These videos of Worlds Longest Zipline will make you kiss the ground

first_imgThese videos of World’s Longest Zipline will make you kiss the ground you walk on Share Tuesday, February 6, 2018 Travelweek Group Ras Al Khaimah — As the saying goes, those who can’t do, teach. And those who don’t zipline, watch. But be warned: watching this video of the world’s longest zipline is just as terrifying as being strapped in.Ras Al Khaimah, the northernmost emirate of the United Arab Emirates, has unveiled the world’s longest zipline, beating the previous 2.2-kilometre world record in Puerto Rico by a full 600 metres. And, due to its location, it’s considered one of the world’s highest ziplines too.Starting from 1,680 metres above sea level, the zip line measures 2.8 kilometres, which is the equivalent of 28 football pitches.Yes, 28!It reaches speeds of up to 150 kph and weighs an astonishing six tonnes. In its first phase of operations, the zip line is able to accommodate 250 people a day (open to all ages), equaling 100,000 people in a single year. Prices start at £125 per person.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongCreated by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and Toro Verde, the new attraction features a lounge, restaurant, lockers, equipment storage and offices. Guests will receive a pre-briefing before being escorted to the launch platform and fitted with a special suit.And if they need a helping hand to get through the terrifying ordeal, the zipline’s two lines allow friends and family to take the flight together. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Annual EDGE conference kicks off with 2000 in attendance

first_img Wednesday, June 13, 2018 Travelweek Group Share Tags: EDGE Conference, Las Vegas, Travel Leaders Network Posted bycenter_img LAS VEGAS – Travel Leaders Network’s annual international conference is in full swing in Las Vegas, where more than 2,000 travel professionals from across Canada and the U.S. are participating in workshops and career development sessions.Taking place at Caesars Palace from June 12-16, the five-day EDGE (Educate, Discover, Gather, Evolve) conference features a long lineup of educational seminars, technology showcases and guest speakers. Of the 2,000 attendees, nearly 200 are TL Network Canada Members and suppliers, said Christine James, Vice President of TL Network Canada.“There will be many opportunities to meet with exceptional agents, a lot of learning and professional development into the next several days, along with some exciting entertainment and thought-provoking guest speakers,” she added. “2018 has been dubbed the Year of the Travel Agent and the vibrancy of the agency industry will be highlighted throughout this exceptional annual event.”New this year is a Luxury Forum, where agents who are luxury specialists have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with luxury suppliers. Also new is the Hotel Marketplace, a specialty trade show where agents can interact with hotel properties and learn about their latest offerings.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesMore than 200 workshops during the conference range marketing honeymoons and destinations weddings, selling active and adventure travel, and making money selling air travel, to targeted advertising strategies for social media, effective management and leadership, and organizing successful consumer events. The sol-out trade show will feature nearly 200 exhibitors spanning a wide array of companies from cruise lines, hotels and rental car companies to tourism boards and tour operators.This year’s guest speakers include keynote speaker Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, motivational guru Stuart L. Cohen, and sales, marketing and business author Mike Marchev.But it’s not going to be all work and no play; entertainment highlights include a special performance of ‘Beautiful: the Carole King Musical’, and an off-site event at the Park Theater, a three-level venue within the new MGM Park Resort.“Our annual conference is a unique opportunity for our agents to network with the most prestigious suppliers, tour operators and companies serving the travel industry as well as share best practices in one can’t miss event,” said Roger E. Block, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Network, which has approximately 6,800 travel agency locations in North America. “EDGE is one of the many advantages of being a member of Travel Leaders Network and the participation we receive from supplier partners and others speaks volumes to the scale of business our travel agents generate and the vitality of the travel agency profession.” Annual EDGE conference kicks off with 2,000 in attendance << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Best of the Best UNIGLOBE honours top consultants in Western Canada

first_img Share Anja Chow, Diana Di Leta, Denise Jimenez Best of the Best: UNIGLOBE honours top consultants in Western Canada VANCOUVER — UNIGLOBE’s top travel consultants across Western Canada were recognized on June 14 as part of UNIGLOBE Western Canada Counsellor Excellence Day.Each year on this day, UNIGLOBE Western Canada celebrates its leading Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum-level travel consultants and marks the occasion with certificate presentations, a special video announcement and a range of agency events, like Champagne breakfasts.“Dedicated a day to recognize the hard work of our travel consultants is important to us at UNIGLOBE Western Canada. After all, it’s their enthusiasm and expertise that has driven us to become the leading provider of travel management services in Western Canada,” said Hank Oostveen, Vice President Supplier & Agency Relations, UNIGLOBE Travel Western Canada.To achieve Excellence recognition, consultants work their way through a series of point-based Bronze, Silver and Gold levels that are based on criteria like professionalism, dependability, productivity, profitability, training and educational advancement.Consultants who achieve Gold-level status for three years in a row are inducted into the Platinum Circle, the highest level of achievement for a travel consultant at UNIGLOBE Western Canada.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyThis year’s Platinum Circle inductees are:Elicia Jump, UNIGLOBE LGI Travel, Edmonton, ABMichelle Alvaro, UNIGLOBE LGI Travel, Edmonton, ABDiana Di Leta, UNIGLOBE Sunburst Travel, Prince George, BCLama Zaystoff, UNIGLOBE Specialty Travel, Vancouver, BCJoanne Pidwerbetsky, UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel, Saskatoon, SKStephanie Afseth, UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel, Saskatoon, SKAnnette Frey, UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel, Saskatoon, SKMichelle Shaw, UNIGLOBE LGI Travel, Regina, SK“It’s clear that we have an excellent team of industry-leading professionals at UNIGLOBE Western Canada and we are very excited about the future,” added Oostveen. “Together with our hardworking Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum counsellors, we are leading the way in the travel industry.”L to R: Jamie, Casie, Kyra, Correna Travelweek Group Deb, Annette, Stephanie Tags: Awards, UNIGLOBE Thursday, June 21, 2018 Posted by Annette, Counsellor of the Year << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Front row centre for Leafs and Raptors playoff excitement at Le Germain

