Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: The park is currently open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. This includes Jaggar Museum (open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with the outdoor overlook open until 10:00 p.m.), Kilauea Visitor Center (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), and other areas listed at https://www.nps-gov/havo. Residents and visitors can still view the lava activity and glow from Halemaumau Crater. Air Quality: Air quality on the island of Hawaii remains largely unchanged with this situation. However, air quality near where the lava is flowing can be hazardous (SO2-sulfur dioxide), and officials are continuing to monitor air quality. To view SO2 conditions in real-time across the state, go to http://www.hiso2index.info/. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> The latest volcano update from the Island of Hawaii’s Visitors Bureau Share Accommodations and Activities: All accommodations, activities and attractions on the island are also operating normally, with the exception of those in the area affected by the lava activity. Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Posted by Accessibility in East Hawaii: All residents of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions are required to evacuate. Pohoiki Road is closed from the intersection at Highway 132 down to Highway 137 to allow evacuation efforts of residents in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions to proceed whenever possible. Temporary flight restrictions are in place for most of lower Puna; drones will be confiscated in this area. Lava Tree State Monument and Mackenzie State Recreation Area are closed until further notice. As a safety precaution, the County of Hawaii has closed the Kalapana Viewing Area until further notice as well. PUNA, HAWAII – As lava continues to pour into the streets of a remote area on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Island of Hawaii’s Visitors Bureau has released an update, assuring travellers that “there is absolutely no reason at this time to change or alter their leisure or business plans.”According to Ross Birch, executive director of the Bureau, all of the Hawaiian Islands are unaffected by Kilauea volcano except a remote are on the island of Hawaii’s east side. Out of the island’s 4,028 square miles, only less than a 10-square-mile area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions in Puna are affected.Here’s what travellers need to know:Air Access: All flights into Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole – KOA (west) and Hilo International Airport – ITO (east) are operating normally. Eruption Location: The volcanic activity and where lava has flowed is limited to an isolated area in lower Puna on the island’s east side. This is more than 100 miles away from the western Kohala and Kona Coasts, where the island’s major tourist accommodations and resorts are located. This is the area furthest from the current activity. In addition, Hilo town is approximately 20 miles away and unaffected by the volcano.More news: TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamTravellers planning a trip to the island of Hawaii can contact the Hawaii Tourism United States Call Center at 1-800-GOHAWAII for more information. For other updates, go to http://hawaiitourismauthority.org/news/special-alert/.
Travelweek Group TORONTO — National Geographic Expeditions and G Adventures have announced new destinations and tours for 2019, all available for sale starting this week. In the past year the National Geographic Journeys trips have delivered the strongest growth of all of G Adventures’ trip styles, says the travel company, with a 10% year-over-year increase among Canadian travellers, and a 25% surge in booking sales compared to the year before. Peru, South Africa, Costa Rica, Morocco and Thailand were the top five most popular destinations booked by Journeys travellers from Canada.“The Journeys story is all about growth. Compared to even two years ago, bookings of these trips have soared more than 100% and we’re adding more product to keep up with demand,” says Aizaz Sheikh, Canadian Marketing Director for G Adventures. “In terms of the trend lines, these tours are proving to be one of the most attractive and sellable experiences we offer the travel agent community because of their focus on comfortable accommodations and exclusive experiences. An impressive 58% of Journeys’ Canadian sales were driven by our partner travel agents and advisors, with an average spend of nearly $3,500 per customer.”In terms of the typical Journeys traveller from Canada, the average person is 55 years old and has booked a trip of 12 days long with five months lead time. A strong majority of those Canadian travellers has been women – who make up 64% of Journeys buyers.Beginning in January, travellers will have the chance to take advantage of Bolivia’s recently-improved tourism infrastructure and experience its stunning landscapes, including the Uyuni Salt Flats, while learning about its rich cultural heritage and visiting one of the highest cities on Earth. Also new in South America for 2019, there’s a tour of Peru’s archaeologically and ecologically-wondrous north that will have travellers exploring cloud forests, hiking a huge waterfall and peering back into pre-Incan times.An additional combination tour of the northern Chachapoyas region, coupled with a visit to iconic Machu Picchu by train, offers a 16-day deep-dive into life in Peru.In Europe, National Geographic Journeys builds on growing international interest in Portugal as a vacation destination with two new tours that are eight or 15 days in length. The first, focusing on Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto, showcases the country’s food, wine and architecture. The second combines one week in Portugal with another in Spain, adding Alhambra with time for wandering through Seville. According to Portugal’s National Statistics Institute, the country welcomed a record 12.7 million international visitors in 2017. In Europe’s Eastern region, a new tour in Hungary and Romania has its launch point in Budapest before moving on to Transylvania, for a dose of history, culture, myths and legends at Bran Castle.Launched in late 2015, National Geographic Journeys has grown from 70 tours in its initial year to 89 different tours in 55 countries today. Since last fall, a special focus on expanding Journeys tours further into Africa and Asia helped bring new travellers to Tanzania, Botswana, Mongolia and Indonesia.Priced from $1,349 per person and from six to 30 days in length, the 2019 itineraries “are designed for travellers who appreciate having free time and flexibility, but value the structure and security that come with group travel.” “We are thrilled with the strong growth of the Journeys line and are pleased to expand our offerings allowing consumers to experience different parts of the globe,” adds Heather Heverling, Senior Vice President, National Geographic Expeditions. “It feels good to be able to offer people even more ways to connect with the inspiring community programs and fieldwork each of our organizations support.”The new and updated tours for 2019 are:Highlights of Bolivia (8 days, from $2,549)Peru & Bolivia: Machu Picchu to the Salt Flats (16 days, from $4,999)Explore Northern Peru (9 days, from $3,279)Explore Northern Peru & Machu Picchu (16 days, from $5,119)Discover Portugal (8 days, from $2,199)Iconic Portugal & Spain (15 days, from $4,399)Hungary & Romania Highlights (8 days, from $2,529)Discover Central & Eastern Europe (16 days, from $5,099)More news: Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaSee gadventures.com/NGJ-2019 or www.nationalgeographicexpeditions/journeys. Posted by Tags: G Adventures, National Geographic, New Tours Share G Adventures, Nat Geo expand ‘Journeys’ into South America & Europe Monday, September 17, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>
