Manuel AntonioQuepos Tidings

first_imgJungle Juice has reopened on the road to Manuel Antonio, next to Barba Roja. Owner Dina Tochluk says the store will continue serving smoothies and health-enhancing drinks. Hours are from 7 a.m.- 5 p.m., Tues.-Sun. For more info, call 2777-7328.Kids Saving the Rainforest has some great volunteers here who are going to run the Environmental Kids Camp Aug. 4. They are Brittany Anderson, Valerie Arguelles, Christine Ellenburg, Kevin Ellenburg, Melissa Ellenburg, Victoria Fiedler and Neal Simmons. They are seniors at Miami Palmetto Senior High in Pinecrest, Florida, in the U.S. The girls are all Girl Scout Gold Award recipients and the boys are Eagle Scouts. The triplets, Melissa, Kevin and Christine are weekly volunteers at the DuMond Conservancy in the Monkey Jungle in Miami. They work primarily with owl monkeys. Two of the triplets wrote a book called “Two Monkey Tales.” One of the stories in the book, “Let’s Save the Rainforest,” is written and illustrated by Melissa. The other, “Nina, A Monkey’s Story” is written and illustrated by Christine.The camp will be held from 9 a.m.-noon at the Hotel Mono Azul Tiki Hut. Camp includes a snack and all necessary materials, and costs ₡2,500 ($5) per person. All proceeds will go to saving the rain forest.For more, email or call 2777-2592. Those who attend may purchase signed copies of “Two Monkey Tales.” Proceeds go to saving the rain forest. Participants will also receive prizes. Space is limited.  –Jennifer Ricejennifer@kidssavingtherainforest.or Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Tamalemaking with Antojitos de Maíz

first_imgAntojitos de Maíz uses a machine to grind their corn.Lindsay Fendt EAT THE TAMALESLindsay Fendt We put chicken, carrots, cilantro, sweet chill and cheese in our tamales.Lindsay Fendt Because they produce mass quantities of masa, Antojitos uses a grinding machine, and because no one has the time or energy to grind up corn with a rolling pin, most Costa Rican households use pre-made masa from a grocery store. Step 5: Enjoy!Usually you let the tamales cool before eating them to give them time to take shape, but we just couldn’t wait and ate our tamales mushy and hot. Fold the long sides of the leaf over the masa puddle and roll the ends once or twice (until it stays in place). Then fold the other two sides in forming a square. Finally, wrap the string both ways over the leaf and tie it in a bow forming what looks like a plantain leaf present. Finally putting all of the ingredients together into a wrapped tamale.Lindsay Fendt After wrapping your tamale should look like a tiny, green wrapped present.Lindsay Fendt If you’re Costa Rican, then you have likely spent at least part of every Christmas season in the company of your entire extended family making tamales. The process can take days, but it ends with a a giant pot of banana wrapped tamales that last the whole Christmas season.For those lacking a Costa Rican grandmother or the patience to wait until December, there is Antojitos de Maíz, a restaurant in San Isidro de El General completely dedicated to corn.The restaurant’s tamales are such a hit that local hotel Monte Azul has begun sending its guests over for cooking classes. So, with the illusion that we would soon be professional tamale chefs, two Tico Times reporters headed to Antojitos for a crash course in tamale-making. It turns out, that there is a good reason Costa Ricans only make tamales once a year. But if you happen to have hours of free time, there are few Tico dishes as delicious as homemade tamales.Step 1: Preparation and ingredients Making tamales is labor intensive, with each ingredient encompassing an entire meal in itself. To speed up the process, we were greeted in the Antojitos kitchen with bowls of pre-cut and pre-cooked ingredients, but to make your own tamales you first need to prepare the filling. We used a spicy chicken filling in our tamales, but there are other meat and vegetarian variations. Step 3: Wrapping the tamalesOnce everything is cooked, it’s time to actually assemble the tamales using the plantain leaves and string. Spread a plantain leaf onto a counter and scoop two or three ladles full of masa into the leaf’s center. The finished tamale before it is wrapped up.Lindsay Fendtcenter_img Facebook Comments Next, add whatever it is you want to fill your tamales with on top of the masa trying not to pack too much onto the leaf. We added chicken, carrots, sweet chili, cilantro and cheese. While you can fill your tamales with practically anything, traditional Costa Rican tamales almost always use saffron rice (which needs to be prepared separately), cilantro, sweet peppers and carrots. Though most of the fillings are optional you will need the following:Dried corn or masa mixSkinned potatoesSquare-cut plantain leavesStringA stove or bonfireA large pot for boilingStep 2: Making the masaMaking up the corn part of the tamale is masa, the spongy outer layer over the filling. Traditionally masa is made by manually grinding up dried rice kernels and mixing the resulting powder with water. Step 4: Set to boilGather your tiny plantain leaf packages and transfer them into a pot of water for boiling. Be sure to leave the pot covered in order to steam the tamales. Boiling time will vary depending on the number of tamales. Gather up your tamale packages and set them to boil.Lindsay Fendt Traditional tamale makers start with dried ears of corn, scrape off the kernels with a knife and grind the masa by hand.Lindsay Fendt Mix the masa and potato dough and heat it until it is the texture of mashed potatoes.Lindsay Fendt You then mix your ground masa with skinned potatoes and water to create dough and cook this on the stove until it has a mashed potato-like consistency. At Antojitos we added chicken broth to the masa, but you can also add vegetables or other meat broth. No related posts.last_img read more

Costa Rican coffee exports get a jolt from high prices

first_imgRelated posts:New strain of banana fungus threatens world harvests Costa Rica’s avocado ban turns into a food fight Flooding latest hurdle for Costa Rica’s banana, pineapple producers Morning caffeine fix gets cheaper as rains boost Brazil supplies After years of low prices and falling production from theroya fungus, Costa Rica’s coffee exports are garnering better prices, according to a report from the Foreign Trade Promotion Office, Procomer, and the National Coffee Institute, ICAFE. While coffee and other exports are enjoying a price boom, Costa Rica’s biggest agricultural exports, bananas and pineapple, are looking a little like a bust these days.The value of the country’s coffee exports is up 40 percent compared to the same period last year, from $40.1 million in 2014 to $56.1 million in 2015. Farmers and exporters welcomed the improved prices, but the bump in prices came at a time of low volume.Coffee exports between October 2014 and February 2015 are down 7 percent. Costa Rica exported 1,204,284 60-kilogram sacks of coffee so far this season, down from 1,297,178 sacks during the same period in the 2013/2014 season, according to figures from ICAFE. The coffee authority said it hopes for improved volume during the 2015/2016 harvest.ICAFE said the increase in exports is likely driven by improving international prices, thanks in part to lower production due to a drought in Brazil, the world’s largest coffee producer.Costa Rica previously estimated that coffee production would reach 1.55 million 60-kilogram sacks of processed coffee during the 2014/2015 season, up 4.5 percent from 2013/2014.Other exports that saw improvement so far in 2015 were medical devices, up 50 percent from $221.9 million in 2014 to $331.7 so far in 2015, beef, sugar and melons.The news wasn’t all good for the agricultural sector. Bananas and pineapples, Costa Rica’s most valuable exports after Intel microprocessors, were down 23 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Banana export values slipped to $111.5 million so far in 2015 from $146 million during the same period in 2014. Pineapples tumbled to $109.9 million from $129.1 million.Both crops have been hurt by rains and low temperatures during the first quarter of 2015. Procomer said that pineapple could bounce back in April if the weather improves, but banana exports may not recover until 2016. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

