Stretch out summer in Orlando with hot Labour Day deals

first_img Thursday, August 18, 2016 ORLANDO – Labour Day marks the last long weekend of the summer season, and travellers looking for a last-minute, affordable getaway are in luck. Labour Day weekend is traditionally the most affordable holiday weekend of the year in Orlando, with up to 40% savings over other holiday weekends such as Christmas and New Years.Recently named the No. 1 Most Affordable City for Family Travel by Forbes – which noted the destination’s exceptional values in airfare, hotel, car rental and meals – Orlando has plenty to offer this Labour Day for those looking for budget-friendly activities and seasonal deals:LABOR DAY WEEKEND — DINING DEALSFood lovers can experience Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, celebrating Orlando’s emerging culinary scene and offering prix fixe dinners at some of the area’s hottest restaurants for just $33, a savings of 33%.LABOR DAY WEEKEND — HOTEL DEALSRosen Plaza is offering a two-night package for US$169 including 25% restaurants including Jack’s Place and Café Matisse. Additional nights available for $99 plus tax.B Hotels & Resorts is offering rates starting at $107 when purchased seven days in advance.The Point Orlando Resort is offering a rate of $109 for a one-bedroom suite, with free breakfast for 2 daily and no resort fee.Blue Heron Beach Resort is offering a 60% discount on all accommodations with a three night minimum stay.Reunion Resort is offering starting rates of $175 per night with a $25 Visa gift card awarded for each night of stay, using code FAMILYFREEDOM.More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerLABOR DAY WEEKEND — ATTRACTION DEALSAmerica’s Escape Game challenges guests to be their own heroes, and escapees can save $10 off standard ticket prices Sept. 2-5, with online code “VOAEG10”.Sammy Duvall’s Watersports invites guests to parasail, water ski, wake board and more with a 20% discount Sept. 2-5, with online code “Labor Day”.Nature lovers can catch a glimpse of alligators, eagles, turkeys, wild boars, roseate spoonbills and other native creatures at Wild Florida, offering free entry for kids 12 and under, limit 4 per family, on Sept 3 and Sept 5.Beautiful Harry P. Leu Gardens is offering free admission to everyone on Labour Day, Sept. 5.ACTIVITIES UNDER $20And, even beyond Labour Day, visitors to Orlando will find a variety of year-round low-cost attractions. For a more complete list of ideas, check out Activities Under $20 in Orlando.The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including his famed leaded-glass lamps. Admission prices are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children under age 12.West Orange Trail Bikes and Blades Co. offers hourly, daily and weekly road bike rentals for visitors to explore Central Florida’s scenic trails, including the 22-mile West Orange Trail. Rentals start at $7 per hour, with hotel delivery and group bike tours available at an additional cost.SAK Comedy Lab combines improv players and audience suggestions for hilarious scenes. General Admission tickets range from $5-$12.Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour provides a relaxing narrated cruise through the lakes and canals of historic Winter Park, and showcasing natural wildlife and mansions that line the waterways. Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 2-11.The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye towers above the entire I-Drive 360 complex to take guests to new heights. Admission, when purchased online prior to arrival, is $20 for adults and $15 for children, with discounted tickets for Florida Residents.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthFor more discounts and deals, guests can check out VisitOrlando.com/deals for savings on hotels, attractions, restaurants, shopping and beyond. Stretch out summer in Orlando with hot Labour Day deals Travelweek Group Sharecenter_img Posted by Tags: Orlando << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Its all about connections for Transat as it launches its 20182019 winter

