AccorHotels ramps up SO pipeline with 10 new hotels by 2021

first_img Posted by Tags: Accorhotels Travelweek Group Monday, April 16, 2018 TORONTO — AccorHotels’ design-forward brand SO/, part of the Sofitel collection, is adding four hotels to its portfolio by the end of 2018, including new properties in Europe as well as the brand’s first hotel in the southern hemisphere.In Europe, SO/ properties are opening in St Petersburg and Vienna. In March 2018, the SO/ brand officially welcomed the 78-room SO/ Berlin Das Stue into the fold. SO/ will also set up shop in Auckland, New Zealand with a new hotel. All are set to open under the SO/ banner by end of the year.Sofitel Hotels & Resorts launched in 1964 and now includes the historic Sofitel Legend, the fashionable SO Sofitel and the boutique MGallery by Sofitel brands.SO/ already operates hotels in Mauritius, Bangkok and Singapore. The new properties will expand the SO/ portfolio to eight. Parent company AccorHotels meanwhile has more than 4,300 hotels, resorts and residences around the world.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winter“SO/ has created a stylish and playful experience, enhanced with an unconventional attitude inherited from its French roots. We have plans to introduce the SO/ brand into leading markets around the world and are very proud of all the new projects that will go live over the next few months. These properties will offer a luxurious yet irreverent approach to hospitality, celebrating and embracing their destinations’ vibe, energy and local trends,” says Joao Rocco, Vice President, Luxury Brand Management, Sofitel Brands.This month marks the opening SO/ St Petersburg, with 137-rooms, a rooftop bar, a spa and a central location ideal for leisure and business traveller.SO/ Auckland, due to open in July 2018, occupies the renovated old New Zealand Reserve Bank, neighbouring the lively Britomart precinct and waterfront. The property will feature 133 guestrooms and suites, with a concept restaurant and bar, an exclusive Club Signature lounge, an indoor swimming pool and a SO/ signature spa and fitness centre, situated in the old bank vault.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureBy the end of 2018 the brand expects to open SO/ Vienna, formerly the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom. The dedicated facilities include a signature SO/ SPA and fitness center, two bars and the Das LOFT restaurant, perched like a glass house on the 18th floor and offering sweeping views of historic and cosmopolitan Vienna.More SO/ branded hotels are on the way, with more than 10 new addresses expected by 2021 in destinations including Jakarta, Samui and Kuala Lumpur.center_img Share AccorHotels ramps up SO/ pipeline with 10+ new hotels by 2021 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Canada looks to retain its number one status with Miami

first_img Friday, March 1, 2019 TORONTO — The final numbers won’t be in until May but Suzie Sponder, Senior Director of Communications, U.S. & Canada for the Greater Miami CVB, says she’s confident that the 2018 Canadian visitor stats to the city will be strong.“Canada has consistently been our number one international market and I don’t anticipate that changing,” said Sponder last night at Miami’s annual Toronto media reception, taking place high above the sparkling city lights on the 36th floor of the TD Tower, at Stratus.PortMiami is the cruise capital of the world and the city also boasts more airlines flying into its airport than any other city in the U.S. Miami is also a main stop for the Brightline train, connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach since May 2018. In November 2018 the Virgin Group took over the rail line as part of Virgin Trains USA and announced plans to rebrand Brightline sometime this year.Most Canadians have one thing on their minds when they plan a Miami vacation: sun. But at some point, jokes Sponder, “you’re going to get sunburned and you’ll want to come indoors.”Miami is famous for its Art Basel art show, at Miami Beach, as well as for its golf, its Art Deco architecture and its thriving neighbourhoods, from Little Havana and Little Haiti to the Design District. Art fans will also want to check out Miami’s Wynwood district, with the best and largest collection of mural art in the world.For more details see << Previous PostNext Post >> Devin Kinasz Posted by Canada looks to retain its number one status with Miami Sharelast_img read more

Air Canada advises agent partners to subscribe to Air Canada Flash for

first_img Posted by Share Air Canada advises agent partners to subscribe to Air Canada Flash for latest 737 Max updates TORONTO — Air Canada has issued an update to the 737 Max suspension, specifically for the airline’s travel agent partners.“To ensure you can keep our mutual clients apprised of the most up-to-date information regarding the grounding of the 737 MAX fleet, please subscribe to the Air Canada Flash. All relevant information will be communicated as it becomes available,” says Air Canada.The airline directs agents to the following link to subscribe: agents already subscribed to the Flash, Air Canada is telling agents to make sure their Flash settings include the ‘Goodwill Policies’ and the ‘Travel Advisories’.“We truly appreciate the extra effort from our travel agent community to help our passengers during this difficult time.” Tags: Air Canadacenter_img Travelweek Group Thursday, March 14, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Stakeholders congratulate Air Canada Transat on Skytrax wins milestone merger

first_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Share MONTREAL — Following last week’s milestone merger agreement between Air Canada and Transat SA, key stakeholders have extended their congratulations to both carriers for their big wins at the 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards.Held at the 53rd International Paris Air Show Le Bourget in France, the annual awards are vote on by travellers around the world and include more than 300 airlines. This year, Air Canada took home ‘Best Airline in North America’ while Transat was named ‘Best Leisure Airline in the World’. Aéroprts de Montréal, Tourisme Montréal, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, the Conseil du patronat du Québec, and the Fédération des chambres de commerce due Québec praised each airline for their accomplishments and also congratulated them for having reached a merger agreement to combine their respective businesses. “We are proud to see two Montreal-based carriers recognized as amongst the very best in the world. Over the last five years, the number of passengers at Montreal-Trudeau has increased by nearly 40%, and with this combination of two home-grown champions, we expect that growth to even accelerate to reinforce the position of Montreal as a world-class hub,” said Phillippe Rainville, President, Aéroports de Montréal.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckYves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal, added: “That Air Canada and Transat have both won these awards several years running is a testament to the attractive product offerings and commitment to customer service excellence from these Montreal champions. We are pleased to see that the combination of Air Canada and Transat will create a Montreal-based global leader in leisure, tourism and travel distribution, offering choices to more destinations than ever from Montréal, more connecting traffic and promoting two-way tourism to and from the city.”Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, said that Air Canada’s acquisition of Transat would strengthen one of Montreal’s flagship companies. “The commitment to maintaining decision-making power regarding Transat’s activities in Montreal also bodes well for job creation in the city. This is good news for our economy.”Yves-Thomas Dorval, President and CEO of the Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), agreed, saying: “The merger of these two Quebec companies will support job creation and Quebec’s economic development. In addition to increasing tourism, which is very important for many of our regions, the merger of Air Canada and Transat will create new business opportunities for the innovation and aerospace strategic sectors.”More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemFinally, Stéphane Forget, President and CEO of the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, said the federation welcomes the agreement between the two airline and the growth potential it represents. “The possible synergies between the two airlines should ensure a greater access to more international destinations and connection options to passengers coming from or going to regional airports throughout Québec.” Stakeholders congratulate Air Canada & Transat on Skytrax wins, milestone mergercenter_img Friday, July 5, 2019 Tags: Air Canada, Skytrax, Transat Travelweek Group last_img read more

