NewLeaf hits turbulence with travel alert from consumer group

first_img WINNIPEG — The latest report from the Conference Board of Canada says this country’s airline industry is flying high but at least one carrier has hit a rough patch.The Consumer Association of Canada has issued a travel alert for NewLeaf Travel Company and Flair Airlines, saying Canadians “have recently been forced to deal with arbitrary cancellations and alterations to flight dates and times on thousands of tickets” purchased from NewLeaf Travel Company Inc. on flights operated by Flair Airlines Inc.The group added that it is extremely important that prospective buyers of NewLeaf tickets have an alternative plan to reach their chosen destinations and return home on time.“Buyers of NewLeaf tickets should be asking themselves the question ‘Does the saving of buying cheap tickets warrant the risk of being stranded’.”Back in November NewLeaf announced a U.S. sun program with direct flights from Hamilton International Airport to Orlando Melbourne International Airport as well as three times weekly service from Calgary and once weekly service from Edmonton to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.Days later WestJet announced new service to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport from Calgary and Edmonton. In January NewLeaf said it was cancelling plans to offer flights between Alberta and Phoenix-Mesa, and also that it was postponing its service to Florida from Hamilton.Meanwhile in its latest Canadian Industrial Outlook: Canada’s Air Transportation Industry, the Conference Board of Canada says ideal conditions continue to fuel strong profitability for Canadian airlines this year. However growth is expected to be more subdued going forward as temporary factors that have recently boosted industry demand slowly dissipate, says the report.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA Sales“The outlook for Canada’s air transportation industry will remain strong in 2017, but some of the main tailwinds that benefited the industry over the past two years, primarily low fuel costs and the weaker loonie, will slowly reverse starting this year,” says Todd Crawford, Principal Economist at the Conference Board. “However, this reversal will not be severe enough to threaten the industry’s profitability and demand for the industry’s services will continue to grow.”Higher oil prices will lift the cost of jet fuel and weigh on industry profitability over the forecast, while the low-flying loonie will continue to make Canada a cheaper destination for both foreign and domestic travel.Canada’s airline industry’s pre-tax profits are expected to reach $1.5 billion in 2017, says the report.“With fuel prices accounting for as much as 30% of industry costs, the dramatic drop in oil prices in past years had a positive impact on airlines’ bottom line. However, the benefits are expected to begin to trail off over the next two years as fuel prices are forecast to rise, driving up industry costs. Oil prices have already risen significantly from their lows and are projected to average US$54 in 2017, up from US$43 last year.”More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTDespite generally weak economic conditions last year, Canadian airlines experienced the strongest demand on record in 2016, according to the report.“The threat of new low-cost carriers will keep price increases subdued for the next five years, but even modest gains would be an improvement over the falling prices seen in the past two and half years. Following a drop of 3% in 2016, prices are expected to rise by 0.5 per cent this year.”Overall Canada’s air transportation industry pre-tax profits are expected to grow another 2.4% in 2017 to reach $1.5 billion.WestJet’s 2016 results, released today today, show a full-year profit drop of 19.6% from 2015. The airline’s net income for the 12 months that ended Dec. 31 was $295.5 million, down from $367.5 million in 2015. Last year’s fourth-quarter net income was down 12.9%, falling to $55.2 million from $63.4 million a year earlier.Annual revenue increased 2.32% to $4.12 billion and fourth-quarter revenue was up 6.2% to $1.02 billion, while operating expenses were up 6.4% for the year and 10.2% for the quarter. Annual revenue was up from $4.03 billion in 2015, and $958.7 million in that year’s fourth quarter. Posted by Tweet Tags: NewLeaf Travel, Travel Alert Tuesday, February 7, 2017 center_img NewLeaf hits turbulence with travel alert from consumer group Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Continue Reading

Barceló reaches out to agents with new website and contest

first_img Tuesday, April 4, 2017 Barceló reaches out to agents with new website and contest Tags: Barceló Hotel Group Share Travelweek Group center_img Posted by TORONTO — Barceló Hotel Group has launched its new Barceló Partner Club website designed specifically for Canadian travel agents.Already operational at barcelopartnerclub.com, the new website allows agents to view features and promotions geared towards the trade. Agents gain access with their usual login and user info and can continue registering their reservations, request stays and participate in Barceló Partner Club.In addition, the company has brought back the Barcelo Devotion 2017 contest for travel agents registered in the Barceló Partner Club, featuring 12 prizes in all. Agents must enter bookings for any Latin American and Caribbean Barceló Hotel Group property before July 31, 2017. Agents with the highest number of confirmed room nights win.The Gold Prize winner will win one seven-night stay at a Barceló Maya Grand Resort hotel, a Latop Del Inspiron 13 5000 Series and 1000 BPartner perks.Two winners will win the Silver Prize, which includes one Sonos Wireless Speakers and 1000 BPartner perks.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoA total of 10 winners will win the Bronze Prize, which includes one $100 ESSO gas card and 300 BPartner perks.For more information go to barcelopartnerclub.com << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Continue Reading

