Costa Rica has work to do on prosecuting femicide

first_imgFrom the print edition“Femicide” is a term for the murder of women because of their gender. As of June, seven cases of femicide have been reported in Costa Rica. In 2011, 11 cases were reported. Experts say these numbers are likely widely underreported.To better understand the crime, some 40 members of women’s rights organizations and the press attended “Femicide in Numbers,” an event organized by the National Institute for Women (INAMU). “The reality of the issue is that femicide occurs because of problems in the home, the community and the culture,” said Maureen Clarke, president of INAMU.Currently Costa Rican sentencing laws call for up to 35 years in prison for the death of a woman at the hands of a spouse.The Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women took place in Belém do Pará, Brazil, in 1994. Ibelís Fuentes, coordinator of an INAMU commission on femicide, said the country’s definition and punishment of femicide is not as far-reaching as called for by the Inter-American Convention. This convention extended the definition of femicide to physical, sexual and psychological violence against women.Franklin Gonzáles, the judicial system’s chief statistician, described the primary triggers of femicide to be jealousy, the ending of a relationship, other relationships or legal complaints.In Costa Rica, the majority of femicides are committed by clients of the sex trade against sex workers, followed by sexual assault and spousal abuse. Most homicides committed against women occur in San José. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Costa Rica on alert for unique mosquitoborne virus with symptoms similar to

first_img Facebook Comments Health Ministry officials are on the lookout for any possible cases of the chikungunya virus in the country. An outbreak occurred on islands in the Caribbean last December, the first report of the disease in the Americas.The virus shares many of the same symptoms as dengue: high fever, headaches, muscle and joint pains, nausea and rashes. However, the mortality rate is  much lower than dengue, a disease that Costa Rica saw in record numbers last year.Chikungunya originated in Tanzania in 1952, according to the World Health Organization’s fact sheet on the disease. The first confirmed case in the Americas occurred in the Caribbean on Dec. 6, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). At the time, the outbreak prompted a health alert for the entire continent. In South America there have been seven confirmed cases, all of them in French Guiana, an overseas territory of France.“Just like dengue, [this virus] is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito, but it also can be carried by other mosquitoes,” said Roberto Castro of the Health Ministry’s Health Monitoring Unit.After an infected mosquito transmits the disease to a human, the illness’ onset will occur usually 3-7 days later. The symptoms can be unyielding.“Chikungunya does not often result in death, but the joint pain may last for months or years and may become a cause of chronic pain and disability,” the PAHO report explains.Castro confirmed that health personnel in the country are now on high alert in regards to the disease, and are aware of all the information needed to detect potential cases of infection. Currently there is no specific treatment nor any vaccine to prevent it, other than protect yourself from mosquito bites. Related posts:Costa Rica Health Ministry confirms first case of chikungunya virus Health officials testing first two cases of Ticos who could have the chikungunya virus Costa Rican health officials seek preventive alert for chikungunya virus Double jeopardy: Costa Rica’s Health Ministry reports 2 people were infected with both dengue and chikungunyalast_img read more

Rich US tourists kill hundreds of lions each year and its all

first_imgWalter Palmer Now In Hiding: May Face 15 Years In Zimbabwe Prison For Poaching #CecilTheLion— Quad Finn (@Quad_Finn) July 29, 2015 The Internet is in an uproar this week over the recent killing of a well-known lion in Zimbabwe. Walter J. Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, allegedly baited the lion out of a national park by dragging a dead animal behind a car at night. Palmer shot it with a crossbow. The wounded lion escaped and wasn’t found by Palmer and his fellow hunters until 40 hours later, when they killed it with a rifle.This would all be perfectly legal had the lion not been a resident of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, a protected area. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimates that trophy-hunting tourists legally kill some 600 lions each year. Dr. Jane Smart, the Global Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group, said in an interview that the 600 figure is several years old and the actual number is probably a little bit higher than that. Given that there are only about 30,000 lions left in Africa, this represents an annual loss of roughly 2 percent of the total lion population to legal hunting, and a considerably larger share of the population of healthy adult male lions, which hunters typically prize.U.S. tourists — wealthy ones, given the high costs involved — account for the majority of lions killed for sport in Africa. A 2011 report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare found that between 1999 and 2008, Americans brought home lion “trophies” — heads, pelts and whatnot — representing 64 percent of all African lions killed for sport during that period. And that number is rising: “Of these trophies, the number imported into the United States in 2008 was larger than any other year in the decade studied and more than twice the number in 1999,” the report found.The dwindling lion population cannot sustain hunting losses like this indefinitely, the IUCN found in its report. Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list African lions as “endangered,” which would have banned the importation of recreational lion trophies to the U.S. Instead they listed lions as “threatened,” which allows the domestic trade in lion trophies to continue. Some of the other animals the American Walter Palmer has killed. We have to stop this horrific killing of animals.— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 29, 2015 Related posts:US dentist named as killer of Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the lion Delta, American and United ban shipments of ‘big five’ hunting trophies Little has changed 1 year after slaying of Costa Rica conservationist Jairo Mora Suspected poaching ring leader arrested, accused of killing tapir Such beautiful creatures are killed for no good reason. Hoping #WalterPalmer be punished for such horrid actions.— Anaï (@anai_scooby) July 29, 2015 Safari Club International, the hunting group Palmer belongs to, hailed the ruling as a victory for hunters. The Club maintains an online record book where hunters can track their kills of lions and other big game animals and compare their rankings with other hunters. “You can submit your score and method of kill for any species, and it will interactively show you where you would rank in the book if your entry was submitted today,” the Web site says. An image of an example ranking page shows scores and rankings for kills of African lions.Safari International says there are records of over 2,000 lions killed in its online record book. A November 2014 blog post highlights the top 10 African lions killed, with photos of hunters posed next to their prizes. “The African lion is one of the most challenging and dangerous hunts,” the copy reads. “Virtually anyone who imagines an African Safari envisions the big maned lion charging the implacable hunter shouldering his European double rifle. This handout picture taken on Oct. 21, 2012 and released on July 28, 2015 by the Zimbabwe National Parks agency shows the much-loved Zimbabwean lion called “Cecil.” Zimbabwe National Parks/AFPIn reality, lion hunting doesn’t appear to require much in the way of skill. Many hunter-tourists are guided by teams of locals and professionals. Adult lions are not particularly afraid of humans, making it relatively easy to get close to one. They spend the majority of their day sleeping.Hunting groups like Safari Club International maintain that hunting lions helps conserve them. They promote the positive effects of hunting in African communities. They argue that “hunting plays a role in raising the value of the African lion and discourages poaching.”In a phone interview, IUCN’s Jane Smart said that well-regulated trophy hunting can be a net benefit for lion populations. “What is clear is that overall the trophy hunting must be carefully regulated, otherwise it casts the whole trophy hunting industry into ill-repute,” she said. “There is a payback for communities if we can do it in a regulated way. However unpleasant people find this, this can be a good conservation technique.” She stressed that habitat destruction and illegal poaching were even bigger threats to the lion population.In a statement to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Palmer expressed regret. “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt… I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” he said. © 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Community managed forests protect against climate change study finds

