PEOPLE TRAVELSAVERS names Fiona Kosmin Director of New Business Development

first_img[PEOPLE] TRAVELSAVERS names Fiona Kosmin Director of New Business Development Thursday, June 8, 2017 Share Tags: People, TRAVELSAVERS Fiona KosminTORONTO — TRAVELSAVERS continues to grow in Canada and is adding to its Canadian team with the appointment of Fiona Kosmin as Director of New Business Development, based in Toronto. In her role Kosmin will be responsible for bringing on new accounts and assisting TRAVELSAVERS with achieving its goals for further growth in Canada.Kosmin has extensive industry experience with a decade at TRAVELSAVERS, Carnival Cruise Lines and in England working with travel distribution and technology solutions.“We delighted to welcome Fiona back to the TRAVELSAVERS team. TRAVELSAVERS Canada has seen tremendous growth recently and having Fiona join us at this time will provide us with the opportunity to attract even more new agencies,” said Kathryn Mazza-Burney, Executive Vice President Sales, TRAVELSAVERS.Kosmin added, “I am thrilled to return to TRAVELSAVERS Canada to build new partnerships with great travel agencies, and I continue to be impressed with the programs and services available in helping travel agencies improve their business.”center_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group last_img read more

Up to two kids stay free with AMResorts new family promo

first_imgUp to two kids stay free with AMResorts’ new family promo Share Tuesday, September 18, 2018 *UPDATE: The Kids Stay Free promotion has been extended to apply to travel dates from now through Dec. 22, 2018, Jan. 1-Dec. 22, 2019, and Jan. 1, 2020 – Dec. 22, 2020. TORONTO — AMResorts has launched a new family promotion that allows two kids to tag along for free.Families booking their next vacation at any Dreams, Now, Reflect or Sunscape Resorts & Spas for dates from now through Dec. 22, 2018, Aug. 18, 2019 – Dec. 22, 2019, and Aug. 16, 2020 – Dec. 22, 2020 can bring one child free when staying in the same room as a paying adult for up to two children.The Kids Stay Free promotion is not combinable with No Single Supplement promotions but may be combinable with other discounts and offers. Blackout dates include Nov. 20-24, 2018, Nov. 26-30, 2019, and Nov. 24-28, 2020.Situated on beachfront locations throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America, AMResorts’ kid-friendly resorts offer upscale dining, unlimited drinks and a wealth of entertainment options.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upFor more information go to Posted by Tags: AMResorts, Promotions Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

The most outrageous US city names include Dull and Toad Suck

first_img Wednesday, February 20, 2019 Tags: Funny, Names The most outrageous U.S. city names include ‘Dull’ and ‘Toad Suck’ TORONTO — It’s never nice to make fun of people, but what about towns and cities? Are they fair game to poke fun at?Estately, a real estate website, has compiled a list of the ‘Most Oddly-Named Towns in Each U.S. State’, and honestly, we can’t help but giggle over a few of them!The inspiration behind the list, said Estately, was to pay homage to America’s most unusually named cities, towns and unicorporated communities. It studied dozens of maps to find such classic gems as ‘Satan’s Kingdom’ and ‘Toad Suck’.Some names are super unfortunate (‘Dull’ and ‘Big Sag’ don’t really paint a pretty picture), while others are just downright fun (we’re already planning a trip to ‘Ding Dong’). There’s even a ‘Little Canada’ on the list, which we’re assuming is a tribute to this great country of ours!Here’s the full list below – try to contain your LOLs!Alabama: Scratch AnkleAlaska: ChickenArkansas: Toad SuckMore news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backCalifornia: Mormon BarColorado: ParachuteConnecticut: MoosupDelaware: Flea HillFlorida: SpudsGeorgia: FlippenHawaii: VolcanoIdaho: Beer Bottle CrossingIllinois: Chicken BristleIndiana: Santa ClausIowa: What CheerKansas: SkiddyKentucky: PigLouisiana: Water ProofMaine: Bald HeadMaryland: AccidentMassachusetts: Satan’s KingdomMichigan: Free SoilMinnesota: Little CanadaMississippi: PossumneckMissouri: FrankensteinMontana: Big SagNebraska: WormsNevada: JackpotNew Hampshire: DummerNew Jersey: Foul RiftNew Mexico: Pie TownNew York: Handsome EddyNorth Carolina: Why NotNorth Dakota: ZapOhio: DullOklahoma: OkayOregon: BoringPennsylvania: CouponRhode Island: WoonsocketSouth Carolina: CowardSouth Dakota: Plenty BearsTennessee: SmarttTexas: Ding DongUtah: NibleyVermont: MosquitovilleVirginia: FriesWashington: Big BottomWest Virginia: Booger HoleWisconsin: ChiliWyoming: Chugwater Sharecenter_img Posted by Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Costa Ricanborn US soldier killed in Afghanistan

