TICO says Bill 166 gaining momentum passes third reading

first_img Travelweek Group Share Thursday, December 14, 2017 TORONTO — TICO is advising Ontario travel industry stakeholders that Bill 166, also known as the Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, 2017, has passed third reading in the Ontario legislature.The amendments to the Travel Industry Act, 2002, will strengthen the consumer protection in Ontario for consumers purchasing travel services and reduce burden for the approximately 2,400 Ontario registered travel agents and travel wholesalers, says TICO.The changes include: Enabling the creation of new rules for representations, such as advertising, by out-of-province travel sellers who target Ontarians. Creating a registration requirement for individual travel salespersons.Lessening the burden on travel agents and travel wholesalers by creating a registration class of travel seller so that the businesses would no longer need to register as both a travel agent and travel wholesaler. Improving compliance with the rules by providing new enforcement tools, such as administrative penalties and compliance orders, including a new appeal mechanism to the License Appeal Tribunal for these new enforcement measures.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionTICO says further consultation by the Ontario government with all stakeholders will be required for the development of changes to the supporting Regulation before the changes to the Travel Industry Act, 2002 take effect.The consultation on proposed Regulation changes will include strengthening consumer protection by:Requiring registered travel sellers to disclose additional information to consumers so they can make informed choices; andRequiring continuing education for travel salespersons.Lessening the burden on travel sellers, the majority of whom are small businesses, by updating requirements, such as financial reporting and security deposits.In a statement to the industry, TICO President and CEO Richard Smart says TICO commends the Ontario government for this initiative and welcomes the opportunity to continue to work collaboratively on the proposed changes to the Regulation.In the coming months, TICO will proactively communicate and seek out opportunities to engage all stakeholders to contribute and provide feedback on proposed regulatory changes towards modernizing the consumer protection legislation in Ontario, he added. Posted bycenter_img Tags: TICO TICO says Bill 166 gaining momentum, passes third reading << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

IAG confirms plans to acquire struggling Niki

Share Tags: British Airways, Iberia, Low-Cost Carriers TORONTO — International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways and Iberia, is moving forward with plans to acquire the assets of struggling low-cost carrier Niki, which opened insolvency procedures in Austria last week.IAG announced plans last month for a subsidiary of Vueling to buy the Austrian airline’s assets for 20 million euros, plus invest another 16.5 million euros into the company. Niki was part of the airberlin group, which entered liquidation last year.Germany’s Lufthansa was also in the running to purchase Niki, but withdrew its bid in December.The IAG transaction is pending approval under EU competition laws. If passed, it will include up to 15 A320 aircraft and include slots at airports like Vienna, Zurich and Munich. IAG says the new company will employ approximately 740 former Niki staff. Posted by Tuesday, January 16, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group IAG confirms plans to acquire struggling Niki read more

Costa Rican biker protest ends without agreement

first_imgRelated posts:Tico motorists to pay 12 percent more for vehicle circulation permits Costa Rican officials agree ‘to study’ bikers’ demands after another day of protest Deadline to pay marchamo ends at midnight Monday Marchamo Conflict May Reach World Trade Organization Hundreds of motorcyclists rallied on Wednesday outside the National Insurance Institute (INS) in San José to fight against an increase in mandatory circulation permit costs – known as themarchamo. But the protest ended in stalemate after INS President Guillermo Constenla refused to budge on the issue.Bikers are angered over a 24 percent increase in the cost of marchamos for motorcycle owners. Eugenio Badilla, coordinator of the Civic Committee of Motorcyclists, said his group doesn’t oppose a marchamo rate hike, but he considers this year’s increase “excessive,” adding that, “we won’t accept it.”Representatives of the bikers’ group met with Constenla at noon on Wednesday. But the INS official said a modification to marchamo pricing would have to be discussed by the Legislative Assembly, the Finance Ministry and the Roadway Safety Council (Cosevi).Albino Vargas, president of the National Association of Public and Private Employees, and Rafael Mora, legal advisor to the motorcyclists, also attended the meeting.Vargas said shortly after 2 p.m. that “negotiations at the time have broken down because there is no political will.” He called for the creation of a high-level committee with representatives from INS, Casa Presidencial, the Finance Ministry and Cosevi.One protester, Álvaro Valverde, called this year’s marchamo increase “an abuse of power, because now motorcycle owners have to pay higher taxes than buses or trucks.”Earlier this month, Constenla said the increase was due to an adjustment in insurance coverage policies. He added that since 2011, marchamo fees have not covered medical expenses for accidents, particularly for motorcycle drivers.Police officers kept watch over the rally, but bikers moved their protest to La Hispanidad roundabout, east of San José. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

The museum takes a hike

first_imgNo related posts. Museums are more than collections of old stuff. The Juan Santamaría Museum in Alajuela brought history to life by taking to the road – the same one travelled by the soldiers in the Campaign of 1856 to route William Walker and his army from Tico soil. Walker was a southerner from the United States who wanted the five Central American countries to become part of the Confederacy. Recently, 50 of us signed up for a five kilometercaminata that would follow the same route as the Costa Rican army in 1856.The Costa Rican army of that time was well equipped with uniforms and the new mini-rifles from England, as well as trained by military experts from Europe and South America. In addition, volunteers rallied in their traditional white with red or blue bandana armbands for identification, and caites or simple leather sandals.It was not an easy march. They traveled about 30 kilometers a day over rough land, rocky roads and mountains in the heat of March and April. Communication between the army and the capital was conducted by horse.The 50 of us hiking the same route had it easy. In sturdy shoes and T-shirts and armed with bottles of water, cell phones, sun block and power bars, we boarded comfy tour buses to Alto de Monte where we began our walk, all downhill. This was not the highway we traveled but a rural back road originally built by local farmers to carry their oxcarts filled with coffee to waiting ships in Puntarenas. The first kilometer wasn’t bad, but deteriorated into irregular piles of stones and ruts. Our guides from the museum, Priscilla, Ronald and Rodolfo, explained how the heavy rains during the season washed all the rocks to the valleys and the farmers had to carry them back up to repair the road. Oxcarts and mules got bogged down in dirt and creeks and the soldiers had to dig them out.The soldiers marched in platoons and received their rations on banana leaves. Our “army,” on the other hand, was spread out in groups along the route, sharing and sampling jacotes, mangos and nances that we found along the way. This was all forest when the army marched here in 1856, home to wild animals and a very scattered population. Our modern marchers met up with some cows, a motorcycle and a museum car, just in case. Museum staff had scouted out the route ahead of time to test it.The soldiers were victorious in the battles of Santa Rosa and of Rivas in Nicaragua. “It was our war of independence,” said historian Rodalfo González. Central America won independence in 1821 without a war, but fought in ‘56 to stay independent.As the soldiers stopped along the way for sesteos, we stopped at a plateau to look over the mountains beyond and the valleys below and take countless photos. “Are we finished?” someone asked. “No,” said Ronald. “We were at the half way point.”Down went the road and it got rougher, slowing us down. After the battle of Rivas the army was affected by cholera and the soldiers, sick and dying, returned over the same route, this time battling sickness and an uphill march. Many were buried at the side of the road. Our only casualty was someone who slipped and fell.Finally, the road leveled off and there were houses along the way. Barking dogs heralded our progress down to the last straggler.Our living history day did not end there, though. Out in a pasture, seated on rocks and tree roots we savored a soldier’s lunch; rice, beans, picadillo and egg tort served on a banana leaf. Then back to the buses for a nap on the way back to the museum.The Museo Historico Cultural Juan Santamaria offers many interactive events.  You can find them listed at museumhistorioculturaljuansantamaria on Facebook, or visit the museum in the heart of  Alajuela, in the old fort, from Tues.-Sun. after 10 a.m.                              Facebook Commentslast_img read more

