PEOPLE Atout France names Mélanie PaulHus Director for Canada

first_img Posted by MONTREAL — The head office of the France Tourism Development Agency (Atout France) has confirmed the appointment of Mélanie Paul-Hus as Director of its Canadian office in Montreal.Hired by Maison de la France now Atout France in 2007 as Press and Publications Manager, Paul-Hus was promoted Deputy Director in 2012 and starting in July 2016 took over the responsibilities as interim director.“Her vast experience in marketing and communications and her knowledge of the tourism industry will surely contribute to the success of the promotional and commercial activities of Atout France on the Canadian market,” says Atout France. Share Travelweek Group Friday, September 15, 2017 center_img [PEOPLE] Atout France names Mélanie Paul-Hus, Director for Canada Tags: Atout France, People << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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The latest new hotel updates from the Cuba Tourist Board

first_img Wednesday, March 21, 2018 TORONTO — Cuba’s bookings for April and beyond from the Canadian market “are looking great and we are very much looking forward to a very strong 2018”, says Eloy Govea, Director, Canada for the Cuba Tourist Board.Cuba received a record 4.7 million visitors in 2017, resulting in 16.2% growth year over year. The island’s cays in particular took a hit from Hurricane Irma but room inventory recovered quickly.“We have been open for business since the winter season started, and we are doing very good from Canada, with over 400,000 passengers already so far this year,” said Govea.He adds: “We just had the Grand Muthu inaugurated in Cayo Guillermo (500 rooms) and the Sercotel Experience in Cayo Santa María (660 rooms).“The next openings include the International Hotel in Varadero (634 rooms), the Iberostar Holguin (838 rooms) and Packard Hotel and Prado y Malecón Hotel, in Havana (321 and 250 rooms respectively).” The latest new hotel updates from the Cuba Tourist Board Posted by Sharecenter_img Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Cubalast_img read more

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Alaska and glamping new for Contikis 20192020 USA program

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Share Travelweek Group Alaska and glamping new for Contiki’s 2019-2020 USA program Tags: Contiki, USA Posted by Monday, July 15, 2019 Unique accommodation is a key selling feature for agents looking to talk to their clients about Contiki’s USA & Canada program, says Sheralyn Berry, President of Contiki Canada.“North America is an incredibly diverse region with countless opportunities for adventure,” notes Berry. “We know young Canadians are increasingly interested in off-the-beaten-track destinations and choosing glamping as their preferred type of accommodation, so it’s exciting to not only be able to offer two brand new and lesser-explored destinations with our Alaska and Pacific Northwest trips, but also our new glamping experiences in the Great Smoky Mountains and Zion National Park. Clients travelling with Contiki should prepare for a road trip of a lifetime.”More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaThe new program incorporates ‘Instagram-worthy’ glamping experiences in Zion National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains. For two nights, clients sleep in safari-style tents, featuring real beds, luxury bathrooms and cafe-style dining options. Other trips in the region include overnights in a Bass Lake summer camp with swimming pool and rustic cabins, and a picturesque chalet in Banff complete with indoor pool and sauna.Here’s a closer look at Contiki’s new U.S. trips for 2019-2020…GRAND ALASKAThis 12-day adventure includes spectacular, untouched landscapes and roaming wildlife and glaciers, with time at some of the biggest National Parks in the world for hiking, camping, canoeing and more.PACIFIC NORTHWESTThis 9-day trip in the laid-back Pacific Northwest starts in San Francisco before heading through Portland, Astoria and Seattle, along with exploring the great outdoors of the Columbian River Highway, Multnomah Falls and Mt Hood. Clients can expect plenty of craft beer, incredible music, natural beauty and delicious regional food along the way.CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’This trip starts in San Francisco and winds its way through giant redwoods and rugged coastlines to Big Sur, Malibu and Santa Monica Pier. The eight-day journey “brings you the best of Cali, with plenty of palm-fringed beaches, breath-taking bays and dazzling L.A. glamour along the way.”SOUTHERN SOULFrom Dallas to New Orleans, this eight-day trip is all about BBQ, southern hospitality and the sultry sound of jazz and blues. This one brings clients from Fort Worth through Austin, Houston and New Orleans.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaSOUTHERN STARSThis trip hits all the highlights of the American south in 10 days, from the sultry jazz and sumptuous food of New Orleans, down through other musical meccas like Memphis and Nashville before the big finale – glamping under canvas in the majestic Great Smoky Mountains. The trip ends in Atlanta.MIGHTY YOSEMITEYosemite is best known for its waterfalls, but still manages to pack in gigantic glaciers, dreamy meadows, plunging valleys, ancient trees and wildlife, says Contiki. The 4-day trip takes travellers from San Fran into the heart of nature, where they’ll camp under starlit skies, hike through the giant sequoia trees and cycle by the Merced River.SOUTHWEST NATIONAL PARKSThis 4-day trip starts and finishes in Las Vegas but inbetween the focus is decidedly nature, with a journey through Zion Canyon and the organic amphitheatre of Bryce, before heading through Monument Valley, Lake Powell. The trip saves the best for last – the Grand Canyon. Along the way clients will be hiking, camping under starlit skies and spotting wildlife, with options for a Navajo-led hike around Antelope Canyon and a helicopter over the Grand Canyon’s rim. TORONTO — Contiki has unveiled its new USA & Canada program for 2019-20.Highlighted offerings include five brand new trips in the U.S., in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, California and the Deep South, along with 13 improved trips across North America.The new trips join 32 existing trips that Contiki offers in North America. The new program also seea Contiki introduce glamping accommodation, “defined as ‘camping meets modern luxury’”, says the company, on select trips to the U.S. as part of its ‘Special Stay’ offering. The exclusive only-with-Contiki accommodation options through Special Stay include the Gasthof Schoneck in Austria, jungle rafts in Thailand and the famous Château de Cruix (AKA the ‘Contiki Château’) in France’s Beaujolais wine region.last_img read more

