Mexico missing students case file shows contradictions

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Kevin Kolb started last season as Arizonas quarte

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From 2006 to 2009 with Detroit he averaged 1237 t

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Book Asia river cruise with Goway by Sept 15 to save up

first_imgTags: Goway Travel << Previous PostNext Post >> Book Asia river cruise with Goway by Sept. 15 to save up to $1,300 Friday, September 1, 2017 Posted bycenter_img TORONTO — There are big savings in store with Goway Travel for clients in search of an Asia river cruise. Those who book by Sept. 15 will save up to $1,300 per person, depending on the departure date and gateway.Passengers can choose to sail on either the Mekong River, between Saigon and Siem Reap, or the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar. Savings are on departures between September and late November, with some 2018 dates as well. For a full list of dates and prices, visit Myanmar Cruise Getaway and Mekong Cruise Getaway.For the 10-day Myanmar River Cruise Getaway, prices start at $3,299. The 10-day Mekong River Cruising Getaway starts at $3,099. Both cruise experiences include international airfare from select North American gateways. Passengers must book by Sept. 15 to take advantage of these rates.Goway’s riverboats range in size between a 36- to 60-passenger capacity, allowing for an intimate cruise experience.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalWhile Europe, Egypt and even Russia have been river cruise favourites for years, says Goway, Asia holds its own with some of the most inviting rivers in the world. As with most river cruising experiences, cruises in Asia offer all-inclusive package rates. One distinct benefit of Asia cruising is access to stops that are nearly impossible to reach by land, taking travellers ‘off the beaten path’ in the truest sense.For a full list of river cruising available in Asia visit the cruising section on Travelweek Group Sharelast_img read more

Club Meds Amazing Family program coming to Cancun Punta Cana

first_img Posted by Club Med’s Amazing Family program coming to Cancun, Punta Cana Wednesday, April 10, 2019 TORONTO — Club Med is launching its new Amazing Family program at two resorts this spring: Club Med Punta Cana and Cancun Yucatan.The new concept includes a weekly agenda of activities from five different categories – Time to PLAY, Time to SPLASH, Time to QUEST, Time to RECHARGE and Amazing Family Happy Time.Developed with families in mind, every category of the program offers new ways for families to enjoy their time together:Time to PLAY: “Rediscover how great it feels to play as a family with games like Bag Board, Mölkky, Pallina and life-sized versions of Twister, Jenga and Mikado. Parents can relive the joy they felt playing these games as children but now with their kids.”Time to SPLASH: “Have some fun in the water with games designed to help you reconnect without worrying about who wins or loses. Have a blast on the water wheel or play with weighted sticks and water balls. Enjoy a friendly game of water volleyball while enjoying the sunshine and cooling off at the same time.”Time to QUEST: “Put your minds together as a family and solve a mystery with the help of Club Med staff as they take you on a digital treasure hunt around the resort. Or try not to get lost by participating in a skill testing and exciting escape game.”Time to RECHARGE: “Put your feet up and relax in a swinging hammock or unwind with some quieter activities including memory games and family yoga classes perfect for younger children.”Amazing Family Happy Time: “Have fun with an assortment of family activities to take part in, including entertaining shows, family archery, Olympiads and medal ceremonies as well as dedicated daily family time at the playground with CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil.” Sharecenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Cancun, Club Med Travelweek Group last_img read more

President Chinchilla names Edgar Ayales as new finance minister

first_imgPresident Laura Chinchilla on Tuesday appointed Edgar Ayales as the administration’s new finance minister. Ayales replaces Fernando Herrero, who resigned April 2 after the daily La Nación reported he had underpaid his property taxes.Chinchilla said Ayales, an economist, “guarantees strength, [and] sends a message of experience and security because of his track record.”Ayales’ experience includes serving as executive director of the Inter-American Development Bank, alternate executive director of the World Bank and the bank’s manager of macroeconomic projects in Brazil, Suriname and Angola.President Chinchilla also announced that Carlos Vargas, a Finance Ministry official, will take the helm of the Tax Administration, after former director Francisco Villalobos resigned April 3 when it was discovered that he had failed to pay ₡1.8 million ($3,600) in income taxes from 2008. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

New fares approved for bus routes

first_img 02-02A San José – Sabana Cementerio 300SD San José – Cartago  ¢ 3505 ¢ 140 200 San José – Alajuela (por pista) 20 San José – Tibás ¢ 3030 ¢ 2750 ¢ 120 08 San José – Periférica 01 San José – Barrio México ¢ 510 The Public Services Regulatory Authority announced this Wednesday that a rate increase for all domestic bus routes will go into effect next week.The hikes will apply to 3,557 fares in 696 routes, and only 104 (15 percent) will remain the same. The variation is due to the new method for automatic fare calculation.The proposal was presented through public consultation for nine days, from March 16-27, and a total of 90 objections were received.Among the routes that will not change, the fares are: 600 SD San José – Puntarenas and route 205 San José – Ciudad Quesada.The new fares will go into effect after the publication in the government daily, La Gaceta, at the end of next week.Some of the new approved fares are: Facebook Comments ¢ 210 ¢ 3145 New ¢ 450 ¢ 195 ROUTE 400BS San José – Heredia Current ¢ 120 ¢ 435 ¢ 520 ¢ 495 No related posts. ¢ 140 500SD San José – Liberia ¢ 355 ¢ 290 703SD San José-Limón ¢ 450last_img read more

