United CEO changes his tone and pledges to review policies

first_img CHICAGO — After people were horrified by video of a passenger getting dragged off a full United Express flight by airport police, the head of United’s parent company said the airline was reaching out to the man to “resolve this situation.”Hours later on Monday, his tone turned defensive. He described the man as “disruptive and belligerent.”By Tuesday afternoon, almost two days after the Sunday evening confrontation in Chicago, CEO Oscar Munoz issued his most contrite apology yet as details emerged about the man seen on cellphone videos recorded by other passengers at O’Hare Airport.“No one should ever be mistreated this way,” said Munoz, who also pledged to conduct a wide-ranging review of company policies.The passenger was identified as physician David Dao, 69, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who was convicted more than a decade ago of felony charges involving his prescribing of drugs and spent years trying to regain his medical license.But while Dao’s history quickly became a focus of attention, there’s no indication that his past influenced how he was treated or that the airline or police were aware of his background or would have known anything about him other than basic information such as his name and address, if that.Screaming can be heard on the videos, but nowhere is Dao seen attacking the officers. In fact, he appears relatively passive both when he was dragged down the aisle of the jet and when he is seen standing in the aisle later saying quietly, “I want to go home, I want to go home.”More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyMunoz’s latest statement described the removal as “truly horrific.” He said the company would reassess policies for seeking volunteers to give up their seats, for handling oversold situations and for partnering with airport authorities and local law enforcement.An attorney who represents Dao said his client was being treated at a Chicago hospital for injuries he sustained on the plane and that the family would not comment.Airport officials have said little about Sunday’s events and nothing about Dao’s behaviour before he was pulled from the jet that was bound for Louisville, Kentucky. Likewise, the Chicago Aviation Department has said only that one of its employees who removed Dao did not follow proper procedures and has been placed on leave.No passengers on the plane have mentioned that Dao did anything but refuse to leave the plane when he was ordered to do so.Also Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the way Dao was treated “completely unacceptable” and praised Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans for taking “swift action.” He promised that a city investigation would “ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”The event stemmed from a common air travel issue – a full flight. United was trying to make room for four employees of a partner airline, meaning four people had to get off.At first, the airline asked for volunteers, offering $400 and then when that did not work, $800 per passenger to relinquish a seat. When no one voluntarily came forward, United selected four passengers at random.More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsThree people got off the flight, but the fourth said he was a doctor and needed to get home to treat patients on Monday. He refused to leave.Three Aviation Department police officers got on the plane. Two officers tried to reason with the man before a third came aboard and pointed at the man “basically saying, ‘Sir, you have to get off the plane,”’ said Tyler Bridges, a passenger whose wife, Audra D. Bridges, posted a video on Facebook.One of the officers could be seen grabbing the screaming man from his window seat, across the armrest and dragging him down the aisle by his arms.Other passengers on Flight 3411 are heard saying, “Please, my God,” ”What are you doing?“ ”This is wrong,“ ”Look at what you did to him“ and ”Busted his lip.“The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it is reviewing Sunday’s events to see if United violated rules on overselling flights.Dao’s relatives are focused only on his medical care, attorney Stephen L. Golan said. The family “wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received.” Share Wednesday, April 12, 2017 United CEO changes his tone and pledges to review policies Tags: United Airlines By: Don Babwin Source: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

New Castle Hotels Resorts to manage Westin Prince Toronto

first_img Travelweek Group Thursday, March 22, 2018 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: New Castle Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resortscenter_img TORONTO — New Castle Hotels and Resorts has taken over management of the 395-room Westin Prince Toronto.The AAA 4-Diamond rated hotel joins New Castle’s portfolio of Westin hotels including the Westin Nova Scotian, the brand’s first franchise, The Westin Portland Harborview in Portland, ME and the Westin Jekyll Island in Georgia.“This is a legacy Westin property with 40 years of 4-Diamond status. We look forward to guiding it into the future with a sharp focus on Westin’s strategically developed, highly recognizable branding and New Castle’s well-regarded culture of mutual respect,” says New Castle President and COO, Gerry Chase.With 30,000 square feet of meeting space, the Westin Prince can accommodate groups as large as 700 in both indoor and outdoor venues. The hotel has several dining venues as well as an outdoor heated pool, running trails, tennis courts and a fitness centre with whirlpool and sits on 15 acres of rolling parkland, with an adjacent golf course.More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passenger“The Westin Prince is notable as an urban oasis, giving Toronto’s business and leisure visitors the best opportunities to engage in and escape from this dynamic city,” added Chase. “We welcome this well-known Toronto landmark to our growing portfolio of distinctive North American hotels.”New Castle owns and/or operates six other hotels in Atlantic Canada and will open a dual-brand project in Dartmouth, NS next spring. Share New Castle Hotels & Resorts to manage Westin Prince Torontolast_img read more

New Split flights ex Toronto boost Air Transats Croatia product

first_img Monday, October 1, 2018 Share Travelweek Group MONTREAL — Air Transat is adding Split, Croatia, to its transatlantic flight program starting in summer 2019.Clients will be able to start booking the Split flights shortly, says Transat, with details on Air Transat’s flight program for summer 2019 coming soon.Air Transat launched its Croatia service with Zagreb back in 2016. The new Split flights will see Air Transat offering a total of three direct flights from Toronto to Croatia, including two to Zagreb. Cconnecting flights are available from Montreal and Vancouver.The addition of the new Split flights are based on demand, says Annick Guérard, Chief Operating Officer at Transat. “Tourism has seen incredible growth in the Balkan Peninsula … we’ve seen great interest in Croatia since we started flying there in 2016.”Adds Gari Cappelli, Minister of Tourism of Croatia: “Split will amaze Canadian travellers eager for something new. Not only does it boast a rich heritage, with a UNESCO‑declared historic centre that dates back to the Roman Empire, but its location makes it the perfect gateway to the islands of the Adriatic Sea and Eastern Europe.” Posted bycenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Air Transat, Croatia New Split flights ex Toronto boost Air Transat’s Croatia productlast_img read more