The Beast Costa Ricas new crimefighting machine

first_imgRelated posts:Military helicopter shot down as drug violence surges in western Mexico Mexico drug war shootout leaves dozens dead Fabio Lobo: Honduras’ drug trafficking presidential son? Chapo’s motorcycle freedom ride spurs doubts about kingpin jail The Tico Times The Tico Times Facebook Commentscenter_img The Judicial Investigation Police’s Special Tactical Response Unit (SERT) has a new weapon, and its nickname is “The Beast,” or “La Bestia,” in Spanish.The fully armored Beast will be used for special police operations, raids, emergency prisoner response activity and other dangerous situations.SERT is an elite, highly trained police unit currently with 25 agents. They carry out up to 12 raids each month in dangerous situations and locations, where they sometimes draw gunfire from the bad guys.With the acquisition, Costa Rica joins other police forces in Central America, Mexico and the United States that already have similar vehicles to protect law enforcement agents from high-powered weaponry, including AK-47s, which police say now are being used in Costa Rica.The Beast, currently being modified for local use in the land of pura vida, will make its debut in the next few weeks, law enforcement officials say. The Tico Timeslast_img read more

National Geographic highlights Costa Rica in Untamed series

first_imgFor those who want a closer look at Costa Rica’s unrivaled biodiversity, National Geographic has you covered.Friday, the network released “Untamed Costa Rica,” a six-part series directed by Filipe DeAndrade. The wildlife filmmaker traveled through Costa Rica “documenting the most diverse, iconic and unexpected animal species the country has to offer,” according to a press release from the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT).According to ICT, National Geographic chose to highlight Costa Rica not only because of the country’s ecological beauty, but also because of Ticos’ pride in nature.The Untamed Costa Rica series, which will be broadcast internationally, is supplemented by a page on National Geographic’s website. It contains additional videos and an “Under the Lights” section with close-up footage of some of Costa Rica’s most iconic species.According to ICT, filming was conducted in late 2017 at Corcovado National Park, Isla del Caño Biological Reserve, Santa Rosa National Park and Isla del Coco, in addition to several private nature reserves around the country.Untamed Costa Rica features episodes on Olive Ridley sea turtles’ impacts on jaguar behavior, the mating season of tree frogs, white-tip reef shark hunting, and more. Watch episodes here.Ireth Rodríguez, the head of ICT promotion, said the National Geographic series will showcase Costa Rica as an ecotourism destination, and as a champion of sustainability and research. National Geographic Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Off the eaten path Don Doner

first_imgRelated posts:Off the eaten path: La Tacopedia Off the eaten path: Taj Mahal Off the eaten path: Lidia’s Place Off the eaten path: Cebolla Verde While Don Doner is named after the doners it sells, the french fries here are quite possibly the best in the country. Most places around Costa Rica serve the same, generic, frozen french fries, but Don Doner has daily hand-cut fries that are dunked in the fryer twice. They do this at different temperatures, to get the perfect fry. I’m talking crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. They’re also seasoned with a house blend of lemon salt that makes an already great french fry even better. The fries are served with a side garlic mayo for dipping. The blend of flavors makes for a very satisfying combination. Whatever you do, make sure you get an order. They only cost 900 colones (about $1.50).   Some of the best french fries in Costa Rica. (The Tico Times / William Ayre)You’ll find these delicious fries across from the Delta gas station in Pavas. They also have other food. Don Doner has been specializing in Mediterranean foods such as the doner kebab, donair, gyro and shawarma for the past ten years. Actually, they claim to have been the first in the country to offer these foreign delights. I’d normally call this fast food because it’s a cheap and greasy spot, but when they’re busy, the service is not fast at all. When I have a craving, it’s worth the wait though. If you’re impatient, just make sure to visit during non-peak hours and you won’t have a problem. The location is a small, no-frills kind of spot, with seating for about 10 or 15 people. It’s fine for eating in, or it’s just as easy to take your food to go. The menu at Don Doner has about 15 different items to choose from, most of which you can order as a sandwich in pita bread — which is my recommendation — in a tortilla wrap, or as a salad. Almost all of the different pita sandwiches sell for around 3,495 colones (about $5.73) as a combo, which includes french fries, those delicious french fries, and a drink. The most expensive option, the lamb pita, goes for 4,495 colones (about $7.40) as a combo. The donair at Don Doner. (The Tico Times / William Ayre)As a Canadian living abroad, the main reason I go to Don Doner is to have what they call a Halifax Donair. Now, in fairness, if you are actually from Halifax (I am not), or Canada in general (I am), you probably won’t allow this to pass as what you know to be a really good donair back home. But in Costa Rica, when you’ve been deprived of donair and hockey for months or years at a time, it does the trick. Whether it’s truly authentic or not, at the end of the day, it tastes good and that’s what matters.Slices of grilled beef are laid on top a generous bed of fresh lettuce, onion and tomato, which is all packed into pita bread. Then it’s topped with Halifax sauce; a sweet, creamy sauce with a hint of garlic. The sauce is probably the only thing about this sandwich that would resemble a Halifax donair back home.Personally, I add a fearless serving of their house-made hot sauce. You can find a bottle of this on every table, but if for some reason you don’t, ask for some. They also sell bottles to take home. Buy one. If you like the hot sauce, ask for some. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)The doner kebab, falafel pita and shawarma are also very good by local standards. Especially when you’re drunk – or stoned – and have the munchies for this kind of food. Skip the baklava, though. It didn’t taste right at all. But you should be full enough by this point anyway, that dessert isn’t necessary. As I mentioned before, the service here can be very hit or miss. It depends on who is working that day and how busy they are. Actually, social media is full of negative reviews by people who swear Don Doner was better before they moved locations. They were just a few doors down, on the same street, until about a year and a half ago. Then they moved to their new spot.I can’t comment on the old place, but I have eaten at the new one a few times recently and it tastes perfectly fine to me, especially for the low price. I’ve seen them get busy too, so you can be reassured that they sell enough to have a proper rotation of ingredients. What they’re serving is generally going to be fresh. If on some rare chance you do get a stomach ache, well, you knew what you were signing up for when you walked in and saw that mystery meat rotating on the vertical broiler. It would be no different at a donair shop back in Canada. That being said, I have never had a bad experience. Don Doner is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and then 11 a.m. to  9 p.m. on Sunday. Major credit cards are accepted. Vegetarian options are available, but alcoholic beverages are not. All prices include taxes. Street parking available directly in front of, and along both sides, of the restaurant. Search Don Doner in Waze or Uber to arrive conveniently, or call them at 2231-7057 to order delivery.When you visit, let them know The Tico Times sent you. William Ayre is a Canadian born chef and restaurateur who has spent the last half of his life doing business in Costa Rica, where he now considers to be home. Inspired by Anthony Bourdain, Ayre’s passion of experiencing different cultures through food has taken him to 35 different countries over five continents. Whether it’s a 20-course meal at a fine dining restaurant in Toronto, or cantina hopping in search for the best chifrijo here in San José, he fits in just fine.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 Commentslast_img read more