Travelweek Group NEW YORK — Suffering from migraines? Your stomach all tied up in knots? It could be due to Trump-related stress, says a popular hotel booking app.In a promotional move similar to AeroMexico’s ‘DNA Discount’ campaign, TRVL.com has announced that it will be giving away Trump stress balls to every user who books a hotel in Mexico.Why? To take a stand against President Trump’s “damaging rhetoric” when speaking of other people and countries, particularly Mexicans, who he has referred to as “bad hombres”.“We’re running a travel company because we believe that travel makes you more open-minded and understanding, and that travel makes the world a better place,” said TRVL.com founder Jochem Wijnands. “Mr. Trump is doing the exact opposite, he’s polarizing the world. We are speaking out for our values and beliefs.”The idea behind the stress balls is to reward travellers who visit Mexico, in spite of the derogatory language Trump consistently uses. The campaign is also meant to sympathize with the Mexican people and the tourism industry, which the company says are “defenseless” against Trump’s negative statements.More news: Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyHow it works is simple: when a customer books a hotel in Mexico with TRVL and have completed their stay, the company will send a squishy Trump stress ball to their home address.The company encourages customers to book quickly as there are only 1,000 pre-ordered balls. But don’t stress out about it or anything.TRVL is no stranger to controversy and has had its own share. The site has been looking to establish itself here in Ontario but TICO has been working to keep it out. As reported on Travelweek.ca in October 2017, TRVL.com allows consumers to sign up to become so-called ‘TRVL agents’ and earn up to 10% commission on hotels booked by themselves, friends and family. Share Travel site is giving away Trump stress balls to anyone who books a Mexico hotel << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, January 23, 2019 Tags: Promotions, TRVL Posted by
Tags: Deals, Travel Agent Day Travelweek Group Posted by More Travel Agent Day offers from AIC, Playa and Air Canada Thursday, May 2, 2019 Tweet TORONTO — Travel Agent Day offers keep on comin’, with incentives and contests from AIC Hotel Group, Playa Hotels & Resorts and Air Canada.AIC HOTEL GROUPA five-week social media campaign has just been launched, featuring prizes and special incentives each week. Agents are invited to guess what each week’s incentive will be, prompted by a fill-in-the-blank post. The incentive will be revealed later in the day with full details.Agents can follow the campaign via the hashtag #AICLovesAgents on Instagram and Facebook. AIC will reveal details about each ensuing week’s promotion on Thursdays throughout the month of May.PLAYA HOTELS & RESORTSTravel agents are invited to enter Playa’s new Travel Agent Appreciation Sweepstakes, which runs from May 1-31. The grand prize is a four-day, three-night stay of two at the agent’s choice of resorts (excluding Hyatt Ziva Cancun, Hyatt Zilara Cancun, Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana and Sanctuary). Canadian agents must provide a valid IATA number to enter. Go to https://agentcashplus.com/enter.More news: Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongAIR CANADAAir Canada is saying thanks to its valued travel agent community with a campaign running for the duration of May. Starting with a travel agent-exclusive offer on personal travel, travel agents can also enter a contest for a chance to win Economy class tickets any of Air Canada’s 200+ global destinations – no booking necessary. Learn more at aircanada.com/agents.Click here for our complete list of Travel Agent Day offers: http://www.travelweek.ca/news/suppliers-say-thank-you-with-long-list-of-travel-agent-day-incentives/ << Previous PostNext Post >>
Share Groupe Mach makes its interest in Transat official with a rival bid to Air Canada’s Travelweek Group Tuesday, June 4, 2019 Posted by MONTREAL — Air Canada has competition in its bid for Transat, now that a rival suitor has stepped up with an offer worth $14 per share, topping Air Canada’s offer of $13 per share.Quebec-based real estate developer Groupe Mach has come forward with the new bid, causing trading in Transat shares to come to a halt. The shares closed at $11.84 on the TSE on Monday.According to Groupe Mach, the offer is the culmination of a process that began when it approached Transat in January.Groupe Mach’s offer includes a commitment to keep Transat’s head office, executive team and centre of decision-making in Montreal.The news comes almost 3 weeks after Air Canada and Transat announced they had entered into an exclusive agreement, with Air Canada looking to buy the company in a transaction valued at $520 million.On May 16 Transat said it had agreed to a 30-day period of exclusive negotiations with Air Canada pursuant to a letter of intent contemplating a transaction by which Air Canada would acquire all of the shares of Transat at a price of $13 per share.More news: War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upWhen Transat announced on April 30 that it had received interest from more than one company, interested suitors started coming out of the woodwork. One of those suitors was Groupe Mach.At that time, Vincent Chiara, who owns Groupe Mach, said: “We had the idea of building a portfolio in the hospitality industry and they had a platform and projects in their plans to build exactly that,” referring to Transat’s $750-million plan to develop a hotel chain in Mexico’s Riviera Maya and the Caribbean.He said Transat’s fleet of about 40 planes is particularly appealing to Groupe Mach, which until now has focused on Quebec real estate.“They have the means to move the passengers who go to the destination … they have an important capacity to fill rooms and with this capacity, we eliminate a lot of risks for hotel development.“Of course, we want to privatize … our proposal is to buy out all the shareholders,” he added.Groupe Mach also said the transaction would be subject to conditions that include “Transat terminating its current process with Air Canada prior to entering into any definitive binding acquisition agreement with Air Canada.” The Montreal developer also said that no layoffs at Transat or its subsidiaries would result from the would-be deal. “The public markets are not the proper setting for Transat’s 2018-2022 strategic plan, particularly its hotel development strategy which shall require several years for any meaningful returns to be realized in face of pressures of immediate results from the public markets.” The other blockbuster airline deal in the making this year, Onex’s acquisition of WestJet, would take WestJet private.More news: Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTWith the proposed deal, Spanish real estate developer TM Grupo Inmobiliario would contribute about $15 million in cash in exchange for a minority equity stake in Transat after the proposed agreement closed. TM would also roll over its three hotels in Mexico to Transat. With files from The Canadian Press Tags: Air Canada, Groupe Mach << Previous PostNext Post >>
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, in the United States, in cooperation with the nongovernmental organization Mesoamerican Development Institute, this week signed a memorandum of understanding with four Central American universities to establish a research and education consortium known as the Networked Engineering Research Center at UMass Lowell (NERC).Civil and environmental engineering associate professor Kenneth Lee will lead the efforts to develop collaborative engineering and science projects between UMass Lowell, UMass Amherst, the National Autonomous University of Honduras, the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua and the National University of Costa Rica.The Technological University of Panama will join NERC when it signs the agreement later this year.Recognizing the importance of this inter-American partnership, the National Science Foundation awarded a two-year, $45,300 grant to get the project going. “We will focus initially on the sustainable production of biofuels and coffee as well as essential oils, which are used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry,” Lee said. Facebook Comments No related posts.