WestJet Link to serve Lethbridge Lloydminster Medicine Hat Cranbrook Prince George

first_imgTags: WestJet Travelweek Group Posted by CALGARY — WestJet has launched WestJet Link, a new regional air service operating under a capacity purchase agreement (CPA) with Pacific Coastal Airlines.Using Pacific Coastal Airlines’ aircraft painted in WestJet colours, WestJet Link will connect the communities of Lethbridge, Lloydminster, Medicine Hat, Cranbrook and Prince George to WestJet’s expanding network hub at Calgary International Airport.These new routes will add to WestJet’s existing leadership position in Calgary, says the carrier.All WestJet Link flights will be operated by Pacific Coastal using its fleet of 34-seat Saab 340B aircraft. Each aircraft will include six seats available in WestJet Plus, offering guests advanced boarding, no-charge for two checked bags and seating at the front of the aircraft.Flights to Lethbridge will run three times daily starting March 7. Three times daily service will also be available to Medicine Hat and Cranbook, starting May 31 and March 7 respectively. Meanwhile daily service to both Lloydminster and Prince George starts March 14.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from Ottawa“A CPA with Pacific Coastal underscores WestJet’s commitment to offering more Canadians access to WestJet’s low fares and growing network,” says Ed Sims, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial. “WestJet Link will be that connection to these communities and will offer more choice and more competition for air travellers, as well as more opportunities to earn and use WestJet Rewards.” WestJet Link to serve Lethbridge, Lloydminster, Medicine Hat, Cranbrook & Prince Georgecenter_img Share Monday, November 27, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Continue Reading

AeroMexico dished out discounts to antiMexican Americans after proving they had Mexican

first_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Aeromexico, Funny, Mexico MEXICO CITY — AeroMexico has pulled off the ultimate mic drop with a hilarious new commercial that pokes fun at U.S.-Mexico relations.Filmed in Wharton, Texas, the airline asked several local residents if they’d ever consider travelling to Mexico for vacation.“No way,” said a woman named Betsy, while a cowboy hat-clad gentleman said, “Let me stay here in peace and let those folks stay on their side of the border.” Another man named Bill (as indicated by his monogrammed shirt) admitted he liked tequila and burritos, but Mexico? “No.”Faced with the challenge of increasing USA flights to Mexico when “a big part of Americans just don’t like Mexico”, the airline referred to Department of Homeland Security statistics that detail Mexican immigration in the south going back as far as the 1800s. This would mean that a huge percentage of Mexican descendants in the U.S. isn’t even aware of their Mexican roots.So what did AeroMexico do? They performed DNA tests to willing participants and turned the results into discounts.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughts“The more Mexican they are, the more discount they get,” it promised.Bill, who clocked in at 18% Mexican, suddenly wasn’t so dead-set against the idea of Mexico, even flaunting the fact that he scored ‘higher’ than his wife Charlotte, who was only 14.4% Mexican.Another man was told he was 22% Mexican and immediately responded, “That’s bull***t.” But after being offered a 22% discount to fly to his ancestral country, he inquired about the possibility of taking his wife, too.As for Betsy? Well, she didn’t fare so well, only registering 3% Mexican heritage. With only a minimal discount on offer, Betsy is seen examining her written results, shaking her head in disbelief.Where are those Mexican roots when you need ‘em now? Sharecenter_img Monday, January 21, 2019 AeroMexico dished out discounts to anti-Mexican Americans after proving they had Mexican DNA Travelweek Group last_img read more

