Iceland now available at agent rates with Goway Travel

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: Goway Travel, Iceland Mountains and Fjords Escorted Group Tour: This seven-night tour is priced at $2,985 per person for departures on June 14 and 21 (maximum group size 17)More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?For more information visit Goway’s travel agent webpage at << Previous PostNext Post >> Volcanoes and Glaciers Escorted Group Tour: This five-night tour is priced at $1,300 per person for departures on May 6, 13 and 20, and $1,528 departing June 14 (maximum group size 36) Iceland now available at agent rates with Goway Travelcenter_img Posted by Thursday, March 29, 2018 Tweet TORONTO — Goway Travel has announced agent rates for its Iceland programs this spring season.“Against Iceland’s skyrocketing popularity, special offers for travel professionals to visit the country have become increasingly rare,” said the company. “Agents who choose from one of the below options may find themselves strolling in the inviting centre of Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, exploring the fascinating historic sites, and marveling at the impressive waterfalls and geysers of the Golden Circle and beyond.”Goway is offering the following programs with special rates for agents on its group tour program in Iceland:Iceland Complete Escorted Group Tour: This eight-nigh tour is priced at US$2,210 per person for departures on May 2 and 9, and $2,624 per person for departures on June 6, 18, 20 and 25 (maximum group size 36)last_img read more

Canada Jetlines closing in on operating licence with news of two A320s

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — Canada Jetlines says it has a definitive lease agreement for two Airbus A320 aircraft, with delivery scheduled for the first half of 2019.Jetlines has partnered with independent aircraft leasing company AerCap on the deal. AerCap provides aircraft to a global network of some 200 airline customers in about 80 countries.“We are very pleased to welcome our new customer airline, Jetlines, and particularly pleased to play a role in the start up of their new operations,” said AerCap President & Chief Commercial Officer Philip Scruggs.Jetlines’ new CEO Lukas Johnson, who officially takes up the reins June 18, said AerCap “has a proven reputation of leasing high-quality aircraft and we look forward to continuing to build a positive relationship with them.” Johnson’s appointment was announced last month.Johnson adds: “Through my experience with Airbus, I believe that these planes are the right aircraft to commence operations with. The majority of ultra-low cost carriers worldwide operate with the Airbus A320 fleet based on its fuel-efficient narrow-body framework that supports a high-density seat configuration.”More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upThe two committed A320s are sister aircraft, having virtually identical conformity in design, features and equipment, allowing Jetlines to expedite the necessary training and maintenance processes to commence operations at an earlier date, says Johnson. The aircraft are 12 years old.“Our operations team has worked diligently on securing quality aircraft, carrying out a meticulous vetting process to ensure that the aircraft are fit for Jetlines and our future passengers,” said Jetlines Executive Chairman Mark Morabito.Morabito said Jetlines is now positioned to carry out the remainder of work to complete its licensing process and continuing to advance financing initiatives, personnel recruitment and airport agreements.Jetlines’ pre-existing purchase agreement with Boeing for the 737-MAX delivery in 2023 remains in place. Jetlines says it plans to use the Airbus planes to support its start up operations and may secure a Boeing fleet in future.Back in March Canada Jetlines announced it was delaying its launch, originally scheduled for this month, and said it wouldn’t have a new launch date confirmed until the second quarter of 2018. Wednesday, June 13, 2018 Posted by Sharecenter_img Tags: Airbus, Canada Jetlines Canada Jetlines closing in on operating licence with news of two A320s Travelweek Group last_img read more

NYC Cos Marshall looking to ramp up Canadian market

first_img NEW YORK — NYC & Company has named John Marshall as Director, Tourism Development, Established Markets, serving the U.S. and Canada.Marshall will drive leisure travel to New York City’s five boroughs from these key visitor markets, reporting to Reginald Charlot, Managing Director, Tourism Development for Established Markets and working together with the organization’s travel trade representatives in Toronto.“As a lifelong New Yorker, it is an honor to join NYC & Company and represent the destination in this role. With countless new developments and beloved classics across all five boroughs, I look forward to sharing my hometown with visitors and engaging key members of the trade to further drive travel from the USA and Canada,” he said.Marshall joins NYC & Company with more than a decade of industry experience at Top of the Rock Observation Deck, where he advanced from Customer Care Representative to Sales Manager, overseeing domestic, Canadian and student travel markets.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckMost recently he worked as Director of Sales at NFL Experience Times Square, where he was responsible for developing and implementing domestic and international group and FIT tourism strategy.Last year New York City welcomed a record 62.8 million travellers. That figure covered 49.7 million domestic and 13.1 million international visitors, including 970,000 Canadian travellers. NYC & Co.’s Marshall looking to ramp up Canadian market Thursday, July 26, 2018 Posted by Tags: New York City, NYC & Companycenter_img Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Sharelast_img read more

Cuba approves firstever Seabourn cruises starting late 2019

first_imgTags: Carnival Corporation, New Routes, Seabourn Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Cuba approves first-ever Seabourn cruises, starting late 2019center_img SEATTLE — Seabourn is heading to Cuba for the very first time after receiving approval to sail to the island starting in winter 2019.The news makes Seabourn the third cruise brand under the Carnival Corporation umbrella to gain approval to sail to island.Cruises will depart from Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, starting with a 12-day cruise aboard Seabourn Sojourn departing Miami on Nov. 4, 2019.Guests can choose from four separate itineraries with five different departure dates. The 11-, 12- and 14-day sailings will visit five ports in Cuba throughout the season, calling at three or four on each itinerary. The five ports include Antilla (Nipe Bay); Cienfuegos; Havana; Punta Francés, Isla de Juventud; and Santiago de Cuba.All five voyages will include overnight stops in Havana, allowing guests to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site during its 500th anniversary year.Bookings for Seabourn’s cruises to Cuba are currently open.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJ“We are excited to finally be able to include Cuba in our itineraries, and our guests and travel partners have been anxiously awaiting an ultra-luxury travel experience with a wider selection of destinations in this relatively undiscovered Caribbean treasure,” said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. “These Cuba itineraries are fresh and sure to satisfy the curiosity of anyone who has considered visiting.”Specific port details of the Cuba itineraries include:Nov.4, 2019, 12-day roundtrip from Miami, includes stops in Havana, Cuba (overnight); Antilla (Nipe Bay), Cuba; Santiago de Cuba(overnight); Port Antonio, Jamaica; West End, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands; and Cienfuegos, Cuba (overnight).Nove. 16 & 28, 2019, 12-day Miami to Miami, includes stops in Cienfuegos, Cuba (overnight); West End, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands; Port Antonio, Jamaica; Santiago de Cuba, Cuba (overnight); Antilla (Nipe Bay), Cuba, and Havana, Cuba (overnight).Dec. 10, 2019, 11-day Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico, includes stops in Havana (La Habana), Cuba (overnight); Punta Frances, Isla de la Juventud, Cuba; Cienfuegos, Cuba; West End, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands; Port Antonio, Jamaica; Santiago de Cuba (overnight); and Isla Catalina, Dominican Republic.Dec. 21, 2019, 14-day San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, includes stops at Gustavia, St. Barthelemy; St. John’s, Antigua, Antigua & Barbuda; Carambola Beach, St. Kitts & Nevis; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Port Antonio, Jamaica; Santiago de Cuba, Cuba (overnight); Antilla (Nipe Bay), Cuba; and Havana, Cuba (overnight). Posted by Friday, August 10, 2018 last_img read more