A chronically ill and pregnant Salvadoran woman whose fetus likely will not survive said Thursday she is to undergo a cesarean section section next week, after authorities barred her from having an abortion.“I feel very well, because now they are going to do it,” she told AFP by telephone, referring to the operation that has been scheduled to take place when she is 26 weeks pregnant.The woman, 22, suffers from lupus, a disease that weakens her immune system, and doctors said that the fetus she carries has anencephaly, a total or partial absence of the brain and the skull, and likely will die upon birth.The woman, who gave her name only as Beatriz, had asked to have an abortion on grounds her own life was in danger, but authorities in El Salvador – where abortions are strictly forbidden – refused.On Wednesday, the country’s Supreme Court refused to petition to terminate the pregnancy, saying the rights of the mother cannot take precedence over those of the unborn child.Beatriz told AFP on Thursday that she was “very nervous” but wanted the cesarean section to ensure her own health and because “the child is not going to live.”She is already the mother of a 2-year-old son.The sentence for violating the abortion ban is 50 years in prison.The case has been highly controversial. The archbishop of San Salvador, José Luis Escobar, asked the court several times not to allow the woman to have an abortion, arguing it would open the gates to more such requests.Feminist groups meanwhile said the high court’s ruling “trampled on the right to life” of Beatriz and the San José-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) on Thursday urged El Salvador to take “urgent measures” to protect the woman’s rights.The IACHR also called on the San Salvador government to allow Beatriz to be seen “by doctors of her choosing,” and to protect the rights of her physicians treating her. Facebook Comments No related posts.
Related posts:Solís blocks added sales tax on national park entrance fees, a decree passed days before he took office Tourism entrepreneurs urge President Solís to block retroactive sales tax Global Entry: Costa Ricans could soon apply for a fast pass through US customs Tourism entrepreneurs oppose license, royalty payments to canopy patent holder The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) along with a group of private-sector companies will promote Costa Rica as a destination for adventure travel at two international fairs in the United States.Hotels and car rental and travel agencies are among the companies that will offer services at the Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show 2014 from Feb. 8-9.According to the ICT, in 2013 some 28,000 people attended this event in California, a state that accounts for 12.9 percent of all U.S. middle- to high-income tourists who see Costa Rica as an ideal vacation destination.Another group of companies will participate in the Boston Globe Travel Show 2014 organized by the U.S. newspaper on Feb. 7-8 at the Seaport World Trade Center.This fair will bring together wholesalers, travel agencies, hotels, airlines, tour operators, tourism officials and others.The U.S. remains Costa Rica’s largest source market of tourists, reporting 929,402 international arrivals in 2013, of which 870,620 arrived by air, according to the ICT.Surveys conducted by that agency at Costa Rica’s two international airports indicate that adventure tours such as those offering zip-lining trips are some of the most coveted activities for U.S. visitors.In 2012, some 53 percent of U.S. tourist who arrived at Daniel Oduber International Airport in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, and 25.2 percent arriving at the Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela, outside the capital, booked zip-lining tours during their trips, the ICT reported.That year, travel website TripAdvisor declared Costa Rica the “Most Popular Adventure Travel Destination,” the ICT reported. Facebook Comments
A group of 14 entrepreneurs from Germany arrived in Costa Rica over the weekend to evaluate investment opportunities in the country, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.The group will visit the country for four days and will meet with officials from public agencies including the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency, Foreign Trade Ministry, Foreign Trade Promotion Office, the Environment Ministry and members of the Technology Institute of Costa Rica.They also will hold business meetings with members of the Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce, the German Chamber of Commerce and an association of companies working in renewable energy sources.The agenda includes a meeting with the president of the state-owned Banco Nacional, Fernando Naranjo, and a group of private companies interested in entering the German market.The embassies of both countries also coordinated a visit to a coffee farm in Alajuela and to a group of high-tech companies already operating in the country.Costa Rica’s ambassador to Berlin, José Joaquín Chaverri, said more than 50,000 German tourists visit the country each year. Costa Rica, meanwhile, sends coffee, bananas and pineapples to Germany as top exports.The German expat community in Costa Rica has some 10,000 residents, Chaverri added. Facebook Comments Related posts:Intel to close Costa Rica chip assembly plant, lay off 1,500 workers Condor Airlines to add weekly Costa Rica – Germany flight Costa Rica’s major league concern Guatemalan coffee exporters hope 2015 will bring better news
Gabriel García Márquez, the Nobel-winning Colombian author who popularized the concept of “magical realism” and told epic stories of love, family and dictatorship in Latin America, died Thursday at the age of 87.Known affectionately as “Gabo,” the author of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “Love in the Time of Cholera” was one of the world’s most popular Latin American novelists and the godfather of a literary movement that witnessed a continent in turmoil following World War II.The longtime journalist was a colorful character who befriended Cuban leader Fidel Castro, was once punched by fellow Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa and had stated that he wrote to make his friends love him.Presidents, writers and celebrities mourned his death.“One thousand years of solitude and sadness for the death of the greatest Colombian of all time,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted.He later declared three days of national mourning.Costa Rica President Laura Chinchilla said she was devastated in a tweet while name-dropping some of her favorite works by the author.“The world has lost one of its greatest visionary writers,” U.S. President Barack Obama said.The cause of death was not revealed but García Márquez had been hospitalized for pneumonia on March 31 and discharged a week later to recover at his Mexico City home.His wife Mercedes and two sons were reportedly by his side at home when he died.The family said his body would be cremated and officials announced a public tribute will be held in Mexico City’s Bellas Artes Palace cultural center Monday.Born March 6, 1927, in the village of Aracataca on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, García Márquez was the son of a telegraph operator.He was raised by his grandparents and aunts in a tropical culture influenced by the heritage of Spanish settlers, indigenous populations and black slaves. His grandfather was a retired colonel.The exotic legends of his homeland inspired him to write profusely. His masterpiece, “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” was translated into 35 languages and sold more than 30 million copies.The book, published in 1967, is a historical and literary saga about a family from the imaginary Caribbean village of Macondo between the 19th and 20th century — a novel that turned the man with the mustache and thick eyebrows into an international star.It was rich in “magical realism,” which García Márquez has described as the notion that behind reality as we perceive it, there is much more going on that we do not understand.