Canadian visits to US up 48 and more stats from Discover America

first_imgCanadian visits to U.S. up 4.8% and more stats from Discover America Day << Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, October 2, 2018 Posted by TORONTO — What’s new in the United States? Plenty, as evident at the 12th annual Discover America Day – Canada in Toronto.Over 30 suppliers took part in this year’s Media Marketplace, the only one of its kind in Canada that focuses solely on inbound tourism to the U.S. Destinations from coast to coast were in attendance to highlight their many new offerings and latest stats during a series of speed-round appointments with local media.Canadian visitation to the U.S. is up, said Brand USA’s Jackie Ennis, Senior Director, Global Trade Development. In 2017, a total of 20.2 million Canadians travelled south of the border, an increase of 4.8%. This figure is particularly significant since in 2016 Canadian numbers dipped below the 20-million mark.Canadian air travel was also up last year by 9%, a sign of more “competitive pricing” from airlines and Canadians’ resilience to currency exchange fluctuations, added Ennis.And in the first quarter of 2018, the upward trend continued across the board, with visitation up 6.3% and air travel up 6.2% from an already-high 2017.“The fact that the numbers are as high as they are, after the storms in Texas and Florida last year and the low Canadian dollar, shows that Canadians are confident about travelling to the U.S.,” said Ennis. “Shows like Discover America Day are very important because we can’t underestimate the need to disseminate new information about the destination.”Here’s a roundup of what Travelweek learned from top suppliers:FLORIDA:In 2017, Florida welcomed 118.5 million visitors, a 5.4% increase over 2016, and of that total, 3.4 million were Canada, a 3% uptick from the year beforeIn Q1 2018, 33.2 million total visitors were record, an increase of 7.4% over the same period in 2017, representing the largest quarter in Visit Florida’s historyFlorida will see an increase in airlift from Canada this winter, with Sunwing launching Daytona Beach flights in January, and Swoop starting service to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa Bay from Hamilton this monthKennedy Space Center has just launched its new Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) for both kids and adults featuring a mission simulation including launching, landing and walking on MarsOpening this December is the 89-room boutique hotel Sarasota ModernThe highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Resort will open in summer 2019, and at Walt Disney World Resort in late fall 2019More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaATLANTIC CITY:Hard Rock Hotel & Casino opened in June 2018, taking over the former Trump Taj MahalSteel Pier, the 1,000-foot-long amusement park built on a pier of Atlantic City’s boardwalk, opened its new year-round Observation Wheel this spring, which at 227 feet tall is the third largest in the U.S.The Revel Casino reopened as the Ocean Resort, part of the Hyatt Collection, this past JuneAccording to Judi Pym, Regional Sales Manager for Meet AC, Atlantic City is reinventing itself from its traditional gaming persona to one that focuses more on family and cuisineIn addition to nine casino properties, Atlantic City offers tax-free clothing and shoe shopping, 20+ golf courses within 30 minutes of city limits, and seven wineries within an hourRandy Anger and Suzanne Pelisson Beasley from SeaWorld Parks & EntertainmentSEAWORLD PARKS & ENTERTAINMENT:Special Canadian Resident Pricing has been extended until April 30, 2019 for SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and Adventure Island Tampa BaySeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Canadian Resident single-day visit is priced at US$74.99 plus tax and includes savings up to $30, valid for one year from date of purchaseNew two-park offers are valid for a total of two visits at any of the aforementioned parks for $99.99 plus taxCanadian Resident Any 2-Parks with All Day Dining (two visits at choice of SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa, Aquatica, Adventure Island) is priced at $139.99 plus taxNew attractions include Infinity Falls at SeaWorld Orlando, a river rapids raft ride inspired by the rainforests of South America, and Ray Rush water slide at Aquatica, a first of its kind in the state of Florida raft rideCathy Reynolds, Lead Manager, IPW Press OperationsIPW:The 51st annual IPW takes place in Anaheim from June 1-5, 2019, and is expected to include 6,000+ attendees from 70 countries, including a 100-strong delegation from CanadaApproximately US$4.7 billion on future USA travel is booked as a result of IPW, with an additional one million in visitors coming to each host cityThis marks the 10th time IPW will take place in the state of CaliforniaAccording to Cathy Reynolds, Lead manager, IPW Press Operations, Canadian travel to the U.S. is coming back strong after a decline in 2016IPW has already booked host cities through to 2024: 2020 in Las Vegas, 2021 in Chicago, 2022 in Orlando, 2023 in San Antonio (first-time host city) and 2024 in Los AngelesRosalyn Hunter, Public Relations Director, VoX International, Canadian representative of Texas TourismTEXAS:In 2017, Canadian visitation to Texas crossed the half-million mark, with 503,000 Canadians making the tripThis increase over 2016 can be attributed partly to increased airlift; Air Canada offers 9,000 seats per week, nonstop, to four Texas cities (Austin, DFW, San Antonio and Houston), making it the state’s largest carrierOpened March 2018, the Fairmont Austin features direct access to the Austin Convention Center and offers 1,048 guestrooms and 42 suitesOpening next summer is the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, which will highlight the journey of the many who experienced the Holocaust and other social injusticesOpening in late 2018 is the 27-mile commuter rail line, Tex Rail, a US$1 billion project that will link downtown Fort Worth with DFW International AirportSeveral new hotels have opened in Houston, including the 225-room Le Meridien-Downtown, the 158-room Hotel ZaZa Memorial City, the 225-Hotel Alessandra, and the 250-room The Post OakMore news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionNORTH CAROLINA:The state typically records half a million Canadian overnights each year, with one million in total driving throughAccording to Stephanie Freed-Burns, Account Manager, Visit North Carolina Canada Office, North Carolina is seeing an uptick of Canadians coming from the West, particularly AlbertaFollowing Hurricane Florence, Visit North Carolina is advising travellers to withhold from travelling to Wilmington for now; the Outer Banks was left unscathed, and inland, for the most part, is doing wellDid you know? There’s a place in the Outer Banks called ‘Canadian Hole’, named for the high number of Canadian visitors who come for the area’s windsurfing and kiteboardingcenter_img Share Travelweek Group Tags: America, Discover America, Media, tourismlast_img read more

