Argentina failed to persuade him to remove the injunction. Comments   Share   Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Argentina’s government said the ruling violates international norms as well as rulings by judges in the U.S., Germany and France that found Argentine military vessels immune from the seizures.The ruling “compromises Ghana’s international responsibility, adding a political dimension to the judicial case that affects bilateral relations,” Argentina’s defense ministry said. It said the country’s deputy defense minister and foreign minister would travel to Africa to discuss the matter with Ghana’s highest authorities.The case was brought by NML Capital Ltd., a subsidiary of the Elliot Capital Management fund run by billionaire Paul Singer, who leads a group of holdouts demanding payment in full plus interest for Argentine bonds bought at fire sale prices after Argentina’s economy collapsed in 2002. Some 93 percent of bondholders accepted pennies on the dollar seven years ago, but Argentina has failed to come to terms with the holdouts.Singer “has boasted of having always won with his strategy of buying debt in default so that he can later multiply geometrically his investment. The immorality of this usurious practice” has been particularly harmful to African countries, the Argentine foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The three-masted training vessel Libertad came to Ghana on a goodwill mission as part of a West African tour with hundreds of navy cadets from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Peru. Chile’s government said Thursday it was keeping in contact with the Argentine navy and their cadets’ families as the situation developed.Luis Suarez, a cadet working in the ship’s galley, told an Argentine radio station that they access to Internet and phones and can communicate with their families back home. He said that there is food aboard the ship and the crew rode buses into town to buy things, but that their movements are restricted.“We are not freely circulating,” Suarez said.NML now plans to seek an auction of the ship, which it hopes will pressure Argentina to post a bond in Ghana reflecting the vessel’s value. At that point, the ship and its crew would be able to leave port, Argentina would forfeit the bond, and NML would collect the money.NML’s lawyer, Ace Anan Ankomah, said his side filed a motion saying “you know what, our claim is all about $350 million, but if you post a bond of $20 million, we will agree with you and go to court, that the vessel can leave. So we are waiting to hear from them.”last_img read more

New IRA faction claims Northern Ireland killing

first_img Parents, stop beating yourself up 0 Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The new group’s statement said it had “a responsibility to protect and defend” its imprisoned members. It described the Black killing as a direct response to “the degradation” of prison strip-searching.The three groups that now constitute the self-styled IRA faction are the Real IRA, Republican Action Against Drugs and Oglaigh na hEireann, the Gaelic equivalent of “IRA.”The Real IRA was responsible for the deadliest bombing in Northern Ireland history: the 1998 car-bomb attack on the town of Omagh that killed 29, mostly women and children. The other factions are of more recent vintage, with the RAAD group focused on targeting criminal rivals in Northern Ireland’s second-largest city, Londonderry.A fourth faction also still committed to violence, the Continuity IRA, has declined to merge.Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist party that delivered the Provisionals’ disbandment, said today’s IRA remnant had no coherent political strategy and should abandon violence too.Gerry Kelly, a senior Sinn Fein politician and convicted Provisional IRA car bomber, said any fringe IRA factions “cannot deliver a united Ireland,” the traditional IRA goal of forcing Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom and into the Republic of Ireland. ErrorOK… ErrorOK Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix About 40 members of IRA factions are imprisoned there. The inmates have protested for more than a year against a policy of strip-searching them in search of weapons, drugs and cellphones. They have previously threatened to kill off-duty guards.Black, 52, was shot as he drove to work on Nov. 1. He had worked as a guard for three decades and expected to retire soon.He was the first prison officer killed in Northern Ireland since 1993, the year before the dominant anti-British paramilitary group, the Provisional IRA, began an open-ended truce that inspired Northern Ireland’s peace process. The Provisionals renounced violence and disarmed in 2005.The group that claimed Black’s killing was formed in July by the merger of three anti-British splinter groups led by former Provisionals who still pursue violence in Northern Ireland. The merger represented an effort by breakaway IRA members to mount a more coherent campaign, given that most of their bombings and shootings fail because of faulty equipment or British intelligence tipoffs.In the latest such episode, British Army experts dismantled a bomb Monday that had been found in the middle of a road near an elementary school in north Belfast. Police said the bomb had been attached to the underside of the intended victim’s car but failed to detonate and instead fell off. Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Associated PressDUBLIN (AP) – A new Irish Republican Army faction in Northern Ireland claimed responsibility Monday for its first killing and defended the bloodshed as a necessary act of vengeance.The group, a merger of factions that brands itself as simply the IRA, said in a statement to the Irish News in Belfast its members shot to death David Black this month because he worked as a guard at Northern Ireland’s top-security Maghaberry prison. “These groups need to realize that they cannot derail the peace process and their actions will not resolve anything within the jail or in wider society. They are killing for the sake of killing and should stop immediately,” he said.Black’s family barred Sinn Fein politicians from attending his funeral. Like most prison officers, he came from the province’s British Protestant majority and also was a member of the Orange Order, a conservative Protestant brotherhood that is despised by many Irish Catholics.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Israel honors 6 million victims of Nazi Holocaust

first_img(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona This year’s commemoration marked 70 years since the Warsaw ghetto uprising, a symbol of Jewish resistance against the Nazis that resonates deeply in Israel to this day.The uprising was the first large-scale rebellion against the Nazis in Europe and the single greatest act of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. Though guaranteed to fail, it became a symbol of struggle against impossible conditions and inspired other acts of uprising and underground resistance.President Barack Obama, who visited Yad Vashem on his trip to Israel last month, said in a statement that the day offered a chance to remember the “beautiful lives lost” and to “pay tribute to all those who resisted the Nazis’ heinous acts and all those who survived.”Kerry, at a meeting with Peres later Monday, said the wailing of the sirens in the morning “had a profound impact on me. It was impressive.”At the opening state ceremony Sunday night at Yad Vashem, Israeli leaders linked the desperate Jewish revolt of 1943 to the warrior mentality that enabled the establishment of Israel five years later.They also tied the Nazi genocide to Iran’s suspected drive to acquire nuclear arms and urged the world to stop it. Iranian leaders have repeatedly denied the scope of the Holocaust while making references to the destruction of Israel. Now 75, Huchberger took part in a rite that has become a centerpiece of the Israel’s annual memorial day for the 6 million Jews killed in the genocide by reading the names of his dead relatives: his parents, Alexander and Elenora Noz, and his brother, Albert, who stayed behind in Paris. All were killed.“It is still settling in. It was just overwhelming. This place is `terra sancta’ (holy ground) for people who have been associated with the Holocaust,” said Huchberger, who has only a single photograph to remember his family. “Now I feel that I find myself and my heritage, and it’s just uplifting … it helps build a spiritual bridge to my parents.”The ceremony, known as “Every Person Has a Name,” tries to go beyond the incomprehensible numbers to personalize the stories of individuals, families and communities destroyed during the war. At the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials also read names of their relatives murdered in the Holocaust.In an annual ritual, the country came to a standstill at 10 a.m. Monday to honor the victims when sirens wailed for two-minutes across the country. Pedestrians stood in place, buses stopped on busy streets and cars pulled over on major highways, their drivers standing on the roads with their heads bowed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Comments   Share   Top Stories Sponsored Stories center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix “The murderous hatred against the Jews that has accompanied the history of our people has not disappeared, it has just been replaced with a murderous hatred of the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said. “What has changed since the Holocaust is our determination and our ability to defend ourselves.”Israel was created just three years after the end of the war, and hundreds of thousands of survivors made their way to Israel.Today, they are among fewer than 200,000 elderly survivors in Israel, and the mass murder of Jews during World War II is still a central part of Israel’s psyche.___AP writer Josh Lederman contributed from Washington.____Follow Aron Heller on Twitter at In homes and businesses, people stopped what they were doing to pay homage to the victims of the Nazi genocide, in which a third of world Jewry was annihilated.A wreath laying ceremony at Yad Vashem followed, with Israeli leaders, Holocaust survivors and visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in attendance. Other ceremonies, prayers and musical performances took place in schools, community centers and army bases.The annual remembrance is one of the most solemn on Israel’s calendar. Restaurants, cafes and places of entertainment shut down, and radio and TV programming were dedicated almost exclusively to documentaries about the Holocaust, interviews with survivors and somber music. The Israeli flag flew at half-staff.In parliament, Peres recited the names of his family members killed along with 2,060 members of their community in August 1942 in the town of Vishneva, part of Poland before World War II and now in Belarus. Peres, 89, was already in Israel.Nazis and their local collaborators rounded up the Jews and herded them into a wooden synagogue. Peres said his grandfather, a prominent rabbi, wrapped in a prayer shawl, walked at the head of the community into the building. The Nazis then shot at the structure and set it on fire, burning the people inside to death. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project JERUSALEM (AP) – Among the crowds marking Israel’s annual Holocaust remembrance day at the Yad Vashem memorial Monday was a retired American Air Force colonel from San Francisco who came to honor a family he never knew.Bertrand Huchberger was too young to remember his parents, who sent him and his older sister from Paris into the French countryside to escape the Nazi roundups during World War II. For three years he was hidden by Christian rescuers, including a prostitute, before he was put into an orphanage and adopted by American Jews when he was 11 and taken to New York. The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img

Woman gives birth after transplant of ovarian tissue

first_imgBorn in the Republic of Congo, the woman was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia, a serious blood disorder, when she was five. She was not identified by the doctors. At age 11, she and her family moved to Belgium and the girl was so sick her doctors gave her a bone marrow transplant from her brother.Chemotherapy is sometimes used to help stimulate blood production in children with sickle cell anemia, but it risks damaging the ovaries. So the doctors removed part of her right ovary when she was 13 and froze several fragments. The girl hadn’t started menstruating but there were other signs she had begun puberty.A decade later, doctors grafted four parts of the frozen ovarian tissue onto the young woman’s remaining ovary and the transplanted tissue later began growing eggs. More than two years afterward, she became pregnant. Last November, she gave birth to a nearly seven-pound baby boy.“It was a very happy moment,” said Dr. Isabelle Demeestere, a gynecologist and fertility researcher at Erasmus Hospital in Brussels. “I was most happy for (my patient) because she was afraid if this didn’t work, there would be no other option for her to have a baby.” Demeestere and colleagues reported details of the case in a paper published online Wednesday in the journal, Human Reproduction. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober LONDON (AP) — A woman who had ovarian tissue removed and frozen during childhood has given birth to a baby after the tissue was successfully transplanted back into her, enabling her to get pregnant.The woman, now 27, was only 13 when doctors stored some of her tissue because she was about to have a medical treatment that likely would leave her infertile. Doctors described her case as the first time tissue was removed from someone so young and ultimately led to the birth of a healthy baby. Top Stories Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Women who had ovarian tissue removed and transplanted have previously given birth, but to date, none were treated in childhood. The transplanted ovaries have typically only worked for a year or two before being removed, Demeestere said.“We didn’t know what would happen when you transplant tissue (back) into a patient that is completely immature,” Demeestere said. “But once I saw that she had started ovulating and her hormone profile was normal, I was quite sure she would get pregnant.”Other experts said it was encouraging news but didn’t prove that ovarian transplants in children are effective, since the girl had already begun puberty by the time the ovarian tissue was removed.“There’s no reason why it shouldn’t work since youngsters survive chemotherapy much better than adults,” said Dr. Yacoub Khalaf, director of the Assisted Conception Centre at Guy’s Hospital in London.“To have a child go through this and be able to have a baby years later is just remarkable,” said Dr. Jill Ginsberg, a pediatric oncologist at the Cancer Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She said these techniques were still experimental and that only a small number of young women would ever qualify for the treatment. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Parents, stop beating yourself up How do cataracts affect your vision? New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories “There is hope for girls who are at high risk of (losing their fertility) but this is still going to be a long shot for anyone going through this kind of treatment,” she said.___Online: 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more

Srebrenica massacre survivor speaks out after 20 years

first_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Nedzad Avdic felt the blood of the previous victims sticking to his bare feet as he walked with his hands tied behind his back toward the exit of a school to be shot.The voices of hundreds of other male Muslim Bosnians from Srebrenica echoed from the classrooms as the soldiers demanded that the prisoners chant “Srebrenica was and always will be Serb!” as gunfire killed them one by one outside. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories It was his turn again. He felt the sharp stones under his feet as he jumped out and lined up.The rattle of gunfire started up again, and he fell face down on the stones, but still felt the pain. He was shot. But not dead.For hours, Avdic lay motionless among a pile of bodies, listening to killings deep into the night. “I was bleeding and waiting to die,” he said.When another truck left and it became silent, he lifted his head. Something was moving a few rows of bodies in front of him. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. In this photo taken, Saturday, June 27, 2015, Srebrenica massacre survivor Nedzad Avdic , 37, looks through a window inside the elementary school where he was brought by Serb soldiers in the village of Petkovci near Zvornik, 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of Sarajevo, to be killed. He was 17 when he joined the other men who tried to flee through the woods. His group was hunted down by Serb soldiers and brought to the school for execution. The warehouse in the window’s relection was one of the execution sites. ( AP Photo/Amel Emric) 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breachescenter_img Comments   Share   It was 17-year-old Avdic’s turn to become one of the 8,000 men and boys killed after the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica fell to Serb forces. As the 20th anniversary of the carnage of July 11-13, 1995, approached, Avdic decided he needed to speak out publicly.“I just wanted it to be quick,” Avdic, now 37, told The Associated Press at the school in the village of Petkovci, where Serb troops brought him and other men caught as they tried to flee Srebrenica.From the 15,000 men and boys who headed over the mountains toward government-held territory, the Serbs hunted down 6,000 after detained 2,000 others who had surrendered immediately. They were then shot at various sites around the town. The slaughter was the worst massacre in Europe since World War II.As Avdic stepped out of the school and waited for his turn to face the firing squad, he said he saw piles of bodies lying in the heat.Suddenly the soldiers changed their minds and loaded him and others onto a truck and took them to another site to be shot. As they were taking the men off in groups of five and lined them up in front of the firing squad, Avdic hid behind other men on the back of the truck “just to live for a few seconds more,” he remembers. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

Greek lawmakers back bailout reform plan

first_imgA pro-Euro demonstrator holds a European Union flag in front of Greek Parliament during a rally at Syntagma square in Athens, Thursday, July 9, 2015. Hopes that Greece can get a rescue deal that will prevent a catastrophic exit from the euro rose on Thursday, after key creditors said they were open to discussing how to ease the country’s debt load, a long-time sticking point in their talks. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) The proposed measures, including tax hikes and cuts in pension spending, are certain to inflict more pain on a Greek public who just days ago voted overwhelmingly against a similar plan.But the new proposal, if approved by Greece’s international creditors, will provide longer-term financial support for a nation that has endured six years of recession.Without a deal, Greece faces the immediate prospect of crashing out of Europe’s joint currency, the euro. It would be the first nation to do so.If the proposal is approved, Greece would get a three-year loan package worth nearly $60 billion (53.5 billion euros) as well as some form of debt relief. That is far more than the 7.2 billion euros left over from Greece’s previous bailout that had been at stake in the country’s five-month negotiations until last month.Speaking earlier in the debate that began just before midnight Friday, Tsipras acknowledged the reforms his government has proposed were harsh and include measures far from his party’s election pledges, but insisted they were Greece’s best chance to emerge from its financial crisis.Tsipras said his government had made mistakes during his six-month tenure but said he had negotiated as hard as he could. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall How men can have a healthy 2019 Greece’s latest proposal was sent to rescue creditors who were to meet this weekend to decide whether to approve it. Eurozone finance ministers meet Saturday afternoon, followed by a summit of the 28-nation European Union set for Sunday.The country has relied on bailout funding since losing access to financing from bond markets in 2010.The new measures overturn many of the election promises of Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party, which had vowed to overturn bailout austerity, and come less than a week after 61 percent of voters opposed similar reforms, proposed by creditors, in last Sunday’s referendum.The coalition government has 162 and pledged backing from a large section of opposition lawmakers..Greece’s major creditors — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and other eurozone nations — were already fine-combing through the proposals before sending them to the other 18 eurozone finance ministers Saturday.French President Francois Hollande described the measures as “serious and credible,” though Germany refused to be drawn on their merits. France’s Socialist government has been among Greece’s few allies in the eurozone during the past months of tough negotiations, with Germany taking a far harder line. “There is no doubt that for six months now we’ve been in a war,” he said, adding that his government had fought “difficult battles” and had lost some of them.“Now I have the feeling we’ve reached the boundary line. From here on there is a minefield, and I don’t have the right to dismiss this or hide it from the Greek people,” he said.But he insisted the latest proposal contains measures that would help the economy and, if approved by Greece’s creditors, would unlock sufficient financing for the country to emerge from its protracted crisis and see its massive debt tackled.Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who heads the government’s junior coalition member Independent Greeks, said he was advocating a vote in favor of the proposal even though it goes against his party’s principles. The party holds 13 seats in the 300-member parliament.“I want to state clearly, I am not afraid of Grexit,” he said, referring to the possibility of Greece leaving the euro. “I am afraid of one thing: national division and civil war.”He said he feared failure to get a deal with creditors would eventually lead to civil strife. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who chairs the meetings of the eurozone finance ministers known as the eurogroup, said the proposals were “extensive” but would not say whether he considered them sufficient.Meanwhile, banks remained closed since the start of last week and cash withdrawals were restricted to 60 euros ($67) per day. Although credit and debit cards work within the country, many businesses refuse to accept them, insisting on cash-only payments. All money transfers abroad, including bill payments, were banned without special permission.___Associated Press writers Angela Charlton in Paris and Mike Corder in the The Hague, Netherlands, contributed to this report.___Follow Derek Gatopoulos at and Elena Becatoros at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s parliament backed the government’s reform plan containing austerity measures to win a third bailout early Saturday, but with the government suffering significant losses from dissenting lawmakers.The motion sought to authorize the government to use the proposal as a basis for negotiation with international creditors during the weekend. It passed with 251 votes in favor, 32 against and 8 voting ‘present’ — a form of abstention — in the 300-member parliament. Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Those who voted ‘present’ or were absent, as well as two of those who voted against, were members of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party — raising questions about the stability of his government.The dissenters included two ministers — Panagiotis Lafazanis who holds the energy portfolio and Dimitris Stratoulis who holds the social security portfolio — and prominent party member and Parliament Speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou.“I support the government but I don’t support an austerity program of neoliberal deregulation and privatizations which … would prolong the vicious circle of recession, poverty and misery,” Lafazanis said in a statement released to the press explaining his “radical and categorical” objection to the proposal.Former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned this week, was absent for family reasons, saying on Twitter he was spending the weekend with his daughter who was visiting from Australia. Although he sent a letter saying he would have voted in favor had he been present, it could not be counted among the ‘yes’ votes under parliamentary rules.All opposition parties except the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn and the Communist Party voted in favor. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Brussels train crash kills 18 driver escapes