‘Without a penny’García Márquez wrote the novel after moving to Mexico City in 1961, taking a long bus ride from New York with his wife, Mercedes Barcha, and son Rodrigo.His second son, Gonzalo, was born a year later in the Mexican capital, where the author lived for more than three decades.He recalled arriving in Mexico City “without a name or a penny in my pocket.”The writer faced financial hardship, working for advertising agencies, penning screenplays and editing small magazines.“As long as there was whiskey, there was no misery,” García Márquez quipped.The novelist owed nine months of rent payments when he penned “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and could barely afford to send the manuscript to his editor in Argentina.García Márquez wore a traditional white liqui-liqui costume with a high collar from his region to receive his Nobel prize in Sweden in 1982.The Nobel committee rewarded him for books “in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts.”In his Nobel speech, García Márquez said it was the “outsized reality” of brutal dictatorships and civil wars in Latin America, “and not just its literary expression,” that got the attention of the Swedish Academy of Letters.His other famous books include “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” “The General in His Labyrinth” and his autobiography “Living to Tell the Tale.”His final novel, “Memories of My Melancholy Whores,” was published in 2004.Journalist, a friend of CastroGarcía Márquez also left his mark in journalism, which he considered “the most beautiful profession in the world.”He founded the Ibero-American New Journalism Foundation in the Colombian port city of Cartagena in 1994.His first job was with Bogotá’s El Espectador newspaper, which published his first short story in 1947, paying him 800 pesos, or less than $0.50 per month.He left for Europe after an article angered the military regime at the time, living in Geneva, Rome and Paris, where he finished the 1961 book “No One Writes to the Colonel.”An admirer of Cuba’s revolution, he became a correspondent for the communist island’s Prensa Latina news agency in Bogotá and New York.He forged a controversial friendship with Castro, who called him “a man with the goodness of a child and a cosmic talent.”But he also worked as an emissary between Castro and another powerful friend, then U.S. President Bill Clinton, in the 1990s.In Mexico, his circle of friends included renowned Mexican writers Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes.“I write so that my friends will love me,” the novelist quipped.García Márquez had a falling out with his friend Vargas Llosa that culminated with the Peruvian novelist punching him outside a Mexico City movie theater in 1976.“We were completely stunned and astonished,” Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska recalled in an interview.Neither one ever revealed the pair had quarreled.Vargas Llosa paid tribute to García Márquez on Thursday, saying: “His novels will survive him and continue gaining readers everywhere.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Texas university acquires Gabriel García Márquez’s personal archive Legendary novelist Gabriel García Márquez leaves hospital, in ‘delicate’ condition Two classic short stories by Gabriel García Márquez that you should read tonight Nobel writer Gabriel García Márquez hospitalized in Mexico
SAN FRANCISCO, California – Snapchat on Monday confirmed that six billion vanishing videos are viewed daily at the service in a three-fold surge from early this year.The highly-valued startup declined to comment on what it thought was powering the rapid growth.“It is a huge number for them,” analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group said of the Snapchat video viewing number. “But, you have to be concerned about the nature of the videos, and if they are illicit in nature, a huge number could go away.”The analyst considered it challenging to make money from videos that vanish after being sent from one person to another, instead of lingering for arrays of people to watch the way they do at online venues such as YouTube or Facebook.Facebook revealed during a quarterly earnings call last week that more than eight billion videos are viewed daily at the leading social network, jumping to a level twice as high as it was early this year.Videos are considered viewed at Snapchat after being displayed for fractions of seconds, while its takes several seconds to achieve that status at Facebook and approximately half-a-minute at YouTube.Snapchat stories and replaysSnapchat’s appeal has been the promise that messages shared disappear shortly after being viewed, providing users a sense of being able to keep pictures or videos private and ephemeral.Last month, Snapchat introduced a “replay” feature for those disappearing messages, giving users an option to get another look at three “snaps” for a fee of 99 cents. The feature was the first by the Los Angeles-based social network to get revenue from its user base in addition to advertising messages.In May, the company said it raised $537 million in a new round of equity funding. The vanishing-message service did not disclose who bought stakes in the Los Angeles-based company, which came at a price estimated to give Snapchat a value of more than $15 billion, according to media reports.Snapchat rejected a $3 billion takeover offer from Facebook in 2013.Snapchat rocketed to popularity in the United States, especially among teenagers, after the initial app was released in September 2011. The smartphone app has since added features, such as letting users in the United States send money to friends by simply typing dollar amounts into new “Snapcash” messages.The feature came from a collaboration between Snapchat and Square, a mobile payments company headed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.Snapchat also added a “Stories” feature that strings together a series of “snaps” to create a narrative that is available for repeated viewing by recipients for 24 hours. Facebook Comments Related posts:Smartphone taxi service hits Costa Rica Costa Rica Supreme Court: You have a right to WhatsApp Twitter has a huge problem — and it’s all in your head Why Google’s new quantum computer could launch an artificial intelligence arms race
A multi-agency group of officials entered theSimón Bolívar Zoo on Monday morning and seized Kivú the lion to take him to what is now his new home at Zoo Ave, a private animal sanctuary located in Alajuela province.The Environment Ministry (MINAE) said in a news release that the 18-year-old lion will live in a new special enclosure with plants, trees, a cave, various platforms and a pond, built in less than a month and following international standards.“Kivú’s new home is a 300-square-meter (some 3,300 square feet) area away from visitors and surrounded by nature. After been exhibited for 18 years, he will no longer be on public display,” adds the news release.Environment Minister Édgar Gutiérrez said the relocation operation was carefully planned.