Speaking Out 2012 a year of protests

first_imgIn 2012, it seemed there was a protest every week. Sometimes there were several. But unlike years past, there was no central issue that united demonstrators – such as the so-called “ICE Combo” of 2000 and the Central America-U.S. Free Trade Agreement of 2007. This year, members of many diverse sectors exercised their democratic right to public demonstration, including motorcycle owners, taxi drivers, public-sector workers, farmers, environmentalists and university students and professors. According to this year’s State of the Nation report, a measure of the country’s social, economic, political and development goals, in 2011, 632 collective protests were registered, 85 percent more than the previous year and only surpassed in 1995, when Costa Ricans marched against the political and economic policies of then-President José María Figueres, and 2004, when the government of Abel Pacheco approved a monopoly over vehicle inspections for the private company RITEVE.This year began with small demonstrations. Costa Rica’s LGBT community held protests in front of Casa Presidencial, in the southeastern San José district of Zapote, demanding equal rights. LGBT community members called on President Laura Chinchilla to send two bills to the Legislative Assembly that would grant same-sex couples the same rights as straight couples. Both bills await discussion by lawmakers and have stalled in Congress. In March, students of the Liceo de Costa Rica marched against the construction of Chinatown, a pet project of San José Mayor and presidential primary candidate Johnny Araya. Chinatown was built along the historic Paseo de los Estudiantes, adjacent to the Liceo de Costa Rica, a famous high school attended by more than one past president. After months of construction, Chinatown was inaugurated with much fanfare earlier this month. In February, taking their lead from the 99 Percent Movement in New York and other U.S. cities, Costa Rica’s “Los Indignados” (The Indignant Ones) held various rallies throughout San José to draw attention to rampant corruption and the need to respect human rights.But the first large, multi-sectorial protest was held when thousands of Costa Ricans attempted to block an administration decision to increase wages for public-sector workers by only ₡5,000 ($10). Union representatives were outraged that the Chinchilla administration would unilaterally set a mandatory wage hike without first consulting the unions. Unions also considered the $10 raise well below the increasing cost of living. Following intense negotiations, the raise rate held out, a victory for an administration facing serious financial difficulties and a skyrocketing fiscal deficit. In May, Costa Rica made international headlines when it sought to extradite environmental activist and Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, who was arrested on a Costa Rican request in Germany. The move sparked protests around the globe by supporters of the marine conservation organization and its controversial leader. Sea Shepherd supporters bombarded The Tico Times and the Chinchilla administration with emails and messages on social media networks in support of Watson, blasting what they considered to be an environmental double-standard by Costa Rica, which markets itself abroad as an ecological paradise. Protests in Costa Rica over Watson’s arrest were much smaller than in Germany, France and other countries. But behind the scenes, environmental groups were meeting with members of the Chinchilla administration – including Environment Minister René Castro – to lobby for stricter regulations on the practice of shark finning and the transport and storage of shark fins, a devastatingly bloody practice by fishermen that is decimating global shark populations.  Watson, who is also wanted by Japan, so far has avoided facing trial and is currently embarking on another campaign in the Southern Ocean to stop the annual Japanese whaling hunt, the focus of Animal Planet TV’s “Whale Wars.”Another march at the end of July brought together thousands of small-scale farmers (and several large-scale ones) from across the country to demand that taxes on farmland be reduced. A mandatory readjustment in real estate valuations would have rated farmland the same as tourism and urban development projects, and farmers – already struggling – said the new rates would bankrupt them. Lawmakers sided with farmers and passed a law stipulating that farmland taxes would be rated based on a property’s historical value, plus 20 percent, a deal that ended the protests. Workers in the country’s transportation sector weren’t to be left out this year, as private chauffeurs (known as porteadores), taxi drivers and motorcycle owners held several demonstrations throughout the year, blocking several roads and major thoroughfares throughout the greater metropolitan area. Porteadores demanded special permits to allow them to work legally. The government responded by approving the creation of 5,000 permits, of which half have been distributed to date. Motorcycle owners grew furious with what they considered to be a severe hike in the price of annual vehicle circulation permits, known as marchamos. In the past few months, a common sight was hundreds of bikers parked in front of the National Insurance Institute, or at several of the city’s roundabouts. Their latest protest turned violent when bikers attacked cars and a bus when motorists tried to circumvent the bikers’ blockade of major roadways. After days of fiery debate and discussion, lawmakers passed a bill in a second round of debate that lowered the price of marchamos for motorcycles by {13,000 ($26). (Automobile owners, meanwhile, will be charged an extra {2,000, about $4, to help pay the difference.)Other protests turned violent this year. After President Chinchilla vetoed a bill that would have allowed photocopying of books for academic purposes, a group of university students organized a demonstration in October in front of the Legislative Assembly. The protest was infiltrated by a self-described group of young “anarchists” who attacked anti-riot police and lawmakers with rocks, sticks and bags of urine, causing $14,000 of damage to the assembly building in the process. Protesters accused police of striking the first blows. Days later, Chinchilla signed a decree allowing students to photocopy books for educational purposes.But the most violent protest occurred in front of the Costa Rican Social Security System (Caja) headquarters in downtown San José on Nov. 8. The focal point of the rally was opposition to budget cuts at local hospitals and clinics, and a call for Caja directors to resign. By mid-day, the situation had turned tense as dozens of riot police approached hundreds of protesters to attempt to remove them from one of the city’s main thoroughfares. Protesters refused to budge and police moved in to make arrests. Three lawmakers attempted to intervene, and hours later, a total of 36 people were arrested and several were injured, including police officers and lawmakers. Costa Rica, a country that prides itself on pacifism and the democratic right to organize and protest, was outraged at the violence that unfolded. Another massive march was quickly organized days later, on Nov. 15, and thousands of people marched peacefully along Avenida 2, singing, dancing, chanting and promoting peace along the way. Also in November, a group of environmentalists, farmers and academics protested against a request by D&PL, a local subsidiary. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

