TripAdvisor supporting animal rights by not selling certain attractions

first_imgTripAdvisor supporting animal rights by not selling certain attractions Thursday, October 13, 2016 BOSTON — Travel website TripAdvisor says it’s taking a stand against animal exploitation by no longer selling bookings to attractions where travellers can make physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species.The policy, six months in the making, was formed with input from tourism, animal welfare and conservation groups including the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, but many of the millions of travellers who post reviews to the company’s website have been concerned about animal welfare for years, company spokesman Brian Hoyt said.The company, based in Needham, also will start providing links on its site to take users to educational research on animal welfare and conservation.“TripAdvisor’s new booking policy and education effort is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals, especially in markets with limited regulatory protections,” said Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor’s president.But the president of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums said she was “disappointed” TripAdvisor never consulted her Virginia-based organization, whose members include branches of the SeaWorld and Six Flags theme parks and dozens of other marine life parks, aquariums and zoos internationally.More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programs“It’s an unjust demonization of the interactive programs that are at the heart of modern zoo and aquarium programs,” president Kathleen Dezio said. “They give guests the magic, memorable experiences that make them want to care about these animals and protect them in the wild.”The TripAdvisor policy, announced Tuesday, is in line with increasing public sentiment against the exploitation of wild animals to entertain people. SeaWorld this year announced it would stop using killer whales for theatrical performances, while Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus last year stopped using elephants.TripAdvisor will cease booking some attractions immediately, but the policy, which may affect hundreds of businesses, takes full effect early next year.In announcing the policy, which also applies to the affiliated Viator booking website, TripAdvisor specifically mentioned elephant rides, swim-with-the-dolphins programs and tiger petting.Several U.S. businesses that offer such attractions did not immediately respond to requests for comment.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesThe policy does not apply to horseback rides and children’s petting areas with domesticated animals. It also exempts attractions such as aquarium touch pools where there are educational benefits and visitors are professionally supervised.TripAdvisor won’t bar user reviews of tourist attractions, even those it stops booking. The company has long banned reviews of businesses that use animals for blood sport, including bullfights.A San Francisco-based travel analyst, Henry Harteveldt, said because TripAdvisor is so widely used the wildlife attractions could see a noticeable hit to their business.However, if TripAdvisor merely stops selling the tickets but continues listing the attractions, he said, the effect won’t be long-lasting. He said those attractions may just go through other booking websites to sell tickets.TripAdvisor said if a wildlife attraction changes its business model it would consider selling tickets again. Tags: TripAdvisor Posted by The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Another goround at a passenger bill of rights with Garneaus new legislation

first_img OTTAWA — Transport Minister Marc Garneau has introduced legislation to create a new passenger bill of rights, which will give travellers a better idea of when airlines will have to compensate them.The legislation is part of a package of changes to the Canada Transportation Act, which also introduces new foreign ownership limits for airlines, requires railways to install voice and video recorders in locomotives and improves transparency and efficiency in the freight rail industry.Garneau promised the bill of rights last month in the wake of widespread alarm after a United Airlines passenger was injured when he was dragged from a plane in Chicago.Garneau has already told airlines operating in Canada such an incident is not to happen here, but the bill lays out more rules for the industry to follow and spells out in clear language that no one can be involuntarily removed from a plane due to overbooking.The bill will enable the government to force airlines to create clear standards of treatment and compensation for circumstances including being denied boarding, delays while already on board and lost or damaged baggage.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthAirlines will not be able to charge parents a fee to be able to sit next to their children, and carriers will also have to have standards for transporting musical instruments. Tags: Canada Share Posted by Another go-round at a passenger bill of rights with Garneau’s new legislationcenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, May 16, 2017 The Canadian Press last_img read more

Searching for my inner Van Gogh on an Active Discovery sailing with

first_imgSearching for my inner Van Gogh on an Active Discovery sailing with Avalon Waterways Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Avalon Waterways, Britain & Europe, River Cruising Thursday, December 28, 2017 WURZBURG — It’s a rather unusual pursuit, coming off a European river ship. Strolling through the streets of scenic Wurzburg on the Main River, our small group winds our way toward a rather lofty goal: the city’s famous hilltop, 12th-century castle. “It remains relatively unexplored, mostly because it’s hard to get to,” our guide, Florian Brunn, explains.Soon, I see what he’s talking about. Digging into the paved path, we begin to ascend and I try to act cool as my heart begins to pound and a light sheen of sweat pops on my brow. “Most people who see it, only do so from the sun decks of river ships,” says Brunn with a light German accent, encouraging me as I lay my foot onto the bottom step of a staircase that disappears into a small hillside forest – and, to my eye, seems to stretch to the sky.Marienberg Fortress, WurzburgI’m on board the Avalon Expression, one of Avalon’s fleet of 18 river ships plying the waterways of Europe and Southeast Asia. Seeking a younger demographic (the current, typical age of a river cruiser is around 65), Avalon has introduced a new type of itinerary, called Active Discovery cruises. They debuted this year on the Danube (sailing nine days between Linz and Budapest) and will be rolled out next year on the Rhine (eight days between Amsterdam and either Frankfurt or Wiesbaden in Germany). Itineraries differ from traditional Avalon cruises, offering shorter sailing times and more time to explore in port, as well as different ports of call.Supported by a North American ad campaign that features an attractive, young-ish couple navigating adventurous paths before flopping on the bed of their Panorama Suite, these cruises offer options for deeper discovery. My sneak peek took me along the Rhine and Main from Amsterdam to Nuremberg. Each day on an Active Discovery itinerary, cruisers are offered three tour options – the usual, classic excursions, plus an active choice (hiking, biking) and a discovery option (a culturally rich, immersive experience). It’s Avalon’s fastest growing category, and the company is already seeing younger cruisers and multi-generation groups on these Active Discovery voyages.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”On the second day of my cruise, I experience a ‘discovery’ option, walking a few blocks from the ship to an art studio called Ateliers Westerdok, where I’m welcomed with tea, Dutch apple pie, stroopwafels – and a lecture on, arguably, this country’s most famous artist. Showing our small group some of his early work, which depicts the streets of this city, instructor Sanne Verdult told us, somewhat ambitiously, “You have everything you need to make your own Van Gogh today.”Van Gogh MuseumVan Gogh, I am not – and my efforts on the canvas demonstrated that clearly for all of those willing to take a look at the work my brushstrokes produced. Verdult gave us some practical instruction on our use of colour (cool versus warm) and other techniques, like the use of shadows to give texture, then presented a choice of still-life muses. I went for a flourishing plume of flowers, slathering acrylic paint in a tangential interpretation that only somewhat resembled the beauty before me.But, it felt good – to have brush in hand, creating an artwork (of sorts) in the country that produced Van Gogh, and Rembrandt, and so many others. Rather than just seeing their masterpieces in the Rijksmuseum, I was creating, and so was everybody else around me. Half the fun was walking around and seeing the other canvases, and how my fellow-painters had interpreted the items before us.RijksmuseumThe active discovery continued as we rolled down the river. In Rüdesheim, a place famous for its Riesling, we rode a cable car to a hilltop, then, led by a local winery owner, hiked back to town through the vineyards, stopping for a tasting from the back of a truck halfway down.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesIn Bamberg the group wound through the streets of that scenic town on bicycles. In Cologne, we went off the beaten path with an immersive neighbourhood tour, the guide leading through the funky, quirky charms of the Belgian Quarter, a favourite part of the city for locals to shop and drink, and almost entirely unvisited by tourists.BambergAnd while we could have augmented our healthy activities by dining on Avalon Fresh – a menu created exclusively for the company by the chefs at Wrenkh, a Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant in Vienna – we instead opted for the decadent, multiple courses at the small Panorama Bistro near the bow of the ship.And, of course, in Wurzburg, we hiked toward the sky. Actually, as luck would have it, the path soon evened out and took us right through the thick walls of the castle, which dated all the way back to 1168. Luxuriating in the space – we were practically the only ones there – we toured the sumptuous, well-guarded home of prince bishops from the 12th to the 18th centuries. And then I descended, again, through vineyards, feeling a little smug that I’d seen something special – and indeed, a place that few will ever have the chance to experience. By: Tim Johnsonlast_img read more