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Four arrested including police officer in connection to 2009 murder of two

first_imgFour suspects, including a National Police officer, were arrested in connection toa brutal murder of two Austrians in 2009 in the southwestern Osa Peninsula.Horst Hauser, 67, and Herbert Langmeier, 65, disappeared from the port town of Puerto Jiménez in December 2009. DNA tests identified remains found on the beach in Puerto Jiménez  in 2011 as the bodies of Hauser and Langmeier. The positive results confirming Langmaier’s remains came last week after Costa Rican authorities sent genetic information to Austria. The Prosecutor’s Office said the remains matched with the DNA of Langmaier’s sister and mother.The two Austrian citizens appeared to have been bludgeoned to death by a blunt object. One of victims had a broken jaw, while the other showed brain trauma after multiple blows to the head, according to a Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) report.OIJ agents detained a police officer with the last name of Obando on Tuesday afternoon. On Monday, authorities arrested a 33-year-old man named Muñoz, a 24-year-old man named Murillo and a 29-year-old woman named Rojas. In August 2011, another suspect turned himself in after hiding in the mountains for months. He is believed to be the brother of the woman arrested Monday.The brother Rojas was the prime suspect in the investigation since January 2010, when he was seen driving Hauser and Lagmeier’s car days after their disappearance. He also withdrew more than $5,000 from the bank accounts of the two victims.Hauser and Langmeier were retired and arrived to Costa Rica from Knittelfeld, Austria. Officials said the motive for the suspects was a land grab, as the alleged murderers hoped to take over the property of the Austrians. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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Young Ticos take a ride on the Bibliobús

first_img“Bus! Bus! Bus!”A crowd of chanting children hangs on the fence and welcomes the brightly painted bus that has just parked outside the school’s front gate. Once a month, the small bus that has been converted into a mobile library and dubbed “the bibliobús” visits selected schools around Costa Rica.Its wheels have gone round to cover hundreds of miles and visit thousands of children during its four trips per week. At each school visited, students get to sit in the bus to hear a story, choose books during free time and make art projects at tables set up outside, in the shade of the bus. The National Public Library System (SINABI) supplies and staffs the bibliobús. Recently, the bus stopped at CEN CINAI Gravilias, a public school that doubles as a daycare center. Carolina Gamboa Lizano, the bibliobús’ librarian and storyteller, said most kids show up at the school at 6:30 a.m. and stay until 6 p.m. The bus serves schools with students of varying economic levels, and these are considered “marginal students,” she said. “Often, the bibliobús is the only access children have to books,” Lizano said. “We need to catch them when they’re little and put books in their hands. Hopefully I can help them like reading – it’s a key to success.”The story of the day was “The Three Little Pigs and the Big, Bad Wolf.” Lizano held an electronic tablet up for all to watch the story. Of the seven groups of 130 students that passed through the bus, most were attentive and well behaved. Others had to be threatened with being sent back to the classroom, after which they quickly hushed. They didn’t want to lose their bus privileges.After the story, Emilie Vargas, 3, sat and colored outside at the miniature plastic tables. She chose an intense orange for all the figures from the “Three Little Pigs,” and said she liked the story, even though she had heard it before. Seeing on the electronic tablet made it different, she added.Her teacher, Melissa Chacón, is in charge of 18 children aged 2-6. For both Chacón and the students, the monthly visits from the bus are always exciting. “The bibliobús is incredible,” Chacón said. “We have very few materials and this allows them to go to another place where maybe they can be a little happier.” Gabe Dinsmoor No related posts. Gabe Dinsmoorcenter_img Bibliobús librarian Carolina Gamoba tidies up for the kids. At the moment, books on the bus are showing some wear and tear. But a shipment of 300 new reads is expected within the month, according to Olga Rodríguez, director of Costa Rica’s public libraries.“We hope to teach the kids … to love to read,” Rodríguez said. “They are our future and we want to see them educated so they can be informed, critically-thinking citizens.”In 2011, the bibliobús visited 14,000 children. Rodríguez said favorite stories include “Mommy, Tell Me a Story” and “Animals of the Farm.” “Today we read to them, tomorrow they read to themselves and soon they will be reading to others,” Rodríguez said.Sofia Mora, 11, said her favorite story is “Romeo and Juliet.” She read it last time the bus visited, this time she couldn’t find it. She said the story of the “Three Little Pigs” was OK, but “it’s for little kids.” All age groups using the bus get the same story. Mora hopes that on the next visit from the bibliobús, there will be a copy of “Romeo and Juliet” waiting for her. Facebook Comments Nikole Durán, 10, boards the Bibliobús with other students.last_img read more

