It was a recordbreaking year for Europe hotels in 2017 with 2018

first_img Posted by Travelweek Group Tags: Britain & Europe, Trend Watch Share << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img LONDON — After reaching record-high performance levels in 2017, Europe’s hotel industry is forecasted to maintain its upward trajectory in 2018, says STR.According to recent data, Europe’s occupancy rate in 2017 was up 2.4% to 71.9%, while its Average Daily Rate (ADR) was up 3.1% to EUR110.51. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) was EUR79.46, an increase of 5.6%.Each of the three key performance metrics were the highest STR has ever benchmarked for Europe.“Hotel markets across Europe have benefitted from a wide range of factors in recent years,” said Robin Rossmann, STR’s managing director. “While hotel performance was up for nearly every world region in 2017, Europe was the clear leader in terms of growth. The region has seen substantial growth in both tourism and corporate business, and has remained resilient in the face of several terror attacks, with increasingly shorter turnaround periods needed for performance recovery.”Rossmann added that the company expects 2018 to be another stellar year for Europe hotels, “with RevPAR growth again exceeding 5% year over year.”More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksIn addition to rising 2.4% over 2016, Europe’s occupancy level in 2017 was nearly 10% higher than the previous peak in 2008, which came before the global financial crisis. During the months of July, August and September 2017, Europe recorded double-digit ADR growth compared to those same months in 2008.Looking ahead, STR’s market Forecast Reports project strong performance growth in a number of key European cities, with Moscow, Athens, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Madrid and Prague all expected to se RevPAR growth above 6%, mainly as a result of ADR growth.Paris’ performance will likely be driven by demand growth, as the market continues to see increased tourism from terror attacks in recent years. Berlin hotels are expected to record a RevPAR increase around 5%, again mainly driven by growth in ADR.After benefitting from the ‘Brexit boost’ of a weakened pound sterling following the U.K.’s June 2016 EU Referendum, London’s hotel performance has slowed in recent months as the sterling has recovered substantially against the dollar. Although the city’s demand (room nights sold) is expected to continue growing, it will likely be outweighed by supply growth, as London’s hotel inventory continues to expand. ADR growth should help the U.K. capital achieve year-end RevPAR growth around 2%. It was a record-breaking year for Europe hotels in 2017, with 2018 looking just as promising Tuesday, March 6, 2018 last_img read more

April savings on summer Europe trips to mark Insights milestone year

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Share Posted by April savings on summer Europe trips to mark Insight’s milestone yearcenter_img TORONTO — Insight Vacations is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month with savings on Europe itineraries departing May through July 2018.Clients can save 10% on more than 40 Premium Journeys to Europe and North America. All are Definite Departures. The offer applies to new bookings made April 1 – 30, 2018.Portugal | photo provided by Insight Vacations“This significant milestone is the time to look back on all that we have accomplished, we’re so proud to have brought transformative travel to clients and truly appreciative of the long-lasting support from our loyal travel agent community,” says Insight Vacations Canada President Brad Ford.“With our Anniversary Sale, it is our biggest not-so-secret sale of the year and space is extremely limited on this superb collection of 40+ Premium Journeys and the availability of these Definite Departures won’t last so we encourage clients to book their summer dream vacation with us now.”Spain | photo provided by Insight VacationsClients can choose from a selection of guided vacations including Britain & Ireland, the Western Mediterranean, Central & Eastern Europe, Northern Europe & Russia, European Discoveries, and USA & Canada.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoSee insightvacations.com/ca/special-offers/40yearscan. Prices are per person, twin share, land only. Single supplements apply. Full payment is required at the time of booking.Fjords | photo provided by Insight Vacations Tags: Insight Vacations Monday, April 2, 2018 last_img read more

Sneak peek at newest Ambergris Caye boutique resort

first_imgSneak peek at newest Ambergris Caye boutique resort Share Tuesday, June 5, 2018 Tags: Alaia, Belize, Marriott Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by AMBERGRIS CAYE — Marriott’s Autograph Collection Hotels is offering a first look at the new Alaia boutique resort coming to Belize in 2020, as hotel development on the country’s cayes continues at a rapid pace.Beach Side ViewSet on the southern part of Ambergris Caye, in the historic town of San Pedro, Alaia will join the 135 independent hotels in the brand’s collection when it opens in two years.RooftopAlaia broke ground at the end of 2017 with a launch plan of five phases. Amenities will include a beach club exclusive to guests and residents, a rooftop suspended pool and lounge with ocean views, full service spa, fitness centre, kids’ club, dive shop and live art gallery.Villa“Belize’s tourism is booming, with 2017 being a record year and vastly surpassing the 400,000 annual visitor threshold,” says Manuel Heredia, Belize’s Minister of Tourism.  “With the industry playing an integral role on the country’s economy, Alaia has the government’s full support as it will take our country to new heights by boosting the employment growth, generating awareness around the destination, and allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Belize’s vibrant culture.”PoolAlaia isn’t Marriott’s only property on the island. The 203-key Belize Marriott Ambergris Caye Resort and Residences will offer an upscale experience on Belize’s largest island, known for its world-class scuba diving, fishing, water sports and white sandy beaches.Beach Front ViewBelize’s first luxury resort from a global brand, Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club, Curio – A Collection By Hilton, opened its doors in December 2017.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaMeanwhile Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is already at work on Four Seasons Resort and Residences Caye Chapel, Belize. The luxury retreat on Belize’s island of Caye Chapel will include 100 guest rooms and suites.last_img read more

