August 27, 2019

Dicerna Prioritizes Resources to Advance GalXC Product Candidates

first_img News | Radiation Therapy | August 02, 2019 Varian Showcases Cancer Care Systems and Software at AAPM 2019 Varian showcased systems and software from its cancer care portfolio, including the Identify Guidance System, at the… read more News | Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 First Patient Enrolled in World’s Largest Brain Cancer Clinical Trial Henry Ford Cancer Institute is first-in-the-world to enroll a glioblastoma patient in the GBM AGILE Trial (Adaptive… read more Related Content News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 Mevion and C-RAD Release Integration for Improved Proton Therapy Treatment Quality Mevion Medical Systems and C-RAD announced the integration between the C-RAD Catalyst PT and the Mevion S250i proton… read more News | Proton Therapy | August 06, 2019 IBA Signs Contract to Install Proton Therapy Center in Kansas IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.) recently signed a contract and received the first payment for a Proteus One solution… read more Catalyst PT image courtesy of C-RAD October 25, 2016 — Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced in September that the company will focus its resources on its proprietary GalXC technology platform to advance development of product candidates in its core therapeutic areas. Those areas include rare diseases, chronic liver diseases, cardiovascular disease and viral infectious diseases. Under this plan, Dicerna will transition its primary hyperoxaluria (PH) development program to focus on DCR-PHXC, a subcutaneously delivered GalXC clinical candidate, which was announced earlier this year.The company also announced that it will discontinue clinical development of DCR-MYC, a DsiRNA-based therapeutic formulated as an EnCore lipid nanoparticle (LNP) for delivery to solid tumors, because preliminary results do not meet the company’s expectations for further development.The GalXC platform is a fully enabled RNA interference (RNAi) drug discovery engine with potentially powerful capabilities that the company believes could result in potency that is on par with or better than comparable platforms. As Dicerna reported during its recent Investor Day, subcutaneously delivered GalXC compounds silenced 12 different disease targets in animal models, highlighting the long duration of action, infrequent dosing and tolerability of GalXC-based compounds. Use of the GalXC platform yielded gene silencing of greater than 90 percent for multiple genes in non-human primates (NHPs) after a single dose. In an NHP model of an undisclosed rare disease gene target, a single 3 mg/kg dose achieved a maximum gene silencing of 94 percent, with an average gene silencing of approximately 88 percent. Another single 3 mg/kg dose NHP study resulted in an average of 97 percent silencing of an undisclosed rare disease gene target. Based on this evidence, Dicerna believes that DCR-PHXC has the potential to be a new treatment option for patients with PH.In addition to DCR-PHXC, which is in preclinical development, Dicerna expects to launch two more GalXC programs in 2016: one will focus on cardiovascular disease targeting PCSK9; the other is an undisclosed rare disease program. Dicerna expects to launch three additional programs annually, with the intent to advance five programs into the clinic by 2019.GalXC compounds offer several unique characteristics, including:Longer RNAi duplexes (i.e., compared to standard RNAi molecules) provide greater potential to increase potency and reduce toxicity, using a toolbox of standard oligonucleotide chemistries; andA unique tetraloop configuration stabilizes the RNA duplex, provides multiple points for addition of GalNAc sugars and interfaces effectively with the RNAi machinery within target cells.The GalXC platform enables rapid discovery and efficient advancement of research activities. Within 30 days of nominating a gene target, Dicerna can design, synthesize and validate an in vivo GalXC construct.Dicerna will transition its PH development program to focus on DCR-PHXC and expects to file an IND or CTA for DCR-PHXC in late 2017. The company will discontinue the development program for DCR-PH1, an investigational therapy formulated in an LNP delivery system obtained through a licensing agreement with Arbutus Biopharma Corp. (formerly known as Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation). DCR-PH1 was being studied in two clinical trials, DCR-PH1-101 in patients with primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1) and DCR-PH1-102 in normal healthy volunteers (NHVs).Data from the DCR-PH1-102 clinical trial, in which 21 NHVs were randomized to receive DCR-PH1 at a dose of 0.005, 0.015 and 0.05 mg/kg or placebo, showed an increase in urine glycolate levels, a biomarker of DCR-PH1 treatment activity, in the top two DCR-PH1 dosing groups. Those data, which were presented Sept. 22, 2016, at the 17th Congress of the International Pediatric Nephrology Association in Iguaçu, Brazil, provide the proof of concept for the pharmacological activity of RNAi-based therapy in PH. Based on the DCR-PH1 proof-of-concept data in humans, the utility of the GalXC platform, and the DCR-PHXC preclinical data, the company believes DCR-PHXC has the potential to be a better therapeutic candidate for patients with PH.