first_imgIt’s all about connections for Transat as it launches its 2018/2019 winter Sun lineup << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, June 14, 2018 Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Princess Cruises, Transat Share TORONTO — Transat is ramping up its domestic network with a 187% capacity increase. “We’re not gunning for Air Canada or WestJet,” says Transat’s Chief Distribution Officer, Joe Adamo. Rather the big boost in seats comes as Transat focuses on its feeder program as a crucial part of its strategy for a successful winter Sun season.At Transat’s 2018/2019 Sun program launch yesterday in Toronto, Adamo said Transat’s feeder program from cities across Canada (into Toronto and Montreal for connecting flights) has been so successful that the company is taking things up a notch for the upcoming winter season.The feeder program “will be critical for the coming winter,” said Adamo. “It will make a material difference to us going forward.”He reiterated that Transat is not looking to go head to head with the domestic reach of Air Canada or WestJet. “We simply want to optimize our network. I have every confidence that our point-to-point program will be successful.”Adamo added that Transat is also keenly focused on its relationships with its travel agency partners. “We want to hit the ground running for 2019. We want these [agency chain] discussions to happen now. We want to put these agreements to bed much earlier than in years past. We want to get out there and talk about what we need to be successful for this winter, and those talks need to happen this summer.”On a national basis Transat’s sun capacity is about the same as last year, keeping in mind that from 2017 to 2018 Transat increased its Sun capacity by about 20%. The company is also essentially replicating last year’s winter transatlantic program with a bit less capacity.Transat’s domestic routes “are mostly about feeding our South and transatlantic flights. Three years into the program, we can offer greater flexibility and greater choice. The biggest increases are the feeder flights coming in from B.C. and Alberta into Toronto.”Transat is gearing up for the introduction of its A321neo LR aircraft, with the first delivery scheduled for spring 2019. Transat will be the first North American carrier to fly these new long-range aircraft. The company is also in the process of introducing new A321 short-haul aircraft into its fleet. The aircraft “will be a real game changer for the economics of our company.” The new aircraft are earmarked for select Europe routes “and any and all Sun routes.”More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaOn the hotels side Transat is busy too, with Jordi Solé heading up the company’s new hotels division. “We’re aggressively out to acquire land and/or hotels,” said Adamo. Key destinations include Mexico and the D. R., with Transat’s own line of hotels expected in the next five years.This year’s ‘Sun & Fun’ 2018/2019 brochure includes, for the first time, Transat’s winter Europe product in Spain and Portugal in the same book as the company’s southern Sun packages, guided tours and Duos and Florida.Transat’s Commercial Director Nicole Bursey outlined the highlights of the 2018/2019 lineup at yesterday’s launch, covering 34 destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico and Florida with 635 hotels, including 30 or so new properties, some 40 properties that are exclusive to Transat, and four collections (Luxury, Distinction, Solo and Family).The winter Europe program also includes vacation options to Costa del Sol, Porto, Lisbon and the Algarve. There are also daily flights into London and Paris. Air Transat flies to Europe year-round with direct flights to Lisbon, Portugal, from Toronto and Montreal, flights between Toronto and Faro, Portugal (from January to April) and between Montreal and Malaga, Spain (all winter long, starting in January). Air Transat also flies to other European cities year-round as well, including Paris, London, Glasgow and Manchester.Here’s a quick look at the 2018/2019 winter Sun news:From Atlantic Canada, winter Sun flights will begin earlier than usual, with a mid-February 2019 start up. Transat has increased capacity out of Atlantic Canada to Florida (MCO and FLL) and also added an extra flight to Punta Cana.From Quebec, Transat will be resuming service into both San Juan and St. Maarten. There will be 10 flights a week into Punta Cana and increased capacity into Cartagena, Honduras, Haiti and Martinique out of Montreal as well as increased capacity out of Quebec City to Cancun.From Ontario Transat will also resume service into San Juan and St. Maarten, plus add 10 flights to Punta Cana and Cancun, increase capacity to Costa Rica and Florida and increase capacity from Hamilton and Ottawa.From the West highlights include increased capacity to Puerto Vallarta from several Western gateways and also increased capacity from Vancouver to Cancun.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckTransat’s Early Booking Promotion, originally set to expire June 30, has been extended to July 13 and offers everything from Transat’s Price Drop Guarantee, to flexible change options for travel plans, to Option Plus upgrades for Luxury and Distinction collection passengers, to a $50 voucher for future travel.Transat’s Groups promo also expires July 13 offering clients $100 per couple savings at select top all-inclusive hotel chains.Groups continue to be a big part of Transat’s strategy and with Groups Max bookings agents can earn $10 in Transat Bonbon and get free group seating assignment and more for their clients.Meanwhile Transat’s cruise packages “are as easy to book as a one-week stay at a Decameron resort,” says Bursey.Transat now has 46 cruise packages on 16 ships, with departures from seven ports of call including, new this year, the return of San Juan as well as Cartagena. Packages include roundtrip flights with Air Transat, transfers and the cruise.Transat’s newest cruise partner is Princess Cruises. “This is a real coup for us because they don’t typically work through tour operators in Canada,” said Bursey. “They like Transat’s package concept.”last_img read more

Jetlines appoints Chief Commercial Officer still no word on launch date

first_img Travelweek Group Share Wednesday, June 20, 2018 Tags: Canada Jetlines Posted bycenter_img TORONTO — Canada Jetlines Ltd. says it has hired an ultra-low-cost carrier expert as its new Chief Commercial Officer.Javier Suarez takes over the post effective July 30.Most recently he was Vice President, Network Planning, Revenue Management, E-Commerce with Mexican low-cost carrier VivaAerobus, part of the senior management team that improved profitability from a break-even in 2014 to becoming the most profitable airline in Mexico in 2017.During his tenure Suarez was responsible for growing the LCC’s fleet from 13 to 32 aircraft between 2014 and 2018, managing the majority of commercial functions, including the online commercial distribution and negotiations with various third-party vendors. Jetlines adds that during the last four years he launched 55 routes with a 98% success rate.Suarez’s previous experience includes senior roles with Spanish LCC Vueling Airlines from 2010 to 2014. He managed the network of the airline, growing the fleet size from 38 to 105 aircraft in a four-year span, and defined the Vueling network strategy that operated close to 400 routes that generated over US$2 billion in revenue, according to Jetlines. He was also responsible for launching more than 200 routes over three years, achieving a 92% success rate.More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksPrior to Vueling, Suarez was with Qatar Airways from 2008 to 2010 as Senior Strategist.Jetlines CEO Lukas Johnson says: “I am excited to bring Javier to the Jetlines team. Javier’s ultra-low-cost carrier expertise in network planning and revenue management gained with many years of experience at VivaAerobus and Vueling will be invaluable as we continue to develop and deliver on the Jetlines strategy. I look forward to working closely with Javier to build Canada’s first true ultra-low-cost air carrier.”Jetlines announced in May that Johnson, a former SVP with U.S. LCC Allegiant Air, was taking over this month as CEO.Then last week Jetlines announced it had signed a definitive lease agreement for two Airbus A320 aircraft, with delivery scheduled for the first half of 2019.Back in March Jetlines said it was delaying its launch, originally scheduled for this month, and said it wouldn’t have a new launch date confirmed until the second quarter of this year.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsIf Canada Jetlines does get off the ground it faces competition from LCCs including Flair Airlines and WestJet’s Swoop. << Previous PostNext Post >> Jetlines appoints Chief Commercial Officer; still no word on launch datelast_img read more