first_imgA Costa Rican-born soldier in the U.S. Army was killed last week in Afghanistan, the Ventura County Star reported.Staff Sgt. Andrew Britton-Mihalo, from Ventura County, California in the U.S., died in an attack Wednesday by an Afghan soldier who killed a translator and wounded three others on an Army base in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Afghan soldier, who was being mentored by the U.S. Army, also was killed.Britton-Mihalo, 25, was born in San José, Costa Rica.The soldier that opened fire was a member of Afghanistan’s elite Special Forces. According to the Ventura County Star, this is the first time an Afghan Special Forces soldier has killed a U.S. military member.Britton-Mihalo is survived by his wife, Army Sgt. Jesse Britton, who he married in December. He also is survived by his mother and stepfather and three sisters. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Tico Boston Marathon hero back home for Obamas visit

first_imgYour cowboy hat is now famous from the picture of you on the day of the bombings. Will you continue to wear it?I always wear cowboy hats and have about 10 of them that I wear for work and going out. Actually, while living here in Costa Rica, I was a rodeo clown at the annual bullfights in Zapote [a southeastern district of San José].Really?Yes, my nickname as a rodeo clown was “El Gringo” because I was always dressed in an American football jersey when running with the bulls. I wore a Philadelphia Eagles jersey and for many years people knew me as El Gringo. I used to wear a bulletproof vest when runningwith the bulls and now lots of Costa Rican rodeo clowns do as well.You are also known for another episode in Florida when your son passed away, correct?Yes. When my son died I almost killed myself. I set fire to my van and burned 26 percent of my body in second- and third-degree burns. I really don’t know what happened. It was my birthday, August 25, 2004, when my son died. I tried to kill myself, but I survived. OnlyGod knows why.What are your plans now and for the future?Well, I want to see what happens with [Boston bombing victim] Jeff Bauman and remain in contact with him. I hope he can come to Costa Rica. Also, I am focusing on spreading awareness about suicide prevention and continuing to work with veterans. How has Boston changed since that day?It was in such a state of shock those days after the marathon. Everything stopped. In time, Boston has returned to somewhat of a state of normalcy. The streets and businesses are back open and the city is functioning as it did prior to the marathon, though the people are stilldealing with the residual trauma. There is still grieving, though the city is priding itself on being strong. It will require a lot of time and psychological support to overcome that day. Facebook Comments Adam Williams | Tico Times With the President of the United States as a registered guest at the Hotel Real Intercontinental in Escazú on Friday night, the scene in the lobby was one of unordinary sightings.When the massive presidential motorcade roared in around 9:30 p.m., Secret Service agents spilled out of vans toting assault rifles, hoards of hulking security personnel surrounded the front entrance, and what appeared to be the entire hotel staff scurried around to usher the distinguished guests to their rooms.Yet, amid the presidential buzz, a familiar face – one that dominated international news reports last month – silently stole the spotlight as he sipped a beer near the lobby bar.Donning his famed folded cowboy hat, and with wide eyes and long curly locks, Carlos Arredondo – the Costa Rican who achieved hero status for his efforts to save injured victims of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings – sat patiently in the lobby.A now-famous photo of Arredondo taken as he assisted wounded runner Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs in the bombing, has since emerged as the international image of heroism amid the tragedy of that day.Arredondo, who said he shook hands with U.S. President Barack Obama during his visit to Boston in the days following the bombings, was in town over the weekend to meet with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla. That meeting took place Thursday. His next goal was to speak with Obama to promote Boston Samaritans, a suicide prevention organization, and to lobby for more support for U.S. military veterans.Early Saturday morning, Arredondo – covered in silver body paint – was seen standing on a chair in San José’s Plaza de la Democracia, being photographed for a year-end “People of the Year” issue by the daily La Nación.Arredondo sat down with The Tico Times on Friday to discuss his human rights work, his colorful history, and how the Boston Marathon bombing changed his life forever.Excerpts follow.TT: How does it feel to be referred to as a hero?CA: (laughs) Well, I don’t consider myself a hero. I did what anyone else would have done in that situation. I thank God that I wasn’t injured and was able to help out those that were as quickly as possible. Anyone in that situation, looking at all the injured people lying on theground, would have done the same thing I did.What was it like to be in Boston on the day of the bombings?It was a horrible tragedy. We were there very early in the morning giving U.S. flags to people there and supporting the soldiers and veterans that were running. After the bomb exploded, I just reacted as quickly as I could to get to where it went off to help anyone I could findthat was injured. It was a very dramatic experience. So many people lost legs and 280 people were injured. After the sound of the bomb, there was a ball of fire and afterwards smoke. All the people that were standing in the area where the bomb went off were no longerthere. Almost all of them were on the ground injured.In the picture of you from the marathon, you were helping a man after he was wounded in the bombings. I read that you have remained in contact with him. The young man I helped is Jeff Bauman. He is 27 years old and from Massachusetts. He is now stable. He lost both legs and suffered second and third-degree burns on his body. But, thanks to God, he has healed quite quickly. Jeff remains in high spirits and is feeling better. Ihave gone to see him four times in the hospital and we talk quite a bit by email. I am hoping that soon he will come to visit Costa Rica.How has your life changed since that day?My life has changed completely. I am now very concentrated in working to spread the word about some serious problems in the U.S. In the U.S., we lose 22 veterans a day due to suicide. It is a grave crisis and we are trying to combine an organization called Samaritans ofBoston, which works to prevent suicide, with the Veteran’s Hospital. The reason I am doing that is because my youngest son committed suicide. Currently we are working with other organizations and are in conversations with the U.S. Congress to provide better benefits to U.S.veterans and their families. No related posts. Carlos Arredondo hangs out at the Hotel Real Intercontinental in Escazú Friday night, hoping to catch a moment with U.S. President Barack Obama. Arredondo is asking the president to dedicate a building in honor of his son, a soldier killed in the early days of the Iraq war. Arredondo also lost a second son, who committed suicide. last_img read more