“We were fully aware that it was a risky operation considering that Kivú is a geriatric lion with special conditions that could compromise his health,” he said.The minister noted that they made the decision to relocate the lion along with officials from the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry (MAG). “We took the risk with the only goal of giving Kivú a better quality of life,” he said.OperationThe seizure operation began Monday at 8 a.m. and included officials from MINAE, MAG, MINAE’s Environmental Tribunal, the Presidency Ministry and UNA’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Observers from the Costa Rica’s Veterinary Medical Association, the Costa Rica’s Biologists Association and the Humane Society International, also participated.Officers from the National Police, Traffic Police and the Judicial Investigation Police closed the zoo, monitored the seizure and prevented visitors’ entrance until the lion’s departure.Experts from the National University’s (UNA) School of Veterinary Medicine conducted a series of tests and anesthetized the lion before moving him to an special enclosure and then to an ambulance truck from the UNA.Officers from the Traffic Police and the National Police escorted the vehicle that left the zoo at noon and arrived at Zoo Ave one hour later.Fundazoo, the administrator of the zoo, had repeatedly refused to abide by court orders to remove Kivú from public exhibition and relocate him to a better site, including the Santa Ana Conservation Center, a Fundazoo animal shelter.Zoo officials argued that Kivú’s age and health conditions prevented him to leave his home at the downtown San José zoo.Fundazoo officials declined to address the seizure operation. National Police and Traffic Police officers escort an ambulance truck from the National University’s School of Veterinary Medicine transporting Kivú the lion out of San José’s Simón Bolívar Zoo. L. Arias/The Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Kivú the lion recovers at his new home Officials demand the removal of Kivú the lion from public display Ministries confirm relocation orders for Kivú the lion Zoo administrator fights to avoid relocating Kivú the lion
Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Comments Share Sponsored Stories Top Stories He said male homosexuality took away women’s traditional rights of being mothers.Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe.Mugabe, who has repeatedly described same-sex partners as “lower than dogs and pigs,” has vowed not to allow gay rights to be included in a new constitution being drafted.“Mothers were given the talent to bear children. That talent doesn’t belong to men,” he said.“When God created Adam … if Adam had desired a person like him it would not have made him any happier,” Mugabe said.“When a man says he wants to get married to another man, we in Zimbabwe don’t accept it. We can’t talk of women’s rights at all if we go in that direction. It will lead to extinction,” he said.On demands for women’s equality, Mugabe said he doubted women will get equal representation as lawmakers in Zimbabwe.“Our customs look down on women as inferior. Men pay cattle and money to get a wife and expect women to obey them. Women will surely lose. Men say that women are not as knowledgeable as us. The attitude of men still despises women,” he said.Pillay told Thursday’s GlobalPower Women Network Africa meeting on women’s rights that decisive leadership was needed to craft fair laws and policies on property rights for widows, early marriages, sexual violence, marital rape, homosexuality and commercial sex work. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements How men can have a healthy 2019 Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home She arrived Sunday to assess human rights in Zimbabwe. It is the first visit of a UN human rights chief to the troubled southern African nation.Thursday’s women’s rights meeting coincided with the release of Amnesty International’s annual global rights report.The report cited one of its concerns over the past year as “worsening discrimination in Africa over people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”It said in October that two allegedly gay men were arrested in Harare after being assaulted by Zimbabwean mobs. Mugabe’s party militants then repeatedly threatened violence against the men’s lawyers when a court cleared them of engaging in homosexuality.Amnesty also said Thursday that police in Zimbabwe have continued to harass, intimidate and assault perceived opponents of Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.It said in the past year “security elements” had arrested senior politicians aligned to the former opposition in the nation’s three-year coalition government and disrupted their political activities.Human rights defenders were also arrested, detained and tortured, Amnesty said.Mugabe’s party has denied the existence of state-sponsored political violence in meetings with Pillay. Associated PressHARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – Zimbabwe’s president said Thursday that homosexuality doesn’t belong in Zimbabwe and it violates women’s rights by denying the union of men and women needed to bear children.Robert Mugabe, 88, speaking at a women’s HIV/Aids and gender rights conference in Harare, said the “gay world” goes against nature.After earlier remarks by UN human rights chief Navi Pillay referring to the criminalization of homosexuality in some countries, Mugabe said Zimbabwe and Africa won’t recognize same-sex marriage because it leads to human “extinction.” She ends her weeklong visit Friday.(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 Top Stories Comments Share New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths _ ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SYRIZA RADICAL LEFT COALITIONAt 37, the civil engineer and former student activist is Greece’s youngest party head, and his party came second in the election. Riding a wave of anger at the country’s harsh austerity program, Tsipras led Syriza to an unprecedented second place in last month’s polls as well. A mainstay of the anti-austerity movement, Tsipras had alarmed many in Greece and abroad by saying he wants to scrap Greece’s bailout deals, nationalize banks, restore drastically reduced pensions and salaries, and cancel plans to sack 150,000 civil servants. Nevertheless, he backs Greece’s cherished position in the European Union and the eurozone, and maintains that the country can stay within both groups even if it reneges on its austerity commitments. Syriza is a grouping of politicians from 12 disparate entities, and some have suggested that they would not be averse to Greece adopting the drachma. Under Tsipras, the party alienated many Greeks by backing protesters during extensive riots in 2008 that followed the fatal police shooting of an Athens teenager._ EVANGELOS VENIZELOS, PASOKThe 55-year-old professor of constitutional law served for nine months as the debt-crippled nation’s finance minister, successfully negotiating a second international bailout and the biggest debt relief deal in history. PASOK paid heavily for the crippling austerity program that allowed Greece’s two bailouts but was not accompanied by convincing structural reforms. The party that won a landslide victory in 2009 performed poorly on May 6, and again trailed in Sunday’s vote. As Socialist leader, Venizelos had pledged to shield Greeks from new across-the-board income cuts, while respecting the country’s bailout commitments. He wants a three-year deadline extension in Greece’s austerity program, and had promised to overhaul the country’s inefficient tax system. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressATHENS, Greece (AP) – Election returns showed that seven parties entered Greece’s Parliament in Sunday’s vote. Here are the main party leaders:_ ANTONIS SAMARAS, NEW DEMOCRACYThe party of the U.S.