New heights for Canadian arrivals to Switzerland with 96 increase

first_img Tuesday, February 26, 2019 New heights for Canadian arrivals to Switzerland with 9.6% increase << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Switzerland Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — It was another record year for Canadian arrivals and overnights to Switzerland.According to tourism data from the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics, there was a 9.6% increase in Canadian arrivals in Switzerland in 2018, for a total of 126,198.The number of overnight stays was 270,959, an increase of 9.4% compared to 2017.“Canadians feel rejuvenated and truly alive during their vacation in Switzerland. They enjoy exploring the unique mix of four European cultures, the Swiss Alps, quirky boutique towns and our scenic trains,” says Pascal Prinz, Director Canada, Switzerland Tourism.Prinz adds: “With even more direct flights from Canada in 2019, it’s easier than ever before to discover Switzerland on its own or as a perfect hub on every trip to Europe.”The most popular destinations were the Zurich Region with 76,344, the Geneva Region with 50,982 overnights and the Valais with 24,244.With 33.6% more overnights in 2018, the Basel Region recorded the biggest growth in Canadian visits. The overall growth from Canada is mostly in the big cities, followed by the mountain regions.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upIn 2019 Switzerland Tourism will stay on its ‘Back to Nature’ path with a focus on hiking. Swizerland is home to more than 65,000 kilometers of trails, so virtually every corner of Switzerland is waiting to be discovered on foot, adds Prinz. Share Posted bylast_img read more

TravelBrands direct connection to WDW and Aulani product

first_imgTravelBrands’ direct connection to WDW and Aulani product Travelweek Group MISSISSAUGA — TravelBrands wants agents to know it is now directly connected to the Walt Disney World Resort booking system for hotels and tickets.Thanks to its technology TravelBrands can provide both travellers and travel agents with instant availability for the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii, says Frank DeMarinis, CEO, Red Label Vacations.“Whether it is visiting the four Disney theme parks, staying at one of Disney’s incredible resorts or vacationing in Hawaii at Aulani, our technological infrastructure will provide a seamless booking process for clients” says DeMarinis. “This is a tremendous opportunity to connect travellers to their favourite Disney products. We are so proud that our technology can support this new feature for the Canadian market.”In addition to instant availability, TravelBrands will also have access to all room categories for all Walt Disney World Resort hotels as well as theme park tickets. This updated connection will allow TravelBrands to go to market quicker when there is a new Walt Disney World promotional offer, says DeMarinis, who adds that overall the booking process for both travel agents and travellers will become simplified.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoAnd for Disneyland Resort in California, TravelBrands is helping visitors enter the theme parks faster. The company has the technological capabilities to automatically generate a barcode and e-ticket. Guests can go directly to the theme park turnstiles for entry to start their Disney experience. Through TravelBrands, guests no longer have to exchange a voucher for their park ticket.Travel partners, agents and clients can begin booking Walt Disney World Resort hotels and tickets as well as Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa through TravelBrands, a division of RLV. For more information see travelbrandsaccess.com. Monday, July 22, 2019 Posted bycenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: TravelBrands, Walt Disney World Sharelast_img read more

Jobs play a thinker

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionYou’ve just received your new iPhone and its purported megabytes of empty digital space. You plan to fill it with messages and photos of your friends, family and cat, but to your surprise, your new gadget is already occupied. It contains photos of the phone’s birthplace in a Chinese factory.When monologist Mike Daisey heard that this actually happened to someone, he was intrigued, and he went to China in 2010 to investigate the source of the world’s beloved Apple products. What he found  became the subject of his play, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.” After seeing the Little Theatre Group’s iteration of Daisey’s play, audience members will never look at their iPhones or MacBooks the same way.Friday night just 25 seats were filled, with double that available at the Laurence Olivier Theatre, a modern, concrete affair with a basement Shakespeare bar. As the lights dimmed and the stage lit up, five actors shuffled on stage and took seats in chairs facing the audience. Director Pilar Saavedra-Vela divided the monologue among the actors, who took turns portraying the narrator Daisey and other characters during the two-hour production.The narrators took the audience from the college-dropout days of Steve Jobs to his development of Apple, and then they explored Daisey’s own fascination with technology, experience inside Chinese factories and discussions with Chinese union organizers.“I found this piece touching, and so important to bring up,” said Saavedra-Vela, who had never before directed a play. “Everyone has so many items in their homes that are made in China. Technology is so pervasive in our lives and this piece helps us to see a side we’ve not contemplated.”Controversy around the play surfaced after the public radio show “This American Life” aired an excerpt from the monologue. A journalist in China heard the show and reported that Daisey exaggerated aspects of his play, for instance, the armed guards surrounding the factories. Only police and military personnel in China are allowed to carry weapons. Daisey later admitted to embellishing his play for theatrical effect, but the version presented by the Little Theater Group contained none of the inaccuracies.Some theater critics have defended Daisey, arguing that even if details were misconstrued, the fact remains that employees in many electronics companies overseas experience terrible working conditions to deliver the world’s hundred-dollar iPods and thousand-dollar MacBooks. One particularly egregious example Daisey’s monologue highlights is that of N-hexane,the chemical used to clean the screens of electronic devices. It causes neurological damage, which the actors portrayed with vivid and disturbing tremors.The play concludes with a call to action. Actors ask for those moved by the production to think twice about upgrading one’s electronics, to educate themselves about where products come from and to spread the messages of Daisey’s play.Tom Humes, one of the actors, said this work is more like a documentary and it has a different goal than the usual productions seen from the Little Theater Group. “Usually we want to make you laugh or cry, but with this one we want you to think,” he said. “This gives you a different look at the icon of Steve Jobs and the downside to his empire.”The Little Theatre Group is staging the play for one more weekend at the Laurence Olivier Theatre in San José, at Avenida 2, Calle 28, next to the Sala Garbo, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Call 8858-1446 or visit www.littletheatregroup.org Facebook Commentslast_img read more