Government to resume work on border road

first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rica’s government will spend some ₡650 million ($1.3 million) to repair a 15-kilometer section of Route 1856, a road along Río San Juan and the border with Nicaragua.Collapsed culverts and ditches are part of the repairs that will be performed by local firm MECO beginning Wednesday. The project is expected to last at least two months.Public Works and Transport Minister Pedro Castro said on Tuesday that later this week the ministry will sign an executive decree to speed up the hiring process for firms that will participate in the next phase of construction, estimated to last an additional four months.He also said an audit of the project would be performed by an international agency that would be selected in coming days.Construction of Route 1856 got underway in 2011, but several corruption cases exposed in 2012 halted the project and prompted the resignation of then-Public Works and Transport Minister Francisco Jiménez, as well as the firing of various National Roadway Council officials. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Horses and hotair balloon rides anyone

first_imgInflating the balloon. By Star Larkin Although horseback riding and hot-air ballooning are the main attractions at Centaura, there is also ATV riding, a nice swimming pool and many fruit trees that are perfect for sitting under with a good book.So if you like floating in a basket and riding noble steeds, you know where to go. Facebook Comments Star Larkin (unnecessarily) feeds Frijol the pig. Courtesy of Star Larkin One morning we also got to go hot-air ballooning, and although we did have to get up pretty early, it was most definitely worth it. After driving for about half-hour, we arrived at a field where the balloon was filled half way with cold air, than the rest of the way with hot air to make it rise.At first, being carried around by a giant cloth ball filled with hot air was kind of scary. Once I saw how cool it was, though, all the fear left me. Our height in the woven basket gave us a breathtaking view of the area around us. On the beautifully clear day, we could see the top of Arenal Volcano. View of Arenal Volcano from a hot-air balloon. By Star Larkincenter_img By Star Larkin | Special to The Tico TimesHorseback riding through the green forests, open fields and sugarcane plantations in San Carlos valley was an amazing experience. At one point, we stopped stopped next to a crystal clear stream, where we ate sugarcane and birds sang. The well-behaved horses listened to almost every command, and they ran so fast I thought I would be blown out of the saddle.I took this trip through Centaura Farm, a horse ranch and adventure center based near the Arenal Volcano. With some of the most beautiful horses and the only hot-air ballooning tour in Costa Rica, Centaura one of the nicest farms around.Almost 40 horses get the run of the pastures along with a water buffalo, whose best friend is a little pony about half his size. There are also two fat pigs who sleep all day in the stable, and a little dog named Gitana who loves to bark at the horses. Getting to see such beautiful and well-tended horses was truly awesome. Landing the hot-air balloon is rather challenging because you can’t choose where you touch down, you literally go where the wind takes you. Lucikly, the balloon mainly flies over big green fields, so that landing can usually be done almost anywhere. Cars have to follow the balloon around so that when you land, they can come get the balloon and give you a ride back to the farm. The hot-air ballooning was really fun, and I hope to do it again someday. No related posts.last_img read more

Deported veterans Banished for committing crimes after serving in the US military

