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ACVs new Travel Advisory Board will make company a better partner says

first_img Share Friday, September 2, 2016 Cindy Sosroutomo << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — “Ask questions. A lot of them.” This is the single most important lesson that Craig Landry has learned in his first eight months as President of Air Canada Leisure Group (ACLG). Although having already been part of the Air Canada family for the past 22 years, Landry admits that stepping into his new role from his previous post as Vice President of Marketing was a “big change,” especially since as President, he now oversees two major arms of the company: Air Canada Vacations (ACV) and Air Canada Rouge.“The tour operator business is an inherently commercial business so you’re dealing with product and pricing, distribution and marketing, but the context and challenge of business is very different from what I’ve done previously,” he says. “Rouge is also a big departure because it’s very operational. It’s about integrating new aircraft into the fleet, getting those aircraft retrofit and entry into service, recruiting large numbers of flight attendants and pilots, and getting them properly trained and qualified. And with the rapid expansion that we’ve been in, the operational requirements are very heavy and significant. There’s been a lot to learn and a lot to do.”So you ask questions, a lot of them, because according to Landry, “this business is moving very quickly and we aspire to change with the times, and the only way you get to do that is by being curious.”More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesIt is this sense of curiosity and desire to learn that has perhaps inspired ACV to launch a brand new Travel Advisory Board. Beginning this month and managed by Vice President of Sales and Partnerships George Platanitis, the Board is expected to include anywhere from 20 to 30 members across the country who will provide insight into relevant industry issues.“We understand that the perspective on our product, the market and on consumers is different in different parts of the country, so it’s important that we have representatives from the west coast, central Canada, eastern Canada and so on,” adds Landry. “The idea is to bring together a group of folks and ask them to help us be a better partner to them. It’s very clear in our mind that when the travel agency community is successful, then we as a business is successful.”Landry, who says that approximately two-thirds of Air Canada Vacations’ bookings are made by travel agents, anticipates a number of issues to be brought up by the Board, primarily regarding ways to improve agent interaction. “One of the things we hear from the travel agency community,” he says, “is that agents are looking for us to make their lives as easy as possible, and we are of the same mindset.”More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”ACV’s Sales Team has sent out invitations to chains, consortia and independents in the hope of acquiring 20-30 members in total. Launching this month, the company plans to share the names of board members on Sept. 7, the first day of its cross-country Product Launch.The Board will meet monthly for the first six months, after which it will meet quarterly at ACV’s Toronto and Montreal offices and via conference calls.To read the full article, check out the Sept. 1 issue of Travelweek, click here to see the digital edition.To subscribe to Travelweek, click here. ACV’s new Travel Advisory Board will make company a better partner, says Landry Tags: Air Canada Vacations Posted by About Latest Posts Cindy SosroutomoDeputy Editor at TravelweekCindy is Deputy Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 2007. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Kenya, Morocco, Thailand and Turkey among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Cindy Sosroutomo (see all) Frustrations mount over elusive consumer-pay model: Will it ever happen? – July 16, 2019 “It’s in everyone’s best interest to stay open”: Beaches Turks & Caicos will not close in 2021 – May 15, 2019 Putting “Partners First”: NCL’s CEO lauds agents and the new Norwegian Joy – April 29, 2019last_img read more

New Hampshire offers Limitless Possibilities for families

first_imgNew Hampshire offers ‘Limitless Possibilities’ for families Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Adventure Travel, Family Travel, New Hampshire Tuesday, May 30, 2017 center_img NEW HAMPSHIRE — When it comes to family travel, clients should look no further than the Granite State. New Hampshire has been touting ‘Limitless Possibilities” for families and leisure travellers alike, and when it comes to outdoor adventures, that definitely proves true.A small sampling of the activities that can be done in New Hampshire include:Ziplining: Parents and kids alike can enjoy the adrenaline rush of soaring through the Granite State. Take in the wonders of the various natural wonders including mountains, lakes, and endless forestry. Fun fact: New Hampshire is home to one of the longest zipline canopy tours in the U.S. Go to Attractions: In any weather, families can make a splash in one of the many outdoor water parks located across the state. On rainy days or off-season visits, family fun can still be had at a variety of indoor water parks perfect for year-round fun.Mountain Coasters: In the summer months, New Hampshire’s top ski resorts keep the family fun going with mountain coasters. Check out one of the thrilling, boundary-pushing attractions at some on New Hampshire’s best mountains.Hiking: For active, adventurous families, New Hampshire offers some of the best hiking trails in the U.S. with options for all levels. There are also many kid-friendly trails, with more information found on New Hampshire’s website.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalIf you have clients who are looking for an adventure for the whole family, make sure to share the video by NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development.For more information, go to Share Posted bylast_img read more