Mexicos America Movil buys US firm Simple Mobile

first_img The difference between men and women when it comes to pain More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico’s America Movil cellphone carrier has signed an agreement to buy U.S. wireless carrier Simple Mobile.America Movil says its U.S. subsidiary Tracfone Wireless Inc. will acquire Simple Mobile, which has over 1 million subscribers.The purchase caps a week of acquisitions by America Movil, Latin America’s largest cellphone carrier controlled by Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man. Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths In a statement Thursday, America Movil said it expects to close the deal during the second quarter. It did not provide figures on the cost of the acquisition.Simple Mobile is a “mobile virtual network operator.” Such operators bundle or resell space on radio spectrum or wireless networks.On Tuesday America Movil announced a euro2.6 billion ($3.4 billion) public offer to acquire an additional 23.2 percent of Dutch carrier Royal KPN NV.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Rescue loans for Spains banks buy Europe time

first_imgSpain has already agreed to government belt-tightening. More austerity likely would have pushed Spain, already suffering from near-25 percent unemployment, deeper into recession.“You don’t want an economy of that magnitude going down the tubes,” says Daniel Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. Spain has the world’s 13th-biggest economy, more than four times the size of Greece’s. It is the fourth-largest economy in the Eurozone.In recent weeks, jittery investors had demanded higher interest rates on Spanish bonds. If Spain had tried to borrow money in the bond market to rescue its banks, investors would have demanded a much higher interest rate than the favorable deal the banks are getting from their euro neighbors.The rising fears come at a time when nearly half the countries that use the euro are in recession. At 11 percent, unemployment in the euro zone is at the highest level since the single currency was introduced in 1999.Europe’s weakest countries aren’t all alike.Spain and Ireland, like the United States, were crushed by a collapse in the housing market, which left their banks with huge losses on housing loans. The Irish government was forced to slash government spending to pay for a bank rescue. The austerity has pinched the economy; Irish unemployment exceeds 14 percent. AP Business WritersWASHINGTON (AP) – A $125 billion plan to rescue Spain’s banks won’t solve Europe’s debt crisis or ease the pain of double-digit unemployment across the continent.But it is likely to calm financial markets and buy time for European policymakers to work with other weak economies threatening the stability of the 17 countries that use the euro.Europe still has plenty of troubles to address in the three other countries that have already received financial help â(EURO)” Greece, Portugal and Ireland. In Greece, voters could elect a government next week that will refuse to live up to the terms of the country’s $170 billion rescue package. Portugal is combating a toxic combination of high debt and 15 percent unemployment. Ireland is cleaning up a banking mess a lot like Spain’s. Then there’s Italy, the eurozone’s third-largest economy, where government debt is piling up as the economy stagnates. Greece ran up vast budget deficits it couldn’t sustain and smothered its economy in regulations designed to protect favored industries.Italy and Portugal are desperately in need of economic growth that will provide the tax revenues they need to pay their bills. But deep spending cuts in both countries are threatening their economies.The troubles in Europe also are causing economic problems for the United States and developing countries such as China and Brazil, which rely on Europeans to buy their exports. So the plan unveiled Saturday eases pressure on the United States and the rest of the world economy as well.European economic troubles pinch U.S. businesses. U.S. companies send 22 percent of the goods they export to Europe and have more than $2 trillion invested in factories, offices and businesses there.A bigger fear is that Europe’s financial troubles could cross the Atlantic. When banks lose confidence in each other, they refuse to lend each other money. Credit dries up, depriving economies of the fuel they need to grow. A financial crunch can wreck the economies on both sides of the ocean as it did in 2008.“Anything that calms European markets is good for the United States,” says Tufts’ Drezner. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Worse, a Greek exit from the euro would raise fears that another European country such Portugal or Italy might be next.“A significant part of this (bailout for Spanish banks) has to do with ring-fencing Greece,” says Jacob Kirkegaard, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “This is enough to prevent added market contagion.”But analysts said even bolder action may be needed from some key European governments and institutions that have been leery of committing too much to the effort.Germany, worried that it will get stuck with the bill for any ambitious schemes, has rejected several ideas for easing the crisis. It has been reluctant to ease the terms of previous bailouts to reduce the pain of government spending cuts on Greece, Portugal and Ireland. And it has resisted calls for the creation of joint “eurobonds” that would raise money and spread responsibility for repayment across the euro countries.Likewise, the European Central Bank has been reluctant to intervene to jolt the eurozone economy. Last week, it passed up an opportunity to reduce interest rates. And it has been reluctant to flood the economy with money to push down interest rates the way the U.S. Federal Reserve has. The Spanish deal also gives European policymakers more time to strengthen the euro. They are already planning to create a “banking union” with a centralized regulator, a bailout fund and deposit insurance that covers savers across Europe.Europe still needs to find a way to stimulate economic growth across the continent so that European countries can begin to grow their way out of their debt problems.Despite the bank deal, Spain’s grinding economic misery will get worse this year, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Sunday. The conservative prime minister said the economy will shrink by 1.7 percent this year and more Spaniards will lose their jobs, even with the help.“This year is going to be a bad one,” Rajoy said.___________________________________________________Svensson contributed from New York and AP Business Writer Sarah DiLorenzo contributed to this report from Paris.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family “We still have some pretty fundamental problems to solve,” says Nicolas Veron, senior fellow at the Bruegel think tank in Brusssels. “We need more radical solutions than this one.”Spain on Saturday asked finance ministers for the 17 countries that use the euro for money to rescue its banks, which have been crushed under the weight of bad real estate loans. The finance ministers responded by offering up to $125 billion in loans that the Spanish government could funnel to banks.The plan eases an immediate crisis in the euro’s fourth-largest economy. The deterioration of Spain’s banks and the pressing need for a rescue was threatening to bankrupt its government. That would likely cause far more pain for Europe than the financial messes in Greece, Portugal and Ireland.“This move brings into sharp relief the enormous amount of money that will be needed to cordon off the rest of the euro zone periphery in the event of a Greek meltdown,” says Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University.Investors are worried about what will happen when Greek voters go to the polls June 17.If Greece reneges on the strict austerity measures that come with its rescue package, it could be forced to abandon the euro. Greece’s departure from the Eurozone would likely cause financial chaos across Europe: Greek debts would go from being denominated in sturdy euros to being denominated in Greek drachmas of dubious value. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Quick workouts for men Top Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of The rescue money for Spain will come from pools set up by other euro countries. Spain’s government will distribute it to the banks. The banks will pay it back with interest, and the money will go back to the rescue pools. Interest rates and other details had not been revealed as of Sunday.Spain had been resisting pressure to seek outside help for its banks, which have been overwhelmed by bad real estate loans. But leaders became increasingly concerned that any fallout from Greece’s upcoming elections would rock markets, further hurting Spain’s financial sector. The exact amount Spain needs won’t be clear until outside accountants complete an audit of its banks by June 21.Unlike the three other European countries that have received financial help â(EURO)” Ireland, Portugal and Greece â(EURO)” Spain did not have to agree to deeper cuts in its government budget to secure the help.Working in Spain’s favor is the fact that its public debts aren’t especially high. They amounted to less than 69 percent of its gross domestic product at the end of 2011. Even Germany, an economic powerhouse, has public debt that amounts to 82 percent of annual economic output. Sponsored Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