first_img Posted by Share TORONTO — Le Germain Hotel Toronto Maple Leaf Square, with its prime location right next to Scotiabank Arena, offers sports fans an unbeatable chance to be right in the thick of the playoff buzz.Le Germain is steps from Scotiabank Arena, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors, and next to Real Sports Bar & Grill. The boutique hotel overlooks the giant video screen and high-energy fan zone that transforms into a sea of blue and white for Leafs games (or ‘Jurassic Park’ red and black for Raptors games) come playoff time.Beautiful @HotelGermain Maple Leaf Square is a great option for sports fans, concert goers, weekend getaways, business travel and more. Right beside @ScotiabankArena and the heart of the South Core. #LeGermainMLSQ #SeeTorontoNow— Travelweek (@TravelweekGroup) April 15, 2019“The fact that our hotel is attached to Scotiabank Arena, so you can get from your room to your seat without going outside, is a big help in the winter,” says the hotel’s General Manager, Paul de La Durantaye. “But just the vibe of the area, especially in playoffs like now, being able to be a part of it is incredible. The whole structure of Maple Leafs Square was built for this type of Fan Zone festivities, so it’s great when you can be a part of the excitement.”Watch the game from the Penalty Box Suite @HotelGermain at Maple Leaf Square overlooking Jurassic Park. Hard to get closer to the action! Consider for corporate or social events! #LeGermainMLSQ #SeeTorontoNow— Travelweek (@TravelweekGroup) April 15, 2019The hotel opened in 2010 with 167 rooms, fully integrated into the Maple Leafs Square complex which includes condos, office, retail shops and restaurants. It’s located in the heart of Toronto’s sports and entertainment district with the Hockey Hall of Fame, CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and many more activities just steps from the hotel. The neighborhood is known as the South Core and is home to a burgeoning array of businesses in soaring new office towers.“When we opened this hotel we were very conscious that we had to stay true to our brand, as well as adapting to the surrounding we were in,” adds de La Durantaye. “We are out back of Union Station, a block from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and steps away from the lake. A while ago ‘south of the tracks’ had a bad connotation, but now that’s where you want to be!”There are five different room types, starting with the Classic rooms at 400 square feet and ranging up to the 1,500 square foot Balcony and Apartment Suites. The rooms are distinguished by their elegant design. The spa-style bathrooms are equipped with rainfall showers and benefit from natural light. All rooms come with ultra-comfortable linens, free WiFi, HD television, workstation, Molton Brown bath products and more.Elegant and stylish rooms at #LeGermainMSLQ with all modern comforts and technology. Plus, sleep in as long as you want! #winning @HotelGermain #SeeTorontoNow— Travelweek (@TravelweekGroup) April 15, 2019Other noteworthy extras that Le Germain provide include:Sleep in Everyday – Sleep in policy with no checkout timeNama-Stay – Yoga video series for in-room practiceSweet Dreams – Bedding products can be purchased by guestsLexus Courtesy Car – Guests benefit from complimentary car serviceRecharge – Several car charging stations on propertyDogs Welcome – Well-behaved dogs are always welcomeThe hotel has 5,000 square feet of meeting rooms, many with sports themes such as the All Star Room and Offensive Zone. The Penalty Box meeting room directly overlooks Maple Leaf Square with amazing views of Jurassic Park. The hotel’s suites and apartments can also be used for business meetings or social gatherings.Notes de La Durantaye: “It can get crazy in the hotel during playoffs, but it’s a fun crazy! Everyone is up and about. The sea of red versus the sea of blue. Fans are excited and happy to be here and very proud of their teams.”For hockey-loving clients, Le Germain Hotel Maple Leaf Square has a Hockey Hall of Fame package with access to the 65,000 square foot space full of interactive games, exhibits, the world’s finest collection of hockey artifacts and of course the coveted Stanley Cup.The package includes:Accommodation2 VIP tickets to the Hockey Hall of Fame and each ticket includes general admission, a complimentary Legends program and personal Stanley Cup photo packageValet parkingDeluxe continental breakfastFlexible checkout time: leave your room whenever you like at no extra cost (subject to availability)WiFi accessAccess to the well-equipped gym 24 hours a dayFor more information, visit Tuesday, April 16, 2019 Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Le Germain Front row centre for Leafs and Raptors playoff excitement at Le Germain MLSQlast_img read more

G Adventures invites agents to experience trips firsthand with new fall 2019

first_imgG Adventures invites agents to experience trips first-hand with new fall 2019 fams Share Friday, May 17, 2019 Interested agents can contact their local Global Purpose Specialist for more information. Applications can be submitted until June 16, 2019 at: news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Qualified agents will be notified in July. Tags: Egypt, G Adventures, Peru, Turkey Travelweek Group TORONTO — G Adventures has unveiled its lineup of fall 2019 fams with departures in October and November to a wide range of destinations including Peru, Turkey and Egypt.The fams are priced at $399 to $599 per person and available to Canadian travel agents. Pricing is based on land only and durations range from eight to 12 days.Here’s a look at the lineup:center_img Best of Turkey – 8 days, $399, departing Oct. 26, 2019This journey ventures to the WWI battlefield of Gallipolli, the legendary city of Troy and the streets of Ephesus. A trip to the white cliff pools of Pamukkale and exploring the city’s bazaars, mosques, and tea houses are also highlights.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWT Mayan Encounter – 12 days, $399, departing Nov. 2, 2019Trek through the Mayan ruins and relax on white-sand beaches. An adventure that gives you an authentic taste of Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico with a combination of ancient ruins and crystalline waters of the Caribbean. Explore the ruins of Tikal, snorkel with stingrays, lounge in Caye Caulker and finish up in Playa del Carmen. Posted by Egypt Upgraded – 12 days, $599, departing Nov. 27, 2019This trip includes a three-day Nile cruise, and discovering the secrets of the Great Pyramids and exploring the Valley of the Kings.“We’re looking forward to hosting our agent partners on our FAMs this fall. A big part of understanding the G Adventures experience, brand and culture is experiencing it first-hand. Also, we know it’s much easier for agents to sell a product if they have first-hand knowledge,” says Aizaz Sheikh, Canadian Marketing Director, G Adventures. << Previous PostNext Post >> Explore Northern Peru – 9 days, $599, departing Oct. 16, 2019Venture and explore fortified cities that were once bustling hubs of early civilizations and visit museums and burial tombs used by pre-Inca cultures. This fam focuses on the discovery of ancient vestiges of north Peruvian cultures and understanding the country’s ancient path.last_img read more

A rare find at Costa Rica synagogue

first_imgFrom the print editionBy Leni Friedman Valenta |  Special to The Tico TimesCall it serendipity. My husband, Dr. Jiri Valenta, and I had just completed the first two chapters of his memoir when we attended services at B’nei Israel’s trilingual Reform synagogue in San José, and learned the amazing story of the holocaust Torahs. One of these Torahs, dated 1850, is on permanent display there thanks to the efforts of synagogue elder Marvin Sossin, 79. It was he who gave us Philippa Bernard’s history of the Torahs, “Out of the Midst of the Fire.”Originally from Toronto, Canada, Sossin, a prominent entrepreneur, told us he was attracted to Costa Rica by its island-of democracy status in a sea of dictatorships, and its history as a refuge for three waves of European and Latin American Jewish immigration.Arriving here in 1982, he set about helping to found the first Reform Jewish community of Costa Rica, an effort which encompassed a visit from his hometown rabbi, the late Gunther Plaut. It was prayer-book author Plaut, one of the world’s most famous rabbis, who told Sossin about the holocaust Torahs. The Torahs have a Czech origin, as does my husband, Jiri. He was born in the former Third Reich protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia on April 9, 1945, a month before Liberation. His Jewish mother gave birth to him while hiding in the basement of her Christian future in-laws. Because of the Nuremberg laws, she could only marry his father after Liberation. Tracing his roots, I learned that the only Jews who survived were either Mischlinges (mixed-race Jews),  Jews married to Christians or those who escaped abroad. Yet, with defeat in sight, the Nazis accelerated Hitler’s plans to “cleanse” Europe of every drop of Jewish blood, taking even Christians who refused to divorce their Jewish spouses. That wasn’t all they were doing. Incredibly, a Jewish museum in Prague was carefully preserved by the Germans, and thousands of Judaica from looted and burned synagogues all over the country were added to its collection. Why? The prevailing theory is that, in an act of Aryan self-glorification, the Nazis were seeking to build a future museum about an extinct, subhuman race. Meanwhile, all the looted artifacts, ceremonial items, silver, apparel, violins, textiles and manuscripts were sorted, recorded, wrapped and annotated by doomed Jewish prisoners.Among the thousands of artifacts collected were 1,564 Torahs, some dating back to 1700. Warehoused in a small synagogue-turned-church near Prague, they lay hidden for 20 years until the providential visit to Czechoslovakia of a Jewish art dealer from London, Eric Estorick. Invited to view the floor-to-ceiling scrolls by the organization overseeing the Jewish Museum in Prague, Estorick was dumbfounded. To Jews worldwide, the Torah is sacred as the first five books of the law received by Moses from God. Their creation or repair requires special animal skins and parts, rare inks, quills and precise measurements in order to be deemed kosher. The profession of Torah sofer (scribe) is so arduous, it is often hereditary. Estorick immediately contacted Jewish philanthropist Ralph Yablon, and with his help, the Torah scrolls project soon amassed sponsors, contacts, experts, workers and fascinating anecdotes. In 1964, Yablon purchased the scrolls for $30,000, whereupon they were transported to his Reform Westminster synagogue. A Memorial Scrolls Trust was formed to oversee their repair and dispersal. The trust’s decision was to permanently loan – never sell – the scrolls to Jewish communities worldwide. Donations are accepted to offset shipping costs.Upon the delivery of the 1850 scroll to B’nei Israel, Sossin and the synagogue’s cofounders were inspired to work on founding the Union of Jewish Congregations of Latin America and the Caribbean, in what famous Rabbi Dov Marmur called in 2001 “the most isolated region of Jews in the world.” It still holds conferences connecting Reform and Conservative synagogues.Meanwhile, to Jiri, whose life was conditioned as the child of holocaust survivors, the story of the Torahs also provides a special inspiration. In the midst of the most unthinkable circumstances, 1,564 Torahs, badly needed by post-war synagogues worldwide, were preserved by the Nazis. Thus was the sacred miraculously rescued from the profane.The holocaust Torah, jewel of its kind in Central America, is still on display at B’nei Israel, in San José. The synagogue is located on the old road to Escazú, southwest of San José, from Pops in La Sabana, 800 meters west. For more, contact B’nei Israel President David Feingold at 2231-5243 or visit and Yale graduate Leni Friedman Valenta is a principle of the Institute of Post-Communist Studies with her husband, Dr. Jiri Valenta. Read more at Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Search for trapped miners in Nicaragua suspended