CIE Tours celebrates Tartan Week with up to 15 off Scottish tours

first_img MORRISTOW — In celebration of Tartan Week, CIE Tours International has announced new offers on top Scottish tours.Taking place from April 3-10, with National Tartan Day scheduled for April 6, Tartan Week encourages millions of North Americans to reconnect with their Scottish roots. And as a leader in premier guided vacations to Britain and Ireland, CIE Tours is joining in on the week-long festivities with substantial discounts on up to seven of its Scotland-based itineraries.There are two ways to save on Scotland this April with CIE:‘Scottish Clans & Castles’ Tour of the Week: Clients save 15%, or $1,000-$1,683, when booking between April 3-9April Promotion: Clients enjoy 10% off select summer departures for the following Scottish tours when booked by April 22: ‘Scottish Dream’ (8 days, from $2,552 per person); ‘Taste of Scotland & Ireland’ (10 days, from $3,225 per person); ‘Best of Britain’ (10 days, from $3,654 per person); and ‘Highlights of Britain’ (15 days, from $5,396 per person)More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsBefore booking, CIE has three fun facts for Scotland-bound travellers:There are more than 150 languages, in addition to English, spoken in Scotland.13% of the country’s population identifies as ginger, the highest proportion in the world.More than 800 islands comprise Scotland, of which only 100 are inhabited.“Scotland has much to offer travellers, whether they choose to immerse themselves in the stunning landscape, delve into the rich culture of the country, explore the deep royal connections or sample the finest Scotch whiskey,” said the company.For more information go to cietours.com. Tags: CIE Tours, Promotions, Scotland Travelweek Group CIE Tours celebrates Tartan Week with up to 15% off Scottish tours Tuesday, April 2, 2019 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Body of US woman found in a water tank

first_imgA domestic employee discovered the body of U.S. citizen Molly Jam Salomon, 55, in a water tank inside her home in San Isidro de Heredia, northeast of San José, where she had been living for several years.A housekeeper told police that she arrived at the home Saturday morning and began looking for Salomon until she discovered the body inside the tank. She then called police.Police are treating the case as a home invasion, having discovered a broken window in the back of the house, although no missing items were reported.Judicial Investigation Police arrived to gather evidence at the scene. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img

Costa Rican exports increase by 35 percent in first quarter

first_imgCosta Rica exports of goods during the first quarter of 2013 slightly surpassed $3 billion, which is 3.5 percent more than that recorded for the same period last year, when the figure reached almost $2.9 billion, the Foreign Trade Ministry said on Monday.Trade Minister Anabel González said in a press release that “the international economic situation is not the best,” and Costa Rica should keep looking for new markets in Latin America and Asia.“We must take advantage of opportunities in regions and countries where we have established a trade platform, and where growth rates are more robust, such as those in Asia, Perú, Chile and Colombia,” González said.The report indicates that Intel microprocessors lead the numbers with $776.9 million in export revenue, an increase of 24.8 percent compared to the first quarter of 2012.North America – primarily the United States – is the main destination of Costa Rican exports with a share of $1.3 billion, followed by the European Union with $583.4 million and Asia with $427.8 million.In 2012, Costa Rican exports totaled $11.2 billion, an increase of 9 percent compared to the figures recorded in 2011. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Remotecontrolled Spy Tuna records rarely seen massive dolphin orgies off Osa Peninsula

first_imgThis fish could not be the one that got away.When the giant yellowfin tuna began to plunge deep into the big blue, I swam hard after her. She wasn’t just any tuna, she was our Spy Tuna, armed with a high-definition camera in her eyes and mouth. I didn’t know exactly how many tens of thousand of dollars the one-of-a-kind tuna was worth, but I knew the bottom was around a kilometer below.The engineering marvel known as Spy Tuna was helping us film spinner dolphin superpods off the Osa Peninsula. She was one of the stars of John Downer Productions’ “Dolphins – Spy In The Pod,” out last week on BBC1, and the show would really suffer without her.She had filmed some of the most amazing dolphin discoveries ever seen, and she looked good doing it. Those who operated her used virtual goggles and a remote control. The cameras in her eyes and mouth captured the largest gatherings of dolphins ever filmed on earth, around 20 to 30 miles off of Drake Bay, on the southern Pacific coast.The painted spy flashed her yellow and blue colors, all the while filming the voice bubbles of dolphins conversing and filling the sea like shining stars. Spy Tuna witnessed superpods of thousands of dolphins merging into megapods for massive orgies. She recorded the spectacle as dolphins corralled house-sized bait clusters of fish, then hundreds of giant rays showed up, soaring through and devouring at high speed. The rays left behind many stunned and dead fresh fish, which the dolphins snapped up.A good thing to be with dolphins is “poopular.” In other words, dolphins like to poop on their friends. The spinners gathered directly upstream of Spy Tuna and again and again sent their streaks of hormones all over her. She was very poopular, and that was why she got to see it all.We now know what it looks like when dolphins surf a beach break wave from underwater. We learned that dolphins get high by passing around a potent puffer fish for a quick chew. We’ve seen a baby spinner dolphin learn her spin, and a baby bottlenose learn to hunt, and so much more. The show is sure to inspire a tsunami of awareness about dolphin awesomeness, while showing the world the future of high-tech ocean exploration. I hope it makes Costa Ricans think about how the world’s most famous wildlife documentary broadcasting corporation, with plenty of funding, chooses to come to the Osa Peninsula for dolphin filming.With so many dolphins to snoop on, it should come as no surprise that Spy Tuna isn’t the only undersea infiltrator. The whiz kids at John Downer crafted Spy Turtle, Spy Nautilus Seashell, Spy Dolphin, Spy Ray and Spy Squid. They did not only film in Costa Rica, but dispersed their infiltrators to some of the world’s choicest dolphin locations, like Madagascar and Honduras and the Florida Keys. The images they’ve captured tell a story we’ve never seen and show us things we never knew.That isn’t to say that Spy Tuna is easy to replace. So when she diverted herself for the ocean floor, I powered after her, keeping the glint of her painted exterior in my sight. When she started to slow down, I was able to catch up, grab her and drag her back to the boat.When we surfaced together, the looks on the faces of the crew mirrored the relief I felt. The engineering marvel know as Spy Tuna could now keep helping us film the super- and megapods of the offshore Osa peninsula. We really need her. Facebook Comments Related posts:Flying over the Osa Peninsula It’s dolphin and whale season in southern Costa Rica One of Sea Shepherd’s missions in Costa Rica: Protecting whales New government lionfish commission to take on invasive specieslast_img read more