Excerpts from state media report on Gu Kailai case

first_imgBEIJING (AP) – China’s official Xinhua News Agency published an unprecedented 3,400-word article Friday on the murder trial of Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced politician Bo Xilai. The story breaks the near-total silence that state-run media had maintained on the case and appears to show the government is preparing for an imminent conviction. Gu has not spoken publically and no international media outlets were allowed into her trial that took place Thursday in the eastern city of Hefei. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Here are excerpts from the report:_ More than 140 people attended … including relatives and friends of the two defendants, relatives and friends of British victim Neil Heywood, diplomats from the British embassy and consulates in China, media representatives, deputies to China’s legislature and members of China’s political advisory body, as well as members of the general public. … The trial lasted about seven hours._ The defendants (Gu and accomplice Zhang Xiaojun) made statements on the facts presented in the indictment and confessed to intentional homicide. … China’s Criminal Law, which fully guarantees each citizen’s right to life and health, has stipulated severe penalties for intentional homicide._ (Gu) accepted all the facts written in the indictment, saying, “This case has been like a huge stone weighing on me for more than half a year. What a nightmare … I am grateful to the humanitarian care shown to me by those who handled the case. I solemnly tell the court that in order to maintain the dignity of the law, I will accept and calmly face any sentence and I also expect a fair and just court decision.”_ (Gu) testified that after she and her son, surnamed Bo, became acquainted with Heywood, she introduced him to serve as a proxy to a company and participate in the planning of a land project, which never got started. Heywood later got into a dispute with (Gu) and her son over payment and other issues, and he threatened her son’s personal safety. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes _ (Forensic psychiatrists who evaluated Gu’s mental state concluded she) had been treated for chronic insomnia, anxiety and depression, and paranoia in the past. She used to take anxiolytics, antidepressants and sedative hypnotic drugs, and she also received combined treatment by taking antipsychotic drugs, but the curative effect was not enduring. She developed a certain degree of physical and psychological dependence on sedative hypnotic drugs, which resulted in mental disorders._ However, (Gu) had a clear goal and a practical motive in committing the alleged crime. Preparations were made prior to the alleged criminal act, including, for example, asking for poison from others and storing the poison, planning to take the victim to Chongqing and arranging the location for committing the alleged crime, among others._ The public security department … conducted 394 interrogations of the witnesses and people involved in the case and put together 212 evidence documents totaling 1,468 pages in 16 volumes._ Zheng Xiaoyan, a deputy to the National People’s Congress who attended the court hearing, said the public intentional homicide trial of (Gu) and Zhang indicates that China is a socialist country governed by law. The dignity and authority of the law brook no violation. Zheng said everyone is equal before the law, so nobody is entitled to any privilege. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories _ In court, prosecutors presented emails exchanged between Heywood and Bo, showing how the dispute between the two had escalated. According to the evidence prosecutors brought to court … (Gu) believed Heywood had threatened the personal safety of her son and decided to kill Heywood. “To me, that was more than a threat. It was real action that was taking place. I must fight to my death to stop the craziness of Neil Heywood,” according to (Gu’s) testimony._ (Gu) and Zhang visited Heywood’s hotel, bringing along the two bottles (one with cyanide and the other with drugs), as well as wine and tea. After entering Heywood’s hotel room, (Gu) drank wine and tea with him while Zhang waited outside. Later, Heywood became drunk and fell in the hotel bathroom, and then (Gu) called Zhang into the hotel room and took the glass bottle of cyanide compound that Zhang was carrying._ Zhang said in his testimony that he put Heywood on the hotel bed. After Heywood vomited and asked for water, Gu Kailai put the bottle of cyanide compound she had prepared into Heywood’s mouth. Then she scattered the capsulated drugs on the hotel floor, making it seem as though Heywood had taken the drugs. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Puerto Ricans reject constitutional amendments

first_img“I came to vote because they killed my only son six months ago,” Aurea Elicea said as she wiped away tears.Limiting bail would prevent suspects from intimidating witnesses and killing again while out on bail, she said, adding that her son’s killer hasn’t been arrested.“That is why people don’t testify,” she said.The referendum came just weeks after federal prosecutors charged a man with murder and held him two weeks without bail only to release him after saying they had the wrong person.It was a case still fresh in the minds of voters like Daisa Rivera, 30, who said there should always be a presumption of innocence.Rivera also she said she didn’t believe the money saved from shrinking the legislature would be put to good use, but others expressed anger that Puerto Rico’s legislature is among the highest paid of any U.S. jurisdiction and that a number of corruption cases have surfaced in recent years.“Everyone knows they are stealing a lot and they are making a lot of money,” said 59-year-old Jose Calderon, who voted in support of the proposed changes.It was the second time Puerto Ricans have said no to changing the right to bail. Fifty-four percent of voters in a 1994 referendum rejected a proposal that would have allowed judges to withhold bail in any case, regardless of the crime charged. The referendum’s results mean Puerto Rico remains the only place in the Western Hemisphere where everyone is entitled to bail regardless of the alleged crime.“It is a time to celebrate because the people have saved our constitution and our rights,” said Arturo Hernandez, gubernatorial candidate for the Sovereign Union Movement, one of the island’s minority parties.Gov. Luis Fortuno and other members of his pro-statehood party lamented the bail change wasn’t approved.“This would have been a great tool to fight crime,” Fortuno said as he thanked the families of victims who supported the measure.The island of nearly 4 million people reported a record 1,117 homicides last year, and the drug-fueled violence continues unabated, with an increasing number of innocent bystanders being killed.Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz said he accepted the defeat but added that he doesn’t regret supporting the proposed amendments.“We defended our principles,” he said.Fortuno’s campaign director, Angel Cintron, also accepted the preliminary results.“It’s not what we expected,” he said. “It differs from our projection and we have to recognize that.” The bail amendment would have granted judges the right to deny bail to those accused of premeditated murder, killing a police officer or killing someone in a public space or during a home invasion, sexual assault or drive-by shooting.The legislative amendment would have reduced the number of Senate seats from 27 to 17 and the number of House seats from 51 to 39.Supporters of amending the constitution argued the bail changes would cut crime and said the legislature reduction would make the body more efficient as well as save money that politicians pledged would be used to fight crime.“This is one of the most important referendums in many years,” said Alexandra Beltran, a San Juan resident who voted in the upscale neighborhood of Ocean Park accompanied by her husband and young daughter. “I believe it’s time we do something to intimidate criminals.”Hundreds of thousands of voters walked, drove, cycled, skateboarded and used wheelchairs to get to polling stations across Puerto Rico on Sunday and stood in long lines, sometimes under a brutal sun.At polling stations in the impoverished seaside town of Loiza, some voters decried the wave of violence that has hit their town especially hard. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Associated PressSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Voters crowded polling stations across Puerto Rico on Sunday and rejected constitutional amendments that would have reduced the size of the U.S. territory’s legislature and given judges the right to deny bail in certain murder cases.With 99 percent of polling places reporting, officials said 54 percent of the 805,337 votes counted rejected the legislative measure and 46 percent favored it. Fifty-five percent opposed the bail measure and 45 percent supported it. Sponsored Stories (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