first_imgRespecting community and indigenous rights to collective land tenure and forest management could help avert climate change — and save us billions of dollars, according to a new report from the Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI).The report is based on case studies of community territories in Asia, Africa and Latin America — including indigenous territories in the Brazilian Amazon and community forest concessions in Guatemala’s Mayan Biosphere Reserve. Researchers found that forests under the groups’ control and management are better preserved, emitting less carbon and storing more than forests where local communities have weak control.In the Brazilian Amazon’s indigenous territories, which cover 13 percent of the country, the benefits from carbon capture and averted emissions amount to $161.7 billion over 20 years, according to the report. And in the Mayan Biosphere, the benefits amount to $605 million over 20 years.These findings will bolster the demands voiced by 300 indigenous women from different countries across the region who meet Tuesday in Guatemala City in the run up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), which will be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11. The women want recognition of their role as key agents in the fight against global warming. They also want greater access to technology and financial resources to further that role.Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, praised the WRI report. “[It] is very significant in terms of establishing the links between human rights and forest protection and sustainable use. It’s sending a message to governments to link respect for the rights of indigenous people to their land and resources to the climate change mitigation activities that [governments] are supposed to commit to,” she told The Tico Times.Tauli-Corpuz added that the region’s governments need to do more to ensure that community land titles are respected and that indigenous lands are not taken over by special economic interests, like mining and monoculture plantations, or even drug traffickers.“In Honduras, for example, indigenous people have collective land titles but [outside] land owners are invading their land for African palm plantations and there is invasion from other interests such as hydroelectric dams and mining,” she said.An interactive map released in conjunction with the report allows users to explore indigenous and community-owned land around the world: Community and indigenous lands in Central America and part of South America. ( of community forest tenure outweigh costsThe World Resources Institute study also found that the estimated annual cost per hectare of securing community forest tenure is low compared to the benefits from reducing carbon emissions and preventing deforestation. In Brazil, a $19 per hectare investment today would yield the equivalent of $1,473 per hectare in benefits in 20 years, WRI found. In Guatemala, a $63 per hectare investment today, would yield $1,899 per hectare in benefits, including economic benefits to communities through sustainable harvesting and the sale of forest products.Peter Viet, director of the WRI’s Land and Resources Rights Initiative, said compared to the indigenous communities in Brazil’s Amazon, communities in Guatemala’s Mayan Biosphere Reserve found it harder to comply with the government’s long list of requirements for managing the land, which includes annual audits and forest management plans. “These communities are not indigenous; they were more recent groupings of individuals so they didn’t have the social cohesion and there were conflicts internally. Also, compared to Brazil, Guatemala is more bureaucratic and as a result, there’s more costs,” he said.Overall, the figures presented in the report make a compelling case for the environmental, social and economic benefits of community forestry.“In these two case studies we found that community forestry adds the highest value; it’s not agriculture or cattle raising or the exploitation of minerals, it’s sustainable forestry,” Juan Carlos Altamirano, an economist for the WRI, told The Tico Times.Plus, community forestry can help reduce costs associated with resource conflicts that often accompany extractive industries, like mining, and others that are non-community based.A recent study by Guatemala’s Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office highlighted mining and hydroelectric dams as the main source of conflict in Guatemala.Community managed forests in TotonicapánIn the department of Totonicapán, located in Guatemala’s western highlands, forest land is divided into 48 cantons that have been communally owned by Maya Kiché communities since colonial times.Logging within a three-mile radius of water resources is strictly forbidden and if a family needs to fell a tree for firewood, it must seek prior consent from indigenous community leaders and only the oldest trees can be felled. The penalties for breaking these rules depends on the size of the tree that was felled and range from planting five trees to paying fines equivalent to $64 to $102.In order to ensure forest regeneration, every year in May leaders distribute tree seedlings from a community greenhouse so that every member of the community can plant five trees in an area of their choice.The communities also observe strict rules regarding the use of water from six sources in the forest. If a family wishes to build a house it must seek permission from the local water committee. Using water for activities considered superfluous, such as washing cars and motorbikes, is forbidden.According to Guatemala’s Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources, Totonicapán has the lowest deforestation rate in the country.“The crucial factor in Totonicapán is communal land ownership and the establishment of strategic alliances with the government,” said Andrea Ixchiú, former president of the board of natural resources for Totonicapán’s 48 cantons. “Governance and the use of resources improves when communities coordinate actions with the state.”If the benefits of community forestry outweigh those of environmentally hazardous industries such as oil extraction, why have the region’s governments been reluctant to phase out bureaucratic hurdles, implement agrarian reforms and invest in communal land ownership programs? According to the WRI, in 2013 indigenous peoples and communities held legal rights to only about 15.5 percent of the world’s forests.Viet from WRI indicated that many governments are reluctant to cede control over natural resources to local groups because they don’t trust their ability to manage them well.“There’s a real nervousness on the part of governments to decentralize forests to communities due to a concern over capacity,” Viet from WRI said. “Over time, when governments gain more confidence and the community shows it has the capacity, it could lift some of those conditions.” Facebook Comments Related posts:US concerns grow over possible Nicaragua Canal land expropriation, ambassador says A Paris climate change talks primer for Costa Rica With COP21 underway, development banks urged to boost ‘green finance’ in Latin America US inflames debate on climate finance with plan for UN talkslast_img read more