Food Bank project to expand to two more Costa Rican provinces

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica meets Millennium Development Goal for hunger reduction Hunger on the rise in Costa Rica Central America benefits from generosity of Seattle-based Gates Foundation Costa Rica poverty hits young people the hardest, says new survey Costa Rica will have four Food Banks by 2016, according to the the private organization that runs them. Food Banks take donations from several companies and distribute them to people living in extreme poverty.On Thursday, which was World Food Day, Food Bank director Napoleón Burgos reported that in the first quarter of 2015 the organization will open another operation in the Caribbean province of Limón, and in 2016 organizers hope to add another in Puntarenas.Costa Rica’s first Food Bank was opened in San José in March 2012, and the second opened last week in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. The project was started by 10 private companies that began collecting food to donate to poor families.According to the State of the Nation program, some  350,000 people (85,557 households) in Costa Rica do not earn enough to purchase the basic food basket. Studies by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization show that developing countries like Costa Rica discard nearly 30 percent of the food they produce.During last year’s World Food Day, FAO reported that 8.2 percent of Costa Ricans had been “chronically malnourished” during a period from 2011 to 2013, a 5 percent increase from 2010.Food Bank sponsors collect an average of 200,000 kilograms of food per week, which provides meals for up to 22,0000 people a day. Food is distributed through community organizations, and on average, each person receives two daily meals, the organization reported.Fourteen other companies recently joined the project as partners and honorary members. Among the donations the bank received this week are 1,400 kg of beans from Grupo Mutual and 10,000 breakfasts from cereal company Kellogg’s.Burgos said he expects more companies to join the project.To contact the Food Bank (Banco de Alimentos), visit their website at: www.bancodealimentos.cr. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Man linked to Costa Rica murder case sentenced to 3 years for

first_imgRelated posts:Canadian longtime expat goes missing in Costa Rica under ‘strange’ circumstances Family of US hiker disappeared in Costa Rica passes another dark anniversary US man missing since May, last seen in San José Update: Missing US tourist found dead in Costa Rica A U.S. man wanted by Costa Rican police for questioning in the suspected murder of a Czech woman here in 2010 wassentenced to three years in prison by a North Carolina court Wednesday for traveling with a stolen passport and aggravated identity theft.Costa Rican police have wanted to question William “Bill” Ulmer regarding the disappearance and suspected murder of Barbara Struncova, his then live-in girlfriend, since December 2010. Ulmer traveled back to the U.S. using the stolen passport of his brother, Wayne Jacob Ulmer, Jr., just days before Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) began to treat Struncova’s disappearance as suspicious.The Tico Times previously reported that the 31-year-old Struncova went missing after returning to her home in the Pacific beach town of Tamarindo from a party. Struncova’s friends told police they last saw her entering the apartment, which she shared with Ulmer and four others, around 1:00 a.m. on Dec. 5, 2010.Ulmer told friends that Struncova left that same night to travel to Limón, but they said they were unaware of any planned trip to the Caribbean.On Dec. 6, 2010, Ulmer asked his roommates to borrow a 9-foot long surfboard bag. Later that day he borrowed a car, supposedly to “drop off some things of Barbara [Struncova]’s” in Playa Hermosa. When Ulmer returned the car on Dec. 7, the car’s owner noted that the interior of the vehicle was “very clean.”Ulmer flew out of Costa Rica using his brother’s stolen passport the following Dec. 23. Struncova had been missing for 18 days when Ulmer left Costa Rica.On Dec. 30, 2010, an OIJ forensic team found “traces of apparent blood” in the room of the apartment that Ulmer and Struncova shared. The same luminol test showed signs of dragging between the bed and the room’s closet and then from the closet to the apartment’s door and then out to the garage. Investigators also found traces of blood in the car Ulmer drove.Laura Monge Cantero, international relations coordinator for Costa Rica’s Attorney General, told a U.S. investigator on July 1, 2016 that Ulmer was wanted for questioning in the case, according to court documents. Cantero admitted investigators did not have enough evidence to charge Ulmer with the crime and therefore have not requested his extradition.At this writing, Struncova’s body has yet to be found.U.S. police arrested Ulmer at the Denver International Airport in June 2015, reportedly as he was on his way to Hawaii on a honeymoon with his newlywed wife. On Sept. 25, 2015, he pleaded guilty to traveling with a stolen passport and aggravated identity theft.Diana Zimmerman, a friend of Struncova who wrote a blog about her disappearance, told The Tico Times Struncova was kind, smart and an animal lover.Zimmerman said the sentence was the best that could be hoped for considering the charges filed. Still, she said, “We were all hoping for a miracle and he’d be charged with something more than passport fraud.”Request for upward variance of Ulmer’s sentence: Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Legendary Radio Columbia sportscaster Mario McGregor dies at 59