Judicial Investigation Police director to retire next month

first_imgNo related posts. Jorge Rojas announced Monday he would step down as director of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) on July 1. The announcement was made during a meeting with Supreme Court judges.Rojas has worked at the OIJ for 38 years, after beginning his career as an OIJ agent in 1974. As an investigator, he worked in the Robbery Division and Traffic Section and was head of Criminal Investigation Department. He also served as director of the OIJ branch in the province of Alajuela.In 1997, Rojas was appointed vice-director of the OIJ, and later became director in November 2001. During Monday’s court session, judges thanked Rojas for “all the work that has allowed judicial police to accomplish great things.”Rojas said he “hopes his replacement will not be named as a result of political decisions,” and that the person should remain free of influence by drug traffickers. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

12 Latin American Caribbean countries honored by UN for fighting hunger

first_imgAt a ceremony in Rome on Sunday, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director General José Graziano da Silva recognized 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries, including Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, and Venezuela, among others, that halved their proportion of of people facing hunger.The award honored countries for meeting the Millennium Development Goal to halve the proportion of undernourished people by 2015 and the more ambitious World Food Summit goal of halving the absolute number of undernourished people by the same year. FAO collects data from each member country and international agencies and then analyzes food availability and distribution to determine the number of people who cannot meet the caloric levels for a “healthy life,” according to the group’s methodology. Critics of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, however, blasted the organization for honoring the country when it struggles with food insecurity and some of Latin America’s worst inflation, rising nearly 30 percent each year. Opposition news organization Globovisión reported that activists from the Voluntad Popular political party demonstrated outside the U.N.’s FAO offices, disputing the quality of the food young people receive and the government’s claim that only 30 percent of the country’s food is imported, according to ABC News/Univisión. Opposition leader Julio Borges put the amount of imported food as high as 70 percent.FAO acknowledged 38 countries in all for their achievements in fighting hunger. From Latin America and the Caribbean, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Panama, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Uruguay were recognized for their efforts, and leaders in the region are already looking to the next step. The Latin America and Caribbean without Hunger Initiative has set a target of eliminating hunger in the region by 2025.“Reducing child malnutrition by half means we still have the other half to go,” said Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli during the meeting.AFP contributed to this story. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

In Cairo a novelist sorts out his fears and hopes for Egypts

first_imgCAIRO — On Friday, as protests grew across the city, I made my way to the offices of al-Jazeera here to be interviewed about Egypt’s turmoil.As I traveled, I thought about a particular piece of Egyptian history. In 1954, the year Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi was born, the late Gamal Abdel Nasser was targeted by an assassination attempt. In Alexandria, a Muslim Brotherhood member fired eight shots, missing Nasser and injuring one of his guards.I arrived at my destination still lost in thought. On the seventh floor, a cautious employee received me and asked why I was visiting. I must have said I was going to try to explain the current situation in a rational manner, which is not easy.Have a seat, please, he said.Inside the studios, footage of protests and shootings was mixed with similar sounds coming from downstairs, where Muslim Brotherhood militias were surrounding the radio and TV building and clashing violently with protesters opposed to ousted president Mohammed Morsi.I left my chair and walked to the thick glass window that was covered in black cloth, to try and observe them: Muslim Brotherhood militia members were wearing shields and helmets to protect themselves from the bullets and birdshot raining down on them from the Sixth of October bridge.In the past few days, I had been keen to use my little camera to document what was going on around me: the masses of people who flooded to the streets around Ittihadiya, the presidential palace, where Morsi had been working before the June 30 deadline that protesters had given the president to leave office. Car horns played a symphony of joy, which mixed with the sounds of the vuvuzela — normally saved for when Egypt wins the African Cup of Nations — as if the departure of Morsi was a closed case.I filmed the army jets flying over, covered with green lasers shining from the hands of the protesters who were carrying Egyptian flags and photos of the not-yet-ousted president underlined with “Go out,” or “No to the Muslim Brotherhood president.”Now you can listen to chants mixed with vuvuzela, smell the grilled corn and the black tea; a festival as if celebrating Hitler’s departure.On July 2, we took pictures of the graffiti on the palace wall and moved to a nearby coffee shop to watch Morsi’s speech. It was directed at his supporters, seeming to ignore millions of Egyptians, threatening massive chaos if he is ousted, and repeating the word legitimacy over and over (I wonder what Freud would say about that?).“Ahmed, can you hear me?” The question brought me to the future, to the darkness, bullets and ambulance sirens.“You will be on air in a few seconds.”I was in another flashback. To Wednesday night. All eyes were glued to the screens, in total silence, with flags swaying slightly in the tender air. The deep voice of al-Sissi announced the temporary halt of the constitution and the appointment of the president of the constitutional court to lead the country in a transitional period.Everyone was cheering; some were praying, thanking God. Civilians joined soldiers and officers in singing the Egyptian national anthem.“Ahmed, you are on air.”I don’t know what I said. Did I say I am against the death of anyone, whether he is with or against me? Did I say it is a win-win or a lose-lose situation?I finished the interview in a few minutes and left the building. In few hundred yards, I melted into the protesters in Tahrir Square. I hoped then — and continue to hope, even as the violence escalates — that the army will not let us down.Al-Aidy is the author of the novel “Being Abbas el Abd.” This essay was translated from Arabic by Nermin Abdelrahman.© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Central America is prime target for massive Floridabased Christian charity

