first_imgNo related posts. Dr. Bogarin, a pediatrician, provided his services at the Playa Grande Medical Clinic on Saturday, April 14, starting at 8 a.m. Dr. Bogarin received his medical training in Canada, is fluent in English and Spanish and is an endocrinology specialist.Several Costa Rican beaches received ecological blue flag awards on April 15, and playas Flamingo, Potrero and Conchal were among the recipients. Thank you to those who worked so hard for these important awards. According to the Ecological Blue Flag Program (PBAE) rating criteria, one star is given if the score is graded between 90 and 100 percent (Flamingo and Potrero earned one star) and two stars are given if the score is 100 percent (Conchal earned two). For two stars, a beach must also offer warning signals for national and international tourists, surveillance and first aid services during weekends and high seasons. Great job.Our condolences to Martin, who is from Potrero, over the recent passing of his wife, Martha of Casa Sunset. Martin and Martha had a property on the main road out of the Potrero plaza, and they bought a finca in Tempate, where they lived for several years.The Banana Kings will play on Saturday, at 7 p.m. There will be dinner and drink specials, so come and check it out. Also, Marie’s is hosting a pre-Mother’s Day celebration on Friday, May 11, from noon-6 p.m. There will be handmade items by local artisans for sale including clothing, leather bags, jewelry, hand-painted silks, paintings and more.       If anyone would like to participate, call   2654-4136 or email maricris@racsa.co.cr.–Babe Hopkinstbabehopkins@gmail.com Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgFrom the print editionOn July 11, at 11 p.m. Sophia Granberg left the British pub Hoxton’s, in the San José neighborhood of Barrio Escalante, and started her walk home.She lives only a few hundred meters from the area’s district of bars, restaurants and art galleries. A few blocks away, Barrio Escalante looks dim and deserted at night.As Granberg walked, two skinny men in baggy clothes appeared in front of her. When she moved to the other side of the street, they followed her. The men, who appeared to be in their mid-20s, approached Granberg and asked if she had a lighter.She told them no. Then, the one wearing a jacket pulled out a gun. Granberg ran. If they had asked for her purse, she would’ve given it to them, she said. But they didn’t. Granberg, a native of Sweden, feared they would kidnap her. The assailants gave chase, and Granberg heard two shots fired behind her. She’s not sure if the gunmen shot in the air or at her. Seconds later, she arrived unharmed at Keidas, a bar and lounge on the northern end of Barrio Escalante’s small but bustling main strip. Customers stood outside, wondering about the two loud bangs they had heard.“I couldn’t speak for like five minutes,” Granberg, 26, said. “I was just breathing and crying.”The police came, asked a few questions and left. They did not take Granberg’s contact information. Since then, at least three more attempted robberies have been reported in the same area. The incidents have occurred at various times of the day, including one on Monday at 5:30 a.m. and another at sunset. What makes the crimes frustrating for residents and business owners is that the suspects seem to be the same two people in each case. The assaults and lack of arrests, they say, call up a larger issue: Can this unique barrio survive its own grand ambitions? In 2010, the Barrio Escalante Neighbors Association crafted a five-year renovation plan with a local firm, LDA Architecture. The design, reported to cost $800,000 with half of it paid by the San José Municipality, includes recycling and beautification plans, including a garden around railroad tracks cutting through the barrio, as well as commercial hubs and gastronomic corridors. Many of the homes in Barrio Escalante, located just east of downtown San José in a historic quarter, were built decades ago. The old Santa Teresita Church and the Antigua Aduana – the former customs building, a place that now houses expos and cultural events – define some of the landmarks in the region.   Near the food and bar district, the biggest landmark used to be the Intensa Language School. The school is still there, but the neighborhood has transformed into a trendy commercial district that features a variety of establishments unique to the capital. A stroll around the area shows off popular ethnic restaurants, bars with local DJs and bands, and art galleries. The country’s oldest movie theater is a short distance away. As more people are drawn to neighborhood locales, business owners and community members are becoming increasingly at odds about how to keep residents and patrons safe. There is also division among some local business owners about the area’s highly popular bars. On Barrio Escalante’s Facebook page, managed by neighborhood association vice president Sabrina Vargas, posts on cooking classes and art exhibitions have been splintered by comments on the recent assaults. Tom Dalby, co-owner of Hoxton’s Pub, posts crime reports on the page. He wants to organize a meeting about security. But he said the neighborhood association seems to blame the bars for the recent assaults, an argument he said is unfair. The rivalry with the association, Dalby said, is distracting from the security issue.Brightened by street lamps and guarded by “huachimanes” (parking guards), the heart of the dining district appears to be one of the safest places in Barrio Escalante at night. Hoxton’s hires its own security guard. Dalby said the problem is that Barrio Escalante lacks enough police presence, and the rest of the neighborhood is not well-lit. He added that bars can’t be to blame when crimes don’t just occur at night.Another victim, Jessica Song, said she was robbed last week around 6 p.m. while walking to classes at Barrio Escalante’s International University of the Americas. Two males, fitting the same description as those who attacked Granberg, accosted Song near Parque Francia. An assailant pulled a revolver on the student, and thieves made off with items valued at ₡500,000 ($1,000), including an iPhone and iPod. When Song filed a police report, an official at the Judicial Investigation Police told her she was the second person that day to report a mugging in the area. “I skipped going to my next classes there,” Song said.Vargas, of the neighborhood association, said the area’s renovation plan calls for adding six cameras to deter crime. At a price of $6,000 each, the cameras should be installed in a year, she said. However, Vargas considers the booming nightlife part of the problem. She said police have told her that Barrio Escalante is the new Calle de la Amargura, a raucous zone of bars near the University of Costa Rica’s main campus. Vargas said she’s fine with local bars like Un Lugar and Keidas, where customers remain inside, unlike Monolokorock and Hoxton’s, where clients spend time outside. The association pressured another bar, El Fin del Mundo, to close because of rowdy clients, and she hopes public demand can close other locales that make too much noise at night. She said the clamor is not fair to older residents who have lived in the barrio their entire lives. Dalby said he finds it hard not to take Vargas’ efforts personally since he hasn’t been allowed to attend a meeting with the association, where he would like to discuss the issues of nightlife and security.He said Hoxton’s paid its dues to be association members, yet the bar’s co-owners were asked to leave a recent association meeting. Vargas said they haven’t been approved yet.The neighborhood seems to be at a juncture midway through the renovation plan. Vargas said she doesn’t mind describing her vision of Barrio Escalante as “elitist,” and she would rather keep the bars out. That version of the neighborhood has many supporters. But so does the other side, and many fans of the district hope the gap can be bridged. One resident, a local artist named Pablo Murillo, hopes to provide a new voice on the situation. After seeing the bickering over safety on the Barrio Escalante Facebook page, Murillo decided to volunteer for Barrio Escalante’s security committee.  