Canadians love Newfoundland says Globus even more with 5 discount

first_imgCanadians love Newfoundland, says Globus, even more with 5% discount Share Friday, January 26, 2018 TORONTO — Globus is heading back to Newfoundland and Labrador this year, and as in years past, the destination is proving to be a hit among Canadians.“We do get clients from Australia, Europe and around the world. But the vast majority of the passengers for these tours are actually domestic – mainly from Ontario,” said Stéphanie Bishop of the Globus family of brands’ Canadian office.Tour director James Saunders agrees, saying that he notices a definite pattern forming. “Our passengers know that Newfoundland is a vast province and they love leaving the driving to someone else so everyone can take in the amazing scenery,” he said.The tours have been so popular that Globus has added a second itinerary to the province this year. A seven-day ‘Colorful Newfoundland’ tour with nine departures has been added to the 12-day ‘Newfoundland & Labrador’ itinerary, which now includes 20 departures. Both tours are offered between June and September.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongOn why the province resonates so much with travellers, Saunders cites its people as being a huge contributing factor. “Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans, I’ve found, can see the humour in everything. The humour is constant, and that’s before they start being funny!” he said, adding that the local music, history, wildlife and food are also big draws.To entice travellers to book, Globus is offering 5% off on all product when booked by April 24.For more go to Travelweek Group center_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Globus, Newfoundland and Labradorlast_img read more

Ryanair warns earnings hurt by strikes rising fuel cost

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Ryanair warns earnings hurt by strikes, rising fuel cost LONDON — Ryanair, Europe’s biggest airline by passengers, has issued a profit warning for the year amid strikes and rising fuel prices.The low-cost carrier said it has lowered its guidance by 12%, to between 1.1 billion euros (US$1.28 billion) and 1.2 billion euros for the full year.Pilot and cabin crew strikes in September hit passenger numbers and resulted in passenger compensation costs.Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary says that while the strikes have been successfully managed, “customer confidence, forward bookings and Q3 fares has been affected, most notably over the October school mid-terms and Christmas.” Second and third-quarter traffic and airfares will be “somewhat lower than expected” as a result.The airline says more staff strikes could force the company to issue further profit warnings. By: The Associated Press Monday, October 1, 2018 Tags: Ryanair, Strike Sharelast_img read more

Holland America brings back Ryndam name for its newest ship

first_imgHolland America brings back Ryndam name for its newest ship Travelweek Group Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Monday, April 8, 2019 center_img Share SEATTLE — Holland America Line’s next Pinnacle Class ship will be called Ryndam, making it the fourth ship in the company’s history to carry the name.The new build is due for delivery in May 2021.Ryndam will be similar to sister ships Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, measuring 99,500 tons and carrying 2,662 guests. As the third in the series, Ryndam will feature enhanced Pinnacle Class amenities and innovations, says the cruise line.“Holland America Line honours the timeless tradition of cruising while also embracing new innovations for today’s travellers, and the name Ryndam reflects the unique history of this company while honoring previous ships that were progressive in their time as this last Ryndam will be,” says Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford. “From the first Ryndam more than 100 years ago to the most recent, the namesake ships have been beloved by our guests. The next Ryndam will bring new life to one of the most notable series of vessels in our history.”The steel cutting for Ryndam, signifying the official beginning of the building process, took place March 13 at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Italy. This will be the 17th ship constructed for Holland America Line by the Italian shipbuilder, which most recently delivered Nieuw Statendam.The first Ryndam was part of the Holland America Line fleet from 1901 to 1929, starting as Rijndam before receiving the English spelling in 1923. In 1927 Ryndam I became the first Holland America Line ship to sail a world cruise, although it was chartered as a floating school at sea for that voyage. The second Ryndam served from 1951 to 1973, and the third sailed in the fleet from 1993 through 2015, when it was transferred to sister brand P&O Australia and now cruises as Pacific Aria. Tags: Holland America Line, New Shiplast_img read more

Aftershocks from Nicoya earthquake keep jolting Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica earthquake could’ve been worse Experts report 4,000 aftershocks from Costa Rica’s Nicoya earthquake Chinchilla announces more earthquake relief plans Costa Rica’s strange earthquake pairings A strong magnitude-5.7 temblor that was felt on Sunday at 2 p.m., and four more quakes registered on Monday are aftershocks from themagnitude-7.6 earthquake that hit the Nicoya Peninsula last year, according to the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI).The epicenter of Sunday’s temblor was Nicoya, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. According to reports from OVSICORI, that quake was felt almost entirely across the country.On Monday, the first quake was recorded at 12:25 a.m. with a magnitude-2.6, located in Liberia, Guanacaste.At 7:37 a.m., a magnitude-2.3 quake was registered in the canton of San Carlos, in the northeastern region. A few minutes later, at 7:58, a magnitude-3.2 hit Nicoya again. Finally, a strong magnitude-4.1 quake was felt in the province of Alajuela, at 9:43 a.m.The Sept. 5 earthquake struck five miles off the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula at 8:42 a.m., shaking most of the country for 45 seconds. It caused nearly $45 million in damage and minor injuries. A 51-year old woman died of a heart attack following the event, although she was not included in the official quake death toll. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