first_imgDeported veterans are receiving almost no attention in the Washington debate over immigration reform. Despite their full-throated support for U.S. troops, political leaders are generally unwilling to advocate on behalf of convicted criminals.U.S. immigration law states that noncitizens who commit serious crimes forfeit their right to remain in the country. Deported veterans and their advocates say those who wear the uniform should be treated as U.S. citizens: punished for any crimes they commit, but not deported.Retired Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005, said deporting veterans “is not fair, and it’s not appropriate for who we are as a people.”“One thing America has always done is revere its veterans,” he said. “To say to them, ‘You swore to support and defend the Constitution and put your life on the line for the rest of us. But you’re not a citizen. So, too bad. You’re gone.’ I just think that’s not us.”Although deported veterans are banned for life, they are welcome to return when they are dead. Honorably discharged veterans, even deportees, are entitled to burial at a U.S. military cemetery with an engraved headstone and their casket draped with an American flag, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA will even pay $300 toward the cost of bringing a deportee’s remains to the United States.One of the few politicians who have been willing to raise the issue is Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., an Army veteran who was wounded in Vietnam. He and a Republican colleague, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Fla., introduced legislation this year that would have required the secretary of homeland security to sign off on each deportation proceeding against a veteran.“If someone is willing to put on the uniform of the United States military, the last thing they should have to worry about is their immigration status and that of their family; we shouldn’t be deporting them,” Thompson said in an interview.But in June, he said, House leaders declined to consider the proposal, which he called a “slap in the face to our veterans, our service members and our history as a nation of immigrants.”Veterans are divided on this issue.“We hold all military veterans in high regard, but if following our nation’s laws is a requirement for any guest to remain in our country, then that’s the law,” said Joe Davis, a spokesman for the nation’s largest veterans group, the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “An honorable discharge is not a free pass.”Craig Shagin, a Pennsylvania lawyer who represents Tepeyac and is a leading national advocate against deporting veterans, calls the issue “a question of loyalty.”“When Milton was in the Marines, doing dangerous work on behalf of the United States, we treated him as an American,” Shagin said. “Why would that change when he is out of uniform? Because he failed to file a couple of pieces of paper?”Of all Tepeyac’s mistakes, one he especially regrets is not applying for citizenship when he was eligible. If he had, he would not have been deported.Under U.S. law, Tepeyac had been entitled to apply for citizenship when he was 18; he had received his green card five years earlier. Also, once he joined the military the next year he could have applied for citizenship immediately, under a policy Bush enacted in 2002.But he never filled out the paperwork. He said he thought that he automatically became a citizen when he swore his Marine Corps oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”“It never really crossed my mind that I could ever be deported,” Tepeyac said.According to the Pentagon, about 35,000 noncitizens are serving in the U.S. military. Since 2009, about 9,800 military recruits have earned their citizenship during basic training in a program run by the military and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).They are part of more than 89,000 people who have received citizenship through military service since 9/11. That includes 140 who were granted citizenship after being killed in the line of duty.Tepeyac and his family earned green cards in an amnesty signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, when Tepeyac was 13. His parents had brought him to Arizona illegally from Mexico when he was 3.He played baseball and soccer, trumpet and trombone in the school band, and enlisted in the Marines two weeks after his 1995 high school graduation.His eight years in the Marines took him to the Pacific and the Persian Gulf, to Kenya after the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa, and to Kuwait twice in the late 1990s. With “USMC” tattooed on his right calf, he earned medals and commendations — Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forced Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal — and was honorably discharged in 2003.“Milton was a good Marine,” said Jon Batts, who was Tepeyac’s supervisor for part of his time in the Marines and is now an active-duty Army staff sergeant based at Fort Hood, Texas. “He could have sacrificed his life for the United States, and he’s going to get deported? There’s an injustice going on.”After his discharge, Tepeyac started a seafood distribution business in Phoenix. When it failed, he said, he became depressed, started using drugs and fell in with the “wrong crowd.” He was busted twice, for possession of cocaine and then drug paraphernalia, and placed on probation. Then in October 2009, he said, a friend offered him $1,000 to interpret for him and count cash in a deal involving 91 pounds of marijuana.“Like an idiot, I went with him,” he said.Tepeyac’s felony conviction put him squarely in the crosshairs of President Barack Obama’s administration, which has deported people in unprecedented numbers. Obama has already deported nearly 1.9 million people, surpassing Bush’s total of 1.6 million deportees in eight years, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).When Tepeyac finished his prison sentence in April, immigration officials drove him to the Mexican border at Nogales. With nothing but the baby blue prison-issued clothes he was wearing, he was turned over to Mexican officials.His sister Liz met him there, and bought him dinner, clothes and toiletries. She gave him $500 and the number of a cousin who lived in Hermosillo who had agreed to take him in.When he finally found a place of his own he could afford, it was so filthy that he spent two days bleaching the floors, walls and ceiling.“I know I messed up bad,” he said. “But I did my time, and I gave four years of my life in prison. Why should I be punished again?” Milton Tepeyac carries groceries home on July 20 to his studio apartment in Hermosillo, Mexico. Washington Post photo by Linda Davidson Many deportations of veterans can be traced to changes to immigration laws passed 1994 and 1996.First, Congress, in an effort to tighten immigration controls, greatly expanded the list of more than 30 categories of offenses for which a person can be deported, adding crimes such as forgery and any theft that carries a sentence of one year or more.The government calls those offenses “aggravated felonies,” but immigration lawyers say that many of them do not fit the common definitions of “aggravated” or “felony.” Shoplifting is generally a nonviolent misdemeanor, but if a judge imposes a sentence of one year or more — even if that sentence is suspended — a noncitizen shoplifter can be deported.The definition of “aggravated felony” is “a fraud on the American people,” said Margaret Stock, an Alaska immigration lawyer who is also a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Military Police and taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.Stock said she once defended a National Guardsman in Alaska who was charged with a firearms violation after he drove into a school parking lot, forgetting that his legally registered gun was in the car.Federal officials tried to deport him to the Philippines. Stock said she was able to avert the deportation by persuading the local prosecutor to downgrade the offense to disorderly conduct.Stock said the complex list of “aggravated felonies” is the subject of regular challenges that occasionally reach the U.S. Supreme Court.In April, the court ruled, 7-2, against the government in its attempt to deport a green-card holder from Jamaica, who had lived in the United States for 30 years. He was caught by Georgia police with enough marijuana for about two joints. The court ruled that “social sharing of a small amount of marijuana” was not an “aggravated felony.”“I haven’t gone through any of these cases personally,” said Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “But some are pretty obvious. Picked up for a couple of joints? That’s not deportation material, in my opinion.”The 1996 changes to immigration law were also retroactive, so they included offenses committed “at any time” in a person’s life. In addition, they banned immigration judges from exercising discretion in most deportation cases, essentially taking away their ability to grant mercy.This resulted in deportations of green-card holders that Congress hadn’t intended, said Doris Meissner, a former commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which handled immigration enforcement before the Department of Homeland Security was created.She said the retroactivity clause was “almost unprecedented in our legal system.” And she said taking away a judge’s discretion eliminated any chance for a veteran such as Tepeyac.“It’s tragic in a case of somebody like this, who is not a hardened criminal,” she said. “Pre-’96, a judge would have been able to grant relief.”The 1996 laws did not address military service. But ICE Director John Morton issued a memo in 2011 instructing his agency to take a person’s military service into account when considering deportation.Asked for comment for this article, ICE issued a statement saying that “ICE respects the service and sacrifice of those in military service” and that “any deportations of military veterans must be approved by a senior ICE official.”“ICE is committed to ensuring that its limited resources are focused on the removal of those who pose a threat to public safety such as criminal aliens ,” the statement said, adding, “ICE exercises prosecutorial discretion for members of the armed forces who have honorably served our country on a case-by-case basis as appropriate.”In February 2012, Shagin filed an appeal of Tepeyac’s deportation order, citing Morton’s memo. A U.S. immigration judge in Tucson, Ariz., denied the appeal in December, ruling that noncitizens must prove that they are of “good moral character” to remain in the United States.Tepeyac was ineligible in part, the judge wrote, because U.S. immigration law says a person convicted of an aggravated felony at any time in his life “is forever barred from establishing good moral character.”Tepeyac now lives in a 13-by-13-foot efficiency apartment in this desert city about 300 miles south of Phoenix. He survives mainly on Costco food — cans of tuna and “Instant Lunch” noodles — brought to him by his two sisters and his mother, all U.S. citizens, who make the six-hour drive from Phoenix every few weeks.Tepeyac is gregarious and friendly and speaks in unaccented American English, as well as Spanish. In his khaki cargo shorts, Air Jordan sneakers and Ralph Lauren shirts, he looks unmistakably American.He washes his clothes in a concrete sink behind the house. He recently found a job, earning about $3 an hour as an English-speaking operator at a call center that provides tech-support for cellphone customers in the United States.“I miss the way of life in the U.S.,” he said. “I miss the little things that you take for granted. I miss going to the Circle K to fill my car up with gas. I never went to New York. I always wanted to go, and I never got the chance.”Shagin said Tepeyac’s best chance of returning to the United States would be Congress passing comprehensive immigration reform that allows deported veterans a chance to return. Or, he said, a lawmaker could introduce a “private bill” specifically for Tepeyac, reversing his deportation. He said neither seems likely.Aware of that, Tepeyac became emotional when talking about his family in Phoenix.“They come to visit,” he said, “and that’s the closest thing I have to touching home.”© 2013, The Washington Post© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments HERMOSILLO, Mexico — Milton Tepeyac, who served eight years as a U.S. Marine, scrapes by on $3 an hour in this northern Mexican city, where he has lived since the U.S. government deported him in April.His rented room floods when it rains. Scorpions skitter in. To kill them, he had to pay an exterminator $40 — a third of his weekly paycheck.Once he served in the Kuwaiti desert in a recon battalion, a highly trained grunt monitoring the movements of Saddam Hussein’s military across the border in Iraq. Later he ran a seafood business in Phoenix, drove a BMW and owned a five-bedroom house with a billiards room and a pool.But then, with his business foundering in the 2008 recession, he was offered $1,000 to help with a drug deal that turned out to be a police sting. He was convicted of felony “possession of marijuana for sale” and was sentenced to four years in an Arizona prison. When he completed his time, he was deported from the country where he had lived since he was 3.“It was a stupid thing to do,” Tepeyac, 37, said of his crime. “I feel like I’m stuck in a perpetual nightmare. I can’t seem to adjust to this life. In the Marines, we have a motto that we never leave a man behind. I feel like I’ve been left behind.”As a deported veteran, Tepeyac is one of a little-known cadre of warriors who served in the U.S. military as green-card holders — permanent legal residents but not U.S. citizens — then committed a crime after returning to civilian life, were convicted and punished, then permanently expelled from the United States.No one knows how many there are. U.S. officials said they do not keep track, but immigration lawyers and Banished Veterans, a group formed to help the deportees, said that at least hundreds, and perhaps thousands, have been deported in recent years.Some committed felonies; others were deported for drug possession, bar fights, theft or forgery. Veterans who fought for the United States in wars from Korea to Afghanistan have been sent to Mexico, Germany, Jamaica, Portugal, Italy, England and other nations. Most of them came to the United States as children; many have been deported to countries where they know no one and don’t speak the language.center_img Milton Tepeyac served as a U.S. Marine for eight years. Courtesy of the Tepeyac family No related posts.last_img read more