Recovering our natural rhythm

first_imgNo related posts. At a time when everything in the prevailing culture seems to be focused on getting and greed, me and mine, here comes Bill Pfeiffer with a gift – for individual seekers, for humanity and for the Earth.For years, Pfeiffer has been a frequent visitor to and passionate admirer of Costa Rica. During many happy hours here and in Siberia, where we traveled with him on two unforgettable journeys, we learned about his vision for the world, honed over a lifetime of humble eagerness to learn, gutsy single-mindedness, and a helpless love for the Earth and all her inhabitants.Bill Pfeiffer walks his talk, impeccably. “Wild Earth, Wild Soul: A Manual for an Ecstatic Culture,”his first book, is the inspiring result.The self-described “maverick deep ecologist” founded and for more than 20 years operated the not-for-profit Sacred Earth Network. Its activities included sponsoring visits to indigenous elders in America and Siberia and arranging exchanges among them.Using everything he learned from these encounters plus a lifetime of searching and study, Pfeiffer evolved the Wild Earth Intensive – a 10-day spiritual adventure that guides participants to rediscover their wild souls – the real selves buried beneath the trappings of contemporary cultural brainwashing. (Writer and teacher Martín Prechtel, initiated as a shaman by the Tjutujil Maya, calls this essential self the “indigenous soul”; Andean master Américo Yabar, who transmits the spiritual teachings of the Q’ero elders of the high Andes, calls it the salk’a [wild, undomesticated] spirit, and insists that all the ills of contemporary life are the result of “disconnection from Pachamama [Mother Earth].”)Pfeiffer believes that “wisdom and brilliance are encoded in every human and can be unleashed under the right circumstances,” and that the “severe amnesia” which has cut us off from Nature and our fellow beings can be reversed. Through the Wild Earth Intensive, as we remember who we really are and what we’re doing here, our wise, brilliant selves make themselves known. This deeply transformational experience is the heart of Pfeiffer’s book. In elaborate detail, with practical, step-by-step instructions, he explains how an Intensive unfolds and how the process becomes a blueprint for a healthy, harmonious and hopeful way of living. He notes, “A WEI does not impose a belief system but inspires a belief in Life.”The Wild Earth Intensive is based on seven principles:There is power in remembering ancestral wisdom.We can dream a new world into being.We are a tribal species.The Earth is alive and full of meaning.Humans naturally live in abundance.Women and men are partners in a common destiny.Ancient wisdom is mirrored by 21st century science.With copious references to myriad works by ancient and contemporary thinkers, teachings from many spiritual traditions, and cutting-edge New Paradigm science, Pfeiffer devotes a section of the book to explaining each principle, then goes on to detail its application.He shows how ancient techniques such as the talking circle, meditation, storytelling, ceremony, and shamanic journeying – all part of a Wild Earth Intensive – help participants rediscover forgotten life skills that are “hard-wired” in everyone and crucial for survival: humanity’s and the planet’s. Participants find themselves remembering the importance – and, ultimately, the joy and relief – of such things as listening, feeling, playing, and sensing Nature’s rhythms, energies and messages.“It is a wonderful paradox that a WEI, while providing a nurturing container where we don’t lose our individual uniqueness and emotional stability, strengthens our sense of interconnection with each other and the universe,” Pfeiffer writes. “Participants come to recognize or develop their particular gifts and see how they enrich the group and, eventually, the larger community. We experience personal empowerment though activities that make us feel safe enough to be authentic: to be ourselves and to think for ourselves.”“The premise is that this place of wholeness, connectedness, and gratitude is where wise actions, healthy lifeways, and sustainable cultures grow,” he adds. “It is the wisdom of the Earth herself, flowing through each of us, that can provide the clearest direction for the way ahead.”It’s an intensely optimistic – yet not utopian – view. We are not trapped in the mess we’ve made; we can change direction; it’s not too late.  Recovering lost wildness naturally sows the seeds of a joyous, peaceful and loving world.  Pfeiffer’s book provides all the tools we need to find our way back … and forward. It’s a gift of hope.“Wild Earth, Wild Soul” is available for $15.65 ($7.69 in Kindle edition) from Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Disputed Honduran presidentelect meets with Central American leaders