2008 report warned of threat to highway

first_imgFrom the print editionDriving north out of San José on one of the country’s most important highways, the road suddenly narrows and steel trusses appear on both sides of the asphalt and down the center of the street. Two Bailey bridges were opened on General Cañas Highway on Tuesday, after a large sinkhole opened up on the route last week.The Roadway Safety Council (CONAVI) backtracked on earlier estimates that repairing the drainage system below the General Cañas Highway (or Route 1) would take three weeks. Now transit officials can only give a rough guess that the repairs will take “months.”The pit, now four meters deep and nine meters wide, appeared in front of the Plaza Los Arcos in Ciudad Cariari, northwest of San José, several minutes from the Juan Santamaría International Airport. The turmoil that followed caused accidents, traffic jams and missed flights. By Tuesday, traffic flow returned to normal. However, repairing the underlying damage will not be simple.The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) and CONAVI could not decide how many months the repairs would take, although they assumed it would be done by the end of the year. Construction workers have begun the preliminary steps of installing a larger drainage system below the highway, MOPT said in a press release. After the work is finished, Bailey bridges will be placed on the opposite lanes of the highway so that the entire system can be remodeled and upgraded.José Luis Salas, executive director of CONAVI, told the daily La Nación, “We could be talking about months.”CONAVI engineer Cristian Vargas told crhoy.com, “We can’t say if it’ll take more or less than six months.”Sinkhole PredictedA report Wednesday in the daily La Nación showed that the damage that occurred under the highway had been predicted four years earlier. In 2008, according to La Nación, a lawyer warned the Heredia Municipal Council that the road could be washed out. The information was based on a study commissioned by a local landowner. The lawyer said the study warned that a tree trunk could fall into the La Guaria ravine, which flows under the highway, and block the drainage system, causing a collapse of the highway. That is exactly what happened last week.The Heredia Municipal Council alerted CONAVI, but according to officials, they never received a response. CONAVI’s Salas responded that his department has conducted routine checkups along the highway. Other studies by the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute and the University of Costa Rica’s National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models concluded that urban growth in Heredia and lack of care caused the collapse of the storm drains.Through the decades, the northern province of Heredia converted its expanse of coffee plantations into residences and businesses. Rainfall in central Heredia flows out of the newly urbanized area and into the La Guaria. During heavy downpours, the ravine becomes overwhelmed by storm water, and the weak drainage system is put at risk. News station Telenoticias Channel 7 reported that the Bailey bridges on General Cañas cost 150 million ($300,000). The news report, citing CONAVI data, noted that Costa Rica has more than a kilometer of Bailey bridges installed in the country. Telenoticias concluded that the bridges, intended to be a temporary fix, remain in 80 different locations in the country.  The sinkhole area will be closed 10 p.m-5 a.m. every day until repairs are completed. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Vehicle inspection could cost up to three times more next year

first_img Cars/Cargo Vehicle Riteve, the Spanish-Costa Rican company in charge of mandatory vehicle inspections, requested an increase of 157 percent for 2013.In a release, the company explained that their rate has not change in eight years. The last increase was approved in 2004.If approved, regular cars and cargo trucks would have to pay ₡25,529 ($51), ₡15,599 ($31) more than they pay now. The current tariff for these vehicles is ₡9,930 ($20).Taxi and bus owners will be the most affected, since they must pass the vehicle inspection twice a year.The increase request was filed before the Public Services Regulatory Authority on November 19, and is currently under consideration. Facebook Comments No related posts. $13.08 $33.62 $51 Taxis $21.42 Proposed Motorcycle $55.08 Current $19.85 Rates last_img read more

Kickin it at La Carolina Lodge

first_imgAfter several hours of horseback riding through jungle and pasture, there is probably nothing more relaxing than kicking back in La Carolina Lodge’s fire-warmed hot tub. And after a long soak by the river and a bounteous, organic meal, this became clear: the rustic life is definitely for me.Situated far off the beaten path in north central Costa Rica, La Carolina Lodge is the perfect getaway for the adventurous, or anyone who likes relaxing in woods by a river.The lodge sits on 170 acres of land just a short hike away from Tenorio Volcano National Park and the famous Rio Celeste. Named for it’s electric blue water, Rio Celeste is one of Costa Rica’s unique but largely undiscovered tourist destinations. One of two rivers running from the Tenorio Volcano, Rio Celeste picks up minerals that create its color. The second river runs clear as glass alongside La Carolina Lodge. At the top of one hill, the lodge keeps its own organic garden. Beans, corn, rice, papayas and yuca are just several of the plants grown on the property using all-natural farming techniques. The hotel also raises its own chickens and pigs.The farm’s products show up at the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner, where heaping portions of the traditional Costa Rican fare are shared, family-style, among guests.Fried fish also makes a frequent appearance on the menu, caught by the staff or guests at the lake property just up the road, which also belongs to La Carolina’s owners. My trip into the lake in the lodge’s wooden rowboat was a relaxing experience, but maybe too relaxing, as my lack of fishing skills left me unable to contribute to the hotel’s dinner that night.Fortunately, in addition to his horse riding ability, Michael Jordan is also an expert fishermen. He somehow landed fish big enough for the dining room table. The final count: Michael Jordan: 5, Tico Times: 0.After sunset we headed back to lodge, where the path to my secluded cabin had been illuminated by candles. After a quick dunk in the private hot tub, it was time to slip under the mosquito nets and between comfy fleece sheets, where I drifted off to the perpetual rush of the river.Yes, the rustic life is definitely for me.Going there: From San José take the 27 coastal highway until you hit the connector for the Pan-American, Route 1 just before Puntarenas. Take the Pan-American north past Cañas and turn north onto the Upala Highway (Route 6). Drive 35 km until you see a sign for La Carolina Lodge where you will turn right. Continue to follow the signs for the lodge until you reach it. Accommodations range from dorm-style rooms with a shared bathroom to private cabins. In the high season rates run from $75 per person to $105 per person with all meals included. In the low season rates run from $65 per person to $95 per person with all meals included. Horseback riding and tours of Rio Celeste are not included in the rates. Horseback riding is $15 per adult and $10 per child and tours of the park are $5 for the guide and the $10 entry fee. Facebook Comments Also calling La Carolina Lodge home are 38 beautiful horses. The newest addition, Besito, was born just eight days before our arrival, and was carefully watched over by the horses’ exuberant caretaker, Alejandro Padilla.Padilla and his 14-year-old son Michael Jordan are horse fanatics. The older Padilla will happily show you his horse belt-buckle and his prized possession, a circular horse-shaped necklace carved from a horse bone. He never takes it off.“I hope when I die that they bury me with this,” he said. “I want to take a horse to the other side with me.”The lodge has horses for any skill level, and Padilla guides trips down jungle trails and across the numerous pastures of the lodge’s property, past cows, colts and the lodge’s two giant, white bulls, Indio and Palomo. An intimate riverside cabin at La Carolina Lodge.Lindsay Fendt The lodge has 4,500 feet of riverfront property, and a wooden deck overlooking a small rapid provides a spot for guests to jump in for a dip, fish or just lounge by the water. Also overlooking the river is the lodge’s innovative stone hot tub, heated by a wood-burning fire. The river water enters metal tubes that wrap around the fire, heating the water before it is released into the tub.Set back deep in the jungle, toucans, butterflies and anteaters all frequent the property. Animals are easy to spot right outside the lodge’s main dining area, where fruit atop two stone slabs attracts many vibrantly colored birds. The lodge’s friendly staff keeps a trained eye on the trees for a glimpse at one of the property’s elusive sloths.center_img La Carolina Lodge’s Alejandro Padilla pets one of the hotel’s bulls, Indio.Lindsay Fendt The deck off the back of one of La Carolina Lodge’s features a hammock and a private hot tub.Lindsay Fendt No related posts.last_img read more