COD 2912 Beautiful ocean view home for sale in Puntarenas

first_img info heading info content https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-1203.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-1209.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-1210.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-1201.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-1206.jpg No related posts. Previous Image https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-1202.jpgcenter_img https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-1205.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-1204.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-1211.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/29-1208.jpg Price: $550,000Email: realestate@ticotimes.netProvince: PuntarenasCantón: GarabitoLand: 13146m2Bedrooms: 4Bathrooms: 2Located on the outskirts of the Jacó district in the province of Puntarenas, this beautiful house with an ocean view is perfect to enjoy Costa Rica’s great scenery. On one side of the property, we have the Pacific Ocean and on the other we have the amazing protected Central American rain forest.The house sits on a 13,146-m2 property with a pool and a guard house. The house itself is very comfy, with surrounding outdoor hallways and a beautiful garden. Privileged location for sunsets! Equipped with 4 spacious bedrooms, 2 complete bathrooms, a living/dining room area, laundry area and an open kitchen. The house has been remodeled about 6 months ago and has new bathroom finishes, windows, doors, ceiling and electrical system.The house is equipped with security cameras that can be monitored online.Great opportunity, commercial land use is also approved! Facebook Comments Next Imagelast_img read more

Rising soccer star Gloriana Villalobos Boys dont like it when a girl

first_imgGloriana Villalobos, who first joined the Costa Rican Women’s National Soccer Team at the age of 15, has always been ahead of the game. Now 16, the young phenom is already getting serious looks from major college programs in the United States, where she hopes to play after graduating from the high school ranks here in Costa Rica. That is, if she doesn’t jump straight to the pro leagues, which the talented midfielder may have the ability to do.Last year, when she was included on the roster for the Ticas’ first ever World Cup appearance, she became the youngest Costa Rican player ever, female or male, to be invited to the World Cup. The wunderkind also debuted for club power Saprissa when she was just 12.In an extensive interview with The Tico Times, Villalobos discussed how she balances such a heavy load of football with high school, how nervous she really was playing on the game’s biggest stage, and why women’s soccer is steadily gaining popularity in Costa Rica. Excerpts follow.How did you get into soccer, and what do you like about it?I started playing soccer with my brothers. I saw them play and got interested. At the start, it was about spending time with them and not so much because I liked it; then it became a passion. What I like the most about soccer is that it’s not only about what you do on the field, it’s also about meeting new people. Many people think it’s just a hobby, but it teaches you life lessons. This has changed me as a person and I’ve become more mature in many aspects.How do you balance school and soccer?The truth is that I wouldn’t have accomplished what I have without my school’s help. The Colegio Metodista has helped me a lot. I’ve had to ask for permission to train since eighth grade. I’m in my senior year now. The school has given me the necessary permissions and has made everything possible to help me.Has this balance helped you develop your discipline, both in soccer and school?Of course! Soccer has helped me a lot with discipline. Sometimes in which I’ve got to wake up at 5 a.m. to go to school and I don’t want to. For two and a half years I had to wake up at 3 a.m. to go train. There were days when the alarm went off and I just wanted to break it. I was very tired, but I remembered the responsibility I had and the motivation. That’s what made me wake up. Now that I train with La Sele, we train at dawn. It has become a habit to wake up during those hours without indisposition. You already know that you’re doing what you like, so you wake up. Villalobos participated in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, where Costa Rica finished as the runner up to the United States. Patrick McDermott/AFPWhat was it like to play in the World Cup?I remember when I was in the locker room and heard all of the people in the stadium shouting.Now people do support women’s soccer. This has changed, but it’s not supported as much as it is for men. However, my teammates and I had gone from playing at a match at Proyecto Gol, in which there were 15 people watching including our family members, to a match with 35,000 people watching and waiting for you to do you job well. It was a harsh change. I remember coming out of the locker room, going into the tunnel and watching the fully-packed stadium in the background. I felt an emptiness within me, as if I were going to pass out. I was nervous. However, as time passed I told myself that this was what I had prepared myself for, over a long period of time. You always get nervous.What does it feel like to represent Costa Rica on such a big stage?It’s always an honor to be able to represent Costa Rica. When you leave the country bearing that flag, you’ve got a great responsibility because you always want to raise up Costa Rica worldwide. It’s always a privilege to wear the jersey and know that you’ve got the name of a country and millions of people who have deposited their faith in what you’re going to do.How do you feel about having accomplished so much at an incredibly young age?I’ve always been very thankful to God for the blessings He has given me: being able to play with two selecciones and being able to play a major world cup at the age of 16. I always try to learn. I like it a lot when I can go out with La Sele because they’re my idols. When I began playing with Saprissa when I was 11 years old, I trained next to Katherine [Alvarado], Raquel [Rodríguez] and Carolina [Venegas]. I watched them and said, “They are so good!! Being able to play on a team with them is a great dream come true.Since you were called to play with La Sele, how have things changed?Everything has changed. I remember the first time I was with the team: it was in 2014 at the UNCAF in Guatemala. I didn’t know my teammates and I was beginning to get into this world. Now, they’re like my sisters and we’re a family.Which is the next accomplishment on your checklist?Representing the country is always a motivation. My objective is to play with La Sele and remain a constant fixture on the team. My next objective would be able to study in the United States. Even though you love soccer, it’s not going to grant you everything in your life. You’re going to get to a point in which it will end. Physically, you won’t be able to do the same things. It’s important to have an education plan as well. I want to study physiotherapy or be a fitness trainer. I want to keep it within the sports area. The 16 year-old Costa Rican football player, Gloriana Villalobos, poses with our mascot Sloth Kong. Elizabeth Lang/The Tico TimesHow can women’s soccer be more supported on a national level?There has been a before and after. I can bet that before the Under-17 World Cup, which was held here in Costa Rica [in 2014], there were lots of people who didn’t know women’s soccer existed here in our country. Afterwards, everything changed. People have noticed there’s a women’s league and that there’s a match every Sunday. In July and December there’s a national champion from those matches, and at the end of the year there’s one champion. Many people don’t know about this, but there are also people who have informed themselves about it. The media has given more coverage to the women’s soccer, and it has advanced and progressed.Our dream, for us players, is to be able to see a fully-packed stadium on a Sunday with people watching women playing. Maybe it’s not about watching us play, but watch the future generations. Maybe when we’re 60 years old we’ll see a packed stadium watching women play.Do you think that your generation can have a better team in the future? Could you compete against USA and Canada at the CONCACAF with this next generation of rising stars like you?Yes. Before, when Costa Rica played against the United States, the scores would 8-0 or 10-0. Now you watch the matches and it’s 3-0 or 2-0. It’s not such a big difference. That’s the purpose of the under-17 tournament: to prepare young players who can reach their best level when they’re 20.When you began playing soccer, you started playing with boys. How has that been an advantage or disadvantage?Playing on a boys’ team helped me greatly. All of us began that way, and it helped us a lot. Boys don’t like it when a girl is better than they are. I had to struggle a lot with that, because in more than one match there were boys who would pull my hair, kick me and call me things. That helps you to build character. I was getting into what was a “boys’ game” during that time. I tried to behave like a boy on the field: I had to bump into them and knew that the boys I played against would not feel pity towards me. They would play harsher against me because they would say: “So, you want to play a ‘boys’ game’? Feel what it’s like to play with boys.” That helped me a lot. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica women’s Olympic hopes dashed in 3-1 loss to Canada Costa Rican Noelia Bermúdez named best goalkeeper in Spain’s La Liga PHOTO: Raquel Rodríguez makes NWSL debut in Sky Blue’s 2-1 win WATCH: Raquel Rodríguez’s first professional score is a beautylast_img read more