Murillo, 31, has lived in the neighborhood for more than three years. He enjoys the nightlife that has popped up around his home, and he frequents the bars with friends. He said it’s strange to keep hearing association members assume bar patrons are hooligans. Murillo belongs to an art collective called NoisNois, which held an exhibit at El Farolito, Spain’s Cultural Center, last year. Art remains a popular theme in many facets of the neighborhood’s renovation plan. Vargas, an artist, curates local exhibitions, and Hoxton’s and Monolokorock showcase Costa Rican art exhibits. NoisNois’ show included a performance art portion that played to a packed house. After the show, Murillo and the rest of the collective celebrated their success with food and drink at Barrio Escalante’s popular Turkish restaurant, Aya Sofía.In the past year, the barrio has continued to develop. But it’s the proximity of these many activities that make the neighborhood so attractive, patrons and business owners said. For Murillo, there’s not much anyone can do to stop urban development. Like Granberg and Song, Murillo had his own run-in with an armed robber on the street two years ago. While he acknowledges that criminals prey on victims in numerous neighborhoods in the capital – many attacks are more frequent elsewhere -– Murillo agrees the barrio has felt less-safe lately.For that reason, he wants to see more of an emphasis in the neighborhood on crime prevention and less on the bars. As Barrio Escalante grows, the neighborhood has a chance to reduce local crime, he said. What Murillo wants to see is simple, he said: All those aspects that make Barrio Escalante enjoyable to live – the history, the nightlife and the community – need to come together to make the neighborhood safe.“You have everything close at walking distance, galleries, bars and other pretty cool places,” Murillo said. “It used to be safe enough to walk around. But not anymore. That’s the only concern.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rica’s new liquor law implements an open container ban putting an end to drinking in the streets. The law, which went into affect last Wednesday, calls for a ₡180,000 fine ($360) for drinking alcohol in public.The Regulation and Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Law does allow public drinking at sanctioned activities such as civic festivals, fairs and other public events.The legislation also affects the way alcohol is licensed and sold in the country, according to the daily La Nación.President Laura Chinchilla signed the bill into law on June 25, and it became official after it was published on Aug. 8 in the government newspaper La Gaceta.Sanctions also include a ₡5.4 million ($10,800) fine for businesses caught selling liquor to minors.Another major change in the law gives more power to municipalities to issue and benefit from liquor licenses. Before the law, a limited number of liquor licenses could be sold from one entity to another. The government believed this system led to a type of black market for liquor licenses, and the new law prohibits transferring licenses.Instead, municipalities will decide who is awarded a permit to sell liquor.San José Mayor Johnny Araya told La Nación that, “The rule allows for more flexibility with the municipalities. They will be able to regulate revenue and control liquor licenses. Instructions already have been issued to inspectors and the municipal police so that they can enforce the law.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgNo related posts. EL PLACER, Colombia — Brigitte Carreño was only 12 when a warlord whose anti-guerrilla fighters had occupied this hamlet decided to make her his own.So one night, he lured the tiny, effervescent schoolgirl to the dark and dank headquarters he used to plan operations against Marxist rebels.And then he raped her.“He tore off my shorts, and he tore off my underwear and I said, ‘No,’ ” Carreño, now 25, said in an interview, speaking on the record because she said she wanted people to know her story. “I don’t know if it lasted minutes or hours, but for me it was an eternity.”For several weeks, the commander, Fredy Almario Gómez — who was better known as “Coco” — barged into her school to get her, teachers recalled. When he was away, other commanders arrived. In all, she said, 15 men from an illegal paramilitary group raped her, warning that if she ever said a word, her father would pay with his life.The paramilitary fighters who occupied El Placer, using terror to erode support for the rebels, disbanded, and many are in jail. Others, including Gómez, were shot dead. And the guerrillas they fought for control of this region’s drug crops are negotiating a peace accord with the government to end the 49-year-old conflict by year’s end.As Colombia struggles to emerge from the shadowy violence, searing stories like Carreño’s are being told by the dozens, putting a spotlight on the rape and degradation of women and girls on a massive scale by gunmen who viewed them as “trophies of war,” as Amnesty International put it.No one knows how many were victimized. But investigators who are interviewing victims and perpetrators say the illegal armed bands that battled it out — including the rebels, but most notably the paramilitary groups that terrorized small towns such as El Placer — enslaved girls, turned women into porters and housekeepers, carried out rapes and killed those deemed sympathizers of their enemies.“Gender violence, not just sexual violence or rape, has taken place on a gigantic scale in the armed conflict,” said Camila Medina, an investigator with the Historic Memory Center, a state-supported group that is unearthing details of war crimes and compiling in-depth reports.Researchers for Historic Memory and local prosecutors who are building cases against paramilitary commanders have uncovered numerous crimes that took place early in the last decade.In the northeast where he led 1,200 paramilitary fighters, Hernán Giraldo fathered at least 20 children with girls, one of them just 12. Investigators determined that Giraldo, who was later extradited to the United States on drug-trafficking charges, often gave poverty-stricken parents money in exchange for a virgin daughter.In the Montes de María mountain range farther west, investigators say a feared commander, Marco Tulio Pérez, nicknamed “The Bear,” forced women in the towns he controlled to have sex with him and organized beauty pageants in which teenage contestants were sexually abused.And in the far northeast near Venezuela, paramilitary groups targeting the Wayuu Indian tribe went after a group of women in 2004, hacking them to death and cutting off their breasts.Perhaps no other town, though, saw as many crimes against women over such a long period of time as El Placer — or the Pleasure — just on the edge of Amazonia in the isolated southern state of Putumayo.“There was suffering, all you could imagine, suffering no person or animal should have to go through,” said Isabel Narvaéz, 32, a resident and rape victim who, like others interviewed, said she wanted to be quoted by name.Here, farmers grew a cash crop like no other, coca, which produces a bright green leaf central to the production of cocaine. The rebels began to tax farmers and traffickers. That brought the paramilitary groups, heavily armed bands numerically inferior to the rebels who undercut the guerrilla’s support by massacring villagers.The paramilitary fighters in El Placer went further, in what María Luisa Moreno, another Historic Memory researcher, called “crimes of opportunity” made possible by the absence of the state.“All the rapes that happened and that I know of were opportunistic, because these men were armed figures in a war, and through force and through coercion were able to reach these girls,” Moreno said.Residents speak of the rape, mutilation and murder of women who were believed to be close to the fighters. They say prostitutes who were HIV-positive were shot and dumped in the Guamúez River. They talk of girls barely into their teens enticed with gifts, then forced to have sex and led into prostitution.“Parents would try to keep their girls indoors,” recounted Elizabeth Mueses, 52, leader of a group representing victims. “They would sleep with their girls in between them in bed to protect them from the paramilitaries.”Teacher Alba Lucía Gelpud called the violence and oppression that came to El Placer “a virus” that fragmented the town’s social structure. Girls abandoned their homes. Some who wound up dating paramilitary fighters, even if under duress, were later rejected by their parents. The killings left the town with dozens of orphans.“The collapse here was complete,” Gelpud said.Paula Andrea Caicedo was raped at 15 in the drab three-story paramilitary headquarters. When she told her family, they refused to believe her. Later, she was shunned.“They used to blame all the women, that we asked for it, that we wanted it,” she said. Now 25 and raising two children alone, Caicedo said her life has been marked by depression.