New Year begins with six temblors in Costa Rica

first_imgNo related posts. The first tremor of 2013 was recorded at 1:54 a.m. with a magnitude of 2.7 degrees and an epicenter located in Golfito, on the South Pacific coast. By noon 6 temblors were registered by the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (Ovsicori).Five of the tremors had epicenters located in the South Pacific, near the border with Panama.At 2:06 a.m. came the second, with a magnitude of 2.6 degrees, located 4 km southeast of Corredores. Five minutes later, at 2:11 a.m., came the third, a 2.4 degrees recorded near Golfito.At 5:33 a.m, another tremor shook Golfito with a magnitude of 2.6 degrees.The last earthquake in the region, a magnitude-2.4, was registered by Ovsicori at 5:48 a.m., also in Golfito.Then at 10:12 a.m., a 2.6 quake was felt in El Guarco, in the province of Cartago. There are no reports of damage in any of these locations.Ovsicori experts agree that a series of faults were activated in Costa Rica’s southern region after the magnitude-7.6 earthquake that hit Nicoya, Guanacaste last October 5. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Behind the scenes of Costa Ricas latest travel promo

first_img Facebook Comments Imagine being witness to a brave soul in Costa Rica rappelling down a waterfall- covered cliff, or taking in the landscape surrounding a majestic volcano.The Costa Rican government’s “Gift of Happiness” tourism campaign features these scenes and more in a recently released promotional video to be shown in U.S. theaters.Back in October, a nine-man crew equipped with 50 pieces of luggage and six high-definition video cameras arrived in Costa Rica to start the project, gathering footage of activities and places that would give viewers a fresh look at the country.The promotional video is a joint project of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) and Atlanta-based advertising company 22squared. Its purpose is to encourage U.S. and Canadian tourists to visit Costa Rica during the rainy season, which began a week ago and lasts through November.Director Patrick Pierson, a U.S.-based freelancer, filmmaker, and video editor, describes himself as a man who “can’t put a camera down even [when he’s] on vacation.”Although the video lasts only about 60 seconds, it took several grueling days of filming in locations across the country. It will be shown in theaters across the United States through June, and in Canada in November.The video shows incredible highlights of Costa Rica and its people, and extra footage will be used in an iPad app called “Go Costa Rica,” to be released in June. The app is designed to help tourists plan trips to Costa Rica, among other services.The publicity campaign also plans to make use of social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.The ICT gave filmmakers a list of sites, and they set out to document more than 50 locations across the country.Although crew members planned each day what they would film, Pierson left room for spontaneity, giving the final video a very “real-life” feel, he said.The crew spent less than two days in each location, and had only a few hours a day to take advantage of light. They used cinematic cameras and shot footage in a mixture of documentary and action styles, he said.Challenges included long hours on the road and little sleep – members of the crew caught about six hours of sleep a day – and “putting together all those locations and making it work,” said Andrés Madrigal, a Costa Rican photographer who helped coordinate the shoot.One of the unique things about the campaign, Madrigal said, is that no professional actors were used. Instead, local Costa Rican residents became the stars of the film.Pierson said he is proud of the work, despite the grueling schedule. And Costa Ricans, he said, are “the most friendly, the most helpful, the most humble people. Everyone was extremely gracious.” No related posts.last_img read more

