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PEOPLE US consolidator Sky Bird taps director for Canadian operations

first_imgTags: People Monday, July 10, 2017 Tweet [PEOPLE] U.S. consolidator Sky Bird taps director for Canadian operations << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img TORONTO — Sky Bird Travel & Tours has named Justin Gosling as Director of Canada, overseeing operations at the company’s Toronto office.Gosling comes to Sky Bird with 30 years of experience, including stints at Lufthansa, Etihad, Alitalia, Air Seychelles and Jet Airways.Sky Bird’s headquarters are in Detroit, with satellite offices in Toronto, Manila, Mumbai and eight U.S. cities. The consolidator works with more than 90 major airlines with no commission caps on net fares.“I am delighted to be joining the Sky Bird Travel team in Canada and to be part of an outstanding company that is blazing a very impressive trail across the Canadian travelscape,” said Gosling. “This is a unique opportunity for me to capitalize on my airline experience and build on the remarkable success already achieved by the Canadian organization. With the backing of the U.S.’s number one consolidator and the support of a highly professional team, we’re aiming to mirror Sky Bird’s success on this side of the border.” Posted by Travelweek Group last_img read more

Agent incentives with Sunwings destination of the month Jamaica

first_img Posted by Tags: Sunwing TORONTO — Through March 31 agents selling Jamaica packages with Sunwing can earn double the STAR Agent Reward Points – that convert into cash – on all new bookings to Jamaica.As an added bonus, each time an agent makes a booking to any participating resort, their names will be entered into a weekly contest for a chance to win an all-inclusive vacation for two in Jamaica. The more bookings agents make, the more chances they have to win.Sunwing is also reminding agents about its Jamaica webinars. The English-language webinar will take place Thursday, March 8 at 2 p.m. EST, while the French-language webinar is on Wednesday March 7 at 2 p.m. EST. Participants of each webinar will be entered into a draw to win two air seats to Jamaica with Sunwing.All participating resorts are offering client incentives for the month of March, ranging from reduced rates and deals for groups to credits for air seats. Vacationers can look forward to reduced rates at a number of Royalton Luxury Resorts, and other properties such as: Riu Montego Bay, Riu Reggae, Riu Negril, Riu Palace Tropical Bay, Riu Palace Jamaica, Riu Ocho Rios, IBEROSTAR Grand Rose Hall, IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Suites, IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Beach and Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort and Spa.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureAgents can also take advantage of daily deals for clients when they book properties including Sunscape Splash Montego Bay, Sunscape Cove Montego Bay, Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay Jamaica, Secrets St James Montego Bay, Sensatori Azul Beach Jamaica and Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, depending on the day they book.Good options for groups include Jewel Dunn’s River Resort and Spa, Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort or Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort and Spa, says Sunwing. Couples can enjoy a romantic vacation for less at Couples Tower Isle, with deals including $300 credit towards flights, plus the seventh night is complimentary.Vacationers who choose to travel between now and April 1 can take advantage of savings worth up to 30% with a stay at Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort and Spa, or save up to 25% for travel April 2 – Oct. 31. Clients can get the same savings during the same time windows should they choose to book Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Spa.More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemSunwing offers flights to Jamaica from 14 gateways with all year round service from Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal. Friday, March 2, 2018 Agent incentives with Sunwing’s destination of the month: Jamaicacenter_img Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

PONANT now a Preferred Supplier of Signature Travel Network

first_img Travelweek Group Share Posted by TORONTO — Signature Travel Network, a member-owned travel cooperative of more than 7,000 global members, has added PONANT as a Preferred Supplier, giving the cruise line access to its network of luxury travel advisors.The two companies have entered into a preferred partnership agreement, which Alex Sharpe, CEO of Signature Travel Network, says will benefit its members and clients.“Signature is pleased to welcome PONANT as a Preferred Supplier. Expedition cruising is one of the fastest growing segments of the luxury market and I know our members and their clients will enjoy working with and sailing onboard PONANT’s growing fleet,” he said.Edie Rodriguez, Americas Brand Chairman at PONANT, added that the agreement is particularly notable for the cruise line in its 30th anniversary year.“This adds strength to our program of strategic growth, particularly in the American market, as we expand from five ships to 12 by 2021,” she said. “Our first Explorer ship, Le Laperouse, just launched last week, highlighting that we have the youngest fleet of ships in the luxury yacht expedition cruise space, concurrently with the most experience sailing through unchartered territories.”Rodriguez also noted that with this new agreement, PONANT’s Canadian partners at Cruise Strategies will work alongside Signature travel advisors to “grow our business together”. Tags: Ponant, Signature Travel Networkcenter_img PONANT now a Preferred Supplier of Signature Travel Network << Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, July 27, 2018 last_img read more