“The encouraging data from Dicerna give us hope that research on a GalXC-based therapeutic agent can potentially benefit patients living with primary hyperoxaluria, a devastating disease that often causes early-onset renal failure,” said Craig Langman, M.D., a pediatric nephrologist and the Isaac A. Abt, M.D. Professor of Kidney Diseases at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University and head, kidney diseases, at Lurie Children’s Hospital. “There is a significant unmet medical need for a viable therapy for patients with primary hyperoxaluria, as the current treatment option consists of combined transplantation of the kidney and liver, a highly invasive procedure with significant morbidity.”Dicerna will continue to advance its Primary HYperoxaluria Observational Study (PHYOS), which is collecting data on key biochemical parameters implicated in the pathogenesis of PH1. The company hopes to use these data to better understand the baseline PH1 disease state, knowledge that will help guide long-term drug development plans.Dicerna will discontinue the clinical development program for DCR-MYC, which was being investigated in two clinical trials: DCR-MYC-101, a Phase 1 trial in patients with advanced solid tumors and hematological malignancies, including an expansion cohort in patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors; and DCR-MYC-102, a Phase 1b/2 trial in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MYC is an oncogene frequently amplified or overexpressed in a wide variety of tumor types.While preliminary data from the DCR-MYC-101 trial provided evidence of clinical response and molecular knockdown of MYC in patients, the early efficacy results do not meet the company’s expectations to warrant further development. Paired tumor biopsies pre- and post-treatment showed proof of concept with drug delivery and provided clear evidence of RNAi-mediated MYC messenger RNA destruction in tumors from all patients tested; however, the level of MYC knockdown was below the level of molecular knockdown that the company targeted. In the HCC trial, topline findings showed that a dose of up to 0.85 mg/kg was well tolerated; however, no clinical activity (based on the Modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors criteria) has been observed to date.In addition to DCR-MYC, Dicerna has a second oncology program, DCR-BCAT, which targets the WNT-beta-catenin pathway. Given the company’s focus on advancing its GalXC-based programs, Dicerna will seek strategic alternatives to further develop DCR-BCAT, which employs an improved and enhanced EnCore LNP delivery capability, compared to earlier versions of the technology.For more information: FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | August 07, 2019 Qfix kVue One Proton Couch Top Validated by Mevion Medical Systems Qfix and Mevion Medical Systems announced that a special version of the kVue One Proton couch top is now both validated… read more Feature | August 05, 2019 | Dave Fornell, Editor Most Popular Radiology and Radiotherapy Topics in July 2019 August 5, 2019 — Here is the list of the most popular content on the Imaging Technology New (ITN) magazine website fr read more Following radiation, the bone marrow shows nearly complete loss of blood cells in mice (left). Mice treated with the PTP-sigma inhibitor displayed rapid recovery of blood cells (purple, right). Credit: UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center/Nature Communications News | Radiation Therapy | August 16, 2019 Drug Accelerates Blood System’s Recovery After Radiation, Chemotherapy A drug developed by UCLA physician-scientists and chemists speeds up the regeneration of mouse and human blood stem… read more The MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center expansion is expected to be completed in 2023. Rendering courtesy of Stantec. News | Proton Therapy | August 08, 2019 MD Anderson to Expand Proton Therapy Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center unveiled plans to expand its Proton Therapy Center during a… read more The top piece of content in July was a video interview explaining how Princess Margaret Cancer Center is using machine learning to create automated treatment plans. This was a hot topic at the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) 2019 meeting in July.  News | Brachytherapy Systems | August 14, 2019 Efficacy of Isoray’s Cesium Blu Showcased in Recent Studies August 14, 2019 — Isoray announced a trio of studies recently reported at scientific meetings and published in medica read more News | Radiation Therapy | October 25, 2016 Dicerna Prioritizes Resources to Advance GalXC Product Candidates Primary hyperoxaluria development program transitioned from DCR-PH1 to subcutaneously delivered GalXC candidate DCR-PHXC; clinical development discontinued for DCR-MYC in oncology indications News | Radiation Oncology | July 31, 2019 Laura Dawson, M.D., FASTRO, Chosen as ASTRO President-elect The members of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) elected four new officers to ASTRO’s Board of… read morelast_img read more