Is there a landslide risk for Tres Ríos

first_imgRelated posts:Landslides block roads, cause losses at farms in Tilarán With heavy rains forecast, Costa Rican officials close Route 32 to the Caribbean, evaluate Route 27 closure Earthquake jolts five provinces in Costa Rica Costa Rica nearing record rainfall for May Facebook Comments The potential risk of a major landslide near the town of Tres Ríos in the Cartago canton of La Unión has sparked a controversy over whether or not owners of a local farm should receive permission to mine rocks and other material along a local river.Open-air mining permits are hard to come by in Costa Rica, and some locals think the specter of a landslide is being used as an excuse for a lucrative mining business.La Unión is located in a mountainous area east of San José traditionally known for its extensive coffee plantations that produce top quality beans for the international market and companies such as Starbucks. The canton in recent years also boomed as an important destination for the development of commercial and housing projects.Talk of landslide risks in the area along the Chiquito River has swirled for several years. In 2011, experts from the National Emergency Commission (CNE) and geologists from a consulting firm hired by the owners of local farm Hacienda San Rafael confirmed the falling of debris on the property in a location where the river forms a canyon.Debris fall in recent years had mostly concentrated in an area known as Las Cazuelas, where according to both reports the culprit is the river’s current. The river flow has eroded the base of the canyon’s slope over some 40 years, causing falling debris, the CNE reported.At the time, the CNE issued a list of recommendations for municipal officials, including periodic inspections to evaluate the accumulation of debris along the river. La Unión Deputy Mayor Alex Montoya Richmond said Friday that they have complied with the monitoring as required.The CNE last week issued a news release dismissing “the possibility of an imminent landslide that would affect Tres Ríos residents,” and that “an eventual landslide along Chiquito River would affect only the mountainous areas along the riverbank.”Lidier Esquivel, a geologist and director of CNE’s Risk Prevention Department, said the current amount of debris in the area does not represent an imminent risk of a major landslide, and materials mostly include small and medium-sized blocks of soil that fall directly into the river current.“We recommended that the Municipal Emergency Committee keep monitoring the falling of materials, but we believe that a major landslide would only occur under extreme weather circumstances or by an earthquake,” he said.The official noted that the last time major falling debris occurred in the area was during Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The phenomenon caused thousands of deaths in Central America, and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration considers Mitch the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since 1780.It appears that local and national officials are poised to grant a mining permit to the owners of Hacienda San Rafael, under the guise that removing material from the area would help prevent a potential landslide. Tres Ríos residents have been voicing concerns in recent weeks about the potential permit, with some saying that open-pit mining would actually provoke a major landslide and potentially put at risk some 25,000 residents of northern Tres Ríos.In the same news release in which the CNE dismissed the imminent risk of a landslide, the commission advised the Environment Ministry and La Unión municipality to ensure that all mining activity in the area is properly conducted “so that it helps to stabilize the mass of debris and avoids affecting the area’s current situation.”Public funds to address problem lackingVice Mayor Montoya said the municipality has taken all necessary preventive measures and conducted periodic inspections of the eroded area. Those inspections have shown, he said, that even though there is currently an accumulation of debris, it does not represent an immediate risk for Tres Ríos residents. Still, Montoya, who is also director of the Municipal Emergency Commission, said authorities are aware that the erosion should be addressed. But he said fully eliminating the problem would require funds that the city currently does not have.“We estimate the funds needed to fully eliminate all risk scenarios in the canyon would represent the full budget of the CNE for three years, and obviously we don’t have that kind of money,” he said. Erosion of the canyon’s base causes periodic falling of debris from its slopes. Courtesy of GeotecMining would fund the project, farm owners sayThe owners of Hacienda San Rafael contend that there is a major landslide risk, and they have a plan to address it — if they get government approval.The site of the most recent debris fall is located about 800 meters from downtown Tres Ríos, “therefore the CNE’s statement [that there’s no imminent risk of a landslide] seems strange to us,” Leonel Rojas Castro, a geologist hired by the owners of Hacienda San Rafael, told The Tico Times.Rojas explained that the erosion process is active and currently wearing the riverbed and the canyon slopes. He also believes the amount of debris that could erode from the canyon slopes is enough to form a landslide capable of reaching populated areas.“I believe that a heavy shower or an earthquake with an epicenter located near this area could provoke the falling of debris enough to block the river, and considering the ground conditions, to form a landslide of important proportions,” he said.The river in that area is just 1.5 meters wide, therefore it wouldn’t take much to block its flow and accumulate enough debris to cause a big landslide, Rojas said.The geologist said that he and his clients are aware of the high cost of the work needed to fully clean the area, remove all the materials and stabilize the canyon slopes. Therefore, the property owners presented the municipality with a proposal to carry out the project.The plan includes a petition for obtaining a mining license that would allow them to sell the materials removed from the canyon in order to finance the cleaning and stabilizing works. “That’s the reason why the farm owners applied for the [mining] license, to reduce costs for the project,” he said.On Tuesday La Unión Mayor Lydia Garita Rodríguez said in a written response that the mining license request is currently under study. She said the municipality’s legal department last Jan. 19 initially green-lighted Hacienda San Rafael’s plan, including the extraction and selling of materials from the riverbed, as long as works also involve the expansion of the riverbed and the stabilization of slopes in the landslide area. Final approval is still pending.Local officials, following CNE orders, are required to clean up the riverbed and implement an early warning system for potential emergencies.The Environment Ministry has already approved the mining plan.Area of the landslides found in 2011 less than 1 km from downtown Tres Ríos:last_img read more