5 questions for Costa Rican director Federico Peixoto

first_imgRelated posts:Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica 5 questions for a Costa Rican photographer 5 questions for Costa Rican actor Radek Lord 5 questions for Costa Rican street artist MUSH Where music, art and visual communication meet: that’s where you’ll find Costa Rican director Federico Peixoto. His inexplicable love for these distinct artistic disciplines has inspired the artist, and since childhood, he has had the opportunity to get acquainted with different cultures throughout the world. He was born in Germany to an Uruguayan father and Costa Rican mother, and grew up between Costa Rica and Berlin, where he witnessed the demolition of the Berlin Wall as well as cultural impact of both punks and skinheads.Back in Costa Rica, he launched his most ambitious project: “Todos Hermanos Centroamericanos” (“All Central American Brothers”), a documentary that explores the use of graffiti throughout the region. The film is the result of twenty years of constant documentation with the simple purpose of striving towards a unified Central America through humane artistic expression.Portraying his artistic friends on film started out as a hobby, but then became Peixoto’s profession with the creation of his own video producing business, Gafeto TV. Peixoto, 38, studied video production at the National Learning Institute (INA) and Centro de Cine, and film and television at the Veritas University. Peixoto also performs as a DJ and organizes festivals.The Tico Times sat down and spoke with Peixoto at our offices in Barrio Amón on a warm evening. Excerpts follow.Why did you choose to dedicate your life to audiovisual production?It began with the need to tell the world that we [artists] exist. That’s the need that someone has when creating graffiti: “I’m here. This is me.” That was the real motivation: expressing my group of people, which I felt didn’t have a voice. We were different and I felt we were not represented in our society. I’ve always liked to tell stories and create music. It’s very natural for me, that need of telling stories.I was born in Germany, but I’m not German, so I didn’t feel I quite fit in there. I was an immigrant. In Costa Rica I’m Tico, but I also have a part of me that isn’t from here, so I didn’t feel I fit in here, either, and I created my own world in which I can say whatever I want. That world is GafetoTV.What are your inspirations?Everything I see, smell, listen to, and eat. I’ve got way too many inspirations. My first inspirations were my parents’ vinyl collection. All of those social musical movements that have been created from the need for change, inspire me. Hip hop, reggae and punk were created to change the things that were not right, to establish a new idea of a society and expose social hypocrisy. All of the people who have been courageous and fought for causes that maybe even led them to their deaths, and have made it through an artistic way, inspire me.Sometimes people feel frustrated by all of the problems that exist and question what they can do. You can do a lot of things. You can go out there and fix your roads. You can teach kids from neighborhoods to dance or create a musical group. You can do anything you want. People can refuse to accept the reality that’s imposed on them: in the moment you begin affecting others, things begin changing. If everyone did that, everything would be different.What does your research process look like when you want to portray a particular topic?I usually deal with topics I experience, so my investigation is my daily life. If I have to work on a topic someone hired me to explore, I search for all the information I can get: I watch all the documentaries and movies that have been done about that particular topic, read all the written information there is, look for the people, get to know them and talk to them. It’s about looking for clues like a detective.With my graffiti documentary, I’ve tried to watch as many documentaries as possible. Graffiti has been discussed for a long time; it’s nothing new, and I don’t want to say the same things that have already been said only because I’m in Costa Rica. I want to think on a global level and contribute something new. If I don’t have something to contribute and everything has been said, I’d rather not do it. …This is not only about placing images with music. It’s about reaching someone’s mind or heart in the deepest way possible and waking up something within them. It’s rarely achieved, but it’s the place towards which you’re aiming. As a communicator, why do you feel the need to tell a story?It’s mainly because I know that the story I’ll tell will be different than everyone else’s story. Each one of us has a different vision. You and I can be [experiencing] the same situation, but if we tell our story of it, it will be different and each one will be true. If I don’t tell my stories, the world will be missing out on that particular vision. If I’m truly sincere with anything that I do, it won’t be like anyone else’s.I feel everyone should leave some sort of legacy, their personal trademark. When I die, the world won’t have me anymore, whether people value that or not… It’s always about letting people know that there are other ways in which you can see the world. If you find a way to express yourself, you’ll contribute to humanity and you’ll feel better by expressing it. In a certain moment someone will see it and it’ll inspire someone else to do something. We’re all important.What is the educational purpose behind “Todos Hermanos Centroamericanos“?Strengthen the concept of Central American union. Letting people know about all of these great artists from all of these countries who deserve acknowledgment. It’s about positioning Central America as a place that can be recognized internationally by people who are interested in art and urban artistic movements.We have to communicate that there is talent here and that it’s an important movement, and get rid of those stereotypes that exist about the Central American region. There’s way more to us than the problems that we face.If you want to teach kids from a low-income urban community, you need to show them something that’s attractive for them, something with values behind it, such as discipline. You won’t be a great graffiti artist if you don’t go out every day and paint. To achieve your goals, you’ll need to work hard, and if you want to be great you’ve got to push your limits.And we’ve got to change this mentality that not everything young people do is bad and a crime. Maybe young people have a real reason to rebel. You can’t expect them to follow orders in a society that’s unjust, a society that’s violent against them. Our education system teaches children to follow all orders and stay quiet: in real life, if you act like that, it won’t work unless want to be someone that’s not taken seriously. The first thing kids should be taught is how to eat healthily, grow their own food, have their own criteria to know if they’re being lied to. Not to memorize dates.I find it very healthy that new generations question everything that are wrong in society and express them artistically. Would you rather see them hitting people or breaking stuff? Art is a way in which we can focus on the friendly side before confronting things in a different manner. Art is so important.center_img 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 kstanley@ticotimes.net. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Airbnb agrees to collect sales tax from hosts in Costa Rica

