<< 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
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 Canada Share Tags: Atout France << Previous PostNext Post >>
Travelweek Group FROZEN IN FLOOD WATERS | Severe weather in the northeast from the #BombCyclone is wreaking havoc, even freezing some cars in flood water >> https://t.co/3zWEPAu3W4 pic.twitter.com/cfZKcIypMf— ABC Action News (@abcactionnews) January 4, 2018 The view from Front Street in Scituate, MA. That’s all salt water, folks. #Scituate #bombcyclone pic.twitter.com/JVQDzSR9pe— 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. https://t.co/rsPfRTvbRoVIDEO: Jill Pelo pic.twitter.com/hWmAz6EVK4— 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 pic.twitter.com/rUpL842lPF— フリオ (@HeirToTheDeamon) January 4, 2018 Friday, January 5, 2018 Coastal floodwaters at peak of the #BombCyclone in Boston were legit pic.twitter.com/Irh0UmdT3S— Brian L Kahn (@blkahn) January 5, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>
With 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 flights
No 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 Comments
From 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 Ministry 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 Comments
More than a year after Costa Rica’s anti-smoking law was passed in 2012, a regulation obligating tobacco companies to publish graphic warnings on cigarette packs has yet to be enforced.Costa Rican lawmakers adopted the General Tobacco Control Law in March 2012. The law prohibits smoking in public areas, bars, restaurants and other establishments. Three months later, in June 2012, the rules of the law were published in the official government newspaper La Gaceta. But the requirement that companies print large warning labels – as is the norm in several countries – was missing.In response, the National Anti-Tobacco Network (RENATA) joined lawmakers on Monday in a press conference at the Legislative Assembly to pressure President Laura Chinchilla to approve the health warning regulation.“It’s necessary that this regulation is drafted and approved by the executive branch as soon as possible as a show of commitment and political will to protect public health,” Citizen Action Party lawmaker Carmen Granados said.Once the regulation is approved, tobacco companies will have one year to begin publishing graphic warnings as to the dangers of smoking on 50 percent of the fronts and backs of cigarette packs, and 100 percent on the sides.Yul Francisco Dorado, a member of global watchdog group Corporate Accountability International, also attended the Monday press conference in San José.Dorado said private interests hope to consult with the World Trade Organization in an attempt to block the regulation. But, she said, the issue is a public health matter, and has nothing to do with trade.“Tobacco companies use cigarette packs to advertise their product, and health warnings would compete for that space,” RENATA member Teresita Arrieta said.Dorado sent a letter to Chinchilla urging the president to adopt the health warning regulation, and said she would expect a response within 15 days.Health officials say 10 people die each day in Costa Rica from illnesses related to smoking. Facebook Comments No related posts.
MANAGUA – Nicaragua’s army will protect an oil rig that’s involved in a controversial drilling project in the Caribbean Sea, an official Nicaraguan source said Wednesday, as Colombia and Costa Rica are contesting who has authority over the area.Nicaragua LTD Noble Energy, the organization responsible for the operation, and the military agreed that the activities of “surveillance and monitoring” will occur during the drilling and exploration of the platform, said the army in a statement.The agreement was signed by the head of the army, General Julio Avilés, and the manager of Noble Energy, David Nock.Noble Energy began drilling on Aug. 18 in a place known as Paradise South WEll 1, located 168 kilometers from Bluefields, the departmental head of the South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS).The concession, which covers the area known as “Isabel Bank” and “Tyra Bank” in the Caribbean, was awarded to Noble Energy in 2009 to explore and exploit hydrocarbons.Results of studies under way by the company will be known in 90 days, which is the estimated time for the drilling process, Energy and Mines Minister Emilio Rappacciolli told local media.Colombia and Costa Rica claim to own the areas where the drilling is occuring, and have protested against Nicaragua awarding oil concessions in those parts of the Caribbean. But authorities did not clarify whether this particular maritime area is the target of an official complaint on behalf of both countries.Bogotá does not recognize a ruling by the International Court of Justice from last November that established maritime limits between Nicaragua and the South American country. Facebook Comments No related posts.