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Medical tourism fair to offer 1000 jobs in Costa Rica

first_imgTourism professionals and specialists in plastic surgery, orthopedics, dentistry, nursing and other fields will be among the 1,000 jobs offered at the health tourism fair Expomed 2012.The fair is organized by the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (Promed) and will be held on Friday, Oct. 19 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Saturday, Oct. 20 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) at the Children’s Museum in San José. Entry will cost ₡2,500 ($5).Manpower, a recruitment company, will collect attendee résumés, and participants also will get an access code to enter personal data into the fair’s website.Résumés will circulate among all registered companies and will be filed in the company’s database.The fair also will offer visitors a pavilion for getting free basic medical care from different clinics and hospitals.Organizers will hold free lectures on topics such as marketing, global trends in medical tourism, business opportunities, and college studies in health tourism and medicine. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica to host annual medical tourism summit Major medical tourism summit nears Tourism and health sectors seek to boost medical tourism in Costa Rica Is Guanacaste medical tourism’s next hot spot?last_img read more

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Putin says Snowden in Moscow as Russia rejects US demands

first_imgRelated posts:Britain targets Guardian newspaper over Snowden leaks NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say U.S. lawmakers warn of repercussions after Russia grants Snowden asylum Snowden seeks asylum in Russia, meets activists at airport Edward Snowden won’t be extradited to the United States and remains in the transit zone of a Moscow airport two days after the former security contractor arrived from Hong Kong, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.Russia was “completely surprised” by Snowden’s arrival and can’t hand him over to the United States because the two nations don’t have an extradition treaty, Putin told reporters near Turku, Finland. The country’s security agencies “didn’t work and aren’t working” with Snowden and any accusations against Russia are “drivel and nonsense,” he said.Russia has refused to assist in attempts to apprehend Snowden as U.S. intelligence agencies mount an investigation into a possible role by China in his leaks. Snowden, who arrived in the Russian capital on a commercial flight on June 23, chose his route independently, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow Tuesday, adding there’s “no legal justification” for U.S. demands to extradite him.The disclosure ends the speculation over Snowden’s whereabouts after he missed yesterday’s flight to Havana for which he had booked tickets on Aeroflot. Putin has tried to douse a diplomatic showdown with the U.S. after Secretary of State John Kerry Monday warned Russia and China of “consequences” for their actions.“I hope it won’t affect the business-like nature of our relations with the U.S.,” Putin said. “I hope our partners will understand.”Kerry said Tuesday the U.S. isn’t seeking a “confrontation” with Russia over the issue even as he reiterated U.S. determination to gain custody of Snowden. Kerry made an appeal for “calm and reasonableness,” reacting to what he called a “strong statement” by Lavrov.“They certainly can allow him to be subject to the laws of our land,” Kerry said of Russia during a joint briefing in Jeddah with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal. “That’s what we call on them to do.”While there is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Russia, “there are standards of behavior between sovereign nations,” Kerry said.Putin, who has disagreed with the Obama administration on its handling of the Syrian conflict and plans to develop a missile-defense shield in Europe, tried to distance himself from the case, saying the heads of the countries’ securities agencies, the FBI and the FSB, should steer the process.“Personally I’d prefer to keep out of such questions,” he said. “It’s like shearing a piglet: all squealing and no wool.”Russia, which has fought U.S. efforts to extradite its citizens around the world, is spurning U.S. pleas to hand over Snowden a month after he fled and revealed National Security Agency surveillance of U.S. and foreign citizens. The fugitive whistleblower arrived as a transit passenger and needed no visa, Putin said.“He is a free man, and the sooner he selects his final destination, the better it will be both for us and for him,” Putin said. “As a transit passenger, he has the right to buy a ticket and fly wherever he wants. At the same time, he is not crossing the state border, which is why he doesn’t need a visa.”Snowden’s U.S. passport has been revoked, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. He faces as many as 10 years in prison on the theft count and 10 years on each of two espionage charges.Julian Assange, the founder of anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, said Snowden was “healthy and safe.” He intended to take safe passage through Russia and other nations to Ecuador, Assange said on a conference call with reporters yesterday. WikiLeaks legal advisers helped draft Snowden’s asylum request to Ecuador, Assange said, adding it was possible that Snowden had drafted requests for other countries.Snowden has a refugee document of passage issued by Ecuador that enabled him to leave Hong Kong, according to Assange.© 2013, Bloomberg News Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Vehicle restrictions to be suspended for the holidays on Dec 23

first_imgVehicle restrictions in the Costa Rican capital will be temporarily suspended for the holidays beginning Monday, Dec. 23, and will be reinstated on Monday, Jan. 6, Traffic Police Director German Sandí Marín announced on Thursday.The last day of the restriction, which prohibits certain vehicles from traveling in downtown San José and on the Circunvalación, a belt route around the city, is Friday, Dec. 20, the same day that most government offices close for the holidays.Sandí said that 650 Traffic Police officers will be monitoring checkpoints to catch speeders, drunk drivers and motorists who haven’t paid their marchamos, or mandatory car insurance.Those operations began on Dec. 1 in the central cantons of each province, he said.Beginning Dec. 25, Traffic Police officers will monitor transit out of the Central Valley to tourist destinations throughout the country. Another group of police officers will monitor the large year-end activities in the capital, such as the Zapote Fiestas (with Tico bullfights, carnivals and other events) and the National Horse Parade, or Tope, among others.In January, roadside checks will focus on people traveling to the Palmares Fiestas in Alajuela, north of the capital, and the Santa Cruz Fiestas in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.Festival de la Luz to light up San José on SaturdayThe traditional Festival de la Luz, or Festival of Lights, takes place tomorrow in downtown San José. Traffic Police are preparing a special security operation that includes 120 officers who will begin patrolling on Friday.Traffic around La Sabana Park, in western San José, will be regulated beginning at midnight on Friday to allow for the arrival of floats participating in the Saturday parade.At noon on Saturday, Paseo Colón and Avenida Segunda will be closed to traffic due to the festival, which begins at 4 p.m. with a costume parade. Floats and marching bands will join the festivities at 6 p.m. The street closures on Saturday are expected to affect traffic on other main routes, including the General Cañas Highway, which connects San José with the province of Alajuela, and sections of the Circunvalación.Traffic Police recommend avoiding driving in the western section of the capital on Saturday, if possible. Facebook Comments Related posts:Vehicle restrictions to be suspended on July 25 and Aug. 2 No vehicle restrictions until January 16 Activists Seek Restoration Of Driving Restrictions Driving restrictions Now last for 13 Hourslast_img read more