Continue Reading

Where to go for Tico christmas ingredients

first_imgIt wouldn’t be aTico Christmas without arboles navideños (Christmas trees) and pastoras (poinsettias), both grown in the hills above Heredia where cypresses, standing in for firs, and poinsettias, of every color, flourish. But this yuletide season, there are two more reasons to head to the hills.The first is Brumas del Zurquí, the now world-famous cafetal that won the 2012 Taza de Excelencia coffee competition, and garnered the highest coffee price in the world at auction – $4,500 per quintal (46 kilos). Most of those coffee beans were bought up by Japanese companies and shipped to Tokyo. But now you can sample and buy the same coffee – in grano or ground – at the new Café Las Brumas del Zurquí, in San Francisco, a suburb of San Isidro de Heredia.It’s an ultra-stylish café, something you would expect to find in Escazú or on the Lindora Road. This chic coffee boutique, however, is tucked behind the new Servicentro Ecológico El Labrador. The location makes sense when you find out that the gas station-cum-plaza, on a curve in the road between San Isidro and Heredia, is actually a corner cut out of the Brumas del Zurquí cafetal, directly behind. Perfect capuccino. Antique coffee grinders share space with oversize pieces of modern art and extravagant vases of heliconia, ginger and orchids. But the star of this show is the huge, shiny-red Aurelia II, the Cadillac of espresso machines, manufactured in Italy by Nuova Simonelli, sponsor of the worldwide barista championships.If you time your visit for a Friday or Sunday afternoon, you will find José Martín Paez, positioned in front of the Aurelia, practicing his barista skills. Paez placed second in last year’s Costa Rican championship and he is in training for the 2013 rematch at the end of January.Along with producing a perfect cup of coffee, Paez is a coffee connoisseur and coffee-culture historian, full of interesting coffee lore. His English is impeccable and he enjoys sharing his expertise.Paez recommends trying a rich, balanced espresso or cappuccino ($1.80/$2.20) made with the cafetal’s medium roast beans. Nordic countries prefer light roast, he says, because it packs the most caffeine. The rest of Europe prefers the dark roast for its flavor. But the medium roast, says Paez, is the perfect balance.The coffee sells for $6.30 for a 340-gram bag, in grano or molido. You can also order online (see website below). What better holiday gift for coffee-lovers than a bag of the best – at least for this year – coffee in the world?For a completely different experience, you can sample coffee made with the cafetal’s top-rated bean, called Geisha. It’s a floral varietal of the Arabica bean, with amazing flavor hints of orange, ginger, ripe mango and cinnamon, to name a few. Originating in the highlands of Panama, the Brumas del Zurquí owners have coaxed it to grow high up in the Central Valley, at 1600 meters.You can have it made in a French press ($11, pot for two) or in a cup of cappuccino ($5). Paez advises drinking it straight to capture the full flavor, and taking time to inhale the aroma. This is the coffee most appreciated by Japanese connoisseurs, who spend up to $50 for a cup of Geisha coffee in Tokyo. Owing to limited supply and international demand, you can buy Geisha only by the cup or carafe here. To accompany the coffee, there are Argentine empanadas, smoked salmon sandwiches, sweet tarts and cookies. And there are tamales, another Christmas tradition in most Tico households and the second reason to wend your way up the twisting, scenic roads above Heredia.The tamales served at the café are made at the nearby Fabrica de Tamales La Abuela, in Concepción de San Rafael de Heredia. Starting Dec. 1, the lines have been forming outside the hacienda-like factory, painted traditional Heredia blue and white. People in the know have been placing their orders ahead by phone and staggering away with huge bags of tamales destined for Christmas parties and family feasts. Pork, chicken, bean and, this year, vegetarian fillings are available ($2.10 a piña, a pair). The fábrica also sells festive carne rellena ($6), rolled, minced meat, artistically stuffed with rice, cheese and hardboiled egg.Unfortunately, if you haven’t already placed an order, you are out of luck this year. You will have to wait till January to buy tamales. But the fábrica will sell you Brumas del Zurquí coffee, specially packed for Tamales La Abuela, in 2-kilo bags of beans ($28.40) or 340-gram bags ($6.20). If you haven’t already bought your tree and poinsettias, don’t forget to add the best coffee in the world to your Heredia shopping list. And come back for tamales in January.Going thereCafé Brumas del Zurquí – Servicentro Ecológico El Labrador, south of San Isidro de Heredia on the road to San Francisco and Heredia, 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily; closed Wed. 4031-2375, cafebrumasdelzurqui.com.Fábrica de Tamales La Abuela – Concepción de San Rafael de Heredia, 150 meters west of the Licorera Camacho. Open Mon.-Sat. 7:30 a.m.-noon, 1-5 pm. Sun. 8 a.m.-noon. Closed Feb. 1-March 4 for a much needed rest. 2268-3032. Facebook Comments No related posts. Dorothy MacKinnonlast_img read more

Continue Reading

Group launches fight against automatic adjustments in fuel prices electricity rates

first_imgRelated posts:Regulatory agency requests reduction in Costa Rica electricity rates Costa Rica regulatory agency approves reduction in electricity rates Electricity rates set to decrease in 2014 Electricity rates to go up next month A citizen group on Wednesday asked Ombudswoman Ofelia Taitelbaum to help eliminate the automatic rate adjustment model for fuel and electricity prices applied by the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP).The group, named National Solidarity Network, wants Taitelbaum to assist them in filing a legal action challenging the constitutionality of this method, which calculates periodical rate adjustments by taking into account aspects such as international fuel prices and changes in the exchange rate.A letter from the group states that the automatic tariff method used by ARESEP “causes serious damage to citizens every month in fuel prices and every three months in electricity rates, which is a clear abuse of a provision set by this law.”The Ombudswoman said the model had been criticized in the past, and her office has filed several appeals before ARESEP’s board, but none were resolved in their favor.“The impact that public services tariffs and fuel prices are having on the wallets of Costa Ricans warrants a look back, once again, at the possibility of filing a lawsuit before the Constitutional  Chamber of the Supreme Court to help these citizens,” Taitelbaum said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Continue Reading