Slothy Sunday Returning home

first_imgRelated posts:Slothy Sunday: Overcoming adversity Slothy Sunday: Saving sloths together Slothy Sunday: A baby sloth is born Slothy Sunday: Five ways you can help sloths It was a leap of faith that led me to Costa Rica to work with sloths. Little did I know that six sweet and very special creatures would touch me so much that I’d change my career path to continue working in conservation.I met “Café Britt,” the nickname for this juvenile group of orphans, after months of wild sloth research at The Sloth Institute (TSI). After seeing wildlife in the undisturbed jungle, I knew that I would forever be an advocate for all sloths’ freedom. From the first moment I met the wide-eyed bunch, I began to dream about the day they’d be reintroduced into the wild. I’m incredibly grateful that I was able to take part in their release journey.Each sloth ended up at the Toucan Rescue Ranch for different reasons, but most were direct consequences of human encroachment on wildlife. Lenny arrived as a singed orphan after his mom was electrocuted and killed while crossing power lines, an all-too-common problem for sloths in Costa Rica. Latte was found on a road, weighing just 400 grams, after her mom was likely struck by a car. Chispa’s mom fell onto concrete and succumbed to her injuries, leaving tiny Chispa motherless. The rest of the group — Bowie, Chai, and Ringo — were orphaned for unknown reasons. Sloth elementary. Natalie Brown / Toucan Rescue Ranch.Many of the sloths that arrive at the rescue ranch are already dying before they reach the clinic doors. The work that goes into reversing this imminent path to death and ultimate journey to release is an extraordinary commitment, often taking over two years. Luckily, these sloths were fighters. Not only did they survive, but they also flourished. As I worked with the resilient group day after day, their unique personalities began to shine. Their eccentricities and interactions constantly had me laughing to the point of tears and they quickly filled a special place in my heart.The group was not only captivating to watch but unbelievably intelligent and adaptable. They were exceptional at mastering skills required for release. This involved learning behaviors that would provide the best chances of survival – sleeping in high and dense places, foraging for leaves, navigating through trees, and adopting a solitary lifestyle. Eventually, the sloths were ready for the next stage of the process and were moved to a soft-release enclosure at the Toucan Rescue Ranch’s Release Site in Sarapiquí, Costa Rica. Here, they fine-tuned their skills and began behaving like their wild counterparts. Latte as a surrogate mom. Via Toucan Rescue Ranch.The once weak, syringe-fed orphans blossomed into beautiful, healthy, and adventurous adults who were well-equipped for life in the jungle. Release day finally arrived, and the enclosure door was slid opened. The sloths were free to go. They were home. No moment has felt as rewarding.The sloths are now living the life they truly deserve. They spend their time perusing the canopy, sleeping in the sun, and enjoying more fresh leaves than they could dream of. It was an incredible process and I have no doubt they’ll continue to thrive and live the rest of their years free and content, just as they were meant to.The Café Britt group was a direct result of the success of the Saving Sloths Together program. This is a joint sloth rehabilitation and release program with the Toucan Rescue Ranch and The Sloth Institute of Costa Rica. Latte in the wild. Via Toucan Rescue Ranch.— Natalie Brown is a TSI Sloth Research Specialist and a veterinary student at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. This article was produced by The Toucan Rescue Ranch. The Toucan Rescue Ranch specializes in helping wild animals recover so that they can be reintroduced into the wild. For more information or to donate, visit the Toucan Rescue Ranch website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

King Juan Carlos says Spains economy is improving

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements ___Associated Press writer Luis Andres Henao in Santiago, Chile, contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Associated PressSANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – King Juan Carlos said Tuesday that Spain is going through the worse moment of its economic crisis but insisted government measures are working and the country is starting to recover.He spoke during a stop in Chile as head of a trade delegation to South America. It is his first major trip since he fell and broke a hip in April during an elephant-hunting trip in Botswana that angered Spaniards bearing the brunt of a deep economic crisis and crushing unemployment. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Check your body, save your life “We’re likely facing the toughest moment of the crisis and undergoing the most painful treatment so far,” he said at a news conference at Chile’s presidential palace.But The 74-year-old monarch said belt-tightening measures have worked and “things are beginning to improve, public accounts are in much better shape than a year ago, the trade balance is healthier and we’re starting to recover lost competitively.”Spain has seen its borrowing costs surge in recent weeks as investors worry the government’s public finances might be overwhelmed by the cost of rescuing banks holding huge amounts of soured property investments. Spain is struggling with an unemployment rate of more than 24 percent, with more than 50 percent of people under age 25 out of work.The country has become the focus of Europe’s debt crisis because funding the country, the euro zone’s No. 4 economy, would stretch the region’s finances to breaking point.During the news conference, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera reassured Spanish investors that deals will be respected in his country. Argentina’s government expropriated YPF, Argentina’s largest energy company, from Spain’s Repsol this year. Bolivia nationalized a Spanish-held company that owned most of the Bolivian electricity grid. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