first_img Facebook Comments A worker installs solar panels on the roof of a community center in the Amerindian village of Georgeville in Essequibo, Guyana. The solar panels will charge a battery storage unit, which will become the power source for the desktop computers distributed by Food For The Poor for students and their families living in the remote village. Courtesy Food for the Poor Inc. No related posts. Food For The Poor donated a solar-powered water purification machine that now processes thousands of gallons of water a day at the International Red Cross compound in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Courtesy Food for the Poor Inc. COCONUT CREEK, Florida – From sewing machines for Guatemalan housewives to free lunches for 70,000 schoolchildren in Nicaragua, Florida-based Food For The Poor Inc. is helping improve the lives of some of the poorest people in Central America.Ranked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy newspaper as the largest international charity in the United States, FFP has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. It boasts 1,200 employees throughout the hemisphere, including more than 300 at its sprawling 160,000-square-foot headquarters in Coconut Creek, Florida.“We’re feeding over two million people a day, six days a week,” said Robin G. Mahfood, the organization’s CEO. “These are not poor people, they are destitute people. What we’re seeing today are naked children with no clothes, no shoes and no food. We work in garbage dumps, we work with the homeless.”FFP also works with the physically and mentally disabled – people “who are forgotten,” he added.Since its establishment in 1982, FFP has provided more than $10 billion in aid to poor people in 17 countries throughout Central America and the Caribbean – with half that just in the last five years. It says it has maintained operating expenses under 5 percent to ensure that more than 95 percent of donations go directly toward programs that help the poor.center_img In 2012, the Christian charity built 6,805 housing units, bringing the total to more than 84,000 since 1982. In Haiti alone, it has built 3,668 permanent two-room homes with sanitation units.Also in 2012, FFP shipped 609 trailer loads of medicines and medical supplies, including 122 trailers to Jamaica, 113 to Haiti, 90 to Guatemala, 75 to El Salvador, 61 to Nicaragua, 41 to Honduras, 40 to Guyana and 28 to the Dominican Republic.Mahfood keeps on the wall of his office a framed portrait of a homeless Jamaican man who receives food from the NGO every day. Mahood’s desk is cluttered with bronze sculptures, plastic panic buttons, chocolate kisses and other tchotchkes.“We’re not social workers,” he said. “We live by the gospel, we adhere to the gospel, and it’s because of the gospel we do what we do. And we work only through churches.”Born in Detroit and raised in Jamaica, Mahfood attended a Jesuit school and was a soft drink and food executive for years. In 2000, he took the helm as president of FFP, which had been started by his brother Ferdinand 18 years earlier.“We could go into 10 more countries tomorrow but we don’t have the wherewithal. We can’t even cope with what we have. We work with one family to get out of poverty.”FFP depends entirely on donations, and its Christmas 2013 catalog lets people “give a gift that will change a life.” For example, $24 provides 100 pounds of rice and beans for a poor family; $114 provides a sewing machine, fabric and thread; $125 buys a solar-powered light kit; $3,200 builds a house with sanitation; $5,750 buys a fisherman a fiberglass boat; and $10,560 ships a tractor-trailer full of food.Mahfood said FFP has spent $8 million on energy programs for the Caribbean and Central America over the past five years. In 2013, the organization installed 200 outdoor lighting systems. It specifically works with 45 fishing villages in Haiti and 17 in Jamaica.In Guatemala, FFP partners with Cáritas Arquidiocesana, the Order of Malta and the Lutheran Church. Earlier this year, 19 members of St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, presented nine sewing machines to women in Vista Bella, Guatemala, while on a mission trip for FFP.“I was so excited to bring the sewing machines to the ladies as a way to offer hope for their future,” said Karen Kuehnert, the mission leader at St. Michael’s. “My heart went out to these women after seeing that they only had three sewing machines. They have no lights to sew by, just two windows and a half-roof over the dirt floor. The beauty of their fabric creations is only what can give them pride, but the conditions under which they work limits how much they can produce.”FFP development projects for women in Guatemala include vocational training courses in baking and sewing, group aquaculture and animal husbandry projects, access to clean water, permanent housing and shelter, and food for expecting mothers. A family receiving a new home in Jamaica. Courtesy Food for the Poor Inc. In 2010, FFP received more than 195 containers of food through U.S. Department of Agriculture grants for Guatemala. And recently, the USDA awarded FFP more than 4,960 tons of aid, which will be used to improve the nutrition and health conditions of some 70,000 Nicaraguan children by giving them a meal at school each day.In Haiti, the rapid spread of cholera has complicated post-earthquake recovery efforts, so FFP financed the installation of 70 water chlorination systems, each of which provide 10,000 gallons a day of filtered, chlorinated water.“I personally feel that if it weren’t for all these units, the cholera disaster would have been really tremendous,” Mahfood said. Since it began in October 2010, the cholera epidemic has killed 8,300 Haitians and sickened another 650,000, sparking riots against United Nations peacekeeping troops and a class-action lawsuit against the U.N. Scientists say the source of the outbreak was a base housing Nepalese peacekeepers that was perched above a tributary stream leading into Haiti’s Artibonite River.In Haiti and throughout the rest of the Caribbean, the high cost of electricity has also been a major contributing factor to poverty, Mahfood said.“Here in America, residential customers pay about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. In Jamaica, it’s 46 cents. Families cannot afford to pay their electric bills, much less a school or a hospital. It’s just ridiculous, so everybody’s trying to find alternatives.”For this reason, FFP has purchased more than 6,000 solar-powered light kits for impoverished people in Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti and Guyana. Each unit, imported from China, costs $125 and includes a solar panel, a battery, three light bulbs and cables for charging mobile phones.“Many of these people live in the middle of nowhere, and half their problems come from bad sanitation and lack of light,” Mahfood said. “They’ve never had light in their life. They’ve never seen ice before. This is totally changing their lives.”last_img read more