first_imgRepresentatives ofAirbnb, the online marketplace that allows people to list or rent lodging in residential properties, said the company is willing to collect taxes from its hosts in Costa Rica and that it will collaborate with the drafting of a bill for that purpose.Pablo H. Abarca Mora, president of the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR), said in a written statement that he met with Airbnb’s public policy lead for Central America and the Caribbean, Shawn Sullivan, on Jan. 13 to discuss the proposed regulations.Sullivan indicated that Airbnb is very interested in working with CANATUR to outline a legal framework to regulate this type of sharing economy enterprise.“Costa Rica is a world leader in tourism, and it would be the first Latin America country to approve legislation like this,” Sullivan said, adding that the San Francisco-based company is willing to adjust its platform to facilitate tax collection from Airbnb hosts of short-term rentals of less than thirty days.CANATUR’s Abarca said that this agreement is a proof that sharing economy platforms should become tax collectors.Abarca said that the chamber is already working on the drafting of a bill to collect sales tax from these types of businesses, plus an additional five percent that would fund improvements to the country’s national parks.That percentage will only be charged to Airbnb hosts who do not obtain a tourism business recognition issued by the Costa Rican Tourism Board.“These kind of incentives will help to better control these businesses, will improve tax collection and curb informality,” Abarca said.Airbnb’s platform operates in 192 countries and has over 2 million properties registered. There are some 5,500 Airbnb hosts in Costa Rica; according to company data, a total of 147,000 people used the platform to find accommodation here in the past year. Facebook Comments Related posts:Government tables draft bills aimed at approving fiscal reforms Administrative Court bans dry law during holidays Tax information returns extension deadline ends next week Tourism Chamber: Please support businesses outside Poás safety perimeterlast_img read more

Tussling for tuna Costa Rican fishermen want more access to a local

first_imgRobert Nunes is a commercial fisherman who actively defends his peers in Costa Rica’s commercial fishing industry. He volunteers a lot of his time with Mauricio Gonzalez, director of the Camera de Palangreros (or the chamber of longliners) traveling the country lobbying for fisherman’s rights.Longlining is a type of fishing that boats set miles of hooks across the ocean and is not selective in what type of fish takes the bait placed on a hook. This has caused grief among many different groups who support, sharks, marlin, and sailfish that some people consider bycatch to a longline boat. The longline sector does not consider these species bycatch as the total catch is utilized and nothing gets wasted.But Nunes is an innovator and found a way to specifically target tuna with less than one percent bycatch. One of first to outfit his commercial boats with greenstick, an art of fishing that targets tuna and rarely catches anything but tuna. Robert Nunes (Photo courtesy of Changing Seas)Tuna are able to see what’s happening above the water and greenstick fishing uses lures that skip along the surface, so greenstick fishermen rarely catch anything besides tuna.Nunes has a six-boat operation. He fishes greenstick whenever possible and catches about 80 tons of tuna a year. That still only makes up for 40 percent of his catch though. Lots of times, tuna isn’t available so he longlines for dorado, which can catch sharks and billfish. Gonzalez, the director of the chamber of longliners, is not opposed to using greenstick, but for him, it’s a matter of cost.“We would love to fish greenstick a lot more,” says Gonzalez “If we had access to the [tuna]. We don’t have a lot of interest in many other species, but we need to make a living.”Costa Rica has rich fisheries, but every year, thousands of tons of tuna are fished by foreign vessels. While local fishermen face high costs, those from other countries extract Costa Rican tuna for pennies on the dollar.“It costs us as Costa Rican fishermen a lot more than foreign tuna boats to extract tuna from the ocean,” Nunes said.  To extract 80 tons of tuna, Nunes says he paid the government $46,178 in fees for licenses, social security, INS insurance, and taxes or $1.73 per kilo of tuna extracted from Costa Rican waters.“If you add the salaries of my employees on the boats which is part of the costs to access the resource it is over $157,000 per year,” Nunes said. That’s almost 200 times more than what the country makes off of foreign vessels.Costa Rica sells a license to a foreign boat for $54 per net ton of that vessel’s capacity. If that boat sells 300 metric tons to the cannery in Puntarenas it receives the next license gratis. The system is perpetual. In 2018 Costa Rica issued 12 tuna licenses to fishing boats called purse seiners. Four were paid for and the rest were given away for free. All the boats were flagged from either Nicaragua or Venezuela. They reported a total catch of 8,422 tons of tuna. In total Costa Rica collected $153,264.48 in fees. That means Costa Rica had a benefit of just under 2 cents or 11 colones for every kilo of tuna extracted from Costa Rican waters.Gonzalez says purse seiners are also a local fishermen’s biggest nemesis. A purse seiner set ontop of dolphins to catch the tuna below The Tico Times archivesPurse seiners surround schools of fish with up to several kilometers of net. The net is pulled in from the bottom and everything caught in the net’s radius is hauled into the boat. This type of fishing is highly regulated due to the amount of fish and bycatch a single boat is capable of producing.In the Americas, the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) allots each member country a quota of tuna it can catch with purse seiners. The IATTC allots Costa Rica around 9,000 tonnes a year, but we catch none of it.Costa Rica does not have any purse seine boats of its own and sells its quota to foreign flagged vessels. The system in place is outdated and Costa Rica benefits next to nothing by them being here.We have a lot to gain from the leaving though. As of 2014, purse seine boats can no longer work within 45 miles of Costa Rica’s shore and the sport fishing sector has seen a giant recovery in tuna. We’ve also seen more marlin and dorado which are often discarded bycatch by tuna boats.By studying bycatch records from observers on board tuna boats in 2017, FECOP found that 25 tons of what would have been marlin bycatch were saved by reducing the area they fish. One purse seiner has the capacity to catch as much tuna in one trip as the entire commercial fleet of 300 longlines catches in one year. “If there were more of the resource available to Costa Rican fishermen, we would target tuna. It is the fish that pays most at the market,” explained Nunes. “If you add the money generated by the sport fishing fleet for Costa Rica into the figures it is much more when you look at the whole picture.”The benefit of giving tuna back to Costa Ricans would have a domino effect. Better living conditions for coastal families, less pressure on controversial species and more fish for the sport fishing sector as well. It would also place another star on Costa Rica’s reputation for taking care of nature.Todd Staley has run fishing sport operations on both coasts of Costa Rica for over 25 years. He recently decided to take some time off to devote full-time to marine conservation and is the communications director at FECOP. Contact him at wetline@hotmail.com.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Tuna company, fishermen and environmental groups squabble over unpublished fishing decree Hooray! Now we can go fishing with our children Costa Rica declines to vote on shark protections at international convention A new hook for displaced shrimp industry workerslast_img read more