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Dictum Health Launches Advanced Telestroke Module for Virtual Exam Room Platform

first_img Feature | Henry Ford Hospital | May 21, 2019 | Dave Fornell, Editor Innovations in Radiotherapy and Radiology at Henry Ford Hospital Henry Ford Hospital thought leaders regularly speak at the radiation oncology and radiology conferences about new res read more Technology | Artificial Intelligence | June 19, 2019 Third FDA Clearance Announced for Zebra-Med’s AI Solution for Brain Bleed Alerts Zebra Medical Vision announced it has received its third U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance for… read more June 28, 2018 — Dictum Health Inc., creators of the Virtual Exam Room (VER) telehealth technology, announced the release of their Care Central advanced telestroke module. The module provides neurological images viewing capability for use with the VER to reduce door-to-needle time, improve patient outcomes and lower costs.Underserved rural and remote hospitals are generally not staffed with an on-site neurologist, the only specialist that can assess whether to prescribe the vital lifesaving drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), to be administered during the critical stroke treatment window. Dictum Health’s telestroke solution reduces the time from emergency room arrival to evaluation and treatment by connecting a remote “on-call” neurologist to the local care team through a virtual exam for immediate clinical intervention.The platform consists of Care Central’s telestroke module, picture archiving and communication system (PACS) connectivity, Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) viewer, and the VER-CLINIC Telehealth Cart. The cart is equipped with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Class II 510(k)-cleared IDM100 medical tablet. During a Virtual Exam, the remote neurologist engages with the patient and uses the remote PTZ camera controls of the VER-CLINIC cart to complete the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS). By remotely viewing the patient’s neurological images, clinical presentation and intake information from the IDM100 — including complete vital signs, electronic stethoscope and 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) — the neurologist can provide an immediate recommendation for treatment to the on-site care team.Dictum Health’s VER-CLINIC Telehealth Cart with Care Central cloud services, advanced stroke module and PACS/DICOM viewer provide remote neurologists with complete stroke assessment capability that meet level three stroke center requirements including pediatric populations. Care Central cloud services and electronic medical record (EMR) gateways seamlessly transfer stroke assessment information to the patient EMR/EHR as a part of patient medical history.For more information: FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 Related Content News | Neuro Imaging | July 05, 2019 Delta T1 Maps Provide Quantitative, Automated Solution to Assess Brain Tumor Burden Imaging Biometrics LLC (IB) a subsidiary of IQ-AI Ltd., is highlighting a recently published study in the American… read more Technology | Computer-Aided Detection Software | May 21, 2019 MaxQ AI Launches Accipio Ax Slice-Level Intracranial Hemorrhage Detection Medical diagnostic artificial intelligence (AI) company MaxQ AI announced that Accipio Ax will begin shipping in August… read more Technology | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | June 14, 2019 SyMRI Software Receives FDA Clearance for Use With Siemens MRI Systems SyntheticMR announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for clinical use of its SyMRI Image and SyMRI… read more Technology | Neuro Imaging | August 07, 2019 Synaptive Medical Launches Modus Plan With Automated Tractography Segmentation Synaptive Medical announced the U.S. launch and availability of Modus Plan featuring BrightMatter AutoSeg. This release… read more Image courtesy of UTHealth McGovern Medical School Images of regions of interest (colored lines) in the white matter skeleton representation. Data from left and right anterior thalamic radiation (ATR) were averaged. Image courtesy of C. Bouziane et al. News | Cardio-oncology | July 29, 2019 Statins Reduce Stroke, Cardiovascular Risk in Cancer Patients Following Radiation Cancer patients taking cholesterol-lowering statin medication following radiation therapy of the chest, neck or head… read more Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:22Loaded: 0.00%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:22 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. 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Technology | Teleradiology | June 28, 2018 Dictum Health Launches Advanced Telestroke Module for Virtual Exam Room Platform Care Central’s advanced stroke assessment module and remote access to patient radiological images reduce door-to-needle time News | Neuro Imaging | August 16, 2019 ADHD Medication May Affect Brain Development in Children A drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appears to affect development of the brain’s… read more News | Stroke | August 16, 2019 Mobile Stroke Unit Gets Patients Quicker Treatment Than Traditional Ambulance Every second counts for stroke patients, as studies show they can lose up to 27 million brain cells per minute…. read more Henry Ford Hospital’s ViewRay MRIdian linear accelerator system allows real-time MRI-guided radiotherapy. Shown is the support staff for this system. In the center of the photo is Benjamin Movsas, M.D., chair of radiation oncology at Henry Ford Cancer Institute. Second from the right is Carri Glide-Hurst, Ph.D., director of translational research, radiation oncology. Videos | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | May 21, 2019 VIDEO: MRI Neuro-interventional Suite at Henry Ford Hospital This is a quick look inside the… read morelast_img read more

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New Blood Test Detects Colorectal Cancer Recurrence Up to 165 Months Earlier