In Chávezs big shoes Maduro stumbles

first_imgRelated posts:Showdown looms for Venezuela, as protest leader Leopoldo López vows new march Why I support Nicolás Maduro Venezuela’s crackdown on sales of everyday goods risks alienating loyalists Venezuela rating cut by Moody’s as oil plunge hits finances CARACAS, Venezuela – The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, was young once too. He played guitar and worked as a roadie for a rock band, Enigma, leaving his hair long in the back, mullet-style.The skinny, rebellious young man looked not too different from the student protesters and angry teens now challenging his government in the streets. For these youths, who grew up during the 14-year rule of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, it is Maduro who has become the face of a rotten establishment.“Maduro, resign now!” they roar.After more than two weeks of daily protests that have left at least 14 dead and 150 injured, Maduro is stumbling toward Wednesday’s anniversary of Chávez’s death, saddled by doubts about his ability to keep his mentor’s “Bolivarian” revolution running. The problems Chávez passed along when he died last year, including rampant crime and a cratering economy, have gotten worse.But the man who calls himself “a son of Chávez” has also inherited a silver spoon of immense, centralized state power. Maduro and the United Socialist Party founded by Chávez control 20 of Venezuela’s 23 state governments, as well as the Supreme Court, parliament and, the most important, the military and the national oil company. In the poor and working-class barrios where Chávez provided new schools, medical clinics and subsidized housing, loyalty to the government remains strong.Venezuela is not Ukraine, analysts say, where a weak president wobbled, then fled.“There is no reason to believe Maduro is in an unstable situation,” said Gregory Weeks, a Latin America scholar at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “The military has declared itself behind him and has not wavered in that regard. Unless they were called in for intense repressive measures, it is hard to imagine any scenario where military leaders would revolt.” Nicolás Maduro holds a flower during a march in Caracas on Feb. 22, 2014. Leo Ramírez/AFPMaduro, 51, long ago gave up the rock career, working as a bus driver and union leader before ascending into the ranks of Chávez’s inner circle through steadfast loyalty. Despite getting Chávez’s death-bed endorsement, Maduro was elected in April by a margin of only 1.5 percentage points, narrowly beating opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.It was a weak start to his six-year term, which stretches to 2019, and critics say he has been trying to overcompensate for it ever since.As president, Maduro often dresses like Chávez, talks like Chávez and has even told Venezuelans that he has slept in Chávez’s tomb. Wednesday’s anniversary events will give him the chance to remind Chavista loyalists that he’s the late commandante’s chosen one.“Chávez sets the route, Maduro takes the wheel,” was the campaign slogan he ran on, playing up his blue-collar bus-driver background.Chávez, too, confronted periodic waves of protest, and even a short-lived coup in 2002. He often responded by marshaling supporters into huge public rallies, reminding opponents that the poor masses were on his side.But faced with the worst unrest in a decade, Maduro has relied more on brute force. His national guardsmen club protesters in the streets, spray shotgun pellets and rough up TV cameramen. He has tossed opposition leader Leopoldo López in jail on charges of “conspiracy” and other crimes. He has censored unflattering news coverage of the violence but done little, critics say, to rein in the pro-government motorcycle gangs that have opened fire on demonstrators.In his near-nightly public speeches, he deploys a kind of reverse-McCarthyism, seeing “fascists” behind every protest sign and student march, even though the frustrated college kids bear no resemblance to the goose-stepping armies of 20th-century Europe.The hot rhetoric only seems to goad the demonstrators further. Maduro’s opponents have articulated few concrete political demands other than his resignation and the release of several dozen activists who have been jailed. In some wealthier districts of Caracas and in flash points such as the western border city of San Cristobal, clashes erupt almost nightly and streets remain choked by makeshift barricades and clouds of tear gas.The protests have started to show signs of burnout but continued this week through the annual Carnaval holidays. Maduro and his aides have posted photos of Venezuelan beaches packed with tourists to push back at the perception that the unrest was spreading throughout the country.Analysts say it’s not the mostly middle-class student protesters Maduro worries about anyway. It’s the Chávez support base: the working-class and impoverished Venezuelans who have benefited from years of big-spending Bolivarian socialism and stand to lose the most without it.In that regard, Maduro’s real enemy is not imaginary fascists but the bread-and-butter economic problems of soaring inflation and spreading scarcity. Despite having the world’s biggest oil reserves, Venezuela literally lacks bread and butter, not to mention milk, paper products, sugar and other basics. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro speaks during a press conference in Caracas, on Feb. 21, 2014. Juan Barreto/AFPAccording to Caracas-based political analyst Carlos Romero, Maduro’s government is stable but not necessarily strong.“So far what we’ve seen are outbreaks of social unrest and selective repression,” Romero said. “But if the scarcities and inflation continue, the broader population could begin to mobilize and heed the opposition’s calls for protest.”In some strongholds of Chávez support, backing for Maduro has begun to soften.Chávez’s signature, etched in red paint, stretches five stories high on a government-funded apartment building opposite the highway in the Caracas neighborhood of La Paz.Outside, Erika Salazar, 26, and her sister Doris, 25, sat near a playground with bags of toilet paper that they’d waited 20 minutes in line to buy – a wait they called short.The sisters live in a housing development comprising two massive buildings that are home to more than 900 families. Before that, they lived in a shelter after losing their home in a 2010 flood.Doris said Maduro “is a good president, but he doesn’t have as much character” as Chávez.Erika was quick to come to Maduro’s defense. “Of course he lacks a lot of experience, but we are with him,” she said.Nearby, a construction worker, Javier Sánchez, said Venezuela’s “socialist revolution” is bigger than the person occupying the presidential office.“We are fighting for the revolution,” he said. “If it’s Maduro, if it’s Chavez, if it’s whatever revolutionary, we are going to be there, even without a representative.”But even in the government’s public housing, there were signs of sympathy for the demonstrators.Gladis Jiménez, a nurse at a public hospital, says she voted for Maduro but has been frustrated with him since the opposition protests began. She doesn’t have time to march, she said, but she supports the student-led movement.“They have to fight for their future,” Jiménez said.Opposition leaders have said they want to force Maduro out through legal means, but the Venezuelan constitution doesn’t allow for a recall process until 2016.© 2014, The Washington Post  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Luis Guillermo Solís says gender equality and inclusion will lead to a