Recommended: Will the Nicaragua Canal ruin the ‘Galapagos of Central America’?A Nicaraguan delegation representing nearly 40 civil society organizations and political parties traveled to San José, Costa Rica, this week during the annual meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to generate regional support against the construction of a massive interoceanic canal there.The group of environmentalists and human rights organizers plan to present an open letter to the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry for CELAC leaders that decries a lack of transparency in the project and threats to indigenous land rights and Lake Nicaragua, also known as Lake Cocibolca.“This should be a great concern not only for Nicaragua but for the whole Central American region,” Suyen Barahona, national director for the Sandinista Renovation Movement, told The Tico Times.Luisa Molina, director of Coordinadora Civil, a human rights organization, said that Costa Ricans would also be affected by the environmental consequences of the Great Nicaragua Canal on Lake Cocibolca and the two countries’ shared watershed.On a local level, Molina said the canal would displace tens of thousands of people either from their land or their traditional way of life, from indigenous landholders to artisanal fishermen.“We want development for Nicaragua but we want the people’s voice to be heard because they were never heard, either in a referendum or a plebiscite,” Octavio Ortega, national coordinator for the Council for the Defense of the Land, Lake and Sovereignty of Nicaragua, told The Tico Times. From left, Luisa Molina, director of Coordinadora Civil, Octavio Ortega, national coordinator for the Council for the Defense of the Land, Lake and Sovereignty of Nicaragua and Suyen Barahona, national director for the Sandinista Renovation Movement. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesOrtega said they asked for a chance to dialogue with the government after the $50 billion project was rushed through the Nicaraguan legislature in a scant three days and without consulting the public.“The people’s response is to demonstrate because they never gave the government a blank check so they could sell these properties. Every day the people’s frustration grows,” he said.Ortega said that if the government will not meet with them to address their concerns about the canal project, which broke ground in December 2014, they would threaten a peaceful general strike.Along with reaching out to CELAC leaders this week, the delegation is working to collect 1 million signatures from across Nicaragua to send to Pope Francis.Ortega said that some efforts to collect signatures against the project have been hampered by hopes that the canal will bring the jobs that President Daniel Ortega has long promised.Molina added that besides the environmental damage the dredging of Lake Nicaragua would cause, the project’s aims were unrealistic.“The government media is saying that the canal is a panacea that’s going to raise us out of poverty [and] create jobs,” she said. “It’s creating an expectation that it’s never going to live up to.”The delegation said they still supported many aspects of the canal project, including the construction of two large ports and an interoceanic railroad, but added that the freshwater of Lake Cocibolca was more important than any canal.Said Molina: “There’s still time to save Lake Nicaragua.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Nicaragua can’t stop dreaming of a canal Costa Rica asks Nicaragua for environmental impact studies on proposed interoceanic canal Costa Rican officials: We still have little information about Nicaragua’s Grand Canal plans Financial, environmental questions plague Nicaragua canal project
Related posts:Christmas cheer, oxcart parades, and other happenings around Costa Rica Cowboys, coffee, and other happenings around Costa Rica U.S. Independence Day Concert, ExpoVida 2015 and other happenings around Costa Rica Cultural Center anniversary, vegan fair, and more events around Costa Rica Facebook Comments Theater: “The Process”University Theater, of the University of Costa Rica (UCR), is turning 65 years old; to celebrate this milestone, the theater group is performing Franz Kafka’s trascendental play “The Process.” It tells the story of a man who, on his 30th birthday, is unexpectedly arrested by unidentified men from an unspecified agency for an unspecified crime – a critique of the legal system that is as thought-provoking today as ever.“El Proceso” will be performed August 20 – September 13, Thu-Sat at 8p.m. at Teatro La Aduana, La Antigua Aduana, San José Av. 3. ₡5,000 ($10). For more information call 2257-8305.Music: “Game of Choir”The first concert of the 2015 season of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) will feature soundtracks of famous movies, series and anime, such as The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, Skyrim, Final Fantasy, Super Smash Bros, Death Note and Elfen Lied, among others. With the participation of guests Coro Universitario UCR Sede Atlántica and Zukia Band.“Game of Choir” will be performed August 22-29 at 6p.m. and August 23-30 at 5p.m., at the University of Costa Rica. ₡6,000 ($12). For more info call 2511-4165.Festival: Food & MusicGo around the world in three hours. Think it’s impossible? Then you must attend the first edition of Food and Music at Avenida Escazú. The festival is will feature six restaurants and a bar with a wide range of gastronomic offerings, including Italian, Peruvian, and international contemporary dishes, among others.