first_img Related Content Image courtesy of Imago Systems News | Colonoscopy Systems | August 06, 2019 Rise in Early Onset Colorectal Cancer Not Aligned With Screening Trends A new study finds that trends in colonoscopy rates did not fully align with the increase in colorectal cancer (CRC) in… read more May 28, 2019 — A new clinical study shows that Natera’s Signatera test identified colorectal cancer recurrence up to 16.5 months earlier than radiologic imaging by detecting traces of tumor DNA in the blood after surgery. The test also identified patients most likely to relapse, both before and after chemotherapy.1 Results were published in the May issue of JAMA Oncology.1The prospective, multicenter study enrolled 130 patients with stage I–III colorectal cancer from Aarhus University, Randers and Herning hospitals in Denmark. The study used Natera’s Signatera research-use-only test to evaluate molecular residual disease (MRD) in 829 blood samples collected serially throughout the patient monitoring period.Results demonstrated the Signatera test detected molecular recurrence up to 16.5 months earlier than standard-of-care radiologic imaging (average 8.7 months). Serial testing picked up 14 out of 16 relapses (patient-level sensitivity 88 percent), and among patients who did not relapse, 455 out of 456 post-surgical blood samples correctly tested negative (test-level specificity 99.8 percent).The study also found that MRD status was the most significant predictor of relapse after adjusting for all other known risk factors, including disease stage and lymph node status. Signatera MRD-positive patients who did not receive treatment relapsed in 93 percent of cases. Among patients who remained MRD-negative, the relapse rate was 3 percent. These results underscore the potential of MRD status to risk stratify patients more accurately after surgery to determine which patients need additional therapeutic interventions and which could be safely monitored.  “Our study showed unequivocally that Natera’s personalized multiplex PCR-based next-generation sequencing is a highly sensitive approach for detecting molecular residual disease in the blood,” said Claus Lindbjerg Andersen, M.Sc., Ph.D., study lead investigator, Aarhus University. “The results show the potential of blood-based MRD detection to drive a paradigm-shift in how patients are managed during the course of their disease.”The study also reported the first published demonstration of Natera’s plasma-based whole exome sequencing capability, in which there was strong concordance between whole exome results from the plasma and tumor biopsy at time of metastasis.For more information: News | Brachytherapy Systems | August 14, 2019 Efficacy of Isoray’s Cesium Blu Showcased in Recent Studies August 14, 2019 — Isoray announced a trio of studies recently reported at scientific meetings and published in medica read more News | Pediatric Imaging | August 14, 2019 Ultrasound Guidance Improves First-attempt Success in IV Access in Children August 14, 2019 – Children’s veins read more News | Mammography | August 14, 2019 Imago Systems Announces Collaboration With Mayo Clinic for Breast Imaging Image visualization company Imago Systems announced it has signed a know-how license with Mayo Clinic. The multi-year… read more News | Oncology Diagnostics | May 28, 2019 New Blood Test Detects Colorectal Cancer Recurrence Up to 16.5 Months Earlier JAMA Oncology study suggests potential for Natera’s Signatera test to guide treatment decisions after surgery News | Artificial Intelligence | August 13, 2019 Artificial Intelligence Could Yield More Accurate Breast Cancer Diagnoses University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that… read more center_img News | CT Angiography (CTA) | August 06, 2019 Artificial Intelligence Improves Heart Attack Risk Assessment When used with a common heart scan, machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence (AI), does better than… read more News | Neuro Imaging | August 16, 2019 ADHD Medication May Affect Brain Development in Children A drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appears to affect development of the brain’s… read more News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound | August 07, 2019 Contrast Use in First Transthoracic Echocardiogram for Heart Failure Reduces Repeat Testing Heart failure is the fourth most common cause for all admission to U.S. hospitals, and it is the most common reason for… read more News | Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 First Patient Enrolled in World’s Largest Brain Cancer Clinical Trial Henry Ford Cancer Institute is first-in-the-world to enroll a glioblastoma patient in the GBM AGILE Trial (Adaptive… read more Reference1. Reinert T., Henriksen T.V., Christensen E., et al. Analysis of Plasma Cell-Free DNA by Ultradeep Sequencing in Patients With Stages I to III Colorectal Cancer. JAMA Oncology, published online May 9, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.0528 FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 Images of regions of interest (colored lines) in the white matter skeleton representation. Data from left and right anterior thalamic radiation (ATR) were averaged. Image courtesy of C. Bouziane et al. News | Breast Imaging | August 02, 2019 Volpara to Distribute Screenpoint Medical’s Transpara AI Solution Volpara Solutions and ScreenPoint Medical BV signed an agreement under which Volpara will sell ScreenPoint’s Transpara… read morelast_img read more

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August 26, 2019

Facebooks CEO Mark Zuckerberg summoned for hearing by UK and Canadian Houses

first_imgYesterday, the chairs of the UK and Canadian Houses of Commons issued a letter calling for Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO to appear before them. The primary aim of this hearing is to get a clear idea of what measures Facebook is taking to avoid the spreading of disinformation on the social media platform and to protect user data. It is scheduled to happen at the Westminster Parliament on Tuesday 27th November. The committee has already gathered evidence regarding several data breaches and process failures including the Cambridge Analytica scandal and is now seeking answers from Mark Zuckerberg on what led to all of these incidents. Mark last attended a hearing in April with the Senate’s Commerce and Judiciary committees this year in which he was asked about the company’s failure to protect its user data, its perceived bias against conservative speech, and its use for selling illegal material like drugs. After which he has not attended any of the hearings and instead sent other senior representatives such as Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook. The letter pointed out: “You have chosen instead to send less senior representatives, and have not yourself appeared, despite having taken up invitations from the US Congress and Senate, and the European Parliament.” Throughout this year we saw major security and data breaches involving Facebook. The social media platform faced a security issue last month which impacted almost 50 million user accounts. Its engineering team discovered that hackers were able to find a way to exploit a series of bugs related to the View As Facebook feature. Earlier this year, Facebook witnessed a backlash for the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal. It was a major political scandal about Cambridge Analytica using personal data of millions of Facebook users for political purposes without their permission. The reports of this hearing will be shared in December if at all Zuckerberg agrees to attend it. The committee has requested his response till 7th November. Read the full letter issued by the committee. Read Next Facebook is at it again. This time with Candidate Info where politicians can pitch on camera Facebook finds ‘no evidence that hackers accessed third party Apps via user logins’, from last week’s security breach How far will Facebook go to fix what it broke: Democracy, Trust, Realitylast_img read more