One Billion Rising hosts flash mob in San José

first_imgRelated posts:Pete Seeger, legendary folk singer, dies at 94 VIDEO: Thrill of victory, agony of defeat during France-Germany game New Costa Rican ambassador to US presents credentials at White House Presidents Obama, Solís meet in New York Throwing random flash mob dance parties was always a good time. Now it’s also a way to combat domestic violence.Scores of people flooded the Plaza de la Cultura in San José last Friday as part of One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. They formed a tight group in the middle of the square and began a synchronized dance, attracting hundreds of spectators over the next five minutes.“It’s not just us,” said Joan Dewar, representing Blooms, a women’s empowerment organization based in the Central Valley. “I saw last year on Facebook that the event was taking place around the world. We did a little one last year in Grecia, but this year it’s bigger, because we got together with the University of Peace.”Indeed, numerous organizations helped coordinate the flash mob, including UPEACE, Blooms, The Humanitarian Foundation of Costa Rica, and The International League of Women for Peace and Liberty. The event attracted such a varied group of people that many participants did not meet in person until minutes before the flash mob took place.One Billion Rising refers to the number of women expected to be victims of violence within their lifetimes. Founded by playwright Eve Ensler (author of “The Vagina Monologues”), One Billion Rising ballooned in the wake of the gang-rape of Jyoti Singh in Delhi, India, and last year events took place in more than 200 countries.“All of a sudden, the campaign got its voice,” said Dewar.When the dance ended in a hail of cheers, co-organizer Briana Cavion took a microphone and spoke to the crowd in Spanish and English.“We are united to say we will fight for equality for men and women together,” Cavion said. “Equality for all people, no matter what your country is.”Added Dewar: “I think next year will be even bigger.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Hablando paja What if Jesus had been born in Costa Rica

first_imgI wrote last time aboutthe luxuries of a Costa Rican Christmas, but I recently realized that my absolute favorite part of this time of year is something very simple, and also one of my favorite dichos: hablando paja. Literally translated as “talkin’ straw,” it can have a negative connotation, because if you’re hablando paja (or a little stronger, pura paja, which can describe what people say or the people themselves), it can mean that you’re full of hot air, making promises you won’t keep. But it also has a meaning closer to “shooting the breeze,” and to me connotes the lazy, laid-back, meandering conversations of late December, when the crazed shopping and End-of-Days traffic has ended, and life is slow.I had just such a conversation a few Christmases ago. A group of my husband’s friends and I were sitting around, drinking coffee, eating tamales and admiring the portal of the couple whose house we were in. Like many things Costa Rican, the Nativity scenes here are bigger and bolder than the version I grew up with: our crèche was a sedate affair the size of my hand, while I’ve seen several here that take up half the living room. This one was particularly elaborate. The Three Kings were poking along on the floor, their plaster steeds gazing balefully at the steep journey ahead up a winding mountain road to Joseph, Mary and Jesus, perched at eye level. On their way, they’d pass lights, sloping fields of sheep, even a bridge over a little river. The couple was celebrating their first Christmas in their own place, and they’d obviously put a lot of work into this scene.See also: A love letter to Costa Rica’s second languageLooking at their river, I said idly, just hablando paja and thinking of a half-century-old bridge whose failed repairs had made it a symbol of the country’s roadway woes, “I’d love to see a portal with La Platina. The Wise Men are waiting there, all impatient, and there’s a tiny construction crew. Now there’s a real portal a lo tico.”“Uuuy, cierto,” said our host. “If Jesus is born in Costa Rica? Mae, one of the Wise Men falls straight through the crack, burro and all.”There was a little pause, the unmistakable sound of brains whirring. I knew it well.“The next one falls into that pothole that swallowed the car,” someone ventured.“The last one calls Joseph. Mae, I’ll be there later, ya casi llego. Traffic, mae. Es que vieras que en La Uruca hay UUUUna presa…”They were off. “Yeah, and Joseph’s all bummed, like, mae, que ahuevado, you three were supposed to bring the chifrijo, birrillas and Tronaditas.” “Take off those shepherds and put on a guachimán watching over his cars by night.” “Put in a sloth instead of sheep.” “No, no animals! They would all be hiding under the bar because of the fireworks. It’s Christmas!” “Yeah, instead of animals, all the neighbors! ‘Cause you KNOW they’d all be there vineando. Teenage pregnancy, the baby’s in a manger, pero ¡qué pecado! He looks so cold! Those swaddling cloths, so flimsy! Get us three fleece blankets and a woolen hat, stat!”“¡De fijo!” said our host again. “And take away Joseph.”There was general assent. “Why?” I asked, the lone Gringa.“Because Joseph would be at the bar!”“Noooooombre, his guíla just had a baby with the Almighty. He’s already lit up and in the bullring in Zapote!”That’s hablando paja. It’s a perk of a season that seems to get shorter and shorter each year as Costa Rica shuts down less and less during the holidays, but that is still a welcome breather, a time to be aimless.Of course, where I come from, it’s the season of Hallmark, very special sitcom episodes and goofy sincerity, so I can’t close without saying that whether you’re in Costa Rica this holiday or far away; whether this is your patria, your adopted home or just a twinkle in your eye as you dream of vacations to come; whether you celebrate Christmas with midnight explosions or heaps of snow or not at all – I wish for you the best parts of a portal a lo tico.What does that even mean?  Much more than just a guachimán and a drunk Joseph, that’s for sure. A Nativity set in Costa Rica means wry steadfastness in the face of the Platinas of life. It means an ability, an eagerness, even, to laugh at yourself during a holiday that otherwise sets the bar too high. It means space and time to shoot the breeze, languid conversations meant to go nowhere, pure straw, pure air. It means a deep breath we need in late December, that cherished respite between “One More Shopping Day ‘Til Christmas!” and the unrelenting cheerfulness of New Year’s Resolutions, this year all coming on the heels of a series of particularly heartbreaking, troubling and violent events for many people around the world. It means that I wish we will all give ourselves a break, because we deserve that, despite our many failings. We deserve it if, like Costa Rica itself, we are struggling upwards past litter and crime and potholes and bureaucrats, but struggling nonetheless, climbing still, brave enough to set our sights on peace.Read previous Maeology columns hereKatherine Stanley Obando is The Tico Times’ arts and entertainment editor. She also is a freelance writer, translator, former teacher and academic director of JumpStart Costa Rica. She lives in San José. You can read more by Katherine at “The Dictionary of You,” where she writes about Costa Rican language and culture, and raising a child abroad. “Maeology” is published every other Monday.  Facebook Comments Related posts:‘La Platina’ Bridge to close Wednesday night, Saturday for repairs ‘La Platina’ bridge head loses job Polls reveal Ticos thoughts on Chinchilla, crime and the environment The bird who rules Costa Rica, and the language of rainlast_img read more