Call an end to war on alQaida

first_imgOPINIONWhat stops the U.S. government from declaring war on a person it perceives as a security threat and summarily attacking and killing him? The fact that doing so would violate the target’s right to life and fundamental due process, you might say. But in war, killing an enemy’s combatants is permitted. So can the United States declare war and designate as a combatant such perceived threats as a drug kingpin in New York, a Mafia don in Chicago or even Julian Assange or Edward Snowden?More than moral revulsion militates against such abuse of war powers. There are also legal limits on who is properly viewed as a combatant and when war is an appropriate response to a threat. Those limits are rarely discussed, but nearly 12 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, with U.S. involvement in the traditional civil war in Afghanistan winding down, it is time to apply those limits to the global “war” against al-Qaida and its armed affiliates.U.S. President Barack Obama recognized the problem in his May 23 speech at the National Defense University. He warned that “a perpetual war . . . will prove self-defeating, and alter [the United States] in troubling ways.” Quoting James Madison, Obama warned: ” ‘No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.’ “But the president did not take the next step of declaring an end to the war with al-Qaida or even explaining how citizens will know when it is over. International law provides guidance. The standard for when a legally recognized “armed conflict” exists between a state and an armed group appears in the protocols and official commentary to the Geneva Conventions and has been fleshed out by various international tribunals. An armed conflict requires a certain level of hostilities — judged by factors such as the number, duration and intensity of individual confrontations; the use of military weaponry; the number of participants in the fighting; and the casualties and displacement caused. It also requires the antagonists to possess armed forces under a command structure with the capacity to sustain military operations.The al-Qaida threat to the United States, while still real, no longer meets those standards. At most, al-Qaida these days can mount sporadic, isolated attacks, carried out by autonomous or loosely affiliated cells. Some attacks may cause considerable loss of life, but they are nothing like the military operations that define an armed conflict under international law.Obama himself has said that the core of al-Qaida — the original enterprise now based, if anywhere, in the tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan — has been “decimated.” Its affiliates, such as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, are more robust armed groups but have limited capacity to project their violence beyond their regions.These affiliates are significant actors in Yemen and northern Africa, but it is far from clear that they pose a threat to the United States greater than, for example, Mexican drug cartels or international organized-crime networks — organizations for which few would characterize U.S. containment efforts as “war.” That the United States continues to deploy military force against al-Qaida is not enough to qualify that effort as an armed conflict, because if it were, a government could justify the summary killing of “combatants” simply by using its armed forces to do so.Admitting that the contest with al-Qaida is no longer a war does not mean that the United States is defenseless or even that lethal force is forbidden. In the absence of war, U.S. conduct is governed by international human rights law, which favors arrest and prosecution but still permits lethal force, if necessary, to stop an imminent threat to life.In his May speech, Obama said that the United States is already abiding by this standard beyond the Afghan theater. “[O]ur preference is always to detain, interrogate and prosecute,” he explained, and “we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat.”Those are the standards for policing, not war. So why not take the next logical step and declare the war against al-Qaida over? Yes, there may be a price to pay. Obama’s political opponents will holler and score points after the next, inevitable terrorist attack. But the cost of using war rhetoric to shunt aside appropriate limits on lethal force is even higher. Plenty of governments are eager for excuses to summarily kill their enemies, however tenuously defined — even those living in the United States. The U.S. government has also committed abuses in the name of fighting terrorism. The Obama administration should rethink its overly elastic definition of war on al-Qaida and call an end to it.The writer is executive director of Human Rights Watch. He is on Twitter: @KenRoth.© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Continue Reading

Costa Rica adds 5000 species to biodiversity index

first_imgMore than 5,000 species of plants and animals have been added to Costa Rica’s Biodiversity Index, a catalogue of all flora and fauna found in the country. The addition brings the total number of species living in Costa Rica to approximately 92,000.Some of the newly listed species were recently discovered for the first time. Others were known, but recently reclassified as new species. The new additions include 49 birds, two amphibians, one mammal and more than 650 mushrooms.“We will use the index as a tool for planning our overall biodiversity strategy for 2014-2020,” Marta Jiménez, executive director of the National Commission for Biodiversity Management, told The Tico Times.According to Jiménez, the new plan will lay out five strategies to achieve 20 goals for maintaining Costa Rica’s biodiversity. The plan will work to mitigate increasing threats to biodiversity like overpopulation, deforestation, pollution and climate change as well as set guidelines for wildlife and forestry management.The relatively small country of Costa Rica is home to nearly 4.5 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Continue Reading

Nicoya mayor calls Ortegas statements an act of ignorance

first_imgThe following is a letter written by Nicoya Mayor Marco Antonio Jiménez Muñoz to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, following outrageous remarks Ortega made during a speech on Tuesday.Your Excellency Mr. President:With respect to the public statements you made about the Republic of Nicaragua possibly or eventually reclaiming the territory of Guanacaste, we consider them not only disrespectful but an act of absolute ignorance about the evolution of the province’s borders, and also, still more serious, ignoring an unparalleled event in Latin America.The Annexation of Nicoya happened under peaceful circumstances and with the genuine belief that joining Costa Rica was in the best interests of the inhabitants of Nicoya. That brave act, that sole event in our Brown America that you presume to ignore with your declarations, charged with bias, disrespect and ignorance, we will forever and wherever hold true to our decision to join Costa Rica under the proper legal framework.In this manner, the Municipal Government of Nicoya, cradle of the Annexation of Nicoya to Costa Rica, will support the position of the Government of Costa Rica in defense of the interests of the people of Guanacaste, and in defense of human freedoms, sine qua non, to adopt our position since 1824.We request that the Government over which you preside, with respect and prudence, and in accordance with the feelings of the people of Guanacaste, who feel a deep pride in being Costa Rican, acknowledges the facts of July 25, 1824, in Nicoya.Thankful that you understand our position, the pride of belonging to the Republic of Costa Rica by our own choice, I bid you farewell,Marco Antonio Jiménez Muñoz, Mayor of Nicoya  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Continue Reading