Taiwans Ma signals no China change as term starts

first_imgAssociated PressTAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – Taiwan’s president began his second term Sunday and signaled he will maintain a China policy that has reduced tensions between the sides, offering Beijing little early hope of realizing its long-term goal of unification.Speaking at a low-key inaugural ceremony in Taipei’s ornate presidential office building, Ma Ying-jeou hewed to the same formula for relations across the 160-kilometer-wide (100-mile-wide) Taiwan Strait he championed during his first term. “Our cross-strait policy must maintain the status quo of ‘no unification, no independence and no use of force,’” Ma said.He reaffirmed his support for the so-called 1992 Consensus, an informal agreement reached by representatives of the sides accepting that there is only one China _ and not one China, and one Taiwan, which is the stance of many in Taiwan’s pro-independence opposition. But Ma enunciated his position in a way apparently calculated to leave hard-liners in Beijing disappointed.“When we speak of one China, naturally it is the Republic of China,” he said.The Republic of China is the exiled government that Nationalist icon Chiang Kai-shek brought with him to Taiwan in 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communist forces prevailed in the Chinese civil war.Beijing sees it as a historical relic that lost its legitimacy when Mao proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China 63 years ago. Since then, Chinese leaders have always insisted that Taiwan must be brought under their control, by persuasion if possible, by force if necessary.Ma won re-election in January largely by assuring voters that he would safeguard their hard-won democratic freedoms, while simultaneously moving forward with his signature policy of tying Taiwan’s high-tech economy ever closer to China’s lucrative markets. That formula has helped to lower cross-strait tensions to their lowest level in six decades. Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths His remarks on Sunday _ reaffirming his opposition to unification and his fealty to the Republic of China _ make it clear that he still supports that path.Despite Ma’s relatively comfortable re-election victory _ he won by six percentage points _ he begins his second term under the shadow of deep-seated voter dissatisfaction with his overall performance. A particular focus is his economic policies, including a recent decision to raise utility rates.Tens of thousands of anti-Ma protesters gathered in downtown Taipei on Saturday to demonstrate against those policies. Wearing red and green armbands emblazoned with the Chinese character for “anger,” the demonstrators snaked their way through the streets of the capital before gathering in front of the presidential office building under a light drizzle.(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 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Greece elections pose a crucial dilemma QA

first_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Four benefits of having a wireless security system WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO GREECE IF IT LEFT THE EURO?No country has ever left and there are no procedures in the European Union’s vast rulebook for pushing any country out. But if Greece left the euro, it would then have no choice but to start printing its own currency _ the drachma _ to pay its way.Such a move would hit the Greek people hard _ and quickly, according to the Greek think tank Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research. The new drachma would lose half or more of its value relative to the euro. This would drive up inflation and sap the purchasing power of the average Greek. At the same time, the country’s economic output would drop, putting more people out of work where one in five is already unemployed. The prices of imported goods would skyrocket, putting them out of reach for many.However, there are some analysts that say a weaker drachma would make Greek exports cheaper and more competitive and could help the economy start growing again. Companies outside Greece might be attracted by the cheaper labor and real estate, encouraging them to move manufacturing plants there. Tourism might also get a boost: booking a hotel room on a Greek island, for example, would suddenly become much cheaper for foreigners. Both PASOK and New Democracy have vowed to try to renegotiate parts of the bailout in an effort to stimulate Greece’s moribund economy. However, they do not advocate pulling the plug on the deal and insist the top priority is to keep Greece in the euro _ something that 80 percent of Greeks want.To form a government, the winning party _ or coalition _ needs to hold a minimum of 151 of Parliament’s 300 seats. Whichever party comes first will get a bonus of 50 seats in Parliament under the Greek electoral law. Still, it is highly unlikely that any party will win enough seats for an outright majority _ meaning there will be another round of negotiations to form a governing coalition.BUT APART FROM GREECE, THE EUROZONE IS BACK ON TRACK, RIGHT?Hardly. Spain has become the latest _ and largest _ country in the eurozone to ask for a bailout. The country’s borrowing costs have shot up over the past weeks on concerns that it does not have the money to prop up its troubled banking sector, which has been crippled by a collapse in Spain’s property market.On Saturday, the Spanish government acknowledged it would seek outside assistance for its banks after the eurogroup _finance ministers from the 17 euro countries _ agreed to offer Spain (EURO)100 billion in bailout loans. Spain will decide how much it needs once independent audits of the country’s banks have been completed. The bailout move was meant to calm markets ahead of the Greek elections. Instead it has had the opposite effect. Worried about the extra load on Spain’s debt the bailout laon would have, markets have fought shy of Spain all week, sending its borrowing costs to the highest level since the country joined the euro in 1999. These jitters have been also felt in Italy, which is struggling to maintain its huge debts as its economy falters. Italy also saw its borrowing costs rise this week when it went to the markets to sell its debt.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) (AP) – Greeks will have to wrestle with a crucial dilemma when they go to the polls for the second time in as many months on June 17 to elect a new government.The outcome could determine whether Greece sticks with the heavy budget cutting that is required under the terms of an international bailout _ or rejects the so-called fiscal austerity imposed by the rest of Europe. If Greeks choose the latter, they risk expulsion from the euro, which would likely induce more pain on an economy already in its fifth year of recession. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family GREECE IS SUCH A SMALL ECONOMY. WHY DOES ITS MEMBERSHIP IN THE EURO MATTER?True, Greece’s economy makes up about 2 percent of the eurozone’s overall economic output. But if Greece falls out of the eurozone, investors will become nervous about whether other financially shaky countries, such as Italy, could also leave. That fear would likely drive up borrowing costs for these and other countries, potentially to levels that would require them to seek international bailouts. Europe would be trapped in a vicious circle.The European banks that hold much of the continent’s government bonds would become significantly weaker and more reluctant to lend to one another. This could spark off a credit crunch like the one that followed the collapse of the U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers.This problem could be made even worse by savers and investors taking money out of banks in shaky economies and moving it out to safer countries such as Germany or even out of the eurozone altogether. This could further destabilize the banking system.WHAT COULD HAPPEN ON JUNE 17?Market-watchers and other European politicians are worried that Syriza, which came second in the May election on an anti-bailout ticket, might do better this time around. Alexis Tsipras, the party’s charismatic leader, has vowed to cancel Greece’s international bailout agreement if he wins.center_img The uncertainty in Greece has been hanging over global financial markets for months, and analysts say next Sunday’s election may not lead to a quick resolution. But the election will help determine whether the financial crisis that has plagued Europe for more than two years is slowly coming under control _ or about to get much worse.Here are some questions and answers on the Greek election and why it matters to the rest of the world:WHY IS GREECE BACK IN THE NEWS?In a nutshell, the June 17 vote is being seen as a referendum on the euro.Greece secured in March a second multibillion-euro rescue package consisting of loans and debt restructuring. This bailout came with more tough austerity measures, such as cuts in public sector pay and pensions that the country is struggling to meet.The spending cuts have left the economy mired in a deep recession. Angered by the seemingly endless pain, Greeks turned away from the two traditional parties _ conservative New Democracy and socialist PASOK _ in elections last month. They voted instead for more radical parties that have vowed to pull the country out of its bailout and austerity agreements.But if the country renounces its bailout terms, Greece’s international partners could stop providing the rescue loans on which the country depends. That could lead it to default and force it out of the eurozone _ a move that could greatly weaken the euro and send shockwaves across the global financial system. Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Comments   Share   Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debateslast_img read more