“Sometimes I feel like I want to kill myself,” she said. “I feel like I’m worthless.”Speaking on a park bench, tears gently rolling down her cheeks, Brigitte Carreño said she, too, was changed forever after the paramilitary commander known as “Coco” raped her. Told that her family would suffer if she didn’t obey him and other commanders, Carreño was raped repeatedly over several weeks. The ordeal ended only when her family fled.Carreño, who recently returned to the area and visited close friends, said she remains haunted by what happened, unable to relate to or trust men. She wonders — much as the residents of El Placer wonder — if she’ll ever recover.“There are things that you never forget,” she said, “traumas that stay with you and that you can never leave behind.”© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Colleges cut ties with Bill Cosby as the list of women accusing him of assault hits 20 Cosby’s wife forced to testify in defamation case over sexual-assault allegations Argentina seeks extradition from Spain of Franco-era ministers Mexicans’ search for bodies reveals a history of hidden deaths For a cover story this week, New York magazine interviewed and photographed 35 of Cosby’s alleged victims, supplementing the story with video interviews with six. (Via New York magazine Facebook)In the years since women first said Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them and the months since the media started paying attention, it’s been difficult to keep track of the comedian’s alleged victims. Many publications — including The Washington Post — have reported dozens of versions of the same story: A young woman, often an aspiring actress, is violated by a man who thinks himself a mentor.After a few weeks, unfortunately, it became difficult to tell such stories apart. Was it P.J. Masten who said Cosby drugged and raped her in a Chicago hotel, or was that Lise-Lotte Lublin?New York magazine may have ended the relative anonymity of many Cosby accusers for good. For a cover story this week, New York interviewed and photographed 35 of Cosby’s alleged victims, supplementing the story with video interviews with six.“The group of women Cosby allegedly assaulted functions almost as a longitudinal study — both for how an individual woman, on her own, deals with such trauma over the decades and for how the culture at large has grappled with rape over the same time period,” the magazine wrote. “In the ’60s, when the first alleged assault by Cosby occurred, rape was considered to be something violent committed by a stranger . . . But among younger women, and particularly online, there is a strong sense now that speaking up is the only thing to do, that a woman claiming her own victimhood is more powerful than any other weapon in the fight against rape.”The stories here aren’t necessarily new.“In the early 1990s, in my mid-20s, Bill Cosby mentored me,” Lili Bernard, who went public in a news conference in May, said in a New York video. “He gained my total trust and then he drugged me without my knowledge. He raped me. I wouldn’t call him crazy . . . I felt that he was very much in control of his behavior.”The images and videos, however, leave quite an impression.The New York story comes at the end of a particularly bad month for Cosby. The comedian has denied all sexual assault allegations and has not been charged with a crime, but acknowledged in a 2005 court deposition made public three weeks ago that he intended to give quaaludes to young women with whom he wanted to have sex.In the deposition, Cosby put himself forward as quite the Lothario.“I’m a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things, whatever you want to call them,” he testified.One notable absence from the pages of New York: Andrea Constand, the former college basketball player and Temple University administrator who claimed Cosby drugged and raped her in his Pennsylvania home. (Constand, who signed a confidentiality agreement, has since sought full release of Cosby’s deposition.)Constand’s civil suit against the comedian led to the deposition — and testimony so damning that Spelman College, a historically black women’s school in Atlanta that maintained its relationship with the comedian long after Temple cut ties with him, said goodbye.“The William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship at Spelman College has been discontinued,” the school’s communications office said in a brief statement Saturday, as CNN reported.The foundation was established by Cosby’s wife, Camille, to honor her mother, as the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported; two of his daughters attended the school, where exteriors for “A Different World,” a “Cosby Show” spin-off, were filmed.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_img Facebook Comments With a tale about the struggles of a teenager, in which death is like a “game,” the director Sofía Quirós presented on Sunday in Cannes the first feature film from Costa Rica in the history of the contest.“Ceniza Negra,” or “Black Ash,” Quirós’ first feature, tells the story of Selva, a dreamy teenager who lives with her grandfather and her companion in a small Caribbean town. Surrounded by nature, she learns to overcome the death of her mother.Scheduled in the Critics’ Week, the film is the first feature film from Costa Rica projected in the biggest film event in the world. In 2017, Quirós presented a short film, “Selva,” in this section, becoming the first edition of the contest with a Costa Rican presence.“That we are the first film of Costa Rica in Cannes and that the way we have done it is so honest with what we think is a double prize, for the Costa Rican cinema and the independent Latin American cinema,” Quirós told AFP.The filmmaker began to think about the subject of death watching a 5-year-old cousin who lost her mother.“I started to marvel at the naturalness of children, they understand death as a natural process,” said Quirós, a Costa Rican and Argentine national.“Death became a kind of game. She played in cemeteries, to bury things. … She understood death from the game and from a more playful and natural place”.From there, she built the character of Selva, keeping in mind that for “children and adolescents, death can be a magical and healing experience.”To overcome the death of her mother, the girl, played by a magnetic Smachleen Gutiérrez, is immersed in a universe populated with magical elements, like her friend Winter, with whom she performs enigmatic rituals.The starting point to recreate this magical world was the “symbol of the serpent,” which changes skin, and reinforces the idea that children see death as “a natural process of transformation, where we are born, we die, we become something more, in another energy,” reiterated the filmmaker.– A film that is ‘100% feminine’ –Shot in the province of Limón, the exuberant nature of this Caribbean area also plays an important role in the learning of Selva.Through the natural elements, the director sought to show the “evolution of the character in this duel through nature and how this pain goes, this courage, which is assumed throughout the film through the force of nature, from the sea.”The young singer Smachleen Gutiérrez had already starred in the short film “Selva” in 2017, and since then, she has been working with Quirós to maintain a playful and natural side in her performance, and to create a figure “more from childhood than from adolescence.”The fact that the film’s team was mostly female had an influence on the creation of the character.The construction of the strength of the character and the female empowerment of the story has to do with the fact that the genesis of the project was “100% female,” says the director.With regard to this female presence, Quirós believes that emerging Costa Rican cinema “has a particularity, and that it has many women’s films and many women producers” and, although there are also male directors and producers, “the most authentic, most authoritative, most risk-taking stories are being led by women.”The Critics’ Week, whose jury is chaired by the Colombian Ciro Guerra, also includes the short film “Lucía en el limbo,” by Costa Rican Valentina Maurel. Related posts:25 Years of Glory: Instituto Costarricense Pro Música Coral to celebrate quarter century Ballet Festival 2019 part of Costa Rica’s flourishing dance scene Boruca masks bring indigenous awareness to San José What not to miss at Costa Rica’s National Arts Festivallast_img read more