Qatar Airways flight lands safely after emergency

first_img Sponsored Stories ___Jon Gambrell can be reached at Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix ErrorOK.. ErrorOK (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Qatar Airways said the flight’s pilot noticed one of the 10 tires on the aircraft had a low pressure after taking off from Doha early Saturday morning. The airline said the pilot did not declare an emergency over the tire, though local officials said the pilot had. Firefighting equipment and emergency workers stood by for the aircraft’s landing at Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport, said Harold Demuren, director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.Images of the aircraft after its landing showed the tire had peeled away from the landing gear. Those onboard later said they had no idea the flight had any problem until after it landed.Foreign carriers flying into Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, have had troubles before, including arriving at airports and finding their runway lights out. In one case involving an Air France flight in 2005, an airplane tore through a herd of cattle that somehow found its way onto a runway at Port Harcourt’s international airport.Local air carriers in Nigeria remain plagued by funding problems and allegations of corruption in the country. In June, a Dana Air flight from Abuja to Lagos crashed just before landing, killing more than 160 people. Recently, the nation’s top carrier, Arik Air Ltd., suspended flights over what it claimed was government interference and corruption by the nation’s aviation minister. The airline has resumed its flights. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Patients with chronic pain give advice Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Top Stories Associated PressLAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – A Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Nigeria landed safely Saturday after the pilot discovered a problem with the aircraft’s landing gear, authorities said.The Airbus 330 aircraft, carrying 148 passengers and 14 crew members, landed in Lagos just after 1 p.m. local time (1200 GMT) with no one onboard sustaining any injuries, state emergency management director Femi Oke-Osanyintolu said. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

ExGuantanamo detainees end protest at US embassy in Uruguay

first_imgA total of six men, four Syrians, one Tunisian and one Palestinian, were resettled in Uruguay in December, invited by then President Jose Mujica as a humanitarian gesture.They were all housed in a four-bedroom apartment in Montevideo, a point of frustration because the men said they needed their own space and a place to receive any visiting family.Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi, the Tunisian, said Tuesday that Uruguay’s government agreed to guarantee each man private housing for two years with the possibility to renew. He said they also would continue to receive their monthly stipend of 15,000 pesos ($566) plus health insurance and Spanish classes.“I’m very happy,” El Ouerghi said by telephone, speaking in Arabic. “We were in a bad situation and now it will be better.”Christian Mirza, an Egyptian-born Uruguayan appointed to mediate in the protest, said the monthly stipend would be adjusted for inflation and take into account any family members who come. He said the housing agreement was for one year with the possibility to renew. The difference in time frames couldn’t immediately be reconciled.“Now they will start another chapter,” Mirza said. “Soon they will have their own place and be studying Spanish and preparing to work.” 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes The men have said they do want to work, but first must learn Spanish and deal with health issues related to their confinement, from anxiety to digestive problems.Legal observers expressed concern that the protest could make it harder to resettle other Guantanamo detainees, a contention that El Ouerghi rejected.“We were a special case that wasn’t connected to others,” he said. “Doing this protest was a good decision.”___Associated Press writer Leonardo Haberkorn reported this story in Montevideo and Peter Prengaman reported from Buenos Aires, Argentina.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 MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Four ex-Guantanamo detainees who camped outside the U.S. Embassy demanding compensation for their more than 12 years in prison ended the nearly four-week-old protest Tuesday after reaching a deal with Uruguayan officials.The protest, which began April 23, arose from the men’s frustration with the Uruguayan government’s resettlement plan and their claims that they did not get all they were promised when they left Guantanamo. Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Mauricio Pigola, a lawyer representing the men in Montevideo, said five of six former detainees signed the agreement. Four had staged the embassy protest.He said the exception was Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian who for years was at the center of a legal battle at Guantanamo because of repeated hunger strikes to protest indefinite detainment. Dhiab, who in February went to neighboring Argentina to accuse the Uruguayan government of not doing enough for the men, has repeatedly criticized the resettlement.The men were detained in Afghanistan in 2002 for alleged ties to al-Qaida. Camping in front of the embassy, they argued that America should compensate them because they were never convicted of a crime. U.S. officials repeatedly said the country had no obligation to help them because they were legally detained during war.While the protest helped the men get more guarantees from Uruguay, they angered many Uruguayans. Many people expressed frustration that the men wanted more government help than many locals in this poor South American nation receive and yet were not willing to work.In February, the men were offered jobs in various areas, from construction to cooking, but declined to take them. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Patients with chronic pain give advicelast_img read more