first_imgA voice has been silenced that could turn a soccer goal into music, sport into poetry, Costa Rica’s athletic victories into an operatic expression of joy.Sportscaster Mario McGregor, who had a history of heart problems, suffered a heart attack this afternoon and was taken to Hospital Calderón Guardia in San José. He died there at approximately 2 p.m. today, Radio Columbia, his employer of many years, announced on its website. He was 59.Costa Ricans of all walks of life rushed to express their sorrow at the loss, including President Luis Guillermo Solís, who posted a message on his Facebook page.“I am profoundly sorry to learn of the death of Mario McGregor, Costa Rica’s greatest ‘Double M,’” the president wrote, referring to the broadcaster’s nickname. “I extend my sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. To Mario, so talented and with that unequalled voice: thank you for so much. Peace!”McGregor made his radio debut nearly 40 years ago on a sports show for the station Stereo Bahía Limón, and narrated his first game in 1978, Radio Columbia reported.There are so many extraordinary moments from McGregor’s decades narrating Ticos’ proudest moments. One is certainly his elated reaction to a goal by Costa Rica against Italy at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil: Rest in peace, Double M. You will be sorely missed. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica returns with full-strength lineup in last step toward World Cup qualifying Costa Rica’s Sele out of Korea U-20 World Cup Costa Rica tops Russia 4-3 in road friendly The 5 greatest moments in Costa Rican soccer historycenter_img McGregor’s ecstatic voice was always there to anoint the Costa Rican national team in its most historic moments, including La Sele’s first ever World Cup goal in Italy 1990 when Juan Cayasso scored against Scotland:The news of his passing broke just as La Sele prepared for its game, taking place at the time of this writing, against El Salvador. McGregor had planned to call the game as usual. Costa Rican stars took to Facebook to express their sadness: (Via Facebook)last_img read more

OAS calls on Nicaragua to stop violence against demonstrators

first_imgRelated posts:35 years after Somoza’s overthrow, not much for Nicaragua to celebrate Fed up: Nicaragua’s uprising Once a symbol of Somoza-era torture, Nicaragua prison holds protesters Nicaraguan human rights group closes office after ‘alarming’ threats Nicaragua: one and a half months of a deadly crisis Facebook Commentscenter_img The head of the Organization of American States condemned killings in Nicaragua by “repressive forces and the armed forces,” and called on the government President Daniel Ortega to stop the violence.The appeal on Thursday by Luis Almagro, secretary general of the regional security organization, followed bloody clashes Wednesday in which 11 people were killed, according to a human rights group.“We condemn the killings carried out by the repressive forces and the armed forces and we express our solidarity with the families of the victims,” Almagro said. “We call on the state to stop the violence by these repressive factors.”last_img read more

This week in the Peace Corps Keeping up with computers

first_imgRelated posts:This week in the Peace Corps: Cacao in Talamanca This week in the Peace Corps: Celebrating English learning This week in the Peace Corps: Brick to Bread ovens This week in the Peace Corps: Building sustainable recycling projects Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) Taylor started a computer class with new computers given by the Ministry of Public Education.Taylor teaches basic computer literacy while incorporating important life skills like self-esteem, critical thinking, and decision-making to help prevent cyberbullying and promote safe online habits.With cell phone use on the rise, many volunteers focus on computer classes to try to introduce the youth to a more useful type of computing. These classes improve the information technology skill sets of their students, preparing them for future jobs and potential future studies at universities or technical schools.The Peace Corps photo series in The Tico Times Costa Rica Changemakers section is sponsored by the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), a proud financial supporter of Peace Corps Volunteer projects nationwide. Learn more here. To donate to support the Peace Corps Costa Rica, visit the official donation page.  Volunteers’ last names and community names are withheld from these publications, per Peace Corps policy.Connect with the Peace Corps Costa Rica on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Brought to you by the Costa Rica USA Foundation (CRUSA). Courtesy of CRUSA Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Syrian opposition group Death toll tops 17000

first_img Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Comments   Share   BEIRUT (AP) – An opposition group that documents human rights violations in Syria says more than 17,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began in March 2011.The violence has grown increasingly chaotic in recent months, and it is difficult to assign blame for much of the bloodshed as the country spirals toward civil war.The government restricts journalists from moving freely, making it impossible to independently verify death tolls. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helpcenter_img The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday that among the 17,129 deaths are 11,897 civilians, 4,348 soldiers and 884 military defectors.The group has a network of activists on the ground who document deaths and rights violations through eyewitness, accounts, hospitals and video footage.Another group, the Local Coordination Committees, says 14,841 civilians have been killed.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

AP PHOTOS Torrential rains deluge Manila

first_img Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates MANILA, Philippines (AP) – People struggling to walk in streets through water often up to their chests. Rescuers in rubber boats frantically trying to reach distressed residents of submerged villages. Churches turned into temporary refuges.Massive flooding has turned much of the Philippine capital into what one top government official called a “water world,” a deluge that has killed at least 23 people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Check your body, save your life Top Stories Here are images of some of the worst flooding in the area since 2009, when hundreds were killed in non-stop monsoon rains and flash floods.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Fight over Mexican telecom frequencies turns ugly

first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day “The president declaration that he wasn’t involved in Carmen Aristegui’s departure is false,” MVS chairman Joaquin Vargas told reporters Wednesday. “So is his statement that the policies and daily operations of his public affairs office aren’t mixed or confused with telecommunications policy.”Vargas showed reporters slides of a series of email conversations with high-ranking government officials. The exchange, he said, “reveals the extent of the government’s pressure and interference in this matter. If you’re quiet, they give you things. If you don’t obey, they get rid of you.”Among other documents, Vargas showed a draft of what he said was a written apology over the alcoholism discussion that Sota’s office produced for Aristegui to read on air.Sota said she had simply added comments to a document produced by Vargas’ office.Aristegui ended up offering a partial apology for talking about the alcoholism charge.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressMEXICO CITY (AP) – A dispute over control of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of wireless frequencies has erupted into an ugly, personal feud between Mexico’s government and one of its most influential media companies.The head of broadcaster MVS Communications and some of the top officials in President Felipe Calderon’s administration accused each other Wednesday of lying about the government’s reason for withdrawing MVS’s right to frequencies in a bandwidth used by the newest generation of mobile devices.center_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project As a result, the spectrum is one of the most highly coveted properties in the multibillion-dollar competition to provide linked packages of television, telephone and Internet service to Mexico’s fast-growing home and business markets.MVS has made relatively little use of the 2.5-gigahertz frequencies and the government announced this month that it was canceling the company’s rights to much of them by pulling some of its dozens of licenses and refusing to renew others.The move was widely seen as a victory for Mexico’s two television giants, Televisa and TV Azteca, which are seeking to jointly enter the cellphone market now dominated by the world’s richest man, Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim. The broadcasters, which have long had deep influence with both the current government and the incoming administration of a rival party, could use the 2.5-gigahertz frequencies for a new cellular network.The chairman of MVS, which has been allied with Slim’s empire, said business had little to do with the decision. He accused the government of taking revenge for the work of Carmen Aristegui, an influential morning radio talk-show host.Aristegui’s drive-time current-affairs program dedicated airtime last year to unsupported allegations by an opposition lawmaker that Calderon is an alcoholic. The discussion outraged Calderon’s administration, which demanded an apology. Aristegui was briefly fired, then rehired, over the controversy. The government has denied pressuring MVS to take action against her. Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up MVS charged that it was being punished for one of its show’s discussions of an allegation that President Felipe Calderon is an alcoholic. The government said MVS was making false charges in an effort to pressure authorities to reverse a regulatory decision that went against the company.The dueling news conferences were the culmination of more than a week of escalating and increasingly bitter charges traded among some of Mexico’s most powerful people in the closing months of Calderon’s six-year term. It’s been a remarkably public display of enmity inside the upper ranks of the country’s economic and political elite, which often prefers to make important decisions behind closed doors.“The allegations put forward by the president of MVS are unsubstantiated and aimed at contaminating a technical decision in the telecom area linked to the 2.5-gigahertz bandwidth, which, apart from the political arguments, only has to do with MVS’s desire not to pay Mexicans for the true cost of the bandwidth,” chief government spokeswoman Alejandra Sota told reporters.MVS, which owns radio and TV stations, bought the rights several years ago to much of the 2.5-gigahertz bandwidth, which has been used for conventional television broadcasting but is becoming the standard frequency for 4G devices that can receive data at blazing speeds faster than most current wired Internet connections 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

Two decades after Black Hawk Down Kerry visits Somalia

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Two decades after dead American soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, John Kerry on Tuesday became the first secretary of state to set foot in Somalia, a symbolic visit to show support for the African nation’s fledgling government and the United States’ readiness to move past a dark chapter in its history.But as Kerry vowed to deepen America’s partnership with a new cadre of Somali leaders, the fact that he never left the airport underscored just how dangerous and unstable Somalia remains after a quarter-century of civil war. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Before returning to Kenya, the top U.S. diplomat stayed a little more than three hours, meeting with Somalia’s president and prime minister and several regional chiefs and civil society groups. It was enough time, he said, to see the resiliency of a people determined to reclaim their future from the terrorists and militias that plunged Somalia into what had seemed an endless cycle of conflict. He promised American help along the path of recovery.“More than 20 years ago, the United States was forced to pull back from your country,” Kerry said, invoking the “Black Hawk Down” debacle when 18 servicemen died after Somali militiamen shot down two U.S. helicopters and a subsequent rescue mission failed. “Now we are returning.”The trip was made under tight security. Somalia’s government only learned a day ago that Kerry would join the State Department’s top Africa official, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, on the trip. U.S. officials closely controlled access to the conference building where the discussions took place, an edifice encased by 6-foot high piles of sandbags and ringed by fencing wire.The actual meeting room was bleak and dark, illuminated by a single fluorescent light overhead. Down the street African peacekeeping troops sat at picnic tables as oily streaks of airplane fuel glimmered in the Indian Ocean. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober “The next time I come, we have to be able to just walk downtown,” Kerry told Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Downtown, Mohamud replied, “is very different now.”Top of the agenda was the fight against al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-allied group that has terrorized Somalia for the last eight years. African forces and U.S. drone strikes have crippled the organization’s leadership in recent years and left the extremists without much of the territory they once controlled or cash flows to reverse their losses.But as al-Shabab has decentralized, the militants have expanded their activities in Kenya and other neighboring countries. Last month’s massacre at Kenya’s Garissa University College killed 148 people, mostly students, highlighting the group’s capacity to carry out relatively unsophisticated but extremely deadly terrorist attacks well beyond the Somali border.Somalia has been without a truly functioning, nationwide government for two-and-a-half decades. After warlords ousted dictator Siad Barre from power in 1991, they quickly turned on one another and the fighting has never stopped, making Somalia infamous for its high rates of violence and the proliferation of pirates operating off its coasts. Security began improving earlier this decade as international efforts against al-Shabab gained ground. US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with President Hassan Sheikh Mohammed, second from right, and Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, right, at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday, May 5, 2015, in a show of solidarity with the Somalian government trying to defeat al-Qaida-allied militants and end decades of war in the African country. Kerry is the first U.S. Secretary of State to ever visit the country. Kerry is also visiting Sri Lanka, Kenya, Djibouti, France, and Saudi Arabia on his trip.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “You have known immense suffering from violence, from criminals, from sectarian strife, from dire shortages of food and from an inability to remain safely even within your villages and homes,” Kerry said in a video address to the Somali people. He read out an almost identical statement shortly before leaving Mogadishu.“I visited Somalia today because your country is turning around,” Kerry said. “Three years have passed since a new provisional constitution was adopted and a parliament sworn in. With help from (African troops), Somali forces have pushed al-Shabab out of major population centers. A determined international effort has put virtually all of Somalia’s pirates out of business.”Yet even as a relative calm has settled over parts of the country, including Mogadishu, Somalia remains fraught with a painful memories for the United States.American soldiers deployed there in 1992 to stave off a national famine, and President George H.W. Bush dropped in for three days over New Year’s to visit the troops. By 1994 they were all gone, the lasting image of their mission that of American corpses being desecrated by a Somali mob.The Obama administration is banking on Mohamud’s government to lead Somalia toward democracy and economic development. The U.S. has provided hundreds of millions in military support to build up and professionalize the army, and is working with Mohamud to try to usher in a broader, more representative government over the next 18 months. If that effort is successful and stability expands, officials say the U.S. could re-establish an American embassy in the capital before President Barack Obama leaves office. For now, Obama has nominated a career diplomat, Katherine Dhanani, to serve as the first U.S. ambassador to the country since 1991, with the idea of her operating out of Nairobi and making regular trips into Somalia.Britain, Italy and several other countries already have embassies in Mogadishu.Kerry said the U.S. will start mapping out where a future U.S. diplomatic mission could be built.“We all have a stake in your success,” he said. “The world cannot afford to have places on the map that are essentially ungoverned. That is why Somalia’s return to effective government is an historic opportunity.”___Klapper reported from Nairobi, Kenya.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