ExTunisia PM creates party as counterbalance

first_imgTUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – A former prime minister who led Tunisia’s transition government after the fall of its autocratic leader has launched a new political party to counter-balance the Islamists running the North African country.Beji Caid Essebsi announced the formation of the Nida’ Tounes, or Call of Tunisia, party on Saturday before thousands of men and women _ including a number of artists _ in a packed hall. The 85-year-old said he wants a party “that unifies everyone, without exclusion.” He called it a “balancing force that can create conditions for an alternative.” The moderate Islamist Ennahda party was elected after a transition period following the January 2011 ouster of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. However, hardline Islamists are emerging and last week clashed with police over an art exhibit they judged blasphemous.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Trial of Cyprus terror suspect postponed

first_imgLIMASSOL, Cyprus (AP) – The trial of a man believed to be involved in the planning of a suspected terrorist attack against Israeli interests on Cyprus has been postponed.Criminal court judges agreed Wednesday to reschedule the trial for Sept. 28 to give 24-year-old suspect Hosham Taleb’s lawyer time to review a new set of charges presented by the state prosecutor.Taleb, a Swedish national of Lebanese descent, originally faced 17 charges _ including espionage and conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack _ but lawyer Antonis Georgiades says they have now been reduced to eight “different” ones. A security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case said Taleb _ suspected of Hezbollah affiliation – was monitoring and recording the movements of Israeli tourists before his July arrest.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Sponsored Stories center_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

Dozens killed in attacks in Tunisia Kuwait and France

first_img Parents, stop beating yourself up 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories The carnage in Tunisia began on the beach, where tourists described hearing what sounded like fireworks and then running for their lives when they realized it was gunfire. Video of the aftermath showed medics using beach chairs as stretchers to carry away people in swimsuits.“He had a parasol in his hand. He went down to put it in the sand and then he took out his Kalashnikov and began shooting wildly,” Chelli said of the gunman.He then entered the pool area of the Imperial Marhaba hotel before moving inside, killing people as he went.British tourist Gary Pine told AP he was on the beach with his wife around noon when heard the shooting. They shouted for their son to get out of the water, grabbed their bag and ran for the hotel. Their son told them he saw someone shot on the beach.There was “sheer panic” at the hotel, Pine said. “There were a lot of concerned people, a few people in tears with panic and a few people — older guests — they’d turned their ankles or there was a few little minor injuries and nicks and scrapes.”Elizabeth O’Brien, an Irish tourist who was with her two sons, told Irish Radio she was on the beach when the shooting began. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches “I thought, ‘Oh my God. It sounds like gunfire,’ so I just ran to the sea to my children and grabbed our things” before fleeing to their hotel room, she said.The Health Ministry said the dead included Tunisians, British, Germans and Belgians, without giving a breakdown.British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says at least five Britons were killed but expected to toll to rise because a high proportion of the dead were believed to be British.Since overthrowing its secular dictator in 2011, Tunisia has been plagued by terrorist attacks, although only recently have they targeted the tourism sector, which makes up nearly 15 percent of GDP.“The Foreign Office will declare the summer effectively over for Tunisia, and it will destroy — besides the lives taken — the tens of thousands of livelihoods who depend on tourism for a living,” said Simon Calder, a London-based travel commentator. Nearly half a million Britons visited Tunisia in 2014.At a news conference at his office in the capital Tunis, Prime Minister Habib Essid said he would immediately close mosques outside the control of the ministry of religious affairs and call army reservists into active service and place them around the country. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   In southeastern France, a man with ties to Islamic radicals rammed a car into a gas factory, touching off an explosion that injured two people. Authorities arriving at the site made a grisly discovery: the severed head of the driver’s employer was found hanging at the plant entrance.The suspect, Yassine Salhi, was seized by an alert firefighter, authorities said, and French President Francois Hollande said the attacker’s intention had been to cause an explosion. A security alert for the southeast region was raised to its highest level for the next three days, and the U.S. Embassy in Paris warned American citizens to be vigilant.In an audio recording released Tuesday, the Islamic State called on its supporters to increase attacks during Ramadan and “be keen on waging invasion in this eminent month and commit martyrdom.”In Britain, police said they were tightening security at major events after the attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia, including for the weekend events of Armed Forces Day and the Pride London gay and lesbian festival.The attacks were condemned by the United Nations, the U.S., Israel and others.“We stand with these nations as they respond to attacks on their soil today,” the White House said. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren added it was “too soon to tell whether or not these various and far-flung attacks were coordinated centrally or whether they were coincidental.” SOUSSE, Tunisia (AP) — A young man pulled a Kalashnikov from a beach umbrella and sprayed gunfire at European sunbathers at a Tunisian resort, killing at least 39 people — one of three deadly attacks Friday from Europe to North Africa to the Middle East that followed a call to violence by Islamic State extremists.The shootings in the Tunisian resort of Sousse happened at about the same time as a bombing at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait and an attack on a U.S.-owned factory in France that included a beheading. It was unclear if the violence was linked but it came days after the IS militants urged their followers “to make Ramadan a month of calamities for the nonbelievers.” In all, the assailants killed at least 65 people. “No mosque that does not confirm to the law will be tolerated,” he said, referring to those that incite to terrorism.The attacks are also a blow to Tunisia’s image as a stable, democratic nation emerging from its revolution in 2011, said Jonathan Hill, a professor of Defense Studies at King’s College in London.“The terrorists are attacking Tunisia’s reputation,” he said. “Not just as a safe and welcoming destination for Western holidaymakers, but as the one real success story to emerge out of the Arab Spring.”International police agency Interpol offered investigative help in the wake of Friday’s violence. Interpol Secretary-General Juergen Stock said the attacks “show the truly global dimension to current terrorist threats.”___Schemm reported from Rabat, Morocco. Associated Press Writers Bouazza Ben Bouazza in Tunis, Jill Lawless and Greg Katz in London, Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.___This story has been corrected to reflect that authorities now say there was only one gunman, not two, and that the message from the Islamic State was an audio recording, not a video. The SITE Intelligence Group reported later that the IS claimed credit for the Tunisia attack on its Twitter account and identified the gunman as Abu Yahya al-Qayrawani.The attack in Tunisia, the country’s worst ever, comes just months after the March 18 massacre at the national Bardo museum in Tunis that killed 22 people, again mostly tourists, and has called into question the newly elected government’s ability to protect the country.“Once again, cowardly and traitorous hands have struck Tunisia, targeting its security and that of its children and visitors,” President Beji Caid Essebsi told reporters at the RIU Imperial Marhaba hotel, near the beach rampage site.Essebsi promised “painful but necessary” measures, adding: “No country is safe from terrorism, and we need a global strategy of all democratic countries.”Rafik Chelli, the secretary of state of the Interior Ministry, told The Associated Press that the attack was carried out by a young student not previously known to authorities. At least 36 people were reported wounded in the shooting spree, which ended when the gunman was shot to death by police.The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing at the Shiite mosque in Kuwait City that killed at least 27 people and wounded scores of other worshippers at midday prayers — the first such attack in the mostly quiet and relatively secure Gulf Arab nation in more than two decades. Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Measles alert issued in NT after infected traveller returns home