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Concert tonight to raise money for Balkan flood victims

first_imgThe Balkan flooding has gained widespread attention for its unexpected severity. Residents of the Balkans have not only had to contend with landslides and ruined neighborhoods, but unearthed landmines as well. In Serbia alone, the death toll has exceeded 50 people and 18,000 houses have been completely destroyed. At the same time, the flooding has been cause for widespread goodwill, including daring rescues in makeshift rafts in towns that were ethnic battlefields not long ago. Tesanovic points out that the Balkans desperately need money in the wake of the recent deluges, which came suddenly and took hundreds of communities by surprise. The governments of Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia expect to spend billions of dollars, and it may take several years to fully recover.Tesanovic concedes that there aren’t many Balkan people in Costa Rica, although some emigrants arrived here from Yugoslavia during World War II. “We don’t have a specific community, but sometimes we get together to celebrate Orthodox Christmas,” she said.Then again, Tesanovic feels the cause is universal and hopes to attract at least 100 visitors.“The idea was to organize this event and see how it goes,” she said. “In a few weeks [we may] organize something different with some other group somewhere in San José, so that more people can come, have fun and also aid people who need help.”The concert takes place Wednesday, June 4 (today) at 8 p.m. at C Lounge Cariari, Heredia. Entrance: ₡5,000 ($10). Reservations, 2239-7252. (Courtesy C Lounge) Facebook Comments When severe flooding started to ravage the Balkans last month, Jovanka Tesanovic had mixed emotions. Born in Sarajevo and raised in Belgrade, she was proud of her friends and family for helping with the effort, but she wanted to volunteer as well. Instead, she lives in Costa Rica and works at the Castillo Country Club, thousands of miles from the natural disaster affecting her countrymen.“I saw what was happening and I felt really bad about being unable to help,” Tesanovic recalled recently to The Tico Times. “It was super hard to be in front of a computer, knowing that all my friends are on alert, helping in the most difficult places, and I am [in Costa Rica] only watching.”Then Tesanovic came up with an idea: She contacted Stanko Trifunovic, the Serbian consul in Costa Rica, and asked about throwing a fundraiser. It happens that the owners of C Lounge in Heredia are Bosnian natives, and they offered to host an event. They arranged a concert with Costa Rican band Agua Quina and singer-songwriter Humberto Vargas.One of Tesanovic’s friends even put together a video trailer: Related posts:Spanish mega-star, haunted houses, and other happenings around Costa Rica What The Tico Times newsroom loves most about Costa Rica A look back at 1930s Limón and the real legacy of Afro-Caribbean immigrants Star Wars: ‘The Force Awakens’ in Costa Rica on Thursdaylast_img read more

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Dutch teen targets Pacific Ocean plastic soup menace