first_imgThe Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) on Friday granted a $500 million credit to Costa Rica to support the country’s fiscal sustainability efforts.The 18-year term financing will improve debt management by covering Costa Rica’s financing needs without having to resort to the local market, which will relieve pressure on interest rates in the country, according to authorities.It is a “source of alternative financing, reducing interest rates, lengthening terms, improving the debt profile, which will result in greater liquidity space for the domestic market,” said Luis Carranza, CAF’s executive president.Carranza signed the loan agreement with the Costa Rican Minister of Finance, Rocío Aguilar. The agreement must be approved by the Legislative Assembly to take effect.“These resources are not debt in addition to what is already programmed in the budget; it is debt that is contracted in better conditions of terms and interest rates,” Aguilar explained at the signing ceremony of the agreement.For his part, President Carlos Alvarado commented that the financing “allows us to alleviate the burden [of debt], lower interest rates and reactivate the economy to generate more employment opportunities.”Alvarado has called the unemployment rate — recently tallied at 11.3% of the economically active population — as the most serious economic problem in Costa Rica.On July 1, the fiscal reform approved last December will come into effect. It replaces the current sales tax with a value-added tax.Both taxes are 13%, but the one that will take effect in July covers additional services that were excluded in the previous tax.The reform was adopted to address the fiscal deficit that reached 6% at the end of 2018. Facebook Comments Related posts:Court rejects tax reform and asks legislators to eliminate four points As he reaches a year in charge, President Alvarado addresses Legislative Assembly Costa Rican Congress, President Alvarado approve controversial tax reform IMF projects economic slowdown in Costa Rica in 2018last_img read more

first_img Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system The first-round results were particularly a blow to Morsi. In parliamentary elections late last year, the Brotherhood won more than 10 million votes _ gaining it nearly half of the legislature’s seats. In contrast, Morsi got 5.7 million votes.Many see that drop in part as a backlash against its attempts to dominate policy making during the transition period, which fueled the group’s reputation as power-hungry and anti-revolutionary. Particularly, the group caused an uproar by insisting on Islamist domination of a panel tasked with drafting a new constitution. The panel was disbanded after liberals and leftists walked out, and negotiations to form a new one have been deadlocked. Now, advisers to the ruling military are suggesting the generals _ rather than the Brotherhood-led parliament _ form a new panel.Now the Brotherhood has energized its powerful electoral machine in a bid to shed that image, approaching those who have been at odds with it to argue that it shares their goals, such as purging state institutions from Mubarak cronies or upholding a more equal social policy.Its activists have reached out to local anti-Brotherhood groups to try to persuade them to back Morsi. They have even approached local campaign workers of Sabahi and Abolfotoh, asking them to campaign for Morsi. After taking a more overtly Islamist stance in campaigning for the first round of elections, held last month, the Brotherhood has shifted gears to present itself as the voice of the “revolution” _ playing off the fears of Shafiq.“We no longer present Morsi as the candidate of the Islamic current but as the candidate of the revolution,” said Murad Mohammed Ali, spokesman for the Morsi campaign. “Thousands, ten of thousands (from former competition) are working with us on the ground to say don’t vote Shafiq.”But the Brotherhood is also under pressure from the leftist and secular “revolutionary” leaders of last year’s uprising against Mubarak. While some have backed Morsi, others have called for a boycott of the June 16-17 run-off, saying the choice between a Mubarak stalwart and the Brotherhood is no real choice at all.The third- and forth-place finishers from the election’s first round are taking another approach, demanding the enactment of the “isolation law,” which would ban former regime figures like Shafiq from running. That would likely force the election process to begin again from scratch.The two _ leftist Hamdeen Sabahi and moderate Islamist Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh _ also demand the Brotherhood accept the formation of a “presidential council” that would be give them a concrete role in governing alongside Morsi for a temporary period. The Brotherhood is reluctant to accept the proposal. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – In a tight race for Egypt’s presidency, the Muslim Brotherhood is reaping an immediate benefit from public fury over the mixed verdict against former leader Hosni Mubarak and his aides. The outrage appears to have chipped away at some of the widespread skepticism among Egyptians who believe the Islamic group is as domineering as the old rulers.Now some grudgingly are backing the Brotherhood’s candidate Mohammed Morsi as the only way to defeat the other hopeful in next month’s run-off, Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, who many fear would preserve a Mubarak-style autocratic regime. Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Salah Radwan, a 36-year old protester who was only recently a staunch critic of the Brotherhood and supported Abolfotoh in the first round, has now been arguing in Tahrir in favor of backing Morsi. Aware of his strong speeches against the group in his downtown Cairo neighborhood of Abdeen, the Brotherhood approached Radwan before the Mubarak verdict and asked him to work on its side.Radwan said he accepted grudgingly, reasoning the Brotherhood would balance out the military and elements from the old regime. He said he hopes that Brotherhood fears of eventually losing voter support at the ballot box would keep them in check.“It was despite myself,” he said, of backing Morsi. “He would be better than another Mubarak.”Radwan and others are also looking at the protests in the square as a way to pressure the Brotherhood into further concessions, such as the presidential council proposal.The Brotherhood has so far balked at the presidential council idea, saying further discussions were needed.Ali, Morsi’s campaign manager, challenged the “legality” of such a council and said the group instead offered to form a coalition government and create posts for vice presidents. He also raised concerns that the ruling military could delay handing over power to a council. Together, Sabahi and Abolfotoh won 40 percent of the vote in the first round, a significant bloc that showed many voters want an alternative to both the Brotherhood and the former regime. Morsi and Shafiq each got around a quarter of the vote.Sabahi and Abolfotoh made a late-night appearance among thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square Monday, their first together in an attempt to form a united front challenging both Morsi and Shafiq.“We are the sons of the revolution and we will continue the revolution,” Sabahi said, holding Abolfotoh’s hand in the air. “We will not accept continuing this game of election elections unless the law of isolation is passed.”“In the name of all the Tahrir Squares in Egypt, we announce that the people … insist on forming a presidential council,” Sabahi said to crowds chanting, “down with military rule.”Earlier in the day, the two met with Morsi. In a joint statement, all three backed the isolation law and called for mass protests in Tahrir on Tuesday to demand its enactment. But the Brotherhood appears willing to go ahead with the election even if the law is not brought into effect, a sign it does not want to sabotage its chance of competing in the race. The isolation law was passed by the Brotherhood-led parliament, but has been put on hold as the Supreme Constitutional Court reviews it. Comments   Share   “We are walking a tightrope here,” he said.Gigi Ibrahim, a member of the Revolutionary Socialists, a group that came under heat from other pro-revolutionary groups for quickly backing Morsi after the results, said the Brotherhood needs to make concessions to keep support _ particularly if Shafiq wins and the movement must return to protests.“The street will be their only option,” she said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Patients with chronic pain give advice New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths They are also trying to tap into the anger over Saturday’s verdicts from the 10-month trial of Mubarak. The ousted leader and his ex-security chief Habib el-Adly were both convicted and sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop the killings of some 900 protesters during last year’s uprising. But six top police commanders were acquitted. And Mubarak and his two sons were acquitted of separate corruption charges.The verdicts caused an uproar, sending thousands in the streets in Cairo and other cities, who saw them as failing to deliver justice. The crowds remained in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for a third day on Monday. The Brotherhood has backed the rally, unlike most other protests the past year.Late Sunday, Morsi met with the relatives of some of the “martyrs” _ protesters killed during last year’s uprising _ and pledged that the Brotherhood would ensure new trials against Mubarak and new investigations into their loved ones’ deaths.Ramadan Ahmed, the father of one martyr, said he will put aside his disappointment over the Brotherhood’s performance in the past months and will vote for Morsi.“This is a critical moment and we must agree,” he said. “Later, we can hold the Brotherhood accountable (for their mistakes). Morsi is a good Muslim man. He is not Hosni Mubarak and is definitely better for us than Shafiq.”last_img read more