“Food & Music” takes place August 29 at 6p.m. Free. For more information call 2278-2067- Courtesy of Music & Food FestivalTour: “A Walking Chat”Still getting to know San José? “A walking chat” is a tour around San José, focused on the history and current challenges facing the Torres River. The tour starts at the Feria Verde de Aranjuez and continues through San José visiting the old lake of Guadalupe, SpiroGyra Butterfly house, Barrio Amón, Barrio Tournon, Museo de los Niños, and Los Cipreses.“Tertulia en movimiento” takes place August 22. Meeting point is at Feria Verde in Barrio Aranjuez, San José, at 8 a.m. ₡5,000 ($10). Reservations required. More info; firstname.lastname@example.org / 8366-0852.Workshop: Cooking Classes for KidsWouldn´t you like to have a mini chef at home? This one-day cooking workshop for kids is your big shot: kids will learn some basic everyday recipes, etiquette and table manners. Ticket includes ingredients, materials, printed recipes and lunch.“Clases de cocina para niños” takes place August 22 at Barrio Escalante, 300 meters east of Cine Magaly, the house painted with a floral design. ₡10,000 ($20). For more information call 2253-9751.Music: Gospel FestivalThe tenth edition of gospel music fest “Let it Shine” takes place this August 22. Plenty of Costa Rican chorus and gospel groups will be taking part in the event; every group will interpret an a capella song and another with instrumental companion.“Let it shine” takes place August 22 at the Melico Salazar Theater. ₡6,500 – 11,500 ($13 – 23). 7 p.m. More info at the Festival Website.Festival: Music in San JoséThis festival kicks off at 7 p.m. with a San José-themed clothing and textile exhibit, followed by a photography exhibit showing the Creole rock scene, accompanied by the acoustic music of Emma Brott and Oscar Washington. To wrap things up, a three-band concert: 11:11, ColorNoise and Capitán Rooster. The concert will be accompanied by a show of aerial silks.“Música en Chepe” takes place August 21 at El Sótano, Barrio Amón. 7p.m. ₡4,000 ($8). More info at the event’s Facebook page.Annual Garage SaleAs an initiative to support the Young Life International School Ministry, a big garage sale in Escazú will offer furniture, clothes, baby items, art supplies, curtains, kitchen items, exercise equipment, electronics, lots of books, home decor, and much more.The Ministry’s sale takes place August 22 at the International Baptist Church, in Guachipelin, Escazú. 8a.m. – 12p.m. For more information call Grace Stephens at 8323-4728 or Jeannie Hampton at 8314-2676.
Among the many hazards of living abroad is the constant feeling that you are out of touch with what is going on back home.When I lived in the United States, I was a bit of a super nerd. I regularly attended midnight movie premieres, I knew all of the obscure pop culture trivia, and I could hold my own around any water cooler. But now, when I go back to the U.S., I find myself lost in the conversations of my formerly uncool friends. I don’t know what’s on TV, or what music people are listening to, or which young adult book series is being turned into a blockbuster film. A big reason for this is the way movies are translated into Spanish.Most titles, understandably, are not translated literally. “The Rum Diary” in English became “The Diary of a Seducer” in Spanish, and “Despicable Me” was translated to “My Favorite Villain.” While this makes sense for the general Spanish-speaking public, it is confusing for a Gringa waiting to see the movie her friends won’t stop writing about on Facebook.So, it comes as no surprise that when a friend mentioned to me that “Sinsajo” was coming to theaters Thursday, I had no idea what he was talking about. I nodded and feigned excitement, while making a mental note to Google Translate it later. It turns out that Google Translate is much more in tune with pop culture than I am, because it correctly translated the made-up Spanish word, Sinsajo, to its made-up English equivalent, Mockingjay, also the titles of the third and fourth installments of “The Hunger Games” (Part I, released last year, and Part II, coming out in Costa Rica tomorrow).At least Hollywood has the decency to literally translate made-up words. For those not obsessed with the mega-popular “Hunger Games” movie series or the book trilogy it’s based on, the mockingjay is a fictional bird in the series, an accidental cross-breed of the repressive government’s genetically engineered “jabberjays” and common mockingbirds. Instead of inventing some nonsensical Spanish word for the title, the translator simply took the Spanish word for mockingbird, sinsonte, and jay, arrendajo.Why can’t all movies do that?Costa Rican “Hunger Games” fans can enjoy not only the perfectly translated title, but also the advantage of catching the movie an entire day before anyone in the United States. For those hoping to see the movie as soon as possible, below are the schedules for theaters featuring the movie on its opening day.CCM Cinemas San PedroSan CarlosLincoln PlazaCinemark*Note some options are dubbedMultiplaza EscazúMultiplaza CurridabatCinépolis*Note some options are dubbedDesamparadosCartagoTres RíosHerediaNovaAvenida EscazúAmanda Zúñiga contributed to this report. Facebook Comments Related posts:Tico filmmaker to make post-apocalyptic surf action movie ‘Dos Aguas’ stuns visually, drags dramatically Costa Rica’s love-hate relationship with ‘Jurassic Park’ Love takes Costa Rica, Costa Rica takes Hollywood