Romney angers Palestinians with proIsrael comment

first_img“There are 57 Muslim and Arab countries here, and while U.S. diplomats are exerting every possible effort to explain their position, here comes Romney, with no knowledge of the region, its history and culture, and gives such statements, which will only serve as ammunition in the hands of extremists in this region,” Erekat said.In recent years, the U.S. has remained constant in its support for establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel, regardless of whether a Democrat or a Republican sat in the White House. But two decades of on-again, off-again U.S.-led peace efforts have been bedeviled by violence and have not nudged the sides towards a final peace deal that would settle borders and other issues.“We need the U.S. as an honest broker for peace, between us and the Palestinians,” said Alon Liel, a former senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official. “It’s not enough being a friend. If we don’t have the honest broker, we don’t have peace. There are no signs that Romney understands it.”Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, came to Romney’s defense, saying he was impressed by “his intellect, by his breadth of knowledge and his vision.” As criticism mounted as he traveled from Israel to Poland later Monday, campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the candidate’s comments were “grossly mischaracterized.” The Republican’s campaign contended Romney’s comparison of countries that are close to each other and have wide income disparities _ the U.S. and Mexico, Chile and Ecuador _ showed his comments were broader than just the comparison between Israel and Palestine. While speaking to U.S. audiences, Romney often highlights culture as a key to economic success and emphasizes the power of the American entrepreneurial spirit compared to the values of other countries.Palestinians noted that Romney’s comments did not address the stifling effect of Israel’s occupation. Although Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005, it continues to restrict Palestinian trade and movement there and in the West Bank. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have said repeatedly the Palestinian economy can only grow in a sustainable way of Israel lifts those restrictions.Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, said Romney’s comments are hurting U.S. efforts to restore Washington’s standing in the Muslim and Arab world. That came on Monday when Romney addressed the stark economic differences between Israel _ a high-tech powerhouse with the per capita income of a developed nation _ and the poorer Palestinians. Romney told an audience of affluent Jewish donors _ including gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is pumping millions into a crusade to defeat President Barack Obama _ that some economic historians have theorized that “culture makes all the difference.”“You notice a stark difference in economic vitality” between Israel and the Palestinians, Romney said, proceeding to badly flub the economic output numbers on both sides. “And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things,” he said, citing an innovative business climate and the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances.Palestinian leaders were outraged.“The statement reflects a clear racist spirit,” said Palestinian Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani. “If Romney came here to rally Israeli and Jewish support in the U.S. election, he can do that without insulting the Palestinian people.” Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Comments   Share   “It is unfortunate that the Palestinians find every reason and opportunity to discomfit or to criticize or to attack Israel or anyone who pays respect to Israel and Jewish culture or anyone who supports Israel,” Ayalon said.It’s become the norm for U.S. presidential hopefuls to make a stop in Israel in hopes of winning support from Jewish voters in the U.S., and Palestinian officials say Romney’s embrace of Israel’s positions was expected, especially with polls showing a close race. Romney apparently hoped to exploit the sense that Obama’s relations with Israelis and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been rocky.Israeli officials received Romney warmly as he agreed with Israel that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, disregarding the Palestinians’ claim to the war-won eastern sector, annexed by Israel in 1967 in a move that is not internationally recognized. Romney also suggested he was open to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something the Israelis have long sought but the U.S. has refused to do because it would imply recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the entire city.Romney also spoke categorically about protecting Israel from Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which both Israel and the U.S. think are directed at producing bombs, despite Tehran’s denial. He also cancelled a planned meeting with Israel’s opposition Labor Party leader, sparking concerns among Israeli commentators that Netanyahu and his visitor appeared so politically allied that it might endanger Israel’s standing in Washington if Obama were reelected. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technologycenter_img During his 36 hours in Israel, Romney did not make the 30-minute trip to the West Bank or seek a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, though he did meet briefly with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Jerusalem. Romney left Israel on Monday.Romney’s remarks also managed to offend some Jews, who thought the talk about Jewish prosperity played into an anti-Semitic stereotype. “When I heard the association between Jews and money, it really caused me some uncomfortable feeling, I must say, because that was what was said by anti-Semites all over the years,” said Abraham Diskin, a political science professor at the Inter-Disciplinary Center outside Tel Aviv.___Laub reported from the West Bank. Associated Press writers Diaa Hadid in Jerusalem and Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank contributed reporting.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressJERUSALEM (AP) – Mitt Romney’s campaign stop in Israel left behind furious Palestinians charging that the Republican presidential candidate hasn’t fully grasped the complexities of one of the world’s most intractable conflicts.Romney’s sweeping embrace of Israeli government positions _ especially on the Iranian nuclear program _ came as no surprise. But Palestinian _ and some Israeli _ critics say he overshot by seeming to snub the Palestinians’ president, dismiss their claims to Jerusalem, and suggest their culture is inferior to Israel’s. Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Parents, stop beating yourself uplast_img read more