first_img Facebook Comments Rescue teams Tuesday suspended effortsto reach seven trapped gold miners in Nicaragua because landslides were making the work too dangerous.“Experts have to acknowledge it’s impossible” to keep going back into the mine, government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said.Mud and earth were pouring into the mine constantly and tearing down the wooden structures the rescue teams had built to try to shore up the pit.In the four-day effort, rescuers had made 25 trips into the mine.It first collapsed because of a landslide triggered by heavy rains, trapping 29 people early Thursday. Earlier reports had said 30.Two of the trapped miners dug themselves back to the surface. Another 20 were hauled out one by one after 30 hours trapped inside the mine.The mine shaft, in the remote village of El Comal, was abandoned more than 80 years ago by the foreign mining firms that operate in Nicaragua’s gold-rich northeast.But it was reopened by “guiriseros,” or small-scale independent miners, a dangerous occupation that has boomed over the past decade as the price of gold has tripled from less than $400 an ounce to more than $1,200. Related posts:Rescued Nicaragua miners join hunt for missing comrades VIDEO: English language school on a remote island in Lake Nicaragua makes use of trash Extreme poverty increases in Nicaragua in 2013, study finds In Nicaragua, tarantulas are latest cash croplast_img read more

Eugenie Clark shark lady who explored ocean depths dies at 92

first_imgIn 1968, Clark joined the zoology faculty at the University of Maryland and taught there full-time until 1992. At that point she became emeritus and continued teaching for several years before rejoining Mote — now based on City Island in Sarasota — in 2000.Along with underwater explorer Sylvia Earle, Clark inspired dozens of young women and men to enter the field of marine biology. Until a few months ago, she came into Mote most days, Hueter said, regularly hosting young scientists in her office.Stanford University marine science professor Barbara Block, one of the world’s foremost shark trackers, described her in an email as “one of my early mentors” who worked on making powerful acoustic tags to study six-gill sharks off the coast of Bermuda. Working with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Frank Carey, the team developed a pressure-resistant acoustic tag that could track sharks nearly 5,000 feet below the water’s surface.“She was a life force very much at the top of her academic game — shark biologist, explorer, diver, academic, professor and leader,” Block wrote. “We called her the shark lady.”Clark was also a tireless defender of sharks. “Lady With a Spear,” published in 1953, detailed her early expeditions in Micronesia and the Red Sea; she later worried that journalists assumed she collected large sharks by spearing them.She filmed dozens of documentaries and television specials and wrote for National Geographic and other publications, often about the need to protect shark species and their surroundings.Clark took her last ocean dive in 2014 in the Gulf of Aqaba, in the Middle East. During a 2008 interview at Mote, when she was describing how deep she had recently gone, she quickly admonished a reporter to keep that figure secret.“Don’t mention how deep I went,” she said. “I’m not supposed to do that anymore.”And with that, Clark threw back her head and started to laugh.Eilperin’s books include “Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks.”Read more:Illegal shark fins destined for Hong Kong seized at Costa Rica airportCosta Rica joins Ecuador in calling for more protection of endangered shark speciesDead shark finding precedes ‘Black October,’ the worst month for illegal fishing in Costa Rica© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Eugenie Clark, a world authority on sharks who defied society’s expectations about women’s roles in science and the much-feared underwater creatures she studied, died Feb. 25 at her home in Sarasota, Florida. She was 92.Clark, an ichthyologist and oceanographer, divided much of her career between the University of Maryland and the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. The cause of death was lung cancer, Mote officials said.An unabashed adventurer and prolific researcher, Clark traveled the globe to study reef fish, sharks and mollusks. She made 71 dives in submersibles, a practice that is still done by a relatively small number of explorers, plunging at one point to 12,000 feet.Clark, whose mother and stepfather were Japanese, grew up immersed in a family and culture that valued the sea and all its life forms. Her career preceded Rachel Carson’s book “The Sea Around Us” and oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s book and documentary “The Silent World,” which in the 1950s helped generate broad interest in undersea research.As a leading champion of marine life and conservation, Clark criticized the 1975 fright movie “Jaws” and other popular depictions of sharks that gave them “a bad rap.” For decades she had traveled with them underwater, studied them in captivity and saw them as a way to understand the globe’s vast seas.The first time Clark encountered a massive, pregnant whale shark, off Baja California, she grabbed onto a fold of skin under the animal’s dorsal fin and rode it for an extended period of time, holding onto her air tank as it slid off her back.“It was incredible,” Clark said in a 2008 interview, recalling how she lost sight of her colleagues who had remained on their vessel. “When I finally came up, I could barely see the boat, I was so far away.” U.S. ichthyologist Eugenie Clark at an event held at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, April 11, 2011. (U.S. Labor Department via Wikimedia Commons)One of Clark’s most significant academic contributions came in the late 1950s, when she proved sharks could be trained to pick a target based on visual clues and could learn tasks as quickly as mammals. She eventually published her findings in the journal Science.“It was the first demonstration of sharks’ intelligence,” said Robert Hueter, director of Mote’s Center for Shark Research, in an interview. “Before, people thought these were primitive, dim-witted animals, and she showed they were capable and had an important role in the marine environment.”She discovered “sleeping sharks” in underwater caves in Mexico and Japan, a finding that challenged the conventional wisdom that all sharks had to move constantly in order to get the oxygen they needed to survive, and proved that the Moses sole, which lives in the Red Sea, produces a natural shark repellent.Clark received awards throughout her lifetime, including the Explorers Club Medal and high honors from the American Society of Oceanographers and the National Geographic Society. She wrote more than 175 articles for academic and popular publications, said Mote spokeswoman Hayley Rutger.Eugenie Clark was born in New York City on May 4, 1922, to an American father and Japanese mother. She was 2 when her father died and her mother, Yumico, had to work on weekends to help support the family. When Eugenie got a little older, her mother would sometimes drop her off on Saturday mornings at an aquarium in lower Manhattan. She was fascinated and persuaded her mother to buy her a 15-gallon tank one Christmas. She amassed a collection of fish.“I knew more about produce from the sea than any of my schoolmates, and my reports in school, from kindergarten on, amused and shocked my classmates and teachers,” she recalled in a 1994 article in the journal Environmental Biology of Fishes. “I told them how we ate with chopsticks, had rice and seaweed for breakfast, raw fish, octopus, and sea urchin eggs for supper, and cakes made from sharks.”She graduated in 1942 from Hunter College with a zoology degree. After working as a research assistant at the Scripps oceanography institute in California, among other jobs, she completed her doctorate in zoology in 1950 at New York University, with a focus on sperm competition in poeciliids. Shark Biologist, Eugenie Clark passed away yesterday, aged 92. Her curiosity and her courage was an inspiration.— Science (@ScienceAllDay) February 26, 2015 Photo gallery: Eugenie Clark, Sarasota’s ‘Shark Lady.’— Herald-Tribune (@HeraldTribune) February 25, 2015center_img In New York City, Clark befriended members of the Vanderbilt family who admired one of her earliest books, “Lady With a Spear,” and who invited her to visit their southwest Florida estate. In 1955 she moved with her second husband, surgeon Ilias Konstantinu, and their two young daughters, “to start a marine laboratory in a little wooden building, 20 x 40 ft., in Placida,” she wrote in her 1969 book, “The Lady and the Sharks.”Clark served as the lab’s founding director until 1967, the year it was renamed to honor major benefactor William R. Mote.Konstantinu and Clark had four children together, all of whom survive her, and all of whom learned to scuba dive. She also has one grandson.Her first marriage, to Jideo Umaki, ended in divorce, as did her marriages to Konstantinu, author Chandler Brossard and National Institutes of Health scientist Igor Klatzo. Her fifth husband, Henry Yoshinobu Kon, whom she married in 1997, died in 2000.Watch Clark search for Hexanchus griseus, the six-gill shark, in the waters off Bermuda aboard the IUC submarine Pisces: Related posts:Following public outcry, Costa Rica temporarily blocks exports of hammerhead shark fins Legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle releases first interview filmed at depth off Cocos Island Costa Rica government vows to no longer support international shark protections Costa Rican government rejects Shark Enemy nominationlast_img read more