Related posts:Costa Rica’s fiscal deficit to reach 6.9 percent of GDP in 2016 Costa Rica to drop interest rates in attempt to jump-start economy Costa Rica should expect 4.3 percent GDP growth, World Bank says This will be the biggest question when the Fed starts raising rates It’s déjà vu all over again for Costa Rica’s investment rating.Fitch Ratings announced that the company was holding steady on its junk bond rating for Costa Rica, according to a news release from the company on Wednesday. Costa Rica has a BB+ credit rating with a negative outlook, one step below investment grade.Along with maintaining its rating for Costa Rica’s public debt with a negative outlook, Fitch echoed the same concerns that have plagued Costa Rica’s investment status for years now, including a yawning deficit and uncertain support for fiscal reform from a fractured Legislative Assembly. Last year, Fitch downgraded Costa Rica’s outlook from “stable” to “negative.”“The Negative Outlook reflects adverse public debt dynamics, driven by large fiscal deficits, and legislative gridlock preventing progress on reforms to correct fiscal imbalances in a timely manner,” Fitch’s report said.Fitch also had a lower GDP growth forecast for the next two years than the Central Bank’s estimates. Fitch said it believed the Costa Rican economy would recover from its 2.8 percent GDP growth in 2015 to 3.6 percent in 2016 and 4 percent in 2017. The Costa Rican Central Bank forecast GDP growth of 4.2 percent in 2016 and 4.5 percent in 2017.Fitch had positive things to say about the efforts of President Luis Guillermo Solís’ administration to control spending and improve tax collection along with benefits from low gas prices and continued demand from the United States for Costa Rican exports and services.Vice President and Finance Minister Helio Fallas called the news a “red light” warning for Costa Rica. “We as a country need to hurry up and approve the implementation of the measures already proposed with the goal of improving income, spending and the quality [of that spending],” Fallas said in a statement from Casa Presidencial.If not, “the next step is another downgrade,” he added. Facebook Comments
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Political novice Donald Trump and self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire’s presidential primaries Tuesday, U.S. media projected, turning the American political establishment on its head early in the long nominations battle.With less than 10 percent of precincts reporting, CNN, Fox and other networks called the race for the Republican frontrunner Trump and for Sanders, who is battling Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.“When we stand together, we win. Thank you, New Hampshire!” tweeted Sanders, who is treated like a local hero in this state that borders Vermont, which he represents in the U.S. Senate.Once every four years, the nation’s eyes focus turn to New Hampshire, the small northeastern state, home to just 1.3 million people, that holds the first state primaries after the Iowa caucuses kick off the U.S. presidential nomination process.Officials were predicting a record turnout.New Hampshire sets the tone for the primaries to come — and could whittle down a crowded Republican field as the arch-conservative Senator Ted Cruz and more mainstream candidates battle for second place behind frontrunner Trump.But the state’s primaries are known for their surprises, leaving several candidates hopeful that they can outperform the narrative established by months of polling.The early projections kicked off a fierce battle for second on the Republican side among Ohio Governor John Kasich, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio.For the past 60 years or so, most of the candidates who ended up winning the White House won their party’s primary in the so-called Granite State.But tellingly, the last three presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — were all elected despite losing in New Hampshire.A RealClearPolitics poll average shows Sanders — who has called for nothing short of a “political revolution” — leading 54.5 percent to 41.2 percent for Clinton in the state.Trump leads rival Republicans with 31.2 percent — with no other candidate above 15 percent.Last-minute picksBut everything remains in play in New Hampshire due to a high number of registered independents, who can choose to vote in either party, and the famous last-minute nature of voters here.Exit polls conducted by CNN showed that nearly half of Republican voters did not make their final decision about whom to support until the last few days.In early good news for Trump, who triggered global outrage in December when he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, exit polls reported by NBC News show 66 percent of Republican primary voters support the ban.Many voters said they were voting for Trump, the man who singlehandedly turned the 2016 presidential race on its ear with his bombast.“He seems to be speaking for the silent majority,” said auto mechanic Chris Skora after voting for the real estate magnate.“A lot of us feel that way and it seems like in this day and age, we can’t say these things with the PC police all around.”The New York billionaire has energized broad swaths of blue-collar Americans, angry about economic difficulties and frustrated at what they see as their country losing its global stature.But Trump needs to turn his poll lead into a convincing win in New Hampshire if he is to recover from the embarrassment of finishing second behind Cruz in Iowa.