Guinea to see 21 billion of its debt cancelled

first_imgAssociated PressCONAKRY, Guinea (AP) – More than $2.1 billion of Guinea’s foreign debt is being cancelled in a major boost for the deeply impoverished West African nation whose mineral riches were looted over decades of corrupt dictatorship, officials said Wednesday.Two-thirds of Guinea’s total foreign debt is being eliminated because it has qualified for the IMF and World Bank program for heavily indebted poor countries, according to a government statement. Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology The decision to support $2.1 billion in debt relief for Guinea was later announced by the IMF and the World Bank following a meeting of their administrative council Wednesday.“This will allow Guinea to free up substantial resources,” said Ansoumane Camara, an economist and consultant in Conakry who said the money could be redirected toward improving health and educational programs.Guinea’s finances were left in ruins after nearly a quarter-century of rule by Lansana Conte, who pillaged state coffers to make his family fabulously wealthy before his death in 2008, according to economists.In 2010, the country held its first democratic election but the political reforms have not translated into immediate improvements for the lives of most Guineans, who remain deeply impoverished. About 75 percent of the country’s 10 million people live below the poverty line, according to the United Nations.Fatou Bonte Bangoura, who sells smoked fish at a port in Guinea’s capital, said Wednesday’s announcement would mean little for Guineans who are struggling to support their families.“Our children need to eat, they need to be taken care of, they need to go to school,” she lamented. Guinea’s debt elimination won’t result in individual families receiving money. “It doesn’t feed me,” she says. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day President Alpha Conde called Wednesday’s announcement “the first step on the path to economic recovery.”“It gives us the opportunity to make a historic new start,” he said while visiting a women’s business cooperative. “We will now redouble our efforts, and no one will be left by the wayside.”(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 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

US resumes radar sharing with Honduras

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   How men can have a healthy 2019 Embassy spokesman Stephen Posivak said Thursday the decision was due to “a series of corrective measures Honduras has taken to avoid shooting down civilian aircraft,” something a bilateral agreement specifically prohibits.Two aircraft were shot down off the coast of northern Honduras in July. U.S. officials have said they don’t have information about the planes’ occupants or the cargo(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) – The United States is resuming sharing of radar intelligence with Honduras after a four-month suspension.Washington had suspended the intelligence sharing in August after the Central American nation’s air force shot down two suspected drug planes in violation of agreements with Washington.The U.S. Embassy in Honduras says the resumption came after Honduras agreed to review procedures used in such cases. Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

Belarus issues arrest warrant for Russian tycoon

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility MINSK, Belarus (AP) – Authorities in Belarus issued an arrest warrant Monday for a Russian billionaire who co-owns the Moscow-based potash company Uralkali as a power struggle escalated over exports of the fertilizer.Belarus’ Investigative Committee said it had charged Suleyman Kerimov in absentia with “organizing the abuse of power” and issued an arrest warrant for him. The statement came a week after Uralkali’s CEO, Vladislav Baumgertner, was arrested in Belarus on suspicion of “abusing his powers.” Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society Forbes magazine has estimated that Kerimov, who owns 22 percent of the company, is worth $7.1 billion. If found guilty, the 47-year-old billionaire could face ten years in prison.In July, Uralkali, Russia’s largest producer of this key ingredient in fertilizer, pulled out of a trading venture with its partner in Belarus, raising fears in the former Soviet state of a pricing war with Russia. Analysts have described the arrests and allegations by Belarus as an act of retaliation against Moscow.The venture, which has been accused of fixing the price of potash, suddenly broke up in July when Uralkali accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of allowing state-owned Belaruskali to export potash independently. Baumgertner sat on the advisory board of the joint trading company, which controlled up to 40 percent of the global potash exports.Uralkali’s shares have lost 20 percent since it decided to quit the cartel and the price of potash has fallen by 5 percent to $390 a ton. Uralkali executives have said they expect the price to drop to $300 by the end of the year.Belarusian authorities said they suspect Uralkali officials of planning to cause a drop in the potash market by quitting the joint venture. Investigators in Belarus claim that Uralkali deliberately caused a market crash in order “to launch a strike on Belarusian producers, who were already regarded as competitors.” 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Quick workouts for men Russian authorities, meanwhile, have demanded Baumgertner’s immediate release. Moscow last week threatened to ban Belarusian dairy imports and said it would cut oil exports to its neighbor, although it denied that these steps were motivated by the attack on Uralkali.Uralkali’s shares were down 0.9 percent Monday afternoon Moscow time.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories last_img read more

Thai activist convicted of defaming king pardoned

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Surachai, 70, was expected to be released from a prison on Bangkok’s northern outskirts on Thursday after being pardoned by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Red Shirt chairwoman Thida Thavornseth said.Surachai filed a request for the pardon last year, she said.Thailand’s lese majeste law, which protects the monarchy from defamation, is the world’s harshest. It mandates a jail term of three to 15 years.In most cases, those charged with lese majeste are denied bail repeatedly, with courts usually saying the crime is serious and could affect national security.Earlier this week, a court sentenced a Thai media firebrand to two years in jail and a woman to five years for defaming the monarch in two unrelated cases.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top holiday drink recipes Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   center_img BANGKOK (AP) – A political activist who was convicted of defaming Thailand’s monarchy received a royal pardon from the king on Thursday and will be freed from jail.Surachai Danwattananusorn was sentenced last year to 7 1/2 years in prison for making speeches judged to have insulted the monarchy three times in 2010.He was a communist insurgent in Thailand in the 1970s and was imprisoned in the 1980s. More recently, Surachai led a faction of the Red Shirt political movement, whose members took to the streets and clashed with the military in 2010. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Ukraines president warns of possibility of rebel offensive