Money for startups The key to creating more companies

first_img Facebook Comments We can all agree that anything that contributes a third of a country’s gross domestic product is fairly important, right? According to theMinistry of the Economy and Commerce (MEIC), Costa Rica’s small and medium businesses pitch in a whopping 33% of our nation’s GDP. According to the same study, the SMEs (or PYMES, using the Spanish acronym) generate roughly half of private-sector employment. Anybody generating public policy has to wonder: how can we support such an important sector and help it grow?Helping existing SMEs reach the next level of development is a subject for another day, and is certainly a complex task depending on the industry, the competitive landscape, and the maturity of the market; most of all, it depends on the entrepreneur and his or her family. But let’s take a step back and consider how we can get these businesses started in the first place. How do we keep the pipeline flowing and ensure that more and more companies get created every day?What is the most important factor in starting a company? The idea? The entrepreneur? Having access to adequate funding? The timing? The business model?While access to funding has been shown to have the least impact of all these factors in the success of the startup, it seems to be at the top of everybody’s list, from entrepreneurs to government officials to private parties. That belief has fueled a decade of startup competitions and awards that lure hopeful entrepreneurs eager to take home the purse. In the same way, the government has tried to jumpstart the entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing flexible loans and seed money through the Banca para el Desarrollo (Banking System for Development). Incubators are popping up like Starbucks on every corner, offering not only office space but also the long-term promise of investment.The general agreement has been to focus on providing money as a strategy to create more companies. The issue here is that the way this money is being channeled often creates incentives that don’t match the reality of startups, or that aren’t necessarily in line with the intended goal.Let’s take the case of flexible loans. Through the Banca para el Desarrollo, you can go to a local bank and get a loan with low interest rates and sometimes long terms. Sounds good, right? The catch is that banks’ mechanisms to assess risk and determine eligibility are appropriate for individuals or established companies, but not startups. How do you determine the repayment capacity or cash flows of a company that has not yet started generating income?The second problem is collateral. Since young companies rarely have any assets to offer as collateral, it is up to the entrepreneur to mortgage her house or provide some other guarantee of payment, which of course adds to the pressure of starting a company. The truth is, this Banca para el Desarrollo requirement could very well support established companies, but when it comes to startups, this hurdle can get in the way of company creation.See also: Negotiating in the world’s happiest countryEven for established SMEs, relying on flexible bank loans for their financing needs seems like a long shot. In spite of representing a third of GDP and half of the jobs in the private sector, the SMEs’ total balance amounts to only 8.6% of  the credit portfolio of supervised financial entities. Of course, the banks are in it to make money, and they have to adequately protect their exposure to risk, but these figures show that we need to rethink the mechanisms through which we make this money available to startups or SMEs if we really want to boost the sector.Another agent in making funds available for startups is the aforementioned competitions and awards. Again, although perfectly well-intentioned, these competitions are unsuspectingly creating incentives that in many cases not only contribute little to the development of startups, but might also be detrimental.Let’s examine how these competitions usually work. Normally there’s a call for applicants that draws what lately has been a growing number of participants, usually in the hundreds. Because of the volume of applications, the organizations running the competition don’t rely on anything as complicated as a business plan to make their selections, since it would be impossible to read and properly assess hundreds of business plans. So they either rely on a set of ten or so questions, or on a two- to three-minute pitch.How well can you really get to know a business from this limited input? That’s debatable, but I suspect that this mechanism ends up, albeit unintentionally, measuring and rewarding something else. It is usually the most articulate entrepreneurs, the most charismatic, and the best communicators, who end up in the qualifying rounds. Since competitions don’t spend much time checking facts and figures due to volume and time constraints, what really creates the impact is the story, and that is creating a new breed of entrepreneurs: great storytellers for competitions. I am not implying that all winners lack viable businesses, but after having participated as judge or consultant in many competitions, and having followed winners through the years, it is clear that many startups are recognized on the basis of a great story, but not necessarily a great business.Access to funding is without a doubt a factor in startup success and therefore in company creation, even when it is not the most important one. Eager to solve a problem, we often take shortcuts or overlook the fact that even a reasonable solution, when poorly delivered, might fail to create the desired outcome. Precisely because funding seems to be one of the factors that get the most attention, it is important that entrepreneurs, policymakers and investors alike pay attention to the mechanisms through which those funds get channeled and the incentives they create. We have to make sure those incentives trigger the right behavior so that we actually achieve the goal we’re after – in this case, lots and lots of successful startups. Read more “Doing Business columns” here. Randall Trejos works as a business developer, helping startups and medium-sized companies grow. He’s the co-director of the Founder Institute in Costa Rica and a strategy consultant at Grupo Impulso. You can follow his blog La Catapulta or contact him through LinkedIn. Stay tuned for the next edition of “Doing Business,” published twice-monthly.center_img Related posts:The different flavors of starting a business Why changing too fast can hurt new businesses 4 things you need to know before investing in a local startup How investors and entrepreneurs can find common groundlast_img read more