VIDEO San José a little brighter after busy weekend for ChepeCletas

first_imgNo related posts. Like many old cities, San José has its cheerleaders. It may be old, it may be dog-eared, but youthful organizations are working to make the Costa Rican capital livable again – not just a place to subsist and work, but to really enjoy somepura vida. Among them, the ChepeCletas team was particularly active this weekend. Best known as a bike advocacy group, ChepeCletas has teamed up with civic visionaries Pausa Urbana (among others) to paint portraits on the ugly metal security gates along Avenida Central.Organizers noticed that when the storefronts close each night, their steel doors make the pedestrian street seem foreboding. “It’s like a tunnel, a dark tunnel,” said ChepeCletas representative José Pablo Ávila. Unlike the illegal graffiti that vandalizes much of San José, these murals were sprayed by professional artists. Not only did store owners give permission to use their security doors as canvases, but artists even received payment for their work.For a full block, starting at the Central Market, the walls became a nearly uninterrupted gallery space. Artists arrived on Saturday night and continued their work throughout Sunday. Sunday morning was drizzly and cold, but ChepeCletas convened again, this time for World Car-Free Day. Scores of cyclists gathered in Central Park, where music blasted from speakers and participants huddled under shelters. When the ride began, San José police guided the massive entourage on a winding journey through the city, halting traffic and directing riders through intersections. The ChepeCletas team hopes that people will “leave their cars at home, take a break, [and] enjoy the city that belong[s] to everyone.”World Car-Free Day was established in 1994 by the British Environmental Transport Association, and the event takes place annually on Sept. 22. Some sources estimate that more than 100 million people have participated in the event in at least 1,500 cities around the globe.Learn more about ChepeCletas and Pausa Urbana by visiting their Facebook pages. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