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ukrainian servicemen from battalion “Kiev1” perform house to house checks in Marinka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday June 4, 2015. A major battle erupted Wednesday on the western edge of the main separatist rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine, leaving more than a dozen dead and threatening to tip the country back into full-blown war. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said at least one person was killed in Marinka, the government-held town where fighting was centered. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) Mission spokesman Michael Bociurkiw on Thursday urged all sides in the conflict to “exercise maximum restraint.” He also told reporters that observers in recent days had found that some heavy weapons which had been pulled back by both sides were missing from the areas where they were being stored.“This suggests non-compliance” with the cease-fire accord, which called for both sides to pull back large weapons in order to create a buffer zone, Bociurkiw said.An Associated Press reporter on Thursday saw two Grad missile launchers driving toward the government-controlled town of Artemivsk. Under the cease-fire accord, such weapons were to be withdrawn from that area.Russia has strongly denied supplying the rebels either with weapons or with recruits, despite mounting evidence suggesting otherwise.The U.N. Security Council scheduled an open meeting Friday morning on the latest developments at the request of Lithuania, a strong supporter of the Ukrainian government.___Nataliya Vasilyeva and Jim Heintz in Moscow, Yevgeny Maloletka near Artemivsk, and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s president on Thursday warned of a possible large-scale offensive by separatist forces in the east, one day after a major battle erupted on the western edge of the main separatist rebel stronghold.Heavy fighting on the outskirts of Donetsk on Wednesday was the most severe in months. A cease-fire called in February has been violated almost daily, but hostilities had tapered off after the agreement. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The fighting was heaviest in in the village of Marinka. Ukrainian officials said five servicemen were killed on Wednesday, four of them in or around Marinka. Late Wednesday, the minister of defense for the Donetsk rebels, Eduard Basurin, said 14 rebels and five civilians had been killed by Ukrainian fire during the day, but didn’t specify locations.Ukrainian military spokesman Col. Andriy Lysenko claimed Thursday that about 80 rebels were killed in the fighting, along with two civilians.On Thursday, rebels shelled the town of Avdiyivka just north of Donetsk, according to a Facebook post from Vyacheslav Abroskin, the police chief for the government-controlled sector of the Donetsk region. He said an unspecified number of civilians were wounded.The intensity of the combat the day before raised fears of full-scale fighting resuming in the war that has already killed more than 6,400 people since April 2014.In an address to the Ukrainian parliament, President Petro Poroshenko spoke of a “colossal threat of the resumption of large-scale hostilities by Russian and terrorist forces” and said there are now 9,000 Russian troops in the rebel-controlled area.The monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe said its observers saw at least a dozen tanks moving from the rebel-controlled city toward the western outskirts in the run-up to the battle. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Top Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Comments   Share   last_img read more

2 killed in German driveby shootings suspect captured

first_img Sponsored Stories ___David Rising contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 0 Comments   Share   Quick workouts for men Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Police were alerted at 10 a.m. that a middle-aged man driving a silver Mercedes had opened fire on a woman in the town of Tiefenthal, 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Nuremberg. The 82-year-old woman died at the scene.Shortly afterward, police say the gunman fatally shot a 72-year-old man riding a bicycle in the nearby town of Rammersdorf. A driver who was threatened by the suspect gave details of the man’s car to police.The suspect then fired at a farmer driving a tractor, who was slightly injured by flying glass, and drove to a gas station in Bad Windsheim, 35 kilometers (20 miles) from the scene of the shootings.“Shortly before noon, police were informed that staff at an Esso gas station in Bad Windsheim had overpowered the man after he threatened them with a weapon,” said Herrmann. “It’s thanks to the brave intervention of the gas station staff that the suspect was stopped.”Prosecutors said the suspect, a local man identified only as Bernd G. in line with German privacy rules, showed signs of psychological problems and was being assessed by a psychiatrist. He had no previous convictions, prosecutor Gerhard Neuhof said.G. had permits to own two firearms but not to carry or use them, authorities said. Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies BERLIN (AP) — A 47-year-old German gunman shot and killed two people and injured another in a rampage Friday in the southern state of Bavaria before being overpowered by two gas station mechanics, authorities said.Officials said the victims appeared to have been chosen randomly by the suspect, who spoke “incoherently” after his arrest.“At the moment there are no indications of any immediate relationships between the culprit and the victims,” said Bavaria’s interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, calling it an “ugly, incomprehensible crime.” 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairylast_img read more

Smooth sailing for Uniworld 2011 new ships more destinations plus k

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Uniworld Boutique River Cruises are set to re-introduce programmes to Russia , launch new itineraries for China, and will also for the first time introduce child-friendly departures, all to coincide with significant investments made to its fleet in recent years.Focusing on “new, new, new” Managing Director, John Molinaro at the 2011 Europe & Russia brochure launch emphasized Uniworld’s commitment as the “world’s only boutique river cruise line“, offering cultural experiences for Australian clients, and on the brink of introducing two new ships to its fleet, will also have some of the newest product in the marketplace.“The brochure is already getting a huge response, good signs for 2011,” Mr Molinaro said.The new Russia itinerary is expected to draw significant interest in this market, which was re-instated after the company decided to deploy one of its newest ships conduct the tour.  It will now allow clients to cruise the entire continent with Uniworld.“We stepped away from it (Russia) in 2010 because the ship just wasn’t right.  We took the financial hit to get the product right, and now we have gotten the ship we want and ready to start next year,” Mr Molinaro said.The 2011 brochure offers 30 cruises incorporating Uniworld’s two newest ships, the largest vessel for the company at 73 staterooms, the River Antoinette, which will be used for its Castles Along the Rhine itinerary, and the Douro Spirit, which will sail along the Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley waterways.  Other investments are being made to its entire fleet, upgrading and refurbishing current ships to add more balconies and adjoining rooms, which will be used for its upcoming Family Friendly itineraries.  Mr Molinaro said demographics have changed in recent years, dropping to a “very young 50” allowing Uniworld to launch key departures for multi-generational travel next year.   Itineraries will focus on excursions of a “cultural” nature, according to Mr Molinaro, which will include cooking classes, German soft drink tasting and French lessons for youngsters between 4-18 years old.Uniworld’s 2011 China Yangtze River cruises are set to be released in coming months in a separate brochure. Early bird discounts are currently being offered for a number of itineraries across the brochure, including Family Friendly itineraries.  For more information or to order a brochure, visit www.uniworldcruises.com.au Travel Corporation’s Phillapa Walker, John Molinaro, Nina Conacherlast_img read more

Qamea Resort and Spa Rated In Top 10 Beach Breaks in the

first_imgSource = Qamea Resort & Spa USA’s CNBC has just released the latest report from boutique travel advisers Mr & Mrs Smith From glam coastal getaways to private island escapes, Mr & Mrs have rated some of the best beach breaks around the world. Swimming fans, surfers and poolside posers will find much to like in this top 10.  Qamea came in at number 5, being noted as Back-to-nature bliss! Their report states,If barefoot luxury is your bag, then a stay at Qamea Resort & Spa Fiji will have you kicking off your shoes in no time. Traditional thatched bures are dotted among palm trees on Qamea Island, a petite tropical isle in Fiji’s lush north-east. Inspired by Fijian village houses, the Beachfront Bures are just a hop from sugar-white sands and glass-clear seas. Scuba fiends will dive right into the PADI programmes on offer here, with world-class dive sites and soft corals just offshore. Sybarites should slip straight into the spa, a canopy-level retreat that employs age-old techniques and local ingredients, such as cane sugar and coconut, to soul-soothing effect.last_img read more