first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla received disputed Honduran President-elect Juan Hernández at the Casa Presidencial as part of his whirlwind Central American welcome tour Wednesday afternoon.The two leaders spoke about “bilateral interests,” the Central American Integration System, and Costa Rica’s upcoming presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. Hernández thanked Chinchilla for Costa Rica’s role in negotiating Honduras’ return to the Organization of American States following the 2009 coup, which left Honduras an international pariah, according to Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo.  “Honduras has experienced a democratic celebration during these [recent] elections. Fortunately, we had visitors, an enormous number of observers. They were the most observed elections in our history, with the most participation in our history. And obviously we are pleased and proud of the Honduran people for this civic celebration that we experienced,” Hernández said during his brief comments to the press.Costa Rica was Hernández’s second stop Wednesday, after visiting with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli.Hernández invited Central American leaders to visit Honduras on Jan. 27, when he takes office, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.That is, if his election holds up against a recount called for by his rival Xiomara Castro, wife of deposed ex-President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed from office in the 2009 coup. Hernández won the presidential election on Nov. 24 with 36.8 percent of the vote, followed by LIBRE party candidate Castro, with 28.8 percent.Castro claimed “fraud,” leading to the election authority’s recount.European Union and Organization of American States observers called the voting process transparent and non-problematic.Castillo told The Tico Times that he did not have any concerns regarding the recount: “They’re allowing the process to take place, to count the votes, so that later the tribunal can make a decision.”After leaving Costa Rica, Hernández continued on to Nicaragua where he was scheduled to meet with President Daniel Ortega.AFP contributed to this report. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica accuses Bolivian president of meddling in election

first_imgRelated posts:Bolivia’s Morales: The US abolished Costa Rica’s army Bolivia’s Evo Morales: Obama should lift the embargo and return Guantánamo Naval base to Cuba Bolivia announces plans for nuclear research complex Bolivian president asks to see child born to ex-girlfriend Don’t mess with Costa Rica.The Foreign Ministry said it deplored Bolivian President Evo Morales’ comments on Feb. 7 claiming Costa Rica was a former colony of the United States and that the U.S. had disbanded the country’s army, according to a statement released Monday.Morales, who was commenting on recent elections in Costa Rica and El Salvador, said, “For the first time a leftist party stands out in a country that was once a colony of the United States, and I think – and I hope I’m not wrong – it is a country without armed forces, as the United States eliminated the army in Costa Rica.”Costa Rica disbanded its army in 1948 following a civil war – and the U.S. was not involved.“President Morales’ declaration on Feb. 7, 2104, about the electoral process constituted interference in the internal affairs of Costa Rica,” the statement read.The Foreign Ministry stressed that Costa Rica’s repulsion of William Walker, a pro-slavery invader from Tennessee who proposed annexing Central America into the United States in the 1850s, was one of the most prodigious moments in the country’s history:“Costa Rica recalls that it was for this feat by the Costa Rican people, who not only liberated themselves from the threat of colonialism by the United States, but who also liberated Nicaragua, which was [a colony].”The statement from the ministry called the comments an “unjust attack,” but aimed to take the high road in the end, reiterating Costa Rica’s support for the people of Bolivia and its democratically elected government. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

China ends onechild policy

first_imgRelated posts:5 ways the world will look dramatically different in 2100 China’s Xi in Cuba on last stop of Latin America swing Chinese leader’s visit has big implications for Latin America President Solís calls for more trade, not just handouts from China BEIJING — China announced the end of its hugely controversial one-child policy on Thursday after decades of strict, sometimes brutal enforcement left it with an ageing population and shrinking workforce that has heightened the challenges of slowing economic growth. Facebook Commentscenter_img All couples will be allowed two children, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a communique issued by the ruling Communist Party following a four-day meeting in Beijing.The historic change was “intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population,” Xinhua said.Campaigners welcomed the move, but stressed that a “two-child policy” still meant that China would retain population control mechanisms — while demographic changes will take decades to have an effect, and previous loosenings led to fewer extra births than expected.The policy, instituted in the late 1970s, restricted most couples to only a single offspring and for years authorities argued that it was a key contributor to China‘s economic boom and had prevented 400 million births.It was enforced by a dedicated national commission with a system of fines for violators and often forced abortions, leading to heartrending tales of loss for would-be parents.But China‘s population — the world’s largest at 1.37 billion — is now ageing rapidly, gender imbalances are severe, and its workforce is shrinking.The concerns led to limited reforms in 2013, including allowing a second child for some couples in urban areas, but relatively few have taken up the opportunity.Human rights organizations welcomed the change to the deeply unpopular policy, but expressed reservations about remaining controls.It was “good news for the couples who wish to have a second child,” Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch told AFP, but “the restrictions on reproduction rights remain in China.”“As long as the quotas and system of surveillance remains, women still do not enjoy reproductive rights,” she said, adding that change in policy was for “primarily economic reasons.”Amnesty International’s William Nee said on Twitter: “‘Two Child Policy’ won’t end forced sterilisations, forced abortions, gov control over birth permits.”Vested interestsThe Communist leadership met in Beijing to discuss ways to put the country’s stuttering economy back on a smooth growth path as it struggles with structural inefficiencies and outdated social policies.Known as the fifth plenum, the conclave discussed the next Five-Year Plan for China — the 13th since the People’s Republic was founded in 1949.Over four days of meetings the 205 members of the Central Committee, plus around 170 alternates, examined the specifics of the plan, which will be approved by the country’s rubber-stamp legislature next year.China has enjoyed a decades-long boom since the ruling party embraced market economics and opened up to the rest of the world from the late 1970s.The process has transformed the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people and propelled the country to global prominence.The meeting reiterated the Communist Party’s goal to double 2010 GDP by 2020, as part of its aim to achieve a “moderately prosperous society” by the 100th anniversary of its founding.Growth has been slowing for several years, and analysts have long urged Beijing to embrace further liberalisation to avoid falling into the stagnation of the “middle income trap,” when developing countries fail to fulfil their full potential.The conclave said the economy would “maintain medium-high growth,” and that China would reduce controls on “pricing products and services in competitive sectors,” according to Xinhua.“A more exacting environmental protection system,” would tackle the country’s chronic pollution problem, it said, although such promises have been voiced many times before.Bureaucratic resistance and vested interests are strong in China, and the government has found it difficult to change the nation’s course, even on issues where there is general agreement, such as family planning.Yong Cai, a sociology professor at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and expert on the one-child policy, said the change announced Thursday was “at least 10 years later than it should be.”“But better than never,” he added.Intense pressuresAs the country has grown wealthier, couples have increasingly delayed having even one child as they devote more time to other goals, such as building their careers.“There’s a lot of opportunity cost to having children. The norm has changed to one or none,” said Joan Kaufman, Director of the Columbia Global Centers East Asia and a long-time expert on China‘s population planning.“I don’t think you’re going to see a massive unleashing of this pent-up desire for children.”The Chinese public met the announcement cautiously, with many saying the change would only add to the already intense social and financial pressures attached to reproduction.“I will have four parents to take care of, along with two children,” noted one online commenter. “This is too great a responsibility.”Wu Bohao, a 23-year-old single child, told AFP: “Raising a child is quite expensive. For me, having one kid would be enough.”last_img read more