Tracking seafood baittoplate to end global fraud and protect threatened stocks

first_imgArnold Bengis, described as a modern-day pirate, is the face of fishery crime.He’s already served a five-year federal prison sentence for stealing massive amounts of rock lobster from South African waters and importing it to the United States. Now, a federal judge wants the former Long Island resident and two co-conspirators to fork over another $22.5 million in restitution to the South Africans on top of $7 million already collected in a separate criminal case.The illegal fishing and fraud he engaged in is part of a global black market valued by experts at up to $23 billion.It’s exactly what the Obama administration targeted on Sunday in announcing a new plan to stop seafood crime. The plan includes an ambitious system that aims to track every wild fish and crustacean from where it is caught to where it is shipped in the U.S.Before any seafood enters the U.S. market, officials said, it must contain information that federal, state and local officials currently do not ask for: its origin, who caught it, when and with what. That data can be taken by any federal, state and local authority at a port and submitted to a central database for tracking.Traceability from harvest to ports is “new, and that is the story,” said Russell Smith, deputy assistant secretary for international fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Government agencies across the board will be required to share and synthesize such information for the first time.“The plan we are releasing today puts us on course to tackle these complex global challenges, with a new traceability program at its heart,” State Department Undersecretary Cathy Novelli said in a statement. “It also gives new urgency to our work towards the strongest possible international tools . . . which will ensure illegal fish cannot reach the global market.”Traceability will take at least two years to phase in, Smith said, focusing first on threatened stocks such as Atlantic bluefin tuna and sea bass before full implementation by September 2016 traces all fish. The report directs a task force to determine best practices for better data collection and authority to board suspect ships at sea.The need to enforce fishing limits was highlighted in a study last year in the journal Marine Policy that estimated that 85 percent of world’s commercial fish stock is being harvested up to or beyond its biological capacity “as our protein hungry planet” leans heavier than ever on a seafood diet.The U.S. is the world’s second-largest market for imported seafood, behind the European Union, and more than 80 percent of what Americans eat arrives from aquatic farms and coasts off Russia, Chile, Thailand and Vietnam.But of wild-caught seafood that ends up in U.S. fish counters, as much as 32 percent of it is imported illegally, often by boats operating lights-out at night, hauling in tons of animals that will never be counted.Conservationist groups that pushed the administration to better protect global fishing stocks for years cheered the report. Michele Kuruc, vice president of ocean policy for the World Wildlife Fund, called it historic.“For the near 30 years I’ve been doing this, we’ve never even come close to something like this report,” Kuruc said in a telephone interview from a seafood show in Boston where the plan was announced. It has what groups wanted, she said, a rollout of better tracing and enforcement with deadlines “that we can hold them accountable for.”Beth Lowell, a director for the advocacy group Oceana, which pushed hardest for the action, called it “a strong signal to pirate fishers and fraudsters that they can no longer make a profit in the U.S. More eyes will be on a more transparent supply chain . . . to ensure all seafood . . . is legally caught and honestly labeled.”But a spokesman for the National Fisheries Institute, a nonprofit industry organization that has questioned the science of such studies and the motives behind them, said that some traceability is necessary but that the administration’s plan is an overreach.“We have serious concerns about talk of expanding this effort to all fish” when focusing only on fish at risk of being depleted “makes the most sense,” said the spokesman, Gavin Gibbons. For example, he said, “if tilapia . . . is not a wild-caught species, then why would the government expend resources to expand the effort to tilapia?” Finally, Gibbons asked, “Where is the money for this going to come from?”The new recommendations for enhanced tracking and stronger enforcement of regulation by customs and law enforcement officials at ports were crafted by the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud.Formed in August, the panel included representatives from 14 federal agencies led by the departments of State and Commerce, which oversees NOAA. Its final report is 43 pages with 15 recommendations, mostly about new policing legislation for port states and improving trade agreements. But the tracing system and stronger law enforcement stood out for members of the seafood industry and nonprofit conservationist organizations.“This is not something we can snap our fingers and do well,” Smith said. “We’re doing it because we believe having in place a traceability system will allow us to manage this product into U.S. commerce.”In anticipation of the plan, the president requested $3 million in his annual budget proposal for the Commerce Department, which has primary responsibility to police fish-trafficking crime. The money would pay for more enforcement officers.NOAA’s enforcement has been the subject of criticism after the division cut its cadre of seafood investigators nearly in half over the past several years. Critics and some conservation groups link that to a 75 percent drop in the number of criminal cases its law enforcement division has brought. Without investigators, crime fighting is hopeless, they say.“There isn’t a big group of individuals investigating seafood fraud,” said Scott Doyle, a recently retired NOAA investigator who now advises conservation groups and foreign governments on how to fight crime. “They cut the investigators in half,” he said. “That’s a poor response.”Paul Doremus, deputy assistant administrator for operations at NOAA Fisheries, said it decreased the number of plainclothes special investigators and increased uniformed enforcers because “we weren’t adequately supporting our special agents.”External reviews in 2010 found that investigators would uncover crimes, but there weren’t enough uniformed police to respond. Doremus praised Doyle, who worked at NOAA for 30 years, but said: “We have only so many people we can afford. These are uniformed officers. We’re adding to the force.”It takes only a few dirty harvesters to bleed a fishery.Bengis, 78, was a magnate who operated Hout Bay Fishing Industries near Cape Town, controlling a warehouse and a fleet of boats. He was licensed to fish rock lobster, but police proved he landed thousands of tons more than his fair share.With a business partner, Jeffrey Noll, 63, of Boca Raton, Fla., and his son, David Bengis, 44, he smuggled lobster out of South Africa and imported it through two businesses in Manhattan.Kuruc, a former federal attorney who helped prosecute Arnold Bengis before working for the wildlife fund, said the scheme was discovered when a financial manager became concerned and turned to South African police.An investigation determined that Arnold Bengis had been overfishing lobster for 14 years ending in 2001 for import to the United States, ranking as the nation’s “biggest seafood case.” She recalled being flown to South Africa and driven two hours outside Cape Town for a top-secret meeting with the financial officer in 2000.“We had to give a secret signal by flashing the lights when we arrived at the location,” she said, because officers guarding the witness said there was a contract for his life.Kuruc went on to work for the law enforcement branch of NOAA, where about a decade ago 600 to 800 new criminal cases for seafood fraud were opened per year, she said.“I would not be surprised if there’s another case out there” as big as Bengis’s, Kuruc said.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Fishermen threaten Costa Rica Coast Guard officers who confiscated illegal nets Faced with delays and the mishandling of evidence, prosecutors deliver closing arguments in Jairo Mora murder trial France bans Paris climate rallies due to security concerns Costa Rica top ‘out-performer’ in 2016 Social Progress Indexlast_img read more