Senate Democrats block action on Obamas trade agenda

first_imgCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. In this May 8, 2015, photo, President Barack Obama speaks at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. A much-anticipated Senate vote on trade will pack some suspense Tuesday, but it won’t be the final word, no matter how it turns out. Supporters of President Barack Obama’s trade agenda need 60 votes in the 100-member Senate merely to start a full-blown debate on the legislation. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) “The Fast Track train went off the rails today,” said Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. Obama’s bid to build momentum in the Senate backfired, she said, and House Democrats remain convinced that “the trade package would do a lot more harm than good.”Obama says the global economy makes it essential for more U.S. goods and services to reach other countries, home to 95 percent of the world’s inhabitants. He says old criticisms of the 1995 North America Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, are outdated.The administration says it needs fast track approval to wrap up long-running negotiations with Japan and 10 other Pacific-rim countries, parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Trade experts say countries won’t put their best offers forward if they think Congress will sidetrack the president’s agreements.Senators and aides said the multi-faceted customs bill is the most problematic item in trying to find a new path forward. Some say the currency manipulation provision could deeply undermine Obama’s trade goals, while others call it mostly harmless.___Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman, David Espo, Andrew Taylor, Erica Werner and Nedra Pickler contributed to this report. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats dealt President Barack Obama a stinging setback on trade Tuesday, blocking efforts to begin a full-blown debate on a top priority of his second term.The president’s supporters said they will try again, and Obama summoned key Democrats to the White House to discuss possible strategies. One possibility was to drop a contentious issue dealing with countries that manipulate their currency, but it was unclear whether that would resolve the impasse. Sponsored Stories What was clear, however, was that Obama suffered a rebuke from his own party, led by some who served with him in the Senate.Only one Senate Democrat, Tom Carper of Delaware, voted for a GOP-crafted motion to start considering Obama’s request for “fast track” trade authority. Fast track would let the president present trade agreements that Congress can ratify or reject, but not amend.Proponents needed 60 votes to thwart a Democratic filibuster, but managed only 52 in the 100-member Senate.Tuesday’s vote highlighted the deep divide between Obama and the many congressional Democrats who say such trade deals hurt U.S. jobs. Leading the fight against fast track are labor unions and liberal groups, which are crucial to many Democrats’ elections.Most Republican lawmakers support free-trade agreements. They were in the strange position Tuesday of losing a vote but seeing the Democratic president take the blame.“It is the president’s party,” said GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. “It’s amazing to me that they would do this to the president on a bill of this magnitude.”Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said Democrats were “throwing their own president under the bus.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the results “pretty shocking,” but he said the “door remains open” for trade legislation. One, to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act, is uncontroversial.The second calls for Trade Adjustment Assistance, which provides federal aid to workers displaced by trade agreements. Republicans don’t like it, but reluctantly acknowledge it’s the price for winning even modest Democratic support.The third bill, involving Customs enforcement, is the stickiest. It includes a measure to take actions against countries that keep their currency artificially low, which makes their exports more attractive. The Obama administration opposes “currency manipulation” measures, saying they could invite international challenges to the Federal Reserve’s policies meant to boost the U.S. economy.McConnell said that only two of the bills — fast track and Trade Adjustment Assistance — would be the subject of initial votes, but senators would have ample chances to address the other two bills during the amendment process.Democratic senators huddled at midday and declared McConnell’s package unacceptable. Democrats rejected GOP claims that they broke an earlier agreement on how the four bills would be handled.The president’s trade foes were exultant. Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida took a darker view, however. “Maybe what McConnell really wants to do is embarrass the president,” he said, referring to McConnell’s refusal to grant Democrats’ demands about assembling the legislative trade package.Several Democrats said Obama erred last weekend by pointedly criticizing a leading Democratic foe on trade, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, in an interview with Yahoo News. He suggested Warren was poorly informed and politically motivated.Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, another strong opponent on trade, told reporters that Obama “was disrespectful to her by the way he did that,” and “made this more personal than he needed to.” Brown said he suspects Obama regrets the remarks.The administration had planned to invite Senate Democrats to the White House on Monday to discuss trade, but it canceled the event, citing conflicts with a Senate vote on another matter.Shortly before the Senate roll call began, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said some Democrats would vote against Tuesday’s procedural motion but ultimately support fast track for the presidentNumerous Senate Democrats said they would back fast track only if Republican leaders cleared a path for three other trade measures. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Study says girls seek sisterhood not just marriage in IS