Ottawa unveils worlds first air travel research facility

first_imgTags: Ottawa, Transportation Friday, November 16, 2018 Ottawa unveils world’s first air travel research facility OTTAWA — Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, has announced the launch of the new Centre for Air Travel Research, the world’s first and only facility to study the air travel experience from start to finish.Located next to the Ottawa International Airport and managed by the National Research Council of Canada,, the facility was designed to provide the aerospace industry with a flexible, collaborative space to develop, integrate and evaluate aerospace technologies, systems and materials. In addition to offering a realistic recreation of an airport terminal, the Centre also boasts the Flexible Cabin Laboratory, complete with an A320 aircraft cabin that allows for the study of passenger flight experience, human vibration and more.“Canadians want safe, efficient, affordable, and comfortable air travel services. The National Research Council of Canada’s Centre for Air Travel Research – a research and development facility – will benefit travellers, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers from around the world,” said Garneau.In 2017, over 140 million passengers travelled through Canadian airports. According to Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Canada must invest in leading-edge technologies in order to remain a leader in the aerospace industry.More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programs“Our government is working to make sure that the Canadian aerospace industry is in the best possible position to meet customers’ needs and remain competitive,” said Bains. “By launching the world’s first and only centre dedicated to improving customers’ air travel experience, Canada is demonstrating that it’s at the leading edge of innovation.” Sharecenter_img Posted by Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Guatemala Adapting to climate change

first_imgBut it’s not just Guatemala’s geographical location that leaves it susceptible: Poor housing, high malnutrition and unemployment also conspire to make the country’s inhabitants more vulnerable, with indigenous communities and farmers among the most affected.The effects of climate change are already visible: rainy season (mid-May to mid-October) starts later and finishes earlier, and downpours are concentrated into shorter periods of time, often triggering landslides and flooding of entire towns.However, despite the extreme weather phenomena, the country generates one of the lowest carbon-emissions rates per capita. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean determined that all Central American countries combined contribute less than 0.5 percent of global greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.In 1998, with help from the World Environment Fund, Guatemala started to look at adaptation and mitigation techniques to minimize the adverse effects of climate change. Three years later it established a Climate Change Unit, which works with various government agencies to strengthen national action plans and implement programs to protect the most vulnerable communities while reducing CO2 emissions. Natural disasters like these 2011 floods in the department of Escuintla, 100 km south of Guatemala City, are becoming increasingly common in Guatemala, one of the world’s 10 countries most affected by climate change. Johan Ordóñez/AFP GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala is one of the top 10 countries most affected by climate change and one of the most vulnerable to natural disasters, according to the Global Climate Risk Index.The Central American nation’s geographical position, straddling three tectonic plates and two oceans, leaves it prone to tropical storms, droughts, hurricanes and earthquakes, which have been occurring with increasing frequency over the past decade.In 2005, Hurricane Stan swept through Guatemala leaving more than 1,500 people dead, 500,000 victims and damages estimated at $989 million.In 2010, Pacaya Volcano erupted, scattering volcanic ash and debris across Guatemala City, bringing economic life in the capital of 1.5 million residents to a standstill. Two days later, Tropical Storm Agatha hit, leaving an equally expensive cleanup operation.“[Natural disasters] have had serious consequences for the country: loss of infrastructure due to landslides and floods, loss of harvest causing food shortages and loss of natural space,” said José Luis Rivera, coordinator of Guatemala’s Climate Change Unit, an initiative set up by the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry. “In the last decade we have suffered dry spells and floods that have caused loss of life and severe socioeconomic damage, in addition to putting rural communities, especially women, children and indigenous populations at risk.” Five of Angela Saravia’s relatives were buried in a landslide at Boca del Monte, Guatemala, 22 km south of the capital, on Oct. 16, 2011. Experts say Guatemala is one of the countries that will be most affected by climate change, and the poorest of the poor will suffer most. Johan Ordóñez/AFPcenter_img Related posts:USAID, green groups target climate change in Guatemala Climate change blamed for Costa Rica’s national banana emergency Climate change in Costa Rica’s cloud forest Latin American leaders talk energy, climate change Deforestation is one of Guatemala’s main environmental problems. Thirty-four percent of the country is covered with forests, which are difficult to patrol, and since many rural communities rely on wood for cooking, cutting down trees is a profitable business. According to regional data from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, from 1990-2005 Guatemala lost 17.5 percent of its woodland, equivalent to 7.5 percent of the country’s total geographical area.Over the past few years, the government’s National Council of Protected Areas has implemented a number of projects focused of reducing deforestation to protect biological diversity and different ecosystems. Its latest program, GuateCarbón, in the Biosfera Maya Reserve, which covers approximately 700,000 hectares in the north of the country, aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 million tons over the next 30 years.“[GuateCarbón] will strengthen patrols by contracting more forest rangers, support environmental justice in [the northern department of] Petén and control forest fires,” said Carlos Bonilla, director of Guatemala’s Climate Change Unit. “On the production side, [the program] will work with small and medium-sized businesses that use the forest for products other than wood, such as chewing gum, nuts and pepper.”In addition to the various national and international projects to conserve biodiversity and protect natural resources, several of the country’s universities recently have started offering climate change courses to equip students with the knowledge needed to tackle climate-related natural disasters. Many nongovernmental organizations also work with rural communities on local projects such as genetically modified crops that can withstand extreme weather, including drought-resistant beans and flood-resistant maize.“The seeds have been developed by ICTA [The Institute of Science and Agricultural Technology] in coordination with small producers,” said Ana María Palomo González, coordinator of the National Climate Change Forum (Mesa Nacional de Cambio Climático in Spanish). “They’ve recovered and liberated 45 varieties of potato seeds, three varieties of yucca seeds, 18 varieties of bean seeds that are resistant to drought and soil salinity, and 25 varieties of maize. In the past three years there have been fewer crops lost.”While the Guatemalan government encourages “Producción más limpia” (cleaner-technology production) and is in the process of implementing a low-emissions development strategy, it has yet to establish up-to-date environmental legislation.In 2009, the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry presented Guatemalan lawmakers with a climate change bill to reduce vulnerability, force adaptation and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. But despite numerous readings of the bill and several rewrites, four years later it still has not become law.Environmentalists hope new legislation will be passed later this year to encourage a higher level of environmental protection across the board, by holding all Guatemalans accountable for tackling the effects of climate change in their country.  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica Nicaragua have highest tax rates in Central America