5 questions for a Costa Rican comedian – To hear them laugh

first_imgHernán Jiménez is renowned throughout the country as a comedian, but his talent doesn’t stop there: he is also a successful actor, screenwriter and producer. His 2012 film “El Regreso” told the story of a Costa Rican struggling to adapt to his country once more after many years away; his standup comedy acts such as “Vamos x partes” and “¡Esto es en serio!” have become phenomena of their own. The Tico Times spoke to Jiménez about the roots of his career, what it’s like to be alone onstage, and why all artists should “get naked.” Excerpts follow.How did your career start, and what pushed you towards it?I decided to study theater in Montreal, and started looking for some viable way of being an artist. When I returned to Costa Rica I had to face a completely paralyzed, arid and exclusive cultural panorama. After seeing this, I decided to work on my own. I wrote and directed my first documentary about the lack of safety in San José. Then I wrote my first play, “A One-Man Show,” which really marked my life and was also a precursor of my incursion to standup comedy. These two works led me to discover that a [blend] of art, film and stage was what I wanted in my life.My insertion in the art world is quite cliché: histrionics and a love of the camera have been with me since I was a little boy. I love what I do. Now that I’m a grown man I have come to understand that [my work] has been the only effective balm for anxiety. When I was young I discovered that theater would be the only thing that would give sense to my life. And that’s what we all are looking for, right? To justify why we are here. To me, the energy of being onstage, or telling a good joke, or the community created on a movie set, are factors that get me to happiness.Have you ever doubted your decision to be an artist?When I started to study theater I was determined to be an actor for life. Luckily, I went to a school with the vision that an actor can’t only be an actor, but must also be an artist. They gave me the tools to propose my own ideas instead of just sitting there waiting for a perfect audition. That’s how my path was forged. Also, being unemployed in Costa Rica at the age of 24 was pretty frustrating. So my career has also been forged through economic necessity, because to live and make films is quite expensive. Emotionally, [it has been forged] in order not to go nuts.I think there were doubts, but I don’t think I could have lived a life without art. It’s spine-chilling even to think about it. I don’t think I’m good at anything else.What was your formative process, and what support did you receive?I studied in at the Methodist High School in Costa Rica, but I got a scholarship to finish [high school] in an amazing place, which certainly changed my life: Pearson College in Vancouver, which is part of the United World Colleges. That was perhaps the most important inflexion point of my life. There, I learned to think differently; I discovered myself; I changed my political and artistic perceptions, and it opened me, in every sense, to the world itself. After that, I studied at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. Next, coming and going to Costa Rica in between all these [academic stints], I studied film at the San Francisco Art Institute, and script and direction at Columbia University in New York.If I never win the lottery in my life, my comfort is that I did win my family’s support. Perhaps it was because they were tired already –I’m the younger of four siblings – but my dad and my brother are also artists, and my family nucleus is one of those few that actually understands what being an artist means. Nowadays, to make a living from anything is hard! To graduate with a little paper that says you’re a dentist, a lawyer, an accountant, does not guarantee anything. The world has changed a lot in that aspect, so it is really sad that families still disapprove of the artistic inclinations of a child. Those are ghosts that never go away.What would you say is the key to success for a person who wants to become either a comedian or an actor?Just do it! Don’t listen to critics, envy, and all those people who will tell you not to do it, or that you are not good at it. There is no advice you can follow to do it right or wrong. Perhaps it would be useful learn one or two techniques, but beyond that, the only good thing is to be completely honest with your work, and do it over and over and over again until is it relatively good. Say something awkward about yourself. Get “naked.”What do you enjoy the most about your career?That is almost impossible to describe, you know. It is love. To love what I do is full enjoyment in and of itself. Each discipline is different, of course. I love to write because it is an incredibly introspective process, which makes me visit uncomfortable and difficult places of myself, which makes me recognize the worst of me and at the same time makes me be generous with myself. I love being a director because it is the closest to playing as a child, and that is beautiful. You make up a complete story, and then you get some friends to help you to create it, and then you film it. I love to do standup comedy because, well, first it gives me the money to live and to produce films, but also because with the power of words I can submit thousands of strangers to an involuntary reflex: laughter. To see them and to hear them laugh all at the same time is like some kind of poetry to me. It is extremely desolate to be up there alone, but what I see and hear is glorious.Perhaps that is the only negative aspect: loneliness. The creative process, when it is honest, leads to loneliness. It can’t be different.  I do not live with the romantic idea of a tormented artist. If I could do it differently I would, but there’s no other way. To create sometimes involves overwhelming anguish, which you have to face with humility and patience, and I’ve got to say that I’m not a very patient person.[But if it weren’t for my art], I would be in a psychiatric hospital.Here’s a taste of Hernán’s work, a segment of his standup comedy ‘Así quién no’: Read other “Weekend Arts Spotlight” interviews here.Our “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at Facebook Comments Related posts:5 questions for a Costa Rican actress – ‘Theater keeps my heart full of passion’ 5 questions for a Costa Rican filmmaker – ‘It’s important to leave people thinking’ 5 questions for a Costa Rican filmmaker – ‘I’m hungry to make movies’ 5 questions for Costa Rican actor Radek Lordlast_img read more