first_imgBrussels had one of its worst rail accidents on Monday as two local passenger trains collided head-on near the suburb of Halle, killing at least 18 people.The two Belgium trains, carrying a total of around 300 passengers, collided around 8.30am on Monday according to the Financial Times. One was heading to Braine-le-Comte while the other was headed to Liege.The impact caused the front carriages to jolt up into the air, damaging power lines and trapping passengers inside the wreckage for hours while other passengers lay squashed in the first two carriages.Authorities confirmed on Monday that 55 commuters had been seriously injured with a further 89 sustaining minor injuries while 15 men and three women had been killed. However, they said the death toll was not final as rescue workers continued to sift through the wreckage for victims.”It was a nightmare” passenger Christian Wampach, who was in the third carriage, told The Associated Press.”We were thrown about for about 15 seconds. There were a number of people injured in my car, but I think all the dead were in the first car”According to the Daily Mail some passengers had needed on-the-spot amputations to free them from the wreckage. Reports surfaced today that the driver of one of the trains had jumped out seconds before impact. The driver, named Robin, apparently frantically sounded his whistle and hit the emergency brake before jumping from his cabin to the carriage aisle. He is now being questioned in hospital where he is in an ‘extremely serious’ condition.The cause of the accident is still unknown but reports have suggested one of the trains missed a red light. Investigators are yet to figure out whether it was an outcome of human error or the freezing temperatures which have disrupted transport in and around Brussels.The wreckage still hasn’t been removed from the tracks, with the line likely to remain suspended as emergency services continue to work at the scene of the crash.Correction: The trains were operated by Belgian train operator SNCB, not Eurostar as previously published <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.Llast_img read more