first_imgCosta Rica has the second highest total tax rate in Central America and the Caribbean, behind only Nicaragua, according to a new report from the World Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers.The report Paying Taxes 2014 compared tax regimes from 189 countries during the previous year and reported that while there have been improvements, Latin America has one of the world’s most onerous tax systems.Regionally, Central America and the Caribbean’s Total Tax Rate (TTR), the total cost of all taxes levied, is below the world average of 43.1 percent. But Costa Rica’s TTR comes in at 55.3 percent, according to the report, just after Nicaragua’s at 64.9 percent. The high tax rate in Costa Rich helps fund various social programs in the country, including a socialized health care system that’s long been considered one of the best in the Americas (although recently it’s faced a funding crisis due to mismanagement – and tax fraud and delinquency).While still a hair below the global average, Central America’s TTR (42.8 percent) is right behind South America (52.7 percent) as the third and second highest total tax rates in the world. Only Africa has higher TTR, 52.9 percent, according to the report.Despite some of the highest average taxes in the world, the ease of paying taxes, especially when it comes to the number of taxes and the time it takes to comply, is Latin America’s biggest tax headache.It takes more time to file taxes in South America than any other region in the world. Companies there need an average of 618 hours — twice the global average — to file their taxes. .But Brazil takes the cake. The report’s dummy company needed 2,600 hours to comply with Brazil’s tax code, more time than any country in the world. Compare that to the United Arab Emirates, where the report estimated a company could file all its tax paperwork in just 12 hours.The report noted that Costa Rican businesses needed 60 fewer hours to file after the country implemented electronic filing in 2006. Guatemala made the biggest strides in the world from 2012-2013 in improving “the ease of paying taxes” during the past year, mostly due to the implementation of online tax filing.Not a fan of taxes? Try Macedonia. Paying Taxes 2014 reported that the former-Yugoslav republic has the lowest TTR in the world, 8.2 percent. Meanwhile, the Middle East enjoys the “least demanding” tax systems. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Intels exit still affecting Costa Rica export figures

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica exports down 15 percent in 2015, mostly thanks to Intel exit Medical devices top Costa Rica’s export sales in early 2015 Costa Rica exports down 16 percent in first six months of 2015; ‘Intel effect’ continues Costa Rica’s exports in 2014 down 2.4 percent from previous year, but surpass expectations The total value of Costa Rica’s exports fell by 17.5 percent during the first two months of this year compared to the same period of 2014, the Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER) reported this week.The total number of exports dropped from $1.8 billion during January and February of 2014 to $1.5 billion during those months this year, the agency said.“The decrease was expected following the decline in exports of electronic components,” PROCOMER stated in a report, likely referring to the closure of Intel’s microchip assembly plant here last year.Sales of some other export products showed a decline during the last two months, but after excluding electronic components, the export sector overall grew 0.7 percent.Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Mora Delgado said Thursday that it was normal for export figures to show short-term fluctuations.“In order to identify real trade trends, we should wait for a longer period of evaluation,” he said.Mora said he’s talked to several leaders of the export sector and most agree that results are normal considering recent drops in prices, market competition, adverse weather conditions and even delays in closing deals in futures markets.Experts from the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX) remain optimistic. They believe the decline in the past few months “likely will be compensated in the final export figures for 2015, driven mostly by a growth in industrial and agricultural exports, and also by a strong growth in exports of services.”According to PROCOMER’s report, other products that saw drops in sales include electrical cables, textiles, fruit juices and concentrates, palm oil, bananas, pineapple, milk, fish and yucca (cassava).By contrast, medical devices continue to lead national exports and showed a considerable 49.5 percent growth in the first two months of 2015. Other products showing positive growth were TV and radio components, coffee, melon, ornamental plants and beef.“Exports of goods are within the expected figures by both COMEX and PROCOMER, and hopefully, time will confirm the positive trend,” Mora said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US Coast Guard to assist in investigation of deadly catamaran accident