Costa Rica should expect 43 percent GDP growth World Bank says

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica ranks 83rd in the world for doing business Fitch Ratings downgrades Costa Rica outlook Live Stream: 2015 Latin American Cities Conference San José Costa Rica to drop interest rates in attempt to jump-start economy Regional growth is down for the year, but some smaller economies in Latin America and the Caribbean are enjoying improving gross domestic product figures, according to the latestreport from the World Bank, released Tuesday. The international financial institution said the bonanza of the last decade was over, but that the region is primed to move away from the boom-bust cycles of the past.Costa Rica’s GDP growth for 2015 is forecast at 4.3 percent, up from 3.7 percent in 2014. While Costa Rica outperformed many of its Central American neighbors, Nicaragua and Panama are set to pull ahead in 2015 with growth forecast at 4.4 and 6.2 percent, respectively.Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guyana, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Suriname are expected to grow by more than 4 percent, ahead of the regional average of 1.2 percent for 2015. Venezuela and Argentina are set to drop into negative territory with -2.9 and -1.5 percent, respectively. Brazil, meanwhile, is expected to grow by a paltry 0.5 percent.The World Bank’s chief economist for the region, Augusto de la Torre, seemed to have Costa Rica in mind when he made this observation in a statement from the financial institution: “Other countries, however, with high levels of indebtedness or facing inflation pressures despite the slowdown, may find it more difficult to respond. The temptation for these countries would be to take the path of least resistance, keeping aggregate consumption and government spending high and borrowing to finance the associated fiscal and external deficits. This path might be encouraged by highly liquid international markets seeking higher yields. The short-run gains, however, would carry a high price: lower long-run growth due to a more vulnerable balance of payments or an uncompetitive real exchange rate.”Costa Rica is in the midst of heated budget negotiations as the government stares down a 6.7 percent fiscal deficit in 2015 if no action is taken to curb spending and increase tax collection. On Tuesday, university students demonstrated against proposed cuts to public education spending.Vice President and Finance Minister Helio Fallas traveled to Washington, D.C., for meetings with the Inter-American Development Bank and International Monetary Fund-World Bank Group this week. Fallas also will meet with investment banks and rating agencies while in the U.S., according to the Finance Ministry.De la Torre said that while economic growth was slowing in the region it was more sustainable. During those golden years the region was able to cut extreme poverty in half, to 12 percent in 2012, and double the ranks of the middle class to 34 percent of the population in 2012.https://infogr.am/gdp-forecast-for-central-america?src=web Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Continue Reading

Clashes as Mexicans hold rally for 43 missing students

first_imgMexico is hurtingWith the annual parade called off, Peña Nieto led a ceremony with top officials at the Campo Marte military field, where he and the defense minister denounced violent protests.“Mexico is hurting, but the only path to soothe this pain is through peace and justice,” he said, hours after making his personal assets public to quell conflict of interest allegations over his wife’s mansion.Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos said violence “only leads to national failure, social backwardness, ungovernability, instability.”The crisis erupted after the mayor of the city of Iguala ordered police to confront students on Sept. 26, sparking a night of violence that left six people dead and 43 missing, authorities say.Members of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang told investigators they killed the students and burned the bodies for 14 hours after police had handed them over.Officials stopped short of declaring the students dead pending an Austrian university’s DNA tests on charred bones. Federal authorities continue to search for them in Guerrero. Tens of thousands of angry protesters rallied in Mexico City on Thursday, many chanting for President Enrique Peña Nieto’s resignation. Yuri Cortéz/AFPParents distrust governmentBuses carrying parents of the missing students joined the march after a week-long tour of the country to voice their anger over the government’s handling of the case.Highlighting their deep distrust of the government, they refuse to accept that the students are dead and say they will only trust DNA test results from independent foreign forensic experts.“We are moving forward, until the end, until they reappear,” Epifanio Álvarez, father of a missing student, told AFP.“The situation is bad. There are many missing people all over the country.” Facebook Comments MEXICO CITY – Tens of thousands of black-clad protesters angry at the presumed slaughter of 43 students marched in Mexico City on Thursday, chanting for President Enrique Peña Nieto’s resignation.In the latest day of nationwide demonstrations, protesters waved blackened Mexican flag, shouting “Urgent! Urgent for the president to resign!” and “He will fall, he will fall, Peña Nieto will fall!”Parents of the 43 male college students, who reject claims their sons are dead, led the march to the historic Zócalo square, in front of the National Palace.It was the latest protest over the government’s handling of a crime that has infuriated Mexicans fed up with corruption, impunity and a drug war that has left more than 100,000 people dead or missing since 2006.The case has turned into the biggest challenge of Peña Nieto’s nearly two-year-old presidency, on top of another scandal over a mansion his wife bought from a government contractor.Prosecutors say a drug gang confessed to slaying the students and burning their bodies after receiving them from corrupt police in the southern state of Guerrero in September.“Mexico is used to tragedy, robberies and corruption, and we need to begin to exercise our rights as citizens to get the government working,” said Lili Correa, 46, wearing black.The demonstration coincided with the anniversary of the start of the 1910 Mexican revolution, prompting the government to cancel the annual parade.Before the march, masked protesters threw firebombs and used bazooka-like tubes to launch firecrackers at riot police, who hit back with tear gas to disperse the group on a street near the airport. Around 15 people were detained.Hundreds of protesters blocked the main road to the airport for an hour, while police vehicles picked up passengers walking with their suitcases along the road.Thousands protested in several other cities, including Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero, the violence-plagued southern state where the students vanished nearly two months ago.Thousands more marched in Bolivia and some 200 took to the streets in El Salvador.Mexico and Real Madrid football star Javier “Chicharito” Hernández tweeted a picture of himself wearing a black hoodie and the hashtag #WeAreAllAyotzinapa, referring to the young men’s Ayotzinapa teacher-training college.“This is a nationwide problem. Nothing like this happened before and Peña Nieto doesn’t care, he’s useless,” said Luis Ángel García, a 19-year-old Ayotzinapa student. #TodosSomosAyotzinapa #UnidosPorAyotzinapa pic.twitter.com/a3GZlERWh8— Chicharito Hernandez (@CH14_) November 20, 2014center_img Related posts:Mexico police, protesters clash ahead of grim anniversary of 43 missing students Mexico horrified by suspected massacre, incineration of 43 students Mexico’s feeble police vetting ended in 43 vanished students Parents of 43 missing students in Mexico wage hunger strikelast_img read more