Air Canada Sky Regional Airlines deal extended to 2027

first_img Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Air Canada Travelweek Group center_img Wednesday, November 8, 2017 Air Canada, Sky Regional Airlines deal extended to 2027 MONTREAL — Air Canada and Sky Regional Airlines have signed off on a 10-year extension to their capacity purchase agreement.With its fleet comprised exclusively of Embraer 175 jet aircraft that has grown to 25 in recent years, Sky Regional strengthens Air Canada’s competitive position in the rapidly evolving North American regional markets as low cost operators continue to grow, both in Canada and the U.S., said Kevin Howlett, Senior Vice President, Regional Markets and Government Relations at Air Canada.“This 10-year extension to the existing capacity purchase agreement with Sky Regional Airlines underscores our confidence in our Air Canada Express partner to provide a seamless operation and customer experience on behalf of Air Canada in a number of our key domestic and transborder regional markets on a cost competitive basis.”Sky Regional Airlines started flight operations under the Air Canada Express banner on May 1, 2011. The company began with five Bombardier Q400 aircraft flying to and from Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport and added 15 Embraer 175 aircraft in 2013. The carrier serves the U.S. northeast markets, flying 100+ flights per day into cities such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and Chicago. In 2016, Sky Regional added an additional five E175 aircraft to its fleet servicing Jacksonville, Houston, Denver and Atlanta.More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programs“We are very pleased that Air Canada has recognized our commitment to the passenger experience, and are looking forward to continued success as Air Canada offers more regional options for Canadians,” said Russell Payson, Chairman, Sky Regional Airlines.In addition to Sky Regional, Air Canada has capacity purchase agreements with its other regional airline partners, Jazz, Air Georgian and EVAS, that operate regional Air Canada Express flights on behalf of Air Canada.last_img read more

Central American economies expected to grow by 35 percent in 2014

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica should expect 4.3 percent GDP growth, World Bank says López, Guatemala’s 1st billionaire, beating Slim with Tigo Mobile Fitch Ratings downgrades Costa Rica outlook As budget battles loom, Biden asks US Congress to approve aid for Central America PANAMA CITY – The economies of Central America will grow an average of 3.5 percent this year, half a point more than that estimated for Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).“The estimated economic growth for this year in Central America is 3.5 percent,” said Gina Montiel, manager for the IDB in the Dominican Republic and the region, who added that the estimate for Latin America is 3 percent.Montiel offered the information during the 26th Central American and Dominican Republic Governors Meeting, which brings together finance ministers and other economic authorities from across the region.The financial corporation believes that Central America and the Dominican Republic should make structural changes that allow it to improve competitivity while considering the drop in the price of basic goods that the region exports.The IDB also recommended taking advantage of the improving U.S. economy, the principal market for Central American exports.The continued recovery of developed economies, especially the United States, will push global growth from 2.4 percent in 2013 to 3.2 percent in 2014, according to the World Bank.“The principal challenge for the region is taking advantage of the North American economy,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

It worked Lawmakers approve San JoséSan Ramón Highway construction bill saving taxpayers