first_imgThe U.S. Coast Guard will assist Costa Rican authorities in investigating thePura Vida Princess catamaran accident that killed three tourists on Jan. 8, the U.S. Embassy in San José announced Monday.The three victims were from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. More than 100 passengers and crew were on board when the boat capsized and sank in rough ocean conditions.A Coast Guard team of seven arrived in Costa Rica Monday and will remain here until April 22 working alongside their Costa Rican counterparts to determine the causes of the accident. The team includes divers with equipment that can operate at depths of more than 60 meters.A report on the joint team’s findings will be presented to Costa Rican authorities in five to seven months. The goal is “to help improve the safety of all passengers and passenger vessels in Costa Rica,” according to the U.S. Embassy.Costa Rican authorities requested assistance from the U.S. in February to investigate the remains of the Pura Vida Princess, which lie at the bottom of the Gulf of Nicoya.The Prosecutor’s Office and the Judicial Investigation Police opened a criminal investigation into the accident in January. Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Tatiana Vargas previously told The Tico Times that authorities would wait for the final OIJ report before bringing any charges.Vargas said there is no crime of negligence in Costa Rica but the accused could face between six months to eight years in prison if authorities decide to bring a charge of manslaughter. Facebook Comments Related posts:Life jackets not distributed before Costa Rica catamaran began sinking, killing 3, says president’s office UPDATE: US tourist drowns in Costa Rica rafting trip Five months on, survivors of deadly catamaran accident still waiting for answers Costa Rica beach drowning victim identified as US touristlast_img read more

New explosions at Turrialba Volcano spew gas ash two kilometers into the

first_imgRelated posts:Turrialba Volcano vapor plumes are normal, experts say Turrialba Volcano spews ash; Rincón de la Vieja heaves vapor Ash from Turrialba Volcano keeps falling on the Central Valley Turrialba Volcano again spews ash and vapor Turrialba, one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes, resumed its activity this week with explosions of gas, vapor and ash that experts from the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) say are within the normal parameters.The most recent explosions occurred Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. and reached heights of 2 kilometers. The gas plume headed west from the volcano, located some 67 kilometers northeast of the capital San José, therefore the vapor trail passed unnoticed for most residents in Central Valley communities.OVSICORI also reported two explosions at 1:50 p.m. and 6:10 p.m. Monday with heights close to 500 meters.On Sunday OVSICORI sensors detected a tremor, or continuous vibration, at Turrialba caused by the passage of fluids through underground conduits, and that prompted the exhalations of gases, vapor and ash.Experts from the National Emergency Commission (CNE) have been conducting surveillance operations since Sunday at the volcano to detect any unusual increase in Turrialba’s activity.Following Tuesday’s explosions CNE director Walter Fonseca said officials found traces of ash on vehicles and rooftops at the commission’s facilities located next to Tobías Bolaños International Airport, west of San José.Aviation Administration Director Álvaro Vargas told daily La Nación Tuesday evening that Tobías Bolaños airport would be closed at least until 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, in order to better evaluate the possible effects of ash on the terminal.AERIS, the company that administers the country’s main international airport, Juan Santamaría, said the airport had not been affected by ash but that authorities will remain vigilant in case they need to take any action.Turrialba volcano has been active since last Oct. 29 when it started spewing ash and vapor that reached five cantons in Cartago and as far away as the provinces of San José, Heredia and Limón.Video of Tuesday evening’s explosion recorded by OVSICORI’s webcam: Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Ricas Caribbean region hit by heavy rains flooding

first_imgLa lluvia promedio de Limón durante el mes de mayo es 330 mm; en las últimas 24 horas ha precipitado más de 235 mm— IMN, Costa Rica (@IMNCR) May 25, 2015 CNE officials over the weekend activated surveillance checkpoints in six Caribbean cantons: Pococí, Guácimo, Matina, Siquirres, Limón and Talamanca. In these areas constant rains have caused most of the flooding in homes and sewers.Increased rainfall also is expected in the Central Valley due to the low-pressure system and the start of this year’s rainy season, the IMN reported. Facebook Comments National Emergency Commission (CNE) officials on Monday reported that a preventive alert in the Caribbean province of Limón will remain in force throughout the week after heavy weekend rains damaged 280 homes and prompted the evacuation of at least 35 people.The local airport in Limón was closed Saturday as rains completely flooded the landing strip.On Monday morning, CNE’s monitoring stations in the region reported a significant decrease in rainfall, but emergency response agencies will remain vigilant. According to National Meteorological Institute (IMN) forecasts, heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected in the northern and southern Caribbean beginning on Monday afternoon and continuing throughout the week.A low-pressure system is causing increased rainfall that likely will surpass the month’s average. Rainfall over the weekend reached a total of 9 inches, while the average for the entire month in Limón is 13 inches, according to the IMN.center_img Related posts:Alert: Heavy rain in Costa Rica expected along Caribbean coast, in northern regions Costa Rica nearing record rainfall for May Residents OK to return home after flooding, officials say More heavy rains over Costa Rica expected starting Thursday nightlast_img read more