BMX bikers TEDx lectors and other happenings around Costa Rica

first_imgBMX War JamYou don’t hear the word “war” very often in Costa Rica, but this is the best kind of conflict: Freestyle cyclists show off their mad skills this weekend, including wheelies, jumps, and whirls. See international notables like Costa Rica’s Kenneth Tencio and France’s Alain Massabova, plus a revue of BMXers-in-training.BMX War Jam takes place Feb. 22 in the sports center of Nicoya. Free to attend, ₡5,000 ($10) to participate. Info: Flat Matters website.TEDx PuraVidaThe super-hip lecture series returns to Costa Rica for a day of education, enlightenment, and exemplary ancedotes.TEDx PuraVida takes place Feb. 26 at the National Auditorium, Children’s Museum, San José. 8 a.m. onward. $150. Info: TEDx PuraVida website.Envision FestivalThe massive concert, art show, yoga retreat, and spiritual haven returns to Playa Uvita for a long weekend of love and enlightenment.Envision takes place Feb. 21 – March 1 in Playa Uvita, Puntarenas province. $80 (Sunday only) to $300. Info: Envision Festival website. Music: Amarillo Cian y MagentaJust try not to dance during the Latin Jazz sessions by Amarillo Cian y Magenta (Yellow, Cyan and Magenta) at Mundoloco.Concert takes place Feb. 21 at Mundoloco El Chante, San Pedro. 9:30 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). Info: Mundoloco Facebook page.Music: “Loud Sessions”Loud, rhythmic, intense – Science of Sensations, Abya Laya, and Mimayato y Apolo bring their diverse progressive rock sounds to Jazz Café.Concert takes place Feb. 25 at Jazz Café San Pedro. 7 p.m. ₡4,000-5,000 ($8-10). Info: Jazz Café website.Art: Painting and Photography in San RamónCatch two different exhibits this Saturday in San Ramón: “Transformación,” a series of paintings by artist Jorge Luis Capezas and “Liquors Were Your Origin, Culture is Your Destiny,” a collection of antique photos from theOpening Feb. 21, 4 p.m. Both exhibits will be displayed through March 21 at the José Figueres Cultural Center, San Ramón, Alajuela. Info: Cultural Center website.Theater: “Journey to Xibalbá”Costa Rica’s most inventive black-light theater troupe presents its adaptation of a mythic Mayan story.“Viaje al Xibalbá” will be performed Feb. 20-22 at the Teatro de la Danza, San José. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. ₡2,500-5,000. Info: RedCultura. Film: “Festival Under the Stars”This outdoor film festival celebrates two Costa Rican films, including the site-specific drama, “Puerto Padre.” It’s the perfect excuse to spend some time in Costa Rica’s biggest Pacific port.Film festival takes place Feb. 21 & 22 in Puntarenas, in front of the main dock. Sat. & Sun., 7 p.m. Free. Info: Festival website.Art: Albrecht Dürer, Renaissance GeniusClassical German printer Albrecht Dürer receives a stunning retrospective at the Central Bank Museums.“Alberto Durero: Genio del Renacimiento” displays through April 26 at the Central Bank Museums, downtown San José. Daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11). Info: Museum website.Theater: “I’m Not Going to Carry This Corpse”Teatro Arlequín presents a deadly new comedy of errors, written by Luis Daell Barth.“Este Muerto no lo Cargo Yo” continues through March 22 at Teatro Arlequín, downtown San José. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m; Sun., 6 p.m. ₡5,000 ($10). Info: Theater Facebook page.Art: “Ricardo Ávila: Urban Observer”See city life in a whole new way through Ricardo Ávila’s unique landscapes.“Ricardo Ávila: Observador Urbano” continues through March 29 at the Museum of Costa Rican Art, La Sabana. Wed.-Sun., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free. Info: Museum website. Facebook Comments Film: “By the Feathers”Catch this surreal Costa Rican comedy about one man, one bird, and the strange relationships that evolve in the campo. This outdoor screening takes place in beautiful Liberty Park.“Por las Plumas” screens Feb. 21 in Parque La Libertad, Desamparados. 7 p.m. Free. Info: Park website. Related posts:Cowboys, coffee, and other happenings around Costa Rica Art fair, Renaissance artist, and other happenings around Costa Rica Design Festival, Marine Corps picnic, and other happenings around Costa Rica Shakespearean ballet, outdoor tango, and other happenings around Costa Ricalast_img read more