Continue Reading

Arcadio Esquivel exhibits his bestknown comic Wences World

first_imgCartoonist Arcadio Esquivel, who has been part of the team at The Tico Times since 1983 with hiseditorial cartoons, is the subject of a new exhibit at the University of Costa Rica (UCR). The exhibit showcases “Wences’ World,” one of his longest-running projects.Arcadio, as the cartoonist is best known, studied Humoristic Drawing at the CEAC School in Spain. Only one year after graduation, he began working with The Tico Times, which he says has been an ongoing education. He is a co-founder of the Costa Rican Cartoonists’ Asociation, and served as its first president from 1992-1996.In October 2001, his work jumped into the world of television when became the producer of his own educational program “Arcadio’s World” (“El Mundo de Arcadio“), which is still broadcast on Costa Rica’s Channel 13 every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m. The show demonstrates simple drawing and painting techniques, from cartoons to landscape to portraiture.Arcadio has also taught a cartoon workshop at the UCR for approximately 30 years. During those workshops, he developed “Wences’ World.”“We are doing this exhibit here at the UCR because this is the place where this comic was born,” Arcadio told The Tico Times. “During my classes we always analyze other comics, but once I said, “Let’s do our own comic.” And we did it! At the very beginning [in 2001], we started with three other comics as well, ‘Tico El Tucán,’ ‘Isaac,’ and ‘Matita.’ But with the passage of time, we only kept ‘Wence’s World’.” Alberto Font/The Tico TimesThe comic features 17 different characters, including Carilo, a child obsessed with soccer; Jimmy, who believes in aliens; Artur, the villain, who is also a magician; and Dalila, who exercises constantly and worries about her physical appearance. Another character, Mariela, is an environmentalist, and ever since the death of sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora, she has worn a heart on her chest on his honor.“I love all the characters,” said Arcadio. “I love Wences’ dad, who is an old man who spends the whole day watching watching violent shows, or news about violence, on TV; that creates problems in their house, and Wences is the one who tries to keep him away from that. I love the two puppets, “The Talking Hands,” who are abandoned at a party so they create their own theater, but no one ever attends. Wences is the most ‘normal’, but Mariela has a modern issue: she must fight to protect the environment. Those are my favorite characters, actually.“‘Wences’ is published in five different countries: Spain, Norway, Brazil, the United States, and here in Costa Rica,” the artist added. “We just signed a contract with a North American company that will sell the cartoon, and we hope it will be a success.”Check out Arcadio’s Tico Times cartoon archive here.The “Wences’ World” exhibit will be open to the general public at the School of General Studies at the University of Costa Rica in San Pedro until Oct. 28. You can find more information about Arcadio and his work on his Facebook page.  Facebook Comments Related posts:Charity auction seeks to help Costa Rican kids UCR students race toward cinematic glory in only 48 hours San José hosts international short film fest Costa Rican band Zòpilot! performs for the last time tonight at Cine Magalylast_img read more

Continue Reading

Costa Rica registers negative inflation in 2015

first_imgCosta Rica ended 2015 with a negative inflation rate, thanks in large part to lower fuel and electricity costs, according to figures released by the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC) on Friday.It marks the first time Costa Rica has registered negative inflation since 1965 – exactly 50 years ago.In eight of the 12 months last year, the prices of various products and services used to make up the index were in the negative, leading to an end-of-the-year variation of -0.81 percent.“We saw an important decrease in electrical services and fuels such as gasoline and diesel in the first and second halves,” said Oddet Navarro, spokeswoman for the Price Index program at INEC.Food products, namely produce, also saw decreases, along with bus fares, she said.In 2014, annual inflation was 5.13 percent. Costa Rica’s highest rate of inflation in the past decade was registered in 2008 at a rate of 13.9 percent. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica should expect 4.3 percent GDP growth, World Bank says Despite a growing deficit for Costa Rica, no new taxes planned for 2015 Eurasia Group downgrades Costa Rica’s short, long-term outlooks to ‘negative’ Costa Rica to drop interest rates in attempt to jump-start economylast_img read more