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F A Measles alert has been issued by The Northern Territory Centre for Disease Control after an infected passenger passed through Darwin last week. The centre says the person flew to Darwin from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on Jetstar flight JQ74 on Australia Day and then left on the same flight bound for Sydney at 7am.Centre for Disease Control Director Vicki Krause said, “There is still a small risk that other passengers and visitors to the airport may have been exposed.” Head of Disease Surveillance at the Centre for Disease Control, Dr Peter Markey explained that measles is a very contagious viral illness spread between people through coughing and sneezing.”The symptoms of measles are fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes which occur usually 10 days after exposure to a case, followed by a red blotchy rash three to four days later.”To be immune to measles you need to have had measles previously or have had two doses of the measles vaccine. “Anyone not immune to measles who feels they may have been exposed and are experiencing these symptoms are encouraged to seek health advice from their local health provider or the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the NT.”The measles alert applies until February 19. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Senate Inquiry airs pilots safety concerns

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Claims that airlines are “under reporting” safety incidents came to light as a Senate inquiry into aviation safety and pilot training commenced in Sydney this week. The inquiry comes off the back of the recent sacking of JetStar pilot, Joe Eakins, who raised concerns about the airlines safety records.You’re fired: Jetstar pilot sacked over safety concerns Mr Eakins is currently seeking workplace reinstatement and his lawyers have advised him against giving evidence at the inquiry due to fears it would adversely affect his ability to get his job back. Jetstar has labelled Mr Eakins’s claims as “malicious” and said he had been fired for breaching the airline’s code of conduct and employment arrangements – not for reporting legitimate concerns, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The investigation is being carried out because of airline’s reluctance to report all safety events. The Pilots Association have requested a central database be established, under the management of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, to monitor and record safety information. Pilots Association Vice-President, Richard Woodward, expressed concerns pilots were afraid to come forward and provide the Senate with vital information.“There is a pool of pilots that are quite concerned about reprisals. The ones we are hearing from are, in essence, the tip of the iceberg,” he said.Other concerns raised during the Senate investigation included training and the offshoring of pilots’ jobs to Asia. last_img read more

Food to fuel appetite for travel to the Philippines

first_img‘Halo-halo’ has gone on to become popular in the rest of South East Asia Philippine Tourism attache Consuelo Jones, Philippine Ambassador Australia Belen Fule Anota and Shangri-La Hotel Sydney GM Franz Donhauser With the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” tourism campaign successfully underway, and with more people traveling to its shores than ever before, the Philippines is looking to its cuisine to further promote travel to the country.  While most people are already well acquainted with Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and other Asian cuisine, if you were to ask a non-Filipino what constituted a typical meal in the Philippines, you would likely be given a blank expression.It is therefore not unreasonable to assume that the Philippines has perhaps the most to gain from a tourism perspective by inviting those unfamiliar with its unique fare to the dining table, and hopefully onto experiencing the country’s food first-hand.At the official launch of Philippine Food Week at the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, Philippines Department of Tourism attaché Consuela Jones told e-Travel Blackboard that the government was investing “more in tourism than ever before”. And with Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino arriving in Australia this week (staying at the Shangri-La), the Department of Tourism will be looking to take full advantage of media interest in the South East Asian nation.Speaking at the event, co-sponsored by Philippine Airlines, San Miguel Beer and Boab Tree wines, Philippine Ambassador to Australia, Belen Fule Anota said she was pleased to see one bus in Sydney already bearing the country’s tourism tagline, ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’.“Come. Savour,” she said, inviting guests of the event to eat, and from a broader perspective, Australians to the Philippines.Offering specially prepared cuisine by Shangri-La Makati executive sous chef, Gene Del Prado, the Shangri-La Sydney will host the Philippine Food Festival until 28 October.center_img Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