first_imgSpeaking at the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce, President Luis Guillermo Solís said the country must continue to follow the model of advanced countries and include more women in positions of authority.More than 100 business professionals gathered at a leadership conference at the Marriott Hotel in Belén on Thursday. Solís made his speech during an award ceremony honoring women business leaders and others who pioneered gender equality in Costa Rican business. Solís said that greater inclusion is one of the major challenges he intends to tackle during his administration.“Let’s resolve this problem,” Solís said. “That is a problem that is attacked in all societies that are more just, more inclusive, more modern, wealthier – yes, wealthier – and more enlightened.”Along with business leader awards, Solís was honored as a “Fair Play Champion” for appointing a number of women to his Cabinet. Solís named eight women to the 21 minister and vice presidential positions in his administration, or 38 percent. When including vice minister, 21 of the 51 positions are women, or 41 percent. Solís’ predecessor and Costa Rica’s first woman president, Laura Chinchilla, had 10 of her initial ministers and vice presidents as women, or 40 percent.During the speech, Solís drew laughter when he joked that as the father of four daughters, gender equality is always on his mind.The president noted that despite progress, more ground needed to be won on the gender equality front, such as greater representation of women in public offices to address issues that disproportionately affect women.“The majority of the poor are women and the poorest of the poor are women,” Solís said.He further stressed that Costa Rican women of indigenous and African descent are needed in positions of authority to address problems that affects those groups. Facebook Comments Related posts:New AMCHAM president says Costa Rica is ‘well-rooted’ in tourism Costa Rica launches plan to curb violence against women Costa Rica president off to a rough start, survey says Costa Rica will not block Uber, says presidency ministerlast_img read more

Guaro a primer

first_imgRecommended: Costa Rica, The Quiz – How much has your adopted country changed you?Anyone who has read my haphazard musings in recent months can probably discern, in the shadows of my current incarnation as an “oh, maybe just one glass of wine” mom, the highly competent drinker I once was. Rugby player; reporter; first-year middle-school teacher – these professions or pastimes are pretty much required elements of the official borderline-alcoholic training program, and I ticked them off my list with great efficiency, building up enviable tolerance and collecting a few good stories along the way.So even though I have darkened the door of a bar fairly rarely during the past few years of making and feeding a very small human, I know that if I left Costa Rica today and came back in 20 years, one of the first things I would want to do, one of the things that would make me feel most at home, would be to sit in a friendly cantina on an afternoon with a mellow group of friends watching a happy parade of bottles of beer, buckets of ice and a succession of scrumptious little bocas: tiny pots of tender beans; small plates of chicharrón and fried yucca; gallitos filled with spicy potato or, if you’re lucky, arracache; the kingly chifrijo… obviously, I could go on all day, and that’s exactly the idea. Done this way, you’ll get a little jumas (drunk) or tapis (also drunk, or a drunkard, or a shot of guaro), but not enough to have a serious goma (hangover).To me, drinking in Costa Rica is all about beer (and the aforementioned food), but linguistically speaking, it’s all about guaro. The name of the clear sugar-cane liquor also means alcohol in general, kind of the way pudding in Britain can mean any dessert, or Coke in parts of the U.S. South might mean any soda. And as you might expect, a country that loves its alcohol – too much, sometimes, but this here’s an ode – has not only expressions, but poems and songs devoted to the subject, which María Mayela Padilla describes in her book “Dichos y Refranes de los Ticos – un ‘gallo pinto’ de costarriqueñismos.” One of my favorites is “echarse un peina’o pa’trás,” which roughly translates as “to comb (or maybe toss) your hair back,” referring to the motion involved in throwing back a shot.Padilla reprises many of the ditties that have been composed in honor of guaro, from the famous “El guaro blanco es un alimento, yo solo jumo quisiera estar” (“alimento” is “food,” but I’d translate it as “Guaro blanco is its own food group – all I want is to be drunk”), to “Guaro, guarito, dulce tormento, ¿qué haces afuera? Venga pa’dentro” (“Guaro, little guaro, sweet torment, what are you doing out there? Come on inside”). For Ticos of a certain age, that sweet torment goes right back to childhood, when pulperías would sell guaritos, a candy I have never seen but have heard described rapturously. They had a guaro center potent enough to give kids a buzz if they ate enough of them.Then, of course, there’s chicha, the fermented corn beverage created by the region’s indigenous peoples, which has given rise to its own range of expressions. A baby or kid is often said to “tener chicha” when she is angry, for example, and a chichera is more or less what we might call a dive bar in English. More or less. I learned the difference early on in my Costa Rican drinking days. There was a little bar near the boarding house where I first landed in San José, and I stopped in once for a beer with my Australian housemate, a guy. I went back a few days later by myself to see if I could buy a six-pack to take to a party – having quickly learned the rule that in Costa Rica, you bring your own drinks to the party – and ran back out a few minutes later in a flurry of cat-calls. One drunkard even stood up and staggered after me. I told the story later to my friend and faithful adviser on all Costa Rican cultural matters, who unbeknownst to both of us would one day be my husband, and he said, “Well, of course. Tiny little bar?” Yup. “Just a bar with a few stools?” Yup.  “Only men inside?” Yup.“Yeah, that’s  a chichera, and the guys who drink in there are chicheros,” he said, looking uncharacteristically serious. “Don’t go back to a bar like that by yourself. It’s not a good idea.”I was a little miffed – I don’t like to be told I can’t do things – but he was right. Still, as someone who loved a good dive bar back home, I would sometimes look wistfully through the doors of the nicer chicheras, which tend to be narrow, dim, no food, always with the long bar and corresponding row of hunched-over backs. One I know has notches on the wall to keep track of patrons’ tabs. Some have a wooden partition just beyond the door so you can’t quite see who is inside. Some become trendy, and others are renovated and gentrified. I sort of wished I had a regular stool in one of them and could walk in and say, “The usual.” The old where-everybody-knows-your-name idea.I eventually found that – not in a chichera, but in a comfortable, tiny neighborhood bar near our home – and, one evening, found myself listening to my husband, who seems to have spent half his childhood in bars with his uncles and brothers-in-law, exchanging stories with the other regulars about run-down drinking holes they had known and loved. The one in Cartago that served no food but had a round of tapa dulce hanging from the ceiling – you could grab a chunk to sweeten the taste of your guaro if needed. The one in Sabanilla that opened at four in the morning so the bus drivers could drink before their shifts (ummmm…). The one in Heredia that opened at six in the morning and had no bathroom, just a trench under the bar where guys would pee whenever they needed to. Uuuy, mae, ¿en serio? Of course, for real, ¡al chile, mae! Finally one guy said, “I remember this one tiny little bar in San Pedro that used to be a one-car garage.”“Really?” I said, thinking of the bars I knew on my home turf. “Where’s that one?”Everyone around me laughed – and finally, looking around, I figured it out and laughed as well. I felt foolish but also deeply comfortable, sitting in a one-car garage in San José, Costa Rica, surrounded by familiar faces, belly up to the bar, waiting for our chifrijos to come down in the dumbwaiter, blowing our hair back, tomando guaro.Read previous Maeology columns here.Katherine Stanley Obando is The Tico Times’ arts and entertainment editor. She also is a freelance writer, translator, former teacher and academic director of JumpStart Costa Rica. She lives in San José. Read more from Katherine at “The Dictionary of You,” where she writes about Costa Rican language and culture, and raising a child abroad. “Maeology” is published twice monthly. Facebook Comments Related posts:Once Mexico’s booze of ‘drunks,’ mezcal earns respect Keeping up with the Joneses? Try the Chickens and the Crazies Guatemala’s 6.8 Palopó makes Buzzfeed’s global list for restaurants with incredible views The amazing true story of ‘tuanis’ and ‘brete’ – words to be thankful forlast_img read more