Watch as opera singer performs throughout his own brain surgery

first_imgIt’s always a little freaky to watch videos of awake brain surgery: It’s hard to believe that someone can stay calm and patient as doctors slice into their heads, and there’s something macabre about watching them talk through the process.But that’s important — these patients are kept awake precisely so that they can speak or perform other high-level functions as surgeons work on them. They’re giving doctors a map to work with when it comes time to remove the actual tumor.A video, taken in June 2014, shows professional opera singer Ambrož Bajec-Lapajne singing Franz Schubert’s “Gute Nacht” during his own surgery.Here’s a bit about awake brain surgery from an earlier post on the blog:Awake brain surgery is made possible by advanced brain mapping techniques and high-tech anesthetics. These days, doctors are working with a precise map of the brain they’re operating on, and they can use that to successfully extricate dangerous tumors that sit near important brain regions, like ones that control speech, motor function or memory. Meanwhile, the latest anesthetics make it possible to keep patients sedated but awake and talking.Plus, after testing a patient with questions or fine-motor tasks while applying electrical stimulation to different parts of the brain to see where the vulnerable areas are located, doctors can put them right to sleep for the actual removal, confident that they’ve mapped out forbidden areas.In Bajec-Lapajne’s case, doctors wanted to monitor his ability to recognize changes in key, since that’s something he relies heavily on for his profession. They were most likely trying to avoid hurting those functions in the course of removing the tumor. Singing is also a good task to help doctors avoid hurting speech areas — which is why some musicians choose to play guitar and sing during their surgeries instead of more traditional tasks like reading and answering questions.You’ll see something alarming happen around the 2:40 mark: Bajec-Lapajne slurs his words, and his singing slows to a muddy halt. But that’s not an indication of something going wrong, exactly: Surgeons need to know what parts of the brain will wreak this kind of havoc if they’re interfered with. Bajec-Lapajne’s scary moment was exactly the point of the exercise, showing surgeons where not to go during the tumor removal.And as you can see, he bounces right back to a beautiful performance. Bajec-Lapajne writes on his YouTube page that he’s doing fine a year later, and continues to pursue a career in classical music.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:No need to declare emergency over Ebola threat, says health official Nearly 14,000 sickened banana workers to receive payment for pesticide exposure Costa Rica’s sextuplets drive regulation of fertility treatments Zika research to be published rapidly and freelast_img read more

Small waves big talent Tamarindo PROAM showcases rising surf stars

first_imgJason Torres said the Tamarindo event was great practice for next year’s challenges. (Courtesy of Chelsea Lisaius)While Tamarindo is generally known as an excellent base for surfers, with no less than five world-class breaks within 30 minutes of the center of town, the bay itself and the river mouth have a reputation for smaller waves. Over the past year, however, Tamarindo’s waters boasted spectacular conditions, benefitting from swell after swell for months at a time. This provided a nice stage for contests such as Circuito Guanacaste de Surf (CGS) to mount exciting surfing competitions.This weekend, OTIS Costa Rica presented the KIA CGS 2017 PRO/AM, which kicked off its fourth year with two days of the smallest waves the area has seen in a while. However, as famous surfer Robert August pointed out as he watched the finals: “If you can make horrible waves look good, then you are a good surfer.”Naturally, the waves were the main topic of conversation between the competitors at the Copa Witch’s Rock Surf Camp this weekend. CGS co-founder Toni Vandewalle acknowledged that the size didn’t deter surfers from working all kinds of maneuvers when they chose the right wave. After all, he noted, the judges awarded three perfect 10 scores on Saturday, and another on Sunday (see Best Wave below).“I’m not frustrated because generally, surf as a sport takes place a lot of times in small waves,” said Vandewalle. “This is good practice for events like the international Junior Pros or the QS (World Surf League’s Qualifying Series) dates in Florida.”Jason Torres, the Jacó surfer who won the event in the Open category and came away with $500 for his efforts, concurred with Vandewalle. He said he was happy to surf in Tamarindo this weekend because these kinds of conditions help prepare him for his QS run next year.“It’s fun because you have to compete and surf in these conditions,” Torres explained. “You have to figure out how to do it, what strategy to use when you compete in these kinds of events. Normally, all the events in the QS are like that, small waves or choppy or maybe worse. It’s good training for me to get ready for next year.”Tamarindo’s own Lia Díaz, who won 1st place in the Girls division, was very comfortable riding on her home break, crediting her familiarity there with her success.“Being a local really helped a lot because when I surf the waves here, they have usually been like this recently. My specialty is small waves,” the 12-year-old said. Diaz is the daughter of former national surf champion Andrea Díaz.Legacy surfing was not limited to the Díaz family. Eleven-year-old Ziggy Myrie of Jacó, who won 1st place in the Groms, is the son of former national surf champion Nino Myrie, who often gets his child into the waves of his hometown, Puerto Viejo.Meanwhile, another female caught the judges’ attention this weekend — 13-year-old Ruby Brownell of Avellanas. In only her second year of surfing, and second year of competing in the CGS, Brownell found herself in three finals: Women’s (which she won), Girls (Under 16) and Boys (Under 14).According to Vandewall, Brownell is a “solid surfer with a beautiful style, flow and speed that you rarely see in girls.”That style definitely helps her when she competes in the Boys division. This weekend she came in 3rd place in that category, one she particularly loves doing because it pushes her level. She credits both her Women’s win — against powerhouses Emily Gussoni and Coral Wiggins — and her finals’ placements in Boys and Girls with a lot of training in what she considers “bad waves” as well.“I always felt I surf different from other girls, nothing specific, just a different style of surfing. My dad taught me how to surf and he was on the U.S. team when he was younger,” she explained. “I was surprised how well I did here, and really happy. I can’t wait to tell my dad.”Another kid who showed up in three finals was Tiago Carrique from Playa Negra. Carrique, who won Boys (Under 16) was coming off an excellent showing in competitions in Europe. And there was 12-year-old Axel Castro from Limón, who just picked up the 2016 New Revelation of Surfing Award at the Surfing Republic’s ceremony last week in San José for his skills in the water and in school. He won the Boys (Under 14) in Tamarindo, an accolade that puts him on the right track to earning another title; he is the current national MiniGrommet champion, and was last year’s CGS Grom overall winner. In total, Vandewalle said the first date of the CGS was a big success. He is very optimistic about the tournament this year, not only for the surfable locations of the contests but for the number of participants he expects to register but also for the presentation improvements.“It’s the small details,” he said. “First of all, we have a big sponsor with KIA, and I hope to break even, which is the goal on the business side. We now have sponsor tents to allow the surfers to have shade from the sun between heats. It’s the little things like our now being environmentally responsible — we brought our own containers for food and cups for drinking, and nothing goes into the trash. We also now have full-time live scoring so competitors know their situations while in the water and can surf accordingly.”The next date of the CGS is February 11-12 in Marbella, followed by March 11-12 in Santa Teresa, April 8-9 in Avellanas and the finals May 6-7 in Playa Negra. For more information, and to register for the dates, please go to presents KIA CGS 2017 PRO/AM Copa Witch’s Rock Surf CampDecember 17-18, 2016Playa TamarindoOpen1. Jason Torres2. Tiago carrique3. Angelo Bonomelli4. Ramon TalianiOpen Women1. Ruby Brownell2. Coral Wiggins3. Emily Gussoni4. Elisa BonomelliJuniors1. Dean Vandewalle2. Malakai Martinez3. Tiago Carrique4. Orion EschelBoys U161. Tiago Carrique2. Sam Reidy3. Dean Vandewalle4. Malakai MartinezGirls U161. Lia Diaz2. Ruby Brownell3. Coral Wiggins4. Erika SolísBoys U141. Axel Castro2. Tiago Leao3. Ruby Brownell4. Odin RodriguezGroms1. Ziggy Myrie2. Pietro Garroux3. Kalani Abrahao4. Isaiah DawsonBest ScoreJason TorresBest WaveJason Torres 10pt quarterfinalsAngelo Bonomelli 10pt quarterfinalsMalakai Martinez 10pt U16 semifinals Facebook Comments Related posts:Entry-level surf event opens doors for Guanacaste kids Costa Rica’s Esterillos Este kicks off World Surf League event Leilani McGonagle makes history by winning North American Junior surf title A chat with Costa Rican surfer Noe Mar McGonaglelast_img read more