Continue Reading

Dueling anthems StarSpangled Banner and Hermosa Bandera

first_imgRelated posts:Dueling Anthems: ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ vs. ‘Hermosa Bandera’ US Embassy in San José celebrates Fourth of July, tips hat to Solís American Colony to host 54th annual Independence Day Picnic PHOTOS: American Colony celebrates US Independence Day at annual picnic Here’s how the story goes: In 1852, President Juan Rafael Mora Porras was about to receive delegates from Great Britain and the United States. Costa Rica was newly independent, and Mora didn’t want to welcome guests without a decent national anthem. He turned to Manuel María Gutiérrez Flores, a military officer who just happened to compose music. But Mora couldn’t wait around for a magnum opus, so he locked Gutiérrez in a prison cell, instructing him to produce an anthem in 24 hours.The result was “Noble Patria, Tu Hermosa Bandera,” (“Noble Homeland, Your Beautiful Flag”), a song now played and sung before almost every civic event. The “Himno Nacional” is among the most successful rush-jobs in history: The music is martial and triumphant, and the listener immediately swells with pride. In 1900, the politician and poet José María Zeledón Brenes added lyrics, which speak of a “noble homeland,” “your sons, simple farmhands,” “unsullied blue of your skies,” and “mother of life!” Only in the fourth stanza is there any reference to war, and it’s fairly tame: “When anyone should attempt to besmirch your glory/You will see your people, valiant and virile/The rustic tool into a weapon transform.”In other words: We’re pretty easygoing people, but don’t mess with us, because we’ve got machetes. Pura vida!The differences between the “Himno” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” are obvious, starting with their contexts. The American Revolution lasted eight years and cost tens of thousands of lives. A few decades later, there was a sequel: The War of 1812 lasted nearly three additional years and killed more than 20,000 people. The British forces went so far as to burn down Washington, D.C., and battles were fought all along the eastern seaboard. When Maryland attorney Francis Scott Key found himself captive aboard the HMS Surprise, he witnessed the Battle of Baltimore, with its tall ships, exploding rockets, and 15-star flag rising over Fort McHenry. (Courtesy U.S. Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)It’s no surprise that “The Star-Spangled Banner” is a story of combat, since the 13 colonies had to fight bitterly to become the United States of America, which then shed more blood just to assert itself. It took a while for Key’s poem to become an anthem: His brother-in-law John Stafford Smith put the verses to music (by plagiarizing a British melody, ironically enough), and although the tune was popular among drinking buddies and brass bands, “Banner” didn’t become an official anthem until 1931.Costa Rica has a different story, starting with the quandary of its independence. It’s hard to say exactly when Costa Rica became “free.” Without firing a shot, Spain relinquished the country on September 15, 1821, and Costa Rica gradually became an “autonomous subject” of the United Provinces of Central America. But Ticos were never really committed to that loose confederation, and when Spain recognized its independence in 1850, Costa Rica stayed peaceful for nearly 100 years. Even the fight against the U.S. Filibusteros was a short-lived affair, and fighting took place primarily in Nicaragua.So yes, it’s easy to see the two anthems as different and distinct. But what about the commonalities? Unlike “God Save the Queen,” the “Bandera” and “Banner” anthems do not praise monarchy. Instead, they celebrate scrappy pioneers in the New World, determined patriots proud of their young nations. After “the twilight’s last gleaming,” Gringos marvel that their “flag was still there,” while Ticos are grateful that “in the tenacious struggle of fruitful toil,” their flag “brings a glow to men’s faces.” In each set of lyrics, a post-colonial people shows love and appreciation for its respective promised land. (Compare “rockets’ red glare” to Italy’s refrain, “We are ready to die!” Or see Hungary’s anthem, with its weeping orphans and torrents of blood). Indeed, neither the U.S. nor Costa Rica calls out a specific enemy by name, whereas many anthems do.Originally published on July 3, 2014. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Continue Reading

Toucan Rescue Ranch hosting Tunes for Toucans concert fundraiser

first_imgIf you’re hungry for a good meal for a good cause, the Toucan Rescue Ranch will celebrate Giving Tuesday with a concert fundraiser at the popular Riverside Pizzeria & Gastropub, located in San Josecito, Heredia.The event will feature live music and a silent auction. Proceeds benefit the Toucan Rescue Ranch, whose mission is to “rescue, rehabilitate and when possible, release Costa Rican wildlife.”Admission to Tuesday’s concert fundraiser is 15,000 colones (about $25), which covers an entree, a drink, dessert and, of course, the music.Click here more information and to reserve your spot. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img

Continue Reading

Turkey No plans to extradite Iraqi VP

first_imgISTANBUL (AP) – Turkey said Wednesday that it has no plans to send Iraq’s vice president, who is currently in Turkey, back to Iraq for prosecution even after Interpol placed him on its most-wanted list.Iraq has charged Tariq al-Hashemi with terrorism, accusing him of guiding and financing death squads that targeted government officials, security forces and Shiite pilgrims. Al-Hashemi, a Sunni, says the charges are false and motivated by the political enmity of the Shiite-led leadership in Baghdad. Patients with chronic pain give advice Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments   Share   Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The difference between men and women when it comes to paincenter_img Sponsored Stories Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Bekir Bozdag, said al-Hashemi is in Turkey for medical treatment and that Turkey had no plans to extradite him.“I am not sure whether there will be a new evaluation in the period ahead,” Bozdag said. “But as the government, our position in this is very clear. We would not extradite someone to whom we’ve given support.”The minister also noted that Turkey had not had enough cooperation from Iraq in its efforts to detain supporters of the Kurdish rebel group PKK, which carries out attacks inside Turkey from bases in northern Iraq.Interpol said on its website that it has issued a so-called “red notice” for al-Hashemi, responding to a request from Baghdad. A red notice by Interpol seeks the arrest of a wanted person with a view to eventual extradition. The subjects of red notices are considered to be on the organization’s most-wanted list.Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said the red notice for al-Hashemi “will significantly restrict his ability to travel and cross international borders.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