Safety of visitors is of paramount importance The Bahamas responds to US

first_img Monday, March 4, 2019 Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Bahamas, Nassau, Travel Advisoriescenter_img “Safety of visitors is of paramount importance”: The Bahamas responds to U.S. travel advisory NASSAU — The Ministry of Tourism & Aviation for The Bahamas has responded to a travel advisory issued by the United States following a recent spate of crime.The Ministry notes that the advisory remains at a Level Two, recommending caution but not actually urging visitors to delay or cancel their travel plans to the islands.“We recommend that travellers to any destination maintain awareness of their surroundings and exercise basic precautions, as they likely would in their home cities and when not on holiday,” said the Ministry in a statement.The statement also notes that the vast majority of the country’s six million annual visitors stay on the island without any incident. According to the Royal Bahamas Police data for 2018, there were only 43 incidents involving tourists, of which 30 involved U.S. nationals and nearly all were minor offences.The Ministry of Tourism applauds the efforts made by law enforcement, which significantly reduced serious crimes like murder (-25%), armed robber (-18%), attempted robber (-19%) and shoplifting (-23%).More news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reported“The safety of residents and visitors is of paramount importance,” said the Ministry. “Efforts to maintain and improve security are a constant priority for Bahamas authorities as is true for all governments.”Safety and security efforts include the use of CCTV in addition to a heightened police presence with foot, bicycle and motor patrols across all areas referenced in the advisory and tourist areas. Additional Beach Enforcement Officers have also been deployed to beaches, and regular communication is in effect between the Royal Bahamas Police Force Land and Marine Units, Royal Bahamas Defence Force Harbour Patrol Unit, and the Ministry of Tourism to ensure concerns are addressed quickly.The U.S. Travel Advisory for The Bahamas was issued on Feb. 25 in response to “violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault,” which the U.S. government said is common, “even during the day and in tourist areas.” The advisory also noted that the vast majority of crime occurs on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands, activities involving commercial recreational watercraft – including water tours – are not consistently regulated, and that “jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists.”More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsThe advisory goes on to encourage travellers to “exercise caution in the area known as ‘Over the Hill’ (south of Shirley Street) and the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay in Nassau, especially at night.” Posted bylast_img read more

Reduction in fuel prices approved

first_imgNo related posts. The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) approved a reduction in fuel prices that could go into effect next Tuesday.The reduction in international fuel prices brought about the decline in domestic prices, and will take effect when published in the official newspaper La Gaceta.The measure decreases per-liter prices by ₡3 ($0.003) for “super” gasoline, ₡38 ($0.075) for “plus” gasoline and ₡63 ($0.12) for diesel.Carolina Mora, a spokeswoman for ARESEP, said that the calculation is rounded up and will become official at midnight on the day it’s published in La Gaceta.After the adjustments, the per-liter price of “super” gasoline will go from ₡746 to ₡743, “plus” will go from ₡735 to ₡697 and diesel will decrease from ₡667 to ₡604. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

FlamingoPotrero News

first_imgA cornerstone for a new station for the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas was inaugurated in Flamingo with a ceremony that included representatives of the U.S. Embassy. Locals came in celebration of this event on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 10 a.m. There were introductions of Costa Rican officials and U.S. AmbassadorAnne S. Andrew and members of the Coast Guard. Activities included a cultural dance and refreshments after the ceremony.Reserva Conchal is hosting its 6th annual charity golf tournament on Nov. 28, starting at 8:30 a.m. Price includes 18 holes of golf plus a cart, a buffet dinner at the Beach Club at 6 p.m., awards, a silent auction and a raffle. A cash bar is also available. If you don’t want to play golf but want to attend the buffet, you can do that, too. For more information, contact Jean Capezza at 2654-4833 or email her at jean.capezza@gmail.com. Proceeds go to CEPIA and Costa Rica Pet Care.On Dec. 2 (Sunday) there will be a “Gran Bingo y Feria de Garaje” at the Plaza de Brasilito from 9 a.m-5 p.m. This event is a fundraiser for the Brasilito School construction. For more information, contact Van Salcedo at vansalmai@hotmail.com.On Dec. 8 (Saturday), a “Blessed Are The Children” themed Human Trafficking Gala will be held in the evening at the Conchal Beach Club. For more information, contact Kim Toltz at thetoltzgroup@me.com.Arbol de Angel charity provides a Christmas event for the impoverished children living in this area. Last year 100 kids were fed, clothed and gifted toys. For more information, contact Caralee Burton at 8707-6173.tbabehopkins@gmail.com Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Suspected drug traffickers turned over to Costa Rican authorities

first_imgNo related posts. Officials of the United States Coast Guard on Thursday docked in the Pacific port of Caldera to deliver suspected drug traffickers arrested for carrying cocaine aboard two boats with Costa Rican flags a couple weeks ago.The speedboat “El Anzuelo” was captured 150 miles north of Ecuador, with 506 kilos of cocaine on board. A Costa Rican man and two Mexican nationals were taken into custody.U.S. Coast Guard officials also detained the vessel “Capitán Alan” off the coast of Quepos, in the southern Pacific of Costa Rica, for transporting 501 kilos of cocaine. The arrested crew members were three Colombians and a Costa Rican.Costa Rica’s anti-drug commissioner Mauricio Boraschi said the arrests and drug seizures are “a direct result of a joint patrol agreement with the United States.”Officials from the Public Security Ministry, the Drug Control Police, the DEA, and two prosecutors received the suspects and confiscated drug samples that will be taken to the Forensic Science Laboratory, at the Judicial Investigation Police.So far this year police have seized five tons and 15 kilos of cocaine, including from a boat carrying 1.7 tons of cocaine nabbed Tuesday on the Caribbean beach of Manzanillo, after being pursued by a Costa Rican Coast Guard patrol. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Ricas Luis Guillermo Solís to spend the New Year in Brazil