first_img Comments   Share   With the economic crisis shrinking bottom lines, and Italy increasingly on the hunt for big-time evasion, especially by big businesses, “there is a tendency to move capital abroad, using maneuvers apparently legal but which really are not,” Campana said. A classic technique consists of declaring one’s formal residence abroad in tax havens like Monte Carlo. Also common are companies that clearly have their business base in Italy but claim it is abroad in countries with far lower tax brackets.Campana is armed with three degrees, including a masters in tax law from Milan’s Bocconi University, the prestigious economics institute formerly headed by Monti. He brings skills to this specialized police corps that are as finely tuned as sharp-shooting.“We are going after the big cases (of evasion) in order to rake in more money,” Campana said.The Ferrari-driving plumber hid some (EURO)2 million ($2.6 million) of his income over several years by giving his customers invoices — for jobs ranging from fixing leaks to installing new bathrooms — for the actual cost of his work, but kept a second, false registry of much lower figures for tax purposes, said Pescara tax police Col. Mauro Odorisio. Meanwhile, Italian tax police are chasing after cheats who have shown some of the most chutzpah about not paying their fair share of taxes, like the Padua woman who advertised on the Internet that she had a couple of `’cash-only” bed and breakfast rooms to let.Tax police discovered the lodgings are part of an apartment in public housing she was given after falsely declaring she was indigent on her annual tax forms.____AP reporters Derek Gatopoulos in Athens and Ciaran Giles in Madrid contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Armed with a 2008 law, authorities confiscated assets belonging to the plumber equivalent to the approximately (EURO)1 million ($1.3 million) they contend he owed in taxes, Odorisio said.With Ferraris in red or yellow, and snazzy Porsches parked inside, Guardia di Finanza garages practically resemble luxury car dealerships.The cars get sold to help recoup unpaid taxes and interest.Overall, tax revenues in Italy were up by 4.1 percent, says the Economy Ministry, when comparing figures from the first eight months of 2012 with the same period in 2011, but much of that was due to new taxes, and not necessarily a revolution in citizens’ consciences about tax obligations.Monti’s recipe relies heavily on taxes that are nearly impossible to avoid, such as sales tax. He also revived a property tax that his populist predecessor, Premier Silvio Berlusconi, had abolished in a promise to voters.The ministry’s report last month noted that the property tax figured prominently in the “tendency toward growth” in tax revenues. But sales tax revenue dropped slightly despite higher sales tax rates, indicating that consumers were feeling the pinch of the stagnant economy. Tax evasion of all types in Italy totals about euros 240 billion ($300 billion), or 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product of (EURO)1.6 trillion ($2 trillion), tax police estimate. Winning the war on tax cheats could therefore more than wipe out the country’s budget deficit, which is expected to increase to euros 42 billion ($53 billion), or 2.6 percent of GDP this year. That would start knocking away at the nation’s colossal public debt of (EURO)2 trillion ($2.5 trillion), or 125 percent of GDP.But “big international frauds are up,” lamented Lt. Col. Gianluca Campana, in charge of the income tax unit revenue protection office at the Guardia di Finanza, Italy’s financial police corps which reports to the Economy Ministry.The entrenched practice by many cafes, eateries, hair dressers and similar small business of neglecting to give customers mandatory cash register receipts commonly grabs the attention in crackdowns on tax evasion in Italy.But, cautioned Campana, “one false (big business) invoice can equal no cash register receipts for coffees for two months.”Over all of 2011, the total of non-declared income discovered by tax police amounted to some (EURO)50 billion ($65 billion), of which some 20 percent was due to international tax evasion, he said. By comparison, in the first nine months of this year, tax police discovered some (EURO)40 billion in undeclared income, with 30 percent of that blamed on international tax evasion, Campana said. The heavier fiscal burden seems to have driven some honest citizens to rebel against the engrained culture of tax evasion.The number of phone calls from the public to the tax police’s hotline to report stores, restaurants and other businesses that didn’t give customers sales receipts has almost doubled in the first nine months of this year, compared with the same period in 2011.It’s apparently dawning on Italians that shirking taxes in the end only costs them, in terms of ever-higher levies and cutbacks in public services.Citizens now increasingly understand that “the lack of revenue over time caused by tax evaders forced the government to stiffen the tax burden on categories where you can’t evade taxes,” Campana said, referring to workers whose taxes are deducted from paychecks. Another area where evasion is close to impossible is real estate ownership.Odorisio noted the crackdown included extending the statute of limitations on tax evasion from six to eight years and establishing prison as a penalty for big-time evasion.Other weapons include a measure promoted by the Monti government that limits cash payments to no more than (EURO)1,000. Paying by credit card or personal check is a relatively new habit for Italians, who are used to carrying wads of cash in their pockets, even for big-ticket items like home renovations or vacations. Past governments in Italy sometimes resorted to tax amnesties to try to boost revenues. But critics, contending some Italians counted on such a possibility, described that strategy as only perpetuating the tax cheat culture.Spain hasn’t had much success with its own tax amnesty introduced by the conservative government in March. That measure, expiring soon, allows undeclared assets or those hidden in tax havens to be repatriated by paying a 10 percent tax without criminal penalty. The amnesty is estimated to recuperate far less than the expected (EURO)2.5 billion ($3.25 billion).Greece saw demands for tax system reform from international rescue creditors added on to conditions for future rescue loan payments, as Greek authorities acknowledged that a high-profile campaign to crack down on major tax cheats has produced disappointing results.The cash-strapped government over the last 10 months recovered just (EURO)19 million ($25 million) of the (EURO)13 billion ($17 billion) of arrears on the list. A prominent Greek magazine publisher recently tapped anger over rich tax evaders by publishing a list of people allegedly holding Swiss bank accounts. He was acquitted this month of breaching privacy laws. Sponsored Stories Indeed, Greece’s international rescue creditors have been pressing Greece for two years to reform its ailing tax system, citing poor collection as a key factor keeping the country mired in crisis. In Spain, where tax fraud is rampant, as much as (EURO)90 billion ($150 billion) is lost each year to tax fraud — the equivalent of the country’s national debt, according to Spain’s main tax inspectors union.To succeed in Italy, authorities will have to catch the legions of self-employed and small business owners who brazenly lie about their earnings, like the plumber in the eastern town of Pescara, who socked away undeclared income in 30 bank accounts, or a successful pastry shop owner in Calabria, who on his tax return claimed he was earning next to crumbs.And those are the less sophisticated schemers.Tax police officials say that wealthy Italians, their companies and foreigners who make their money in Italy are increasingly trying to avoid taxes by using such strategies as falsely declaring that their base of operations or residence is abroad.Another daunting challenge is the so-called “submerged” economy, a term embracing Italians who declare only a fraction or nothing at all of their earnings — and dentists, lawyers, doctors and other big-earning professionals are frequently among the worst offenders. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Patients with chronic pain give advice Associated PressROME (AP) – Good plumbers may be worth their weight in gold, but when one was spotted zipping around in a bright red Ferrari, Italian tax police were fast on his trail.Stamping out entrenched tax evasion is crucial to Premier Mario Monti’s quest to keep Italy from succumbing to the European debt crisis, and it is critical to fellow eurozone members in more dire straits, such as Greece and Spain _ which are also notorious for making cheating the taxman a way of life. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img

first_imgThe Islamists view the current round of fighting as an opportunity to pry open the borders of Gaza, which slammed shut in 2007, after Hamas wrested control of the territory from its political rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In response to the takeover, Israel and Egypt _ then under Morsi’s pro-Western predecessor Hosni Mubarak _ sealed off Gaza to disrupt Hamas rule.“We will not accept a cease-fire until the occupation (Israel) meets our conditions,” said Izzat Rishaq, a senior Hamas official who is involved in the cease-fire efforts in Cairo.Free movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza is seen as vital for Hamas’ continued control of Gaza.Both Israel and Egypt’s new leader have eased access to the territory since 2007, but many restrictions remain. But even Morsi _ who is sympathetic to Hamas as a fellow member of the region-wide Muslim Brotherhood _ has resisted Hamas calls for open trade between Gaza and Egypt. Morsi fears such ties could undercut attempts to set up a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, the territory on the other side of Israel, where Abbas has partial control.Open Gaza borders, including an end to Israel’s naval blockade of the territory, would also heighten Israel’s concerns about weapons smuggling into Gaza. After Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and relinquished control of the territory’s border with Egypt, militants dramatically stepped up the import of weapons through smuggling tunnels. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Quick workouts for men Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project A Gaza invasion or dramatic escalation of the air campaign could further strain Israel’s ties with Egypt, a regional powerhouse and Israel’s main conduit to the Arab world. Israeli Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon said Sunday that Israel is keeping open channels with the Egypt, adding that “we hope the Egyptian regime will play a positive role.”The Egyptian-led cease-fire efforts are taking place against a regional backdrop that is dramatically different from what it was four years ago, during Israel’s last major Gaza offensive.At the time, Hamas was largely isolated. Now, following the Arab Spring uprisings, it has new regional friends, including fellow Muslim Brothers in power in Egypt and Tunisia, and increased support from Qatar and Turkey. On Sunday, Hamas’ Mashaal also met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is visiting Cairo.Both Yaalon and Ahmed Yousef, a Gaza intellectual close to Hamas, suggested that the two sides will keep fighting to improve their positions in eventual truce talks.Israel is trying to improve its leverage by striking Hamas hard, said Yaalon. “We have to deter them,” he said. “How? By charging them the heavy price right now where they’ll have to consider whether they’ll go on with their terrorist attacks …” Top Stories Israel now fears that Hamas would exploit unfettered access to Gaza to further boost its arsenal of missiles and other strategic weapons from Iran and stockpiles plundered after the fall of the Libyan regime last year. Israel estimates that Hamas already has some 12,000 rockets, including some Hamas claims are being produced by a fledgling local arms industry.Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev would not say Sunday whether Israel seeks a demilitarized Gaza as part of a broader cease-fire package, but said any deal must guarantee an end to rocket fire for good.“We don’t want a … quick fix and in two weeks or two months we have another round,” he said. “`The people of southern Israel have the right to live normal lives, not in fear of incoming missiles.”Israeli military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said Israel’s offensive is meant to “cripple the capabilities” of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza. Leibovich said Israel’s air force has specified hundreds more targets for attack, adding that “we are really determined to reach the goal of the operation.”However, Israeli leaders face diplomatic restraints as they consider the next military move, including a possible ground invasion. President Barack Obama and British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Sunday cautioned against an escalation in Gaza, including sending in ground troops, even as they asserted that Israel has the right to defend itself against rocket fire.center_img Comments   Share   Associated PressGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Gaza’s Hamas rulers are aiming high in the conditions they place on stopping rocket fire into Israel in indirect cease-fire talks launched this weekend. Emboldened by Arab support and confident in their arsenal, the Islamists say calm can only come if Israel opens the gates of the tiny, closed-off territory.The question is how far Hamas will go to reach that long-sought goal, which Israel opposes out of fear of an influx of weapons to Gaza militants. For now, public opinion in Gaza appears to support continued rocket attacks on Israel. However, Israeli aircraft have already struck hundreds of Hamas-linked targets in Gaza and Israel is threatening to escalate its military offensive. On Sunday, a new tactic of bombing the homes of Hamas operatives claimed the lives of at least nine children.The indirect contacts between Israel and Hamas began Sunday, the fifth day of Israel’s massive bombing campaign meant to halt more than a decade of intermittent Gaza rocket attacks on Israel.An Israeli envoy was whisked from the tarmac at Cairo’s international airport to talks with senior Egyptian security officials. The top Hamas leader in exile Khaled Mashaal held talks with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who also spoke by phone with the Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh.Hamas’ demands, as presented by Mashaal, include open borders for Gaza and international guarantees that Israel will halt all attacks on Gaza, including targeted killings of the movement’s leaders. The assassination of Hamas’ military chief last week after days of smaller exchanges between the two sides marked the start of the Israeli offensive, the most intense since a three-week-long war four years ago. Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Yousef said Hamas is capable of firing rockets as long as Israel bombards Gaza, adding that militants “have enough missiles to fire.” Overall, Hamas is in a strong position to negotiate a truce deal, he said, citing the new diplomatic support and the group’s current popularity at home, in addition to the large arsenal.The current round of fighting will eventually grind to a halt, but it’s unlikely the two sides will emerge with a durable cease-fire, said Israeli analyst Yossi Alpher.“Both sides will have to come down from their lofty demands, and it will require some heavy pressure,” he said. “Certainly, it will end with some sort of cease-fire, but it won’t be kept because Hamas will be rearming and Israel will respond and things will get out of hand within a few months.”____Bohn reported from Jerusalem. AP reported Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img