-educated economist won an inconclusive victory on May 6 and came in first in Sunday’s vote, setting the stage for coalition talks aimed at forming a government. Samaras had presented the vote as a stark choice between staying in the euro and reverting to the country’s old drachma currency, which he had claimed would happen if his main opponents, the Syriza radical left coalition, won. Last month, New Democracy did not win enough seats in Parliament to govern alone, and was unable to throw together a coalition. Samaras, 61, broadly upholds Greece’s bailout commitments but wants them diluted through a two-year extension, until 2016. He has pledged to cut tax rates and boost the income of low-earning pensioners, large families, farmers, police and fighter pilots. He wants to “retake” Greek cities from illegal migrants and scrap laws granting citizenship to second-generation immigrants. A rapid-rising conservative star in the late 1980s, Samaras briefly served as finance minister and as foreign minister when Greece’s name dispute with Macedonia broke out in 1991. Following a decade in the political wilderness, Samaras was readmitted to New Democracy and became its leader after its dismal showing in the 2009 election. How men can have a healthy 2019 _ FOTIS KOUVELIS _ DEMOCRATIC LEFTHe heads the mildest of the three main left-wing parties that ran for election and is seen as a potential kingmaker in any coalition government. After the May 6 election, Kouvelis insisted that he would not join in any coalition that excluded Syriza _ his former party _ despite being reportedly offered the position of prime minister. He has since said he will do whatever is needed to help form a government. Kouvelis served as justice minister for three months in 1989. The 63-year-old lawyer split from Syriza in 2010 to form a more clearly pro-European party that unhesitatingly backs Greece’s EU and eurozone membership._ ALEKA PAPARIGA, GREEK COMMUNIST PARTYThe 67-year-old head of the hardline Communist party had ruled out cooperation with any other party, wants Greece to leave the EU and eurozone and unilaterally write off all its debts. Formed in 1918, the party is Greece’s oldest. Papariga became the first woman to lead a Greek party in 1991.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) _ PANOS KAMMENOS, INDEPENDENT GREEKSThe 47-year-old economist formed this nationalist party with other lawmakers ejected from New Democracy. His speeches were peppered with rightist rhetoric and conspiracy theories, accusing “Masonic lodges” of trying to “obliterate” Greece and castigating pro-bailout politicians as traitors. The party had proposed building a full-scale recreation of ancient Olympia, birthplace of the ancient games, next to the archaeological site and reviving the ancient Olympics _ nude wrestling and chariot races included _ but only for Greeks. While rejecting Greece’s bailout agreements, Kammenos’ party says it is pro-European._ NIKOLAOS MICHALOLIAKOS _ GOLDEN DAWNGolden Dawn is an extreme rightist party. Its favored “Blood and Honor” chant is the Hitler Youth’s motto, its emblems eerily resemble Nazi insignia and its officials have praised Adolf Hitler. But the group led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos, 55, rejects the neo-Nazi label _ a party official has sued the Mayor of Thessaloniki over that _ stressing its nationalist credentials. The party stormed into Parliament for the first time last month amid a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment. Golden Dawn supporters have been repeatedly accused of violent attacks on immigrants. The party gained additional notoriety this month when its official spokesman repeatedly slapped a female Communist official twice his age during a live TV debate, hid for two days to escape arrest and then sued his victim for alleged verbal provocation. Golden Dawn is anti-bailout. It wants to “liberate and incorporate with the motherland” parts of neighboring Albania and limit voting and land ownership rights to “those who are Greek by birth and conscience.” Sponsored Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top holiday drink recipes
NEW DELHI (AP) – A fire swept through a slum in the Indian capital on Friday, destroying hundreds of shanties where residents had collected scrap plastic and rubber for resale.No one was reported injured or killed, fire department chief A.K. Sharma said.It took 25 fire trucks and some 70 firefighters about two hours to put out the flames. Black smoke billowed from burning heaps of plastic bottles, tarps, rubber tires and scraps of wood that had been amassed by the slum’s thousands of residents who make a living collecting garbage for resale. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Comments Share Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family The fire destroyed nearly all of the makeshift slum dwellings that had been clustered next to three hospitals in the historical part of Delhi. The hospitals were protected from the blaze by a brick wall, Sharma said.Resident Nasima Khatum cried as she surveyed the smoldering remains of the home where she lived with her two children.“We used to sit here and eat and also used to sleep here,” she said. “We are very poor.”Another fire a day earlier in the financial center of Mumbai gutted state government offices and killed five people before authorities could put it out, authorities said Friday.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Quick workouts for men
___Then, this past Monday, Jess, who had flown in with Ellyson and her mother to Guatemala City, sat inside the Hookers’ room at the Radisson staring at the latest document. She couldn’t believe it.Her computer chimed, and with tears in her eyes, she made her way over to it. Someone back in Tennessee was calling her on Skype.When she saw that it was her brother, she turned on the camera.Before Jose could say hello or see her wet cheekbones, she hovered over the camera and covered it with a thin sheet.The paper read: “Daniel Ryan Hooker born in Quiche, Guatemala on December 2006 son of Jessica Russell Hooker and Ryan Hooker.Jose began to cry.Jess’ brother, Jose, had been adopted 22 years earlier, when he was almost 6 years old, from the same orphanage. That adoption took her parents three years to complete. He, too, had been born in Quiche.At one point, when things were really grim and there was no end in sight, Jose had said that he would go to Guatemala and adopt Daniel himself, since he was Guatemalan.And now, here they were. All they needed was Daniel’s Guatemalan passport, and his adoption visa.This time, Jess was sure, everything would work out. It said so right there on the paper. Sponsored Stories It wasn’t until that night, when they were in bed, that he told his wife.“I think I met our son,” Bubba said.At 28, Jess was five years older than her husband and the more practical partner. She listened quietly as he told her about his day with the boy, who wasn’t just cute, he said, but his name was Daniel, just like Bubba’s uncle who had just died. She was skeptical.“Uh oh,” she thought, “what has Bubba gotten us into?” But the next day, when she pulled the child into her arms, it felt like he was hers.The couple had always wanted to adopt; Daniel just sped up their plans. They immediately told the orphanage director and started the paperwork.Two months later, Guatemala’s thriving adoption industry fell apart.The country’s quick-stop adoptions had made the nation of 14 million people the world’s second-largest source of babies to the U.S. after China. But the vibrant business came to a halt after an August 2007 raid on what was considered the country’s most reputable adoption agency, used by many Americans.An investigation exposed a system of fake birth certificates and DNA samples, of mothers coerced into giving up children. Some claimed their children were kidnapped for sale. Adoptive parents paid up to $30,000 for a child in a country where the average person earns $5,000 a year. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Guatemalan birth parents poured into government- run centers looking for their missing children and ran ads in local papers.Guatemalan doctors, lawyers, mothers and civil registrars were arrested and prosecuted, with some convictions for human trafficking and adoption fraud. The Solicitor General’s office was put under investigation by a U.N.-backed commission against impunity.The Guatemalan government was forced to overhaul its adoption laws. The U.S. suspended all new adoptions from Guatemala.By the beginning of 2008, a new council had to be established to clean up proceedings, including verifying the identity of birth mothers and their willingness to give up their children.The old system, a mostly unsupervised network of private attorneys and notaries, was abolished.Daniel was among 3,032 children caught in limbo.