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August 20, 2019

Royal Caribbean reports over 25 growth in earnings

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Share Royal Caribbean reports over 25% growth in earnings Posted by MIAMI – Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has announced a GAAP and adjusted earnings of US$1.06 and $1.09, respectively, up over 25% from last year and exceeding expectations.In addition, full year adjusted earnings are expected to be up 25% in the range of $6.00 to $6.10, down $0.20 from the midpoint due to the negative impact of currency and fuel.Yields and costs for the year are also performing generally as expected. The sale of 51% of the Pullmantur Group announced in May was completed at the end of July. Consequently, Pullmantur’s results will no longer be consolidated in the company’s accounts.Since Pullmantur’s yields and costs are lower than the fleet average, this change has the effect of increasing the company’s yields and costs metrics for 2016.Second quarter 2016 results also found that the company’s adjusted net income was $235.2 million (or $1.09 per share), versus $185 million ($0.84 per share) in 2016, better than guidance due to lower than expected fuel expense.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoAs for the forecast for the full year in 2016, the company updated full year Adjusted EPS guidance to a range of $6.00 to $6.10. This is a $0.20 decrease at the midpoint versus previous guidance due to a $0.27 negative impact from currency and fuel rates, of which approximately $0.14 is related to weakness in the British Pound following the Brexit vote. Lower than expected fuel expense in the second quarter partially offset the full year impact of weaker foreign currencies and rise in fuel prices. The company’s booked position for the remainder of 2016 remains strong, similar to last year’s record levels. Looking further ahead, the company’s booked position for the next twelve months is also strong, up on both rate and volume, versus same time last year. “While there are always puts and takes in our key markets, our portfolio is performing as expected, our booked position remains strong, and our newbuilds are entering their markets to great fanfare,” said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer. More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJ“These factors are driving another year of record earnings.” Tuesday, August 2, 2016 last_img read more

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August 19, 2019

Atout France marks 70 years of French tourism promotion in Canada

first_img Monday, October 23, 2017 TORONTO — The first France Tourism offices opened their doors in 1947 on Drummond Street in Montreal. Seven decades later the country attracts more than 85 million visitors, making it the most popular country for tourism in the world.In 2009 Maison de la France and ODIT France merged to create Atout France, the sole operator of the French State for development and promotion of tourism French tourism.Canada’s love of France has grown steadily over the years, says Atout France. From 1998 to 2008, trips with night stays have increased from 452,000 to 807,000. In 2014, a turning point was reached with 1,023.000 Canadian visitors to France.Despite the 2015 terrorist attacks that severely impacted France and the recent storm that caused major damages to Saint Martin island, France “stands tall”, says Mélanie Paul-Hus, the new Director for Atout France in Canada.Many more consumer campaigns and trade shows are scheduled in order to reconquer the heart of Canadian and international clientele, she adds.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckAnd looking forward, notably to 2024, when the Olympic Games will return to Paris, the momentum that carries the tourism development of the country “is undeniable”, says Paul-Hus.For the Consul General of France in Toronto, Marc Trouyet, giving new impetus to the French tourism industry is a major priority of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.The Government has set an annual target of 100 million international tourists by 2020, and expects revenues generated by tourism to reach 50 billion euros (approximately Cdn$76 billion) annually by the end of the decade. Travelweek Group Posted by Atout France marks 70 years of French tourism promotion in Canadacenter_img Share Tags: Atout France << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Bomb cyclone caught on camera – you wont believe your eyes

first_img Travelweek Group FROZEN IN FLOOD WATERS | Severe weather in the northeast from the #BombCyclone is wreaking havoc, even freezing some cars in flood water >>— ABC Action News (@abcactionnews) January 4, 2018 The view from Front Street in Scituate, MA. That’s all salt water, folks. #Scituate #bombcyclone— Cristela Guerra (@CristelaGuerra) January 4, 2018 Posted by Share NEW YORK — The bomb cyclone is no joke and if you don’t believe us, just check out these crazy videos that capture the very worst of the storm.The U.S. East Coast, from Florida all the way up to New England, is being pummeled by the menacingly-named winter storm, with record low temperatures, strong winds and up to 12 inches of snow in some parts. Twitter, as usual, has captured some of the most shocking images – here are just a few: Tags: WTF This is what the #BombCyclone is doing to the coastal Massachusetts town of Scituate. Jill Pelo— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@FOX13News) January 4, 2018But not everyone is cursing the cyclone – one lovable pup is making the most of all the snow by teaching herself how to toboggan! Bomb cyclone caught on camera – you won’t believe your eyes! Get Home Safely… #BombCyclone #blizzard2018— フリオ  (@HeirToTheDeamon) January 4, 2018 Friday, January 5, 2018 Coastal floodwaters at peak of the #BombCyclone in Boston were legit— Brian L Kahn (@blkahn) January 5, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Never a dull moment WestJet Delta link up with JV as Aeroplan