Demining Colombia will take a generation minister

first_imgRelated posts:Colombia announces cease-fire deal to end 52-year conflict with FARC Colombia suspends peace talks with FARC after general kidnapped Colombia, FARC reach agreement on de-escalating conflict An end to Colombia’s war seems close – except in rebel territory BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Clearing the landmines from the half-century conflict in Colombia, which has the most mines of any country outside Afghanistan, will take a generation, Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas says. Facebook Commentscenter_img As the Colombian government and FARC rebels close in on a landmark peace deal, anti-personnel mines are one of the biggest problems facing the South American country in its post-conflict transition.Landmines have killed more than 2,000 people and wounded more than 8,000 others in Colombia since 1982, according to the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, an activist group.“Demining Colombia will take a generation, tens of thousands of specialists and lots of international aid,” Villegas told AFP in an interview.“Mines are the biggest challenge facing post-conflict Colombia,” said the defense minister, who was appointed in May by President Juan Manuel Santos.Villegas said the army is preparing a massive training program to scale up the number of soldiers trained to clear mines from 600 today to 10,000 by mid-2016.The Colombian conflict has drawn in several leftist guerrilla groups, right-wing paramilitaries and drug traffickers since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) launched its uprising against the government in 1964.The conflict has killed more than 220,000 people and uprooted six million.It has also left nearly the entire country littered with mines. Of Colombia’s 32 departments, 31 have been hit by landmine explosions that killed or maimed their victims — often civilians, including more than 1,000 children.In March, the FARC and the government announced an agreement to work together on clearing mines.After more than three years of peace talks, the Marxist rebels and the government say they are making progress and vowed in September to sign a final accord within six months.Villegas praised a breakthrough deal on post-conflict justice that set the stage for that pledge.It would grant an amnesty for all but the most serious crimes and set up special courts to try both soldiers and rebels accused of atrocities, with lighter sentences for those who confess.The defense minister, who was formerly a government negotiator at the peace talks, called the agreement “very important for peace.”“This system has the support of the armed forces. It makes ending the conflict viable,” he said.last_img read more

French town sets precedent for life after coal

first_imgLoos-en-Gohelle is a town in the north of France whose coal mines were active for 150 years. After the last mine closed in the 1990s, unemployment and poverty gripped the town. The town also had to deal with the environmental ramifications of the extraction process.The population then started to hold assemblies to unite entrepreneurs, local government representatives and neighbors in order to find a solution. They developed a series of ideas to reshape the community and drafting a plan they presented to the state.Unlike other communities in the area that chose to boost the automobile industry (which was in crisis at the time), the population of Loos-en-Gohelle thought that a better solution lay in promoting local activities. This led to a rise in sustainable construction of new buildings and the remodeling of both old houses and of local buildings with an aim to reduce the cost of heating.Aside from energy efficiency, the sustainable construction industry had also specialized in recycled materials. The industry has also developed techniques and plans to ensure a degree of efficient climate protection. In fact, nowadays, the town has a center offering professional training in eco-construction and companies based in other regions send their technicians there to train.Recycling has made Loos-en-Gohelle the center of research and development both in new materials and in new processes. They invest 12 million euros a year into the effort. All the results of the studies are published and feed directly into a network of engineering centers in France.The town also relies on solar and wind energy in order to generate electricity. The commitment to renewable energy lead them to establish a diagnostics center to check the manufacturer’s reliability claims and test new technologies.The Resource Center for Sustainable Development combines research initiatives from the government, businesses and environmental organizations. The town also has a collection of environmental companies focused on sustainable construction, renewable energy and ecological town planning.This economic model is based on citizen participation. Assemblies have maintained a rate of 40 public meetings a year. The locals have complete freedom to suggest ideas and the municipality can finance them with a 50-50 partnership.There were a few difficult years after the last coal mine closed, but Loos-en-Gohelle has reinvented itself. Today, any trace of a past carved out by carbon is now a tourist attraction labeled a World Heritage Site.The Tico Times is a member of Latin Clima, a collection of journalists and newsrooms working together to report on climate change throughout Latin America. This story was originally published by El Cronista Comercial and LatinClima on Feb. 12, 2019. Read the original Spanish version here. This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Our Southern Zone Deep Dive is underway

first_imgRelated posts:Santa Teresa Deep Dive: How to Surf in Santa Teresa Puerto Viejo Deep Dive: Surfing the Caribbean’s gnarly waves Wild and untamed: Our Southern Zone Deep Dive The Future of Golfito: The Shannon L. Martin Foundation projects a new vision for town Our editorial team is making its first trip of the year – what we hope will be the first of many – to Costa Rica’s Southern Zone. During the week, we’ll be exploring Sierpe, Drake, Golfito, Puerto Jiménez, Pavones and San Vito, and gathering information to help us plan future forays into this extraordinary region.We are so grateful to the readers who shared their suggestions with us, and would welcome additional ideas for stories to cover, business leaders who might like to get involved, places to highlight, and more. Contact us at our previous two Deep Dives? Check them out here: Rough edges and rich culture: Our Puerto Viejo Deep Dive Facebook Comments Dreamlike, diverse and grappling with change: Our Santa Teresa deep divelast_img read more