first_img‘Faster, cheaper’ Following a year of feasibility studies and a certain amount of criticism from a skeptical scientific community, Slat wants to set up a pilot project to run for the next three or four years before installing the first operational “Ocean Cleanup Array” in the north Pacific Ocean.He has set up a crowdfunding website to collect $2.0 million in 100 days, reaching the first million after 32 days.Over a 10-year period, he hopes his invention will collect nearly half of the plastic swirling around in the north Pacific Ocean.Slat claims his method would be thousands of times faster than sending ships to fish the plastic out of the water.“It’s not only faster, it’s also cheaper,” he said.Around 70 people, including oceanographers, engineers and legal advisers, took part in the feasibility study, looking at legal and material questions, as well as the project’s weather-resistance and cost.‘Unanswered questions’ “The ocean cleanup team has addressed concerns that the ocean community has voiced, but there are still issues that need to be addressed,” Kim Martini, an oceanographer at Washington State University in Seattle, told AFP by email.Some say the feasibility study underestimates the proportion of micro-plastics, which are just millimetres in size and extremely difficult to trap and remove.Others say the project itself will become a dangerous obstacle for marine life and sea traffic.“Boyan is a terrific engineer, and we appreciate a lot what he does for the plastic soup issue,” said Anna Cummins of the 5 Gyres environmental charity and lobby group in a telephone interview.“But what we do not understand, is why he wants to use his device so far from the coastlines,” she told AFP.“Collecting waste from the middle of the ocean is like collecting water from a tap that is always on,” said Daniel Poolen of the Plastic Soup Foundation.“You have to go to river mouths, to the source” of the pollution, he said.Slat insists that the feasibility study, which concluded that the project was “likely feasible,” dealt with all the technical problems.Nevertheless, he is aware of the limitations.“Thankfully, I’m surrounded by people who have more knowledge than me, they bring their experience on board,” Slat said, adding: “I’m only 19!”“Even if I think that my project is more efficient and cheaper, I know it won’t remove all plastic waste,” he admits.“And most importantly, I know full well that the source of plastic in the oceans won’t disappear tomorrow, people will unfortunately continue to put plastic waste into the environment.” Facebook Comments THE HAGUE – Dutch student Boyan Slat is only 19 years old, but he already has 100 people working on his revolutionary plan to scoop thousands of tons of damaging plastics from the oceans.The world’s “plastic soup,” much of it swirling around in five main gyres or rotating oceanic currents, costs billions of dollars to the fishing and tourism sectors every year.Estimates differ as to how much of the waste is in our oceans, ranging from half a million to millions of tons.The scourge kills marine life, entering the food chain when sea creatures ingest it, as well as ensnaring dolphins and whales.While most ideas for attacking the plastic plague involve boats criss-crossing the oceans to scoop up the waste, Slat came up with a remarkably practical way to help solve the problem: harnessing the power of sea currents to trap the “soup.”“Why go after the plastic if the plastic can come to you?” the aeronautical engineering student told AFP.‘Soup trap’ His design calls for two vast floating arms, 50 kilometers (35 miles) long each, in the form of a “V,” anchored to the ocean floor.Curtains, ironically made from super-strong plastic, hang from the arms, dangling around three metres (10 feet) below the surface.Ocean currents will force the waste into the “V” and to a cylindrical platform 11 metres in diameter floating at the end which can store up to 3,000 cubic meters of plastic (106,000 cubic feet – or more than an Olympic swimming pool ) for eventual collection by a ship.A solar-powered conveyor belt will take the largest chunks of plastic to and from a shredder so that it will fit in the cylinder.The blue-eyed, shaggy-haired Slat, who still lives at home with his parents, says he got his idea while scuba-diving in Greece. “I saw more plastics than fish under the water,” he recalled.He publicly presented it for the first time at the end of 2012, hardly daring to dream it would become reality.Today, he has put his studies on hold and 100 people around the world are working for him, several of them full time.Watch a video of what’s happening to our oceans: Related posts:The ‘Blackfish Effect’: SeaWorld to build new orca whale habitats Sea Shepherd’s R/V Martin Sheen lands in Costa Rica for 4-month research mission El Niño: Kiss of death for Costa Rica’s sea turtle eggs? US government sued over sea turtles snared in shrimp netslast_img read more

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1156 and counting…

first_imgNo related posts. Heavy smoke billows up following an Israeli military strike in Gaza City on July 29, 2014. The Israeli offensive, which began on July 8 to end Hamas rocket attacks on the Jewish state, has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians – mostly civilians – according to the United Nations, while 56 lives have been lost on the Israeli side – all but three of them soldiers. Facebook Commentslast_img

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Santa Teresa lifeguards get creative to keep beaches safe