first_imgPresident Luis Guillermo Solís will resume work this week, traveling to Brazil on Dec. 31 to participate inPresident Dilma Rousseff’s second-term inauguration ceremony, scheduled for Jan. 1st.On Jan. 2 Solís will travel to China on an official visit, during which he will participate in the opening day of a meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) members with the Asian country.Solís will participate only in the opening ceremony of the meeting, which will bring together the foreign ministers from all 33 member countries of CELAC. Costa Rica is the current CELAC president pro tempore.During his trip to China, the President will also hold meetings to negotiate the final details for the construction of an oil refinery in the Caribbean province of Limón, as well as for the project to expand Route 32, the main highway connecting Limón to San José.The president’s agenda also includes meetings to discuss the terms of other cooperation projects between the two countries. He is scheduled to return to Costa Rica on Jan. 9, the Foreign Ministry reported. Facebook Comments Related posts:President Solís gets good grade from most Costa Ricans as first 100 days pass Costa Rica Supreme Court strikes down ban on clergy holding public office – except Catholics President Solís’ popularity declines as economy worsens, Costa Rica researcher tells Washington panel Central America leaders fail again to reach agreement on Cuban migrant crisislast_img read more

Latin America between Kennan and Obama

first_imgRelated posts:What the US can learn from its ‘Cuban immigration policy’ Costa Rica to ‘take a hard look’ at its diplomatic missions, foreign minister says after meeting with US Secretary of State Kerry Putin’s Russia expands Latin American role, Kelly says Cuba marks Castro uprising anniversary with call for US embargo end BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – The late U.S. diplomat and strategistGeorge Kennan is remembered as the creator of the doctrine of “containment,” which formed the centerpiece of the United States’ policy for waging the Cold War. But Kennan was also among the key architects of another U.S. grand strategy: the “dominance and discipline” approach toward Latin America. While less discussed, the latter strategy has long outlasted the Cold War. Fortunately, this may finally be changing, thanks to U.S. President Barack Obama.In 1950 – four years after sending an 8,000-word cable to U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall detailing his views on the Soviet Union and U.S. policy toward it – Kennan sent another memorandum to Secretary of State Dean Acheson. This time, he argued that the U.S. needed to take a tougher stance in regions with communist connections and sympathies. The report, which Kennan produced after a tour of Latin America, included a series of notable assertions about the region.For starters, Kennan claimed that the particular combination of “nature and human behavior” in Latin America had produced a uniquely “unhappy and hopeless background for the conduct of human life.” Impediments to progress in the region, Kennan observed, were “written in human blood and in the tracings of geography,” and the solutions that had been proposed were “feeble and unpromising.” This, he argued, had produced a “subconscious recognition of the failure of group efforts,” which manifested itself “in an exaggerated self-centeredness and egotism.”In Kennan’s view, it was critical that Latin America resist the “communist pressures” emanating from the Soviet Union – an outcome that the U.S. should help to bring about. That meant, first and foremost, creating incentives for Latin American governments to implement pro-U.S. policies.But the incentives that Kennan envisioned were not all positive. On the contrary, he argued that “where the concepts and traditions of popular government are too weak to absorb successfully the intensity of the communist attack,” the U.S. must concede that “harsh governmental measures” to repress communist sentiment were the “only answer.” While such measures “would not stand the test of American concepts of democratic procedure,” he was convinced that they were necessary.Similarly, Kennan saw a need for increased U.S. investment in Latin America, with business leaders deploying their “financial power” judiciously. But he also observed that bribery may have “replaced diplomatic interventions as the main protection of private capital.” In that sense, the prospects for private investment in Latin America were based, in many cases, on “the corruptibility, rather than on the enlightenment, of the local regimes.” George Kennan, the key architect of the U.S. policy of containment of the former Soviet Union. AFP/Council on Foreign Relations ArchivesKennan’s policy recommendations centered on dominance. The U.S., he believed, should emphasize its position as a great power – one that needed Latin America far less than Latin America needed the U.S. If Latin American governments did not cooperate with the U.S., they would be directly or indirectly disciplined. As he put it, “the danger of a failure to exhaust the possibilities of our mutual relationship is always greater to them than to us.” That assumption has shaped U.S. policy toward the region ever since.But now Obama appears determined to bring U.S. policy, at long last, into the 21st century. At the recent Summit of the Americas in Panama, Obama highlighted the fact that “the Cold War has been over for a long time.” Rather than remaining locked in battles that began before he was born, Obama continued, he would seek to cooperate with Latin American leaders to solve today’s problems.Moreover, Obama reiterated his desire for a “new beginning” in the U.S.-Cuba relationship. And, unlike the first such declaration, made at the 2009 Summit of the Americas, this one was followed by concrete action, with Obama removing Cuba from the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism.Despite these positive steps, however, the U.S. has not fully escaped the legacy of Cold War coercive democracy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Obama’s recent executive order imposing sanctions on seven mid-level Venezuelan law-enforcement and military officials, who are accused of violating protesters’ rights during last year’s anti-government demonstrations. The move highlights the persistent influence of Kennan’s belief that the U.S. maintains a right – indeed, a responsibility – to intervene in the domestic affairs of Latin American countries where government policies are not to its liking.If the U.S. is serious about establishing a genuine partnership with its Latin American neighbors, it must change not only its policies, but also the attitudes – rooted in a long-standing presumption of cultural superiority – that underpin them. The question now is how long Obama’s new message of sincere dialogue and shared interests with Latin America will coexist with Kennan’s hegemonic strategy before one or the other prevails.In this sense, next year’s U.S. presidential election may prove to be a watershed. Will it mean the triumph of the best of Obama or a return to the worst of Kennan?Juan Gabriel Tokatlian is director of the Department of Political Science and International Studies at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires.© 2015, Project Syndicatewww.project-syndicate.org Facebook Commentslast_img read more