The Tico Times launches its own publishing house with first book The

first_imgRelated posts:‘Green Season’ book excerpt: Car Trouble Book Review: ‘Green Season’ delivers delights, belly laughs and revelations ‘Green Season’ book excerpt: Moving Pictures ‘Green Season’ book excerpt: Day of the Devils The Tico Times is beginning a new adventure. Since 1956, we have served as Central America’s primary English-language news source, reaching readers around the world with critical news, features, and analysis from the region. Today, as part of our ongoing effort to deliver superb content and reach our readers in new ways, we are proud to announce the launch of The Tico Times Publications Group. This new division will publish English-language and bilingual books on a variety of topics related to Costa Rica, including some writing and reportage from the newspaper itself.The Tico Times Publications Group begins this exciting new era with the release of “The Green Season,” a collection of essays, profiles, and travel stories written by former staff writer Robert Isenberg during his first year in Costa Rica. Isenberg, 35, is now living in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Kylan, and working as a freelance writer. We caught up with our old colleague to discuss mutual food nostalgia, Costa Rica and the writing life. Excerpts follow.First things first. What’s the latest delicious Mexican dish you ate? Wait, don’t tell me. I’ll be too jealous. OK, tell me.You asked for it. I went to this place called Taco Guild, which is built into a converted church in downtown Phoenix. I had two tacos, the “pork adovada” with mango jicama relish, and the “Duck Confit,” which was slathered in chile aioli and blue cheese. These were perhaps the most delicious tacos I’ve ever eaten in my life. But the real kicker is the “street corn,” which is basically corn on the cob covered in cheese and cayenne pepper. I call it “Tex Mex à la Hïpsteur.”You monster. All right. How did “The Green Season” come to be? You were writing these individual pieces as a reporter, but at what point did you think, Hmm, there could be a book here?I don’t think I’ve ever met an expat who didn’t dream of writing a book. Costa Rica is such an invigorating place, and almost everyone I’ve encountered in Costa Rica – Tico and expat – just overflowed with astonishing stories. Before I even moved there, I was so interested in writing a book about Costa Rica that I applied for a Fulbright to do just that. The Fulbright people had to reject me three times before I finally gave up. Instead, I ended up writing for The Tico Times, which was much harder, much more intimate, and much more fulfilling than I think the Fulbright would have been. I got to work in a bilingual office. I got to hear about major events before anyone else. Every reporter in that newsroom became my mentor and friend. Every day I woke up inspired and ready for action. From there, a book was the natural next step. But the desire had incubated for years.Once you had that goal in mind, did that inform the kind of features you chose or sought out in any way? Author Robert Isenberg. (Courtesy of Robert Isenberg)It’s funny. The original manuscript was something like 400 pages long, because I wanted to include every article I liked. On the second pass, I became a lot pickier, but I wanted the book to represent a range of styles and topics. Costa Rica is a diverse place. You turn a corner, and everything changes – the landscape, the weather, the wildlife, even the dialect. I wanted the book to reflect that. You’re right: There were some assignments I accepted because I thought, “This would work really well in a book one day.” But as you know, reporters never know what they’re going to find. My most heartfelt story in the book is about Salvando Corazones, the halfway house for young girls. It might be my proudest achievement as a journalist. Visiting the halfway house was a powerful experience, but writing the story felt like divine intervention. It surpassed all my expectations. Only later did I think, “This story has to be in the book. It’s just too important not to be.”Did you have any particular inspiration along the way, or books you were hoping to echo?I read all kinds of stuff, but my very favorite kind of book is very specific – single-author collections of previously published essays. The classic example is Joan Didion’s “Slouching Toward Bethlehem,” which pretty much every nonfiction student has to read at least six times in college. But some similar collections are David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster,” John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Pulphead,” Sarah Vowell’s “The Partly Cloudy Patriot,” David Rakoff’s “Fraud,” Susan Orlean’s “My Kind of Place” – the list goes on an on. A lot of people avoid these books, because they find them “piecemeal” and “uneven,” but I eat them for breakfast. Each book is written in the first person, and the writer is a kind of character, poking around, experiencing things. But the writer is rarely the subject. None of these books are memoirs, exactly. They evolve like a good conversation, anecdote by anecdote, and they coalesce into something greater than the sum of their parts.Do you have a favorite chapter in the book, or a favorite moment or idea?“Saving Hearts” is my proudest, but picking a favorite isn’t possible. It’s like picking your favorite offspring. But one standout is “City by the Sea,” about a visit with my friend Beto to Puerto Limón. Most tourists avoid Puerto Limón, and most Ticos shrug their shoulders at it. Everyone knows that the Caribbean coast is under-reported, and most of that news is negative. I wanted to write a story that celebrated Limón. Sure, it’s a rough town, and it’s poor and weather-beaten. But it reminds me so much of Pittsburgh, my very favorite place on Earth. I really want that city to experience a renaissance, and in a way that benefits the people who already live there. And long after that renaissance happens, I hope someone will find “The Green Season” in an archive somewhere and say, “Wow, so that’s what it used to be like. Look how far we’ve come!”You wrote so memorably about what you’d miss about Costa Rica in your letter to your future children. Now that you’re away, what are the things you find you really do miss? Mostly, I miss my friends and colleagues. But I also miss casado lunches. They were such a staple of my existence, not just because they were cheap and nutritious and always available, but also because they were an excuse to hang out with my compañeros. More than anything else, those lunches were what brought people together. We’d spend an hour or two talking about anything under the sun. We’d drink a gallon of fruit juice and follow it up with coffee. We’d tell off-color jokes and gossip about the neighborhood. I feel like I remember every soda, from Tamarindo to Puerto Viejo, because every lunch was so memorable and different. At lunch, I could be social with people I never encountered in any other context.Have you had any “Oh wait, I’m not in Costa Rica anymore” moments? You know, using Spanish out of context, panicking when you forget your umbrella and then realizing you’re in Arizona?The craziest culture shock was driving. Once we bought our new car in Arizona, my primal brain wanted me to drive like a chepeño. But this is absurd, because roads in Phoenix are six lanes wide, smoothly paved, clearly marked, and motorcyclists use passing lanes. The thing is, I’ve come to respect Costa Rican drivers more than ever. A lot of Phoenician drivers are terrible. They’re courteous and aggressive at all the wrong times. They drift from one lane to another, as if they’ve forgotten there are other vehicles on the road. They drive like they just took a sedative and are steering with their teeth. In contrast, San José drivers are intense, but they’re really skilled. I never drove so well as I did in Costa Rica. To be honest, I’m pretty nostalgic for it. I almost miss the rotundas.If we flew you back to Costa Rica right now, what’s the first place you’d go, to do what?Well, first I’d spend a couple of hedonistic nights in San José, hanging out with good friends. As my Dad likes to say, it’s not the place, it’s the people. After that, I would beeline to Sámara. I only visited there once, and I never had the chance to go back. It’s such a wonderful town, such cool people, and the beach is spectacular. I have such fond memories of that visit. It’s become mythic to me.How do you think you’ll look back at your time in Costa Rica in terms of its role in your writing life, its impact on the way you approach your work?When I tell people in the United States that I lived about two years in Costa Rica, they smile conspiratorially, because they think I spent the whole time chugging ayahuasca and having hammock-orgies on the beach. My life in Costa Rica was a dream come true, but most of my success was professional. After a decade of freelancing, The Tico Times gave me my first staff writer position. They gave me my first press badge, desk, living-wage salary and health benefits. For the first time, I didn’t have to beg an editor to write a story and then wait three months for a response. I’d say, “I want to write about sea turtles,” and my editor would reply, “Go for it.” Now that I’ve experienced that level of freedom and support, my standards are much higher. I expect more from a workplace. I feel more ownership of the work I produce. Now that I’m 35, mid-career, it feels really good. And it was my tenure in Costa Rica that made that possible.What do you think people will get from this book?A lot of people have written in English about their experiences in Costa Rica. Many of these books are memoirs about self-discovery. “The Green Season” has those elements, but I also want readers to learn things they might never learn otherwise. The vast majority of tourists see Brunca masks in the souvenir shops and have no idea where they came from. Most students never read Luis Chaves or know his name. People fly out of Juan Santamaría Airport without ever learning who Juan Santamaría was or why he was important. “The Green Season” is not the book about Costa Rica. Expats tend to be really captivating people, and their stories are generally amazing. But I hope that people flip through “The Green Season” and think, “Wow, I never knew that.” Or: “Wow, I never thought about it in that way.” Or: “Wow, I really felt like I was there.” If only one reader finishes the book and feels enriched or inspired, I’ll have done my job.“The Green Season” is available in paperback format at The Tico Times Store (for customers in Costa Rica); it is also available from in both paperback and Kindle e-book formats. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