Travel Alert La Platina bridge closed for repairs Wednesday night

first_imgRelated posts:‘La Platina’ Bridge to close Wednesday night, Saturday for repairs ‘La Platina’ bridge head loses job Polls reveal Ticos thoughts on Chinchilla, crime and the environment Government has no funds to build road to San Ramón Vehicle passage on the bridge over the Virilla River on General Cañas Highway, the main road connecting the capital San José and Alajuela, will be closed from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 5:00 a.m. Thursday, the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) reported.The closure will allow repair works on a metal plate that came loose last Sunday, causing major traffic jams.Repairs were scheduled to begin on Tuesday night, but CONAVI moved the date back one day in order to complete all technical studies and to inspect materials to be used in the project, according to the Public Works and Transport Ministry.Problems on the infamous bridge — known by Ticos as “La Platina” — started in 2008. CONAVI has since invested some $13 million in several repair works ordered by officials from three separate administrations, starting with that of Óscar Arias Sánchez (2006-2010).Beyond the repair work, CONAVI also outlined a plan to expand the bridge from two to four lanes and add a prefabricated concrete slab to replace the metal grid on the bridge’s floor. That metal grid, which caused several problems over the years, is what earned the 160-meter bridge its nickname.CONAVI’s Executive Director Mauricio Salom Echeverría said Tuesday that the plans for the expansion project will be ready later this week and work will begin in May. The project was awarded in a public bid to private construction company Codocsa.Costa Rica currently maintains a legal claim against Portuguese construction company Soares da Costa, responsible for one of the repair works on the bridge in 2010.Work at the time consisted of replacing the concrete layer to reduce vibration at a cost of $3.8 million. However, the layer cracked and came loose just a few days later.Last October CONAVI officials announced that they would reinforce the bridge’s structure, but work was postponed pending the expansion project plans. MOPT officials recommend motorists travelling between San José and Alajuela to use alternate routes through Santa Ana and Heredia. (MAP by MOPT) Facebook Commentslast_img read more

No more excuses EU official warns as another migrant boat sinks

first_imgRelated posts:‘Writing was on the wall’ for child immigrant crisis, says new study Immigrants find themselves torn between hope, defeat on Obama’s plans Germany reinstates border controls over refugee surge US appeals court rules against Obama’s immigration plan LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg — E.U. foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini told member states Monday they had “no more excuses” not to act on the Mediterranean migrant crisis as reports came through of another boat sinking with 300 people on board.More than 700 people were feared dead after a fishing boat crammed with migrants seeking a better life in Europe capsized off Libya on Sunday, with some survivors suggesting nearly 1,000 could have been on board.As E.U. foreign and interiors met to discuss their response to the worsening crisis, the International Organization for Migration said it had received a distress call from another boat in the Mediterranean carrying more than 300 people, with at least 20 reported dead.“The caller said that there are over 300 people on his boat and it is already sinking (and) he has already reported fatalities, 20 at least,” the IOM’s Federico Soda wrote in an email.Soda said the IOM had given the Italian coast guard the coordinates for that and two other distressed vessels, but that they were still tied up with the earlier shipwreck.Arriving for the ministerial talks in Luxembourg, Mogherini said the 28-nation bloc “has no more excuses, the member states have no more excuses.”“We need immediate action from the E.U. and the member states,” she added.An ‘avoidable’ disasterItalian and Maltese navy boats continued to scour waters off Libya for the victims of Sunday’s disaster — the latest in a string of shipwrecks, which have claimed well over 1,000 lives since the start of 2015. But the outlook appeared grim, with only 28 survivors rescued so far, along with 24 bodies.One survivor told Italian authorities that there were as many as 950 people on board and that some of them had been locked below deck by the smugglers.The mass drowning, believed to be the deadliest in the Mediterranean, caused an outcry across Europe, where newspapers called it the “E.U.’s darkest day.”“European leaders knew full well that the number of victims at sea from African migration would smash records from the spring,” Belgium daily Le Soir wrote.Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, which is the top destination in Europe for migrants, said she was “appalled” by the disaster, calling it “not worthy of Europe.”“A continent which feels committed to humanity must look for answers even when there are no easy answers,” her spokesman quoted her as saying.Refugee and rights bodies demanded European governments beef up maritime rescue operations and address the underlying causes of the flood of asylum-seekers and migrants washing up on Europe’s shores.Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat urged the E.U. to address the chaos in war-torn Libya, which people smugglers have made the main launching pad for overloaded rickety boats.“We have what is fast becoming a failed state on our doorsteps and criminal gangs are enjoying a heyday,” he said.Britain and France led the international coalition that paved the way for the ouster of longtime dictator Moammer Khadafi in a 2011 uprising. Since then Libya has been torn between rival factions fighting it out for control of the oil-rich state.Mogherini, a former Italian foreign minister, has been pushing the E.U. to be more pro-active on Libya. Just as the Islamist attacks in Paris in January had generated a common response, so this incident should give momentum to finding a common migration policy, she said.“The main issue here is to build a common sense of European responsibility, knowing that there is no easy solution,” she added.Italy overwhelmed Some 11,000 migrants have been rescued since the middle of last week alone and current trends suggest last year’s total of 170,000 landing in Italy is likely to be exceeded in 2015. The issue of who handles these migrants — for asylum or repatriation — is hugely sensitive, with Italy complaining that its E.U. partners are not doing enough.Rome scaled back its Mare Nostrum search-and-rescue operation at the end of last year in protest over its rising cost and it was replaced by a smaller E.U.-led mission called Triton. The recent flood of migrants and the growing loss of life has questioned Triton’s effectiveness but some E.U. member states, especially those not directly affected by the arrivals, have been reluctant to do more.Sunday’s disaster could change that.German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the scale of the loss of life meant Europe “cannot go back to normal” and called for “an open discussion without taboos” on a common E.U. policy.The fishing boat capsized most likely as a result of terrified passengers rushing to one side in desperation to get off after coastal authorities in Italy and Malta picked up a distress signal around midnight Saturday, when it was still in Libyan waters.The deadliest incident prior to Sunday occurred off Malta in September 2014, when an estimated 500 migrants drowned after traffickers deliberately rammed their boat in an attempt to force the people onboard onto a smaller vessel. 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Former US President Jimmy Carter cuts Guyana trip short after falling ill