Students and Quebec government still talking

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Students have called for a tuition freeze, but the government has ruled that out as a possibility. Students also object to an emergency law put in place to limit protests.“There was an exchange of offers, a ping-pong game all day and it ended with our last return so we’re waiting for a reaction tomorrow,” said student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. “There have been many proposals on both sides, there were ups and downs.”More than 2,500 people have been arrested since a student strike at more than a dozen Quebec colleges and universities began in February.Any agreement would have to be put to the various student associations for approval. The government was hoping to avoid a repeat of previous talks that ended with an agreement in principle with the leaders that was later rejected by the associations.The French-speaking province’s average undergraduate tuition – $2,519 a year – is the lowest in Canada, and the proposed hike – $254 per year over seven years – is tiny by U.S. standards. Analysts say Quebecois are more likely to compare themselves to European countries where higher education is mostly free, rather than to the neighboring United States. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments   Share   4 sleep positions for men and what they mean New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Charest’s government passed emergency legislation on May 18 restricting protests and closing striking campuses until August. The law requires that police be informed eight hours before a protest begins, saying organizers must provide details on the route of any demonstration of 50 or more people. It also prohibits demonstrations within 50 meters (165 feet) of a college and declares that anyone who incites or helps another person break the new regulations can be fined.Amnesty International says the law breaches Canada’s international human rights obligations and called for it to be rescinded by Quebec’s legislature.On Wednesday, two United Nations freedom Special Rapporteurs expressed concern about the law and “urged federal and provincial governments of Canada and Quebec to fully respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, expression and association of students affected by two new legislations.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes QUEBEC CITY (AP) – Student representatives and Quebec government officials emerged from a third day of talks aimed at ending weeks of protests over tuition hikes without an agreement after a laborious session aimed at ending weeks of protests.Student groups said they made a new proposal Wednesday to the government and were hoping to get an answer from officials Thursday.“We gave our proposal to Quebec’s government, we discussed it, we debated it, and the minister of education said she needed the night to think about it,” said student leader Leo Bureau-Blouin. Sponsored Stories Students said a proposal to drop the yearly rise by $35 to $219, was unanimously rejected.Education Minister Michelle Courchesne said Wednesday that efforts were continuing to reach an agreement but the talks seemed laborious.“The situation is serious so let’s put time on our side,” she said Wednesday. “We’re progressing, it’s difficult but as I was saying it’s not over till its over.”Protesters in Montreal and Quebec City were joined by demonstrators across the country Wednesday partaking in what a Facebook group called Casseroles Night in Canada, a reference to the pots marchers have been banging to show their support for the students. One posting on the social media page even included a photo of protesters banging pots in Little Rock, Ark.Protesters gathered again outside the building where the talks were taking place in Quebec City, banging pots and waving the flags of unions which have given students their support.Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who has vowed to shake up the debt-ridden province’s finances since he was elected nearly a decade ago, has refused to cave in. But he attended Monday’s talks with the students for the first time since the conflict began, after being urged to do so by student leaders. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories last_img read more

