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3000 cancellations 1 million minutes of delays Europes ATC strikes unacceptable

first_img Thursday, September 15, 2016 Share Travelweek Group 3,000 cancellations, 1 million minutes of delays: Europe’s ATC strikes “unacceptable” << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img MADRID — Europe’s air traffic controller strikes have hit a new high, and at the same time, a new low: according to IATA, Europe’s ATC strikes have caused one million minutes of delays across the continent this year (and it’s only September). The news comes as France ATCs begin yet another strike, their 14th so far this year.IATA is calling for governments to take steps to ensure service continuity in the face of industrial action. “The current frequency of disputes is totally unacceptable,” said IATA’s European Regional Vice President, Rafael Schvartzman. “European air travellers have suffered an incredible one million minutes of delay and over 3,000 cancelled flights as a result of strikes this year. And today is yet another day of French strikes. Every hour wasted impacts European productivity as businesses are disrupted. And it hurts holiday-makers when plans need to be altered. The time has come for European governments to work together to ensure the essential service of air traffic control is able to continue even during strikes.”More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Controller strikes in France today are expected to lead to the cancellations of at least 15% of flights out of Paris, according to IATA. “Air Traffic Controllers are highly-compensated professionals in a dynamic industry. They should be embracing reforms that are critical to delivering the safety, capacity, cost and environmental improvements European air travellers deserve,” said Schvartzman.He called on governments to ensure service continuity for air traffic management services. “The European economy needs reliable air connectivity. It cannot afford to have its airspace closed like this. A starting point to keeping Europe’s skies open would be for each country to develop its own national airspace strategy, in consultation with airlines, which contains provisions for ensuring service continuity during periods of industrial action or equipment failure.”Airspace strategies should set out how individual European states will modernize and reform their air navigation systems in order to deliver improvements which will benefit passengers and the European economy, he addded. Central to these aims are the goals of the Single European Sky (SES) project, which aims to improve safety and reduce costs, delays and emissions. Due to a lack of political will at state level, the SES has languished without significant progress for many years, said Schvartzman. Tags: IATA Posted bylast_img read more

Canadians enjoy up to 45 off accommodations activities in the Caymans

first_img Thursday, April 6, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Posted by Sharecenter_img Tags: Cayman Islands, Promotions TORONTO — Canadian sun-seekers won’t be able to resist the call of the Cayman Islands this summer, with incredible savings of up to 45% off accommodations and experiences, and nonstop flights from Toronto.The ‘Summer Only In Cayman’ promotion runs until June 30 for travel between June 1 and Sept. 4. Accommodation partners include some of the destination’s finest hotels, condominium properties and guesthouses with lodging deals such as resort credits, dive packages and reduced rates up to 45% off.Participating properties include:HOTELSKimpton Seafire Resort + SpaThe Ritz-Carlton, Grand CaymanGrand Cayman Marriott Beach ResortThe Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort + SpaGrand Caymanian ResortWyndham Reef ResortSunshine Suites ResortSunset HouseHoliday Inn ResortPACKAGESWestJet Vacations – Wyndham Reef ResortCONDOMINIUMS / GUEST HOUSES:Aqua Bay ClubThe Grandview CondominiumsThe Anchorage CondominiumsLacovia Grand CaymanCayman CondosThe RenaissanceHarbour HeightsOcean ParadiseShangri-La Bed + BreakfastHammock MoonMore news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsLand-based operators that are also offering reduced rates and deals include Sealand Adventure Tours (20% off its 7-Mile Beach WaveRunner & Snorkel Experience), Leisure Boat Club (membership packages starting at $2,500), Capt. Marvin’s Watersports Ltd. (20% cash discount on three-stop stingray/snorkel tours on adult fares), and Cayman Islands Boat Rentals (10% discount on all full day reservation).A number of restaurants and attractions are also participating in the promotion, including Cayman Cabana Restaurant, Cimboco, Cayman Islands National Museum, Pedro St. James National Historic Site, the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, and Nature Cayman.Air Canada offers four-hour, year-round service with nonstop flights from Toronto to Grand Cayman, with up to five flights a week in April. WestJet also offers four-hour, nonstop flights from Toronto to Grand Cayman, with two flights a week in April and Sunday departures in May and June.For more information on ‘Summer Only In Cayman’, go to Canadians enjoy up to 45% off accommodations & activities in the Caymanslast_img read more

Enjoying vintage Hawaii with Moana Surfriders new package

first_img HONOLULU — The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, is inviting guests to experience the traditions of ‘The First Lady of Waikiki’ with the new Moana Experience Package.This custom-made promotion allows guests to experience the vintage charm of Waikiki’s first hotel while enjoy contemporary island comforts designed to rejuvenate mind, body and soul.The package includes the following experiences (once per stay):Two welcome beverages under the shade of the resort’s iconic banyan tree at the Beach BarBreakfast buffet for two at the VerandaOceanfront dining at the Beachhouse at the Moana using a US$150 dining creditAfternoon Tea for two at the VerandaFull-day beach rental, complete with two beach chairs and an umbrella on Moana Beach, the resort’s private beach45-minute Couple’s Heavenly Spa Signature Massage in a private oceanfront spa suite at the Moana Lani SpaFirst Lady of Waikiki historical keepsake bookRates start at $433 per night in Historic Banyan accommodations, and $543 per night in historic Banyan Ocean accommodations. These rates are based on double occupancy and require a minimum four-night stay.For more information call 866-716-8140 and ask for rate plan LZPKG1. Tuesday, September 26, 2017 Travelweek Group Tags: Hawaii, Westin Hotels & Resorts Posted bycenter_img Enjoying vintage Hawaii with Moana Surfrider’s new package Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Flight attendant gets fired after saying yes to inflight wedding proposal

first_img SHANGHAI — Love is officially dead, and an airline may be to blame.As reported on, a Chinese Eastern Airlines flight attendant, 26-year-old Jiao, was given the surprise of her life last May when her boyfriend of four years proposed to her onboard a flight from Xi’an to Yichuan. Captured on video, the young man is seen on bended knee in the middle of the aisle, holding out a diamond ring.Jiao, obviously, said yes. Cue the applause and the tears. And then the boyfriend – now fiancé – adorably bowed toward the cabin before awkwardly embracing and kissing his beloved.Sweet, right? And super romantic. Only China Eastern Airlines doesn’t think so.Asia One has reported that Jiao was recently fired by the airline, which considered the whole proposal irresponsible behaviour and a security threat to all those onboard.Reactions in China have been mixed, with some defending Jiao (after all, how could she have known in advance of the proposal?), while others saying her boyfriend should’ve waited until the plane landed and kept their personal relationship on private mode.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongWhat do you think? Is there no place for love while in the air? Share Friday, September 14, 2018 Flight attendant gets fired after saying ‘yes’ to in-flight wedding proposal Travelweek Group center_img Posted by Tags: China Eastern Airlines, Romance & Weddings << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

More a la carte pricing for Carnivals room service menu

first_imgMore a la carte pricing for Carnival’s room service menu << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Carnival Cruise Line, Room Service Posted by Sharecenter_img Thursday, January 3, 2019 MIAMI — Carnival is implementing an a la carte pricing policy for just about everything on its room service menu.Carnival has been making the move to the a la carte price structure over many months.Many items had already switched over to new pricing grid but some light options including several salads, sandwiches and desserts were still free. Starting in mid-January everything will have a price tag – with the exception of the continental breakfast.In a statement to USA Today the cruise line said it was making the move in part of cut back on food waste, and said it was committed to continue offering many free food options across its fleet. Travelweek Group last_img read more

Increase in Canadians new cruise port and hotels for the DR

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, April 2, 2019 Tags: Dominican Republic, Statistics Increase in Canadians, new cruise port and hotels for the D.R. Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — The Dominican Republic has once again solidified its reputation for being a top vacation destination, welcoming over 900,000 Canadians in 2018.In total, the country recorded more than 6.5 million passengers via air travel last year, a 6.2% increase of more than 380,000 additional arrivals compared to 2017. Of that, 904,460 were Canadian, representing an increase of 67,356 from 2017.According to the Dominican Civil Aviation Board (JAC), one of the topmost trafficked flight routes was Toronto to Punta Cana.Cruising is also anticipated to increase following the Dominican Republic Port Authority’s recent announcement of a US$125 million cruise port scheduled for 2020. The port will be able to handle 680,000 passengers per year, with five cruise lines already planning on calling there, including Virgin Voyages’ brand new Scarlet Lady.In hotel news, Marriot International’s $350 million project will add three new luxury resorts – possibly a Ritz-Carlton and a W – to the Puerto Plata region. Moreover, Hilton recently opened two new all-inclusive hotels in La Romana, while the highly anticipated Club Med Miches, Playa Esmeralda continues to generate big buzz, recently ranking on Forbes Magazine’s list of most anticipated 2019 Caribbean properties.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoPunta Cana also welcomed the country’s first BG Hotel Group property, which offers a total of 345 rooms ranging from Junior Suites to Premium Suites, as well as seven restaurants, eight bars and several pools. The latest property from H10 Hotels is also open – Ocean El Faro – an all-inclusive resort on famous Uvero Alto beach boasting 618 rooms, 13 bars, 10 restaurants, a spa centre, pools and a 293-room, adults-only phase called El Beso coming later this year.Excellence Group Luxury Hotels and Resorts will be expanding with a new all-inclusive luxury resort in Punta Cana. The resort, slated to open in the first half of 2020, will offer 450 suites and will be the third brand location in the Dominican Republic.In addition to the region of Miches, the Dominican Republic has set its sights on developing a new tourism hub in the area of Bahia de las Aguilas, on the country’s southwestern coast. The new destination will include the construction of an airport, port areas and the possibility of building more than 15,000 new hotel rooms in the area.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaFor golfers, Greg Norman is in the process of constructing his first Dominican golf course in Santo Domingo. The 18-hole course is set on 1.1 million square metres and is expected to open in late 2019. Also, the high-end Rio San Juan Golf Course at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club recently celebrated its grand opening and is anticipated to become one of the country’s best golf courses.For more information visit Share Posted bylast_img read more

The charmed life of surfer Andrea Díaz

first_imgDíaz placed fifth in the world again, which she still considered an accomplishment. The placement, along with the fine surfing of former gold medalist Craig “Tequila” Schreiber, who this year took home a copper medal for his fourth-place finish in the over-50 Grand Kahunas, allowed Coast Rica, as a team, to place 10th among the 26 countries invited to compete in Nicaragua.Back home in Tamarindo after a doctor’s visit, the petite Díaz discovered that she had dislocated her ankle, and is now in a splint. This does not deter the champion from her day job, which is running Waves Costa Rica, the only Roxy/Quiksilver surf shop and camp in Costa Rica, and the first in Latin America. Being the top in the world, she said, helps her credibility with students. Plus, she is a former national champion, having earned that title in 1999.Díaz has always been competitive. Before learning to surf at 17, she was a swimmer, and she competed with the Costa Rica National Team the year they were vying for the Atlanta Olympics. She didn’t make the Olympic team, but it wasn’t too much of a bummer. She preferred to be at the beach. Born and raised in San José, she volunteered to be a park ranger in Playa Grande, just north of Tamarindo, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. “That was the only way to get my parents to give me permission to go to the beach,” she said. “I ended up spending one month in Playa Grande and one month in Tamarindo, which is when I learned to surf. No one taught me; it was easier for me because I was a competitive swimmer. I was such a fast paddler, and I was up and riding my first time in the water. Right then I developed a passion for surf.”Díaz was good at it from the start, free surfing around Tamarindo, the only girl at the breaks. The boys would see her paddling out and shout that she was going to get crushed. Not only did she show up the local guys, but she also went on to enter national competitions – in the men-only open categories – and winning them.As the surf contests evolved, they eventually developed a women’s category, but it featured only Díaz and Jacó’s Lisbeth Vindas, now a nine-time national women’s champion. In 1999, following the year she competed in Venezuela, Díaz was challenged by a few more women but still secured the Costa Rica womens’ national surf trophy. As the champion in 2000, she joined the national team in Brazil.For Díaz, surfing permeated every aspect of her life, whether she was in the water or on land. She drew notice of Roxy, one of the biggest surf clothing and accessories companies in the world. In 2002, Díaz became a Roxy-sponsored lifestyle athlete and the world opened up to her. Now there were surf photo shoots in places like Hawaii and Trinidad and Tobago, sometimes alongside big-time surf champions like Sofia Mulanovich and Kassia Meador.As time passed, Díaz began to embrace other, more land-based priorities. When she became a mother, her taste for surf contests diminished, she said. But with Roxy’s financial support, she convened with fellow national champions Gilbert Brown and Germaine “Nino” Myrie to open Waves Costa Rica in Playa Hermosa. The idea was to have a surf camp and school that reflected a love of surfing and Costa Rica. After a few years, Díaz moved the surf camp and her family – a husband, two girls and a boy (Lia, Sol and Kai) – to Tamarindo and the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas.At Waves, she offers specialty packages designed for women, men or mixed surf camps, as well as daily surf lessons for drop-ins. Packages can also be designed with daily yoga classes, or with excursions such as canopy, estuary or ATV tours. Experienced surfers can get guided tours to any of the many surf breaks located in the area.Díaz’s status as a national champion and a world-renowned surfer sets Waves apart from other surf schools in the area, but according to Díaz, it’s the vibes and passion of the team that really draws clients. Since Díaz started Waves nine years ago, she has always found it rewarding.“I believe it’s my instinct to be a teacher or mentor,” Díaz says. “I have always been around sports. I realized that to teach surf is not just a physical thing, there’s a psychological part. I’m a great motivator.”Never one to remain idle for even a moment, surfing’s cheerleader also works diligently in the community, and recently started weekly surf lessons for underprivileged kids through CEPIA, (Culture, Education and Psychology for Infants and Adolescents). Pro surfers who participated in Díaz’s recent surf contest and activity day, Surf for Youth, donated equipment for those lessons.When she’s not doing philanthropic work, running Waves Costa Rica or spending time with her family, Díaz can still be found out in the water, power surfing. While she won’t do the circuit anymore, feeling it takes too much away from her life in Tamarindo, there is still hope she will join the Costa Rica National Masters team next year.“Who knows, I’m pretty settled with my life here in Tamarindo,” Díaz said. “My life, my business and my family revolve around surfing. It is what helps bring food to the table. We love our job to the point where it’s not a job anymore.” Facebook Comments From the print editionAndrea Díaz went to Playa Colorado, Nicaragua, last month with the intention of winning a medal for Costa Rica in the International Surfing Association’s (ISA) World Master Surfing Championships. The 36-year-old surfer from Tamarindo knew what she had to do. Without much preparation before last year’s El Salvador’s Masters, she had surfed her way to the No. 5 spot for women over 35 – in the world. This time, however, the Tica trained. Díaz worked out in a strenuous boot camp with Tamarindo physical trainer and surf instructor Scott Kadowaki, and was often seen running from her home in the nearby town of Villareal to her Waves Costa Rica surf shop at the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas.“In Nicaragua, I was passing first in all of my heats and getting the highest scores,” Díaz said. She had to pass one more heat, the Repercharge Finals, to place into the principal finals, which award medals for every position. (Repercharge are the second-chance heats surfers in ISA events compete in after they fall out of the principle heats.)But it wasn’t to be. During the ISA Aloha Cup – a tag-team event featuring surfers of the best eight teams from last year – Díaz popped her ankle doing a floater maneuver during her turn in the water. “It was okay because we brought home a bronze medal for Costa Rica,” she said.Still, Díaz wanted more than anything to rally for her individual heat the next day. “It was really painful to surf, and we were in such a remote place that there wasn’t access to a real doctor,” she recalled. “I was hoping that adrenaline would kick in, or I’d be able to manage on a really perfect wave, but I didn’t have any luck. At least I was third and not last in my heat.” No related posts.last_img read more

US nationbuilding efforts should be in Central America not Iraq and Afghanistan

first_imgRelated posts:Central American child migrant crisis ‘one of the greatest tragedies,’ says Costa Rica’s Solís Fix the immigration crisis at its root Nearly three quarters of US citizens think their country should shelter (not rush to deport) unaccompanied minors Mexico stops Central American migrants from climbing ‘Beast’ train It’s nice to see the United States paying attention to Central America again. Too bad it took tens of thousands of desperate children pouring across the border to attract our interest.If we’d done more to help our poor, violence-racked neighbors to the south over the past couple of decades, then there’s a good chance we wouldn’t be struggling with the current crisis.Instead, we were so busy with nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq that we didn’t bother trying to do the same in countries that are closer, smaller, easier to influence, and at least as crucial to our well-being.One prominent politician with similar views, based partly on personal experience in the region, is U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. He taught in 1980 and 1981 in a Jesuit school in Honduras near San Pedro Sula, the murder-ridded city that seems to be producing more young migrants than any other.Kaine laments that Washington has cut spending to support public security in Central America in recent years, while the U.S. appetite for cocaine shipped through the region has helped fuel the criminality contributing to the exodus.“These kids overwhelmingly are refugees from an intolerably violent situation in their neighborhoods,” Kaine said. “The overwhelming cause is drug trafficking. … The amount of money to be made from selling drugs in the United States is so massive that it has corrupted civil institutions in the country – judiciary and the police – and gangs that want to make more money are killing anybody that gets in their way.”Kaine would divert some of the billions spent to try to close the U.S.-Mexican border to strengthen law enforcement, boost economic growth and improve education in Central America.“We’re being penny-wise and pound-foolish,” Kaine said. “We’re spending money on the wrong things. We need to be helping to rebuild civil society.”There’s no question that a major factor contributing to the surge of young migrants is the now-notorious loophole in immigration law, adopted in 2008, that gave them an incentive to enter the United States without documents.But there’s also no question that the rush to emigrate wouldn’t be nearly so strong if not for the violence and poverty in the migrants’ home countries.It’s also clear that Central American governments need to take much more responsibility for fixing their problems. Unfortunately, they’re dominated by wealthy elites who hire private security guards to protect them in gated compounds and, thus, don’t suffer from the lawlessness afflicting fellow citizens.As with Kaine, my interest in the subject stems in part from personal experience. In the mid-1980s, I was a Washington Post correspondent covering civil wars in Central America in which the U.S. government was deeply involved.At that time, the threats posed by a leftist government in Nicaragua and Marxist-led guerrillas in El Salvador made the isthmus the hottest story around. White crosses in memory of victims of violence are seen around Tegucigalpa, Honduras, after being placed by members of human rights organizations on July 9, 2014. Honduras, where gangs fight over drug trafficking routes, has the world’s highest homicide rate — 79 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. Orlando Sierra/AFPWashington invested billions of dollars in military and economic aid for the region. It was taken for granted that making Central America safe and prosperous was vital to our own future.That common wisdom evaporated as soon as the leftist menace faded with the civil wars’ end in the 1990s. Washington returned to its usual attitude toward the region: apathy and neglect. Despite repeated warnings from experts at institutions such as the Inter-American Dialogue and the Washington Office on Latin America, we looked the other way while the criminal gangs took root and economies stagnated.The United States even contributed directly to creating the gangs. The two most powerful and dangerous gangs – MS-13 and 18th Street – originated in Los Angeles.When members were caught and imprisoned, they were often deported back to their home countries. There, with few family ties or job prospects, they continued their criminal ways.“Our deportation strategies weren’t really thinking about what they were producing on the other end,” said Joy Olson, executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America. “What the United States needs to do is to realize that our futures are integrally linked with the countries around us. If we want to be safe, it’s not just about putting up bigger walls. It’s about helping the region develop, and helping people in the region be safe.”If only we can sustain our attention.Robert McCartney is a columnist for The Washington Post’s Metro section.© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Libertarian lawmaker Otto Guevara files criminal complaint against port authority officials for

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Longshoremen suspend strike to protect paychecks Costa Rica’s Labor Ministry suspends talks with unions over port project after president’s picture burned UPDATE: Atlantic ports paralyzed after dockworkers go on ‘indefinite’ strike Hurting the bottom line: Delays from dock strike have impact on business More than 1,500 dockworkers affiliated with the union SINTRAJAPwent on strike for 16 days, yet the Atlantic Port Authority’s (JAPDEVA) board of directors on Wednesday voted to pay them full wages for their time away from the job. In response, the Libertarian Movement Party’s top lawmaker, Otto Guevara, on Thursday filed a criminal complaint alleging embezzlement against JAPDEVA’s Executive President Anne McKinley and other top officials at the agency.Guevara said the criminal lawsuit includes charges of alleged embezzlement, dereliction of duty and violation of the principle of legality.“Their decision constitutes a misuse of public funds, and they should be prosecuted. Whatever arguments they cited are irrelevant,” Guevara said on Thursday morning. The lawmaker and former presidential candidate said he would personally deliver the complaint to the Prosecutor’s Office at 3:30 p.m.JAPDEVA board members on Wednesday argued that because the strike had not yet been ruled illegal, it was inappropriate to take disciplinary action against employees.“The legality or illegality of the strike should only be considered for the purpose of firing employees without employer liability. The situation here is a decision about whether to pay public workers who failed to report for the job,” Guevara said.A court in the Caribbean port city of Limón declared the strike illegal last week, but SINTRAJAP has appealed that ruling. Government officials said it would be inappropriate to take disciplinary action before a ruling on that appeal.Government officials and SINTRAJAP leaders on Wednesday reached an agreement to end the strike thanks to mediation by the new ombudswoman, Montserrat Solano. Among the conditions for ending the strike, the two sides agreed there would be no sanctions against striking workers except those involved in acts of violence and vandalism.Related: Barely 2 weeks into her term, Costa Rica’s new ombudswoman has resolved half of the office’s pending casesGuevara said that agreements by public officials can’t violate the country’s laws.“All citizens are equal before the law. There are no excuses to pay employees for days they refused to work,” he said.SINTRAJAP leader José Luis Castillo told the news site that the union regretted the lawmaker’s decision and called Guevara’s statements “unfortunate.” The statements “will only exacerbate the situation,” he said.On his Facebook profile Guevara asked his followers if they supported the government’s decision to pay full salaries to employees who did not work during the strike.last_img read more

USVenezuela clash threatens to overshadow upcoming Summit of the Americas

first_imgThe ongoing clash between the United States and Venezuela threatens to take center stage at the7th Summit of the Americas, scheduled for April 10 and 11 in Panama.Panamanian authorities have been meeting with counterparts of different countries, seeking to decrease the spiraling political tension after U.S. President Barack Obama ordered new sanctions against Venezuela. The South American nation reacted bitterly to the order, which called Venezuela an “extraordinary threat” to U.S. security.Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro has said he will give Obama a letter at the summit signed by millions of Venezuelans demanding the executive order be repealed.Maduro’s administration is backed by several Latin American leftist governments, who have described the order as a threat to sovereignty.Watch President Maduro send a message in, err, English? to President Obama: According to Panama’s Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Isabel de Saint Malo, the host government has been working to promote understanding and dialogue ahead of the regional meeting.“In line with our call for dialogue and our vocation to promote understanding, we’ve been speaking with many countries in the region, seeking dialogue to confront this situation so that understanding prevails,” she told reporters last month at Organization of American States (OAS) headquarters in Washington.According to de Saint Malo, Panama’s government is planning “a very relevant agenda” for the summit, aimed at discussing issues such as development and equality throughout the continent. The host administration also hopes the meeting will be a space for “the free debate of ideas,” she added.Meanwhile Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs María Luisa Navarro told international correspondents last month that the summit would not close with either a formal final declaration or references to political issues.She said a consensual and more technical document was being drafted, focused on eight topics: citizen participation, democratic governance, education, energy, health, infrastructure, migration and security. The document includes a call for all governments to take action in those areas, she said.“There’s no intention to introduce any political topic,” Navarro said. Panamanian border police attend a kidnapping and hostage drill during a presentation of the agents that will provide security for the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Meteti, Darien province, 260 km southeast of Panama City, on April 1, 2015. Rodrigo Arangua/AFPAlso speaking at the OAS meeting last month, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said the regional meeting should be “a summit of happiness, … [and] for the first time we’d be with Cuba, we’d be complete, we’d have the picture of all the presidents in fraternity, thinking of the future and overcoming conflict.”Cuba will be participating in the summit for the first time.Within the framework of the summit, hundreds of the region’s business leaders are scheduled to meet April 9 and 10 with at least four presidents, including Obama and Panama President Juan Carlos Varela. Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, is among the scheduled speakers.Cuban dissidents are also expected to make an appearance at the summit.The first Summit of the Americas was held in Miami in 1994, with subsequent meetings held around the hemisphere every four to five years.Recommended reading:US sanctions lost in Venezuela’s translationVenezuelan, Cuban opposition leaders ask Costa Rica to back their causeCosta Rica recalls its ambassador to Venezuela after pro-Maduro statements Facebook Comments Related posts:Bolivia’s Evo Morales: Obama should lift the embargo and return Guantánamo Naval base to Cuba Obama orders deeper Venezuela sanctions over abuses How would George Kennan respond to Nicaragua’s ‘military dependency’ on Russia? Obama suggests Cuba’s removal from terror list may be nearlast_img read more

Analysis Why Costa Ricas football team will get back to the World

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Jamaica Part II: Will Costa Rica’s La Sele find its killer instinct? World Cup 2018: Costa Rica draws another ‘group of death’ Sloth Kong nurses Panama back to health as La Sele takes lead in World Cup group play 9-man Costa Rica squad falls in last minute to Venezuela Somewhere amid the mud and rain of Costa Rica’s2-1 World Cup Qualifying win in Panama last week the Ticos found their groove. Atop the drenched grasses of Rommel Fernández Stadium in Panama City, which was awash in an ugly downpour that never abated, Costa Rica’s men’s national team drew up a beautiful mixture of selfless play and aggressive ball movement that has lifted it into consideration as an overwhelming favorite to land one of CONCACAF‘s three automatic World Cup berths for Russia 2018.A few days after playing an uninspired match in a 1-0 win against regional doormat Haiti, a Costa Rica team playing with half of its regular starters out with injuries surprised bitter rival Panama to take sole ownership of Group B of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying with six points. If “La Sele” hangs on to win the group, it will then advance to the final six, known as the “Hexagonal,” to fight for a spot in the top three and receive qualification.It’s easy to see that Costa Rica is playing its best football in some time, following a recent 11-month winless streak that ended in September with new coach Óscar Ramírez‘s second game, a 1-0 win over Uruguay. But what had been harder to visualize up until the surprising win over Panama was how Ramírez would define this selection’s style going forward. Under Jorge Luís Pinto, who engineered Costa Rica’s historic result in the 2014 World Cup, La Sele was a defensive labyrinth that relied on suffocating opposing teams’ best offensive threats and lulling them into offsides penalties.Under Ramírez, a similarly defensive-minded scheme calls for five defenders to be behind a 2-2-1 rotation – with the one being a lone striker that tries to force as many breakaway opportunities as possible. Marco Ureña, who lined up as the striker against Panama, scored on one such breakaway after receiving a pinpoint pass from Ronald Matarrita. Ramírez, who is now 4-2 as Costa Rica’s manager, players say their coach maintains an obsessive control over strategy but translates it to both starters and reserves in a way that maximizes the strengths of any player who has to fill in. So even with all of Costa Rica’s missing pieces sidelined, the wheel has still been able to turn without interruption.“Each player has assumed their own responsibility and everyone understands the strategy,” veteran defender Júnior Díaz told the daily La Nación. “He communicates with players so that they’re on the same page and everyone understands their function.”Whereas Pinto was notorious for being brash and disliked by many of his players, Ramírez has so far been a dream for Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) officials who were looking for both a competent tactician and a likable ambassador after Paulo Wanchope’s dismal, winless 2015 campaign ended with a brawl. There’s plenty of reason for optimism when it comes to the future of Costa Rican football as it looks to be on track to qualify for a second straight World Cup.Here’s why:Ramírez has found a supporting cast he can rely onIn a way, the mounting list of injuries has acted as a silver lining for Ramírez. While he has never had a full roster to work with during his short tenure thus far, Ramírez has been able to assume the mad scientist role and play around freely with different combinations that can fit his five-back lineup. There has been no better addition to this team than defender Ronald Matarrita, the 21-year-old who played under Ramírez when he coached at Alajuelense in Costa Rica’s First Division.The young star, who actually plays in the midfield for his club, has transitioned beautifully while sliding to left back in Ramírez’s scheme. Already he’s been Costa Rica’s greatest defensive presence in the two qualifying games, while also being an igniter for the offense, as shown by his assist to Ureña against Panama. Matarrita has proven in just six games for La Sele that he deserves a starting role in each qualifying game going forward, even when this roster is fully healthy.“Matarrita has responded in an incredible way,” Ramírez said. “He’s an exceptional player and shows it with his composure on the field.”Next to Matarrita on the back line, 27-year-old Major League Soccer star Kendall Waston made just his fourth ever cap for La Sele in Panama. Though Waston is more than serviceable on defense, the 6′ 5″ player who was a finalist for the MLS Defender of the Year Award could actually make his biggest mark on offense for a team in desperate need of height.Against Panama, Waston made his presence felt in front of the net from the opening minutes, when he nearly fired home a header off a corner kick but was denied on a great save by opposing goalie Jaime Penedo. In the second half, it was Waston who spurred along Costa Rica’s first goal. Watch below as Waston, #19, keeps the ball alive by using his thick body to overpower defenders and soar above them to win possession and set up Bryan Ruíz’s 65th minute goal:center_img Though Waston may not keep a starting job when players like Óscar Duarte and Bryan Oviedo come back from injury, he should be a key bench player that Ramírez can count on. On top of Matarrita and Waston, Ramírez has plucked out other relatively unknown commodities like 30-year-old midfielder Óscar Granados, who filled in admirably for Celso Borges for a game and a half after Borges broke his foot against Haiti. Granados was constantly attacking and applying pressure to Panama, highlighting just how many hidden gems Ramírez has been able to find and plug in to any position on the field.“Today showed that the selection isn’t just 17 or 18 players and that Óscar can keep looking for options,” said FEDEFUTBOL President Rodolfo Villalobos after the win over Panama.La Sele still has an experienced core to build aroundAfter slaying football giants like Italy and Uruguay at the 2014 World Cup, Costa Rica proved it could play with and beat anyone on the planet. While silencing some of the game’s best talents like Wayne Rooney, Andrea Pirlo, and Edinson Cavani, a crop of Tico stars ascended to become well-known names themselves. Bryan Ruíz, Keylor Navas, and Celso Borges will all be north of 30 years old by the time the 2018 World Cup kicks off, but the trio that carried Costa Rica to glory in Brazil should all have enough left in the tank to make another run at the elimination stages.Next to La Sele’s three most important pieces is a younger, but equally experienced group that includes the likes of striker Joel Campbell (23), midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda (23), and defender Cristian Gamboa (26). Add in fellow World Cup veterans Duarte and Ureña and La Sele has a clear core of players to revolve around on its path to Russia.Ramírez’s most challenging task ahead may be finding a reliable forward that can team with Campbell and Ureña to put added pressure on opposing defenses. One of the likely candidates to fill that goal-scoring void should be 22-year-old Saprissa star David Ramírez, who scored three goals under Pinto and Wanchope but has yet to suit up for Ramírez’s selections. The forward is a bull dog on the pitch who has the necessary speed and balance to give Ramírez a consistent threat on offense. The coach may also turn to another young player like John Jairo Ruíz, who is expected to fill out as a more complete player before 2018.No matter who Ramírez selects for upcoming World Cup qualifiers, he has the clear luxury of having one of the most experienced and game-ready rosters in the region, next to Mexico. Costa Rica’s Johnny Acosta, center, heads the ball next to Panama’s Gabriel Gomez, left, and Anibal Godoy during the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup CONCACAF Qualifiers match, in Panama City, on Nov. 17, 2015. Rodrigo Arangua/AFPCosta Rica poised to loom large over weak CONCACAFIn terms of competition in the region, half of CONCACAF’s World Cup qualifiers from last year are plummeting downwards and require a lot of work before they’ll be able to qualify for 2018. The United States, which has historically been a shoe-in to take one of the region’s qualifying bids, faces a multitude of question marks, most of which are directed towards coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The man who led native Germany to third place in the 2006 World Cup could very well be out of a job by 2016 as the U.S. continues to look passive and lifeless against decent competition. A fourth place finish in July’s Gold Cup marred by consecutive losses to Jamaica and Panama proved that the U.S. is no longer the region’s top dog.Another of the region’s qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup was Honduras, which has now turned into an absolute mess. There was a fair amount of hope that the squad would improve after Pinto – who looked like a genius after leading Costa Rica to the quarterfinals in Brazil – took over for the nearby Central American country. But Pinto’s squad suffered two straight losses – to Canada and Mexico – to begin qualifying play and sit in last place of the group that also includes a weak El Salvador team. Pinto has clearly struggled to run his system in Honduras’ empty talent pool, and much like Klinsmann, could be fired from his post well before the next World Cup begins.Besides Mexico and Costa Rica – the two teams that currently look like good bets to make the World Cup – other serious contenders for a qualifying spot include Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. Panama, which is still searching for its first World Cup berth, did not muster up much optimism for breaking into the world’s biggest tournament when it couldn’t beat an undermanned Costa Rican team at home. Still, it has a solid block of talent that should propel it through Group B and onto the Hexagonal stage.But while riding a three-game win streak and holding experience from last year’s run that could give Costa Rica an extra advantage in close games, it’s the Ticos who at this point seem to be penciled into a qualifying spot for CONCACAF.Panama coach Hernán Gómez said after last week’s qualifier loss to Costa Rica that the Ticos are still the class of CONCACAF.Said Gómez: “We didn’t lose to just some middling team – we lost to the best team in the region.”last_img read more