first_imgGEORGETOWN, Guyana – Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Sunday cancelled plans to observe general elections in the South American country of Guyana after falling ill, his organization said.The 90-year-old Carter left the country for the city of Atlanta in his home state of Georgia, The Carter Center said.The nature of his illness was not disclosed.“President Carter was not feeling well and has departed Guyana to return to Atlanta today. The Carter Center election observation mission in Guyana is continuing its work and will keep him informed of developments,” a statement read.Carter was the 39th president of the United States and held office between 1977 and 1981. He remains very active in global human rights work.Prior to leaving the former British colony, Carter held separate talks with the leader of Guyana’s main opposition coalition and the country’s president, Donald Ramotar.Forty-nine other observers are remaining in Guyana to observe Monday’s poll, which is expected to be keenly contested between the country’s two major political parties.“President Carter is hopeful about Guyana’s election and expressed his commitment and that of The Carter Center to supporting Guyana in the days ahead, stressing the need for a peaceful process before, during, and after the election,” the center said. Facebook Comments Related posts:How Jimmy Carter has long pursued peace, justice and care for those on the margins US, Latin lawmakers urge Venezuela to allow election observers The good, bad and bizarre in US election candidates Expats ‘feel the Bern’ as Democrat Global Primary kicks off in Costa Ricalast_img read more

ExpoVino convention invites Costa Ricans to taste the worlds wines

first_imgThe ExpoVino wine convention opens to the public Thursday and Friday in Belén, just west of San José, with diverse samplings of the finest wines available in Costa Rica, imported from Chile, Argentina, the United States, Spain, Italy and even Germany.“Ticos love Chilean wine, but they also like to discover new flavors,” said Karl Hempel, director of ExpoVino. “We want to emphasize that the experience here is to discover flavors, discover new wines and above all discover good value in wines.”For $65 (with a 20 percent discount if you book in advance with a Banco Nacional card), visitors can taste all exhibitors’ wines, in addition to meats and cheeses from a variety of Costa Rican companies.If you like wine so much that you have to taste them all, you might want to take a taxi.Read the full story in Travel. Facebook Comments Related posts:Delika Foodshow a gourmet cornucopia In Argentina’s malbec region, cheap land has foreigners’ attention Costa Rican band 424 caps off year with new single, video and concert PHOTOS: An afternoon at the Parque Francialast_img read more

Mexico missing students case file shows contradictions

first_imgMEXICO CITY – While Mexican prosecutors declared last year that 43 missing students were incinerated at a landfill,official documents show one gang suspect testified that at least nine were slaughtered elsewhere.The office of Mexico’s attorney general posted on its website Sunday the 54,000 pages of documents from the much-criticized investigation into a case that has bedeviled President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration.A review by AFP of hundreds of pages found contradictory testimony among some of the more than 100 suspects who have been detained, including Guerreros Unidos drug cartel members and municipal police officers.The report — a maze of documents divided into 85 tomes and 13 annexes with several typos and redacted information — was made public by Attorney General Arely Gómez following freedom of information requests from journalists. It is rare for Mexican authorities to make investigative documents public online.Gómez’s predecessor, Jesús Murillo Karam, concluded late last year that police in the southern city of Iguala attacked the students on Sept. 26, 2014, after they had seized buses for a protest in Mexico City.Murillo Karam said the officers abducted 43 students and handed them over to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which confused them with rivals, killed them and incinerated their bodies at a garbage dump in the neighboring town of Cocula.But parents of the students have never accepted the official conclusion.Last week, Gómez invited international forensic experts to reinvestigate the landfill after independent experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found no scientific evidence that the 43 students were burned to ashes there.Tomás Zerón, the prosecutors’ chief of investigations, insisted that a “large” number of students were incinerated at the dump, although he acknowledged that he could not confirm whether it was all 43. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFPKilled on a hillBut the newly released documents include the testimony of Marco Antonio Ríos Berber, a confessed member of the Guerreros Unidos, who said 13 students were taken to a hill on the outskirts of Iguala, where at least nine were killed.Ríos Berber testified that he was ordered to buy diesel fuel and that when he returned, three students had been shot in the head by two other gang members, including one nicknamed “Chuky” or “Choky.”The bodies were tossed in a pit and incinerated with the diesel. A vehicle arrived later with the 10 other students.“I shot two in the head” and four more were killed by other gang members, Ríos said. He added that the six bodies were thrown in the pit, incinerated and covered with dirt and tree branches.“They left the four others tied up. They had beaten them and left them unconscious,” he testified. He said he went home at 3 a.m. on Sept. 27 and did not know what happened to the other students.An official in the attorney general’s office said Ríos’ was another line of investigation, not a contradiction.The official said the “hypothesis of the garbage dump is the most conclusive” because it relies on confessions and forensic evidence.In October 2014, Guerrero state prosecutors said hit men confessed to killing and burying 17 students on the same hill.A mass grave was found on the hill that same month with 28 bodies inside, but DNA tests showed none were those of the students. Related posts:Independent probe doubts 43 Mexico students cremated Mexico’s 43 missing students continue to haunt President Peña Nieto – and they should Parents of 43 missing students in Mexico wage hunger strike Clashes as Mexicans hold rally for 43 missing students Consulta el expediente del Caso #Iguala aquí: #Transparencia— PGR México (@PGR_mx) October 11, 2015center_img 15 asphyxiatedThe published file includes other testimonies that Murillo Karam used to conclude that the students were killed and incinerated in Cocula, though even they had some contradictions.One suspect said he saw around 30 students transported in a truck to the landfill while another saw around 40. Neither gave a precise figure.Confessed hit man Jonathan Osorio Cortes, alias “Jona,” said 15 students were already dead when they arrived at the dump because they died from asphyxiation from being piled on top of each other in the back of the truck.Another one arrived dead with bullet wounds.Survivors were either shot in the head or beaten to death with a tree trunk after some were interrogated over whether they were infiltrated by the rival Rojos gang, he said.Their bodies were then burned in a funeral pyre of wood, tires and diesel.Another suspect said the ashes were dumped in eight black trash bags and tossed in a river an hour’s drive away.Authorities have only confirmed the identity of one student among those remains while DNA tests partially identified another one. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica impresses in 10 win over United States