Tropical island problem Too many parrots

first_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too The foundation received official notification last month that it can carry out the project, Bunbury said. Eradication is likely to begin in November or December. The program, which has the backing of the Seychelles Ministry of Environment and Energy, is one of several the foundation is carrying out thanks to a $960,000 grant from the EU.Bunbury and Haverson argue that the damage the green parakeets could have on the Seychelles is higher than in other regions because of the Seychelles’ small size and extreme isolation. Seychelles must import much of what it consumes, so if the little agriculture the islands do carry out is ruined, it could have outsized financial consequences, they say.The project will place nets around the roosting site next to Georges’ wooden farmhouse. Any birds that evade the nets will be targeted through guns with silencers.As the green parakeets swooshed into her green bamboo stalks on a recent evening, Georges sat on a wooden bench, looked down her lush green valley and out onto a moonlit Indian Ocean.“Definitely the black parrot has priority over the little green ones, but still it would be a shame to eradicate them,” she said as the day’s light faded. Sponsored Stories At 6:20 p.m., small packs of green parrots began flying up the valley to the bamboo patch beside Georges’ house. Gliding in under a bright crescent moon in small groups of three, five or 10 birds, they whoosh into the bamboo, not far from the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg that Georges sells to tourists.An animal-lover, Georges has mixed feelings about the kill mission. She says it would be a “calamity” if the parakeets wiped out the nation’s black parrots, but otherwise she enjoys watching them fly in to roost for the night.“They seem to be a part of the evening routine. You finish work, you have a beer on the deck and you see the droves of birds coming up to the trees,” she said.The Indian ring-necked parakeet first appeared in the Seychelles in the 1970s, perhaps when a caged pet escaped or was set free, said Peter Haverson, a Briton with a novel job title: avian eradication specialist.The population turned viable in the mid-1980s and by the 1990s it was recognized as a threat. In 2000, when Haverson guesses that the population was only a couple dozen strong, the island began an awareness campaign against the birds.Though graceful and good-looking, the green parakeets have earned the designation of pest. They eat from residential fruit trees and commercial crops. Perhaps of greater concern to Seychelles, they could kill off the nation’s black parrots by introducing beak and feather disease, a fatal affliction for the black parrot. “You sit here. The moon and the birds come in. It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling at the day’s end.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories How men can have a healthy 2019 Other countries _ Britain, Australia, even parts of the U.S. _ are also seeking to control their green parrot populations, he said, but the Seychelles project is the first attempt to eradicate the bird from an ecosystem. The Indian ring-necked parakeet is native to 35 countries and has been introduced to another 39. Its growth is a consequence of the global travel patterns of humans. Invasive species are recognized by the convention on biodiversity as a major threat to ecosystems, especially island ecosystems.“Because Seychelles is such a small island it’s an achievable program here,” Haverson said.Georges _ the 75-year-old caretaker of Le Jardin du Roi, or the Garden of the King _ is skeptical the project will succeed in killing all the birds.“How are they going to do it? How?” she says.So far the project has only carried out a count of the green parakeet. Nets and guns are being brought in. Hand-in-hand with the eradication campaign is an educational campaign designed to lessen the outcry for killing of the birds.“These parrots aren’t part of their natural heritage,” said Nancy Bunbury, who works with the Seychelles Islands Foundation. “If we can get that message through them they (Seychelles residents) are more accepting of the fact that you want to do something about it.” Check your body, save your lifecenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Associated PressLE JARDIN DU ROI, Seychelles (AP) – The green parrots that live on the tropical paradise of Seychelles fly into the bamboo stalks next to Micheleine Georges’ 150-year-old farmhouse at dusk. The birds are small and cute. They are also marked for death.The eradication of the Indian ring-necked parakeet is the goal so that a Seychelles’ national bird _ the black parrot _ may live, those carrying out the EU-funded project say. The black parrot could be wiped out by a disease that the Indian ring-necked parrot carries. Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family The two species don’t yet intermingle. The green parrots are only found on the country’s main island, Mahe, while the black parrots live on Praslin, 25 miles (40 kilometers) to the northeast. That’s likely too far to fly, but biologists fear the green parrots could hop on a ferry and land in Praslin.The Seychelles Islands Foundation eradication project estimates that the island nation now has 230 of the parakeets, a number that would rise to 3,000 birds in a decade if the birds are allowed to live. The parakeets can grow to 16 inches (40 centimeters), twice as big as the budgerigar parakeet, the common house pet, which grows to about 7 inches (18 centimeters).The Seychelles is a chain of 115 breathtakingly beautiful islands far out in East Africa’s Indian Ocean. That isolation creates unique mini ecosystems, but it can also place the black parrot in peril.“They tend to be more vulnerable to diseases because they’ve been brought up in an environment where they’re not open to global threats of other diseases,” said Haverson. “They’re very secure here, but now you have an alien invader coming in which has this disease which could devastate it.”last_img read more

Russias Putin orders reform of parliament

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family MOSCOW (AP) – President Vladimir Putin submitted a bill Wednesday that would change how the upper house of the Russian parliament is formed, a move he said would make it more democratic but which critics said wouldn’t change the body’s role as an obedient tool of the Kremlin.Under the current system, the Federation Council is made up of randomly chosen former officials or rich businessmen with government links, with two representatives for each of Russia’s 87 regions. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019center_img Putin’s bill will have candidates for provincial governors publicly name their choice for an upper house member from the region ahead of local elections. The second candidate for each province should be a member of its legislature, Putin said.The bill requires approval from the lower house of parliament as well as the Federation Council itself. Given both bodies’ genuflection to Putin, it is all but certain to quickly pass.Putin won a third presidential term in March’s election despite a wave of massive protests in Moscow against his rule.He has approved a series of political reforms supposedly aimed at making Russia’s tightly controlled political system more democratic. The opposition has dismissed the changes as window dressing that wouldn’t weaken Putin’s steely grip on power.Alexander Kynev, an independent political expert, was quoted by the online as saying that the upper house’s makeup would continue to depend on political manipulations and not the people’s will.“As before, the house will be formed not by the voters but through some strange procedures,” he said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

3 Brazil politicians charged with corruption

first_img 5 ways to recognize low testosterone “Brazil is a very decentralized state, in which states and municipalities have total autonomy,” Abramo said. “At that level you can have total confusion. The lack of administrative competence is widespread.”In the case of Guapimirim, one family, of which the mayor was part, has held control for years. According to court documents, city council members received monthly payments of up to $35,000 to support the reigning coalition.During the Sept. 7 holiday weekend, groups in dozens of cities across Brazil are planning marches to call for clean government.Carla Zambelli, organizer of one of the group, NasRuas, or InTheStreets, says marches are expected in 69 cities.Among their specific demands are the end to secret voting in the legislature and justice in the cash-for-votes trial involving the governing Workers’ Party that is currently before the Supreme Court. In that case, the party is accused of illegally paying legislators a monthly stipend to support government projects.“Brazil is among the countries that pay the highest taxes, but our security, education and health services are terrible,” said Zambelli. “We agree with paying taxes, but we want to see it come back to us in services.” Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Authorities said 11 other suspects also were indicted in a scheme that investigators allege illegally siphoned off at least $24 million in public funds over four years. The charges include fraud, corruption and racketeering.The investigation is not an isolated case, prosecutor Antonio Campos Moreira said at a news conference.“We have a number of similar investigations looking into city halls,” Moreira said.Brazil, which has long ranked toward the bottom of Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, has been taking steps to improve accountability and practices in government. In the past few years, the government has created oversight bodies such as the CGU, which audits and promotes transparency in the executive branch, and the CNJ, which oversees the judiciary.Seven members of President Dilma Rousseff’s Cabinet have given up their posts or were pushed out following corruption allegations.These efforts have been largely concentrated at the federal level, however, with very little happening at the state and municipal levels, said Carlos Abramo, head of Transparencia Brasil, a group not connected to Transparency International that focuses on anti-corruption efforts. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressRIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Four politicians were arrested and three others were being sought in an anti-corruption sting in a Rio de Janeiro town, officials said Wednesday, describing it as an example of other operations that are under way.Among the seven arrested or sought were the mayor, the leading candidate for mayor and the head of the city council in Guapimirim, a working class town of about 52,000 people in the foothills of Rio de Janeiro’s mountains. Top Stories Sponsored Stories center_img Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Patients with chronic pain give advice (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Israeli startup buys up bankrupt electric car firm

first_img Sponsored Stories Eloya said his company would focus on operating the 1,800 public charging spots that service Israel’s more than 1,000 electric cars but would not sell cars or provide battery-swap services as Better Place did. Officials in the Israeli economics ministry and the courts said they were not immediately aware of the deal.Better Place launched its operations in 2007 to great fanfare, starting out as a source of pride and a symbol of Israel’s status as a global high-tech power. But it shut down in May after failing to sell its silent fleet of French-made sedans to a skeptical public.It capped a stunning fall from grace for Better Place and its founder Shai Agassi. He believed that in an era of global warming and rising oil prices, environmentally friendly electric cars could be the wave of the future, if a way could be found to overcome the limited range of their batteries.Agassi could not be reached for comment Thursday.The project won the support of President Shimon Peres, received generous financial incentives from the Israeli government and an endorsement from former U.S. President Bill Clinton. In roughly five years, Better Place raised some $850 million from investors like General Electric Co., HSBC Holdings PLC and the European Investment Bank. ___Online:Gnrgy Ltd.: Check your body, save your life Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology JERUSALEM (AP) – An Israeli energy startup has taken over the remains of Israel’s trailblazing _ and now bankrupt _ electric car venture, the new owner said Thursday.Ran Eloya, founder and CEO of Gnrgy Ltd., said his company bought the remaining assets of Better Place for less than $450,000, a fraction of its $2 billion valuation less than two years ago.Better Place filed for liquidation in May, six years after promising to revolutionize the auto industry by reducing the world’s oil dependency. The company burned through hundreds of millions of dollars building a network of chargers and battery-swapping stations, but experienced poor sales. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Lower oil prices dent Repsol profits in Q1

first_img Sponsored Stories Like other oil companies, Repsol’s earnings have suffered from the near-halving in oil prices since last June.Repsol shares were down 2.4 percent to 17.9 euros in early morning trading in Madrid.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories The vital role family plays in society 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies MADRID (AP) — Spanish energy company Repsol says its first-quarter profit fell by 6 percent compared with the same period last year following a sharp drop in oil prices and interruptions in Libyan production.Repsol S.A. said Thursday that its net profit for January through March was 761 million euros ($851 million), down from the 807 million euros made in the first three months of 2014.Excluding one-off items and after adjusting the value of oil stocks in the wake of lower oil prices, Repsol’s profit was up at 928 million euros against 532 million euros last year. Comments   Share   last_img read more