Crash victims relatives ask lawmakers to table bill to eliminate prison sentences

first_imgRelated posts:Chauffeurs break negotiations with government officials in ongoing permit row President Solís says no more road blockades Lawmakers to discuss eliminating prison sentences for blocking roads during protests Porteadores announce more street blockades across Costa Rica next week Relatives of two women who died in a car crash in Alajuela earlier this month on Tuesday publicly called for the dismissal of a bill toreplace prison time with monetary fines for blocking roads during street protests.A demonstration of private chauffeurs, or porteadores in Spanish, on July 8 prevented ambulances from reaching the scene of an accident in which two women – Milena Salazar Quirós, 39, and her mother, Idalie Quirós Jiménez, 64 – died. The vehicle in which the victims were traveling collided with a semi-trailer as they attempted to exit the road to avoid the blockades.“We are not against porteadores or workers’ unions. We just want these groups to seek reasonable ways to protest without affecting or harming other people,” Salazar’s cousin Marcela Murillo said at a press conference at the Legislative Assembly. Hannia Salazar, the victims’ sister and daughter, also attended the press event.Murillo acknowledged that her relatives performed an improper maneuver, but stressed that they should not be blamed for the accident.“The roads were completely blocked by demonstrators. They were trying to find a way out,” she said.Social Christian Unity Party legislator Gerardo Vargas Rojas organized the press conference and also opposes the approval of Bill 17,341, known as the “Law to decriminalize social protests.”The Legislative Committee on Legal Affairs approved the bill’s drafting exactly one day before the porteadores’ demonstration. The bill now must be discussed and voted on by the full Assembly at two separate sessions.“People should have the right to demonstrate, but only as long as their acts do not affect other people’s rights. I will personally ask President Luis Guillermo Solís to evaluate options to table that bill,” Vargas said.Two children aged 8 and 14, also were in the vehicle. One of the them was transported by helicopter to the National Children’s Hospital because of the blockades. Both survived the accident. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Flower export company relocates to Guatemala

first_imgRelated posts:A whopper of a decision: Burger King closes its operations in Costa Rica Gallito candy, chocolates won’t be ‘Made in Costa Rica’ anymore Costa Rica’s restaurant franchise sector plans new openings, more jobs San José tops rankings of most competitive cities in Latin America Costa Rican flower company Flores de Exportación (Florexpo) announced in a public statement that it will move its operations to Guatemala in March 2016. The company will be dismissing all of its 400 employees in the coming months.Company manager Fernando Altmann Weston said that complications with Costa Rican agencies regarding legal requirements and local regulations made the company’s owners decide to leave.“It’s not just a cost issue,” Altmann said, adding praise for Costa Rica’s workforce. “It is a matter of excessive red tape and frequent delays by government agencies responsible for issuing permits.”He said permits are quicker to get and valid for longer time periods in Guatemala.The Costa Rican Chamber of Exporters (CADEXCO) lamented Florexpo’s decision in a public statement, confirming company exec’s problems with red tape.The Cartago-based company will deliver its last shipment of unrooted cuttings from Costa Rica on April 1, 2016, which Altmann hopes will give employees enough time to find new jobs. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Starbucks introduces exclusive coffee from its Costa Rica farm