“Look, you know, I like to win,” Trump told MSNBC as voting got underway. “I didn’t go in it to lose.”The rest of the Republican pack has been fighting it out, hoping a strong showing can reinvigorate them for South Carolina and Nevada, the next stops on the long campaign trail.A poor result would likely rupture the presidential dreams for former and current governors Bush, Kasich and Chris Christie.Rubio is hoping to match or better his third-place Iowa finish, despite taking a drubbing in Saturday’s debate when Christie eviscerated the first-term Florida senator for robotically repeating the same talking points.And the race could be upended yet again if former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg were to launch an independent bid. He told the Financial Times he was “looking at all options.”Run for her moneyOn the Democratic front, Clinton is looking to confound polls that predict a large victory for her insurgent challenger Sanders, who represents neighboring Vermont in the U.S. Senate and is big on erasing economic inequality.“You know, I just love the way New Hampshire does this,” Clinton said as she and daughter Chelsea greeted cheering, sign-waving campaign volunteers at a school in Manchester, the state’s largest city.She also expressed optimism about finishing strong here.“We’re going to keep working literally until the last vote is cast and counted and we’re going to go from there,” Clinton said.Clinton won Iowa by a hair, and remains the overall favorite to win the Democratic nomination. But Sanders’ strong performance shows his campaign can give the former secretary of state a run for her money deep into election season. Facebook Comments Related posts:Fall of the House of Bush: How last name and Donald Trump doomed Jeb Bernie Sanders ‘wins’ Costa Rica in Democrats Global Primary Bernie Sanders’ CAFTA reversal pledge worries Costa Rica businesses Arcadio’s World
Related posts:Canadian tech firm hiring for new Costa Rica operation Companies announce job openings in business, engineering and interpretation services Recruiters: Preparation is key to success at upcoming CINDE Job Fair Microsoft to hire 280 new employees for its Costa Rican operation Five foreign-owned companies have recently announced the expansion of their operations in Costa Rica and are currently offering 2,200 new jobs at professional and technical levels.Bakery giant Bimbo opened its new global services center last week in Tres Ríos, Cartago, and announced plans to hire 200 people. The new center will provide administrative services in finance and accounting to Bimbo’s operations worldwide and also customer service for the company’s English-speaking markets.Those interested in applying should send their résumés in English to: email@example.com.Business outsourcing services company Sykes is currently seeking to hire 900 new workers for its customer service and sales departments. New employees will manage the company’s operations with customers across the Americas.The company is looking for bilingual applicants fluent in English or Portuguese. Applications can be submitted online at the company’s website.E-commerce giant Amazon is also hiring staff to fill 700 new positions for its local operation. Interested candidates can find the full list of available posts at Amazon’s jobs website.U.S. pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer is looking for 200 bilingual (Spanish-English) professionals in business administration, finance and accounting for its financial shared services center in Costa Rica. Applications should be submitted online.Finally, the local office of U.S. human resources consulting firm Manpower reported that it is seeking 200 people for manufacturing, accounting and finance positions. The company is also offering 50 internships in computer engineering and business administration.Candidates should send their résumés in English to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or bring print versions to Manpower’s offices in Pavas, west of San José.In 2015, Costa Rica attracted a total of 39 foreign investment projects, mainly in service industries and manufacturing technology, according to the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE). Nearly 12,000 new jobs came with these investments, according to the Social Security System.There are currently 139 companies running shared services centers in Costa Rica. These operations offer 75 types of services in 10 languages, according to CINDE. Facebook Comments
Costa Rica announced Tuesday that 34 fast charging points for electric cars will be in operation this year. They will be part of a network of charging stations the government plans to expand in the upcoming years.There are currently six fast or semi-fast charging stations, called “Electrolineras,” already installed in the country.“[On Tuesday] we are announcing the first 34 fast charging centers that are being installed between now and December, which will allow the national and tourist population to travel around the whole country in an electric vehicle without fear of running out of battery,” said first lady Claudia Dobles as she opened an electrolinera in Paso Ancho, in southern San José.The stations will charge 80 percent of an electric car battery in 20 minutes.Dobles, an urban architect, is in charge of the transportation element of the recently launched National Decarbonization Plan.The plan aims to replace the current fleet of combustion engines, made up of around 1.5 million cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses, for electric units, before 2050. Related posts:Clean energy leader Costa Rica turns attention to electric cars This Oregon company wants to build electric cars in Costa Rica Costa Rica to purchase eight new trains from Chinese company A plan to decarbonize by 2050 – how will Costa Rica pay for it? Want stories like this delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter “By presenting The National Decarbonization Plan, Costa Rica made clear its commitment to becoming a modern, green, emission-free, resilient and inclusive economy,” said Environment Minister, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, at the event.He added that “this means making all transport electric and ensuring the population a network of recharging infrastructure that allows users of electric vehicles to move throughout the length and breadth of the national territory.”With an electricity matrix based almost entirely on renewable sources, Costa Rica has conditions conducive to adopting a mobility system based on electricity, according to local authorities.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments
In a statement Thursday, the CFCM expressed concern about what it called the “multiplication of these cowardly and hateful acts” and warned against complacency. Muslim and Jewish graveyards and religious buildings around France have long suffered sporadic vandalism.The group urged authorities to track down and punish those responsible “with all the necessary severity.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Top Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments Share PARIS (AP) – A leading French Muslim group says three mosques have been vandalized over the past week and is urging authorities to punish the perpetrators.The French Council of the Muslim Faith, or CFCM, said racist insults and Nazi slogans were scrawled on a mosque in the southeastern town of Tarascon and another in the eastern city of Strasbourg on Tuesday and Wednesday. It said the mosque in the southern town of Draguignan was vandalized May 17.
The vital role family plays in society Gone are the U.N. camps that reached 250,000 children in each session with a lighter-hearted fare of sports and games. But they cost $12 million, and a sharp drop in donations forced the U.N. to call them off.“This is a great loss for children,” child psychologist Fadel Abu Hein said.Hamas camp counselors say children spend most of the day playing in their camps, and say it’s only fair that as an Islamic movement, they would instruct children about their religion, and as Palestinians, teach them about their homeland.“Our camps are about education and play,” said senior camp counselor Abdullah Abdul-Ghafour. “But we can’t divorce children from their surroundings.”Emad Abdullah, 42, a former police officer, said that in previous years, his three children went to U.N. camps. This year, they stayed home because he did not want any faction indoctrinating his children.Still, if the U.N. camps don’t reopen next year, “we must send them to a Hamas camp so they can have some fun,” he said, “and spare my wife the headache of having them around at home all day.”Hamas has dominated Gaza’s political and cultural life since the 2007 takeover, sidelining opponents and crushing dissent. It has tried for years to inject its strict version of Islam, such as separating the sexes and restricting women’s freedoms, into already conservative Gaza, but usually pulled back when encountering resistance from the community. Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Abu Hein, the child psychologist, warned of the danger of leaving summer camps solely in the hands of militant groups.“Do we want to militarize our entire society?” he said. “Children need space to play.”Gaza’s children, who make up half the population, don’t have many other options. Most areas don’t have public parks. Parents can’t afford transport to take their children to the beach or private playgrounds. Electric power comes on for five hours twice a day, keeping the television off most of the time.That leaves the streets. At any time of the day, children of all ages crowd the streets, playing in piles of sand or debris. Elementary school-age children sometimes watch over barefoot toddlers. Boys play football in alleys.Both the Hamas and the U.N. camps were free. Hamas is funded by a variety of sources, including patron Iran, donations from the Muslim world and local revenues, such as taxes levied on goods smuggled in through tunnels under the border with Egypt.UNRWA’s camps were canceled because of a shortfall in donations that hit the U.N.’s emergency program, including distributing food to more than 700,000 Gazans, said the local agency chief, Robert Turner. Of the $225 million that the U.N. requested for emergency Gaza programs this year, it only received $62 million, Turner said. He said donor fatigue and Europe’s economic crisis were to blame.He declined to discuss the impact of canceling the summer camps, but said, “we just couldn’t justify paying for summer games when we currently lack the money we require for food.”___Associated Press writer Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City contributed.