first_imgRelated posts:Beware: ‘Vacation brain’ at the beach can be deadly Drownings in Costa Rica spur experts to call for more lifeguards Costa Rican health officials worry that children traveling to US will bring back measles Costa Rica Holy Week deadliest in 10 years PLAYA SANTA TERESA, Puntarenas – On Sunday evening during Labor Day weekend, as the day’s last light was fading, Daniel Luján Mora had just helped a surfer avoid getting caught in a dangerous rip current when he saw three men heading toward unsafe water about 600 meters away.Luján raced to his lifeguard tower. Through his binoculars he saw the men already in the water, one of them in trouble. Luján took off running at full speed. When he got to the men, Luján dove into the ocean and brought the drowning man, Alejandro, to the sandy shore where he initiated CPR.“He was grabbing my hand, but he was not moving any other part of his body. He was breathing by a miracle because he was almost dead,” Luján said. “He had water in his belly and his lungs, he was like Santa Claus, but blue.”Luján is a certified lifeguard with the Costa Rican Lifeguard Association and a level 1 and 2 certified instructor. He gives surf lessons in Santa Teresa, on the southern Nicoya Peninsula, and donates his time with Santa Teresa Lifeguards when he can afford it, usually every Saturday and Sunday.Motivated by increased drownings that they perceived as preventable, a group of passionate people in this small, yet increasingly popular beach town have started their own nonprofit lifeguard program, Santa Teresa Lifeguards. They hope to not just save lives, but also to prevent dangerous situations by educating the public on water safety. They aim to structure a program that can be duplicated in other Costa Rican beach towns.For Luján, lifeguarding can be stressful, but it fulfills his dream to help people. While he massaged the drowning man’s belly to encourage vomiting the water out of his lungs and stomach, he yelled at the other two men and a gathering few to run up and down the beach to find cellphone service to call the emergency number 2000. Luján was worried the man would have a heart attack with all the water in his body, and he was desperate for emergency services to arrive.The police were first to arrive on scene, 30 minutes later.Finally, at the urgent care center, Alejandro was under close observation all night. He survived.“One minute later and he would have been gone,” Luján said.On the same day, at the neighboring beaches of Montezuma and Cabuya, where there are no lifeguards, three people drowned. Prevention by educating the public on water safety is one of the primary goals of the Santa Teresa Lifeguards. (Courtesy of Santa Teresa Lifeguards)According to the Costa Rican Red Cross, since 2010 an average of one person has drowned every four days in Costa Rica. The Santa Teresa Lifeguards hope to reduce the size of this tragedy. But they face obstacles.Poor cellphone service, education for first responders, lack of volunteers, and insufficient funds to pay salaried lifeguards are just some of the struggles the program faces. To overcome these obstacles, the all-volunteer staff is putting a strong effort into fundraising and increasing awareness about their program and the big difference it can make in people’s lives. If they can get more lifeguards on the beaches, they won’t just be rescuing people, they’ll be teaching about water safety, an education swimmers can take with them to other beaches around the world.The spot in which Alejandro nearly drowned is very popular with swimmers, but also dangerous. Luján recalls about two drownings per year there over the past 12 years. Last year, he was called out at night to find the bodies of five young kids.In January, a 70-year-old and her 2-year-old granddaughter drowned there. Lifeguard fundraising coordinator Tomas Ritchie said when that happened, “I said that’s enough. I felt so bad because I was making [the towers], but I wasn’t in a hurry.”The towers are an improvement over the previous bamboo stands, which were too tall and didn’t have ladders. Ritchie saw these flaws and designed, funded, and supervised the construction and installment of six towers with plans to make and man more. The new towers cost about $1,000 each and are made of red cedar and fiberglass. They were built to last and give the program the professional look and feel it deserves.The first four towers were up in time for Semana Santa, and for the first time since many can remember, there were no drowning deaths at the guarded beaches. Since Semana Santa, the Santa Teresa Lifeguards have rescued 12 people and prevented countless other accidents.With rescue equipment donated by Solano Beach lifeguards in San Diego, California, the shiny new towers and official red lifeguard shirts, the program exudes professionalism. The lifeguards feel that the public is now taking them more seriously and heeding their instructions and warnings.Lifeguards are on duty every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Towers are currently located in Playa Carmen, Zeneida’s, Casa Cecilia, Playa Hermosa, and Banana Beach. A Santa Teresa lifeguard stands at the water’s edge ready to assist a surfer who broke his leash and is coming ashore. Erin Morris/The Tico TimesTwelve hours on the weekend is not enough, though. The team needs more volunteers and more support from community businesses. Several businesses have donated money and others are donating vouchers for a lifeguard exchange program. Many Santa Teresa residents believe that, overall, town revenues will increase if Santa Teresa gains a reputation for being a strong, supportive community that cares about the safety of visitors to their beaches.Without a solid funding source, the nonprofit Santa Teresa Lifeguards has had to get creative.On May 20 a fundraiser was held with live music, tacos and an art show. Tomas Ritchie constructed more than 50 mini-lifeguard-towers that will serve as donation centers in select businesses around town. The roughly 1-foot-high mini-replicas will be placed in businesses around town on tables or hanging from ceilings and people are invited to put money in to them.  T-shirts are being made for public purchase, a calendar is being designed, and an international lifeguard and surfing competition is being organized, possibly for late November.The group has also started an international lifeguard exchange program. Lifeguards from all over the world are invited to come and volunteer their time in exchange for vouchers, which can be used for food, lodging, and activities in Santa Teresa. It’s a sweet deal for lifeguards out there who want to come to Santa Teresa for world-class surfing while also volunteering their skills.Matias Etchenique, whose dream it was to launch the program, is leading lifeguard training programs in Santa Teresa. He has 20 years of experience lifeguarding in Argentina, California and Santa Teresa. Two training programs have been held so far with a total of 32, mostly local lifeguards trained and certified.Etchenique and the other lifeguards hope that, with help from the community, they’ll eventually be able to monitor Santa Teresa’s beaches seven days a week.Said Etchenique: “People don’t choose to drown on weekends. It can happen any day.”For more information on the Santa Teresa Lifeguard program and how you can help or participate, visit their website: http://santateresalifeguards.org/ Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Release of prisoners in Costa Rica angers politicians tourism industry