first_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top holiday drink recipes Sponsored Stories “These anecdotes serve to disprove the idea of the well-integrated, utopian society that is so strongly emphasized by ISIS propaganda,” researchers said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Western societies must understand these varied motivations if they hope to prevent more women from joining the militants and potentially returning to their home nations to commit acts of terrorism, argue the report’s authors, Erin Saltman and Melanie Smith. Thinking of them as all being brainwashed, groomed, innocent girls hinders understanding of the threat they pose.“They’re not being taken seriously,” Smith said. “It’s inherently dangerous to label people with the same brush.”The report was presented Thursday at a Jihadist Insurgency Conference at King’s College. Saltman said women have always been involved in violent extremism, but that the number of women supporting Islamic State is “completely unprecedented.”“We see a real problem,” she said, citing several factors for the increased numbers, including the direct call Islamic State is making for female volunteers, the fact that women are directly recruiting other women online, and the “very fluent, catchy, pop culture” approach the extremists use in their propaganda.About 550 young women, some as young as 13, have already traveled to Islamic State-controlled territory, according to the report. Comments   Share   The authors combed the social media accounts of more than 100 female profiles across platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. To grow their sample, they used a “snowball” technique in which female Islamic state migrants were identified among networks of other Islamic State networks. Photos, online chats and other accounts helped place the women geographically in Syria or Iraq. Researchers say the women came from 15 countries and were largely operating in English.They consistently talked about the camaraderie they experienced after moving to Islamic State territory, and often used social media to post images of veiled “sisters” posing together.“This is often contrasted with discussions about the false feeling or surface-level relationships they iterate they previously held in the West,” the authors said. “This search for meaning, sisterhood, and identity is a primary driving factor for many women to travel.”They are also searching for romance in the form of marriage.“Online, images of a lion and lioness are shared frequently to symbolize this union,” the report said. “This is symbolic of finding a brave and strong husband, but also propagandizes the notion that supporting a jihadist husband and taking on the ISIS ideology is an empowering role for females.”center_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies One woman identified only as Shams and who is a qualified doctor, found her husband through an arranged meeting. He proposed immediately. She posted an image of her wedding, which features the Islamic State flag in the background. Her bearded husband wears a tie. She wears a white burqa with only a slit for the eyes.She captioned the picture: “Marriage in the land of Jihad: Till Martyrdom Do Us Part.”While they are enticed by romantic stories about groups of women eating by candlelight and bathing in the Euphrates, most of the young migrants quickly find that the reality of their lives belies the rhetoric.While life in Syria is difficult, few women voice their grievances directly. Islamic State has relied on a decentralized network of “messengers” to proliferate its world vision, and the network snaps into action to quickly reprimand anyone who speaks out. The hashtag “#nobodycaresaboutthewidow,” didn’t last long.But the women do warn those who may follow them that they should be ready to “be tested” by intermittent electricity, water shortages, bitter winters and the travails of life in a war zone. Health care is a particular concern, with one Western woman describing her experience of having a miscarriage in an Islamic State hospital because she couldn’t communicate with the doctor. Patients with chronic pain give advice LONDON (AP) — The notion that young women are traveling to Syria solely to become “jihadi brides” is simplistic and hinders efforts to prevent other girls from being radicalized, new research suggests.Young women are joining the Islamic State group for many reasons, including anger over the perceived persecution of Muslims and the wish to belong to a sisterhood with similar beliefs, according to a report presented Thursday by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London. The researchers suggest that while the term jihadi bride may be catchy from a media point of view, the young women who are traveling to Syria see themselves as something more: pilgrims embarking on a mission to develop the region into an Islamic utopia. Many would like to fight alongside male recruits, but the group’s strict interpretation of Islam relegates them to domestic roles.The primary responsibility for a woman in Islamic State-controlled territory may be to be a good wife and a “mother to the next generation of jihadism,” but the study concluded that women are playing a crucial propaganda role for the organization by using social media to bring in more recruits.“The propaganda is dangerous,” Smith said. “It draws vulnerable or ‘at risk’ individuals into extremist ideologies … simplifying world conflicts into good versus evil which allows someone the opportunity of being the ‘hero’ – an empowering narrative for a disenfranchised, disengaged individual.”Young women are often vulnerable to this kind of rhetoric because they are questioning their identities as they grow into adults. Many of the young women observed said they felt socially and culturally isolated in secular Western society, and saw the region controlled by Islamic State as “a safe haven for those who wish to fully embrace and protect Islam,” according to the report.last_img read more