San Carlos strikes first in final earns 11 tie at Saprissa

first_imgTibás — A waterlogged afternoon couldn’t slow A.D. San Carlos on Sunday as it earned a 1-1 tie against Saprissa in the first leg of the Clausura 2019 second-phase final.Marco Julián Mena opened scoring in the 42nd minute for San Carlos, which will earn its first Costa Rican soccer championship with a positive result in Wednesday’s return leg at its home stadium in Ciudad Quesada.¡GOOOL DE SAN CARLOS!Marco Mena abre el marcador para los norteños en el Saprissa. Siga el minuto a minuto en #FinalCR— Teletica Deportes (@TeleticaTD7) May 13, 2019Substitute Rubilio Castillo responded in the second half for Saprissa, which otherwise couldn’t capitalize on several opportunities in the attacking third.¡GOOOL DE @SaprissaOficial! Rubilio Castillo pone el 1-1 en la #FinalCR Siga el minuto a minuto en— Teletica Deportes (@TeleticaTD7) May 13, 2019Sunday’s match was nearly cancelled due to field conditions following a fierce afternoon rainstorm that continued into the evening.UNAFUT officials deemed the pitch playable following a two-hour delay, and the result was an entertaining, physical and wet contest.The return leg will be played Wednesday at Estadio Carlos Ugalde Álvarez. Because San Carlos finished atop the regular-season table, it will be crowned champions with a 0-0 tie or win of any margin. Saprissa would win the series with a victory Wednesday and force a “Gran Final” rematch against the Sancarleños. Related posts:San Carlos defeats reigning champion Herediano, advances to face Saprissa Weekend soccer roundup: Semifinals begin, Ticos traded in MLS No bull: San Carlos wins historic Costa Rican soccer championship Herediano beats MLS champs Atlanta United, 3-1 Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Indian govt to pay subsidies to poor in cash

first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Four benefits of having a wireless security system Comments   Share   Top Stories Though no time limit has been set for covering all the 28 Indian states, the government already has started pilot projects for the electronic transfer of money in eight states.Singh said nearly 240 million Indians have received the government identity cards in the past two years. The new policy will cover programs like grain supply, employment wages, student scholarships, pensions and health insurance.At present, the poor beneficiaries have to visit government offices repeatedly in states to get benefits. They also are dependent on government-approved shops to get grain, sugar and kerosene and are often cheated by shop owners.“It will help the government in ensuring that subsidy reaches its intended beneficiaries directly and the poor will not have to run from pillar to post to claim their rights,” said Sonia Gandhi, the governing Congress party’s leader.The annual federal government spending on subsidies run into 3,000 billion rupees ($57 billion), according to the prime minister’s office.One of the main targets will be the public distribution system, a $15 billion food subsidy program where the government is estimated to be losing an estimated 58 percent of its subsidized grain, sugar and kerosene to so-called leaks. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Associated PressNEW DELHI (AP) – The Indian government is preparing to directly transfer cash to the bank accounts of millions of poor people who often become victims of fraud and theft in the government distribution system covering social welfare programs.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday handed over the government’s unique identity number card for the purpose to a villager at a symbolic function in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Ration shop workers often claim the month’s shipment never arrived and then sell it on the open market at as much as 10 times the subsidized price. They’ll give confused and poorly educated recipients less than their full entitlement or substitute lower quality grain. There are ghost ration cards given out under fake names.Under the new systems, these beneficiaries will receive cash in their bank accounts and will be able to buy their requirements.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img read more

Israel says bomb blast hits bus in Tel Aviv

first_imgJERUSALEM (AP) – A bomb ripped through an Israeli bus near the nation’s military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, wounding at least 10 people, Israeli officials said.The blast came amid a weeklong Israeli offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza that has killed more than 130 Palestinians. Militant rocket fire into Israel has killed five Israelis.The bus exploded about noon on one of the coastal city’s busiest arteries, near the Tel Aviv museum and across from an entrance to the Kirya, Israel’s national defense headquarters. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img The bus was charred and blackened, its side windows blown out and its glass scattered on the asphalt.An Israeli driver who witnessed the explosion told Army Radio the bus was “completely charred inside.” Another witness said there were few passengers on the bus when it exploded.Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said authorities were investigating whether the bomb had been planted and left on the bus or whether it was the work of a suicide bomber.Of the 10 wounded, three people were moderately to seriously hurt, Rosenfeld said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

Australian envoy returns to Jakarta after execution protest

first_imgCANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian ambassador to Indonesia has returned in a sign that the anger and tense relations that followed Indonesia’s execution of two Australian drug traffickers has eased.Paul Grigson in April became the first Australian ambassador to be recalled from Indonesia in protest after Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were among eight drug convicts executed by Indonesian firing squads. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Grigson returned on Monday after a five-week absence because he had been gone for an appropriate time, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Wednesday.“Our relations with Indonesia are strong and getting stronger. Obviously there was some stress as a result of the execution of two of our citizens and obviously we made the strongest possible representations at the time,” Abbott told reporters.“We thought that those executions were unnecessary and counterproductive, but we also made it crystal clear at the time that we weren’t going to let this permanently damage what is a very good friendship and a very important relationship,” he added.Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said ministerial visits to Indonesia which were suspended after the executions had not yet been resumed.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Patients with chronic pain give advice Comments   Share   Top Stories last_img read more