first_imgA recent court ruling ordering the gradual release of nearly 400 prisoners from Gerardo Rodríguez penitentiary in Alajuela has been met with criticism from some lawmakers, officials and tourism industry leaders.The Peace and Justice Ministry announced on April 21 that it would release 380 prisoners over the next two months, in accordance with a March ruling from Judge Mario Rodríguez. The ruling was in response to rampant overcrowding in the country’s prisons.To qualify for release, prisoners must have been convicted of a low-level crime, like robbery, fraud, extortion or small-scale drug dealing. They must have a maximum seven-year sentence and must have good behavior reports void of any disciplinary sanctions within the past six months, according to the Justice Ministry.This is the second time in the past year that the Justice Ministry has released prisoners or reduced sentences in an attempt to address overcrowding. The first effort, announced in November of last year, was also met with outrage from lawmakers and some government officials, and fear from some members of the public.Costa Rica’s Chief Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría responded to the most recent decision harshly, saying that if the Justice Ministry continues to release convicted prisoners, he would seek harsher penalties against the accused in the future and push against expedited legal proceedings.Justice Minister Cecilia Sánchez called Chavarría’s comments “unfortunate” and “inappropriate.”“It worries me greatly that the Chief Prosecutor would threaten to limit the application of legally established procedures unless the Ministry of Justice disobeys the order of a judge,” Sánchez said. She lamented what she called the “unfortunate interference” with the Justice Ministry’s jurisdiction and said the objectivity of the Prosecutor’s Office had been compromised because of Chavarría’s threat.Prison System Director Reynaldo Villalobos told The Tico Times that the ministry has to comply with the judicial order.“We’re put in charge of finding ways to best incorporate them back into society,” Villalobos said of the prisoners to be released. “They will continue to be supervised in our semi-institutional programs.”Villalobos said prison officials had already begun taking prisoners out of Gerardo Rodríguez, which he said is 39 percent over capacity. The goal is to get overpopulation at the prison down to 20 percent.The released prisoners will be placed in jobs or educational programs, and Villalobos said they will continue to be monitored.See also: Prison overcrowding in Costa Rica jumps 50 percent in 10 years Two men locked up in La Reforma prison in Alajuela during a November trip to the detention center. Álvaro Sánchez/The Tico TimesLawmakers from various political parties recently sent a petition to President Luis Guillermo Solís, asking him to stop the release of prisoners and saying it was insulting to victims and their families. On Friday, the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) and the Costa Rican Hotels Chamber released a joint statement, saying they “feared the uptick in insecurity and its negative impact on the country’s image.”CANATUR President Pablo Abarca said the chambers are asking Solís to look into the legality of the judge’s ruling, adding that convicted criminals being released back onto the streets could reverse the tourism industry’s efforts to help boost Costa Rica’s economy.“The tourism sector makes great efforts towards economic prosperity, but we fear that businesses will be affected now more than ever as we turn to the low season,” Abarca said. “We’re respectfully calling for the president to not harm the favorable momentum that the sector has had in the past year.”Gustavo Araya, president of the Hotels Chamber, said the release of prisoners could prompt a travel warning from the U.S. Department of State, though no such warning has been issued.“Perception is always important when it comes to security,” Araya said. “Unfortunately, there’s a perception of increased insecurity, which is further altered by this political decision.”Representatives from both chambers said they would continue fighting to reverse the ruling.No more prisoners will be accepted at the Gerardo Rodríguez prison during the two-month “deinstitutionalization process” in which the qualifying prisoners will be put into monitored social programs.Costa Rica’s current system of 13 prisons has space for slightly more than 9,000 inmates yet houses more than 13,000, according to a recent report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).The IACHR released a report on Costa Rican prisons in March after its representatives visited San Sebastián prison in San José and La Reforma prison in Alajuela.In its report, the IACHR recommended that the Costa Rican government strongly consider prison reforms and avoid reliance on pretrial detention as a regular practice.Nearly one-fifth of the country’s detainee population is in pretrial detention. Facebook Comments Related posts:Debate continues over pregnancy of girl allegedly raped by father Cuba Dave set to finish year in preventive prison on allegations of promoting sex tourism Judge orders closure of overcrowded San Sebastián prison President Solís to discuss migration, green energy with US Vice President Joe Bidenlast_img read more

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Costa Rica ties Switzerland 22 heads for World Cup exits

first_imgAt least we scored.It’s not the silver lining Costa Ricans were hoping for when their 2018 National Team, full of veterans of La Sele’s extraordinary run at the 2014 World Cup, headed to Russia. But that’s how the story ended in today’s final match against Switzerland, played after Costa Rica’s exit from the tournament was already guaranteed by its losses to Serbia and Brazil.Despite a spirited first half with several shots on goal from Costa Rica (few and far between in the match against Brazil), La Sele ended the first half down by one. Kendall Waston lifted Ticos’ spirits by heading the ball to the back of the net in the 56th minute.Switzerland tied the game in the 88th minute and Costa Rica seemed headed for a loss until a penalty kick in injury time bounced over the line thanks to Bryan Ruíz, a friendly crossbar and perhaps the sheer force of will of 4.5 million Costa Ricans. Daniel Solano for The Tico Times Related posts:Costa Rica, Brazil battle rumors of tension and injury before high-stakes matchup OMG it’s Keylor Navas San Keylor takes off Costa Rica fans descend on Saint Petersburg Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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UK minister Cyberattack could prompt NATO action

first_imgLONDON (AP) – Britain’s armed forces minister says that a cyberattack aimed at a NATO member could mobilize the alliance to act against an aggressor.Nick Harvey told U.K. lawmakers Wednesday that NATO’s Article 5 could be invoked in the case of a cyberattack “the same way it might be invoked for a conventional attack.”Article 5 provides for the collective defense of NATO members and states that an attack on one member is an attack on every member. It has only been invoked once _ in the case of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror strikes in the United States. Lawmaker James Arbuthnot asked Harvey whether he believed NATO could have intervened in the 2007 cyberattacks against Estonia, an electronic onslaught which the tiny Baltic nation blamed on Russia.Harvey said, “Potentially, yes.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Check your body, save your life 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more

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Argentine leader could face criminal fraud probe

first_img The vital role family plays in society Legislator Elisa Carrio says bondholders benefited but the Argentine people were defrauded.The prosecutor says the government preventing Argentines from legally trading pesos for dollars also appears to break the law.A judge will decide whether to proceed.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez could be in legal trouble. A federal prosecutor has found grounds for a criminal fraud investigation of the president along with her central bank chief, top tax collector and commerce secretary.Argentine presidents face formal legal complaints all the time but rarely do they get this far.On Tuesday, prosecutor Carlos Stornelli said evidence justifies a formal criminal investigation based on complaints filed by an opposition lawmaker over the president’s use of emergency decree powers to use money from Argentina’s central bank reserves to pay off foreign debt. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 ways to recognize low testosteronecenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Comments   Share   Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

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Mexicos Slim buys into Mexican soccer squads

first_img Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim’s cellphone company has acquired a 30 percent stake in two first-division Mexican soccer teams.Slim’s America Movil company will hold nearly one-third of Grupo Pachuca, which owns the Pachuca and Leon teams.The deal is the first foray into professional soccer by Slim, who is considered the world’s richest man. Slim has a longstanding fascination with baseball, but doesn’t own a baseball team. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Comments   Share   center_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project A spokesman for Slim’s Grupo Carso holding company says that “we share the values and business vision” of the soccer teams’ management. Spokesman Arturo Elias Ayub announced the purchase Friday.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finisheslast_img read more

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Relief effort begins after Philippine typhoon

first_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   ___UNITED NATIONS WORLD FOOD PROGRAMMEThe United Nations World Food Programme said it has allocated $2 million for the disaster response and officials joined an assessment mission to survey damage in Leyte and Samar provinces.WFP said it will send more than 40 tons of high energy biscuits and work with the Filipino government to help with logistics and emergency communications systems. It asks for donations at http://www.wfpusa.orgor by texting the word AID to 27722 to instantly donate $10.___UNICEFUNICEF said its staff in the Philippines is being repositioned to help in relief efforts and 66 tons of emergency supplies are being sent from Copenhagen. An airlift set to arrive on Tuesday will include water purification systems, storage equipment and sanitation supplies. Donations can be made to UNICEF at unicef.org/support.___RED CROSSThe American Red Cross said it has deployed two people to assist with assessments in the Philippines and activated its family tracing services. It asked those who want to support relief efforts to mail a check to their local American Red Cross chapter, with “Philippines Typhoons and Flood” in the memo line. Go to redcross.org for local chapter information or redcross.org.ph to donate directly to the Philippine Red Cross. (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) (AP) – The U.S. and other governments and agencies are mounting a major relief effort to help victims of the Philippine typhoon.Brian Goldbeck, acting ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, issued a disaster declaration to provide an immediate $100,000 for relief efforts. Officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development are deployed around the country to monitor the damage.Other charities working to provide relief in the Philippines include: Top Stories center_img Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day __CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICESCatholic Relief Services is accepting donations on its website, emergencies.crs.org, as it begins moving supplies and staff to respond to the typhoon.___WORLD VISIONWorld Vision said it is putting together resources to assist 1.2 million people, including food, hygiene kits, emergency shelter and protection. It asked for one-time donations to be made at worldvision.org.___AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEEThe American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has begun collecting donations for relief efforts. To contribute, go to http://www.jdc.orgor call 212-687-6200.___MERCY CORPSMercy Corps said it has launched emergency response efforts to provide food, water, shelter and basic supplies to typhoon survivors. To contribute, go to http://www.mercycorps.org/typhoonor call (800) 292-3355.___AMERICARESAmeriCares is preparing to deploy an emergency response team to the Philippines. To donate go to http://americares.orgor call (800) 486-4357.___INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEEThe International Rescue Committee has dispatched an emergency team to Manila and launched a $10 million appeal. The IRC will work to determine which of its areas of expertise _ from water and sanitation to education _ are most needed. Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

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Beau Biden undergoing undisclosed treatment at Walter Reed

first_img Quick workouts for men 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img He announced last year that he would not seek a third term as attorney general and instead planned to run for governor in 2016. In January, he joined Wilmington law firm Grant & Eisenhofer, which announced three weeks ago that Biden would be expanding his work there on behalf of whistleblowers.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Sponsored Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden’s son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, is undergoing treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.The vice president’s office is not providing any other information about why the 46-year-old has been hospitalized or other details.Beau Biden suffered a mild stroke in 2010 and underwent surgery at a Texas cancer center in 2013 to remove what was described as a small lesion. The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

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Suspect in DC mansion slayings fires his defense attorneys

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Defense attorney Sean Hanover said he and Wint “had a difference of opinion” that led Wint to dismiss him and a colleague who was handling immigration matters. He did not detail what the disagreement was about.Hanover also said he believes there are multiple people who were involved in the slayings who are still at large, and he said he thinks Wint was “set up,” although he did not elaborate. Police have said in court documents that they believe more than one person was involved in the elaborate crime, but no other suspects have been identified and no one else has been arrested.“We have done a lot of investigation since we first got on this case,” Hanover said. “We believe he was set up.”Hanover said Wint had expressed sorrow over the victims’ deaths. One of the Savopouloses’ daughters, 19-year-old Abigail, was in the courtroom on Thursday, watching stoically as Wint conferred with his attorneys and the judge. The daughter, who like her sister was away at boarding school at the time of the slayings, did not speak to reporters.Wint “was heartbroken like everybody else,” Hanover said. “I can assure you that he never intended or wanted anybody, them or anybody else, to be harmed.” WASHINGTON (AP) — A man accused in the slayings of a wealthy family and their housekeeper inside a Washington mansion fired his defense attorneys on Thursday and will once again be represented by public defenders.Daron Wint, 34, made the decision at the start of a scheduled preliminary hearing, which was then postponed.Wint was arrested in May, a week after the slayings of corporate executive Savvas Savopoulos; his wife, Amy; their 10-year-old son, Philip; and a housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa. According to police, he held the family captive for 18 hours inside their mansion in a wealthy northwest Washington neighborhood. After he received a $40,000 ransom, police said, Wint beat and stabbed the victims to death, set their house on fire and fled in a Porsche belonging to the family. Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Wint is a welder who once worked for Savopoulos, who was the CEO of American Iron Works, a Maryland-based construction-materials supplier. A native of Guyana, Wint has a criminal record that includes numerous complaints for domestic violence.Wint is charged with first-degree murder and related offenses. His preliminary hearing will now be held on July 20.___Follow Ben Nuckols on Twitter at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

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