Rainy weekend causes flooding landslides in Costa Rica

first_imgThe National Emergency Commission, or CNE, declared a Green (informative) Alert for all of Costa Rica over the weekend due to heavy rains. As of Monday morning, the alert was still in place.During the weekend, at least 27 incidents were reported around Costa Rica. Various landslides took place in Alajuela, Grecia, Naranjo, Pérez Zeledón, and San José, while flooding was reported in areas including Los Chiles, Naranjo, Poás, San Carlos, San Ramón, Coto Brus, Buenos Aires, Pococí, La Unión de Tres Ríos, Parrita, Quepos, Turrubares and Desamparados, according to statements from the CNE.Commission President Alexander Solís activated several Municipal Emergency Committees throughout the country to deal with the impact of the rains. Two emergency shelters received eight people in Desamparados and nine in Naranjo.Costa Rica’s rainy season typically lasts from May to November. This year, an unusually dry early May in the Central Valley gave way to heavy downpours over the past week. Courtesy of CNE Facebook Comments Related posts:Low rainfall in Central Valley, northern regions; La Niña still a no-show Costa Rica nearing record rainfall for May Caribbean, Northern zone residents get a break from the rain, but that could change on Wednesday Water rationing in Central Valley to continue for two more weekslast_img read more

Costa Rican U21 womens soccer team makes history

first_imgThe Costa Rican Under-21 Women’s National Soccer Team is going for gold.La Sele made history by reaching its first final in the Central American and Caribbean Games, a multi-youth tournament, when it defeated Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 in Barranquilla, Colombia, on Friday. The Costa Rican women, coached by Amelia Valverde, dominated the field, and star Gloriana Villalobos put her skills on full display as she dribbled past defenders.Villalobos opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a penalty, and 16-year-old María Paula Porras added the second in extra time.La Sele will now play Mexico on Monday at 6 pm. Should they emerge victorious, they could earn Costa Rica’s first gold medal in these games.Read more about Costa Rica’s performance at the games: Related posts:US men’s team redeems itself with 4-0 thrashing of Guatemala Mexico’s Tigres defeat Costa Rica’s Herediano to advance in Champions League Saprissa routed by Tigres, eliminated from CONCACAF Champions League Costa Rica eliminated from CONCACAF Champions League with Herediano loss Ticos in the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Gamescenter_img Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Off the eaten path The best of 2018

first_imgWe debuted a lot of things in 2018 and one of our favorites was our new dining and nightlife column “Off the Eaten Path.”This column focuses on finding amazing small restaurants around Costa Rica and was a product of pure chance and raw fish. It started because we wrote an article about the author’s restaurant, Poke. During the interview, it quickly became clear that chef and co-owner William Ayre knew a lot about food. Not just that, but he knew a lot about the Costa Rican food scene.He talked about how he’d eaten hundreds of chifrijos around the country in his search for the best one. He mentioned how he’d spend his lunch breaks trying new restaurants across San José. Ayre also said he used to write a restaurant review column for his high school paper.We knew that was something we had to revive. A few weeks later, “Off the Eaten Path” was born. We’ve covered more than 15 restaurants since the column started in August, and now that we’re closing out the year, we want to share some of our favorites with you.5) Ban Mee Ban Mee serves traditional Vietnamese food. Alexander Villegas / The Tico TimesThe article that started it all.Ban Mee wasn’t just the first in this series, it was the first restaurant to bring authentic Vietnamese pho to Costa Rica.Read more about Ban Mee.4) Escazu Farmer’s Market A juice stand at the Escazú Farmers Market. William Ayre / The Tico TimesWhile not a restaurant, the Escazu Farmer’s Market is traditional Costa Rican experience sprinkled with delicious street food.Read more about the Escazu Farmer’s Market.3) Tamura Tamura offers some of the best sushi at the best price in Costa Rica. William Ayre / The Tico TimesWhile Costa Rica is blessed with two beautiful coastlines teeming with wildlife, it’s cursed with severely overpriced and often mediocre sushi. Tamura is an exception and has what might be the best sushi in the country at a reasonable price.Read more about Tamura.2) Soda Lima Doña Natividad Madera standing outside Soda Lima. William Ayre / The Tico TimesThis is what the column is all about. It’s a small diner on a crowded city street that’s easy to overlook. In the back, there’s an old Peruvian woman knocking out her country’s best dishes nearly every day of the week.Read more about Soda Lima.1) Bar La Selegna The chifrijo at Bar La Selegna in Liberia, Guanacaste. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)Cowboys. Beers. Chifrijo. You can’t get more Costa Rican than that and that’s why it’s our favorite column this year. This family-owned cantina in Liberia serves one of the best chifrijos in the country and they brew their own beer.Read more about Bar La Selegna.Want more? Check out all the other restaurants that have been profiled in “Off the Eaten Path.”Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Off the eaten path: Coconut Off the eaten path: Bar La Selegna Off the eaten path: Holiday Off the eaten path: Tamuralast_img read more

Argentina torture victim identified as Chilean

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Rights activists suspect they were thrown from Argentine military planes into the wide Rio de la Plata that separates Uruguay and Argentina. Witnesses in Argentina have described torture victims being drugged and flown alive into the sea on the so-called “death flights.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Vega Ceballos had been detained in Buenos Aires on April 9, 1976, along with his pregnant Argentine wife Laura Gladis Romero, whose body has never been found. The human rights group Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo believes she was among hundreds of dissidents killed after giving birth in captivity, and whose babies were raised by military or police families. The child would be turning 36 years old this month.The discovery was announced Thursday night in Uruguay, where Peace Commission Secretary Graciela Jorge said “it closes a small chapter” in the history of the dirty wars that right-wing militaries fought against leftist revolutionaries in the 1970s.Vega Ceballos’ corpse showed clear signs of torture when it washed up on the coast of neighboring Uruguay, which also was ruled by a dictatorship, from 1973 to 1985. He had been mutilated and his hands were tied. Still, Uruguayan authorities followed their laws and took fingerprints that eventually enabled forensic scientists to identify the body.Jorge said similar methods were used to identify two more of the eight bodies that washed up on the coast that year as Horacio Abeledo and Roque Montenegro, both Argentines. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Associated PressBUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Forensic scientists have finally identified a mutilated corpse that washed up on the shore in 1976 as that of a Chilean leftist who was among the first victims of the Argentine dictatorship.The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team used genetic evidence and fingerprints taken by Uruguay’s military government at the time to identify the body as Luis Guillermo Vega Ceballos, an activist with Chile’s Revolutionary Workers Party. 0 Comments   Share   Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories last_img read more