Landmark Dutch ruling Cut emissions to protect citizens

first_img“Preventing climate change is the most successful when as many countries as possible join forces,” Mansveld said.But judges said they want more action from the minister.“The state must do more to avert the imminent danger caused by climate change, also in view of its duty of care to protect and improve the living environment,” read a statement from the court.To avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change, which is caused by heat-trapping carbon dioxide being released by burning fossil fuels, countries around the world have agreed that global temperatures should stay below a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) rise compared to pre-industrial times.A U.N. climate science panel has stated that to have a two-thirds chance of staying below that mark the world must cut emissions by some 40 to 70 percent by 2050.While the Netherlands is known as a land of windmills, it is also a country with vast natural gas reserves that are used to power millions of households. It lags behind many of its European neighbors in the amount of energy it consumes from clean, renewable sources like wind or solar power.According to the EU statistics agency Eurostat, only 4.5 percent of Dutch energy consumption came from renewables in 2013, compared to an EU average of 15 percent. Sweden led the way with just over 52 percent. THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch court ordered the government Wednesday to slash greenhouse gas emissions to help fight global warming, a landmark ruling in a case brought by hundreds of concerned citizens that could pave the way for similar legal battles around the world.Climate activists in a packed courtroom in The Hague erupted into cheers as Presiding Judge Hans Hofhuis told Dutch authorities to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020 from benchmark 1990 levels. The country currently is on track for a 17-percent reduction and it is not clear how it can achieve the further cut.Environmentalists hailed the ruling as a victory in efforts to push governments to take more action to tackle global warming against a backdrop of slow-moving international negotiations aimed at forging a global agreement.“The verdict is a milestone in the history of climate legislation, because it is the first time that a government was ordered to raise its climate ambition by a court,” said Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network Europe. “We hope this kind of legal action will be replicated in Europe and around the world.”Greenpeace called the Dutch ruling “a game-changer in the fight against climate change.”The Dutch case may have already helped spur environmentalists in other countries into legal action.Activists say a similar case is coming in Belgium and in Norway, a coalition of non-government groups is working on a case challenging their government’s licensing of new oil blocks in the Arctic, saying it violates the constitutional obligation to protect the climate.“This is a great victory. The judge said exactly what we wanted and had the courage and wisdom to say to the government ‘you have a duty of care toward your citizens,’” said Marjan Minnesma, the director of Urgenda, the non-government group that brought the civil case on behalf of some 900 Dutch citizens. Renewable energy accounted for about 10 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2014, according to the country’s Energy Information Agency.The Dutch court said it was difficult to judge the economic impact of its ruling on Dutch companies but said “climate policy can have a negative effect for one sector, but a positive effect for another.”Dutch business organization VNO-NCW did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the ruling’s possible effects on its members.Bill Hare, senior scientist at Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization based in Berlin, said the Dutch ruling’s impact could be massive.“(This) has the potential to become a precedent whose effect will ultimately flow through to undermining the markets for coal, oil and gas,” he said.____Mike Corder is on Twitter: @mikecorderCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall How do cataracts affect your vision? Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top Stories Sponsored Stories Minnesma said Urgenda is ready to share details of its case with activists in other countries, saving them time and money in preparing the legal arguments.The ruling came in the same month that Pope Francis released a massive encyclical on the environment urging nations to quickly overhaul their economies to cut emissions and save the Earth. France will also host a key U.N. conference later this year in Paris where it’s hoped that a worldwide accord to fight global warming will be signed.The Dutch plaintiffs argued — and the court agreed — that the government has a legal obligation to protect its people against looming dangers, including the effects of climate change on this low-lying country. Large swaths of the Netherlands are below sea level and vulnerable to rising sea levels blamed on global warming.The Dutch government, which can appeal, said it was studying the ruling.Environment Minister Wilma Mansveld said the government and Urgenda “share the same goal. We just hold different opinions regarding the manner in which to attain this goal.”Mansveld said the Dutch are working toward European Union greenhouse targets — cutting emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020, from 1990 levels. Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to pain New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Better than friends This robot gives undivided attention

first_img Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   It could be the life of a party. It could be a dream-come-true robot friend for a child.For parents, it can keep track of a baby growing up with photos Pepper takes over the years and other data kept in cloud storage. Pepper’s record could also hold special meaning, if its owner were to die.Pepper is imperfect. But so are human beings.It tried to guess how tall I was and said 163 centimeters (five foot four), 10 centimeters (four inches) taller than I am. I said I wanted to go to “Hawaii,” but it misheard that as not going anywhere, perhaps because the Japanese for none, or “nai,” rhymes with Hawaii.Of course, there is no illusion it’s human. But just as a movie, a video game or a good book can be fascinating, without any pretense about being real, Pepper is fun.“Let’s grow and get better together,” it says with bubbly emotion in a poignant conversational moment.Even when it isn’t talking and standing still, it appears to be breathing, inhaling and exhaling softly. Its arms move ever so slightly.And that is preciously cute.___Follow Yuri Kageyama: © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology “I am going to cry for joy,” it says, throwing its arms up in the air.On the flat-panel display attached to its chest, it offers boxes to tap for various tasks, such as reading storybooks, giving a tarot-card reading, playing the radio, working as a drum machine and relaying the weather forecast.It has some cool dance moves as well. One is shaking its body in a rubbery way. Another is doing elegant hand gestures as it plays Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker.”Owners may be tempted to give the thing a wig or dress it up. That’s not recommended as it can overheat. It keeps going for 10 to 12 hours on a single charge. It charges from a regular household outlet.Softbank offers a basic software application kit so even a child can create applications for Pepper. Softbank has an in-house standard for violence, pornography and other abuse for its own applications.This is not some slapped together toy of a robot. It’s the first convincing semblance of a step toward artificial intelligence fantasized in science fiction movies that’s affordable for the regular home.It isn’t for everyone. You have to have an open mind.The way it’s designed, Pepper is basically about human relationships. And then it will ask, “What did you have for dinner?” If you say, “Tempura,” it has enough voice recognition to decipher that and will reply: “Oh, Japanese.” I tried answering, “Steak,” another time. It said, “Oh, Western.”Yes, the conversations do sometimes repeat themselves, but so does human dialogue.The robot is equipped with enough of a repertoire to avoid easy boredom. That repertoire is constantly being updated through a WiFi connection.Each Pepper is hand-made by Foxconn in China, limiting supplies to 1,000 a month. The first batch for July sold out in a minute.It’s attracting regular technology fans but also a kindergarten, a cafe and people who’re buying it for their elderly parents.The kind of patient interaction Pepper excels at is recommended for people with dementia. So Pepper might come to the rescue of stressed out families.Equipped with artificial intelligence by Aldebaran of France, Pepper has what Softbank calls an emotional engine, meaning it reacts to what it interprets as anger or sorrow in humans around it by deciphering voice tones, facial expressions and language.It also has programming that sets off the equivalent of its own human emotions, such as getting nervous if a room suddenly goes dark, or elation when you pet its head and shower it with praise, such as: “You are the best-looking robot I have ever seen. I love you. You’re the best.” Top Stories In this photo taken Sunday, July 12, 2015, children surround SoftBank Corp.’s new companion robot Pepper at a store in Tokyo. Pepper, the 121-centimeter (four-foot) tall white machine-on-wheels, offers ardent attention, cool dance moves, and small talk. Pepper has cameras, lasers and infrared in its hairless head so it can detect human faces. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)center_img The 121-centimeter (four-foot) tall white machine-on-wheels was disarmingly charming and definitely intriguing when I spent half a day with it, ahead of its delivery to its first customers later this month.It’s another matter entirely whether it’s worth the price tag of 198,000 yen ($1,600), plus the maintenance and insurance costs that ownership entails, adding up to some 1.2 million yen ($10,000) for an estimated three-year lifespan.Only available in Japan so far, overseas sales are undecided. The programming it has now caters to Japanese tastes. A U.S. version will obviously have to be quite different.Pepper has cameras, lasers and infrared in its hairless head so it can detect human faces. Whatever direction you move, its cocked head will also move, intently looking into your face with its big eyes, like a puppy. Except this pet can talk.As long as you don’t walk too far from it, removing yourself from its attention, Pepper will prattle on and on, switching from one small talk topic to another, gesticulating at times with its five-fingered soft hands for effect.“Do you want to play a quiz game? What animal goes like this: bow wow,” it might say. It will tell you “cat” is the wrong answer. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home TOKYO (AP) — I’m Japanese and so I’m a sucker for cute things, like manga, quirky figurines and mascot characters. And Pepper, the new companion robot from Tokyo-based technology company Softbank Corp., delivers cuteness like you’ve never seen.What’s striking is the absolutely ardent attention it gives you — frankly a lot better than some real-life people.“You look a bit thin,” it coos in a soft childlike voice, free of any rigid mechanical accent. “You should watch what you eat.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Men’s health affects baby’s health too Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