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s La Sele looks to regain momentum against the United States Costa Rica seeking revenge against the United States New-look Costa Rica football team headed in right direction: 3 thoughts from Óscar Ramírez’s debut Costa Rica humiliates the United States 4-0 in World Cup qualifier A number of oh-so-close opportunities finally gave way to a game-clinching goal when Joel Campbell put home a 70th-minute score against the United States in “La Sele’s” impressive 1-0 win Tuesday night.Though they’re still far from maximizing Óscar Ramírez’s scheme, La Sele moved the ball well against the U.S. all game and dominated possession in the second half. Campbell’s strike occurred between a couple more clear goal-scoring opportunities for Costa Rica. The 1-0 win, in which three or four goals were left on the field, looked as dominating a performance as Costa Rica has seen since the 2014 World Cup. Costa Rica derrotó a Estados Unidos gracias a un gol de @joel_campbell12— Futbol Centroamérica (@Futbolcentroame) October 14, 2015center_img It was the Ticos’ biggest stars who left their mark against the regional rival. Celso Borges orchestrated everything through the midfield and pressured the U.S. defense on a number of occasions. Johan Venegas and Marco Ureña also made plays that should give Ramírez some confidence in his offense going forward.Now with a 2-2 mark in his first four games as La Sele’s headman, Ramírez’s largest task will be to nail down the floorboards and ensure his team doesn’t trip up against lesser competition in World Cup qualifying play that begins against Haiti next month. Finding that level of consistency starts with the defense, as Ramírez employs five men on his backline. On Tuesday, the defense crowded passing lanes and suffocated an impotent U.S. attack that may see some huge changes coming up.Costa Rica’s star goalkeeper Keylor Navas was rarely tested by the U.S. front, though he made a goal-saving block in the first half on a header by Danny Williams off a free kick. He also nullified another potential header by the United States by intercepting the volley try in the box. Marco Ureña in a 2015 friendly against the United States. Jewel Samad/AFPU.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who may have coached his last game, was received with boos from his home crowd before the game. Klinsmann has done himself no favors off the field, but U.S. management will now be able to point to consecutive losses to Mexico and Costa Rica, the selection’s two most consistent foes in CONCACAF, as evidence of a downward-trending team in need of a change.But in a battle of two teams that again figure to take up a pair of CONCACAF’s four spots in the 2018 World Cup, Costa Rica looked like it was proving a point on Tuesday. Despite a bad loss at home to South Africa just five days before, Costa Rica found a win in its surrogate home of New Jersey, where the team has now played three matches in the past four months.Without captain Bryan Ruíz for the second straight game, it was Costa Rica’s trifecta of stars that led the dominating show against the U.S., turning in countless opportunities in the last 45 minutes. Campbell, who’s been criticized for his up and down play, was a creative force on the pitch and would have had two goals if his try in the 59th minute wasn’t tipped over the net by veteran U.S. goalie Tim Howard.Borges gave the Ticos their best shot at goal in the first half when he fed Cristian Gamboa on the wing, who crossed the ball back in front of a crowded net. There it found the feet of Venegas, but the ball ricocheted away before getting past Howard.Costa Rica started off slow in the first minutes, but the team seemed to turn the corner right before the half.Part of the sluggish start came when referee Walter López called two early fouls on defender Johnny Acosta, including a yellow card in the 17th minute. Costa Rican fans will forever remember — and never forgive — the CONCACAF official for the controversial penalty kick he awarded Mexico in the last minute of that team’s Gold Cup win over the Ticos in June.But this time, playing in the same state of that fatal penalty that booted the Ticos from the regional tournament, the Costa Ricans played well enough to take the game out of López’s hands.Costa Rica next plays Nov. 13 in qualifying play for the 2018 World Cup when it meets Haiti at home in San José. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