Correction UkraineArtillery Duels story

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — In a story June 15 about artillery duels in eastern Ukraine, The Associated Press reported erroneously that a rebel salvo hit a checkpoint, killing a rebel fighter. The shelling was apparent Ukrainian government fire.A corrected version of the story is below:Ukraine’s artillery duels again take toll on civiliansArtillery duels in Ukraine war once again taking their toll on civilian lives Ukraine’s army has always denied it aims artillery at residential areas. The sheer scale of destruction across areas of Donetsk and other rebel towns and cities have strained that official line beyond breaking point.On-site investigations by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is ostensibly charged with monitoring the cease-fire, have also suggested shells have been aimed from government positions.Last week, an AP reporter traveled in the afternoon to a Ukrainian government artillery position in an open field several kilometers from Pisky, a village just west of Donetsk.Pisky has long been a headache for the separatist fighters and residents of Donetsk alike, because it has been a launching pad for much Ukrainian shelling. Accordingly, it has been on the receiving end of much artillery lobbed by rebel forces.Around an hour-and-a-half after sunset, from the fields outside Pisky, AP observed what appeared to be incoming fire from rebel areas. Within an hour, a Ukrainian artillery position in the distance was observed undertaking what appeared to be a return salvo.Heavy artillery has tended to be so imprecise that its use, particularly when aimed at residential areas, has come under critical scrutiny. Its only immediately obvious effect is to as act a deterrent — terrifying the opponent into desisting from taking position and initiating any fresh attacks. The apparent Ukrainian artillery salvo last week hit a checkpoint, killing a rebel fighter and wounding at least two others. More often than not, the shells are less precise and slam into homes, shops or a public building, killing or wounding civilians.Rebels say they are fighting to push back Ukrainian forces from their main city and keep them as far away from the civilian population as possible. Ukrainian officials say separatists are looking to provoke a new round of full-blown war.What AP reporters have been able to observe looks like hit-and-run strikes by rebel forces, often carried out from inside residential zones. Some Donetsk inhabitants are willing to confirm as much.“There is outgoing fire and then, after a while there is incoming shelling. This has been going on for a year,” said Valentina Barkova, as she cleared away debris from a strike on an apartment block neighboring her own over the weekend.Tensions are at a breaking point for residents. On Monday, a spontaneous rally broke out demanding an end to the war. Some locals are calling for a big push to thwart the Ukrainian army, but many allied to the insurgents are also calling on them to pull their weapons out of residential areas. Check your body, save your life Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Rebel commanders insist that they have no heavy weapons on the front, despite evidence to the contrary.“There are no such weapons here. We pulled them back. We use small arms and that’s that. We are not violating the (peace) agreements even in the slightest way,” said the head of the rebel unit at a front line position near the remains of Donetsk airport. The commander identified himself only by the nom de guerre Petrovich.Separatist spokesman Eduard Basurin said Friday that two civilians had been killed as a result of Ukrainian shelling the previous day.“During the violation of the cease-fire regime by Ukrainian forces, there were 11 casualties, among them two men killed in (Donetsk’s) Kuibyshev district,” he said.One of the men killed Thursday was sitting outside drinking when the shell struck, his friend told The Associated Press. The shell tore into a dusty side-road by a rusting kiosk, and the shockwaves blew the man off his feet into a nearby fence.Only meters (yards) away, the recently left tracks of heavy armor were still visible, although the vehicle had long gone. In the intense early summer sun, track-marks often remain impressed in softened asphalt as evidence the tanks have been there. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Crackling forth over radio, the voice ordered tanks to take position in a residential area in Donetsk, the stronghold of separatist rebels in east Ukraine.The rebel armored vehicles trundled to their destination accompanied by a reinforced minivan carrying infantrymen to provide cover. Minutes later, the shells blasted toward government positions. Out of ammunition, the tanks left the scene. Later the same morning, artillery flew in the opposite direction — this time seemingly from Ukrainian troops, hitting a severely damaged area still inhabited by hundreds of families.Artillery duels like this one have been a dominant feature of Ukraine’s conflict, which the United Nations estimates has claimed at least 6,454 lives among both combatants and civilians. After months of relative tranquility ushered in by an internationally brokered armistice in February, civilian deaths are again becoming commonplace amid the stepped-up heavy weapons fighting.UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency, said that at least 68 children have been killed in the conflict — many by artillery. UNICEF said some children were injured by heavy weaponry as recently as last week, when heavy fighting erupted in Donetsk suburb of Marinka. The shells that hit the rebel-held city of Horlivka on Thursday left at least three dead, according to separatist officials.“The shelling started all of a sudden, so we began to escape. When we ran outside, we saw a house burning,” said Dmitry Nosov, holding his son Misha in his arms. “Here is a child that suffers from all this. How is it that this is our fault?”___Associated Press reporter Evgeniy Maloletka contributed to this report from near Donetsk, Ukraine.Copyright © 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 Sponsored Stories 0 Comments   Share   A woman cries as she holds her baby, near to her house damaged by shelling, in Horlivka, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, June 11, 2015. At least four people including a child were killed by shelling in east Ukraine on Thursday. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)n Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories last_img read more

Algerian army confirms 9 soldiers killed in militant ambush

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria’s Defense Ministry has confirmed the deaths of nine soldiers in a militant ambush — a statement that came after reports of higher casualties in the attack.The Friday forest ambush blamed on Islamic extremists in the rugged Ain Defla province southwest of the capital of Algiers comes after a string of successes by the army against the country’s long-running insurgency. Sunday’s statement said the army conducted search operations after the attack, which also wounded two soldiers. It said the ambush only reinforced the army’s determination to stop the militants.Al-Qaida’s North Africa branch claimed responsibility for the attack, putting the toll at 14 and saying it came after army claims that the insurgency had been defeated.Algeria has been fighting Islamic radicals, largely in remote areas, since the 1990s.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories last_img read more