___In October 2008, Jess traveled to Guatemala with her mother over her school’s fall break. It was her fourth visit.She expected to see Daniel running around, arms flailing with hints of baby talk.Instead, there was silence.Something was wrong, but she was not Daniel’s legal guardian. Jess couldn’t take him to see a pediatrician. Maybe it was normal considering that he was such a small kid, but she was worried. She was a special needs teacher. Five months later, Daniel still wasn’t talking.At the Radisson Hotel, where the Hookers started the first of many family visits, he would race to the window inside their room to watch the airplanes. He was obsessed with them. But when Bubba gave him headphones, Daniel always tore off the one in his right ear.He needed to see a specialist. The adoption could not come soon enough. They’d hoped their connections to the orphanage, their family’s story, would make things easier since some adoptions pending when the ban was imposed were being allowed to go through. Jess’s parents were missionaries who founded the charity Samaritan Hands, which ran the orphanage. Bubba sat on the charity’s board.Plus, his grandmother had been an orphan herself. And so was Jess’s younger brother, Jose.But though they had filed reams of paperwork, nothing seemed to be happening, and no one could tell them why. Finally, in May 2009, they got a call confirming a meeting with the adoption council’s head, Jaime Tecu. The Hookers were ecstatic.After hours in the waiting room with Daniel and Jess’ mom, Judy, who would translate, they were ushered into an office overlooking the south of the capital. The U.S. had forbidden new adoptions from Guatemala, but the pending cases were something else.She assembled a team of staff and immigration services experts to help Guatemalans sift through the files and find out which ones had the proper records, making five trips to the country herself.Of the original 3,032 cases interrupted at the end of 2007, officials found 180 cases of children still waiting to be adopted.The first of these cases was Daniel’s.Landrieu’s team worked with the U.S. Embassy and Guatemalan officials to broker an agreement that would allow certain cases to go forward if they met the criteria of both Guatemalan officials and the U.S. State Department.She contacted many American families to see if they were still interested, discovering that many couples had spent tens of thousands of dollars, traveling up to 20 times to keep contact with the children.Last December, the Hookers got a call saying they were one of 44 families whose cases were ready to move forward.It would still be another eight months before they embarked on Aug. 21, hoping to become the first of those families eligible to collect their child under the new agreement.Things were looking up. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona She was Daniel’s mother.___Early Saturday morning, they checked out of the Radisson for the last time. An airport shuttle arrived at Guatemala’s La Aurora Airport. Out came Jess and her mom, Bubba, baby Ellyson and Daniel. Everyone sported matching red-and-white Maryville High T-shirts. There was even a small one with a big embroidered M at the center for Daniel.At a distance Daniel could see his beloved planes as Jess carried him toward check-in.“I’ve been waiting so long to carry you like this,” Jess told Daniel.“Avion,” he replied, the Spanish word for plane, a huge smile on his face. He gave his momma a wet kiss and motioned to be put on the floor. He went over to Ellyson and started to open his arms wide and spun like a plane. She giggled and mimicked him.Meanwhile, Bubba was grabbing their boarding passes.After all his family visits, he’d accrued 700,000 frequent flier miles he had been saving for the day he would take his son home. Soon, they would be sitting in first class. The plane was set to take off just before 1 p.m.Jess prepped his bag full of knickknacks. Back in Maryville, friends and colleagues at school had thrown her a surprise baby shower. When asked how she thought Daniel would adapt to the room and house back in Maryville, she laughed.“I think he’s going to be a bit disappointed when we get home and he realizes there is no pool on our roof, no elevator, and he can’t watch planes from the window.”___As the family walked through the doors of the Louisville airport late Saturday night, friends cheered, then joined them in prayer.“WE’RE HOME!!!!!! We did it! We made it! And we can’t believe it!” the family said in an emailed message to friends on Sunday.“I wish you all could have seen Daniel’s face as he ran around our house exploring his new domain. He couldn’t believe he had his own room. He gawked at the size of our bathtub … It was AWESOME!”___Associated Press writer Romina Ruiz-Goiriena reported this story in Guatemala and Travis Loller reported in Tennessee.___Romina Ruiz-Goiriena on Twitter: http://twitter.com/romireportsAP Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments Share (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Associated PressGUATEMALA CITY (AP) – It should have been good news.The U.S. Embassy called to say the Guatemalan government would begin to authorize adoptions five years after a scandal froze the system that sent as many as 4,000 Guatemalan children a year to the United States.Ryan “Bubba” Hooker and his wife, Jess, might finally be able to collect the little boy they wanted to adopt and bring him home. Top Stories It was not an easy way to live.They turned down a job offer overseas that they feared would have further complicated the adoption process.When Daniel was already 4 and there was still no end in sight, Jess gave birth to a daughter, Ellyson.On their visits at the Radisson when Jess was pregnant, Daniel would touch her belly and say, “Sister.”They hung photos of Daniel and Ellyson all over the walls of the two-story brick house on their Maryville cul-de-sac. They put a play structure in the yard and fenced it in for Daniel. In his bedroom, a large red airplane sat atop the armoire. His beloved plane.Jess felt like she was missing Daniel’s entire childhood _ his first steps, his first words.And then came some luck.In early 2011, the Guatemalan adoption fiasco came to the attention of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who served on the Senate appropriations subcommittee on the State Department’s foreign operations and related programs, which dealt with foreign adoptions. She also presided over the Senate appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, which funds U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.She was also the mother of two adopted children.Landrieu discovered there was no list of people whose cases had been dropped due to Guatemala’s adoption ban. But Hooker wasn’t sure. This would be his 36th trip to Guatemala City. The 18-month-old toddler they had met in an orphanage was now a 6-year-old kindergartener. The couple had moved homes, passed up a job, spent untold amounts of money trying to adopt Daniel.If all went well, they were told, they would be the first U.S. family to adopt under the Central American nation’s new adoption laws.At least, that’s what they told him over the phone.On Aug. 21, an anxious Bubba boarded the plane for Guatemala City. All he had to do was get an adoption certificate, a birth certificate and a passport, meet with the people at the U.S. Embassy yet again, get an adoption visa, and then he and Jess could bring Daniel home.Maybe this time it would work.