Tourism New Zealand chief executive resigns

first_imgSource = Tourism New Zealand Tourism New Zealand chief executive resignsTourism New Zealand Chair Kerry Prendergast has today confirmed the resignation of Chief Executive Kevin Bowler after almost seven years leading the Crown Entity.Kevin leaves on 28 October 2016 to join Frucor Beverages Limited as its New Zealand CEO.Kerry says Kevin has transformed Tourism New Zealand into a high performing, digital-led, integrated marketing communications business with a clear mission and values that are shared by all its staff.“During his tenure, Kevin has reinvigorated the way the country is marketed, narrowing the organisation’s focus to people already ‘actively considering’ New Zealand and delivering significant value to the economy through the use of targeted digital media channels,” says Kerry.“He and his team have subsequently presided over some of the most extraordinary growth the industry has ever seen with visitor spend rising 25 per cent to $10.2b in the past twelve months alone.“Kevin joined Tourism New Zealand in January 2010 and led the organisation and industry through the recovery from the Canterbury earthquakes.“His time at Tourism New Zealand has been marked by the remarkable success of leveraging international attention gained from the Rugby World Cup and The Hobbit films; the inspiring approach to using international ambassadors in our promotion; expansion into new markets and sectors, and significant partnerships with aviation and digital media partners.“He ends his tenure having just announced Hollywood powerhouse James Cameron as the latest in a line of influencers who have thrown their voice behind the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign.“With the tourism industry delivering more value to the economy than ever before, Kevin leaves Tourism New Zealand is the best shape possible.“On behalf of the Board we wish to thank him for his work and commitment to success and wish him all the very best at Frucor.”Kerry says the Board will begin the process for replacing Kevin immediately with the first step being the appointment of an executive recruitment agency that will lead the search. Tourism New Zealandlast_img read more

North Hill City Resort opens its doors in Chiang Mai

first_imgSource = North Hill City Resort, North Hill City Resort, Chiang MaiNorth Hill City Resort opens its doors in Chiang MaiNorth Hill City Resort, a new five-star luxury resort near Chiang Mai, today officially opens and welcomes its first guest. Perfect for business and leisure travelers alike, the boutique, 42-room resort offers a sophisticated and contemporary setting with outstanding views of Doi Suthep, ideal proximity to the new North Hill Golf Course and a number of unique amenities. The opening of the new resort in Chiang Mai coincides with the recent award by Travel + Leisure, whose readers voted Chiang Mai as best city in Asia in Travel + Leisure’s “The World’s Best Cities” survey.“After much preparation, we are thrilled to unveil North Hill City Resort and welcome our first guests for a modern and luxurious experience in this unbelievable destination,” said James Hang, general manager of North Hill City Resort. “Away from the hectic pace of the city, our new property offers exceptional amenities and an ideal location for taking advantage of everything the region has to offer.”Located just 20 minutes from Chiang Mai International Airport and downtown Chiang Mai, North Hill City Resort’s idyllic location allows for a unique gateway to the region’s natural and cultural attractions. The new 18-hole North Hill Golf Course is right next door and favorite regional attractions such as Kadfaring Village, Ban-Tawai, the Village of Handicraft, Royal Park Rajapruek, Chiang Mai Night Safari, the ancient Buddhist temples of Wat Ton Kwaen and Wat Intrawart, and many others, are just a short drive away.Inspired by the beautiful environs of the region, the resort features a fresh, contemporary design surrounding green space, nature and serene views of Doi-Sothep in the distance. Maximizing outdoor spaces, the property features an expansive outdoor amphitheater with a swimming pool and pool bar, serving as a venue for functions, meetings and weddings.42 modern guest rooms are thoughtfully appointed incorporating contemporary design and neutral tones to highlight the gorgeous views. Additional amenities include a large flat screen TV and Blu-ray/DVD player, 500 thread-count white bed linens, luxurious bathrooms with a large soaking tub and a workspace area with a wooden desk. Additionally, guests at the resort will enjoy complimentary high speed Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast and a fitness center with state-of-the-art cardio equipment.Culinary enthusiasts will love the property’s new Italian restaurant the Zest, serving authentic Italian dishes with a Thai flare. With a modern and intimate design, the restaurant features unique menu items such as Spaghetti with Seafood and Black Squid Ink and international wines to be enjoyed overlooking the North Hill River. Additionally, the resort houses a private home grown farm that is more than 6,000 sqm featuring a number of local vegetables.To celebrate the opening, North Hill City Resort is offering 30% savings for all room types until 31 November 2016. North Hill City Resortfor more information, visitlast_img read more