With abortion banned in Zika countries women beg on web for abortion

first_imgThe emails arrive at an accelerating pace. Once sporadic, they now come in an incessant stream of 40, 45 or 50 per day.Most are in Spanish or Portuguese. Others are in broken English.All of them express the same sentiment, the same fear, the same desperate plea.“Help!” one email begins. “Zika in Venezuela. I need abortion!”The emails are from mothers in Latin America who are scared of giving birth to children with microcephaly, the mysterious condition marked by an undersized head and brain damage that some doctors believe may be linked to the mosquito-born Zika virus.Some of the women say they have already tested positive for the virus. Others say they only fear they have contracted the disease and that their child will be born disabled.All of them are asking for something that is simple yet elusive — and generally illegal — in this part of the world: abortion pills.In more than a thousand emails to Women on Web, a Canada-based group that provides advice and medication for women wanting an abortion in countries where it is banned, the women beg for the pills that are banned by law in their respective countries of Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru or El Salvador.Laws against abortion vary by country in Latin America. Some, like El Salvador, outlaw abortion in all cases, including rape and incest. Others, such as Colombia, allow for abortions when a fetus displays signs of a severe deformity — a narrow exception that abortion rights advocates argue should apply to microcephaly.Across the region, Zika has thrown predominantly Catholic, socially conservative countries into a sudden and fierce debate over abortion. In some countries, arguments are raging at the highest levels of the judicial system. The mysterious disease could end up dramatically altering women’s rights in the Western Hemisphere.See: Commenting on Zika virus, Pope Francis calls abortion ‘a human evil’In the meantime, however, women are writing to Women on Web, asking for pills.The organization was founded in 2005 by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch physician. Although Women on Web has been sending packages of Mifepristone and Misoprostol to women around the world for more than a decade, Gomperts said the group had seen a sharp uptick in emails from women in Brazil since the onset of the Zika crisis.In an interview with The Washington Post, Gomperts said the number of Brazilian women contacting Women on Web had nearly tripled, climbing from 100 during the first week of December (before the Zika outbreak became public) to 285 during the first week of February.“When Zika hit the news we saw an [immediate] increase in the number of requests from countries that are affected by Zika,” she said. “We think that is related to the Zika outbreak. We cannot explain it any other way.“Probably a lot of women are looking for abortion services now. Women that are pregnant and suspect that they have had Zika and they just don’t want to take the risks of having a microcephalic baby,” she said. “Our worry is that these women will turn to unsafe abortion methods, while we can help them with a safe, medical abortion.” The RU-486 pill, or Mifepristone. Manoocher Deghati/AFPGomperts said her organization is currently working with two universities to analyze its data to determine exactly how much of this increase in demand for abortion pills is due to Zika.She provided The Post with several dozen emails from women who contacted Women on Web during the first week of February. Although Gomperts stressed that considering an abortion for any reason, especially in a country that doesn’t allow it, is always a terrifying decision for a women, she said that Zika had made the decision even more agonizing.The emails reflect that agony.“I am [name redacted],” begins one email. “I contacted Zika 4 days ago. I just found out I’m about 6 weeks pregnant. Today. Today, I found out I’m pregnant. I have a son I love dearly. I love children. But I dont believe it is a wise decision to keep a baby who will suffer. I need an abortion. I don’t know who to turn to. Please help me ASAP.”Many of the pregnant women said they had tested positive for Zika but were unable to travel or obtain pills to get an abortion.“I contracted Zika and cannot leave the country!” wrote one woman who asked to be sent abortion pills. Another woman said she was able to get Misoprostol on the black market but was unsure how to take the abortifacient.Others said they were uncertain if they had contracted the virus. Some said they hadn’t been tested, while a few said they simply didn’t trust their doctor’s diagnosis.“How do I know if I am infected?” wrote one woman who said she had come down with a flu five months earlier. “Can you please let me know what should I do? What kind of exam do I need to tell the doctor they should do to me?”Many of the emails came from Venezuela, where the outbreak is feared to be much worse than publicly acknowledged. One woman said she had shown symptoms of Zika — rash, fever and diarrhea — three weeks into her pregnancy. By the time she saw a doctor, however, the symptoms were gone and the doctor said it wasn’t Zika. But the woman didn’t trust her doctor and remained fearful for her baby.“In my mind, I can’t forget about the symptoms and the consequences that they might cause,” she wrote in Spanish. “What can I do?”See: The hidden environmental factors behind the spread of Zika and other devastating diseasesA pregnant woman in neighboring Colombia expressed anger towards government officials, blaming them for contracting the virus.“I dare to write you because I’m a resident in Colombia and here the Zika virus is a major problem, although the health authorities haven’t recognized it,” she wrote. “I want to ask for help because I’m overcome by fear that my baby will be born sick. I already have two girls and work long and hard as a single mother to provide for them. Life in Bogotá is difficult enough without being in charge of a sick child, especially with the health system so precarious in Colombia.” Health workers hand out mosquito nets to pregnant women in Calí, Colombia, to fight the Zika virus. Luis Robayo/AFPOther women said they felt the Zika virus closing in on them like a mosquito in a closed room, and thought it was only a matter of time until they — and their unborn children — were affected by the virus.“I’m scared of Zika because there are so many cases in my country already,” wrote one Colombian woman, six weeks pregnant. Another said someone in her town had contracted the virus, making her nervous she was next.As moving as the emails are, Gomperts said they reflect only the tip of the outbreak iceberg. In Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia, only about 60 percent of households have Internet access. In El Salvador, it’s even less. That means that the poorest women are unable to ask for pills. The poor meanwhile, also tend to live in areas without air conditioning and with more standing water — where the mosquitoes that carry the virus breed — putting them at greater risk of contracting Zika in the first place.“It is the poorest women who are suffering from this crisis,” Gomperts said. “It is not women in the upper class neighborhoods, who can protect themselves from mosquito bites. And that is the most frustrating part. We know that a lot of these women don’t have access to the Internet. So the women that we read, are only a few of the ones really affected by this crisis.”To make matters worse, Brazilian customs officials have been blocking Women on Web’s pills from reaching their intended destination for several years. Gomperts said she is still waiting to see if Zika changes their minds.“We hope the people working in the customs have some empathy and humanity in them and that in the wake of Zika they might just decide to suspend the confiscation of the medicines so that women can at least have safe abortions in the wake of this public health crisis,” she said.Although Gomperts said what her organization does is completely legal, Women on Web isn’t allowed to advertise in countries like Brazil. Instead, women find the organization’s website via Google or hear about it by word of mouth.Even if the pills do arrive, the women may still be at some risk. In 2008, a woman who obtained abortion pills in the mail was charged with attempted murder, although she was ultimately acquitted.Gomperts said her organization’s efforts were hampered by both governmental bumbling and Zika itself. So many questions remain about the virus — When during a pregnancy can it be transmitted to a fetus? What happens if a mother is asymptomatic? — that Women on Web has a hard time doling out advice.“When a woman writes to us and says that she wants her pregnancy but says she has also had Zika and is afraid, we have to tell her there are so many unknowns, we don’t know what the risk is yet,” Gomperts said.What is clear, however, is that many governments in the region have bungled their response and put the burden almost entirely on women, she said.“The military is going into the favelas to spray to get the mosquitoes under control,” she said of Brazil. “That’s a response, but I don’t know if that’s the appropriate response to what is happening.”Instead, Gomperts and other abortion rights activists are calling on countries in Latin America to loosen their abortion restrictions, if not permanently then at least temporarily.“I haven’t seen anything from the governments of these countries themselves that indicate they are reconsidering the restrictive laws because of this crisis. I haven’t seen any of that,” she said. “The only calls that have gone out from health ministers is ‘Don’t get pregnant,’ which is kind of an unrealistic demand I think, if contraception is not available for the poorest. …“Of course men are responsible for having sex and getting women pregnant as well, but the reality is that men refuse to take this responsibility seriously,” Gomperts said. “So women are the ones who get pregnant and they are the ones who are called upon to prevent getting pregnant.”© 2016, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Commenting on Zika virus, Pope Francis calls abortion ‘a human evil’ World Bank: Zika will cost Latin America $3.5 billion in 2016 Zika: Tragedy or Opportunity? Costa Rica ambassador in US warns of Zika vulnerabilitieslast_img read more