UN committee asks Costa Rica to remove Cocori from grade school classrooms

first_imgRelated posts:Black Costa Rican congresswomen report racist threats Guatemalan rapper sued for racist Twitter post about country’s genocide ‘Cocorí,’ a racism debate, and a brief history of controversial children’s lit Improving English seen as one step to better job prospects for black Costa Ricans TheU.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination wants Costa Rica to remove the controversial book ‘Cocorí’ from classrooms, among other suggested measures to combat racial discrimination. The request to stop teaching the book, which until recently was part of the curriculum in Costa Rica’s grade schools, was made Friday at the end of a nearly monthlong meeting of the U.N. committee.In a statement, committee members also noted their concern about “racist insults and threats” against Afro-Caribbean lawmakers who have fought against official glorification of what they say is an insulting and discriminatory text.“Cocorí” is a well-known but polemical children’s book written by the late Joaquín Gutiérrez about a young black boy who falls in love with a blonde girl. It’s content — and popular illustrations of it — incite heated debates in a country that still struggles with a history of discrimination against citizens who are Afro-Caribbean descendants.In May, congresswomen Epsy Campbell and Maureen Clarke, both of Afro-Caribbean descent, filed complaints with the government ombudsman’s office after receiving a wave of racist threats in person and on social media. The lawmakers had asked the Culture Ministry to withdraw funding for a musical adaptation of Cocorí.Campbell, of the ruling Citizen Action Party, said she had received numerous racial insults on social media, including calls for her to “go back to Africa.”Also recommended: ‘Cocorí,’ a racism debate, and a brief history of controversial children’s litThe U.N. committee’s report asks Costa Rica “to make sure that textbooks with a racist connotation are withdrawn from the syllabus in elementary schools.” The committee’s 18 independent experts said they worried about the use of school texts that can “be interpreted as having a stereotypical vision of minorities, especially of indigenous or Afro-Caribbean populations.” They asked the Costa Rican government to honor “the knowledge of the Afro-Caribbean and indigenous populations’ cultural practices and their contributions to Costa Rican history and culture.”The committee, which is charged with evaluating member countries’ compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, also expressed worry over the existence of “internal regulations in various schools” that “deny Afro-Caribbean persons from their cultural identity.” And it asked Costa Rica to pass a law that would reform its criminal code to include harsher sentences for racially-motivated crimes.But the country has made strides — some of them recognized by the U.N. committee — towards embracing its diversity.In July, the Ministry of Public Education ordered the director of a high school in Escazú to cancel a policy that prohibited students from wearing their hair in dreadlocks. Education Minister Sonia Marta Mora told the news site Amelia Rueda that dreads were part of Afro-Caribbean identity and therefore were a fundamental right.This week President Luis Guillermo Solís signed a bill into law reforming the first article of the Costa Rican Constitution to redefine the country as a “multi-ethnic, pluri-national nation.”The U.N. committee looked positively on the constitutional reform, along with the adoption of a national policy to fight racism, xenophobia and racial discrimination, and the creation of a Commission for Afro-Descendent Affairs.The report also asked Costa Rica to ensure dignified workplaces and to pay attention to “judicial and social exclusion” and “specific vulnerability of migrant indigenous people temporarily occupying coffee plantations and the situation of women migrants employed as domestic workers.”Costa Rica’s Ombudsman’s Office released a statement Friday afternoon supporting the report’s findings. The office highlighted the committee’s recommendations to include an option for people to self-identify their ethnicity on official surveys and data collection.With information from AFP Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Ricas Supreme Court throws out constitutional challenges to IVF decree

first_imgIn the latest curve of Costa Rica’s roller coaster process to legalize in vitro fertilization, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court has thrown out several challenges to President Luis Guillermo Solís’ decree regulating the fertility procedure here. But before supporters can celebrate the news the president’s decree still must overcome another challenge filed this week.The Constitutional Chamber, known as the Sala IV, threw out four legal and constitutional challenges, according to a statement from the judicial body Friday afternoon. The decision came one day after the Solís administration appeared before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to present an update on its progress to legalize the procedure.Costa Rica banned IVF in 2000. Solís signed a decree on Sept. 10 legalizing IVF in Costa Rica after years of court battles and inaction from a lethargic legislature. The president said Costa Rica could not risk possible sanctions from the regional human rights court when he signed the order. Advocates celebrated the act but religious conservatives vowed to fight the executive order.Casa Presidencial counsel Marvin Carvajal welcomed the news but downplayed its importance in the face of another constitutional challenge that was filed this week against the decree. “This is not a substantial change,” Carvajal said in a statement released by Casa Presidencial.The latest challenge argued that the decree violated the principle of separation of powers when the executive branch took steps to regulate the procedure before the legislature voted on its long-delayed bill, among other issues. Until this latest challenge is resolved, the decree published in the official government newspaper La Gaceta on Sept. 11 remains suspended.Carvajal said that Casa Presidencial would present its case to the Sala IV on Nov. 3.“We believe with great conviction that this decree complies with the order of the IACHR to guarantee the fundamental rights of Costa Ricans,” Carvajal said. “We hope the decree will pass the constitutional test.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica IVF decree loses support of public health care system Costa Rican president presents draft decree to legalize in vitro fertilization After legislative inaction, Costa Rican President Solís’ IVF pledge will be put to the test Costa Rica’s Supreme Court strikes down decree on IVF legalization, orders lawmakers to actlast_img read more