LIVE BLOG Costa Rica mens national team returns home to a special

first_imgLa afición toma la salida de Base Dos para saludar a la #LaSele @aldiacr— Ferlin Fuentes (@FerlinF_lda) July 8, 2014 a dooondee estáaaan adonde están !!!!! Grande #lasele !!!!!!— Marcelo DC (@MediaRota) July 9, 2014 2:33 p.m. Meanwhile in Brazil… En el país más hermoso del mundo. Gracias Costa Rica por tanto— Yeltsin Tejeda (@Yeltsin_Tejeda) July 8, 2014 A fan in Paseo Colón made a simple change to the sign for Pavas to honor La Sele star goalie Keylor Navas. Ojalá que @NavasKeylor vea esto.— Raquel Castro (@RacheliuxCastro) July 8, 2014 ¡Ooé, oé, oé, oeeeé, ticoooos, ticoooos! Diego Ureña #CRC— La Nación (@nacion) July 8, 2014 Germany up 5-0 on the Brazilians in the first half of the semifinal. Insanity.2:25 p.m. Team captain Bryan Ruiz stuck his head out the cabin while waving the Costa Rica flag. Facebook Comments 4:10 p.m. La Sele still on the way to Paseo Colón. At this rate, the team might not get there until tomorrow morning. There are thousands of people clogging General Cañas Highway. Todo sueño es posible, si es hecho con pasión. ¡Gracias Capi! ¡Felicidades Seleccionados! #CRC— Luis Guillermo Solís (@luisguillermosr) July 8, 2014 Arrests rise to 17 as police try to maintain order during #LaSeleCR celebrations in Paseo Colón. 500 officers on the ground. @TheTicoTimes— Zach Dyer (@zkdyer) July 9, 2014 One smart Costa Rican businessman has brought his ice cream cart out on the highway. 7:42: Charismatic midfielder Celso Borges looks like he’ll be emceeing tonight’s ceremony. He leads the crowd in a chant you might’ve heard before: “Oe oe oe Ticos Ticos!”Keylor Navas then took the mike from Borges to thank the fans and the lead the crowd in another “oe oe oe” chant. All the players are on stage dancing around and having a ball.7:38 p.m. Jorge Luis Pinto es el primero en salir del avión. RT @FerlinF_aldia— La Nación (@nacion) July 8, 2014 La placa en honor a la selección de #CRC— Everardo Herrera (@alpiedeldeporte) July 8, 2014 Gracias por el recibimiento!!!— Oscar Duarte (@ODuarte04) July 8, 2014 Navas and team captain Bryan Ruiz sent a message from the cockpit of their plane before taking off from Perú in the mid-morning: #LaSele se dirige hacia el Paseo Colón. Eyleen Vargas— La Nación (@nacion) July 8, 2014 Impresionante!!! Pura vida Costa Rica!!!— Bryan Ruiz González (@bryanruizcr) July 9, 2014 7:30 p.m. After five hours in transit (thanks to thousands of people congesting the General Cañas Highway), La Sele at last has arrived in La Sabana for the tribute ceremony. The 16-kilometer journey took approximately five hours. The team, somehow still full of energy, is preparing to take the stage.Tico Times photographer Alberto Font said some fans — who had been waiting since the morning at Paseo Colón — started passing out in the evening. The Red Cross attended to 62 people during the event, according to La Nación.7:12 p.m. Tico Times reporter Zach Dyer says 11 have been arrested during the celebration in Paseo Colón. Drugs and knives have been confiscated.6:20 p.m. Bryan Ruiz takes a selfie from the trailing taking the team to Paseo Colón. La Sele has been on the transport for close to four hours now. 3:58 p.m. Back in Brazil, the faces of Brazil fans say it all. 7-1 Germany in the World Cup semifinal. Here’s an aerial shot of Paseo Colón from earlier today. 3:00 p.m. With everyone now on the ground, the Costa Rica national anthem plays. p.m. 22-year-old starting midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda: “In the most beautiful country in the world. Thanks Costa Rica for so much.” 3:03 p.m. Pinto speaks to the crowd: “These are men who have shown the world competent football, which pitted them against great powers without fear.” “¡Qué viva Costa Rica!”, dice Pinto. #CRC— La Nación (@nacion) July 8, 2014 Déjenme bajarme !! #CRC— Joel Campbell (@joel_campbell12) July 8, 2014 Oscar anotó gol de honor en el min 90 del #BRA #GER, que acabó con humillante 7-1 #Brasil2014— Agence France-Presse (@AFPespanol) July 8, 2014 Thousands & thousands of Costa Rica Sele fans line the streets throughout the Central Valley to welcome team home, chanting “Sí se puede!”— The Tico Times (@TheTicoTimes) July 8, 2014 3:22 p.m. A photo of the plaque recognizing La Sele’s historic run in Brazil. 2:52 p.m. Jorge Luis Pinto and President Luis Guillermo Solís share a hug on the tarmac. Así está la Autopista General Cañas. Foto sobre el Puente Juan Pablo II #YoSoySele #NM935 #LaSele— Noticias Monumental (@MonumentalCR) July 8, 2014 3:15 p.m. President Solís tweets a photo of himself with captain Ruiz. The team now will head to Paseo Colón for the fan tribute. 2:14 p.m. The plane is making its descent in to Juan Santamaría International Airport. There are a lot of people waiting. Costa Rican fans waiting for the arrival of La Sele. AFP Costa Rican fans wait for the arrival of the national football team from Brazil on Tuesday. AFP11 a.m. Fans showed up at San José’s Paseo Colón early Tuesday morning to prepare for the return of the Costa Rica men’s national team, known as La Sele. A ceremony to honor the team is planned for this afternoon.La Sele — which had a historic run at the World Cup in Brazil — was scheduled to return to the country around noon. However, the flight has been delayed two hours. Neither the delay nor the warm temperatures outside has deterred fans. Thousands and thousands of enthusiastic Ticos have been gathering in western San José and at the airport, just outside the capital, to await the team’s arrival.In Paseo Colón: Firefighters salute #LaSeleCR’s arrival via @ameliarueda:— Zach Dyer (@zkdyer) July 8, 2014 2:40 p.m. Firefighters give a water cannon salute to La Sele At the airport: 3:45 p.m. La Sele on the way to Paseo Colón. #LaSele avanza lentamente hacia San José. Foto: Melissa Fernández //— La Nación (@nacion) July 8, 2014 This kid speaks for Brazil.— Digg (@digg) July 8, 2014 Así llega #LaSele a Costa Rica ¡Bienvenidos campeones! Imagen @CDRCanal2— Noticias Monumental (@MonumentalCR) July 8, 2014 #AquiiíBrasil #CRC Un aficionado porta copia de un periódico de cuando Costa Rica participó en Italia 90— Deportivas Columbia (@DeporteColumbia) July 8, 2014 2:20 p.m. They’re hereeeeeee! #AquiiíColumbia #CRC Imágenes del ambiente en la autopista General Cañas— Deportivas Columbia (@DeporteColumbia) July 8, 2014 Updates from the big party (in reverse chronological order):8:40 p.m. Several other members of the Costa Rican Football Federation spoke, including President Eduardo Li. The ceremony ended with the national anthem and the team being honored as “Favorite Sons” of the capital. And then one final, powerful chant of “Oe oe oe Ticos Ticos.”What a party. ¡Gracias, La Sele!8:24 Colombia-born coach Jorge Luis Pinto choked up when it was his turn to talk. (Borges introduced him by saying: “With what do we always eat eggs with?” “Pinto!” the crowd responded.) Pinto’s contract with Costa Rica runs out soon, and he’s likely coached his last meaningful match for La Sele. Fans chanted “Pinto don’t go” as he took the mike. An emotional Pinto seemed overcome by all the love as he struggled to speak to the thousands of supporters cheering him on. Some had been there since 7 a.m., if you can imagine that.“I’ll always carry this in my heart,” Pinto said.8:14 p.m. Borges introduced every player on the team and let them say a few words. Most just offered a brief “Viva Costa Rica” mixed with some thank yous. Gamboa did a dance at Borges’ urging. (Borges’ magnetism was incredible, and he saved the event from falling flat. He danced, he sang, he interviewed teammates. He’s a Renaissance Man.)The three best performers at the World Cup were left for last: Joel Campbell, Bryan Ruiz and finally Saint Keylor Navas.Campbell gave his famous left-handed salute, then led the crowd in a chant that mocks all those that doubted the team (The spirited 22-year-old let fans speak the more profane parts of the chant). Hundreds flock to Paseo Colón awaiting #LaSele #CRC: via @ameliarueda— Zach Dyer (@zkdyer) July 8, 2014 2:42 p.m. Star forward Joel Campbell: “Let me off the plane.” And here’s an aerial shot of all the mayhem on General Cañas. ¡Bienvenido a casa Profe Pinto! Muchas gracias por el aporte al país y el deporte nacional. ¡Gigantes! #CRC— Luis Guillermo Solís (@luisguillermosr) July 8, 2014 #CRC Así luce la calle 42 frente a la estatua de León Cortés.— ADN Radio 90.7 FM (@ADNfm) July 8, 2014 Michael Umaña and Giancarlo González were the first players to exit the plane.2:48 p.m. Costa Rica head coach Jorge Luis Pinto is the first to leave the plane. Check out the red carpet welcome. A photo of the trailer that coaches and players will ride in as they head from the airport to the site of the celebration in front of the statue of León Cortés in La Sabana Park: Esta será la carroza quién llevará a la selección con los colores de la bandera nacional #YoSoySele #Brasil2014— Deportes Monumental (@RadioMonumental) July 8, 2014 Con ganas de llegar !! Saliendo de Lima con @bryanruizcr y compañía !!!— Keylor Navas (@NavasKeylor) July 8, 2014 6:07 p.m. Tico Times reporter Robert Isenberg was at the airport for the team’s arrival, and he got a double thumbs-up from starting left-back Junior Diaz (or maybe the thumbs-up was for one of the hundreds of fans there. Thanks, Junior!) Thanks for the thumbs-up, Junior! Robert Isenberg/The Tico Times5:50 p.m. While we wait some more for La Sele’s arrival to Paseo Colón, here’s three more awesome photos of Tico players by the AFP. Costa Rican goalie Keylor Navas waves while de-planing. AFP Costa Rican Cristian Bolanos (R) greets fans upon arrival at Juan Santamaría Airport in Alajuela, 20 km west of San Jose. AFP Costa Rican football players (L-R) Cristian Bolaños, Bryan Ruiz and Keylor Navas sign autographs for fans gathered in the streets of Alajuela. AFP4:56 p.m. While we wait for La Sele’s arrival, listen to Luis Guillermo Solís’ speech to the team from earlier this afternoon:“If everything is possible, as you have taught us, then it is possible to Costa Rica to reach higher goals […] Thanks for the path that you opened, thanks for the goals that you scored, thanks for the goals that you stopped, thanks for carrying the colors of Costa Rica to the summit of the world of sports. Welcome home! And always forward!Here’s the full audio (in Spanish, obviously):4:30 p.m. Cool photo from Radio Monumental of a fan holding a newspaper of the victorious 1990 Costa Rica squad: Wheels down! #LaSeleCR arrives at Juan Santamaría International Airport after historic run at the World Cup. #CRC— Zach Dyer (@zkdyer) July 8, 2014 Related posts:What I’ll tell my daughter about La Sele, 2014 28 photos from La Sele’s homecoming party in Costa Rica on Tuesday Costa Rica’s Óscar Duarte, the first Nicaraguan to score in the World Cup, receives wonderful homecoming celebration Giancarlo González, Costa Rica’s unsung hero of the World Cup, heads to Italy in $5 million deallast_img read more

Health officials testing first two cases of Ticos who could have the

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican health officials seek preventive alert for chikungunya virus Costa Rica registers 2 new cases of chikungunya virus, bringing total number to 47 Double jeopardy: Costa Rica’s Health Ministry reports 2 people were infected with both dengue and chikungunya Costa Rica Health Ministry confirms first case of chikungunya virus Health officials are analyzing blood samples from a 17-year-old man and 30-year-old woman who could become the first two cases of Costa Ricans to test positive for the chikungunya virus.Health Ministry Director of Health Surveillance María Ethel Trejos on Friday evening said both patients – who are from Alajuela and Limón – have symptoms of the disease. Neither had traveled out of the country.“They are being monitored, but both are out of danger,” Trejos said.Currently 11 other patients have chikungunya symptoms. Their blood samples will be sent on Monday to the National Center for Virology at the Costa Rican Institute of Research and Education in Nutrition and Health.The 13 possible cases were detected in the past 30 days. Two are people who recently traveled to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, two countries with the highest number of infected patients in the Americas.Four others are considered a high probability of having contracted the virus because they traveled to countries with an active spread of chikungunya, Trejos said.Earlier this month, Health Ministry officials confirmed the first case of the virus related to Costa Rica after French health officials said a tourist from that country who spent 10 days here showed symptoms following her return home.The woman traveled with her mother and visited San José, Tortuguero, La Fortuna, Monteverde and Quepos.Health Minister María Elena López Núñez called on the population to help stop an outbreak by cleaning up trash and other items that collect stagnant water.The virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, and it shares many of the same symptoms as dengue: high fever, headaches, muscle and joint pain, nausea and rashes. But symptoms are more aggressive than dengue and can persist for up to 10 months.Chikungunya strikes only once – patients become immune from future infection – but it can leave people with rheumatoid arthritis as a consequence. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Southwest Airlines confirms nonstop flight from Baltimore to Costa Rica in 2015

first_imgSouthwest Airlines announced Friday that it plans to add a route from Baltimore to San José. The carrier, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to add its first destination in Central America. The airline would offer daily roundtrip service between Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Juan Santamaria International Airport.The route would  begin operations on March 7, 2015, pending the Department of Transportation’s approval.“We’re ready to add the adventure and beauty of Costa Rica to a growing horizon of international possibility available,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines president, in a press release.Tourism Minister Wilhelm von Breymann welcomed the announcement and said “Ticos share an essence of friendliness and hospitality for which Southwest Airlines is also known. We look forward to offering the nature, culture, history, cuisine, adventure, peace and prosperity of Costa Rica to even more visitors from the United States.”The U.S. is Costa Rica’s main source of tourists and more than 90 percent of them entered the country by air. Last year alone some 870,000 U.S. citizens arrived in the country with a tourist visa according to the Immigration Administration.The airline currently flies internationally to Dominican Republic, Mexico, Aruba, Bahamas and Jamaica. Facebook Comments Related posts:United Airlines announces more nonstop flights to Houston and New York during Christmas season More flights coming: Delta adds Minneapolis and LA routes to Costa Rica JetBlue announces new flight to Costa Rica from Boston starting in November Travelers in Costa Rica can pay departure tax at airports for 3 more monthslast_img read more

Mexican police questioned over US siblings murder

first_imgVía @lapoliciaca: Erica, Alex y José Ángel fueron hallados in vida en #Tamps. QEPD.— @_LaAlameda (@_LaAlameda) October 30, 2014 Related posts:Mexican authorities to confirm if missing students among the dead in a recently discovered mass grave Mexico mayor accused of ordering attack on missing students Military helicopter shot down as drug violence surges in western Mexico Parents of 43 missing students in Mexico wage hunger strike NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico – A group of Mexican police officers were questioned Friday over claims they kidnapped three U.S. siblings who were found dead in the northeast of the country near the U.S. border.Nine agents tasked with providing security for the mayor of the town of Control, Leticia Salazar, were ordered make statements to the top prosecutor of Tamaulipas state, an official told AFP.The officers form part of the so-called Hercules Group, a specialist unit in the nearby city of Matamoros, the scene of battles between the warring Zetas and Gulf drug cartels over the control of lucrative drug routes to the United States.The father of the victims has identified his daughter and two sons — all in their 20s — although the bodies were badly decomposed when found Wednesday.The three siblings were U.S. citizens of Mexican origin. They had crossed the border from Texas to visit their father.The parents had said their children were kidnapped on Oct. 13 by armed men in the town of Control.Salazar, the mayor, gave the prosecutor a list of police officers who were operating a highway checkpoint in the area on the day of their disappearance.She has said she is willing to cooperate with the investigation.The victims are believed to be 26-year-old Erica Alvarado Rivera and her brothers Alex, 22, and José Ángel, 21. Their identities are to be confirmed through DNA analysis.The bodies, which were left to rot more than two weeks in the open, were found bound hand and foot with shots to the head, Tamaulipas state attorney general Ismael Quintanilla said.The grisly discovery comes as Mexican investigators hunt for 43 students who went missing more than a month ago in violence involving police and drug gang hitmen in the south of the country.The case has shocked Mexico — a country weary of years of mostly drug gang-linked violent crime — and brought thousands to the streets demanding justice.About 80,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006. Another 22,000 people are missing. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

The secret lives of leafcutting ants

first_imgRelated posts:Looking back: A microscopic wasp and other amazing Costa Rica wildlife stories Grab your binoculars: It’s Christmas Bird Count season in Costa Rica! PHOTOS: Every Costa Rica sloth image you will ever need to see Urban flocks (Part 1): 5 common birds of San José When looking for wildlife in Costa Rica, it’s easy to become fixated on the unusual mammals and vibrant birds, but one of the country’s most complex creatures lies underfoot.Living in massive colonies of up to 5 million members, leaf-cutter ants (Atta cephalotes*) have walked the Earth for millions of years. The resilient ants can even be found streaming through the street gutters of San José in their characteristic sea of green leaves. Moving along their forged path, each ant will carry a piece of leaf up to three times its own weight.Common sense would indicate that the ants feed on the tiny leaf pieces, but leaf-cutters actually use the clippings to cultivate their own fungal garden. To sustain this production, the ants have evolved intricate societies that are now among the oldest and most elaborate on earth.Three-way symbiosisLeaf-cutter ants’ millennia-long existence can be attributed to their relationships with other organisms. Using leaves cut from trees, the ants cultivate a fungus from which they feed. Studies show that leaf-cutting ants have been cultivating the same strain of fungus for at least 23 million years. Neither the ants nor the fungus can survive without the other, and this link is perhaps the best recognized example of mutual symbiosis, the dependance of two species on each another.The two species are so inter-connected that each new colony begins with both an ant and a fungal growth. A new queen will take a small bit of fungus from the colony where she is born before flying off. The queen will then mate before taking the fungus underground to form the new colony.The first days for a newly anointed colony queen are busy. Along with nursing her young, the queen has to begin growing a new fungal garden by feeding it with her feces. Soon, the queen’s first set of young are large enough to leave the nest to cut leaves to continue to feed the fungus. As the fungus expands, so does the colony.But the ants’ monoculture fungal garden is extremely susceptible to another type of parasitic fungus that the ants cannot ingest. Left uncontrolled, the fungus will form a white growth over the ants’ garden, rendering it inedible and leaving the colony to starve. To combat this threat, the ants — already the world’s first farmers — became the world’s first pharmacists.Female leaf-cutters carry a small patch on their cuticle that grows the bacteria Streptomyces. The ants spread this bacteria over leaves and fungi in the garden to kill other types of fungi. Not only does this particular bacteria ward off parasitic fungi for the leaf-cutters, but it also is found in more than half of the antibiotics in modern medicine today. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)The caste systemTo manage the enormous tasks required for a farming ant colony, leaf-cutters have divided roles, or castes. Leaf-cutters, like many insects, are polymorphic, meaning that within each species there are a number of different body types, each suited to a specific task.Queens, the colonies’ founders, have wings to fly off to start another colony, and are the only fertile female ants in any given colony. Their sole job is reproduction, which is aided by drones, or small, winged males that fly from colony to colony to help queens reproduce.The rest of the ants in the colony are infertile females tasked with protecting the nest and caring for the fungal garden. Soldier ants are the largest in the colony and, as the name implies, are responsible for guarding the other ants from predators. Next down the line are the workers, which forage and cut leaves and carry them back to the colony. There, they pass the leaves on to the smallest ants, the minima, which use their small size to work inside the colony tunnels. These ants are responsible for gardening, feeding other ants, caring for young ants and cleaning other ants and leaves.Leaf-cutters also divide themselves by age and ability. The colonies put their older, weaker ants to work in the colony’s garbage dump. These ants are quickly infected with parasitic fungus and usually do not live long. Their bodies then die in the waste dump away from the healthy ants.Biologists estimate that the ants manage to clear as much as 15 percent of the leaves in Neotropical forests for their fungal gardens indicating massive populations. Today the ants are among the most evolutionary successful creatures on the planet, having survived for tens of millions of years.So the next time you walk through the forest, turn your head from the trees and skies and direct your gaze down for a glimpse at the oldest society on the planet.*Note: There are seven species of leaf-cutting ants found in Costa Rica. Atta cephalotes are the most common.Also Recommended: 6 camouflaged Costa Rican creatures you probably haven’t seenRead more “Into the Wild” columns here Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Live photosharing app Heygo has roots in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica app attracts Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban’s attention Startup wants to make navigating Costa Rica’s public transportation an easy ride Earthquake app launched for Costa Rica Uber to offer rides in Costa Rica starting under $2 Claudio Umaña always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and last year he got his chance. The 36-year-old electrical engineer got a phone call from an old friend from their time together at Intel in Costa Rica with an idea for a smartphone application. Umaña hopped on an airplane and moved to Barcelona, Spain, soon after to get in on the ground floor.The app that got Umaña excited enough to move across the Atlantic was Heygo, a real-time photo streaming service. Currently available only for Android on the Google Play store, it lets users share photos based on live events or themes called “collective moments.” The app went live three months ago. Heygo’s other founders include Nicolás Espinosa — Umaña’s friend from Intel — and Arià Prat.Umaña said they need to convince people it’s not “just another photo-sharing app.” Heygo stands out, he said, because of how it organizes photos around specific events instead of hashtags. “People look for simplicity,” Umaña said. Heygo lets users upload and see public photos related to an event or share them privately between friends. Unlike SnapChat, the photos stay online and can be reviewed later. Umaña said the app also offers higher resolution photos than Instagram without the need to square them. There’s also a human element to the service with curators who help highlight the best, most relevant photos. who use the app appear to like it. Umaña said that while their user base is relatively small – 2,000 in Spain and another 100 in Costa Rica – they enjoy a strong retention rate of active users. But a strong user base is what drives investor interest, Umaña said. Building a critical user base is the next and hardest step to becoming a “killer app.”Umaña grew up in Tibás, a suburb just north of downtown San José. He studied electrical engineering and went on to work for Intel in Heredia and taught at the University of Costa Rica before starting his new life as a tech entrepreneur. Despite the company’s Costa Rican roots, Umaña said his homeland is a difficult place to launch a smartphone app like Heygo.One of the biggest hurdles for Costa Rica is the size of the market. Costa Rica’s population of 4.8 million is slightly larger than the Boston metro area. Smartphones are increasingly popular here but insecurity keeps many from either carrying their device with them or openly using it in public. For a company with the mission to help people share photos they take with their phone, these are big hurdles to growing users, he said. For now, their target market is Spain and eventually Latin America.Besides users, Umaña said Costa Rica can be a hard place to find angel investors to support an app that doesn’t (yet) generate income. Umaña said that Heygo was set up “backwards” for a startup, relying on personal funds from Espinosa and others to develop the app instead of a tech incubator that would provide technical and marketing assistance in exchange for equity in the new company. Heygo didn’t go through an incubator, but the team was selected to participate in several technology workshops, including Google’s Launchpad event in Madrid for tech startups earlier this year.Despite these hurdles, Umaña said they are waiting on a new round of fundraising from potential investors, including some in Costa Rica. The company is already setting its sights on its next project, but Umaña was tight-lipped about the details. Guess we’ll have to download Heygo to find out how it goes. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