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) In this setting, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is the last major independent force in Gaza. The agency is largely immune to interference from the Hamas government because it provides education, health care and food staples to Palestinian refugees and their descendants, who make up the bulk of Gaza’s 1.7 million people.Both sides have been trying to mold youngsters in separate school systems, but summer camps are fertile ground since activities are less structured.U.N. camps offered children two weeks of crafts, swimming, acting and mental health counseling. Some were co-ed, making them targets for Islamic zealots who repeatedly trashed camp sites.In Hamas camps, boys ride horses and play football. They are also taught about Islam and told to fight Israel to liberate Palestine. Girls don’t participate in sports because it’s considered improper. Instead, they learn cooking and embroidery.Many in Gaza seem to prefer to keep their kids at home rather than in the care of Hamas. Enrollment in Hamas camps _ some 70,000 boys and 50,000 girls _ isn’t significantly above what it was last year.In one Hamas camp in the southern Gaza village of al-Qarara, counselors staged a religion and culture quiz for two dozen boys in matching T-shirts and green Hamas caps. Name a fact you have just learned, a counselor told the boys. “Real Madrid is the team of the century,” one teenager said, referring to the famed Spanish football club. Another boy said Muslims wash themselves before praying.Nearby, a group of boys played football. Some lined up to shoot at a target using a pellet gun. Others rode a horse. Counselors said they were following the teachings of legendary Muslim leader Omar Ibn al-Khattab, who urged children to learn horseback riding, swimming and archery _ now interpreted as shooting.A counselor claimed girls don’t like sports. Instead, they learn baking, embroidery, theater and do Islamic quizzes. They also dissected a rabbit for a science lesson. Some of the girls visited a dusty park nearby, said camper Aisha Nahal, 14.Special camps are arranged for selected boys over the age of 14.Aisha’s cousin Saher, 14, went to a regular Hamas-run summer camp in June. Then counselors asked him to join a “scout” camp.For a week, Saher learned to slide over thorns using his elbows for propulsion, alongside two dozen other youths. He drilled running and jumping through flaming hoops.Those camps appear a way to tease out potential recruits for Hamas’ military wing, but counselor Abdul-Ghafour denied that, saying the camps merely taught scouting skills. Top Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too Comments Share Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Parents, stop beating yourself up Associated PressAL-QARARA, Gaza Strip (AP) – The Islamic militant Hamas has won a vital battle with the U.N. over the hearts of Gaza’s children, moving unopposed into the summer camp sector this year after the world body ran out of money.That means Gaza kids who go to camp will have only the option of those that are heavy with lessons on Islam, political indoctrination and, in some cases, paramilitary training. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements
Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The vital role family plays in society (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) (AP) – Some pointers on bringing out your inner Frida Kahlo by adopting the look made famous by the Mexican surrealist painter:___HAIR: Part your hair in the middle and make two braids using a colorful ribbon, or a scarf if you want more volume. Wrap them in an updo. Hide the ends of the scarf by pinning large flowers on top of the braids.___MAKE-UP: Kahlo greatly exaggerated her uni-brow in her morbid self-portraits, but you don’t have to stop plucking your eyebrows. Just use brown powder to fill in as much as you like. Wear red lipstick, pink blush and soft eye shadow. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day ___DRESS: If you can’t find a “huipil,” a loose blouse or tunic hand woven by Indians in Mexico, try any other loose and short blouse with a floral pattern, preferably embroidered. It can be velvet, silk or other fabric. Don’t try to match the blouse with Kahlo’s signature full, long skirt. They are supposed to mismatch. The skirt should be more discrete, plain-colored or with a soft pattern. Kahlo liked to concentrate attention on the top to hide her thin right leg. Accessorize the look with a shawl, scarf or even a creative capelet or man’s vest.___JEWELRY: Kahlo loved indigenous designs for necklaces and large, chunky rings on almost every finger. Her earrings were often gold and big, but she also wore silver jewelry. You can use vintage-looking necklaces that are long chains wrapped around the neck two times or more. There is a YouTube tutorial, https://www.youtube.com/watch?vlTNLPhYi0NI, on using Barbie doll hands to make a copy of Kahlo’s hand earrings, a gift from Pablo Picasso.___SHOES: Wear shiny Oxfords or boots with a medium platform. The more designs on the front, the better. Instead of laces, use black ribbons and tie them in a bow. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 0 Comments Share Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center