The Latest Turkey Kurdish peace process can resume

first_imgNATO ambassadors are gathered Tuesday for an emergency session requested by Turkey to gauge the threat IS poses to Turkey and the actions Turkish authorities are taking in response.Turkish and U.S. officials are discussing the creation of a safe zone near Turkey’s border, which would be cleared of IS group presence and turned into a secure area for Syrian refugees to return.Khoja says a safe zone would be a “significant first step.”___12:40 p.m.Turkey’s NATO partners say they stand “in strong solidarity” with the nation, and that the security of the U.S.-led alliance is “indivisible.”Ambassadors from NATO’s 28 member states issued a joint statement following a rare emergency meeting at NATO headquarters held to hear Turkey describe the threat it faces from the Islamic State extremist group and the actions it’s taking in response.The NATO ambassadors say they “strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Turkey, and express our condolences to the Turkish government and the families” of victims killed in recent terrorist actions.The NATO statement added: “Terrorism poses a direct threat to the security of NATO countries and to international stability and prosperity,” ”It is a global threat that knows no border, nationality or religion_a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together.” BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest from NATO meeting on Islamic State group and related developments (all times local):3:35 p.m.A senior Turkish ruling party official says Turkey’s peace process with the Kurds is not over but has been placed on hold.Besir Atalay, a spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development party, says the peace negotiations can restart when Kurdish rebel fighters withdraw from Turkish territory and lay down arms. Turkey launched peace talks with the Kurdish rebels’ imprisoned leader in 2012 with the aim of ending the 30-year conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people. The rebels declared a cease-fire in 2013 that had largely held until last week. The rebels claimed responsibility for killing two policemen and Turkish jets pounded rebel positions in northern Iraq.The Kurds have held the government responsible for an Islamic State suicide attack earlier this month saying it had not done enough to stop the group.Atalay said: “It can resume from where it stopped, but until we reach that point, there will be a pause.”___3:20 p.m.A spokesman for the main Syrian Kurdish force fighting the Islamic State group says he does not view a U.S.-Turkish agreement to establish a safe zone in northern Syria as a threat.Redur Khalil of the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, says it is still not clear how Turkey will fight IS and adds Turkey has no interest in sending ground troops to Syria.The U.S.-backed YPG controls most of the 910-kilometer (565-mile) border with Turkey. It has warned Ankara against military intervention in northern Syria.Khalil however struck a diplomatic tone Tuesday saying the Turkish plans were not a threat. Comments   Share   ___11:05 a.m.The U.N. Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee is meeting in Madrid with ministers and representatives from some 70 countries to discuss ways of stemming the flow of foreign fighters to countries such as Iraq and Syria.The committee says the meeting Tuesday is aimed at discussing strategies and techniques to help member states address the foreign fighter threat.Speaking after preparatory meetings Monday, committee executive director Jean Paul Laborde said international cooperation was imperative in combating the problem.The committee estimates there are some 25,000 foreign fighters from more than half the countries in the world involved with listed Al-Qaida affiliates such as Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State armed group.___10:00 a.m.NATO ambassadors are gathering for an emergency session to gauge the threat the Islamic State extremist group poses to Turkey, and the actions Turkish authorities are taking in response.The extraordinary meeting Tuesday at NATO headquarters is only the fifth such emergency meeting in the 66-year-history of the alliance. Turkey requested the session under Article 4 of the treaty, which empowers its 28 member states to seek such consultations when they consider their “territorial integrity, political independence or security” to be in jeopardy. NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg is scheduled to speak to the media soon about the meeting’s conclusions.___12:35 p.m.Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency says a soldier has been seriously wounded in an armed attack near Turkey’s border with Iraq.The agency says the soldier was fired on by a man wearing a mask on Tuesday in the mainly-Kurdish town of Semdinli.The attack comes amid increased violence between Turkey and Kurdish rebels and Turkish airstrikes against the militants’ bases in neighboring Iraq.A day earlier, a military police major was killed in an ambush of his car in the southeastern province of Mus. Ten people were detained for questioning.Earlier, an explosion at a natural gas pipeline between Iran and Turkey — blamed on Kurdish rebels — caused a large fire and shut down the flow of gas.___11:20 a.m.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey is asking NATO to be prepared to help his country as it battles Islamic State militants in Syria and Kurdish rebels in Iraq.Speaking at a news conference Tuesday before leaving for China, Erdogan also said it was impossible to advance a peace process with the Kurds as attacks on Turkey continue. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Turkey’s request followed an IS suicide bombing near Turkey’s border with Syria that left 32 people dead and an IS attack on Turkish forces, which killed a soldier.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Many Kurds are concerned Turkey is using the war against IS as a pretext to limit advances by the YPG and to steer Washington away from it.___2:40 p.m.Turkey’s military says a soldier who was seriously wounded in an armed attack near Turkey’s border with Iraq has died.A military statement said the infantry sergeant died in a hospital Tuesday after being shot in the head by Kurdish militant in the town of Semdinli.The attack comes amid increased violence between Turkey and Kurdish rebels, including Turkish airstrikes against the militants’ bases in neighboring Iraq.A day earlier, a military police major was killed in an ambush in the southeastern province of Mus. Ten people were detained for questioning.Earlier, an explosion at a natural gas pipeline between Iran and Turkey — blamed on Kurdish rebels — caused a large fire and shut down the flow of gas.___1:50 p.m.The leader of Syria’s main political opposition group is urging NATO partners meeting in Brussels to support the establishment of a “safe zone” in northern Syria.Khaled Khoja, who heads the Syrian National Coalition, says that would ensure civilians are protected from the Islamic State group and President Bashar Assad’s indiscriminate aerial bombardment.center_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Erdogan spoke as NATO convened for a special meeting to discuss threats to Turkey.Erdogan said Turkish and U.S. officials were discussing the creation of a safe zone near Turkey’s border with Syria, which would be cleared of IS group presence and turned into a secure area for Syrian refugees to return.___11:15 a.m.NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has opened a rare emergency meeting at NATO headquarters, requested by Turkey, by expressing condolences to the Turkish people and government for recent deadly attacks there. He said that “terrorism in all its forms” can never be justified.Tuesday’s meeting is only the fifth of its kind since the U.S.-led political and military alliance was founded 66 years ago. The NATO treaty empowers member states to seek emergency consultations if they deem their territorial integrity, political independence or security to be under threat.In public remarks, Stoltenberg said it was right to hold the meeting since there is instability on Turkey’s border and NATO’s southeastern doorstep. The meeting of the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s principal political decision-making body, then went into closed session. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to homelast_img read more

QF Rolls Royce keen to settle out of court

first_imgAustralia’s flag carrier is hoping to recoup damages following last year’s mid-air explosion of a Rolls Royce engine resulting in the grounding of Qantas’ entire A380 fleet. At a press conference this morning Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said that while the airline’s insurance is handling the cost of repairing the aircraft, Qantas is still in talks with Rolls Royce over the AU$55 million that was lost as a result of standing down its A380s. Mr Joyce added that despite the carrier receiving legal advice, both parties are keen to come to a commercial agreement outside of court. “We are still in ongoing negotiations with Rolls Royce,” he said. “We don’t want to set a timetable on those negotiations but they are moving forward quite well and both parties are keen to settle.” Mr Joyce added that despite the A380 incident impacting the airline’s profits from the UK, Qantas still managed to achieve double its underlying profit before tax to $417 million for half year ending 21 December 2010.  The now infamous Qantas A380 will be up and running before the end of the year assured Mr Joyce. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.Alast_img read more