20 new wasp species named after Costa Rican schoolchildren

first_imgRelated posts:New venomous snake species discovered in Costa Rica Expansion of monoculture farming could mean extinction for some tropical birds Costa Rica legislature to hear bill allowing ‘green’ geothermal projects in national parks The mysteries of the tinker bell wasp, one of smallest bugs ever discovered HUACAS, Guanacaste — Twenty Costa Rican schoolchildren drew their way into the (natural) history books this year and became the first kids in Costa Rica — and probably anywhere — to have wasp species named in their honor. The students, who are 4th, 5th and 6th graders from a handful of small communities in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, were the winners of a drawing contest calledComparto mi nombre con una especie (I share my name with a species). At a heartwarming ceremony on Dec. 4, each student received a plaque bearing their species’ name, photo and a description along with a map showing where in the Área de Conservación Guanacaste (Guanacaste Conservation Area, ACG) it was first collected.This distinct honor came as a result of a donation that retired U.S. expats Richard and Rita Ashley made in August in support of ACG’s parataxonomy program, which works to collect and identify new species of butterflies and their parasites (including certain wasps) in the conservation area. The donation will go toward the purchase of a bucket truck, which will allow the parataxonomists to collect specimens from the canopy of the rain forest and dry forest. When Dr. Daniel Janzen, technical adviser to ACG, expressed his wish to dedicate a group of 20 new species to friends of the Ashleys in recognition of their support, the Ashleys asked that the species instead be dedicated to local children.“My thought is, if some of these kids — maybe just one — pursues a career in natural science, they’ll understand how important biodiversity is and pass that on to family and friends,” Richard said before the ceremony. “You’ve got to plant a seed.” One of the winning drawings, by Naomi Duarte Cerdas, shows the landscape and creatures of the tropical dry forest. Courtesy of Área de Conservación GuanacasteTo choose the children the species would be named for, environmental educators from ACG and Área de Conservación Tempisque (Tempisque Conservation Area, ACT) organized the drawing contest for students at a school in Colonia Bolaños, along the highway from Liberia to La Cruz. The school participates in ACG’s Biological Education Program. Four other schools were chosen from the Santa Cruz area, where the Ashleys live.During September and October, educators from both conservation areas met with students at the participating schools to teach them about the characteristics and importance of the tropical dry forest found in the province of Guanacaste, and explain the rules of the contest.“[The students] studied the tropical dry forest and then drew their concept of it,” explained Rita Ashley, who volunteers as an English teacher at one of the participating schools.Related: World, meet Pseudapanteles luisguillermosolisi, a new wasp species named after Costa Rica’s presidentAbout 127 students participated in the contest, and the Ashleys, along with teachers from the schools and educators from the conservation areas, selected the 20 winning drawings. Ten winning students came from Escuela Colonia Bolaños, five from Escuela Huacas, two from Escuela La Garita Vieja, two from Escuela Santa Rosa, and one from Centro Educativo Educarte de Costa Rica. Richard Ashley gives a speech as Roberto Castro (center) interprets for him, and Rita Ashley looks on. Ashley addressed the children, stressing the importance of learning about and preserving biodiversity. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesThe contest award ceremony was held on a breezy poolside patio amid colorful bunches of flowers and the chatter of birds at the Best Western Camino a Tamarindo, which the Ashleys own. Despite the buzz of excitement among students and adults alike, education and conservation remained the focus of the event.Gabriela Gutiérrez Ruiz, coordinator of the ACG’s Biological Education Program, led the students through a presentation explaining the life cycle of the tiny parasitoid wasps that now bear their names. She explained the long process of identifying these new species, which began when the parataxonomists collected the insects from the forests of ACG and later required genetic and morphological analysis of the specimens by the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph.Richard Ashley spoke about biodiversity, likening it to a machine whose parts all depend on the success of the others, and emphasizing the importance of understanding all parts — and species — of the earth.“A very wise man once said that curiosity and imagination are two of the most important human traits. Curiosity may take many paths, but at the end of those paths is a reward. That reward is knowledge. The honors you receive today are symbolic of that curiosity,” Richard Ashley remarked.“By having a species that bears your name, you have begun down the path to being curious about your species and now you have the responsibility to help it survive, and survive, and survive,” Richard told the children. The plaque describing Exoryza ritaashleyae, the wasp species named in honor of donor Rita Ashley. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesIn total, 25 species were dedicated at the ceremony: 20 for winners of the drawing contest, one each for Richard and Rita Ashley, one each for the directors of Escuela Colonia Bolaños and Escuela La Garita Vieja, and one for an environmental educator from ACT.The final phase of the contest comes in late January, when the 20 contest winners will be invited on an educational tour of the rain forest in ACG’s San Cristóbal sector led by the Biological Education Program, Drs. Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs and four ACG parataxonomists. With any luck, the kids will see some wasps they know by name. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Bernie Sanders Central American refugees should not be cast out

first_imgRelated posts:Obama: US will make immigration ‘more fair and just’ Immigrants find themselves torn between hope, defeat on Obama’s plans Obama to request $1 billion from Congress to help Central America New immigration program seeks to reunite Central American families in US Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Thursday that he is “very disturbed” by reports that the Obama administration has begun preparing for a series of raids that would target for deportation families who fled violence in Central America.“Our nation has always been a beacon of hope, a refuge for the oppressed,” the Vermont senator said in a statement. “We cannot turn our backs on that essential element of who we are as a nation. We need to take steps to protect children and families seeking refuge here, not cast them out.”The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that the nationwide campaign, to be carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as soon as early January, could affect hundreds of families who have flocked to the United States since the start of last year. The ICE operation would target only adults and children who have been ordered removed from the United States by an immigration judge.As he competes against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, Sanders has pledged, if elected president, to aggressively use executive action to offer protections to undocumented immigrants against deportation as he seeks comprehensive reform from Congress.In polls, he lags far behind Clinton among both Latino and black voters and has been stepping up efforts to make inroads into those communities.“As we spend time with our families this holiday season, we who are parents should ask ourselves what we would do if our children faced the danger and violence these children do?” Sanders said in his statement. “How far would we go to protect them?”Another Democratic candidate, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, also spoke out on the plan being developed by the Department of Homeland Security.“DHS’ Christmas Eve announcement that they are planning to launch mass holiday raids and deport families who risked their lives to flee violence in Central America is completely at odds with our character as a nation,” O’Malley said in a statement. “We must put an end to these mindless deportations.”The Washington Post’s Jose A. DelReal contributed to this story.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Experts Zimbabwe food reserves severely depleted

first_img Top Stories The nation has 92,000 tons in store, the bank said in its latest economic bulletin, but imports of another 150,000 tons are needed to meet consumer demand before the new harvest lands on the market.In one province, three-fourths of planted corn was written off after a prolonged dry spell and other areas reported having had too much rain.The state grain marketing agency sells locally grown corn to milling companies that is about $110 cheaper than imports for each ton.The bank said the reserve stock was now only being used for distribution paid for by the government to needy communities. But it said these supplies were “erratic and in consistent.”“This is because the reserve grain is insufficient and transporters are not willing to move it to the affected areas because they are not paid on time,” the bank saidThe United Nations World Food Program said in a separate statement that the peak hunger period before the next harvests posed “the highest level of food insecurity” seen in the past three years. It said aside from weather patterns, the recent planting season was hit by shortages of seed and fertilizer.Less farmland was also planted with maize, the corn staple, as more small scale growers turned to tobacco and other cash crops with quicker and better financial returns, the U.N. food agency reported. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Farmers’ organizations have forecast total grain harvests this year of about 1.2 million tons. Annual consumption by the population of nearly 13 million is 2.2 million tons.Zimbabwe’s finance ministry, controlled by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party in a shaky coalition with longtime President Robert Mugabe, says it can’t raise enough money to import the shortfall for distribution by the Grain Marketing Board, the state grain sales monopoly, and wants private enterprises to share the burden. Mugabe’s party insists private importers are driven by profit that puts food basics out of the reach of ordinary Zimbabweans who live on about $1.50 a day.In the troubled economy, many families survive on a single meal a day.Before the often violent seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms began in 2000, Zimbabwe exported its corn surplus and was seen as a regional breadbasket.The African Development Bank said Zimbabwe must give priority to restoring collapsed irrigation schemes and save dams and water reservoirs that have been damaged by silting, often with soil from illegal gold panning upstream.The government also “needs to come up with strategies to ensure that grain reserves are well stocked,” it said. HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – Zimbabwe’s grain reserves are running dangerously low ahead of new but poor harvests caused by erratic rain, an independent continent-wide development bank said Wednesday.The African Development Bank said the strategic reserves have become so depleted that commercial millers have been stopped from buying supplies from the state.The shortage of corn has also raised prices of the staple food as 1.6 million Zimbabweans already depend on food aid, it said. Patients with chronic pain give advice How do cataracts affect your vision?center_img Quick workouts for men Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

Travel expert Paris is back open for business

first_img Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall For those currently considering traveling to Paris, Mollan said they may want to consider planning a trip sooner than later.“They want your business, they want you to feel comfortable and secure, and the first thing you would want to do if planning a trip to Paris or if you already have something planned is to go ahead and let the State Department know you are travelling,” she said.According to Mollan, there is nothing to be concerned about when travelling to France if all travel safety guidelines are followed.“They are doing the same business today that they were a week ago just a little bit obviously more cautious and a calmness about the environment because of what is going on over there,” she said Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Four benefits of having a wireless security systemcenter_img Tourists pose for a selfie while a French soldier patrols at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. France is urging its European partners to move swiftly to boost intelligence sharing, fight arms trafficking and terror financing, and strengthen border security in the wake of the Paris attacks. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) PHOENIX — Businesses in Paris want travelers to know they are open again.Cultural sites around France are beginning to reopen after the devastating terrorist attacks that left well over 100 people dead including some tourists.KTAR travel expert Kari Mollan said the attacks should not keep travelers from taking a vacation to the country.“The way you can show your support and don’t let the terrorists win is to keep going back to where you wanted to go to,” Mollan said.Related LinksThe many ways umbrella insurance protects your businessSponsored Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Sponsored Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Trafalgar to expand popular products

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Trafalgar Tours’ At Leisure programme is poised to become one of the company’s most innovative products to be released in recent years after topping their 2011 sales and resulting in a boost for a number of key non-performing itineraries. “At Leisure has shown triple digit growth on some of our best selling products and an overall 7 to 8 per cent growth on total products” Mr Tollman said, speaking exclusively to e-Travel Blackboard during Trafalgar’s ANZAC Acclaim gala event in Spain last week. Referring to the inaugural limited 15 At Leisure itineraries released in 2011 as “our biggest mistake”, Global CEO, Gavin Tollman told e-Travel Blackboard exclusively the upcoming 2012 brochure will feature a wider number of options and destinations for At Leisure, as well as an expansion to their Family Experiences range, regional itineraries and Be My Guest experiences. “They fit into a similar genre of the transformation of our product,” Mr Tollman said, adding that Be My Guest has become one of the “core pillars” for the Trafalgar brand. Speaking to the Top Performing and Acclaim agents in Spain, Mr Tollman said “89 per cent of all people who travelled on the At Leisure programme have never travelled with Trafalgar before.  We have gone out and reached in the market place enabling you to sell more”. Changing stereotypes of coach touring has been at the helm of Trafalgar’s major decisions, including the rationale behind the exclusive At Leisure concept, according to Mr Tollman, who admitted market research showed “the same stereotypes that existed in the mid 90’s were the same today”. “The old bus, older people perception was not the reality,” he said.“Speaking to repeat guests, we found they had an emotional attraction to travel with Trafalgar, not just rational elements which occur at the decision making process.  We wanted to get away of the guided holiday memo, and that was the change we tried to bring in.” Mr Tollman said the company focussed on the itineraries that could “exponentially enhance experiences” and produce At Leisure which he believed would “create moments which were authentic, environments that demonstrates we are the insider”. Mr Tollman said Trafalgar’s At Leisure Italian Concerto itinerary has been boosted to the second best overall for the company, moving up from eighth position.  All but one itinerary in the At Leisure range has not grown exponentially, with Trafalgar now looking at expansion for the range as well as “fine tuning them a lot more” for 2012. “We want to move to becoming an aspiration for people to travel with us,” Mr Tollman said. “Our focus is ensuring what we deliver is all about the experience.”last_img read more