first_imgWith files from The Canadian Press Tags: Aeroplan, Aimia, Delta Air Lines, Joint Venture, WestJet << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Posted by Share Friday, July 20, 2018 TORONTO — Reports say Aeroplan aims to get into the airline business by offering charter flights to its most popular destinations as the loyalty program prepares for the end of its exclusive partnership with Air Canada in 2020. “We have routes where we have enough redemption demand today that we can fly a daily charter throughout the year on some particular routes,” said Jeremy Rabe in his first media interview since taking over in May as CEO of Aeroplan parent company Aimia Inc. “Those will be dedicated Aeroplan aircraft that are flying just for Aeroplan.”Aimia is in negotiations with potential airline partners to operate narrow-body aircraft ideally suited for flights to sun destinations in the Caribbean, he added.Details about the number of planes, their outside look and configuration will be announced in the next year or so, said Rabe. “We can optimize the itineraries, we can make sure that those planes are flying to the places where people actually want seats and again that’s a big difference than today.”The Montreal-based company is preparing for July 2020 when its 30-year partnership with Air Canada expires as the airline launches its own loyalty program. When its partnership with Air Canada ends, Aeroplan members will be able to buy seats on any airline, any time, to any destination. Aeroplan is working to sign up preferred airline partners and is also introducing several new program features that will create a more flexible program and a better member experience. Starting in September, Aeroplan will introduce a new online travel booking tool that will initially enable members to earn miles when they rent a car or book a hotel using cash. Aeroplan plans to offer redemptions starting at the same mileage levels for about 95% of its flight redemptions. That answers one of the biggest questions he’s heard from members about how Aeroplan will look after 2020, said Rabe. It is also introducing a points transfer program in 2020 that will allow members to convert Aeroplan Miles to the loyalty programs of nearly 20 airlines covering several alliances, giving them wider access to flights and hotels. Rabe downplayed the risk that the transfer program will be a conduit for members to end their loyalty to Aeroplan. “If members see that we’re going to have an incredible loyalty program, differentiated value, flexibility and experience then I’m confident that members will continue to engage in the program and it will be the best loyalty program in Canada.”In other airline news, after months of negotiations WestJet and Delta Air Lines say they’re moving ahead with their plans for a joint venture, signing a definitive agreement to create a comprehensive transborder joint venture arrangement that will offer customers an extensive route network within the U.S. and Canada.“WestJet continues its drive toward becoming a global airline, and the signing of this agreement marks a major milestone in that journey,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. In December 2017 WestJet gave notice that it was ending its nearly eight-year relationship with American Airlines. The news came just a few weeks after it announced it was looking to expand its existing relationship with a joint venture with Delta.WestJet and Delta already codeshare, but an airline JV deal takes the partnership to a whole other level. The anti-trust immunity that goes along with airline JVs means that the airlines cooperate on everything, from scheduling to pricing to marketing and, critically, sharing the revenue from transborder flights.The WestJet-Delta deal is subject to government approval. Air Canada and United were blocked from implementing a similar arrangement back in 2012. There have been reports, as recent as June 2017, that Air Canada and United are seeking to again pursue a joint venture, now that Canadian federal regulations for JVs could potentially loosen up. Never a dull moment: WestJet, Delta link up with JV as Aeroplan eyes charter flightslast_img read more

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Lawmaker wants Costa Rican constitution to say marriage between man and woman

first_imgNo related posts. A Costa Rican evangelical lawmaker is proposing a change to the Constitution so that the document states “marriage is a union between a man and a woman.”Justo Orozco, of the Costa Rica Renovation Party, proposed the revision to Article 52 of the Constitution, adding that the text would also state that marriage would not be granted to other unions.The current article states marriage is “the essential basis of a family and rests on the equal rights of spouses.” Already the bill has received support from 13 lawmakers in six different parties. Facebook Commentslast_img