More than 11 million Costa Ricans live in poverty

first_imgMore than 1.1 million Costa Ricans live in poverty, according to the latest household survey from the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC), released Thursday.Extreme poverty reached its highest recorded rate in the last six years, according to the annual report on poverty in Costa Rica.The 2015 Household Survey reported an overall poverty rate of 21.7 percent, slightly lower than the 22.4 percent reported in 2014. Meanwhile, extreme poverty continues to rise — from 5.8 percent of the population in 2010 to 7.2 percent in 2015.The report was a mixed bag for the country, depending on location. Income for rural families was up 4.1 percent, to an average of ₡678,682 ($1,285) per month, but urban families saw a 1.2 percent decrease in income, to ₡1,125,672 per month ($2,100). The GINI coefficient, which measures inequality, remained steady at 0,516 overall but rose in rural areas over the past year, indicating a wider income gap.Public assistance to poor families also increased during the last year by 9.3 percent per household on average and 6.9 percent per person.The report had some clear positive notes. Households in the Chorotega region — the area made up of Guanacaste province and the lower part of the Nicoya peninsula that belongs to Puntarenas — saw a nearly 22 percent jump in income over the previous year, to ₡830,707 per month or roughly $1,550. The rise in income was mirrored by a drop in poverty from 33.2 percent in 2104 to 27 percent in 2015.Extreme poverty there fell from 12.1 percent in 2014 to 10.4 percent in 2015. INEC reported that improved employment indicators and a reduction in the average household size were contributors to the spike in income.INEC also released a profile of Costa Rica’s poor. Poor Costa Ricans are more likely to live in a single-mother household and have a higher-than-average number of children under 5 years old and dependents (children under 14 years old or adults over 65 years old living in the same home). More than 77 percent of poor Costa Ricans work in the informal sector and have roughly three years less schooling than their peers who are not poor. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica poverty hits young people the hardest, says new survey Troubling statistics: Nearly a quarter of Costa Ricans live in poverty Costa Rica is 20 percent more expensive than other Latin American countries Costa Rica unveils partnership with Oxford University to tackle persistent povertylast_img read more

Costa Rica President Solís named Shark Enemy of the Year

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica says it will support new shark protections despite agreements with fishermen Could tide finally be turning for shark fin demand in China? Following public outcry, Costa Rica temporarily blocks exports of hammerhead shark fins Costa Rica declines to vote on shark protections at international convention In a ceremony in Germany on Saturday, the conservation groupSharkproject International awarded Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís the “Shark Enemy of the Year Award.” The acerbic accolade is given each year to a public figure deemed by environmental groups to have done the most to hinder protections for global shark species.Environmental groups announced Solís’ nomination for the “award” in November with a full-page advertisement in the daily newspaper La Nación. Among the reasons they listed for the nomination were the Solís administration’s promise to fishing groups that it would no longer support additional protections of shark species in international conventions and the adjustment of minimum catch size requirements.The Solís administration has rejected the award, and claimed its new shark fishing policies are an attempt to alleviate coastal poverty. The government said Monday that the Solís administration “has assumed energetic global leadership in terms of species conservation at the international level.” The government cited as an example its push to include two species of hammerhead shark and the silky shark in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, which regulates trade of threatened species. That lobbying effort took place in 2013, before Solís was president.Solís is the second Costa Rican president to receive the Shark Enemy of the Year Award, following former President Abel Pacheco in 2006, who was criticized for failing to act against the country’s then-rampant shark-finning industry. In 2013, Solís’ predecessor, President Laura Chinchilla, was given the positive Shark Guardian of the Year Award, for closing down shark-finning operations on the Costa Rican Pacific coast.As is typical of the award’s recipients, Solís did not attend the ceremony. Instead, Sharkproject International will mail the president his rusty metal shark fin trophy. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Reaching for the stars Costa Ricans role in space exploration

first_imgRelated posts:Tico Times: Letters to the Editor (Dec. 21, 2018) Tico Times: Letters to the Editor (Dec. 28, 2018) Tico Times: Letters to the Editor (Jan. 11, 2019) ‘School of second chances’ opens in Costa Rica Last September, the book “To the Stars: Costa Rica in NASA” was launched by the Costa Rican Institute of Technology’s publishing house. This bilingual book, which I co-authored, introduces readers to the Costa Ricans who were hired by NASA or work(ed) at NASA centers as contractors.Their stories are related in an easy-to-read interview format and provide concrete advice from 10 exceptional Costa Ricans who achieved their NASA dreams as engineers, scientists and technicians.I recently returned from Pasadena, where I visited NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, the workplace of four Ticos) and the California Institute of Technology.What I’ve been up to since the book launched last September: Co-author Ana Luisa Monge-Naranjo and I have embarked upon a series of book workshops with Costa Rican elementary and high school students.  Our next workshops are at the University of Costa Rica planetarium, United World College and the Marriot Hotel, Los Sueños. One of our main priorities is to work with rural populations so we are grateful to the Los Sueños Foundation for organizing a workshop for students from Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.  Two personalities from our book, Andres Mora and Jeannette Benavides, will be videoconferencing directly with the students at that event. It is a lot of fun making students aware of their Costa Rican NASA heroes as most only know of Franklin Chang. One of the most frequent comments we hear from students is, “I didn’t know there were so many [Ticos in NASA].” It’s a great feeling to be part of this awakening.About my recent invitation to JPL: I was invited by Andrea Angrum, who has worked at JPL for 33 years and has vast experience with public outreach and education programs — including the Voyager mission. JPL is highly secure facility; visiting it requires vetting before entry is granted, and an authorized guide has to accompany visitors at all times. I am very grateful to Andrea and Fernando Peralta for dedicating so much of their time to my visit. At JPL, I met two of the Costa Ricans profiled in our book (Victor Mora and Alfredo Valverde) as well as people from the Dawn and Voyager missions. Victor Mora and Bruce Callow share a fun moment between stops at JPL. Courtesy Bruce CallowOver the past 3 years, the Voyager and Dawn outreach teams, as well as Sandra Cauffman and Jeannette Benavides, have actively supported my outreach work with Costa Rican students. This has produced some thought provoking interactions and created personal connections between students and people at NASA.Read more in The Tico Times:NASA pioneer answers student questionsNASA’s Dawn mission inspires Costa Rican students Costa Rican students get surprise trip of a lifetimeNASA dreams come true for Costa Rican teensVisiting JPL allowed me to complete a circuit that I inadvertently began three years ago, when I started writing about Costa Ricans in NASA for The Tico Times. I saw where spaceships and Mars rovers are built by people like Alejandro and Joseph Mora of San Antonio de Desamparados. It was extraordinary to see the spacecraft assembly facility where the Cassini spacecraft was constructed and have Victor Mora (also of San Antonio de Desamparados) explain the process to me.I observed technicians building the Mars 2020 rover, which will take the search for past and present life on Mars to the next level. Blue Valley School graduate Alfredo Valverde  gave me a briefing about JPL’s Deep Space Network Mission Control Center that supports NASA’s interplanetary spacecraft missions. Data from all over the solar system streams into telescopes in California, Australia and Spain and it’s all managed from that room. No surprise that it is also known as the “Center of the Universe.”I look forward to sharing these kinds of experiences with Costa Rican students in our upcoming workshops.What I learned from my visit to JPL:  I was in awe, imagining what has been accomplished in that room and what will be coming in the next 20 years and beyond. On November 26, the InSight lander will touch down on Mars.  I am very excited about the Europa Clipper mission, which will search for life on that icy moon of Jupiter. Alfredo Valverde made important contributions to the development of that mission.My favorite JPL mission over the past three years has been Dawn, which explored two worlds in the asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.  On Oct. 31, Dawn officially completed its mind-boggling 11-year mission. I paid my personal respects to its vast accomplishments when I met Mission Director and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman. Marc wrote about the emotional end of the mission in this report.Other mission teams I visited: My final stop was with the Voyager mission, which operates out of an annex facility just outside of JPL.  Their team recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of their record-breaking interplanetary adventure.  I was 12 years old when the Voyager probes were launched in 1977, and I have followed their progress ever since. Voyager 1 and 2 are now venturing into interstellar space and proving the endurance of 1970s technology. It was an honor to meet several Voyager team members, including the legendary Larry Zottarelli, who was recently brought out of retirement to help the mission continue successfully.About my visit to Caltech: It is a very open campus, and it lives and breathes space exploration. I attended two fascinating JPL seminars, one of which was given by Peruvian-born JPL senior software engineer Melissa Soriano.  After the seminar, Melissa and I discussed her outreach experiences with students in Peru and the important impact Hispanic people make at NASA every day, both on the job and as role models in their home communities. I had an excellent meeting with Monique L. Thomas, Director of Caltech’s Center for Diversity, who was delighted to learn about “To the Stars: Costa Rican in NASA,” and views it as a valuable resource for motivating and galvanizing Hispanic students. Monique L. Thomas, Program Coordinator at Caltech’s Center for Diversity, and Bruce Callow. Courtesy Bruce CallowWe are in the early stages of planning events around the book including with our Costa Rican JPL-ers.Final thoughts: I look forward to increasing the interactions between Costa Rican students, NASA and other space agencies, and spreading the good news as far as we can.  The next generations of Costa Ricans and kids from all over Latin America are already getting ready for their turn to work at the “Center of the Universe.” Courtesy Bruce CallowBruce Callow is a Canadian communications consultant and teacher who does space education outreach work on behalf of NASA.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 Commentslast_img read more