DEA agents open Rio de Janeiro office

first_imgRelated posts:Petrobras top management resigns in Brazil corruption case Lula’s bridge to nowhere hints at global reach of Brazil graft After 23 years in prison, top assassin for Pablo Escobar is a ‘reformed’ man An oil scandal in Brazil complicates the race for incumbent president on eve of election RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — U.S. agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have opened an office in Rio de Janeiro, host city for next year’s Olympics, to help local forces fight drug and weapons traffickers, officials said Monday.“There has been cooperation with U.S. federal agents in Rio since August,” a source with the Rio state security office told AFP.The state secretary for security, José Mariano Beltrame, told Globo television that the DEA’s presence “was a boost for the country.”“We will have a specialist group here in Rio de Janeiro,” he said in televised comments.Beltrame said that DEA expertise with international intelligence would help “to identify people, equipment, drugs and other things.”Brazilian police, backed by heavily armed special forces, are locked in a bloody struggle with drug gangs, some of them armed with powerful assault rifles, in poor neighborhoods of Rio known as favelas.Human rights organizations regularly accuse Brazilian police of carrying out impromptu executions and tampering with evidence. With 1,305 murders in 2014 — the last statistics available — Rio de Janeiro is one of the most violent cities in the country.According to Brazilian weekly Isto E, two agents are already in the city, which next August will host South America’s first Olympic Games.“I can confirm that the DEA has opened an office in Rio. It is located at the U.S. consulate general,” DEA spokesman Matt Barden told AFP in Washington.Barden said the DEA had long been active in Brazil but that the new office would increase its effectiveness. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

PHOTOS Costa Rica march demands end to street harassment

first_img Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times The victim of the attack was pregnant, and a physical examination the next day found the fetus had died. The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating Sánchez’s forensic and pregnancy tests to determine if the death was caused by the attack.In a barbaric multiple slaying in Guanacaste last month, suspect Adrián Salmerón Silva killed a family of five, including three children, before fleeing to Nicaragua, where he was apprehended.Last week, a woman in Puntarenas province reported another attack by a customer at her appliance store. A security video shows the man entering the store to pick up an appliance that was being repaired, and minutes later, the man is seeing entering the shop again to punch the woman at least three times.One of the most widely known cases occurred last October, when 22-year-old Costa Rican Gerardo Cruz became a national hero after he posted a video to his Facebook page of a confrontation with a man who had been filming up a woman’s skirt with a smartphone.Three days after posting the video, Cruz was stabbed and later died of a heart attack after remaining in the hospital for nearly a month.Men can be victims, tooMost victims of street harassment and catcalling are overwhelmingly women. But men sometimes are victims, too.A survey by the University of Costa Rica’s School of Statistics released in January found that 61.7 percent of women and 32.8 percent of men surveyed said they were victims of street sexual harassment in the past  year. Both women and men cited catcalling, vulgar gestures, wolf-whistling and being groped.Street harassment in Costa Rica is currently considered a misdemeanor, penalized under Article 392 of the country’s Penal Code. Those found guilty face only a monetary fine ranging from five to 30 days salary, a maximum of about $780. Related posts:New campaign targets sexual harassment in public places Finally some upbeat news for family of Costa Rica’s good Samaritan Gerardo Cruz Police arrest suspected killers of Gerardo Cruz Woman records video of man reaching down her shirt on bus; receives no help from driver Over 100 people on Tuesday evening marched along San José’s Central Avenue to protest the persistent sexual harassment of women – and sometimes men – in public places, including streets, sidewalks, parks and the workplace.Dubbed “Las calles también son nuestras” – “The streets are ours, too” – the demonstration was convened by the National Women’s Institute (INAMU) as part of International Women’s Day.Protesters gathered in front of the Central Bank in the center of Costa Rica’s capital, and at 6 p.m. they walked towards the Plaza de la Cultura chanting slogans and carrying signs.“No means no. What part of that don’t you understand, the N or the O?” chanted protesters, along with, “My body, my choice,” and “No more!”Members of several human rights and LGBT groups joined the protest.Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, first lady Mercedes Peñas and the couple’s daughters joined demonstrators, along with Vice President Ana Helena Chacón and Women’s Issues Minister and INAMU President Alejandra Mora.“I’m here to demand that women can walk and work peacefully in public spaces,” President Solís said. “We cannot tolerate more aggression. Violence is unacceptable.”Recent casesThe demonstration took place two weeks after a video of a man punching a woman on the sidewalk in front of Calderón Guardia Hospital in San José went viral and prompted a criminal investigation.Jennifer Sánchez, 25, told police that she stood up to the man after he began catcalling her on the street. The man reacted by kicking and punching her several times, until a bystander jumped in and stopped the attack.The aggressor was arrested minutes later by police officers patrolling the area. The incident was recorded by a security camera from a nearby store and was posted on the Facebook profiles of several women’s rights groups.See a video report of the incident by Noticias Repretel: Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Crocodile that attacked US surfer captured in Tamarindo

first_imgRelated posts:Why one Costa Rican lawyer is suing the government over crocodiles Death of crocodile in traditional Costa Rican activity stirs controversy Shrimping boat sinks in Guanacaste, spilling diesel on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast Costa Rica declines to vote on shark protections at international convention The crocodile that attacked a U.S. surfer in July in Tamarindo’s Playa Grande Estuary was reported captured on Monday.Officials with the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and Las Baulas National Marine Park, in which the estuary is located, captured and relocated the animal Oct. 16, according to a Monday posting from Tamarindo’s Development Association. However, the news was not made public until yesterday, in the wake of a Tamarindo Tourism Chamber request for a court order forcing SINAC to take action.The tourism chamber issued a request to a San José court this weekend, calling on the SINAC to take action in removing the crocodile that bit 59-year-old U.S. surfer Jon Becker on July 22, causing his leg to be later amputated.Attorney and environmental activist Walter Brenes of Energy Law Firm, who spoke with The Tico Times recently about his claims that the government is ignoring rising crocodile populations, drafted the judicial request demanding a swift response from SINAC. Brenes has argued that the government isn’t conducting the necessary studies and continues to enact environmentally friendly laws that let crocodile numbers boil over in tourism hotbeds like Tamarindo.“I know that crocodiles can be in the ocean, but it’s not rational that the government refuses to help at all with this issue,” Brenes told The Tico Times. “They can’t be so protective of the animals that they put humans in danger and risk tourism dollars.” Representatives of Tamarindo’s Tourism Chamber say that crocodile attacks are endangering the community and harming the international image of the coastal town. Orlando Sierra/AFPSINAC and the Costa Rican Environment Ministry, which are in charge of overseeing wildlife, have publicly said that there is no overpopulation of crocodiles in Costa Rica. Sightings like the ones at a recent international surf competition where crocodiles were seen in the water with surfers in Esterillos Oeste are normal, a SINAC report said.In the Tamarindo Tourism Chamber’s court papers, Brenes said that SINAC’s inability to capture and remove the crocodile that harmed Becker in the nearby Playa Grande Estuary had damaged Tamarindo’s international image for tourists and made the community generally unsafe.Brenes estimated that more than 80 crocodiles are located in or around the Playa Grande Estuary, an area which he said can only support 30 crocodiles. Including the attack on Becker, the town has reported three crocodile attacks in the estuary since 2013.Citing a constitutional right to a healthy and balanced ecosystem, the tourism chamber’s letter to the government read: “Taking this action would guarantee the safety of people, as well as protecting the tourism and commercial interests of the community.”Over the weekend, a local judge gave SINAC three days to respond or petition the relocation request. The government agency then responded Monday with an apparent video of the crocodile’s capture in the estuary more than a week earlier.SINAC representatives have indicated that the species of crocodile in Costa Rica – the crocodylus acutus – can inhabit fresh water, sea water and brackish waters, the latter of which are found in estuaries. These crocodiles instinctually flee from humans unless they are attacking out of self-defense or become disorientated, the SINAC report said.See also: Costa Rica’s crocodile conflicts Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Turkey to introduce elective Kurdish lessons