Continue Reading

Thousands protest against government in Argentina

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober How do cataracts affect your vision? New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “Let’s shake things up” was the theme of the marches, taken from Pope Francis’ speech to Argentines in Rio de Janeiro. Their signs condemned corruption, inflation and unchecked presidential power.Martin Insaurralde leads the ruling party’s slate for congress. He said Thursday the government’s opponents are proposing plans that have proven to be failures.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Thousands of Argentines are protesting against the government of President Cristina Fernandez. But with only days left before a primary election tests her support, the crowds are much smaller than in previous pot-banging street protests.Thursday night marks the end of campaigning ahead of Sunday’s vote, but a huge and deadly gas explosion in Rosario prompted politicians to cancel final campaign rallies, and deflated the protesters’ plans. Quick workouts for menlast_img read more

Continue Reading

Key issues in UK election campaign

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The Conservatives promise to increase spending by at least 8 billion pounds by 2020 and cut down on so-called health tourism, in which migrants travel to the U.K. for medical care paid for by British taxpayers.IMMIGRATIONBritain’s growing economy has attracted thousands of migrants from the European Union, particularly from the former eastern bloc countries that have recently joined the 28-nation free-trade zone.The influx is changing Britain and straining schools, hospitals and other public services. The U.K. Independence Party has capitalized on the outrage of unhappy Britons. The once-fringe party stands third in opinion polls after promising to leave the European Union, “take back control of our borders” and restrict immigration to skilled workers needed by the British economy.Labour plans to ban recruitment agencies from hiring only from overseas and crack down on employers that abuse workers. The Conservatives say they will reduce migration from other EU states by making it harder for recent immigrants to claim benefits. The party says it has an “ambition” to reduce annual net migration to less than 100,000 from almost 300,000 in the 12 months through September. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Top Stories LONDON (AP) — Three issues — the economy, the National Health Service and immigration — have dominated the British election. Here’s where the candidates stand on the things that matter to voters:THE ECONOMY ABOVE ALLThe election boils down to a simple question: Did the Conservative-led government chart the right course through the aftermath of the economic crisis — the worst recession since the 1930s? Men’s health affects baby’s health toocenter_img Prime Minister David Cameron has focused on headline numbers after five years of budget cuts designed to shrink the deficit and bolster growth. Inflation is down, employment is up and the economy is growing at one of the fastest rates among large industrialized nations.The Conservatives argue they need time to cement the gains and ensure the benefits trickle down to everyone. They promise no new income or value-added taxes.Opposition leader Ed Miliband is urging voters to look deeper, arguing the topline figures don’t tell the whole story. Real wages are below pre-crisis levels, employment figures have been inflated by low-skill jobs, and rising numbers of people are turning to food banks to make ends meet. Miliband has focused the debate on inequality, saying the recovery hasn’t reached working families. He’s promising to increase taxes on the wealthiest members of society.NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICEThe state-funded NHS is a source of pride in this nation of 64 million — and a source of agony for political leaders struggling to pay the ever-increasing bill.The most sacrosanct issue in British politics, leaders spent much of the campaign making promises to save the service. Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, has promised to recruit 8,000 more doctors and 20,000 more nurses, paying the bill with a tax on properties worth more than 2 million pounds ($3 million). Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Continue Reading

AP Interview Top UN official says Europe must open borders

first_img The vital role family plays in society “They are the first line of defense for global collective security and they are pillars, essential pillars, for regional security,” Guterres told The Associated Press at a regional World Economic Forum conference. “If they fall, the consequences will be dramatic for the whole world.”Close to 15 million people already have been uprooted by conflicts in Syria and Iraq, Guterres said, adding that “many of those displaced live in absolute misery.”At the same time, international aid agencies and governments of refugee host countries struggle with a growing funding gap for efforts to alleviate the crisis. They requested $8.4 billion for this year, including $2.9 billion for work inside Syria and $5.5 billion for refugees and their host countries.Both programs so far have received only about one-fifth of the needed funds, U.N. officials have said.Guterres said the world can show greater solidarity by giving more support to host countries and by opening borders.“We cannot ask these countries to keep their borders open and to close other borders,” he said. “So it is also absolutely essential that borders are open to Syrians everywhere, that more legal avenues are created for people to come to Europe,” such as resettlement and family reunification programs. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies He said this would be a “clear expression of burden-sharing with these countries to … allow them to feel that they are not alone with this tragic impact of the Syrian crisis in their own lives.”European governments are sharply divided over the issue, including proposals to set country quotas for absorbing refugees as a way of sharing the burden more evenly. Only a few European countries, including Germany, have taken in Syrian refugees.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) — Borders must be “open to Syrians everywhere,” including in Europe, to help ease the logistical burden of Middle Eastern countries that have absorbed close to 4 million Syrian refugees, the head of the U.N. refugee agency said Saturday.Antonio Guterres also appealed to the international community to boost development aid to refugee host countries such as Jordan and Lebanon. Top holiday drink recipes 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Continue Reading

US Senator Graham in Israel ahead of likely presidential bid

first_imgJERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says allowing the United Nations to decide the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is a “mistake.”The South Carolina senator is a Republican foreign policy hawk and critic of President Barack Obama’s handling of the Middle East. He was visiting Israel on Wednesday ahead of an expected announcement on a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Following remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before March elections that he would not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state, Obama has said he would reassess U.S. policy toward Israel. That means the Security Council could be a potential place to act on the conflict. France also has said it would take a resolution on the conflict to the council.Visits to Israel are common for U.S. presidential hopefuls.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Continue Reading