first_imgIn San José this week,Starbucks officially presented its Hacienda Alsacia coffee, a new variety of Arabica named after the farm that the company owns in Costa Rica.Country Manager Mónica Bianchini said at a press conference on Thursday that Alsacia is available exclusively at Starbucks shops in Costa Rica. The Seattle-based company is currently conducting research to assess options to take it to other countries, she said.Bianchini described the new coffee’s taste this way: “medium body, medium acidity, and fairly balanced by citrus and milk chocolate accents.”Starbucks experts managed to get a balanced and subtle flavor by breeding and combining various varieties such as Catauí, Caturra and Villa Sarchí, she told The Tico Times.The company grows Hacienda Alsacia between 1,400 and 1,600 meters (4,593- 5,249 feet) above sea level on the very fertile slopes of Poás Volcano.The farm is also home to Starbucks’ Global Agronomy Research & Development Center, where the company conducts research to develop new coffee varieties. Starbucks Country Manager Mónica Bianchini and Director of Global Agronomy Carlos Mario Rodríguez Solís on Jan. 26, 2017 present the Hacienda Alsacia coffee in San José. L. Arias/The Tico TimesResistant coffee varietyStarbucks Director of Global Agronomy Carlos Mario Rodríguez Solís said research in the past four years lead them to develop the new variety.Investigators sought to produce a top-quality coffee, but also crops than can endure the effects of climate change as well as plagues and disease. The Hacienda Alsacia variety is resistant to coffee rust, which since 2011 has caused billions of dollars in losses for producers in Costa Rica and other Latin American countries.Production techniques developed at the research facility also protect trees and cherries from the coffee berry borer, various species of nematodes — roundworms — and other pathogen agents, Rodríguez said.Technologies developed at the global center are open source, meaning that it is available to other farmers.“We want to help them improve their production and protect the quality of their crops,” Rodríguez told The Tico Times.The new variety also significantly improved production costs and eficiency.“We managed to harvest more than 300,000 pounds just in our first year,” Rodríguez said.The Starbucks research and development project in Costa Rica started in 2004 when the company opened its Farmer Support Center. The facility allows agronomists and farmers to work together and share information about increasing coffee productivity and quality.Links with Costa Rica consolidated in 2013 when Starbucks acquired the 240-hectare farm. The estate, located in the province of Alajuela, is the company’s first and only experimental farm, Bianchini said. Crops of the new Hacienda Alsacia variety are planted within a 70-hectare area.Bianchini noted that the production of the new variety will not have an impact on purchases that Starbucks makes from other Tico producers.Buy it, brew itHacienda Alsacia is already available at all Starbucks shops in Costa Rica, and customers can order their espressos, lattes, or cappuccinos prepared with the Tico coffee.It is also available in 250-gram bags of whole beans, which customers can ask staff to grind for them if they prefer to take home ground coffee.The coffee package also pays homage to Costa Rica, depicting the Poás Volcano slopes at Hacienda Alsacia, Bianchini added.Costa Rica has been a major coffee supplier for Starbucks since the company started in 1971. The first Starbucks in Costa Rica opened in Escazú, southwest of San José, in 2012. Today the global brand has 11 cafés here. Starbucks’ Hacienda Alsacia spans along 240 hectares on the slops of Poás Volcano in the province of Alajuela, where the company opened its Global Agronomy Research & Development Center in 2013. (Courtesy of Starbucks) Facebook Comments Related posts:Hurricane Otto caused $15 million in losses for Costa Rican coffee sector Chanel’s new anti-aging serum contains Costa Rican green coffee Coffee expo showcases ‘vandola,’ the Costa Rican coffee pour-over brewer Climate change threatens Latin America coffee producerslast_img read more

Ready for a dive

first_imgRelated posts:To the streets we go, bearing lanterns Just another manic Monday… Waiting for the weekend Waiting for the perfect wave Ready to plunge into the week ahead (although probably not from this altitude)? Wishing you the best in whatever your endeavors this week from sunny Costa Rica.Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series – the view from your home or favorite Costa Rican spot, or any other image you care to share? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to We’d love to see the sights with you. Facebook Commentslast_img

Rain causes flooding dozens in shelters in northern Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Strong winds to hit Costa Rica again Thursday Costa Rica’s southern Pacific hit by heavy rains, flooding Strong winds expected over most of Costa Rica this week Rains pound Costa Rica, but don’t believe rumors of a hurricane, CNE says Heavy rains in northern Costa Rica caused flooding that have forced more than 40 people to seek refuge in shelters, according to Casa Presidencial.Monday, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) issued a yellow alert for the canton of Upala, Alajuela, and a green alert in the North, Central and South Pacific, as well as in San Carlos, Guatuso and Los Chiles.A CNE green alert is simply informative, while a yellow alert involves the mobilization of personnel to the affected region. A red alert can only be issued in conjunction with the President and includes mass evacuations.As of Monday afternoon, 42 people were in shelters, and four aqueducts and three bridges had been affected by flooding in northern Costa Rica. At least 325 houses experienced some level of flooding, according to  Juan Bosco Acevedo, the Mayor of Upala.Vice President Epsy Campbell is Upala in to observe the damage and help coordinate the response.“We have taken charge of the situation since early [Monday] morning and now, with the visit of the Vice President, we are more hopeful of having the support of the Executive Branch at the highest level,” Acevedo said.Vice President Campbell encouraged “inter-institutional efforts” to help communities recover from flooding.The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) said it expects heavy rains to continue Tuesday in Costa Rica’s north and on its Caribbean coast. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Egypts Mubarak From war hero to convict