New South Wales new China strategy

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Chinese tourists visit the Big Prawn in Ballina, NSW. Image: Robert Mckell In an effort to drive the growth of visitors and expenditure from China, the NSW Government launched the China Tourism Strategy 2012-2020.The $15 million state government-funded plan aims to increase tourism from China in order to double visitor expenditure to NSW by 2020.Destination NSW developed the basis for the new strategy.“This is a very important announcement which will greatly enhance tourism from China to NSW, which is currently worth about $1.1 billion a year,” Minister for tourism major events and arts George Souris said.“This plan will directly encourage visitors from China, our largest tourist market and support the NSW tourism sector to achieve industry best practice.The China Tourism Strategy 2012-2020 is the first strategic program the NSW Government has formulated in response to the Visitor Economy Taskforce (VET) Report which was released in August this year.The plan focuses on eight key areas – extending marketing activities in China, supporting aviation development, targeting high-performing sectors, improving quality of experiences, increasing consumer promotion, strengthening trade networks, expanding government and commercial partnerships and increasing resources to drive market growth.“Sydney and NSW are the best prepared and most highly motivated markets to welcome China. With our iconic attractions, world class arts, cultural and sporting events, award-wining hotels and culturally aware visitor experiences, we are perfectly positioned to double China tourism by 2020,” Mr Souris said. last_img read more

Lonely Planets Beautiful World

first_imgSource = ETB News: L.B. Lonely Planet has announced the release date for their highly anticipated new coffee table book, Lonely Planet’s Beautiful World. “189 full colour images will take the reader to places far and wide, places that are surprising, remarkable, remote and familiar, ones you may never visit but can put on that ‘if’ list,” according to the book’s introduction. The 256 page hard back, due to be published in October 2013, is the result of forty years of passion and global expertise, presented through ten carefully selected photo essays, each representing an aspect of life. Lonely Planet’s Beautiful World will be published in October 2013.last_img read more

Amadeus posts strong sales profit results

first_img“Even in the context of slow growth in the wider market, Amadeus continued to outperform the travel distribution industry and reinforce its leading position in the air distribution segment, with a market share increase to 40.1 per cent in total air travel agency bookings, Amadeus president and chief executive officer, Luis Maroto said. Source = ETB News: T.N. According to figures for Amadeus’ distribution business, travel agency bookings increased by 6.5 per cent to US $443.4 million with strong growth among key clientele in North America (38.1 per cent increase) and Latin America (12.5 per cent increase). Amadeus continued to outperform its competitors in 2013 with contracts signed with IAG and Air-France KLM.  “This was most apparent in North America, one of our strategic targets for expansion, where despite contraction in the region we achieved a 38.1 per cent increase.” For its information technology business, passengers boarded increased by 9.2 per cent to US 615.7 million, with a 57.6 per cent rise in Asia – Pacific business. Leading travel industry technology company, Amadeus, has posted strong results in its latest 2013 financial and operating results.last_img read more

Air Astana relaunches Astana to Dubai service

first_imgAir Astana re-launches Astana to Dubai serviceAir Astana, Kazakhstan’s Skytrax award winning flag carrier will re-launch services between Astana and Dubai on 25th October 2015 . The non-stop flight will be operated four times a week  on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays using an Airbus A320.  The service to Dubai offers greater convenience to passengers located in the capital, Astana, as well as from cities including Kostanay, Pavlodar and Ust-Kamenogorsk. Additionally, timely connections will be offered to international transit passengers travelling from Urumqi (China), Omsk (Russia) and Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan).“Air Astana is fully committed to expanding the route network from Astana, with the re-launch to Dubai following the recent introduction of new services from the capital to Paris, Seoul and Tbilisi,” said Peter Foster, President of Air Astana. “With Kazakhstan and UAE enjoying strengthening links in business, finance, tourism and culture, I’m confident that the new service will be extremely popular with passengers travelling between Astana and Dubai.”The minimum cost of a round trip economy class ticket from Astana to Dubai, including all fees, is US$ 468 and a business class ticket is US$ 21071 during low season and US$ 2667 during high season. Tickets can be booked at the Air Astana website, where UAE visas can also be issued.Air Astana commenced regular flight operations on 15 May 2002 and currently operates a network of over 60 international and domestic routes from hubs in Almaty and Astana. Air Astana operates a fleet of 30 aircraft including three Boeing 767-300ER,  five Boeing 757-200, thirteen Airbus A320 family aircraft and nine Embraer E-190. Air Astana became the first carrier from Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (the CIS) and Eastern Europe to be awarded the prestigious 4-Star rating by Skytrax in its World Airline Awards 2012 and was named The Best Airline in Central Asia and India.   Both accolades were repeated in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In February 2015, Air Astana received the prestigious Air Transport World Market Leader Award.Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund, Samruk Kazyna, and BAE Systems, with respective shares of 51% and 49%.Source = Air Astanalast_img read more