Comments Share Meanwhile, the Islamic State group launched a major attack on the predominantly Kurdish city of Hassakeh in northeastern Syria, according to activists and Syrian state media.Speaking Wednesday to France Inter Radio a day after the Paris conference, Blinken said the airstrikes have been effective.“We have seen enormous losses for Daesh,” Blinken said, using an Arabic acronym for the group. “More than 10,000 since the beginning of this campaign. That will end up having an effect.”Blinken did not offer any figure for civilian casualties.In September, the CIA said that Islamic State group has up to 31,500 fighters, meaning that could represent a loss of a third of its forces. Despite that, the extremists continue to attract more recruits from around the world who come to fight with the group to expand its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.It’s not clear why Blinken offered the figure, as the U.S. military in conflicts since the Vietnam War has been either hesitant or discounted such figures as indicators of success. Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to offer them in January when asked by a reporter.“The less of these guys that are out there, certainly that’s the better, but the goal is to degrade and destroy their capabilities,” Kirby said at the time. He added: “It’s simply not a relevant figure.” The fatwa that was signed by religious figures including Jordan’s top pro-al-Qaida ideologues Abu Qatada and Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi, as well as Abdullah al-Mheisny of Saudi Arabia who is now in Syria with the Nusra Front.In the Qatari capital of Doha, U.S. envoy John Allen said Iraq’s so-called Popular Mobilization Forces — which include Iranian-backed Shiite militias — have a role to play in helping take back territory from Islamic State militants in the Sunni-dominated Anbar province, but that they must fall under Baghdad’s control.Speaking at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, Allen said leaders in Anbar “do not view these forces through strictly a sectarian prism” and understand they do not only include Shiite hard-liners.“But we also remain very attentive to and concerned about extremist militia elements frequently influenced and led by the Iranian leadership,” he continued. “It is critical that all forces in the battle space fall under the command and control of the government of Iraq.”The role of the militias is contentious among many Sunnis in Iraq, who fear they could enhance Shiite powerhouse Iran’s influence in the country and exacerbate sectarian tensions. White House spokesman Josh Earnest, later asked about Blinken’s figure, said he had “no reason to believe” the number was inaccurate, saying 1,000 Islamic State fighters were killed in the fight for the Syrian border town of Kobani alone.Meanwhile Wednesday, the Islamic State group targeted Hassakeh in an apparent attempt to reverse some of the advances made recently by Kurdish fighters in the northeastern Syrian province. Kurdish fighters have captured dozens of towns and villages there with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes and are getting close to Tel Abyad, a major Islamic State-held border town near Turkey.The extremists launched the push on the city of Hassakeh, which is split between government forces and Kurdish defenders, on Tuesday night.Syrian state television said extremists are battling for control of a juvenile prison still under construction on Hassakeh’s southern edge and have so far attacked it with five suicide car bombs.The TV report said government warplanes have struck the Islamic State stronghold of Shaddadeh, south of Hassakeh. An Islamic State-affiliated Facebook page said the airstrikes on Shaddadeh destroyed seven homes without causing any casualties. Allen, a retired Marine Corps general, is President Barack Obama’s envoy for the global coalition against the extremist group.___Associated Press writers Adam Schreck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Lori Hinnant in Paris and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Men’s health affects baby’s health too Top Stories Quick workouts for men Syria’s state news agency SANA said another suicide car bomb targeted the city’s power station, causing damage and a power outage.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syrian air force is also taking part in the battle around Hassakeh and that Islamic State gunmen have entered the prison building. The group said dozens of fighters were killed on both sides, adding that IS brought reinforcements of about 400 fighters from the nearby province of Deir el-Zour.Activists also reported intense fighting Wednesday in the northern Aleppo province between Islamic State fighters and other insurgent groups including al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front. The Islamic State group has been on the offensive in the area where they captured several towns and villages over the past days.Also Wednesday, nine prominent jihadi ideologues issued a fatwa, or religious edict, in which they called on Muslim militants to fight the Islamic State group because they have attacked insurgents.“As the nation of Islam was waiting for more conquests by the holy warriors, the Baghdadis were stabbing the holy warriors in the back,” read the Fatwa that was posted on several jihadi accounts on social media, referring to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “They stopped the holy warriors’ march against the regime.” Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility BEIRUT (AP) — A U.S. official said Wednesday that more than 10,000 Islamic State fighters have been killed by American-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in nine months, offering a body count for a campaign that has yet to blunt their advance.Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s figure came after a Paris conference on how to stop the extremists ended without any new strategy to halt their campaign. It also comes months after the Pentagon dismissed such counts as “simply not a relevant figure” in the fight against the Islamic State group. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The vital role family plays in society