QA Kurds fight Islamic State and endure Turkish attacks

first_imgTurkey views Kurds in Iraq as an ally but is suspicious of Syrian Kurds who are affiliated with the PKK. Ankara is worried that Kurdish gains in Iraq and in Syria will encourage the aspirations of its own Kurdish population.WHERE DO THEY STAND IN IRAQ?Five million Kurds have their own government in Iraq’s semi-autonomous north and have significant representation in the central government with several key posts including the presidency, which is allocated to Kurds. They currently represent about 20 percent of Iraq’s population, making them the largest ethnic minority.There are two main Iraqi Kurdish factions: The Kurdistan Democratic Party is led by Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan is led by former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. The factions fought a bloody war for power over northern Iraq in the mid-1990s, before agreeing to a power-sharing deal that ended the fighting in 1998.The Iraqi Kurdish militia, known as the peshmerga, has been a major force in repelling the Islamic State group’s onslaught in recent months, with nearly a dozen countries rushing to its aid with weapons and training in the absence of genuine support from a strained Iraqi military. 0 Comments   Share   The PKK has fought a three-decade war, initially for independence and later for autonomy and greater rights for Kurds. The conflict with the PKK has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.Turkey and its U.S. and European allies consider the PKK — which has Marxist origins — a terrorist organization for killing civilians in urban bombings.In 2012, Turkey launched secret talks with the PKK’s imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, to end the conflict. The talks were made public in 2013 and the PKK declared a cease-fire a few months later.The Kurds later accused Turkey of not doing enough to help Syrian Kurds during their battle against Islamic State militants over the Syrian border town of Kobani, prompting violent clashes and straining the fragile peace process.Tensions flared again after an Islamic State suicide bombing in the southeastern Turkish city of Suruc last week killed 32 people. Kurdish groups held the Turkish government responsible, saying it had not been aggressive in battling the Islamic State group.Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party, the People’s Democratic Party, said the strikes on the PKK in Syria and Iraq amounted to an end of the two-year-old truce. It called on the government to end the bombing campaign and resume a dialogue with the Kurds. FILE – In this Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, file photo, Syrian Kurdish militia members of YPG make a V-sign next to poster of Abdullah Ocalan, jailed Kurdish rebel leader, and a Turkish army tank in the background in Esme village in Aleppo province, Syria. Turkish jets struck camps belonging to Kurdish militants in northern Iraq Friday and Saturday in what were the first strikes since a peace deal was announced in 2013. The strikes in Iraq targeted the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, whose affiliates have been effective in battling the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Mursel Coban, Depo Photos, File) BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S. and Turkish plans to create an “Islamic State-free zone” in Syria along the Turkish border could escalate the conflict between Turkey and Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq.With the help of U.S. airstrikes, the Kurds have proven to be among the most effective ground forces against the IS group. But their advance across northeastern Syria in recent months has alarmed Ankara, which fears they could revive a decades-long insurgency in pursuit of statehood. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Syria’s main Kurdish fighting force is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey and maintains bases in remote parts of northern Iraq.Since Friday, Turkey has struck the IS group in Syria and PKK positions inside Iraq. On Monday, the main Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the YPG, claimed that it had been shelled by Turkish troops. A Turkish official said the military was only returning fire, and that the campaign does not include the YPG.WHO ARE THE KURDS?The Kurds are an ethnic group with their own language and customs whose nomadic past led to their modern-day dispersal across several countries, mostly Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. Sunni Muslims make up the vast majority, but there is a sizeable Shiite population, particularly in Iran.After the collapse of the Ottoman and Qajar empires and the drawing of modern borders, Iraq, Iran and Turkey each agreed to oppose the creation of an independent Kurdistan, making the Kurds the largest stateless minority group in the world. With nearly 25 million people living in five countries, they continue to push for self-rule.WHAT IS THEIR ROLE IN TURKEY?Turkey is home to an estimated 15 million Kurds, about one-fifth of the country’s population of 76 million. Most are Sunni Muslim. ___Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The United States has been one of the most ardent protectors of Iraqi Kurds for over a generation, helping establish and enforce a safe haven in northern Iraq to protect them from Saddam Hussein.WHAT ABOUT THE KURDS IN SYRIA?Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria, making up more than 10 percent of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million people. They are centered mostly in the impoverished northeastern province of Hassakeh, between the borders of Turkey and Iraq.The Kurdish Democratic Union party, or PYD, is the most powerful political force among Syria’s Kurds. The party is a deeply secular, and affiliated with the PKK. The People’s Protection Units, known by the Kurdish acronym YPG, is the main Kurdish fighting force in Syria.Since Syria’s civil war began, the Kurds have made unprecedented gains, strengthening their hold on the far northeast reaches of the country and carving out territory where they declared their own civil administration. They showed resilience in their fight against IS group militants in Kobani, pushing them out in January with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes. Last month, they ejected the Islamic State group from their stronghold of Tal Abyad along the border with Turkey, robbing the IS of a key avenue for smuggling oil and foreign fighters. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more