Americas uneasy Gulf allies adding to arsenals

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Associated PressDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – While Iran’s military loudly trumpets every new project or purported advance in hopes of rattling the U.S. and its Gulf Arab allies, the U.S. is quietly answering with an array of proposed arms sales across the region as part of a wider effort to counter Tehran.In the past two months, the Defense Department has notified Congress of possible deals totaling more than $11.3 billion to Gulf states such as Qatar and Kuwait, which are seen as some of America’s critical front-line partners in containing Iran and protecting oil shipping lanes. The proposed sales _ including Patriot missile batteries and Apache attack helicopters _ are still modest compared with massive Gulf purchases such as Saudi Arabia’s $60 billion package last year. That deal included more than 80 new F-15SA fighter jets, missiles, radar warning systems and other equipment.But the recent flurry of expected sales from U.S. firms, approved by the Pentagon and outlined in notifications to Congress, underscores the growing emphasis among nervous Gulf states on seeking quick upgrades to existing firepower and defensive networks.The arms sale need congressional approval, but usually few objections are raised for key allies such as Gulf nations.Gulf worries about possible military action against Iran have increased with diplomatic efforts making little headway in easing the showdown over Tehran’s nuclear program, which the West and others fear could eventually develop atomic weapons. Iran says it only seeks reactors for energy and medical uses.An Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported Sunday that National Security Adviser Tom Donilon briefed Israeli officials on possible U.S. attack plans if diplomacy and sanctions fail to pressure Tehran to scale back its nuclear enrichment program. A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential talks, denied the Haaretz report. Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Although the Gulf Arab states have no direct ties to Israel, any military strike on Iran by the Jewish state could require some degree of coordination, with Washington likely to play an intermediary role. Gulf military forces also could be quickly drawn into a wider conflict or a confrontation over the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-fifth of the world’s oil.“Amid the standoff between Iran, Israel and the West, there’s another side that is often overlooked,” said Sami al-Faraj, director of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies. “It is the Gulf states. They are the ones caught in the middle.”___Associated Press writer Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “We are seeing more and more bluster from the Iranian side and the U.S. and Gulf allies showing the Iranians they are a united front,” said Theodore Karasik, a regional security expert at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. “The Gulf states are nervous. They show this nervousness by buying more weapons.”Among the proposed U.S. sales is a $4.2 billion package to Kuwait for 60 Patriot missiles and related systems to “strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats,” the Defense Department said in a statement. Kuwait could also buy, pending congressional approval, a $49 million arsenal of 300 Hellfire II missiles, which can be launched from helicopters or drones.For Qatar _ which hosts one of the Pentagon’s command hubs _ the Defense Department is seeking clearance for a $6.6 billion air support upgrade that includes 24 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, 12 Blackhawk helicopters and 22 Seahawk helicopters, with options to buy six more.The Apaches would assist with “protection of key oil and infrastructure and platforms which are vital to U.S. and Western economic interests,” the Defense Department said.center_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Oman, which shares control of Hormuz with Iran, is seeking an $86 million purchase that includes 55 Sidewinder missiles as part of plans to upgrade its F-16 fighter fleet.For decades, the Gulf had looked mostly to Washington for its weapons, but European arms deals also appear on the rise.In Berlin, German government spokesman Georg Streiter said Monday there has been an “expression of interest” by Qatar in about 200 Leopard II tanks. A similar Leopard tank deal with Saudi Arabia was reported last year by German media.In May, Saudi Arabia signed a $3 billion deal with Britain for air force training planes apparently linked to a 2007 agreement to buy 72 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters.The weapons requests also reinforce the toughening stance against Iran by main rival Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Arab states. The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council has repeatedly warned Tehran about “meddling” in Gulf affairs. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have taken a leading role in supporting Syrian rebels trying to topple Bashar Assad’s regime, which is Iran’s main Mideast ally.Last week, a commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards warned that “hated Arab” rivals could face repercussions for their efforts to bring down Assad. The news reports reflect the uncertainties in the region with negotiations nearly stalled and Iran trying to push back against deepening sanctions on its vital oil exports.“There was a bit of a breather in the region when (nuclear) talks resumed,” said Bruno Tertrais, senior researcher at the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris. “That is quickly fading.”In its place: a sense of military adjustments moving at a faster pace.Washington plans to keep at least 13,500 troops in Kuwait _ down slightly from the current 15,000 _ but with an expanded mission as a potential rapid-reaction force for the region. The Pentagon also has scores of warplanes and other assets across the Gulf, including air bases in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.At sea, the U.S. Navy plans to lead maneuvers in September that include minesweeping drills _ a clear response to Iran’s threats to block oil tankers from passing through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf in retaliation for the tightening Western sanctions.The U.S. is also boosting its Gulf flotilla, directed by the Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain. Among the additions: a floating assault base aboard the retrofitted USS Ponce and accelerated deployment of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis to ensure two carriers are in the Gulf region at all times. How do cataracts affect your vision? More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories last_img read more

A look at Israels Iron Dome missile defense

first_img Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories JERUSALEM (AP) – In four days of fighting against Gaza-based militants, Israel has used a missile-defense system called “Iron Dome” to intercept rockets fired at populated civilian areas. It says the new home-grown system has been a tremendous success. As of Saturday evening, the military said it had shot down some 240 incoming rockets, more than half the number of projectiles launched into Israel since Wednesday. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Here’s a quick look at the system:_Produced by Israeli-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Iron Dome is meant to shoot down rockets and artillery shells with ranges of up to 70 kilometers, or 45 miles. It has been operational since 2011. Officials say it has a roughly 80 percent success rate._How it works: The system detects launches of rockets and quickly determines their flight path. If it is headed toward populated areas or sensitive targets, it fires an interceptor with a special warhead that strikes the incoming rocket within seconds. Rockets headed toward open areas area allowed to land._Currently, five Iron Dome batteries are deployed in Israel. Most are located in the south near Gaza. A fifth battery was deployed outside Tel Aviv on Saturday, two months ahead of schedule. Hours later, it shot down a rocket headed toward Tel Aviv._Missiles cost around $40,000 a piece. In 2010, the U.S. provided $200 million to expand development. Additional funding is currently being considered, with $70 million already allocated for the 2012 fiscal year._The system is part of what Israel calls its “multilayer missile defense”. It is meant to protect against the tens of thousands of short-range rockets possessed by militants in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. Israel has also deployed its “Arrow” missile defense systems for long-range threats from Iran. The military says its new “David’s Sling” system, being developed by Rafael to stop medium-range missiles, will be activated by 2014.last_img read more

Departing South Korean leader warns North Korea

first_img Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea’s outgoing president warns North Korea has pushed itself further into a corner with its recent nuclear test.President Lee Myung-bak said Tuesday in his farewell address that North Korea will only face international sanctions and isolation if it hangs on to its nuclear and missile programs.South Korea has pressed for tighter U.N. sanctions on North Korea since Pyongyang conducted its third nuclear test last week. North Korea defends the underground blast as an act of deterrence against U.S. hostility. Lee leaves office next Monday. The relations between the two Koreas have frayed badly during his single, five-year tenure.His successor, Park Geun-hye, has called for reopening dialogue with Pyongyang but also remains firmly opposed to North Korea’s nuclear program.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistcenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Men’s health affects baby’s health too Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   last_img read more