American journalist missing in Syria

first_imgFoley’s disappearance highlights the risks to reporters seeking to cover the civil war from inside Syria.The Syrian government rarely gives visas to journalists and often limits the movements of those it allows in. This has prompted a number of reporters to sneak into the country with the rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad. Some have been killed or wounded while others have disappeared.Foley and another journalist were working in the northern province of Idlib when they were kidnapped near the village of Taftanaz on November 22. He had entered Syria a short time earlier.Media outlets refrained from reporting on Foley’s kidnapping until his family released its statement. The other reporter’s family has requested that that reporter’s name not be made public.Foley’s family said they have not heard from him since.“We want Jim to come safely home, or at least we need to speak with him to know he’s OK,” said his father, John Foley, in the online statement. “Jim is an objective journalist and we appeal for the release of Jim unharmed. To the people who have Jim, please contact us so we can work together toward his release.” Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Top Stories Last month, NBC correspondent Richard Engel and his crew were detained by pro-regime gunmen near where Foley was kidnapped. After his release, Engels said they escaped unharmed during a firefight between their captors and anti-regime rebels.___Associated Press writer Elaine Ganley contributed reporting from Paris.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The Chairman of Agence France-Press, Emmanuel Hoog, said in a statement that the news agency was doing all it could to get Foley released.“James is a professional journalist who has remained totally neutral in this conflict,” Hoog said. “His captors, whoever they may be, must release him immediately.”In April 2011, Foley and two other reporters were detained by government forces in Libya while covering that country’s civil war. They were released six weeks later. South African photographer Anton Hammerl was shot during their capture and left to die in the desert.“I’ll regret that day for the rest of my life. I’ll regret what happened to Anton,” Foley told The Associated Press at the time. “I will constantly analyze that.”The U.N. said Wednesday that more than 60,000 people have been killed since the start of Syria’s conflict in March 2011. This number represents a large jump from death tolls previously given by anti-regime activists.The Committee to Protect Journalists said that Syria was the most dangerous country in the world for journalists in 2012, when 28 reporters were killed.Those who lost their lives include award-winning French TV reporter Gilles Jacquier, photographer Remi Ochlik and Britain’s Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin. Also, Anthony Shadid, a correspondent for The New York Times, died after an apparent asthma attack while on assignment in Syria. Associated PressBEIRUT (AP) – An American journalist has been missing in Syria since he was kidnapped more than one month ago, his family said Wednesday, less than two years after he was held by government forces in Libya while covering that country’s civil war.The family of James Foley, of Rochester, N.H., said he was kidnapped in northwest Syria by unknown gunmen on Thanksgiving day.Foley, 39, has worked in a number of conflict zones around the Middle East, including Syria, Libya and Iraq. He was contributing videos to Agence France-Press while in Syria. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Ethiopia jails 10 terrorists for plotting attacks

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Patients with chronic pain give advice Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Sponsored Stories Jarso had told the court that he joined al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida, in 2009 when he went to Somalia. In 2011, Jarso fought with the militants against the African Union peacekeeping forces deployed there to bolster the weak United Nations-backed government. He said he was sent to Ethiopia to serve as al-Qaida’s contact person in the country.Two of his alleged Ethiopian accomplices were sentenced to 12 and 13 years. Prosecutors said the cell was making plans and getting supplies to attack political and economic targets in Ethiopia.An Ethiopian man, who was charged with recruiting members to the cell and preaching extremism in mosques, was sentenced to 3 years and 3 months in prison. After the sentencing, his lawyer Temam Ababulga told the Associated Press that they would appeal the court’s decision at the country’s federal Supreme Court.“My client is innocent. One … (who) allegedly recruited him was set free by the court and the other person could not be found. We are taking our appeal to the higher court,” Temam said.Six of the cell members were sentenced in absentia to between 14 and 20 years in prison.The sentences come amid signs of increasing militancy in the East African nation. Ethiopian troops moved into Somalia in early 2012 to fight al-Shabab. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Ethiopia’s intelligence agency said early January that security forces arrested 15 people alleged to be members of a terror cell linked to al-Shabab.Ethiopia’s military campaign against the extremist rebels in Somalia from 2006 to 2009 and its current campaign in Somalia have angered al-Shabab.Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry in May issued a statement accusing an unnamed group of trying to declare jihad against the government and working to incite violence in a number of mosques across the country. The statement said a dozen suspects were recruited by the group from the country’s Oromia, Tigray and Amhara regions to carry out illegal activities.The government also expelled two Arabs who flew in from the Middle East on May 4. The government said the pair went to a mosque and tried to incite violence.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Associated PressADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – Ten men were sentenced Tuesday to jail terms of between three to 20 years for plotting terror attacks with Islamist extremist rebels from neighboring Somalia.Among those sentenced is a Kenyan national, Hassan Jarso, who pleaded guilty when first charged in May. He was sentenced with nine Ethiopians.Federal court Judge Bahiru Darecha sentenced Jarso to 17 years in prison. Eleven men were originally charged with the terror-related crimes but one was acquitted. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