Bangladesh opposition protests jailed activists

first_img Top holiday drink recipes Associated PressDHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) – Hundreds of opposition protesters rallied Sunday in Bangladesh’s capital to demand that authorities release 33 of their leaders and find a missing opposition official.Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia led the protest in downtown Dhaka as the activists staged a six-hour symbolic hunger strike. The protesters chanted “Down with the autocratic government” and “Free our leaders.” 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements In April, the opposition enforced five days of nationwide general strikes to protest Ali’s disappearance.Political tensions have risen sharply since Ali, an organizing secretary in Zia’s party, and his driver went missing from a street in Dhaka on April 17.Local rights groups have counted at least 22 disappearances this year and more than 50 since 2010, mostly of politicians. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have urged the government to investigate.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Top Stories Similar protests took place in all major cities and towns across the country Sunday.The 18-party opposition alliance led by Zia accuses the government of manipulating courts and of abducting one of its leaders, Elias Ali. The government denies the allegations.On Thursday, bomb blasts and arrests occurred as the alliance enforced a nationwide general strike protesting a court order rejecting bail for 33 jailed opposition leaders in an arson case. The leaders include former Cabinet ministers and the acting secretary-general of Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party. The opposition says the arson charge is politically motivated.The opposition has also set a June 10 ultimatum for the government to restore a caretaker government system to oversee national elections due in 2014.Zia told her supporters Sunday that the opposition would not participate in the elections unless a nonpartisan government is in place.Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government has repeatedly refused to restore the 15-year-old system it scrapped last year. The opposition says the move was part of a plan to rig the elections. The government says it did so to abide by a Supreme Court ruling that the system contradicts the spirit of the constitution.last_img read more

4th tunnel found in Ariz near USMexico border

first_imgNOGALES, Ariz. (AP) – U.S. authorities have unearthed an unfinished border tunnel near Nogales, Ariz., making it the fourth tunnel found in a week.Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Amber Cargile says authorities found the incomplete tunnel on Friday and that it didn’t appear to be in use.Authorities believe the tunnel’s aim was to smuggle drugs into the U.S.Earlier this week, federal officials found three sophisticated drug-smuggling tunnels equipped with lighting and ventilation. Sponsored Stories The 240-yard tunnel in Arizona showed a level of sophistication not typically associated with other crude smuggling passageways that tie into storm drains in the state.“When you see what is there and the way they designed it, it wasn’t something that your average miner could put together,” said Douglas Coleman, special agent in charge of the Phoenix division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “You would need someone with some engineering expertise to put something together like this.”As Thursday’s massive pot seizure in Tijuana demonstrates, tunnels have become an increasingly common way to smuggle enormous loads of heroin, marijuana and other drugs into the country. More than 70 passages have been found on the border since October 2008, surpassing the number of discoveries in the previous six years.More than 150 secret tunnels have been found along the border since 1990, the vast majority of them incomplete, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Raids last November on two tunnels linking San Diego and Tijuana netted a combined 52 tons of marijuana on both sides of the border.The latest Arizona tunnel was discovered after state police pulled over a man who had 39 pounds of methamphetamine in his vehicle and mentioned the strip mall. Two were found in the San Diego-Tijuana area, and another was found in a vacant strip mall storefront in the southwestern Arizona city of San Luis.Cargile says the investigation into the Nogales tunnel is ongoing. No arrests have been made.THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.Three drug smuggling tunnels equipped with lighting and ventilation _ including one with a railcar system _ have been discovered along the U.S.-Mexico border in less than a week, the latest signs that cartels are building sophisticated passages to escape heightened detection above ground.Two of the tunnels were incomplete, including one that the Mexican army found in a Tijuana warehouse Thursday with more than 40 tons of marijuana at the entry. The passage extended nearly 400 yards, including more than 100 yards into the United States.Soldiers found the Tijuana warehouse with four moving trucks full of marijuana, a trailer full of dirt, pickaxes, wheelbarrows, drills and other excavation equipment. The tunnel was equipped with a railcar system.The Mexican army said three people were detained.It was the second, major incomplete tunnel discovered in the San Diego-Tijuana area in two days and the third along the U.S.-Mexico border since Saturday, when a completed passage was found in a vacant strip mall storefront in the southwestern Arizona city of San Luis. U.S. authorities were investigating the tunnel discovered Wednesday for three months, said ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack.It takes six months to a year to build a tunnel, authorities say. Workers use shovels and pickaxes to slowly dig through the soil, sleeping in buildings where the tunnels begin until the job is done. Sometimes they use pneumatic tools.The tunnels are concentrated along the border in California and Arizona. San Diego is popular because its clay-like soil is easy to dig. In Nogales, Ariz., smugglers tap into vast underground drainage canals.San Diego’s Otay Mesa area has the added draw that there are plenty of nondescript warehouses on both sides of the border to conceal trucks getting loaded with drugs. Its streets hum with semitrailers by day and fall silent on nights and weekends.___Billeaud reported from Phoenix.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona The tunnel was found beneath a water tank in a storage room and stretched across the border to an ice-plant business in the Mexican city of San Luis Rio Colorado. It was reinforced with four-by-six beams and lined with plywood.Investigators believe the tunnel wasn’t in operation for long because there was little wear on its floor, and 55-gallon drums containing extracted dirt hadn’t been removed from the property.Coleman said investigators can’t yet say for sure if the tunnel, estimated to cost $1.5 million to build, was operated by the powerful Sinaloa cartel. Still, authorities suspect cartel involvement because the group from Sinaloa controls smuggling routes into Arizona.“Another cartel wasn’t going to roll into that area and put down that kind of money in Sinaloa territory,” Coleman said. “Nobody is going to construct this tunnel without significant cartel leadership knowing what’s going on.”On Wednesday, the Mexican army found an incomplete tunnel in Tijuana estimated to be more than 150 yards long, beginning inside a building that advertised as a recycling plant. .The Mexican army said two tractor-trailers were found inside the building, along with shovels, drills, pickaxes, buckets and other excavation tools. The walls were lined with dirt and wide enough for one person to get through comfortably. Top Stories How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Niger gives Gadhafis son permission to leave

first_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments   Share   4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Top Stories DAKAR, Senegal (AP) – A lawyer representing one of the sons of toppled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi confirmed that Niger has given al-Saadi Gadhafi permission to leave the country.Lawyer Nick Kaufman told The Associated Press by telephone that he had received a letter from Niger’s foreign affairs minister saying he had no objection to letting al-Saadi Gadhafi leave, so long as another nation is willing to receive him. “He’s been given permission to leave by the foreign minister _ that is correct,” said Kaufman. Al-Saadi fled to Niger last year as his father’s regime crumbled. He has been held under what Kaufman described as “virtual house arrest” since then.The younger Gadhafi is still the subject of a United Nations travel ban. He is not wanted by the International Criminal Court.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top holiday drink recipes Sponsored Stories last_img read more