first_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has long realized that it can’t end the conflict through military measures alone, and has already allowed for Kurdish-language institutes and private Kurdish courses, as well as Kurdish language television broadcasts.Erdogan on Tuesday said his government would allow elective Kurdish-language lessons in lower-level education along with some other languages and dialects.“For example, if enough students come together, Kurdish can be taken as an elective lesson, it will be taught and it will be learned,” Erdogan told his lawmakers in Parliament. “This is a historic step.”But, activists and Kurdish politicians insisted on full Kurdish education in schools. Pinar Dalkus, a 26-year-old lawyer with the independent Human Rights Association in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, said introducing elective Kurdish lessons would not meet their needs.“We all had problems in school and I don’t think elective lessons can solve it,” Dalkus said by telephone. “We think education in Kurdish would be more useful.”Dalkus said some school children were even having difficulty in telling that they need to go to bathroom when they start school. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 ways to recognize low testosteronecenter_img Comments   Share   Devlet Bahceli, leader of a nationalist opposition party, however, said Tuesday that his party would not negotiate any concessions to the rebel group, which is branded as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.Kurdish rebels killed two Turkish soldiers in separate clashes along the Iraqi border in the latest reported violence on Tuesday, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkey on Tuesday announced plans to introduce elective Kurdish language instruction in schools, a step aimed at easing tension that Kurdish minority activists argued didn’t go far enough.Kurdish politicians and activists have been aggressively promoting official use of Kurdish in recent years as part of their growing demands for regional autonomy _ a goal shared by rebels whose fight has killed tens of thousands of people so far. “Some families teach Turkish to their children at home to prepare them for school,” she said. “But some others insist they learn their mother tongue first.”Kurds make up roughly 20 percent of Turkey’s 75 million population. Most of them live in the southeast, though many have migrated to Istanbul and other western cities to escape war and poverty in past decades.Gulten Kisanak, deputy chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, told a meeting of her party in Parliament that allowing only elective language lessons for people whose “mother tongue is Kurdish amounts to oppression.”Turkey says the country was indivisible and that no attempt at challenging the official Turkish language will be accepted. Turkey’s constitution says the official language is Turkish and prosecutors are opening investigations into direct challenges to the law.The EU, which Turkey is striving to join, has pushed the Turkish government to grant more rights to the Kurds. But EU countries also have urged Kurdish lawmakers to distance themselves from the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK.Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition party, has sought national consensus to try to end the fighting. Erdogan said his party was open to dialogue with all parties, including the pro-Kurdish party, for a solution. Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Belarusian gets ax for the hammer and sickle

first_imgVILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) – A Belarusian man was not allowed to enter Lithuania in his Porsche because a hammer-and-sickle _ the indelible symbol of the Soviet Union _ was stickered on the car’s hood.Displaying Nazi or Soviet symbols is illegal in Lithuania, a former Soviet republic that was occupied by the communist regime for a half-century but regained independence in 1991.Lithuania’s state border guard says the 26-year-old man had a valid passport and visa but was told he could only enter Lithuania by foot or bus. The car would have to remain behind. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Border guard spokesman Rokas Pukinskas said Tuesday the man chose to drive back to Belarus, where Soviet symbols are still fashionable.Lithuania passed a law in 2008 prohibiting the public display of Soviet symbols, including military uniforms and the Soviet anthem. Violators face fines of up to 1,000 litas ($350).(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   How do cataracts affect your vision?center_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories last_img read more

Rains bring little relief to Brazil energy sector

first_img Sponsored Stories Top Stories Associated PressBRASILIA, Brazil (AP) – Recent rains have brought some relief to the depleted reservoirs of Brazil’s hydroelectric plants but have done little to dispel concerns over the country’s ability to fulfill its energy demands for the year.A hotter than usual summer and lack of rain have caused water levels at hydroelectric dams in most of the country to drop to a third of their capacity. The levels are similar to those registered in 2001, when rationing was imposed and blackouts occurred. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Brazil has an installed power generating capacity 121,000 megawatts, a figure the government says it will double over the next 10 years.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   The government has said Brazil will not resort to energy rationing because the country has thermal power plants that can be activated.“The situation is worrisome because water levels at the reservoirs remain very low,” Claudio Sales, president of the energy analysis group Instituto Ascende, said Tuesday. “All we can do now is to wait for more rain.”Hydroelectric plants account for about 80 percent of the electricity generated in Brazil.Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao has repeatedly guaranteed that Brazil has sufficient energy supplies amid growing fears that power shortages could frustrate the government’s 2013 GDP growth estimates of 4 percent.“Brazil’s electricity system is based on several sources of energy,” Lobao said in a signed article published Sunday by the Folha d S. Paulo newspaper. “Low water levels at the reservoirs are compensated by thermal plants fueled by natural gas, diesel and biomass energy, and an expanding wind energy sector.”Reservoirs in southern Brazil dropped to 35 percent of their capacity while those in the nation’s north dipped as low as 18 percent.Rains that started falling last week increased levels at reservoirs by 1 percent, according to the Electric Energy System Operator that oversees the power generation, transmission and distribution. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more