Toyota recalls SUVs in Middle East fires reported

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Monday’s recall follows a bigger one last week covering 1.9 million Prius cars globally for a software problem and 294,000 vehicles in North and South America for a different software glitch. Models affected by the second software glitch were the RAV4 sport utility, Tacoma pickup and Lexus RX 350 luxury model.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories center_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories TOKYO (AP) – Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday it is recalling 13,000 FJ Cruiser sport-utility vehicles, mostly in the Middle East, for fuel tubes that may overheat, melt and set off a gas leak.The automaker said five fires have been reported related to the defect. There have been no reports of injuries or deaths.The recall announced covers FJ Cruisers manufactured between October 2012 and January 2014.Some 10,180 of the vehicles are in the Middle East and 2,500 in Australia, with the rest in Africa and Panama. Comments   Share   last_img read more

AP NewsBreak EU to relocate 40000 immigrants within union

first_img Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top holiday drink recipes Sponsored Stories Migrants wait to disembark from the Italian Navy corvette Sfinge at the Augusta harbor, near Siracusa, Sicily, Italy, Thursday, May 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi) Top Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Earlier on Tuesday, the IOM urged the EU to accept far more than 20,000 asylum seekers.“The 20,000 quota is commendable. We’re glad for it,” IOM Director General William Lacy Swing told EU lawmakers, but he added that Europe “needs to go much, much further.”Swing said the “drivers of migration are such that large-scale migration is going to remain a mega-trend of our century.”He said the 20,000 migrant figure should serve as a starting point to “try to build a level of confidence” to go further.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The move comes as the number of desperate migrants crossing the Mediterranean to get to Europe continues to rise, with more than 80,000 landing so far this year. The International Organization for Migration estimates that 1,820 other migrants have died or gone missing on that journey.The influx has left countries like Italy, Greece, Malta, Germany and Sweden carrying the biggest burdens.Under the emergency relocation plan, which would have to be endorsed by member states and the European Parliament, countries “will receive 6,000 euros ($6,531) for each person relocated on their territories” from EU coffers, according to the document.Germany would accept the most asylum seekers over the two years — a total of 8,763 — while France would take in 6,752. Spain, which faces migration challenges of its own, would also take a significant share, accepting 4,288 people in need of international protection.The commission is also set to announce a proposal to resettle 20,000 people from outside the EU who have been identified as being in need of international protection. They would be shared among all 28 member states over the next two years based on a distribution index. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union will seek to shift the migration burden away from Italy and Greece by relocating 40,000 asylum seekers to other EU countries, according to a draft document seen by The Associated Press Tuesday.The relocation proposal, to be unveiled by the EU’s executive Commission on Wednesday, would see new Syrian and Eritrean asylum seekers shared among 23 of the 28 member countries over the next two years. Britain, Denmark and Ireland will not take part. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img read more

Hong Kong lawmakers reject Beijingbacked election plan

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The defeat raises the prospect of a political stalemate for years to come.China’s legislature signaled its determination not to back down from its August decision despite the veto.“Its legal force is unquestionable,” the National People’s Congress Standing Committee said in a statement, according to the official Xinhua news agency.Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam told lawmakers just before the vote that she was “sad and disappointed” knowing that the proposal would be defeated.“I don’t know when democratization can be taken forward,” she said. Hong Kong and Beijing officials have said that in the event of a defeat, leaders would continue to be handpicked by a 1,200-member panel of local elites.Hong Kong is a former British colony that retains its own legal and financial system and civil liberties such as freedom of speech not seen on the mainland. Even during colonial times, residents were unable to choose their leader, then known as the governor, who was dispatched from London.Hong Kong’s unpopular current leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, said he was “disappointed” with the defeat and signaled that his administration would not attempt to restart democratic development during the two years remaining in his term. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis “It’s time for the community to move on,” Leung told reporters. “In the coming two years, the Hong Kong government will focus efforts on the various economic development and livelihood issues.”Pro-democracy leaders vowed to continue fighting for genuine democracy.“Today is not the end of the democracy movement,” said lawmaker Alan Leong. “Quite the contrary, this is the starting point of another wave of democratic movement.”Hong Kong officials and Chinese state media blamed pro-democracy lawmakers for the loss.“One person, one vote becomes a phantom with the opposition of the pro-democracy legislators,” the nationalist tabloid Global Times opined. “History will not judge what they did today to be glorious.”Authorities are blaming the opposition in an attempt to punish them at upcoming local and legislature elections this year and next, said Joseph Cheng, a political scientist at City University of Hong Kong.“The confrontation will continue until after these two elections at the very least,” he said.After two days of heated discussion, the debate came to a bizarre end when some pro-establishment lawmakers walked out moments before the vote, despite being denied a request for a 15-minute break. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong lawmakers defeated the government’s Beijing-backed election plan Thursday, vindicating pro-democracy activists who flooded the streets last year in protest but leaving the city’s long-term political future up in the air.Lawmakers spent two days debating the proposal, which would have allowed Hong Kong citizens to vote for the top leader for the first time in 2017, but require all candidates to be approved by Beijing. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The crucial legislature vote ended in a confusing anticlimax when most pro-establishment lawmakers walked out moments before it began in what appeared to be a bungled attempt to delay the vote by depriving it of a quorum. The proposal was rejected after 28 lawmakers, all but one from pro-democracy parties, voted against it. Eight were in favor and 34 did not cast votes.Even if the lawmakers had remained, the proposal would have been rejected because the government needed at least 47 of 70 votes for approval.Outside the legislature, pro-democracy supporters cheered after hearing the result.“This is the result that we want, so everyone is very happy,” said 19-year-old student Sylvia Leung.The defeat marks the end of the territory’s most tumultuous year since Beijing took control in 1997. Known for being a stable and prosperous Asian financial center, Hong Kong has been hit by chaotic and unruly protests since Beijing’s legislature decreed last August that it wanted elections to be restricted. Tens of thousands of people, most of them students, took to the streets in response, occupying busy thoroughfares in three neighborhoods for 11 weeks last autumn to protest what they called “fake democracy.” Pro-establishment parties hold more than half the seats but some representatives remained inside amid the confusion. They said they weren’t told of any decision to leave.Lawmaker Jeffrey Lam said they wanted to wait for 79-year-old member Lau Wong-fat, who was ill, to return to the council chamber so he could vote.“Unfortunately, there were some communication problems with some representatives, so they didn’t leave the chamber,” he said.___Associated Press writer Didi Tang in Beijing contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 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