Jordan becomes the first Arab country to launch a tourist pass

first_imgThe Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Jordan has launched a unified ticket for tourists under the name ‘Jordan Pass’, which enables tourists to visit various tourist sites, historic locations and museums in the Kingdom at a price of JD70 (around USD 99).The ticket is aimed at encouraging tourists to visit several attractions in Jordan and easing their movement between the various locations.Dr Abed Al Razzak Arabiyat, Managing Director, Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) added, “JTB would be carrying a comprehensive campaign in order to market the Jordan Pass across the globe and among all concerning markets, encouraging all tourists to buy the pass before their planned arrival to the Kingdom.”The idea behind the ticket is to encourage tourists to visit a large number of historical sites, shed some light on lesser known tourist attractions, and to make their trip easier with suggested itineraries, said Nayef H Al Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities. Adding, “The importance of the Jordan Pass is to save the tourist’s time, money, and stress during their visits around the country, giving them the ability to make the most out of their trips. Through this pass we are reflecting the hospitality of the Jordanian people; a large characteristic of what makes Jordan such a unique destination.”last_img read more

London continues to witness record international visitors

first_imgThe tourism boom in London continued during the second quarter of 2015, with the city welcoming a record 5.1 million international visitors between April and June this year, six percent more than the same period last year.Tourist spending during the same period was £3.2 billion, an increase of eight percent when compared with the second quarter of 2014. Over the past five years (2009-2014), the number of overseas visitors coming to London has risen by 22.5%.The national picture is also positive with 9.9 million international visitors coming to the UK between April and June 2015, five percent more than the same period last year. Over half of these international visits to the UK were to London. Tourist spending across the UK over this period was £5.8 billion, a seven percent increase compared with the second quarter of 2014.The latest figures comes after a record-breaking 2014 when 17.4 million overseas visitors travelled to London, spending £11.8 billion across the city’s restaurants, hotels and attractions. Earlier this year the capital was named the most popular tourist destination in the world for the second year running by MasterCard in the Global Cities Index report. According to the report, London is forecasted to host 18.82 million international visitors in 2015 putting the city ahead of Bangkok and Paris.Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, welcomed the figures and said: “These numbers prove that our great capital is without a doubt the best place on earth to visit. People come from around the world to experience our unique mix of history, culture, shopping and world-class events. With our spectacular autumn season of culture and the Rugby World Cup having put London in the spotlight once again, we’ll undoubtedly be welcoming even more tourists to London in the months ahead.”last_img read more

Ras Al khaimah sings agreement with Cox Kings to increase arrivals from

first_imgRas Al Khaimah has signed an agreement with Cox & Kings Ltd to strengthen its relationship and expand its presence in the Indian market, which is one of the fastest outbound markets in the region. This agreement will focus on promoting the various aspects of Ras Al Khaimah and popularise it in the Indian market.The agreement, which was signed at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) at Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority’s stand, is aimed at increasing tourism arrivals to Ras Al Khaimah from India. The partnership, which took effect from May 1, 2016, will also introduce Ras Al Khaimah to the Indian market through specially created itineraries, creation of standalone tourism products for the emirate and market the destination via a series of campaigns and training programmes for Cox & Kings staff.India has already cemented its position as one of the emirate’s leading source markets with an 80% increase in visitors, year-on-year (2014-2015).Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said, “Following our revised strategies and vision to reach one million visitors by the end of 2018, we will be announcing a number of partnerships such as this. Air India Express has already launched new routes to the emirate and our agreement with Cox & Kings will ensure we’re making the destination as accessible as ever. We are proud to begin a long relationship with such an established travel company within one of our top source markets. India offers an important contribution towards our overall visitor figures and we are keen to progress this opportunity to target Indian travellers even further.”Ashutosh Mehere, Senior Vice President, Alliances & Special Projects, Cox & Kings Ltd., said, “Ras Al Khaimah offers the Indian traveller an opportunity to explore a new destination. We will focus on promoting the destination aggressively in the Indian market and create packages that are affordable and capture the essence of the destination.’’last_img read more

Keralas Responsible Tourism initiative gets acknowledged at Polish Film Festival

first_imgButtressing the state’s position as a prime destination for Responsible Tourism, Kerala tourism has bagged a set of awards at FilmAT, one of the biggest international film festivals dedicated to tourism, art and ecology, in Poland.The state’s Responsible Tourism initiative won three gongs at the 11th edition of the festival held recently in the Polish city of Lublin, taking top honours for the ‘Best Promotional Social Campaign’ and in the ‘Protection of Nature’ and ‘Eco-Food’, categories for, respectively, the ‘New Worlds’ films ‘Sowing the Seeds of the Future’ and ‘A Taste of Life’.A fourth award, for ‘Best Editing’, was conferred on Kerala Tourism for the film ‘The Great Backwaters of Kerala’, which showcased life in and around the legendary backwaters.“Winning four awards at such a prestigious festival is a significant achievement for Kerala. It speaks to our commitment to realising the state’s potential for international tourism in a responsible manner – always with the best interests of the people and the environment at heart,” said A C Moideen, Minister for Tourism.Conceived and scripted by Stark Communications, and directed by Malayalam filmmaker Anwar Rasheed, the ‘New Worlds’ films are snapshot vignettes into one of the world’s best implemented Responsible Tourism campaigns.last_img read more

CLIA predicts 2017 to be an eventful year for cruise industry

first_imgCruise Lines International Association (CLIA) predicts that more than 25.3 million people will take the cruise vacation in 2017. The upswing in the number of tourists will be supported by the addition of 26 new vessels on oceans and rivers.The new itineraries with personalised customer experience will add to the tourists’ volume. The cruise industry continues to respond to desires of today’s travellers resulting in steady growth and strong economic impact around the world, as per CLIA’s President and CEO, Cindy D’Aoust.According to the experts, if geopolitical events in Europe remain at bay, the 2017 summer season abroad still has the opportunity to be successful. What will make it risky is the economic slowdown, geopolitical events and the strengthening of the dollar.last_img read more