This week in the Peace Corps Brick to Bread ovens

first_imgPeace Corps Volunteer Collin traveled from his site in Talamanca, on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast, all the way to the Northern Zone earlier this year to learn more about the functionality of a recently implemented Bricks to Bread oven.He had so many positive things to say about his journey: “Visiting a sweet, hardworking, humble family in San Marcos has been a highlight in service thus far. As recipients of a Brick to Bread oven, they were showing me what it takes and providing insight on their bakery experience – in hopes that the women’s group in my community will soon be brick oven bakers themselves. We also had some fun as they showed me around their farm and pueblo.”The Peace Corps photo series in The Tico Times Costa Rica Changemakers section is sponsored by the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), a proud financial supporter of Peace Corps Volunteer projects nationwide. Learn more here. To donate to support the Peace Corps Costa Rica, visit the official donation page.  Volunteers’ last names and community names are withheld from these publications, per Peace Corps policy.Connect with the Peace Corps Costa Rica on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Facebook Comments Related posts:This week in the Peace Corps: Cacao in Talamanca This week in the Peace Corps: Building sustainable recycling projects This week in the Peace Corps: Cooking like a Costa Rican This week in the Peace Corps: Youth group receives prizes in business plan competitionlast_img read more

Germany Jewish official threatened in street

first_imgBERLIN (AP) – German police are investigating a claim that a senior Jewish official was threatened by a man in the street shortly after visiting a Berlin synagogue with his family.A Berlin police spokesman says Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, alleges the incident happened Wednesday on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.Police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said Friday that both Kramer, who was carrying a gun at the time, and the unnamed man have filed criminal complaints that the other threatened them. Last month a Jewish man was taken to a hospital with head injuries after being attacked in Berlin by a group of youths of apparent Arab origin.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Top holiday drink recipes Sponsored Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

Convicted spy Pollard could be freed from prison soon

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories U.S. officials say they’re unlikely to oppose his parole. But the Justice Department says it expects Pollard to serve out his entire sentence.“The Department of Justice has always and continues to maintain that Jonathan Pollard should serve his full sentence for the serious crimes he committed, which in this case is a 30-year sentence as mandated by statute,” said spokesman Marc Raimondi.His attorney, Eliot Lauer, told The Associated Press on Friday that he hoped his client would be released, but said he had received no commitment from the Obama administration.Pollard was arrested in November 1985 as he tried unsuccessfully to gain asylum in Israel’s Washington embassy. Since then, the case has stoked passions and divided opinions, with supporters arguing that he was punished excessively given that he spied for a country that’s a U.S. ally. Critics — including prosecutors and government officials — call him a traitor who damaged the nation by disclosing a trove of sensitive documents.The U.S. has previously dangled his release, including during Israel-Palestinian talks last year. His release now could be seen as a concession to Israel, which strongly opposed the just-concluded U.S. nuclear deal with Iran. But federal officials rejected that idea. WASHINGTON (AP) — Jonathan Pollard, an American who was convicted of spying for Israel in a sensational espionage case that inflamed public sentiment, could be released from federal prison within months, his lawyer and the Justice Department said Friday.Pollard becomes eligible for parole in November, on the 30th anniversary of his arrest on charges of selling classified information to Israel. He will be presumptively eligible for release unless the U.S. Parole Commission determines that he has a record of bad behavior in prison or is likely to commit new crimes. FILE – This May 15, 1998, file photo shows Jonathan Pollard speaking during an interview in a conference room at the Federal Correction Institution in Butner, N.C. Pollard could be released from federal prison within months. Pollard becomes eligible for parole in November 2015, on the 30th anniversary of his arrest on charges of selling classified information to Israel. U.S. officials say they’re unlikely to oppose his parole.(AP Photo/Karl DeBlaker, File)n Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home “Mr. Pollard’s status will be determined by the United States Parole Commission according to standard procedures,” said National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey. “There is absolutely zero linkage between Mr. Pollard’s status and foreign policy considerations.”Pollard, 60, has battled health problems in recent years and is being held in a North Carolina prison. The federal Bureau of Prisons website lists his expected release date as November 21.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Top Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

FLT declining dollar wont stop Aussies from travelling

first_imgTourism identified for driving economical growth. There are no indications that the falling Australian dollar has or will affect the way people travel.Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner said in a recent interview that while some have forecast a lessening in travel expenditure, domestic and international travel remains strong for his business.“Previously, there seemed to have been no effect when the Australian dollar falls but we will see this time – it depends on how far the dollar falls and how quickly,” Mr Turner told Financial Review.Domestic travel currently accounts for approximately 30 percent of Flight Centre’s overall sales.Mr Turner identified tourism as a driving tool for growth within the Australian economy but added that the country’s lofty labour costs were a concern.Yet, the Flight Centre boss was hopeful that the softer Australian dollar may encourage more inbound international visitors from weaker western markets, such as Europe and the US.“Australians are going overseas but we need good strong strategies to bring people to Australia and get them to stay for a reasonable period,” Mr Turner said.Mr Turner also identified a lack of flexibility in wages as a major deterrent within the Australian travel and tourism industry and the need for a change in government at the next federal election.Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more

Unisys partners with TravelSky builds new logistics management system

first_img“In the competitive air cargo industry, carriers are seeking ways to more quickly respond to market changes in order to drive maximum capacity utilisation,” Unisys vice president for logistics Chris Shawdon said.   “Our new pricing features will give air cargo carriers the same flexibility that passenger carriers get by being able to offer dynamic pricing based on date, service, flight or route.” The new management system, known as LMS Next Generation (LMS NG) will provide mobile capabilities and proactive monitoring for air cargo carriers. The LMS will also contain a variety of new interfaces to allow carriers to create a digital supply chain with customers and partners.center_img IT company Unisys has partnered with Chinese IT company TravelSky to develop the next Unisys Logistics Management System, to be available at the end of 2015. Source = ETB News: T.N.last_img read more