Plans to boost tourism for Great Ocean Road

first_imgA multimillion dollar plan consisting of eight huge projects has been identified in a report that seeks to boost tourism along the Great Ocean Road.The new joint initiative is being conducted between federal and State Governments and the local tourism industry to assist the needs of long term visitors, the Standard reported.  Making number one on the list is an AUD100 million interpretive centre at the Loch Ard Gorge, including a bicycle and walking trail running along the coast of the 12 Apostles to the Bay of Islands and inland to Timboon.Other potential projects include a Great Ocean Road eco-lodge development at Moonlight Head, improving the Great Ocean Walk and upgrading Avalon Airport to international standard.The report finds that should the projects be successful in attracting investment they could provide around AUD1.1 billion to the economy and create over 700 jobs for the region during construction. Additionally, after construction the projects could deliver 1,900 jobs and 700 million a year in gross regional product.Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said new tourism infrastructure, attractions and accommodation will make sure Australia remains a key travel destination, however warns it must be based on a cost-benefit analysis.“State and local governments can use these audits to set spending priorities, inform planning and zoning processes, and attract investment in tourism infrastructure,” Mr Ferguson said.State Tourism Minister Louise Asher said major investment opportunities lay within the emerging China market.“These audits assess the experiences that visitors are looking for, and which opportunities bring the most revenue and employment compared with their cost,” Ms Asher said.“Opportunities for the Great Ocean Road include eco-tourism such as walking trails and five star wilderness lodges, as well as improved visitor information, Ms Asher added. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P New report outlines tourism investment Opportunities for the Great Ocean Roadlast_img read more

MCI Australia talents awarded as Certified Meeting Professionals

first_imgMCI Australia project managers Adele Cumerford and Brylee McFarlane have both successfully completed the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program, which recognises individuals who have achieved the industry’s highest standard of professionalism.Adele and Brylee are two of only five current CMPs based in Australia, though they join an elite community of over 14,000 peers in 36 countries who have earned the CMP designation since the program was established in 1985.Requirements for CMP certification are based on professional experience and a rigorous examination, ensuring its participants demonstrate the highest level of experience, knowledge and skill in order to qualify.MCI Australia Director of Operations and Development, Jan Shaw, congratulated the project managers on what can be a gruelling process.“The amount of preparation required to sit an exam of this calibre is phenomenal and Adele and Brylee’s fantastic results are a testament to the MCI team’s commitment to quality,” she said.“Our project managers work directly with clients to build the best possible events, so having talent with this prestigious certification on the front line is a huge advantage.”On obtaining the certification, Brylee expressed her gratitude towards her colleagues and industry peers.“The support from everyone at MCI has been massive, and although the program was definitely a challenge I’m sure it will set new industry standards in Australia.”“Adele and I are two of five CMPs in Australia, so I feel privileged to be one of the only local representatives of the global CMP community,” she added. Source = MCI Australialast_img read more

AIME 2013 kicks off

first_imgThe Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) launched at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre today with more than 500 buyers from up to 30 countries in attendance this year.The annual expo, launched alongside the new Business Events Week, is set to impress with a range of new initiatives and a renewed focus on technology.According to Reed Travel Exhibition’s Director for AIME Sally de Swart, technology will be fundamental at AIME 2013, with the launch of an all new AIME mobile app, mobile concierge as well as the Future Events Experience.“As the premier exhibition in the Asia-Pacific region for the meetings and incentives industry, AIME is a fitting place to debate the challenges and opportunities faced by the industry and we have tried to encourage this further, particularly around ways to better leverage the potential of new technology,” Ms de Swart explained. In 2013, AIME will also give business travel greater focus, with a dedicated stream focusing entirely on business travel added to the AIME Knowledge program.AIME 2013 will run on 26 and 27 February 2013.Stay up to date with all the lastest from AIME, by keeping your browsers clicked onto e-Travel Blackboard’s Twitter page: @ETBNews and Facebook page: ETB News. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J. New technology keeping AIME 2013delegates connected. Image: AIMElast_img read more

Aerolineas Argentinas improving Aus services

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Argentinian Consul General Ricardo Bocalandro Aerolineas Argentinas will utilise new Airbus aircraft to service the Buenos Aires-Sydney route by the third or fourth quarter of 2013.During the Argentine Roadshow in Sydney, the Argentinian flag carrier revealed it has renewed 95 percent of its fleet, with the exception of those aircraft servicing the Australian route.The airline will employ new Airbus A340-300’s on the route, finalising its overall fleet modernisation.“Aerolineas Argentinas has been servicing the Australian market for over four decades,” Aerolineas Argentinas sales manager Sergio Gomez said.“We currently have three direct flights per week from Sydney to Buenos Aires, with Virgin Australia providing convenient domestic connections from other Australian cities through Sydney on one ticket, providing convenience for customers and enhancing commissions for agents.”More than 40,000 Australians travelled to Argentina in 2011 and these figures are expected to grow.“There are no visa requirements for Australians to travel to Argentina,” Argentinian Consul General Ricardo Bocalandro said.“Australian tourists need only pay a reciprocity fee of US$100, which is valid for multiple re-entries within a period of one year from first entry.”last_img read more