Arcadios World

first_imgRelated posts:President Obama’s speech was a wholesale rejection of Trump’s worldview Trump, Sanders win New Hampshire primaries Meet Sarai González, the inspiring Tica in Bomba Estéreo’s “Soy Yo” video Trump describes El Salvador, Haiti, African nations as ‘shithole countries’ Facebook Commentslast_img

Report Czech police arrest Breivik sympathizer

first_img Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix PRAGUE (AP) – A man believed to be a sympathizer of Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has been arrested in the Czech Republic for building up a stash of weapons, explosives, a detonator and an automatic rifle at his home, according to local media reports.The 29-year-old man, living in the eastern city of Ostrava, had used Breivik’s name in email communication, Czech news agency CTK reported Saturday. He was arrested Aug. 10 in Ostrava. Police would not comment further on the apparent Breivik link. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories center_img “In a home search we’ve found computer equipment, weapons, ammunition and explosives,” CTK quoted Ostrava criminal police head Radovan Vojta as saying.Vojta said police bomb experts were examining the seized material.The suspect, who was not identified, has been convicted five times in the past on explosives-related charges. On one occasion, he blew up explosives near a highway in Ostrava.Right-wing extremist Breivik shot dead 69 people on a rampage at a youth camp at Utoya island, Norway, on July 22, 2011, after killing eight people in a bombing in Oslo.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Patients with chronic pain give advice How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

SAfrican gold miners seek to sue mining companies

first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   The vital role family plays in society Men’s health affects baby’s health too Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project JOHANNESBURG (AP) – U.S. and South African lawyers are asking a court to allow thousands of miners with lung diseases to sue leading South African gold mining companies they accuse of negligence.Lawyers say AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony could face the largest damages suit in South African history if the court recognizes their case as a class action.Gold mining companies could not immediately be reached for comment.center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Lead attorney Richard S. Lewis of Hausfeld LLP in Washington said the clients include 4,500 former and current miners. Lewis said the case potentially could include hundreds of thousands.According to documents filed Tuesday at the High Court in Johannesburg, between 320,000 and 500,000 gold miners have contracted lung diseases in South Africa in recent decades.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Top Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Thai army chief urged to stay out of 2010 probe

first_img Sponsored Stories Prayuth has denied any army abuses and told investigators not to publicly report the probe’s findings. His spokesman did not immediately return calls for comment Thursday.Human Rights Watch also urged the government to hold the military accountable, instead of siding with it.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breachescenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Check your body, save your life Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day BANGKOK (AP) – Human Rights Watch has called on Thailand’s army chief to stop interfering with investigations into the deadly political unrest that paralyzed the capital two years ago.The rights group said in a statement Thursday that army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha was trying to intimidate investigators and critics in an attempt to halt criticism.Anti-government “Red Shirt” protesters staged a massive nine-week rally in Bangkok in 2010 that ended with a crackdown by soldiers. At least 90 people were killed and more than 2,000 people injured in the violence. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more