And the Winner is…Pimalai Pool Villa…

first_imgSource = Hotel Representation Australia <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Pimalai Resort & Spa, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the world, has just been voted “Winner 2009 – Luxury Villa Category” at the Annual World Luxury Hotel Awards. The very best performances of top hoteliers from across the world were recognized and celebrated at the 2009 “World Luxury Hotel Awards” glitzy gala ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand, on November 27th, 2009. The “World Luxury Hotel Awards” is about congratulating hotels that have taken the extra step with regards to their facilities and service excellence and, as such, they are differentiated from “good hotels” to become recognized as “exceptional hotels”. Mrs Paninart Tiyaphorn – Managing Director of Pimalai Resort and Spa was on hand to receive the 2009 Luxury Villa Category Award.The magnificent beach resort property, the pioneer of the deluxe hospitality on the Island of Lanta in Krabi province, sets on 25 hectares of lush tropical land with direct access to 900 meters of beach. It boosts exceptional facilities, including Deluxe rooms, Suites and Pool Villas, eight restaurants & bars, conference facilities, a spa, a scuba diving center and a wide range of recreational facilities.Peace, Serenity, Solitude….. These are the words that come to mind for Pimalai. Add to that elegance, nature and genuine friendly service. Be it for a honeymoon or a break from it all, Pimalai nestled in a lush tropical forest, is the destination to set your sights on. The resort combines all the right ingredients – subtle five star comfort, natural beauty, far from the crowds, with no noise except the sound of the waves sliding in and out and slowly breaking onto a pristine sandy beach.last_img read more

TripAdvisor under review 400 may sue

first_imgThe popular hotel reviews website TripAdvisor may be sued by over 400 hotels for alleged defamation, who claim that some of the comments made by travellers are damaging their business.The US-based website may be faced with a group defamation act, to be headed by the UK-based reputation management firm KwikChex, Travel Monitor reported.Many of the hoteliers believe that the reviews posted on TripAdvisor are invented, exaggerated, or placed by competitor hotels with the intent of tarnishing reputations.”Next week we will present TripAdvisor with details, including some of the worst cases, and ask them to make corrections”, KwikChex founder Chris Emmins said.”They will be given seven days to respond and, if they don’t, I think it’s highly likely a class action will follow.”TripAdvisor declined to comment on threatened litigation, but defended the accuracy of its reviews.”We believe our more than 35 million reviews and opinions are authentic and honest from real travellers, which is why we enjoy tremendous user loyalty and growth”, it said.”If the reviews people read didn’t paint an accurate picture, users would not keep coming back.” Not so wise: TripAdvisor faces a possible 400-strong class action from hoteliers for defamation Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Clast_img read more

Were Asians not a bunch of white guys AirAsia boss

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Comments made by Air Asia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes during an interview last week have landed the founder of Asia’s biggest budget carrier in the middle of a racial controversy.Among other issues Mr Fernandes had about the necessity, sense and viability of the creation of potential rival Thai Tiger Airways (TTA), he raised doubts of non-Asian business people successfully running Asia-based businesses.“We’re Asians, not a bunch of white guys running the airline,” he told the Bangkok Post, pointing out that the Thai-run AirAsia had local and Asian market knowledge.According to the Thai newspaper, Mr Fernandes was referring to “some Tiger Airways management”.Tiger Airways said they were “disappointed and surprised” at the “racial slurs”, calling the comments “unbecoming and unnecessary”.“Tiger Airways is proud of our employees’ contributions regardless of their race or cultural background,” they said in a statement.Mr Fernandes has reportedly stood by his comments, telling The Straits Times that his remarks were not to be taken as a general statement of all Westerners running Asia-based businesses.“I gave my honest opinion. I was just talking about the Westerners in Tiger Airways’ management who do not know Asia very well,” he said, adding that Air Asia and subsidiary AirAsia X had many Westerners in their ranks.In his interview with the Bangkok Times, Mr Fernandes joined with others in the industry criticising the proposed TTA, saying THAI should not add another low cost carrier to its future, but should instead concentrate on its core strength: premium airline business.He added that an alliance with Tiger Airways was “odd” because it was not making much money and its pilot shortages are affecting operations.“[Tiger Airways] have not yet been able to solve their problems, so what are they going to teach the THAI?” Mr Fernandes asked.last_img read more

Etihad Airways Lands Prestigious Top Travel Award

first_imgSource = Etihad Airways Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has been honoured for its commitment to the environment at China’s 2011 Top Travel magazine awards.The prestigious Environmental Contribution of the Year Award is given annually to travel companies for demonstrating global leadership in corporate social responsibility.The win was for Etihad Airways’ efforts in saving washing water and cleaning fluids, and for an improvement in fuel efficiency from reduced aircraft drag.The Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, said: “Concern and respect for the environment is part of the Etihad Airways brand DNA so we’re especially delighted to have our commitment to the environment acknowledged with this award.“We operate the newest, most environmentally efficient aircraft in the skies, and our operations teams work tirelessly to reduce the airline’s fuel burn and emissions and to identify greener suppliers and partners.”The award coincides with Mr Hogan’s visit to China this week for the launch of the airline’s new Abu Dhabi to Chengdu route, the first and only commercial flight link between the United Arab Emirates and China’s south west region.last_img read more