Travellers choosing holiday rental Stayz over hotels

first_imgAn increasing number of holidaymakers are steering away from the traditional hotel accommodation block, with holiday rentals becoming one of Australia’s fastest growing sectors.Unbeknownst to many, the intimate form of travel has picked up in popularity, according to Travel Fairfax Media Marketplaces general manager Kristy Shaw, with more and more travellers are opting to rent out homes.Tourism Australia general manager of strategy Nell Anderson added that holidays rentals provides travellers with wider bedding options, which is among the more important necessities while on holidays.”Across the industry there is wide acceptance of the need for a better quality Australian tourism product, and nowhere is this more important than accommodation,” Mr Anderson said. “Tourism Australia has already identified the need for more beds in many places and creating the most appealing product to meet the industry’s growth aspirations, as part of the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential.” Speaking at the inaugural Stayz Holiday Rentals Summit in Sydney yesterday, Tourism Australia and Travel Fairfax Media were among 250 holiday rental owners and agents across Australia discussing and considering investing in the holiday rentals market. Agents looking for more information on the sector and the summit can stay up to date by searching the hashtag #stayzsummit on Twitter. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Japan anniversary of disaster

first_imgSunday marked the one year anniversary of the tragic earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, which claimed 19,000 lives and devastated entire cities and communities. Thousands gathered over the weekend, mourning the losses of friends and family, praying for the deceased at ceremonious vigils. Japan’s Prime Minister and Emperor offered condolences and delivered silent prayers to the masses gathered to remember the men, women and children whose lives were tragically taken. The natural disaster also triggered a nuclear crisis in the territory of Fukushima, leaking radiation and affecting residents. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, three nuclear reactors are to remain in “a state of cold shutdown” due to the meltdown, leaving many parts of an exclusion-zone surrounding the area uninhabitable for years or even decades. The crippling disaster last year had a scarring effect on global tourism as well as Japanese domestic tourism, leaving industry leaders the difficult task of rebuilding confidence in Japan as a travel destination.Last month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs implemented a social media campaign in an attempt to boost the nation’s suffering tourism.For more information on Japan’s tourism post-quake click back onto e-Travel Blackboard tomorrow. DevastationImage source: famecherry Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

Cream of Arabia celebrates at World Travel Awards

first_imgThe Middle East’s leading travel brands have shared top honours at a VIP gala ceremony hosted by World Travel Awards (WTA) at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, Dubai on 30th April 2012.A packed delegation of VIPs, senior tourism figures and international media travelled from more than 30 nations to attend WTA’s Middle East Ceremony 2012.Dubai’s rapid ascendancy up the global tourism order was further strengthened after it was named “Middle East’s Leading Destination” for the second year running. The emirate’s insatiable appetite for pushing boundaries also led to a number of its hotels picking up awards, including Atlantis The Palm (“Middle East’s Leading Resort”). Meanwhile Dubai International Airport was voted “Middle East’s Leading Airport”.Dubai-based hospitality group Jumeirah enjoyed an evening of rich rewards. Victories included “UAE’s Leading Spa Resort” (Jumeirah Zabeel Saray), “Dubai’s Leading Resort” (Madinat Jumeirah), “UAE’s Leading Hotel” (Jumeirah at Etihad Towers) and Dubai’s Leading Hotel (Burj Al Arab)Neighbouring Abu Dhabi also revelled in travel triumph. Emirates Palace won “Middle East’s Leading Luxury Resort” whilst Etihad Airways was voted “Middle East’s Leading Airline” after another record-breaking year in which the UAE flag carrier cruised into profit.Saudi Arabia’s emergence as a tourism force was recognised with Makkah Clock Royal Tower – A Fairmont Hotel, winning the blue riband title of “Middle East’s Leading Hotel” for the first time.Lebanese popstar Carole Samaha headlined the glittering show, with Wonho Chung providing the comedy, and the South African string quartet Sterling EQ also performing.Graham E. Cooke, President & Founder, WTA, underlined the depth and quality of the travel and tourism sector across the Middle East.He says: “Dubai’s appetite for pushing boundaries makes it one the world’s most innovative tourism destinations, as well as a most fitting host to start our WTA Grand Tour 2012.“Our winners are also drawn from the entire breadth of the Middle East, reflecting the monumental gains that the region’s travel and tourism sector has made in recent years. I am sure these organisations will fare strongly in our Grand Final, which takes place in New Delhi, India on 12 December 2012.”David Thomson, Regional General Manager, Jebel Ali International Hotels, adds: “My congratulations go out wholeheartedly to all winners and nominees. The evening was a true reflection of the best in the Middle East travel industry and it was an absolute honour to host the Middle East Ceremony of WTA at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa.”Other WTA Grand Tour 2012 regional heats are set to take place in Turks & Caicos, Nairobi (Kenya), Algarve (Portugal), and Singapore. The winners will then go head-to-head in WTA’s Grand Final, which takes place at The Oberoi, Gurgaon on 12th December 2012. Source = World Travel Awardslast_img read more

AIME Record results for BESydney

first_imgImage: Business Events Sydney Not to be outdone by the Melbourne Convention Bureau’s stellar events outlook, Business Events Sydney (BESydney) has announced their most successful calendar year on record at AIME this week.60,237 delegates visited Sydney for 91 events over a total of 244,453 delegate days in 2012, resulting in an additional AUD$220 million dollars for the NSW economy.Some of the large conferences delivered by BESydney in 2012 included: the Worldwide Chinese Life Insurance Congress with 3,400 delegates; the Tupperware Indonesia Incentive with 2,361 delegates; and the 16th International Congress on Dietetics with 2,270 delegates.64 events have currently been secured for 2013 expected to attract more than 50,000 business visitors and attracting an estimated economic impact of AUD$167.1 million to NSW.”We’ve hit the ground running this year. It’s been a great start to 2013 for us as well as for Sydney and NSW,” BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith said.Ms Lewis-Smith also discussed the success of BESydney in shifting the focus on business events in NSW to include both the visitor and knowledge economies, with the sector now considered a key factor in the State’s economic development platform.”It’s now understood at high and broad levels that business events are worth far more than the tally of tourism receipts,” Ms Lewis-Smith said.”Business events contribute to a healthy, global knowledge economy. The work we do to secure these events for NSW is now being embraced by the NSW Government as part of an aligned economic development strategy.”BESydney’s global Ambassador program will be expanded as part of the NSW Government’s ‘A Platform for Growth: The NSW Economic Development Framework’ which outlines how business and government can collaborate more effectively, invest in critical infrastructure and raise the global profile of Sydney and NSW.The bureau will also have a seat at the table to develop the Global Talent Hub initiative which will work with the Committee for Sydney, the NSW Government and leading businesses to leverage off the talent pool of international delegates at business events who may be interested in moving to NSW to study, invest, teach or conduct research.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A.last_img read more