___Jess and Bubba had been married less than a year when they decided to go to Guatemala on a mission trip in June 2007.The day he met Daniel, Bubba had been working on the plumbing in the orphanage when he decided to take a break. He took a wander through the rooms and found the boy.The child was just 18 months old but looked younger, sitting stranded in a walker. He was the youngest kid in the orphanage, the frailest, too, with his pigeon chest and little legs that turned out. Bubba knelt beside the little boy and they began to play. Before long Bubba was holding him, then he fed him. He forgot about the plumbing. Check your body, save your life Daniel sat upright in a chair close to the director’s desk and fiddled with a toy car.And then the bombshell.“I’m sorry,” Tecu said, “your case is not registered with the Solicitor General’s office. It is not official.”Judy began to sob. Bubba was furious.Jess was crushed.Everything had to be investigated anew. Daniel’s birth mom needed to be found, tested for a DNA match and give consent for the adoption. The case also had to be transferred to a court in the district where Daniel was born.The Hookers filled out and submitted the same forms numerous times. They had a second home study _ translated into Spanish. But nothing changed.In May 2010, a weeklong trip turned into a three-week stay when the Pacaya volcano, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Guatemala City, began spewing lava and rocks, blanketing the capital with ash and closing the international airport.The Hookers used the extra time with Daniel to take him to an audiologist.When the doctor walked in to give the results, they already knew _ Daniel was almost completely deaf.___The Hookers created a routine between regular trips to the Radisson in Guatemala and life back home in Maryville, Tennessee. Jess took advantage of holidays at the high school where she worked, while Bubba, a real estate developer, set his own schedule so he could visit Daniel every two or three months. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement
Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments Share Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Santos earlier said doctors told him he has a 97 percent chance of being cured.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix BOGOTA (AP) – Doctors say Wednesday’s cancer operation on Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has gone off successfully.Dr. Adolfo Llinas is the medical director of the Fundacio Santa Fe Hospital in the Colombian capital and he says there were no complications during the 2 1/2 hour operation, which was carried out under local anesthetic.The lead surgeon on the prostate operation was Felipe Gomez and he says the president should be back home in two or three days. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories
Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies BAMAKO, Mali (AP) – Mali’s justice minister says the government has released 23 prisoners of war affiliated with a movement of separatist Tuareg rebels who announced last week they were pulling out of a peace accord.Mohamed Ali Bathily on Wednesday described the move as a “sign of appeasement” directed toward rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad.The NMLA was among the rebel groups that took control of northern Mali following a March 2012 military coup. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Comments Share Sponsored Stories The subsequent rise of extremist Islamic groups in the region prompted the French to launch a military intervention in January.The June peace accord paved the way for July presidential elections. But the NMLA announced last month it was pulling out because the new government had failed to honor its commitments.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Parents, stop beating yourself up 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement
Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober ISTANBUL (AP) – The main Western-backed Syrian opposition group says it will attend peace talks in Switzerland after the United Nations withdrew an invitation to Iran.The Syrian National Coalition’s political committee welcomed the U.N.’s move in a statement and said it confirms participation in the so-called Geneva 2 conference.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the withdrawal less than 24 hours after he surprised the U.S. and others by saying he had invited Syria’s closest regional ally. (Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The vital role family plays in society Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Comments Share Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement
Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Also Wednesday, the Thai government’s new Fisheries Act took effect. The law was drafted to improve official oversight and impose stricter measures to prevent illegal practices in the Thai fishing industry, which has come under mounting pressure from the EU.Under the new regulations, all fishing boats are required to hold licenses, registration and legal fishing equipment and navigation systems that can be traced by authorities.The new rules have met with resistance from fishermen who demanded that the deadline of July 1 be extended. At least 1,000 fishing trawlers in the southern province of Songkhla threatened to go on strike from Friday and asked the government to help them through the transition.“They are now in deep trouble because if they go out, they are afraid they will be arrested. Then they will have to pay a fine of more than 100,000 baht ($30,000) or go to jail. It’s too much,” said Praporn Ekouru, the Songkhla Fishery Association’s chairman.Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Wednesday asked for cooperation from the fishing companies to comply with the new rules.“If we don’t pass (the EU) evaluation, will they share the responsibility of losing the products worth more than 2 billion baht that we can’t sell to the entire world?” he asked, pleading with them not to strike. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments Share Top Stories BANGKOK (AP) — Two Thai men described as key figures in a human trafficking ring that provides slave crews for fishing boats were arrested, officials said Wednesday, as new regulations aimed at cracking down on illegal fishing took effect.The two suspects were the latest to be arrested following an Associated Press investigation into slavery in Southeast Asia’s fishing industry.In April, the EU gave Thailand six months to drastically combat illegal and unregulated fishing or face a seafood import ban. Thailand is a major exporter of seafood, with yearly revenues of almost 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion), and an EU ban would seriously affect the industry. Officials from Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation told a news conference the two men were “big figures” in a human trafficking syndicate in Samut Sakorn province, the country’s biggest fishing hub, and had lured about 60 victims a year since 2008.Chayuthphong Charoenporn, 50, and Samruay Chatkrod, 53, hired middlemen to find workers at train stations, bus terminals and other public places, said Lt. Col. Komvich Padhanarath.Komvich said the middlemen would approach men who looked poor and ask them if they wanted jobs and then take them to a shelter where they were sometimes drugged or given alcohol to keep quiet — and then sold to boat owners for 30,000 baht ($900) per person. The laborers were then taken without their consent to fishing boats near Ambon island in Indonesia, he said.“These two illegal brokers are quite big figures,” said Paisith Sungkahapong, director of the human trafficking division at the DSI, which is Thailand’s equivalent of the FBI. He said they admitted to human trafficking, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison or capital punishment, but denied the charges of arbitrary detention.“They were trying to persuade people and deceive those people to work in the fishing boats,” Paisith said, adding that many of the laborers didn’t know they were agreeing to work on boats let alone in a foreign country. “They did not know they would be working overseas.” Top holiday drink recipes Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall