Frequent travellers earn free days with Nationals Rent Rent Reward

first_img Friday, August 25, 2017 Tags: Car Rental, National Car Rental, Promotions Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Frequent travellers earn free days with National’s ‘Rent Rent Reward’ TORONTO — National Car Rental’s ‘Rent Rent Reward’ promotion is back, giving registered Emerald Club members the chance to earn one free rental day for every two qualifying rentals during the promotion.Each free day covers base rate (time and mileage) only. The earning window runs through Feb. 28, 2018, with a redemption period through June 15, 2018.To further increase the chances to earn free days, this year’s promotion offers additional promotional points to members who complete any five bonus opportunities through Rent Rent Reward and to members when they complete their third qualifying rental during the promotion.“Once again, we’re proud to show our Emerald Club members our appreciation for their loyalty and support with our annual ‘Rent Rent Reward’ promotion,” said Rob Connors, vice president of brand marketing for National. “For over a decade, we’ve offered this promotion with a focus on helping new and existing members earn more free rental days while providing them with premium service and a convenient, efficient car rental experience.”More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthRegistered members receive one free rental day for every 600 points accrued through the promotion period, and every qualifying rental is worth 300 points. Additional bonus points can be earned through both rental and non-rental activities, including:Utilizing National’s mobile app to book rentals while earning unlimited points (75 points per completed rental).Renting any size vehicle in Latin America and the Caribbean (one-time bonus of 300 points upon completion of a rental).Renting any size vehicle in Europe (one-time bonus of 300 points upon completion of a rental).Participating in the Emerald Reserve service – which accommodates members who require a specific car class, such as a convertible, SUV, minivan, etc. – at Emerald Aisle locations (one-time bonus of 25 points upon completion of a rental).Completing an online customer survey (one-time bonus of 50 points).New this year, members can earn even more points by:Completing three qualifying rentals (one-time bonus of 200 points upon completion of third rental).Completing any five bonus opportunities available through Rent Rent Reward (one-time bonus of 75 points upon completion of fifth bonus opportunity).More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemEmerald Club is free to join and members get expedited service at airports and free upgrades in National’s Emerald Aisle, an exclusive section of the lot where members can select any vehicle as long as they reserve a mid-sized or larger car.Emerald Club members can register for the promotion at emeraldclubpromos.com/rentrentreward2017. Free days earned for qualifying rentals through Rent Rent Reward are awarded in addition to a member’s chosen rewards earnings (frequent traveller miles/points or rental credits).Registered Emerald Club members may track and redeem the free rental days they earn through Rent Rent Reward between today and June 15, 2018, by visiting emeraldclubpromos.com/rentrentreward2017.Up to three free days can be redeemed per rental at any time, including weekends. National notifies participants about their free rental days via email. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Cuba celebrates 1 million arrivals from Canada for 2018

first_imgTags: Cuba, Statistics Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Wednesday, December 5, 2018 TORONTO — Cuba has reached the 1 million mark from Canada, and the year isn’t even over yet.The Cuba Tourist Board of Canada made the announcement yesterday, saying the impressive statistic “follows similarly strong results from 2017” and highlights the enduring appeal of Cuba as the top destination for Canadian travellers.“We are both excited and humbled to have had the opportunity to accommodate so many guests in 2018,” said Eloy Govea, Director of the Cuba Tourist Board. “We look forward to sharing the unique spirit of Cuba with more of our Canadian friends in 2019. Cuba continues to be an exciting, dynamic destination rich in culture, cuisine, and – of course – beautiful beaches.”Govea says the strong results come from a dedicated effort by the country’s tourism industry to invest in properties and accommodations ahead of Havana’s 500th anniversary.Havana is set to add seven new hotels by the end of 2019. The completion of properties like the Prado y Malecón and Gran Hotel will further expand Havana’s already robust capacity, says Govea, currently at 12,000+ rooms.Investment into the city’s tourism properties will be matched with a commitment to restoration projects for over 600 buildings and complexes in Havana’s historical district. At the same time, Cuba will continue to expand its progressive roll out of WiFi service, with coverage for every hotel on the island on target for the end of 2019.Investment in Cuba’s tourism industry hit $1.035 billion in 2018, a year-over-year increase of 3.5%. Cuba celebrates 1 million+ arrivals from Canada for 2018last_img read more

Heres who you should be selling Fort Myers Sanibel to

first_img Share Tags: Fort Myers, Shelling Cindy Sosroutomo Here’s who you should be selling Fort Myers & Sanibel to About Latest Posts Cindy SosroutomoDeputy Editor at TravelweekCindy is Deputy Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 2007. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Kenya, Morocco, Thailand and Turkey among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Cindy Sosroutomo (see all) Frustrations mount over elusive consumer-pay model: Will it ever happen? – July 16, 2019 “It’s in everyone’s best interest to stay open”: Beaches Turks & Caicos will not close in 2021 – May 15, 2019 Putting “Partners First”: NCL’s CEO lauds agents and the new Norwegian Joy – April 29, 2019 Friday, March 29, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — There’s a curious phenomenon known as the ‘Sanibel Stoop’ that causes visitors and locals in The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel to stoop over at any given moment.What is this mysterious affliction attributed to? Shelling, one of the destination’s top tourist draws, is so prevalent and popular that people can be seen in a constant stooped state in search of gorgeous, one-of-a-kind shells.The ‘Sanibel Stoop’Of course, shelling is just one of many reasons to visit this beachside destination, says Jackie Parker, Communications Manager at the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, who spoke exclusively with Travelweek. Located just 35 miles north of Naples and 150 miles from St. Petes/Clearwater, Fort Myers & Sanibel has gained a sizeable Canadian following (about 250,000 each year) for its ‘Old Florida’ charm, its 50 miles of coastline and its incredible natural scenery and wildlife.“Over 250,000 Canadians arrive each year, with winter being the most popular time to come,” says Parker. “If you compared the way the destination looks now with how it did 20 years ago, it would look the same, thanks to the fact that three-quarters of the island is protected land.”This is great news for nature lovers and leisure travellers looking for a laidback destination where “your breathing slows down, your shoulders relax and where you can totally unplug,” adds Parker. And being just a three-hour drive from Orlando’s theme parks, Fort Myers & Sanibel is a great add-on to any family getaway.Here are the latest updates and the destination’s top selling points:Beaches are open! Though last year’s red tides wreaked havoc along Florida’s coast, Fort Myers & Sanibel’s beaches are officially open and its waters are safe to swim in. Visitors can view current beach conditions via webcams on FortMyers-Sanibel.com.It’s easily accessible. Direct flights from Canada to Southwest Florida International Airport are available with WestJet (from Toronto and Ottawa) and Air Canada (from Toronto and Montreal).It’s got an island. Sanibel is a barrier island that’s so shallow, “you can walk a good ¼ mile out into the water,” says Parker. It’s accessible via the Sanibel Causeway bridge, which costs US$6 one way to cross.Wildlife is abundant. There are 6,400 preserved acres on Sanibel that make up one of the largest mangrove wildernesses in the U.S. Suggest the ‘Wildlife Drive’ from where clients can spot birds and alligators.You won’t find shells like these anywhere else. Local beaches, especially on Sanibel and Captiva, offer the best shelling in the United States, if not the world. The rarest of shells is the Junonia – find it for some major bragging rights! Also, don’t miss the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaIt’s a great place for families. Aside from shelling and incredible beaches, many local attractions offer kid-friendly activities. At CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife), kids can help ‘diagnose’ injured animals such as turtles and birds. Kids will also love kayaking in Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park, and hiking at Caloosahatchee Regional Park, not to mention canoeing and bird watching at J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge.It’s got a vibrant music scene. Each year in September, Fort Myers & Sanibel hosts the Island Hoppers Songwriting Fest, now in its 6th Taking place from Sept. 20-29, the event welcomes more than 70 musical acts on Captiva Island, Downtown Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach. Guests are then encouraged to ‘hop’ from island to island!It was Thomas Edison’s favourite winter hangout. Thomas Edison first came to Fort Myers in 1885 and loved it so much he purchased more than 13 acres along the Caloosahatchee River. He returned with his wife in 1886 and spent the next 60 years returning to their winter retreat. Visitors can explore the Edison family home, now a historic home, which includes original furnishings.New hotel alert! Upon its grand opening on Aug. 6, 2020, the Luminary Hotel is set to be a game-changer in Fort Myers in the MICE market. The 12-storey hotel in downtown Fort Myers has already booked its first convention for two months following its opening date.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upFor more information on The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, go to https://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/. Posted bylast_img read more

Puerto Limóns Carnaval 2012

first_imgNo related posts. Puerto Limón’s annual Carnaval kicked off Thursday evening with performances and the crowning of the Carnaval queen.  Based around Columbus Day on Oct. 12, Carnaval is a week long street party featuring carnival rides, street food and culminating in a parade on Oct. 20. Facebook Commentslast_img

Genocide trial for Guatemalas exdictator Ríos Montt resumes Wednesday to continue Thursday

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – A genocide trial against former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, begun 50 days ago and suspended by a judge’s order over a technicality, resumed on Wednesday, with judges rejecting repeated motions by the defense team to delay the trial.A prosecutor asked judges to deliver a 75-year prison sentence to Ríos Montt, a former dictator who supervised a “scorched-earth” policy of war in the early 1980s during Guatemala’s brutal civil war. The prosecutor also asked that Ríos Montt be placed under preventive detention and removed from house arrest. The trial is a first for Guatemala – and the world – in that a country is holding criminal genocide proceedings in its own courts. Judge Jazmín Barrios said a verdict would be coming soon, although she did not indicate a specific date. Francisco García was restored as lead defending attorney on Wednesday after having been expelled from the courtroom on March 19 for what a judge characterized as obstructionism and ethics violations. García asked for the trial to be suspended again, but was rejected by the court. He followed with an outburst directed at judges, telling them, “You are not above the law. I will not rest until I see you behind bars.”Justice Barrios responded by saying, “We will not accept any type of threat.” She ordered the trial to move to closing testimony and arguments.Ríos Montt’s former head of military intelligence, Gen. José Rodríguez, is also on trial for genocide.Prosecutor Orlando López, who throughout the trial had called more than 100 family members of massacre victims and presented forensic anthropology evidence, asked for the 75-year prison sentence for both men for acts of genocide and crimes against humanity.Ríos Montt and Rodríguez are on trial for the massacre by the Army of 1,771 Ixil Mayans in the Department of Quiché during the Ríos Montt dictatorship, which lasted from 1982-1983. “[Ríos Montt] had absolute power over the military,” López said, adding that military plans approved by Ríos Montt ordered soldiers to classify indigenous Ixils as “internal enemies” for their alleged collaboration with guerrilla fighters during the 36-year civil war, which lasted from 1960-1996. That, said López, consisted of genocide, as it specifically targeted the destruction of an ethnic group. Ríos Montt has been under house arrest since January 2012, and Rodríguez has been in a military hospital. The prosecutor asked that both be taken into custody, as they are a “flight risk.” “What 75 years will do is rejuvenate me,” Ríos Montt said sarcastically to journalists as he exited the courtroom. The trial will continue on Thursday with closing statements from representatives of the victims and the defense. Judges will then set a date for a issuing final verdicts. So far, Ríos Montt has not taken the stand in his own defense.  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

5 top scams in Costa Rica

first_imgNo related posts. The Judicial Investigation Police, or OIJ, recently released a list of the five most common scams in Costa Rica. Read through the list to see what people are falling for and how to avoid their mistakes.1. Fake driver’s licenseDriving in Costa Rica can be a bit of a contact sport and part of the reason is the number of drivers on the road who bribe their way into a driver’s license. According to the OIJ, some of these less-than-stellar drivers are getting scammed as they try to scam the system.In this situation, someone leaves the Roadway Safety Council (COSEVI), which grants driver’s licenses, after failing a driver’s test. Scam artists approach the would-be driver as he leaves the office and offer to help him get his license for a price.The fraudster claims to know people who work at COSEVI who can fudge the report and get the mark a license that same day. First, the scam artists take the mark’s money and then say that their contact at COSEVI needs a photo. Then they say that any photo will do and ask the person to use their camera phone to take the shot. Finally, they tell the unsuspecting driver that they need to take his phone inside COSEVI so their friend can download the photo, but they never return. By the end, the victim has lost the money he paid the scam artists and his phone.OIJ advises people to avoid these offers, adding that even if the scam were real the buyer would be committing a crime by using a false document besides becoming the victim of a scam.2. Homecoming interruptedThe swindler finds the contact information for a family here in Costa Rica who has relatives living in the United States or Mexico. The scammer calls the family impersonating the relative, claiming that they sound different because they are sick and their phone connection is bad. The imposter says he is planning to come back to Costa Rica and is bringing gifts.Soon after, the family receives another phone call saying the relative has been detained in Mexico and the family must send money to post bail. Expecting the relative, the family deposits the money in remittance bank accounts without verifying the detention. The scammers trick the family into depositing still more money into the accounts to supposedly cover other costs. By now the money has been transferred to Mexico or the United States. Investigators remind people with family members outside of Costa Rica to always contact their relatives first to corroborate the story before depositing any money.3. A deal too good to be trueCars, even older used ones, are notoriously expensive in Costa Rica, so getting a good deal would catch anyone’s attention.Hustlers from Europe advertise cars they supposedly own abroad or in Costa Rica for sale online at low prices. They use information from cars listed for sale in Costa Rica including the model, year, color and make of the vehicle to convincingly execute the fraud.The seller requests the money be sent via money order under the name of one of the buyer’s relatives so as not to raise suspicion. The unscrupulous seller then asks for a scanned receipt of the deposit so they know it has gone through.The scammers can then cash the money order since these countries do not require identification to prove if someone is authorized to claim the money.OIJ recommends not depositing money into bank accounts of people you don’t know without first verifying where and in what condition the vehicle is in through the National Registry.4. Oil moneyAnother common confidence scheme here in Costa Rica involves that classic of email scams: wealthy Nigerians who need someone’s help to get their money out of the country. OIJ noted that the scam could also involve people supposedly from Afghanistan, England, Denmark and the United Arab Emirates, among others.  In this classic fraud, a wealthy person from abroad contacts a Costa Rican online and offers to give a percentage of huge sums of oil money they have that they cannot nationalize because of problems in their home country. The scammers ask for the Tico’s bank account numbers to send a portion of the fortune, but they also ask the Costa Rican to deposit between $500 and $5,000 in another bank account, supposedly to cover the legal fees to send the money to the unwitting Tico.In attempt to allay any of the mark’s concerns, the scammer may tell the Costa Rican that the deposit can be in the name of one of their family members. The hustler, however, also requests the transaction number, allowing them to access the funds regardless.OIJ recommends ignoring these emails and not sharing personal information with or deposit money into bank accounts of people you do not know. 5. Craigslist scammersClassified ads have long been a source for scams and it remains one of the most common in Costa Rica.A supposed buyer calls someone advertising an item for sale, presenting himself as a doctor or other professional. The scam artist tells the seller to drop the item off at his office where he will pay the buyer.The hustler then calls the seller on the day of the exchange claiming to be in a surgery or important meeting and is unable to meet the mark in person. The scam artist tells the seller to leave the item at a nearby business to hold in the meantime and meet him at another location to get paid.After leaving the package with the collaborating business, the mark leaves to get his money only to find no one to pay him. Meanwhile, another scam artist picks up the package.According to the OIJ, the phone calls for this scam sometimes originate in jails or prisons across the country and possible family or gang members carry out the theft.OIJ recommends that if people decide to sell something online or in classified ads that they not hand over the item to anyone until they are paid.OIJ received information on these scams through the investigative agency’s Confidential Information Center phone line, 800-8000-645. The agency’s fraud investigation team asks the public to please report any of the cases listed above or others to help shut down these scam artists. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Joining the ranks of the hopeful

first_imgA sea of happy people draped in flags of all sizes waited for the candidate, chanting the mantra that became a campaign slogan: “Con Costa Rica no se juega.” You don’t mess with Costa Rica.Hundreds of souls, hearts and minds waited on a Sunday afternoon in the center of San José for the words of a man who in less than a year was catapulted from being a nearly anonymous academic to the person who likely will govern the country for the next four years.The people’s eyes were sparkling, their arms were raised and madly waving flags, their hands applauded, and some feet even left the ground. They shouted and cheered when Luis Guillermo Solís took the stage dressed in jeans, a simple hat, and a PAC youth T-shirt.He greeted them and the crowd responded with emotion, as if a rock star had appeared in front of them. They were hungry for more of what the professor had already delivered: hope.This campaign, so unique and so full of surprises, has convinced me that politics is essentially the art of inspiring hope; anything else is extra, added value.Hope is an inherent characteristic of all human beings; no one escapes it. In fact, the vast majority embraces it daily, even in the most adverse circumstances. In this short, simple word lies the secret of Solís’ success.Recommended: Johnny Araya is down and out, but not his party, says analystMuch has been said and will continue to be analyzed about the strategies of this campaign, but the truth is that Solís, in a matter of months and without disproportionate spending, has managed to restore for many Costa Ricans that illusion once thought lost for good.Gazing at the people around me last Sunday afternoon in the Plaza de las Garantías Sociales during the close of Solís’ campaign, it became clear what was behind the applause, the shouts and the smiles.That chorus of voices represented innocent hope for a better job, a better home, better streets, better services, better education and better health; in other words, a better life.Every day I ask myself, “How did this happen? Why did Solís manage to captivate in a matter of weeks both the people who know him and those who didn’t, and convince them to vote for him?”I don’t have definitive answers, but I’m increasingly inclined to believe that the formula didn’t come from international universities’ complex theories about political propaganda, or from the smart minds at PR firms, but rather from a vision of the Costa Rican politician of the past, who didn’t have bodyguards or modern bulletproof SUVs, and who certainly wasn’t a millionaire. Young supporters of Citizen Action Party candidate Luis Guillermo Solís rally to support him in San José on Election Day, Feb. 2, 2014. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesSolís is the middle class, and that alone places him closer to voters than all of his previous opponents. It wasn’t coincidence that last February he was most successful with the country’s urban population, where the middle class continues to struggle to maintain a majority.That condition of being the “average” Costa Rican also allows him to have an entertaining and enjoyable form of conducting politics, with good humor and without posturing intellectual superiority. He corrected the cold and academic language of his earlier speeches and managed to project a more human image of a professor and a worker, a father, a conciliatory leader, and even a pet lover. He never came across as plastic like his ruling-party opponent, Johnny Araya. Solís took advantage of his experience as a teacher and quickly connected with young Costa Ricans, the demographic that took the reins of his campaign in January and converted it into a phenomenon on social media networks. He played pickup soccer games in the barrios, he traveled the country with them, and he surrounded himself in music and masquerades. It is their T-shirt he decided to wear on his campaign’s closing day. The word “youth” emblazoned on the front of “El Presi’s” shirt last Sunday was anything but happenstance.In the end, Solís achieved something I thought was impossible in today’s Costa Rica: He convinced a large part of the population that he is an authentic politician, and more incredibly, a trustworthy politician.As a group, the Citizen Action Party and some of its most relevant actors, such as Ottón Solís, continue generating doubts and uncertainty among many voters, including me. Nevertheless, Luis Guillermo has so far been able to lead, and he continues to emerge with flying colors – or at least with his reputation intact.Four years is a short time, but it’s also a long time. It is a short time to truly implement profound changes, show results and fulfill the people’s expectations, especially those who are most hopeful. It’s a long time to have to lead every day during internal and external controversies, and surrounded by the egos and contradictions that abound in PAC. And then there are the obstacles we can expect from the National Liberation Party and others along the way.While Solís was thanking everyone in his final public campaign speech, including the founders of PAC, those who joined the party’s ranks later, and above all, the people who placed their trust in him, I thought about all of this and I wanted with all my heart to believe him.I want to possess that optimism and that sweet hope that surrounded me that day in the plaza. I want to believe that a better future is around the corner, because at the end of the day, what can be salvaged from apathy and disillusionment? This time around, I’m joining the ranks of the hopeful.Nancy De Lemos is a journalist and former director in Costa Rica for the news agency EFE. A graduate of the University of Costa Rica, she now works in communication for global environmental NGOs.Recommended: The light at the end of the election Facebook Comments Related posts:3 things that happened this week in Costa Rica’s runoff race Costa Rica ruling party candidate Johnny Araya drops out of presidential race Raising chickens on the ‘Ruta de Alegría’ A victory for the ageslast_img read more

Enrique Iglesias Raphael and other happenings around Costa Rica

first_imgMusic: RaphaelSpanish superstar Raphael has enjoyed a 56-year-career, singing and acting all over the world. While this may not necessarily be your final chance to see the septuagenarian celebrity perform, Raphael fans should probably take the opportunity when he arrives at the National Gymnasium. Looking to brush up? Raphael has more than 50 albums to choose from.Concert takes place May 5 at the National Gymnasium, La Sabana Park, San José. 8 p.m. ₡25,000 – 85,000 ($50-170). Info: eTicket website.Music: “Long Live Rock”Are you ready to rock? This festival brings together 20 Costa Rican bands of all different styles, from metal to grunge to Beatles covers. Admission gets you two full days of favorite bands, including the legendary Vargas Brothers.“Larga Vida al Rock” takes place May 1 & 2 at La Isla de Guilligan, Aserrí. Fri. & Sat., 2 p.m. onward. ₡15,000 ($30). Info: Venue Facebook page. Courtesy of RedCulturaTheater: “The Segua”As everyone knows, the “Segua” is a classic Costa Rican story of a man who pursues a beautiful woman on a lonely road, only to watch her transform into a demonic horse. See how playwright Alberto Cañas Escalante interprets the tale, thanks to an innovative new production by The National Theater Company.“La Segua” continues through June 14 at the Aduana Theater, Aranjuez, San José. ₡5,000 ($10). Info: Company Facebook page. Facebook Comments Music: Enrique Iglesias, Capital CitiesIt’s here, the moment many a Tica has been awaiting: Enrique Iglesias is arriving in Costa Rica. The Spanish mega-star will descend on Parque VIVA with his unique blend of Latin pop – and the screaming of fans should be audible for miles around. (He doesn’t call it the “Sex and Love” tour for nothing.) Iglesias will share the stage with California indie pop band Capital Cities.Concert takes place May 2 at the Parque VIVA Amphitheater, Guácima. 7 p.m. ₡15,950 – 48,950 ($32 – 98). Info: eTicket website.Festival: Final Days of FIAIt’s been a long and brutal battle, but FIA is finally wrapping up, and this weekend may redeem the anarchy that preceded it. CENAC brings you and all-day, international music cycle, including Golden Ganga (Mexico), Skampida (Colombia), and Easy Easy (Guatemala).Concerts take place May 3 at the CENAC, Barrio Amón, San José. 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Free. Info: FIA Facebook page. Related posts:Van Gogh’s Ear, a storytelling festival, and other happenings around Costa Rica Valentine’s Day, lyrical boleros, and other happenings around Costa Rica Design Festival, Marine Corps picnic, and other happenings around Costa Rica Shakespearean ballet, outdoor tango, and other happenings around Costa Ricalast_img read more

Costa Rica victim of USCuban immigration laws says President Solís

first_imgRelated posts:Obama administration to further ease travel and business restrictions with Cuba As talks with US begin, Cubans anticipate changes in their lives Why Midwestern farmers want to break the Cuba embargo White House threatens to veto Cuba travel curbs Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís’ frustration with the Cuban migrant crisis was clear in his remarks during a news conference Tuesday in Cuba.Roughly 5,000 Cuban migrants have gathered in Costa Rica as a regional impasse continues to prevent the islanders from reaching the United States, where a favorable immigration law incentivizes them to fly to Ecuador and cross Central America on their way north.“It’s up to the U.S. to administer its laws and it’s up to us, the victims of these laws, to administer them too,” Solís said during a news conference, referring to Costa Rica’s obligation to care for migrants as they cross the isthmus to reach the U.S. mainland.This obligation to respect migrants’ human rights has since mushroomed into a national humanitarian operation for tiny Costa Rica. For over a month now, the Costa Rican government, churches and community centers have opened their doors to house and feed migrants in 14 shelters as Cubans wait for permission to cross into Nicaragua or fly to a third country. The National Emergency Commission has spent more than ₡134 million — roughly $250,000 — in its efforts to shelter the Cubans, according to reports from national media.Uncle Sam was not the only one to get an earful from Solís as he wrapped up his official visit to Cuba on Tuesday. The Costa Rican president travels next to a regional meeting of Central American presidents in San Salvador, El Salvador, on Friday to address the same migrant crisis.“I feel disappointed,” Solís said of other Central American countries, noting that Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize – all three of which have closed their borders to the Cubans since Nov. 15 – all signed a Central American Integration System, or SICA, agreement on Oct. 2 agreeing to allow Cubans to pass through their respective countries en route to the U.S.Costa Rica’s diplomatic efforts to resolve the migrant crisis have since stalled. This week’s meeting with SICA leaders will be the latest attempt to resolve the crisis before the Christmas and New Year holidays. Currently, more than 4,300 Cubans are being temporarily housed in 14 shelters across Costa Rica.Before leaving for the island on Dec. 13, Solís said his visit –the first by a Costa Rican president since relations began to thaw between the two countries under former Costa Rican President Able Pacheco in 2003 – would be about more than migration. Casa Presidencial and the Foreign Ministry have both promoted the official trip as the last remaining step to a normalization of Costa Rica-Cuba relations after former President Óscar Arias re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2009.President Solís and an entourage of business leaders and lawmakers traveled to Cuba to explore potential business opportunities on the island for Costa Rican companies. Construction, tourism and Cuban public sector purchasing were three areas listed as possible growth markets for Costa Rica. The Foreign Trade Promotion Office, PROCOMER, and its Cuban equivalent, PROCUBA, signed an agreement on Dec. 14 to help promote foreign investment and trade between the two nations. In 2014, Costa Rica exported $38 million in goods to the island. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

El Salvador to arrest soldiers accused of 1989 priest murders

first_imgSAN SALVADOR — El Salvador has vowed to arrest 17 retired soldiers accused of killing six Jesuit priests and two women in 1989.The announcement came two days after a Spanish judge sent a new request to international police agency Interpol demanding their arrest.“We consider compliance with international arrest warrants to be mandatory, and we must proceed with immediate implementation by the Salvadoran authorities,” Salvador’s human rights ombudsman David Morales said late Wednesday.In 2011, the former soldiers evaded a Spanish order for their arrest by taking refuge in military barracks in San Salvador.They also secured a ruling from El Salvador’s Supreme Court saying they were protected by an amnesty that pardoned the atrocities committed during the 1980-1992 civil war.See also: Remembering the Jesuits: Seeking justice in El Salvador after a quarter-century A rose garden planted at the site of the 1989 murders by the school’s gardener, Obdulio Lozano, husband of Julia Elba Ramos. Photo by Joeff DavisBut this time, Morales urged the High Court to “proceed immediately to ensure the arrest of the accused.”Spanish High Court Judge Eloy Velasco has reissued the orders for the arrest of the former soldiers.They include Col. Inocente Montano, a former vice minister of public safety who is serving a 21-month sentence in the United States for immigration fraud.Morales urged the United States to allow his extradition to Spain.He also called on the military to “abstain” from blocking the arrest of the former soldiers.Five of the priests killed in November 1989 were Spanish and one was Salvadoran. The soldiers also killed the priests’ housekeeper and her daughter. Facebook Comments Related posts:On 35th anniversary of Romero’s murder, Salvadorans remember him finally as a martyr The pen against the swords: Author Jorge Galán seeks asylum after threats in El Salvador El Salvador’s ‘voice of the voiceless’ beatified El Salvador ex-President Francisco Flores in a coma after strokelast_img read more

On Womens Day a former First Lady of Costa Rica nears a

first_imgDiscovering Henrietta: The Alabama woman who became Costa Rica’s first lady Facebook Comments And watch the “First Lady” trailer: This week, a special Washington, DC screening of the documentary film“First Lady of the Revolution” honored the life of Henrietta Boggs, the U.S. citizen who became the first wife of legendary Costa Rican president José “Pepe” Figueres and went on to become the country’s First Lady.The screening on Feb. 6 was part of the lead-up to the national public television broadcast of the documentary on March 25 – it will be broadcast at 9 pm on WORLD Channel as part of Reel South Season Three, according to a statement from Spark Media – and Boggs’ 100th birthday in May.The documentary was screened before a sold-out crowd at the GALA Hispanic Theatre. Costa Rican Ambassador to the United States Roman Macaya hosted the VIP event, which was attended by many members of the diplomatic and international community in Washington, Spark Media indicated.The film, from award-winning director Andrea Kalin, chronicles Boggs’ improbable and extraordinary journey from young visitor to Costa Rica, to the wife of a revolutionary in the making, to First Lady in 1948, as well as her role in reforms President Figueres oversaw including granting the right to vote to Costa Rican women and the abolition of the country’s armed forces.“As a filmmaker I’ve witnessed the grizzly impact of war; from the refugee camps in Syria to gang-controlled barrios in Colombia,” said Kalin at the event. “Abolishing the army was a powerful and bold idea that changed the course of Costa Rica’s history and reshaped its identity. It’s an inspiration to people all over the world.”Tuesday’s event was made possible by partners including the Embassy of Costa Rica in the United States, Americas Society/Council of the Americas, Amigos of Costa Rica, Asociación Costa Rica, the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), Iniciativa Folclórica Costarricense, and the GALA Hispanic Theatre.Take a deep dive into Henrietta’s fascinating story: Related posts:Osa Peninsula organization promotes human development, conservation Kids Saving the Rainforest: the Costa Rican initiative that’s gone global Great food for local causes: ‘Festival de Vida’ begins in Atenas Ballet performance raises funds for low-income patients and familieslast_img read more

Protests calls for attention in Costa Rica as Nicaragua crisis worsens

first_imgAt the OAS General Assembly last week, the participating foreign ministers asked the Court to present its findings after a recent visit to Nicaragua, where more than 145 deaths and 1,000 injuries have resulted from anti-government protests, according to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh).Leaders of the opposition to Ortega’s government said Tuesday that nearly 70 percent of the country’s roads have been blocked to protect cities from attacks by pro-government paramilitary groups. Related posts:Truth Commission calls for support to investigate violence in Nicaragua Nicaraguan government and opposition agree on road map for talks Carlos Fernando Chamorro, a journalist who fights Ortega’s regime in Nicaragua La Prensa publishes blank front page to protest Nicaraguan government Fed up: Nicaragua’s uprising WASHINGTON, DC – As Nicaraguans and people of Nicaraguan descent protested once more in San José, Costa Rica, against the regime of President Daniel Ortega, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado called on the government of Nicaragua to follow the recommendations of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).In a speech before the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC, Alvarado said that timely action by Ortega is “indispensable” because the situation there “is worsening every day.”“More and more deaths take place, and this difficult situation demands clear signs of true willingness by all parties to engage in dialogue and commit to a work schedule,” Alvarado said, adding that the situation in Nicaragua is “the cause of daily concern and consternation” for Costa Ricans.center_img Facebook Comments Nicaraguan crisis leaves vital street market with economic bruiseslast_img read more

Costa Rica takes steps to modernize expand trains in Caribbean

first_imgRelated posts:Legislative Assembly passes bill to jumpstart electric train system New Moín container terminal set to open in 2017 Route 32 expansion project receives environmental permits Opening of Moín container terminal postponed to 2019 Casa Presidencial announced Thursday that it has awarded a $595,900 contract to a Spanish-Mexican consortium to explore the technical, economic, social and environmental feasibility of the Limon Electric Freight Train Project, or TELCA.AUDINGINTRAESA-AUDINGMEX Consortium was selected from a group of more than 25 companies, seven of which submitted a formal offer to complete the study.“This is another example of the hard work that is being done at INCOFER to carry forward the railway modernization projects,” said Elizabeth Briceño, Executive President of INCOFER. “The executing unit of the project is working according to the proposed schedule, and in that sense, we are going to make this project a reality.”The project would modernize stretches of rail between Limón and Río Frío (109 km), and between Limón and Valle de la Estrella (60 km), as well as explore the viability of a new stretch between Río Frío and Bajos de Chilamate (30 km). The proposed TELCA route map. Via Casa Presidencial.The electric rail system would expand Costa Rica’s ability to transport cargo through renewable resources. The government also expects TELCA would decongest Route 32, which connects San José to Limón, and help support the Caribbean province’s economy.Casa Presidencial expects the feasibility study to be complete in March 2020. INCOFER and the Costa Rican government would then begin the bidding process for construction of the railroad. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Perus defense and interior ministers resign

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Many Peruvians were outraged when the father of a slain police officer had to personally retrieve his slain son’s body from the jungle nearly three weeks after the officer went missing.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   LIMA, Peru (AP) – Peru’s defense and interior ministers have quit amid complaints from lawmakers about incompetence in the fight against Shining Path rebels.Thursday’s resignations by Defense Minister Alberto Otarola and Interior Minister Daniel Lozada come as President Ollanta Humala is on a trip to South Korea and Japan.Both were criticized for their handling of the aftermath of last month’s kidnapping by rebels of 36 construction workers in Peru’s southeastern jungle. The workers were later released but nine security force members were killed. Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementscenter_img Sponsored Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Quick workouts for men Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debateslast_img read more

Israel UN council on settlements is biased

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The U.N. already considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law.Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and Jerusalem, territory that Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war from Jordan.West Bank settlements are a core dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.Palestinians claim the West Bank as part of their future state and object to any settlements there.Settlers view the territory as Israel’s biblical heartland.The issue has paralyzed peace talks for years. Palestinians refuse to resume negotiations until Israel halts settlement construction. Israel says talks should resume without preconditions.________Associated Press writer John Heilprin contributed to this report from Geneva(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Israel called the action “flawed and biased” and said it will not cooperate with the mission.“The mission’s existence embodies the inherent distortion that typifies the UNHRC treatment of Israel and the hijacking of the important human rights agenda by non-democratic countries,” Israel’s foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.The UN Human Rights Council, that has a large representation of Arab and Muslim regimes, has long been criticized for heavily focusing on Israel while doing little regarding places where people suffer from serious state violations of their human rights.Israel severed ties with the Council after the Geneva-based 47-nation council passed a resolution in March to establish such a probe.“Israel was left with no other choice than to take this decision, after it became apparent that putting the disproportionate focus on Israel, while systematically ignoring massive human rights violations in the very countries who bear responsibility for this focus, only leads to the contempt and degradation of the important cause of universal human rights,” Palmor said.“One example among many: in times when president Assad’s regime massacres thousands of its own people, the UNHRC only dedicates it symbolic time, as if to go through the motions, while turning its resources to obsessively focus on Israel, yet again,” he said. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Associated PressJERUSALEM (AP) – A U.N. Human Rights Council mission on West Bank settlements is “flawed and biased,” Israel said Friday, accusing the rights body of corruption for again singling out the Jewish state while “systematically ignoring massive human rights violations” elsewhere.The U.N.’s top human rights body appointed three officials Friday afternoon to conduct a fact-finding mission on how Israel’s West Bank settlements affect the lives of Palestinians. The Council president, Uruguay Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, named three women to the panel: Christine Chanet of France, Unity Dow of Botswana and Asma Jahangir of Pakistan. Dupuy Lasserre said their mission will be to look how the Israeli settlements impact “the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people.” Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Masked gunmen kidnap assault Malian publisher

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Camara said that when the reporters at the paper tried to stop the gunmen, they opened fire in the air, damaging a part of their building. They then threw Haidara into the back of their pickup truck.The Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement that Haidara suffered a head wound and a broken hand. The incident comes after The Independent published articles critical of the government.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family BAMAKO, Mali (AP) – The editor of a Malian newspaper says masked gunmen stormed the paper’s office and abducted its publisher, who was later assaulted and dumped on the side of a road about 25 miles (40 kilometers) outside of Bamako.Youssouf Camara, editor of “The Independent” told The Associated Press by telephone Friday that the paper’s publisher, Saouti Labass Haidara, was taken from the office at around 9 p.m. on Thursday night.center_img Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more

Admirers mark 15 years since Princess Diana died

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Comments   Share   Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix PARIS (AP) – Admirers from around the world are paying tribute to Princess Diana at the Paris tunnel where she was killed in a car crash 15 years ago.Tourists prayed in front of the Flame of Liberty monument to Diana above the site. Flowers, photos and messages were piled around.British visitor Patricia Williams said Friday that Diana “became an icon. She was a very beautiful woman and things have passed on now. But Charles is now happy and I hope her sons have come to terms with it.” Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Princess Diana and her partner Dodi Al Fayed died when the Mercedes they were in plowed into a pillar in the Alma Tunnel on Aug. 31, 1997. French police said driver Henri Paul, who also died, had been drinking heavily and was speeding.(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 Sponsored Stories Top Stories last_img read more