first_img Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Business investment has suffered because of large cutbacks in the energy industry, which has reduced exploration in response to the drop over the past year in global oil prices.The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a meager annual rate of 0.2 percent in the January-March quarter, according to the government’s first estimate. That figure will be revised on Friday, and many economists believe it will show that GDP actually contracted in the first three months of the year.But economists expect a rebound in the April-June quarter, with many expecting growth to recover to a rate of 2 percent or better.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Orders in the business investment category rose 1 percent in April after a 1.5 percent increase in March. The gains followed a sizable 5.1 percent fall in February. Business investment has been hurt by a stronger dollar sapping exports and cutbacks in the energy industry.“The anticipated pick-up in the growth rate of business investment in equipment in the second quarter appears to be firmly on track,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics.He said the solid gain in orders for business investment indicated that the economy was starting to return to stronger growth following a severe winter in the Northeast at the beginning of the year and the West Coast port dispute, which disrupted supply chains.Demand for commercial aircraft had surged 40.7 percent in March only to fall 4 percent in April. Orders for motor vehicles and parts rose a modest 0.3 percent last month. Orders for durable goods excluding transportation posted a 0.5 percent rise in the first back-to-back increase this year.Orders for primary metals fell 2.1 percent in April, and orders for computers dropped 3.4 percent. But demand for machinery rose 3.1 percent.U.S. factories have been struggling with weak exports, which have been clipped by a big rise in the value of the dollar. A stronger dollar makes U.S. exports more expensive in overseas markets. It also lowers the cost of imported goods, making them more attractive for American consumers. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods fell slightly in April. But a category that reflects business investment climbed for a second month, a hopeful sign that this key sector is starting to revive.Total orders for durable goods slipped 0.5 percent from March, when orders had surged 5.1 percent, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The big swing was driven by changes in commercial aircraft, an extremely volatile category that had jumped in March but fell in April. Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? Another man named Abdullah, also from Syria, arrived on a separate boat three days later.“We are looking for better life, a safe life,” said Abdullah, who would only give his first name. “Especially a safe life for the children.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “Stop the boat! Stop the boat and turn off your engines! This is the Hellenic Coast Guard,” the crew tells the dinghy through a loudspeaker as its powerful searchlight illuminates the fluorescent strips on the passengers’ life jackets.But the dinghy, already near a beach beneath a nightclub on a hill, pays it no heed. In just a few short minutes, its passengers have arrived and leap out, splashing through the water. The migrants quickly ditch their lifejackets, gather their few belongings and climb up a brief incline onto the road above.It’s a scene repeated several times a night, every night and sometimes even during the day, all along Lesvos’ long coastline facing Turkey. The island, the third largest in Greece, has become the main point of entry into the country for thousands of refugees and migrants heading into the European Union, fleeing war and poverty back home.More than 25,000 people have reached the island so far this year — a 620 percent increase from the same period last year, says Lesvos Coast Guard Lt. Commander Antonios Sofiadelis, who is also the local coordinator of a joint European operation by Frontex, Europe’s border agency. AP10ThingsToSee – A Greek coast guard vessel uses a light to spot migrants arrive on an overcrowded dinghy from Turkish coasts during a patrol operation near the port of Mytilene on the Greek island of Lesvos, early Thursday, June 18, 2015. Around 100,000 migrants have entered Europe so far this year, with some 2,000 dead or missing during their perilous quest to reach the continent. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)n Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Greece is reeling from massive numbers of refugees and migrants arriving on the shores of its eastern Aegean islands, with numbers already surpassing 55,000 this year.“(They) arrive daily, mainly in inflatable dinghies of dubious seaworthiness, small engines, 30 to 40 people on board, many times without lifejackets, without safety equipment, without navigation lights, sometimes under difficult weather conditions,” Sofiadelis said.He said his crews have carried out search-and-rescue missions for more than 300 of the roughly 500 smugglers’ vessels reaching the island’s shores.Many also reach the coast out of sight of the patrols. The vast majority are refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, many with young children and infants in tow.“It’s very difficult, very dangerous,” said Hussain Amer, a 26-year-old Syrian who arrived at dawn recently on a rocky beach near the island’s airport. “It’s very hard. We had many children, about 10 of them … we came because of the war. In Syria, it’s very dangerous.”Amer said it took him about seven days to reach Greece from Syria, using a combination of buses and walking through Turkey. OFF THE COAST OF LESVOS, Greece (AP) — In the dead of night, a Greek coast guard patrol boat slips its moorings, heading out across the bay toward the Aegean Sea that separates the island of Lesvos from the nearby Turkish coast.As the boat picks up speed, a crew member scours the dark sea, looking at a night-vision camera monitor. It doesn’t take long to find what he’s looking for.Barely out of port of the island’s capital, Mytilene, he spots a small but unmistakable black shape: an inflatable dinghy crammed with dozens of migrants, heading straight toward the coast. Parents, stop beating yourself up 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosterone MADRID (AP) — Spanish authorities sent 16 water planes and helicopters to help fight five different forest fires Thursday as summer temperatures soared once again.The Environment Ministry said it sent five planes to combat a blaze near the southern towns of Gualchos and Lujar. Some 500 people had been evacuated from the towns after the fire started Wednesday but authorities said Thursday it was safe enough for them to return home.center_img Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Planes and helicopters were also sent to help extinguish a fire that had destroyed 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) of land around the south-central town of Quesada. Firefighters were also trying to put out fires that have razed 1,000 hectares in the provinces of southwestern Huelva, northern Huesca and eastern Castellon.Spain has been hit by a heat wave for nearly two weeks, with temperatures reaching 40 C (104 F).Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J In response to American Airline’s (AA) decision to back down, Travelport has announced it has removed the AA Booking Source Premium surcharge effective midnight 17 February 2011. “We welcome AA’s decision to remove its surcharges on bookings made through the Travelport GDS in markets outside of the US and Caribbean,” Travelport chief commercial officer Kurt Ekert said in a statement to e-Travel Blackboard. “This is good news for the travel industry and consumers alike.”   Earlier this week AA managing director Theo Panagiotoulias said in a statement that the surcharge was proposed by the airline as a way to redeem “steep” fees imposed by Travelport. In the same statement the carried announced it has decided to revoke the proposal for the Booking Source Premium. “No bookings of American Airlines/American Eagle flight segments made using the Travelport GDSs will attract the Booking Source Premium, and no ADMs for the Booking Source Premium will be issued.” last_img read more