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Fisheries Institute shakeup continues

first_imgFrom the print editionBy David Boddiger and Steve Ercolani  |  Tico Times StaffEfforts by the administration of President Laura Chinchilla to clean house at the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (Incopesca) continued this week, as officials pondered the fate of Incopesca President Luis Dobles. Dobles has not been fired, but sources with knowledge of discussions taking place within the administration told The Tico Times Dobles could be ousted in coming weeks. Last Friday, Communications Minister Francisco Chacón denied the rumors. At Tuesday’s weekly Cabinet meeting, Environment Minister René Castro said, “The government will be meeting in the next few days to discuss the future of Incopesca, including President Luis Dobles. But it’s not the Environment Ministry’s decision, it’s the Agriculture Ministry’s.”Last week, Chinchilla’s Cabinet fired Incopesca Vice President Álvaro Moreno, citing multiple ethics violations concerning his ties to the commercial shrimping industry, based in the central Pacific city of Puntarenas.Since 2010, Moreno served as the agency’s vice president, a four-year post. He also was appointed vice president of Incopesca’s board of directors.  No related posts. Coast Guard officials and Isla del Coco park rangers on Aug. 11 nab Los Pericos captain Daniel Obando for illegally shark finning and fishing in the national marine reserve. Courtesy of Public Security Ministrycenter_img Dobles and Moreno are two controversial figures who, until Moreno’s firing, led an agency charged with regulating Costa Rica’s commercial fishing industry and promoting conservation policies to protect marine wildlife.The Puntarenas Prosecutor’s Office this week confirmed it is actively investigating Dobles and others in relation to a series of incidents in late 2011, when four fishing vessels landed shark fins at a public dock in Puntarenas (TT, Oct. 14, 2011). The fins were attached only to the sharks’ spines, with flesh and bones shaved away. According to Puntarenas Assistant Prosecutor Tatiana Chaves, the landing of fins attached only to shark spines is a violation of Costa Rica’s Fishing Law and Agriculture and Livestock Ministry Decree 34,928, which prohibits shark finning, a practice that involves slicing lucrative shark fins from the body and dumping less-valuable meat and carcasses overboard. Shark finning is a multimillion-dollar industry that fuels demand for shark fin soup, a delicacy in many Asian countries, most notably China and Taiwan. Conservationists say that most longlining fishing vessels operating in Costa Rican waters and throughout Central America participate in the gruesome practice. The Puntarenas Prosecutor’s Office is investigating Dobles for allegedly authorizing in 2011 the ship Wang Jia Men 89 to unload 36 shark carcasses with fins attached. The office is also investigating Katy Tseng Chang, legal representative of three boats flying Belizean flags and charged with the same infraction.“They were trying to circumvent the law by unloading fins only attached to the skeleton,” Chaves said in an email. “It is a tactic by fishermen to save space on board and transport more shark fins, leading to overfishing and waste of marine resources; in addition, the bleeding out of sharks without proper sanitary measures can generate toxins that could affect people’s health.”The fourth case under investigation by Puntarenas prosecutors was filed Aug. 11 against the Costa Rican ship Los Pericos and its captain, Daniel Obando, whose crew was caught illegally fishing at Isla del Coco National Marine Park with 27 shark fins on board. According to Chaves, Obando was briefly detained and must check in with authorities monthly, pending a court hearing. The vessel was temporarily seized.Two similar cases brought by prosecutor’s offices in Aguirre and Parrita, also on the Pacific coast, await preliminary hearings.Except for a handful of park rangers who live there, Isla del Coco is an uninhabited national marine park 365 miles west of Puntarenas. It belongs to an important marine biological corridor extending to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. It is also a marine sanctuary for several species of sharks, including the hammerhead, which Costa Rica is actively working to place on the list of endangered species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES.Randall Arauz, president of the Marine Turtle Restoration Project, which has filed several injunctions against Incopesca in the past decade, and who recently returned from a research trip to Isla del Coco, said shark populations are dwindling around the island.In the past, hundreds of hammerheads could be spotted, Arauz said, but during his recent trip, he saw only about 100. “They’re not coming back,” he said.Yet, for every successful detention at the park, dozens of other boats avoid being caught, he said. “They’re sitting at the 12-mile line, and at night, they come in the park to fish and then leave before anyone can get there,” Arauz said.Coast Guard officials said they are doing their best to crack down on illegal fishing, but they are limited by few resources and loopholes that only allow officials to prosecute boat crews caught red-handed. With a limited number of boats and crew, Coast Guard officials also must divide their time between policing for illegal drug trafficking and cracking down on poachers.In many cases, park rangers can detect boats, but the Coast Guard can’t get there in time to obtain evidence needed for prosecution, officials said.“The Coast Guard simply does not have the capacity to pursue so many boats,” Public Security Vice Minister Celso Gamboa told The Tico Times.When the ship Los Pericos was caught illegally fishing at Isla del Coco, 14 other boats reportedly were spotted in the area. “There was no way of knowing if the other boats were shark finning,” Coast Guard Director Martín Arias said. “Many boats seek water and supplies at Cocos Island.”Still, Arias said officials are committed to policing shark finners in Costa Rican waters, particularly given the country’s recent bad press over its extradition request for marine conservationist Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, over a 2012 clash with a Costa Rican vessel accused of shark finning in Guatemalan waters.Arias pointed out that in the past year, 12 cases of shark finning have been sent to the courts. But processing the cases could take up to two years, he said.The country’s prosecutors also are increasingly attuned to pursuing cases of illegal fishing and shark finning, despite shortcomings in the country’s Fishing Law, Chaves said.