Chavez ally Twitter account seized recovered

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day “Our Twitter account was hacked by the Venezuelan right. We’re sure of it,” Cabello said, according to the state news agency.An initial out-of-the-ordinary message on the account Saturday had said that factions of the national intelligence agency and the military were rising up against the government while Chavez “is in Cuba on the verge of death.” Other messages called for Chavez’s supporters to “defend the revolution” outside the presidential palace.One message called for Defense Minister Henry Rangel Silva to “execute the squalid ones,” a term Chavez uses for his adversaries. It went on to say that “if the revolution is in danger there will be blood,” and said that opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles “is behind the coup.”The tweets circulated widely until state media and government officials announced that Cabello’s account had been seized.Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami announced on Twitter that “we now have control of the account.”Cabello is considered one of the most influential leaders of Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela, of which he is a vice president. It’s unclear what purposes such a cyber-attack might serve, and officials said they were investigating. The incident occurred less than a month before the Oct. 7 presidential election, in which Chavez is seeking another six-year term.Such seizures of Twitter accounts have become an increasingly frequent smear tactic in highly polarized Venezuela. Some well-known Chavez critics last year also had their accounts taken over, and a group calling itself “N33” claimed responsibility for some of those attacks.Some of the victims last year included an activist, a humorist, three journalists, a TV show host, an ex-diplomat and a former Chavez supporter, all of them openly critical of the president.Both Twitter and Google say such attacks most likely involve phishing, a form of Internet fraud in which victims are tricked into revealing passwords or other personal information through emails with links to pages that appear to be authentic. Once a victim enters a password for Twitter or an email account on a fraudulent page, hackers are able to use it to take over the real account and change the password.Chavez has undergone multiple cancer treatments in Cuba since June 2011, including two surgeries that removed tumors. In the past few months, Chavez has said that tests show he is free of the disease. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosteronecenter_img Associated PressCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuela’s National Assembly president said his Twitter account was taken over on Saturday in an online attack that unleashed a series of bogus messages saying a coup was under way.Diosdado Cabello, a close ally of President Hugo Chavez, said on state television that his account has been blocked to prevent more false messages, and later said he had recovered control of the account. How men can have a healthy 2019 (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Comments   Share   last_img read more

Cancellations delays add to Brazil airport chaos

first_imgSAO PAULO (AP) – More than 25,000 passengers in Brazil saw flights delayed or cancelled after a damaged cargo jet blocked the lone runway at one of the country’s busiest airports for two days, officials said Monday.Separately, the check-in system at Tam airlines, Brazil’s biggest, was down for three hours early Monday at all locations around the world where the company operates, adding to the air transport chaos in Latin America’s biggest nation. Critics say improving the nation’s woeful airports is one of its biggest challenges before it hosts the 2014 World Cup. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Improving airports plagued with bottlenecks, long lines and poor infrastructure was a key promise made by the government in its winning bid to host soccer’s premiere event in 2014. Hundreds of thousands of fans will fly between the 12 host cities for matches.Brazil’s airports have buckled under demand that tripled in the past decade. In 2002, airlines flew 34.3 million passengers on flights originating in Brazil. That rose to 107.8 million last year, Brazil’s civil aviation agency reported.In an effort to make quick improvements, Brazil’s government earlier this year privatized operations at three of the nation’s main airports, including at Campinas, awarding $14 billion in contracts to three consortiums that will expand and run terminals.However, the Campinas airport is still being operated by Infraero, the state-run agency that has long run the country’s airports. The other airports privatized include the nation’s busiest airport in Sao Paulo, along with those in the capital Brasilia and in Campinas.Together, the three airports are responsible for 30 percent of Brazil’s passenger traffic.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Azul Airlines, which operates about 85 percent of the flights at the Campinas airport north of Sao Paulo, said late Monday afternoon that its flights would resume normal operations by early evening after the damaged cargo jet was removed from the airport’s only runway. The jet, owned by U.S.-based Centurion Cargo, blew out a tire upon landing Saturday night _ it took Brazilian officials until Monday to locate the proper heavy equipment to remove the plane.The Campinas airport, also known as Viracopos, was Brazil’s ninth-busiest last year, according to government statistics, and was earlier this year named as one of three the government said it would privatize.“Although operations at Viracopos have been freed up, delays and cancellations may still occur,” Azul said in a statement.A spokeswoman for Tam airlines declined to say how many flights were delayed or cancelled because of the problems with its check-in system. The company operates about 800 flights a day around the globe. With the check-in system down, passengers’ tickets had to be processed by hand at airports. Brazilian TV showed long lines and crowded terminals at main airports in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.last_img read more

US donates 34 million to UN plan to help Syria

first_imgAssociated PressGENEVA (AP) – A U.N. plan to provide $836 million in emergency aid to Syrians battered by their nation’s civil war ran into funding problems Friday despite an additional U.S. donation of $34 million.The wide gap _ about 50 percent _ between refugee needs and donor pledges added to the gloom at a U.N. gathering Friday in Geneva of hundreds of aid officials and diplomats. Before the meeting, the U.N. said it had collected just 35 percent of the $488 million it says is needed for refugees and only 45 percent of the $348 million it says is needed for general humanitarian aid. Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Activists say the civil war has killed more than 36,000 people since an uprising begin in March 2011 against President Bashar Assad’s regime.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix That and the lack of access for aid groups was making the goal of reaching the 2.5 million Syrians who need help and the more than 400,000 refugees who have fled the country seem impossible.“There is more violence, there is more human suffering, there is more displacement and more losses, both physical and economic … civilian Syrians continue to pay the price of this conflict,” said Radhouane Nouicer, the U.N.’s regional aid coordinator for Syria.Nouicer told reporters at the end of the closed-door meeting that the suffering among Syrians will just keep growing _ and reaching them will continue to be difficult _ as long as fighters “do not respect the neutrality and the impartiality” of aid workers.Some 3 million Syrians are hungry, 1.2 million have been forced from their homes in Syria and 408,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.In the last 24 hours alone, Syria’s civil war drove 11,000 people to flee to neighboring countries, including 9,000 refugees who went to Turkey, officials said. Another 1,000 each went to Jordan and Lebanon.“I’m afraid that the news we have to report on the humanitarian front was still very sad,” said Panos Moumtzis, the U.N.’s refugee agency regional coordinator. “This indicates a lack of any political solution to the crisis.” Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more