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Travellers flying Qantas domestic today were issued handwritten boarding passes after the carrier experienced technical difficulties with its check-in system.Occurring at 6.40am in domestic airports, the “meltdown” affected the Australian flag carrier’s ability to print out tickets, forcing staff to write out the information, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.”We have had issues printing boarding passes at our domestic airports,” a Qantas spokesperson told the newspaper. “Customers can check in online or on their smartphones, but we expect the system to be up any moment.”The spokesperson confirmed that no international airports were affected and were still able to print boarding passes.With news of the “meltdown” spreading online, customers and the Australian public have moved onto social media to question whether they should continue flying with the carrier, particularly after its recent fleet grounding and industrial action.@BeccTB tweeted… why do people keep flying qantas??? #Iwouldratherwalk @PerthNinja joked…  DOWN DOWN THE SYSTEM IS DOWN! RT @timothylane: #qantas chaos at #Perth airport. The check-in system seems to be down.@Lucilu said… Qantas has been on a fantastic roll lately. First groundings, then #qantasluxury, now this.While @student154 took the time to find some humour in the situation, tweeting… Qantas issues handwritten boarding passes Stuck in Qantas queues today? Send us a picture or spill your frustrations by commenting below.last_img read more

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Planned new laws will see passengers injured during domestic flights get more than $200,000 extra in compensation payments.In the first increase since 1994, insurance compensation payouts for air victims will be raised from $500,000 to $725,000, according to news.com.au.Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the change will bring Australia up to speed with international practices, ensuring airlines move fast for a fair settlement with victims and their families involved.The legislation for the insurance changes will be introduced by the minister to parliament this week.last_img read more

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Now more than ever the industry needs to work together on long term goals, according to The Hon Jeff Kennett, because “tomorrow is always near”.Speaking at the Australian Tourism Export Council’s annual conference in Sydney, Mr Kennett said it is vital for Australia to work out its assets as a destination as well as where it wants to be in terms of tourism over the coming years.He explained that “maximum [tourism] benefits” can only be achieved by identifying our point of difference and marketing it with the future in mind.“Whatever we do today is a waste of time if we don’t have a long term benefit,” Mr Kennett stressed.As well as long terms goals, the former Victorian politician added that although Asia’s potential should not be down played, Australia’s future does not entirely rest in the region.Mr Kennett told delegates to “not be swept off your feet” by talks of Asia’s importance, because there is tourism potential in marketing to both Asia and traditional markets.“I’m not saying we should down play Asia at all… [but] our future does not lie entirely in Asia.” last_img read more

first_imgAPT was awarded the prestigious Best Cruise Operator, International Based Operation at Saturday’s National Travel Industry Awards, held at Sydney’s The Hordern Pavilion in Moore Park, attended by leading figures from Australia’s Travel Industry.APT CEO Chris Hall, accepting the award said he was thrilled to receive the award which demonstrates the industry’s recognition of the calibre of our product, with delivering such high standards down to each and every member of the APT team and I would like to thank them for their dedication in exceeding guest’s expectations on a daily basis.He added, that of course the awards are voted for by travel agents and that he thanked all their trade partners for their continued support.Mr Hall said, “Being awarded Best Cruise Operator – International is particularly pleasing.”“We work hard to deliver the highest level of luxury cruise product available”.“We never compromise on quality and our entire team is dedicated to ensuring that guests receive superior service every step of the way”.One of the pioneers in river cruising, APT has been operating on Europe’s waterways for 19 years and today operates 13 ships and in addition, it offers Luxury Small Ship and Expedition cruising as part of its portfolio, with Mississippi River cruising being introduced in 2014.Source = ETB News: JAJlast_img read more

first_imgSource = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson Echo Entertainment Group Limited has announced, effective today, it has officially changed its name to The Star Entertainment Group Limited (ASX: SGR).The new name was approved by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting held on 4 November 2015.Coinciding with this news, Destination Brisbane Consortium (DBC), a joint venture between The Star Entertainment Group and Hong Kong-based organisations Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited and Far East Consortium, has entered into development agreements with the Queensland Government for the delivery of the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane project.In an address made at Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane this morning, The Star Entertainment Group chairman John O’Neill AO said today is a milestone moment for the company.“A lot of work and lengthy, robust negotiation has brought us to this point. While the Government drives a hard bargain, we’re delighted with the outcome,” Mr O’Neill said.“We believe in the project and our vision to give this State a design, a development and a destination that will be quintessentially Brisbane and Queensland and will resonate around the world.”Mr O’Neill said with the company’s rebranding comes a promise of new standards of excellence.“Excellence in the properties we’re developing, or transforming; excellence in guest service; and excellence in how we support and interact with the communities in which we operate,” he said.“We want to be the best integrated resorts operator in Australia. And to achieve that goal this mega-development at Queen’s Wharf will be a major driver – it will be the centrepiece of our business.”While the corporate rebrand has now taken effect, The Star Entertainment Group’s three properties in south-east Queensland and Sydney will transition to their new names next year.More specifically, a rebrand of The Star, Sydney will occur in March 2016; Jupiters Hotel & Casino will rebrand as The Star, Gold Coast during the second half of 2016; and, at the same time, Treasury Casino & Hotel will become Treasury by The Star.When the Queen’s Wharf project is completed in 2022 it will be known as The Star, Brisbane.DBC’s proposal for the Queen’s Wharf development includes an investment of approximately AUD$3.0 billion that covers a range of tourism infrastructure and residential developments including:An iconic world class Integrated Resort and entertainment precinct with over 1,100 premium hotel rooms and feature Sky Deck – approximately $2 billion;A residential precinct of approximately 2,000 apartments – approximately $0.9 billion;Public infrastructure, including a pedestrian bridge, and development of public area spaces largely along Brisbane’s riverfront and repurposed Treasury Casino & Hotel buildings; andInvestments in improved connectivity solutions for the City of Brisbane. The Star Entertainment Group’s new websitelast_img read more

first_imgMarriott Singer Island Reopens Post-Hurricane IrmaMarriott Singer Island Reopens Post-Hurricane IrmaWHERE:              Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa                               3800 N Ocean Drive                               Riviera Beach, FL 33404WHEN:                Today – Sept. 14 2017WHAT:                With most hotels and resorts in the area still recovering from Hurricane Irma, and many travelers and locals left   without lodging, Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is glad to officially reopen this morning.“With much of Palm Beach County recuperating from the storm, it was important for us to get up and running as soon as possible,” said Roger Amidon, the resort’s general manager. “Many of the surrounding hotels are still out of service until potentially this weekend, so we’re glad to begin offering suite accommodations and resort amenities to guests once again.”Rising 21 stories above a beautiful stretch of palm-fringed sand, the AAA Four Diamond-rated Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is the only all-suite beachfront property in Palm Beach County.Source = Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spalast_img read more