“The Puntarenas Prosecutor’s Office has actively investigated and prosecuted crimes related to shark finning, investing a significant amount of time and resources,” Chaves said. “We recognize the enormous scourge that this reprehensible practice represents, which not only places the country’s food security at risk, but also is incredibly environmentally damaging.” The country’s Chief Public Prosecutor also has briefed regional offices on how to use the Fishing Law to investigate and prosecute shark-finning crimes.Nevertheless, both Chaves and the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in San José acknowledge that a reform to the Fishing Law is needed to close loopholes, provide stiffer penalties for violators and arm prosecutors with better tools to try cases. A shrimper for lifeLast week’s firing of former Incopesca Vice President Álvaro Moreno is a signal that the Chinchilla administration is aware of ongoing conflicts of interest at the agency, a charge that marine conservationists have been pointing out for more than a decade. Moreno comes from a family of Spanish immigrants, who arrived in Costa Rica in the 1950s and helped established the country’s shrimping industry. The problem, legal experts say, is that according to Incopesca’s charter, the majority of its nine-member board of directors is composed of fishing industry insiders, including representatives from fishing organizations in each of the three coastal provinces (Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón), a representative of the commercial fishing export sector and a representative of the National Commission on Aquaculture and Fish. Moreno was nominated as the board’s vice president by fellow board members, the majority of whom represent fishing-industry interests.Still, according to the agency’s charter, board members are tasked with “promoting, based on scientific and technical criteria, the conservation and sustainable use of aquaculture and marine biological resources.”After he was sacked, Moreno told the daily La Nación, “If I get fired for defending fishermen, I accept that. Let them fire me. I will continue defending fishermen from whatever trench I’m in.”Taking (delayed) actionIn July, Chinchilla unveiled a plan to improve sustainable management of the country’s marine resources, signing several decrees that created a new Cabinet-level National Marine Commission and a Waters and Oceans Vice Ministry, along with other measures. The president’s “blue agenda” was based on a marine advisory committee report that also recommended an overhaul of Incopesca’s board.“We recommend a revision of Incopesca’s Charter Law in order to change its institutional structure. This includes significant modifications of its board of directors to ensure the public interest is protected during decision making,” the committee report stated.Meanwhile, the executive branch’s Public Ethics Office was compiling a report of alleged ethics violations committed by Moreno while he served as Incopesca’s vice president. The report was based on a complaint filed in November 2011 alleging that he provided legal representation to commercial fishermen and owners of semi-industrial fishing vessels while serving at the government agency charged with enforcing regulations on his own clients.The report, which was submitted to Chinchilla’s Cabinet in January, cited numerous ethics infractions, including infringement of Costa Rica’s anti-corruption law, abandonment of duties, irregular acceptance of a temporary government salary and violation of rules prohibiting Moreno from practicing law at his private firm while serving on Incopesca’s board.A later case involved a May lawsuit filed by environmental groups before the Constitutional Branch of the Supreme Court. The lawsuit sought an injunction against Incopesca for issuing licenses to Costa Rican shrimp boats that employ the environmentally destructive technique of bottom trawling. In June, Moreno issued a court filing challenging the lawsuit on behalf of Incopesca and several shrimp boat owners and fishing companies. The filing was printed on stationary from Moreno’s private law practice in Puntarenas. “It shouldn’t be possible that in this lawsuit, the same person [Moreno] is judge and party [to the suit]; he used his own stationary to defend against the charges,” said Citizen Action Party lawmaker María Eugenia Venegas, who along with environmental groups pressured Chinchilla’s Cabinet to sack Moreno.He also provided legal representation for six crew members of a shrimp trawler caught in 2009 fishing without using Turtle Excluder Devices, a violation of Costa Rica’s fishing law, the daily La Nación reported in January. The ethics office also reviewed that case and found Moreno in violation of ethics and corruption laws.Confronted with the information from the ethics office, Dobles did not launch administrative proceedings against Moreno, telling La Nación, “Legally, it’s not our job to do that.”In April, Moreno testified before Cabinet members in response to the ethics office report, bringing Dobles as a witness.On May 4, the Cabinet extended by two months its period of review of the case, promising a ruling on July 7. Nearly two months later, following intense lobbying by conservation groups and two lawmakers, the administration moved to fire Moreno.“They delayed and delayed and delayed,” Venegas said.Still, environmental groups applauded the decision. “We are satisfied with the Cabinet’s decision [to fire Moreno], as marine resources belong to all Costa Ricans and they shouldn’t be administered by someone with private interests,” Jorge Jiménez, general director of marine conservation group MarViva, said in a statement. “This is a good first step, which highlights the need for operational, functional and structural reform at Incopesca to prevent cases like Mr. Moreno’s from recurring.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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