Key questions Why did Blatter resign and what now for FIFA

first_imgAmerican investigators have amade clear through last week’s indictment that they view FIFA as rife with organizational corruption, and that means “people both up, down and sideways” from those indicted, Wilson said.Another question is what Blatter knew about $10 million in payments, which the U.S. says was a bribe for CONCACAF officials to vote for South Africa as 2010 World Cup host. Blatter said he knew nothing about the payments.More damaging details are expected Wednesday. A U.S. judge has approved the release of the transcript from the hearing in 2013 when Chuck Blazer pled guilty plea to corruption charges. Blazer is a former general secretary of CONCACAF and a former member of FIFA’s executive committee.___Q: Was Blatter warned that FIFA finances were at risk?A: FIFA has been coming under pressure from sponsors to overhaul the governing body, with Visa last week becoming the first to threaten to cut its ties unless there is evidence of reform. Questions were also raised in the House of Commons in London on Monday about whether the publicly-funded BBC should be paying FIFA for World Cup broadcast rights when FIFA finances are under question.___Q: Will Blatter’s resignation impact the next World Cups hosts? ___Q: How much in put will Blatter have in reform proposals?A: How lame a duck he will be will be determined by the executive committee, which likely will set up mechanisms to make proposals and will approve items put on the agenda for the extraordinary congress.___Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarrisCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here are some key questions about what happened since last week’s U.S. indictments of FIFA officials and what will happen next.___Q: Why did Blatter change his mind and resign, just four days after he was elected to a fifth term in a 133-73 vote over Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan?A: Blatter’s explanation was the did not “have a mandate from the entire world of football — the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football.”Blatter defiantly brushed aside any criticism when he was re-elected Friday, amid the gravest crisis in FIFA’s history. After the arrest of former, current and future members of his executive committee, Blatter criticized U.S. authorities and the British media for pursing an anti-FIFA agenda.The opening days of Blatter’s fifth term saw no respite in the corruption crisis.___Q: What does Blatter expect to come out of the criminal investigations?A: U.S. authorities say additional charges against soccer officials can be expected.The New York Times and ABC News reported Blatter himself was under investigation by the FBI.The Justice Department’s public assertions the investigation is ongoing “telegraphs that there are other people in their focus,” said Ed Wilson, a Washington lawyer whose practice focuses on cross-border money transactions. Sponsored Stories Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system LONDON (AP) — Sepp Blatter and his mentor Joao Havelange have run global’s soccer’s governing body since 1974, handing out power to national federations and regional chiefs who awarded the men with loyalty.All that could change in the next few months, as a scandal-plagued Blatter calls for a new election that will influence everything from how the organization is run to how it deals with sponsors, broadcasters, federations, leagues, clubs, players and agents. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk A: A Swiss investigation is looking into the bidding process that saw Russia awarded the 2018 World Cup and Qatar voted the 2022 host in a contentious dual decision in 2010.The Qatari bid has attracted the most criticism, with accusations the wealthy tiny Gulf nation bribed its way to victory. Qatar has repeatedly denied those allegations, and a strong legal case is likely to be required before any host was stripped of soccer’s $5 billion event.___Q: When will Blatter’s successor be announced?A: Domenico Scala, chairman of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee, announced the presidential election is likely to “take place anytime from December of this year to March of next year” at an extraordinary FIFA congress.___Q: Who are the candidates likely to be?A: The favorite will be 59-year-old Michel Platini, the former French national team captain and the president of European soccer’s governing body since 2007. Platini decided not to take on former ally Blatter in last week’s election. Prince Ali hinted Tuesday he may have another shot at the presidency.___Q: What will FIFA look like without Blatter?A: It will probably be more open about the running of the sport. Scala said he will seek to make public the compensation of the president and executive committee members. Blatter called for term limits. The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Intrepid Connections partnership perfection

first_imgJacquie Burnside is eager to bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to her new role as GM of Intrepid Connections, a joint venture between Australian Pacific Touring (APT) and Intrepid Travel. Intrepid Connections partnered this year in a 50/50 joint split over the connections products Intrepid Travel had already been selling, combining more than 80 years of business experience. According to Ms Burnside, the partnership was a logical step in the relationship between both companies. “Intrepid and APT were already part-owners of Kimberly Wild Expeditions, so this joint venture was a perfect opportunity to expand our operations together,” she told e-Travel Blackboard. Ms Burnside has a storied history with Intrepid Travel and is confident her experience will aid in developing her new position as general manager. “I’m very much a generalist. “If you don’t have that broad understanding of the environment you work in and the people you work for, then it’s going to be tough to get a handle on the business,” Ms Burnside said. Intrepid Connections released their first brochure, Australia and New Zealand, in September 2010, expanding on their product range. “We wanted to present to new distributors as a wholly Australian operator and not rely solely on our already-developed Northern Territory market. “The new brochure and range reflects this stance,” Ms Burnside said. Smaller, more organised group trips are very popular throughout Asia and Intrepid Connections is attempting to foster this market in Australia and New Zealand. “We offer these types of holiday – seekers considerable depth in terms of interaction, knowledgeable guides and information. “Access is what sets us apart from our competitors; operating centres throughout the Kimberly and Northern Territory allows us to receive up-to-date information, ahead of time, which is a huge advantage for our customers,” Ms Burnside said. According to Intrepid Connections new GM, 2011 will be a year of consolidation. “We’re aiming to consolidate our efforts and bring our trade partners up to speed with our new non-territorial products and market developments.“There is noticeable growth within the Asian sector and we’re focusing on how to tap into these new and emerging markets over the next few years, while still providing value for money experiences to our customers,” Ms Burnside said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more