first_img Comments   Share   It was an inglorious end for a leader who rose to power after Islamic extremists assassinated his predecessor Anwar Sadat and then steered the nation through the turmoil that swept the Middle East buffeted by wars, terrorism and religious extremism.The frail, 84-year-old Mubarak heard the verdict from a gurney in the defendants’ cage, surrounded by his sons and former officials who stood in the dock to answer for the crimes of his nearly 30-year rule. The decision can be appealed.That scene was in stark contrast to the image Mubarak had sought to portray as the rock-solid “father of the nation.” In the early days of his rule, Mubarak’s stern, colorless demeanor was a welcome change from the destructive charisma of Gamal Abdel-Nasser and the mercurial style of Sadat.As Mubarak clung to power, the status quo that he personified became increasingly loathed. Like the Great Sphinx that sits immutable through the millennia, this ancient land once revered as the vibrant leader of the Arab world stagnated. Its masses struggled to feed and clothe themselves while countries of the Gulf _ once little more than desert oases _ seized the role that Egypt once enjoyed.At home, Mubarak and his aging coterie of generals and business tycoons were unable to check boiling currents of popular fury, or harness the history unfolding in his nation of 85 million _ the most populous in the Arab world. Mohammed Hosni Mubarak was born on May 4, 1928, in the village of Kafr el-Moseilha in the Nile delta province of Menoufia. His family, like Sadat’s and Nasser’s, was lower middle class.After joining the air force in 1950, Mubarak moved up the ranks as a bomber pilot and instructor and rose to leadership positions. He earned nationwide acclaim as commander of the air force during the 1973 Middle East war _ a conflict which many Egyptians see as a victory _ and was vice president when Sadat was assassinated. Mubarak, who was sitting beside Sadat in the reviewing stand, escaped with a minor hand injury.In his early days, Mubarak made popular moves that held up promise of a more open society, including freeing 1,500 politicians, journalists and clerics jailed during Sadat’s last months in office.But hopes for broader reform dimmed. Mubarak was re-elected in staged, one-man referendums in which he routinely won more than 90 percent approval. He became more aloof, carefully choreographing his public appearances, and his authoritarian governance, buttressed by harsh emergency laws, fueled resentment.Age took its toll on the president, who was once an avid squash player with a consistent style that matched his personality. He became hard of hearing, and was so devastated by the death of a 12-year-old grandson in 2009 that he canceled a trip to the United States. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 A former pilot and air force commander with a combative, stubborn streak, Mubarak took tentative steps toward democratic reform early in his presidency but pulled back toward the dictatorial style that eventually propelled the protests against him that began on Jan. 25, 2011.A 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, released by the secret-sharing WikiLeaks website, called him “a tried and true realist, innately cautious and conservative,” and with “little time for idealistic goals.”It noted that Mubarak disapproved of the 2003 U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein of Iraq, which he believed was in need of a “‘tough, strong military officer who is fair’” as leader.“This telling observation, we believe, describes Mubarak’s own view of himself as someone who is tough but fair, who ensures the basic needs of his people,” the cable said. “In Mubarak’s mind, it is far better to let a few individuals suffer than risk chaos for society as a whole.”Yet that very image of cautious stability was once welcomed in the West, which feared that Sadat’s death in a hail of gunfire at a military parade would unleash a wave of unrest that would scuttle the fledgling peace with Israel at a time when America and its allies were panicked over the rise of militant Islam in Iran. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Egypt’s influence in the Middle East, meanwhile, waned as the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah and their patron, Iran, gained momentum and followers. The oil-rich countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates seized the mantle of leadership regional leadership. The growing profile of Turkey, a democracy led by an Islam-inspired government, also chipped away at Egypt’s heavyweight stature in the region.In 2005, Mubarak held the country’s first contested presidential election, an event marred by charges of voter fraud and intimidation. He retrenched when opponents made gains in ensuing parliamentary elections, launching a harsh campaign of arrests against the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s biggest and best organized opposition group that now dominates the parliament elected after Mubarak’s downfall.Before the protests began, Mubarak had been silent on whether he intended to seek re-election in September. But the quick rise of his son, Gamal, through the ruling party caused immense anxiety.The fear that Mubarak was grooming Gamal, a wealthy businessman, to succeed him left many Egyptians feeling trapped in the past, deprived of change and renewal. Then, the uprising in Tunisia delivered an electrifying message: an old order can be ousted. Instead, Mubarak maintained the peace with Israel and kept Egypt free of the grip of Islamic extremism. He struggled with the problems that have long bedeviled the Arab world: choking corruption, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and religious militancy. Economic reforms spurred growth, but the fruits trickled only to a few.He engineered Egypt’s return to the Arab fold after nearly a decade in the cold over its 1979 peace treaty with Israel.Early on, Mubarak crushed an insurgency by Muslim extremists, whose ranks had produced Sadat’s assassins and some future al-Qaida leaders. In the 1990s, he fought hard against another resurgence of Muslim militants whose attacks included the slaughter of dozens of foreign tourists at the temple city of Luxor.Eli Shaked, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Egypt from 2003-2005, described Mubarak as “a strong presence, not charismatic but with a heavy body like a fighter bomber, and very levelheaded.”Shaked said Mubarak met visiting Israeli officials with at least three top advisers by his side, often consulting with them and demonstrating a detailed knowledge of Israeli politics. The Israeli said Mubarak liked “political jokes and witticisms,” but was short on creativity: “The man is completely status quo.” More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Mubarak initially responded to protests by saying he would not seek another term, and his government said Gamal Mubarak would not run, either. But the president rejected demands that he step down immediately, telling ABC News that he’d like to leave but feared the country would sink deeper into chaos without him.It was a persuasive argument for 29 years, but in 2011 it was overwhelmed by the cries of huge crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square: “Leave! Leave!”___Associated Press writers Hamza Hendawi and Lee Keath contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Four benefits of having a wireless security system Sponsored Stories Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – War hero. Savior of the nation. An anchor of stability in a turbulent region. And in the twilight of his life, a criminal convicted for his role in the deaths of those fighting to oust him.Hosni Mubarak was sentenced Saturday to life in prison after a court convicted him on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that forced him from power. His two sons _ Gamal and Alaa _ were acquitted on corruption charges.last_img read more

UN official pushes compensation for Haiti victims

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Asked about Pillay’s comments, U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq, said it is not the “United Nations’ practice to discuss in public claims filed against the organization.”Nicole Phillips, lawyer for the Boston-based IJDH, said that Pillay’s “public support for the cholera victims’ claims could be a game changer in their claims against the U.N.”___Associated Press writer Edith Lederer in New York contributed to this report.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Comments   Share   Check your body, save your life Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – A United Nations official on Tuesday made a rare case for compensation for the thousands of Haitians who have died of a cholera outbreak in the Caribbean nation.U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay didn’t say who she thought should pay, but activists have demanded the world body provide compensation to the victims of a disease believed brought in by U.N. peacekeepers. “I have used my voice both inside the United Nations and outside to call for the right _ for an investigation by the United Nations, by the country concerned, and I still stand by the call that victims of _ of those who suffered as a result of that cholera be provided with compensation,” Pillay said at an awards ceremony for human rights activists in Geneva.The U.N. maintains it has legal immunity from such compensation claims.Pillay’s remarks, streamed live on the Internet, were a rare admission by a U.N. official about the need to provide compensation following a complaint filed by the Boston-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and the Haiti-based law firm run by Haitian attorney Mario Joseph, one of the finalists at the Geneva ceremony.The complaint came in the aftermath of a cholera outbreak in Haiti that surfaced in 2010 and health officials say has killed more than 8,000 people. Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced to the country by U.N. troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic.Pillay said she raised the compensation issue almost a year ago when she was asked a question at a lecture at Oxford University Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Three world cruises for PO in 2014

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A Three world cruises have been scheduled for P&O in 2014, with family-friendly Aurora and adults-only ships Arcadia and Adonia sailing on roundtrip voyages from Southampton. Seven new ports of call will be featured in the itineraries including Hoi An in Vietnam, Puerto Princesa in the Philippines and Yangon in Myanmar. Arcadia’s 92-night voyage will depart on 10 January 2014, a month after her 17-night refurbishment in Germany, which will see new soft furnishing and carpets in public areas, bars, cabins and restaurants, the renovation of ‘The Globe’ show lounge and the addition of ten single cabins. Fellow adults-only vessel, Adonia, will sail on a 112-night voyage on 7 January 2014 taking in five new ports due to her intimate size, while family-friendly Aurora will sail for 109-nights on 4 January 2014 on an Asian and African focused itinerary. Aurora in San Francisco last_img read more