APNewsBreak Daughter of Mexican drug lord held

first_img Top Stories Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, 26, was indicted with his father on multiple drug trafficking charges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in August 2009.Last month, the U.S. Treasury Department said it was placing financial sanctions on Guzman’s wife, Griselda Lopez Perez. The department said at the time that she “plays a key role” in the Sinaloa cartel.Lopez Perez was the second wife of Guzman designated under the U.S. Kingpin Act, which bars U.S. citizens from making business transactions with that person and allows authorities to freeze their assets in the United States.In June, the department imposed sanctions on Maria Alejandrina Hernandez Salazar, who it also described a wife of Guzman.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The Los Angeles Times reported last year that Guzman’s wife _ former beauty queen Emma Coronel _ traveled to Southern California and gave birth to twin girls at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles. The newspaper said Coronel, then 22, holds U.S. citizenship, which entitles her to travel freely to the U.S. and to use its hospitals.“You kind of surmise that there’s some family connection back to Southern California,” Eric Olson, associate director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute said of the daughter’s arrest.The arrest and investigation of Guzman Salazar were handled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the nation’s largest border crossing in San Diego.A bail hearing was scheduled Oct. 25.The Sinaloa cartel, named after the Pacific coast state of the same name, controls trafficking along much of the U.S. border with Mexico, particularly in Western states.Authorities in the U.S. and Mexico have said they believe Guzman has children with several partners, though it’s not clear how many. The U.S. Treasury Department has put sanctions on sons Ivan Archivaldo “El Chapito” Guzman Salazar, 31, and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, 22. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement A woman under that name was charged Monday in federal court in San Diego. Kelly Thornton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office, said she could not confirm that the woman charged was Guzman’s daughter.Guzman Salazar hired Jan Ronis, whose roster of clients with links to organized crime has included Benjamin Arellano Felix, the fallen leader of the eponymous drug cartel that was one of Mexico’s most powerful. Ronis said he was just learning about the case and declined to comment on the charges.The complaint said Guzman Salazar attempted to enter the country on foot, presenting a non-immigrant visa contained in a Mexican passport. She told authorities that she intended to go to Los Angeles to give birth to her child.Guzman Salazar told authorities that she was pregnant, according to the U.S. officials.The significance of the arrest will depend on what Guzman Salazar can tell authorities about her father, like whether she can provide phone numbers, said David Shirk, director of the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute.“We don’t know exactly what she knows,” said Shirk. “It may just be an interesting factoid in the war on drugs or it could be a vital clue for law enforcement … This is the kind of random development that could potentially shift the tides.” Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories center_img 0 Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Associated PressSAN DIEGO (AP) – The daughter of one of the world’s most sought-after drug lords has been charged with trying to enter the United States on someone else’s passport, U.S. officials said Monday.Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman Salazar, 31, was arrested Friday at San Diego’s San Ysidro port of entry and charged with fraud and misuse of visas, permits and other documents.Two U.S. officials said Monday that she told authorities her father was Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the arrest publicly. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Kenya govt issues stern warning to intl media

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission cleared Prime Minister Raila Odinga and running mate Vice president Kalonzo Musyoka as candidates for the Coalition for Reform and Democracy. It also listed presidential candidate Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former government minister and vice presidential candidate William Ruto as candidates for the Jubilee Alliance.Kenyatta and Ruto face crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court for allegedly orchestrating the post poll chaos after the flawed 2007 presidential vote. A high court will determine the candidates’ compliance for the positions.A total of eight candidates will vie for the presidency in the March 4 elections. Candidates must get 50 percent of the vote plus one in order to be elected. Otherwise the top two candidates will compete head-to-head in a runoff vote in April, the same month that Kenyatta and Ruto face trial at The Hague.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Parents, stop beating yourself up Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressNAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Kenya’s government spokesman appeared to make a veiled threat Wednesday against international journalists while announcing a tough stance on information deemed divisive surrounding nationwide elections March 4.Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki told a gathering of international reporters that the government will summon journalists who publish stories that have a polarizing effect. He did not say what action would then be taken. Kariuki told the journalists: “We will set you on fire before you set us on fire.” He said the media and pollsters were the catalysts of violence that rocked Kenya following a disputed presidential vote five years ago.“We believe to a greater extend that 2007-08 (violence) was as a result of a lot of information that journalists wrote and passed on to our people,” he said.Tom Rhodes of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Kariuki’s threat to set journalists on fire and his accusations that the foreign press instigated some of Kenya’s postelection violence was “utterly reprehensible and unbecoming of a government spokesman.”“The government spokesmen should refrain from empty accusations and explain specifically how the foreign press was responsible for inciting the postelection violence and respect Kenya’s constitution that provides ample provisions for press freedom,” Rhodes said.More than 1,000 people died and 600,000 were driven from their homes following the December 2007 vote. The government is seeking to prevent a repeat of violence during this year’s election.Meanwhile, the top two contenders for Kenya’s presidency were officially registered Wednesday by Kenya’s electoral authority. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

Syria state media says army kills 175 rebels

first_imgThe Observatory, which has been documenting Syria’s nearly 3-year-old conflict by relying on activists’ reports on the ground, says the number of those killed likely will rise because 89 rebels have been reported missing.(Copyright 2014 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 BEIRUT (AP) – State media in Syria says army troops have killed 175 rebels in an ambush south of the capital, Damascus.Syrian state news agency SANA reported Wednesday that the attack happened at dawn in the opposition-held area of eastern Ghouta.SANA quoted a field commander in the area saying most of rebels belonged to the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front rebel group.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the killings, saying that 70 rebels were killed in Wednesday’s assault. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories center_img Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img read more

Mediator Main rebel group did not sign Mali peace accord

first_img 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Mohamed Mahmoud Ag Ousmane, who said he was a member of a group within the separatist coalition, said that there was still time for other groups to sign.“We hope that the other groups come to sign the peace accord in their own turn,” he said.The Coordination of Azawad Movements, known by its French initials CMA, however, said in a statement that none of its members were represented at the signing in Bamako.International mediators had hoped that a peace agreement could bring stability to north Mali after several chaotic years. But a growing number of attacks in recent weeks had cast doubts on all groups signing this planned accord. The violence has left more than 40 people dead since April 27, according to government figures.The United Nations said in a statement that it welcomed the accord, but that mediators should work on provisions that would bring all parties to sign.Ban called on mediators “to identify those provisions of the agreement that are achievable pending a signature by all parties,” the statement said.The United States welcomed the formal commitment, and urged “all Malian parties to sign the Accord to underscore their concrete commitment to peace,” according to a U.S. State Department statement. Sponsored Stories A number of African presidents and diplomats came to Bamako for the peace accord signing, including Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.___Associated Press reporter Carley Petesch in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Bruce Whitehouse, associate professor of anthropology at Lehigh University and Mali expert, said the accord without the major separatist groups doesn’t mean much.“They are the people who started the last rebellion and the ones before that,” he said, adding that there likely wasn’t enough support in the fractious separatist demographic.“I see the status quo with skirmishes going on with the line of control between government-held and rebel-held territory,” he said, adding that the U.N. will have a more difficult time policing the sides.The peace deal came after months of negotiations in Algeria between Mali’s government, Tuareg separatist groups and armed groups allied with the government.All parties had reaffirmed a cease-fire back in February during talks in Algeria. But on April 27, a pro-government armed group took over the Tuareg town of Menaka, sparking the Tuareg rebels and coalition separatists to begin attacks, hitting towns including Goundam, Tenenkou and Lere.Some factions of traditionally nomadic Tuaregs, wanting greater autonomy for the country’s northern region, have risen up against the central government in Mali several times since the country’s independence from France in 1960. The most recent uprising opened the door for jihadists to seize half of Mali after government forces scattered in 2012. That prompted a French military intervention in 2013. A peace accord was also signed in Burkina Faso in 2013 that has been repeatedly violated. Another cease-fire was reached in the summer of 2014. BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Mali’s main separatist Tuareg rebel group did not sign a peace accord that the government and other armed groups agreed to on Friday, dimming prospects of stability in the West African country.Algerian foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra, who represents the mediators, said Mali’s government, allied armed groups and two groups under the separatist coalition signed the agreement, but three groups in the coalition, including the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, did not. Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more