UK govt agenda focuses on immigration economy

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Since King Charles I tried to arrest members of the House of Commons in 1642 _ and ended up deposed, tried and beheaded _ the monarch has been barred from entering the Commons.In another symbol of the traditional hostility between Commons and crown, a lawmaker was held at Buckingham Palace as a “hostage” during the ceremony to ensure the monarch’s safe return.This year, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attended the state opening alongside the queen.It is being seen as another sign of the heir to the throne’s increasingly prominent role as he takes over more duties from the 87-year-old monarch. Buckingham Palace announced Tuesday that Charles would attend a Commonwealth heads of government conference in Sri Lanka in November in place of the queen, who is cutting back on long-distance travel.___Jill Lawless can be reached at There was no hint of deviation from the government’s commitment to deficit-reducing spending cuts, but the speech announced infrastructure investment in energy and the water system, and a bill to start building a high-speed rail link from London to England’s second city, Birmingham, and northern England.The government also threw a few nuggets to taxpayers wearied by rising prices and stagnating salaries. It promised better and cheaper childcare, a simpler state pension system and a cap on long-term care bills so the elderly don’t have to sell their homes to meet care bills.On immigration, the speech said the government would make Britain a country that “accepts people who will contribute and deters those who will not.”Proposed immigration measures would limit newcomers’ access to health care, fine businesses that employ people without the legal right to work in Britain and make it easier to deport foreign citizens convicted of crimes.The measures are intended to counter impressions that some migrants get a free ride on the welfare state _ a perception that has fueled support for the anti-Europe U.K. Independence Party, a threat to Cameron’s Conservatives. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The event’s mix of extravagant surroundings and prosaic content was starker than usual at a time of spluttering economic growth. Britain’s economy has been through two periods of recession since the global financial crisis hit in 2008, and grew by only 0.3 percent in the first quarter of this year.Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, said in an introduction to the speech that Britain still faced big challenges, but “our resolve to turn our country around has never been stronger.”In a ritual she has enacted dozens of times during her 61-year reign, the queen was driven from Buckingham Palace to Parliament in a horse-drawn carriage, escorted by mounted members of the Household Cavalry in scarlet tunics and gleaming breastplates.Dressed in an ivory gown and wearing the diamond-encrusted Imperial State Crown, she delivered the speech from a gilded throne in the House of Lords.The speech is written on parchment whose ink takes three days to dry, but it took the queen only seven minutes to read it.It promised “an economy where people who work hard are properly rewarded,” with laws to “reduce the burden of excessive regulation on businesses” and enshrine consumer rights. Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center The difference between men and women when it comes to pain (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Mark Serwotka, leader of the Public and Commercial Services union, condemned the measures as “a shrill and desperate cry to satisfy the extremes of the Tory Party.”The speech also said the government would press ahead with plans for a new school curriculum, intended to raise standards but criticized by opponents as back-to-basics rote learning.The legislative schedule was also notable for its absences.There was no mention of contentious plans to allow police and spy agencies to snoop on email traffic, Web browsing and social media sites. The measures were announced last year in the draft Communications Data Bill, but sparked an outcry from civil liberties campaigners.Instead, the queen announced unspecified new measures to fight crime in cyberspace.The government also disappointed public health advocates by shelving plans for a minimum alcohol price and plain cigarette packaging.The annual pageant draws heavily on the history of the power struggle between the monarchy and Parliament. Lawmakers were summoned from the House of Commons to listen to the queen by Black Rod, a security official _ but only complied after first slamming the door in his face to symbolize their independence. LONDON (AP) – The message was one of thrift and austerity, but the messenger was opulence incarnate.Britain’s Conservative-led government on Wednesday announced a modest program of legislation to tighten immigration rules, curb welfare expenses, encourage business and invest in infrastructure _ in a speech read by a monarch on a gilded throne wearing a crown studded with 3,000 diamonds.The contrast was part of the state opening of Parliament, an annual pageant of pomp and politics centered on the Queen’s Speech, a legislative program written by the government but read out by the monarch before a crowd of lawmakers, ermine-robed peers and ceremonial officials in bright garb evoking centuries past. Comments   Share   Top Stories last_img read more

House GOP leader Premature for House to investigate Hastert

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center WASHINGTON (AP) — It would be premature for the House to probe whether former Speaker Dennis Hastert committed any wrongdoing while still in office, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday.“I think due process, have that play out to see what’s true, what the facts are and what’s going forward,” McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters about Hastert’s federal indictment. “Right now it seems like it’s being investigated, so let the investigation take place.” Men’s health affects baby’s health too Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Top Stories McCarthy came to Congress in 2007, just after Hastert’s eight years as speaker ended. Hastert, an Illinois Republican, resigned from Congress in November of that year.“As everybody else, I was shocked,” McCarthy said.Hastert, an Illinois Republican, has been charged with making bank withdrawals designed to evade federal reporting requirements of financial transactions. The indictment also says he was using the money to keep an unidentified person quiet about Hastert’s unspecified misconduct toward that person.A person familiar with the matter has told The Associated Press that Hastert paid the individual in an apparent effort to conceal decades-old allegations involving sexual misconduct. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing and the allegations are not contained in the indictment issued last week.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Eurostar welcomes more Australians

first_imgEurostar has reported a 7 percent year on year increase in its Australian passenger numbers.A total of 61,500 Australian passengers travelled on the high-speed rail service last year. This result compares favorably with the company’s 2008 figures which showed a total of 57,624 passengers.The second half of the year proved particularly positive, with passenger numbers increasing by 11 percent compared to the same period in 2008.“This 7 per cent increase in Aussie passenger numbers goes to show the continuing growing strength of the Eurostar brand and the strong appeal of rail travel in Europe,” says Jason Tarabo, Eurostar Account Manager Australia. “Aussies have always loved to visit the great European cities such as Paris and Brussels. “Now, with up to 18 trains per day between London and Paris, coupled with the convenience of a city-to-city service and a journey time of only two hours and fifteen minutes, Aussies know just how easy it to take the train over flying.”Mr Tarabo continues: “These latest figures reflect that Australians are still travelling and taking advantage of the strong dollar and great value Eurostar fares on offer.” <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

Doltone House Takes Home Two National Industry Awards

first_imgSource = Doltone House Renowned NSW venue and catering collection, Doltone House takes out the NATIONAL 2011 Meetings & Events Industry Award (Specialty Meeting Venue) category as well as NATIONAL 2011 Cause Related Event of The Year for the Biaggio Signorelli Foundation event. After being announced NSW state winner for both categories in the Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) Awards in early March 2012, Doltone House has been announced as NATIONAL WINNER of the 2011 Meetings and Events Industry Award for the Specialty Meeting Venue category and 2011 Cause Related Event of The Year, where the partnership between Doltone House and the Biaggio Signorelli Foundation found success.  The prestigious night of nights was hosted by the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre with the who’s who of the National events industry in attendance.  The Gala Dinner was the closing event of the 25th  anniversary of the MEA National Annual Conference held from 21-24 April 2012.  Awards were accepted by Anna Cesarano, Director and owner of Doltone House.  Both acceptance speeches were stand outs as she related back to the guest speakers that presented at the conference…”better to be helicopter people than vending machine people…it’s great being a pilot in the business, but even greater when staff too can sit in the hot seat.”She later too expressed her heartfelt thanks in accepting an award close to heart, honouring her late father and founder of Doltone House venue and catering collection, with the 2011 Biaggio Signorelli Foundation Gala Dinner taking home best MEA Cause Related Event in Australia.  She broke out in song to the Pointer Sisters band chaser, “I’m so excited” as she stepped to the stage, “and I just can’t hide it…I’m about to lose control and I think I like it”. Doltone House is renowned in Sydney for providing multi award-winning, iconic venues for conferences and events. The Doltone property portfolio, which includes the iconic flagship property Jones Bay Wharf, Sylvania Waters, and the latest addition, the 6-star green-star Darling Island Wharf – has seen Doltone House establish a reputation as one of Australia’s premier event providers and honoured by the most recent accolades. last_img read more