first_img Facebook Comments ¡Vamos avanzando! Aprobada en Primer Debate Proyecto de Ley Carretera San José – San Ramón.— Luis Guillermo Solís (@luisguillermosr) February 3, 2015 Just hours after President Luis Guillermo Solís stalled 19 bills to prioritize the passage of one, lawmakers on Tuesday evening approved a bill that authorizes reconstruction of a highway between San José and San Ramón.A majority of 47 legislators approved in a first round of voting Bill #18,887, which authorizes the creation of a trust funded by public agencies and banks to generate the estimated $473 million cost of the project.The public advocacy group Foro de Occidente had proposed to lawmakers in the Assembly’s Economic Affairs Commission an initiative that would obtain financial resources from reserves, profits or surpluses generated by state agencies – including public banks, the National Insurance Institute and pension operators.Construction of the highway is estimated to last four years and generate toll income at a rate of ₡3,500 ($6.50) per motorist for the full route.In its first stage, the project would expand lanes. A second stage calls for the design and construction of new lanes.If the bill is passed, the 57-kilometer highway will be widened to eight lanes from San José to the Juan Santamaría International Airport. From there to the crossing at Manolo’s in La Garita, the route will stretch to six lanes; from La Garita to San Ramón it will have four lanes.The project includes construction of new bridges and repairs to existing ones and overpasses, and the building of four smaller roads to connect the highway to Sarchí, Naranjo and Río Segundo in Alajuela, as well as Heredia.The Foro de Occidente submitted the project as an alternative to the original $524 million plan by Brazilian company OAS, which won the contract on a public bid.OAS left the country last year after the government in 2013 terminated the contract under pressure from residents who were angry that rates at the proposed toll stations were too expensive. The government last year paid OAS $35 million in compensation for the cancelled concession.To enter into force the bill must be approved in a second round of voting and then published in the official newspaper La Gaceta.Following the vote, President Solís thanked lawmakers and celebrated in several messages on his Twitter account:center_img Related posts:More protests planned for Thursday over San Ramón Highway Government has no funds to build road to San Ramón In a victory for San Ramón residents, Chinchilla annuls highway contract President Solís demands explanation for spike in traffic jamslast_img read more

New turtles arrive at Costa Ricas Ostional beach testing efforts to control

first_imgRelated posts:Mob of tourists at Costa Rica’s Ostional Beach prevents sea turtles from nesting Costa Rica’s Playa Ostional: A community that lives for sea turtles El Niño: Kiss of death for Costa Rica’s sea turtle eggs? Police find 9,400 sea turtle eggs in car trunk outside Nicoya After a largemob of tourists made headlines worldwide for interfering with nesting sea turtles in Costa Rica earlier this month, thousands of olive ridleys have returned to Ostional beach this week. Unlike the last time, when mobs of tourists prevented the turtles from laying their eggs, the beach was mostly clear of visitors.Residents in this small community on Costa Rica’s northwestern Pacific coast were expecting the next turtle arrival, known locally as an arribada, next month. But on Monday night, a first group of turtles surprised locals, Ostional Tourist Guide Association coordinator Elmith Molina Parra told The Tico Times. On Tuesday morning, the arribada included about 2,000 sea turtles that nested along 2 kilometers of the 7-km beach.“Being a weekday and following the media exposure we had last time, very few people were at the beach,” she said.This time, tour guides had no problems taking small groups of mostly local tourists to see the event. The only reported incident was a group of seven foreign tourists – Molina could not identify from which country – who accessed the beach through an unauthorized entrance. Guides requested help from National Police officers who escorted those tourists to the nature reserve’s main entrance.“We explained to them the regulations for entering a protected area, and after assigning them a licensed tour guide, they returned to the beach and watched the nesting,” Molina said.At 8 p.m. a small group of both national and foreign tourists took the last tour of the day.“In total we had no more than 50 tourists here today,” she said.Environment Ministry (MINAE) officials reported that Tuesday’s arribada was one of the largest this year with over 101,000 turtles nesting throughout the day and night.On Wednesday morning, the number of turtle arrivals was bigger, but only a few tourists were present, Tomás Chavarría from the Ostional Development Association (ADIO) said.Boost in surveillanceFollowing the Sept. 5 incident, ADIO and other community leaders met with Environment Ministry officials and National Police officers and outlined a plan to prevent further problems during upcoming arribadas.Measures include stricter surveillance of the six possible access points to Ostional beach in order to effectively control the number of tourists who will be granted access. Yeimy Cedeño Solís, director of MINAE’s Environmental Education Program, said officials on Tuesday closed four of the beach’s access points currently patrolled by staff members of the ministry’s National Systems of Conservation Areas (SINAC), National Police officers and members of the National Police’s Operational Support Group.“Officers will remain at SINAC’s facilities at Ostional so they don’t have to return to their precincts some 20 kilometers or more away,” Cedeño said.The plan for upcoming arribadas also includes placing Traffic Police at checkpoints along the road to Ostional. Cedeño said Traffic Police officers began patrolling the area on Tuesday, following the confirmation of the new arribada. They will remain there throughout the week.If a large group of tourists is spotted, officers will manage vehicle traffic in the community to avoid traffic jams, which brought transit to a standstill at the small beach town on Sept. 5.Tourists will be allowed to enter the beach only when accompanied by one of ADIO’s 30 authorized tour guides. Groups are limited to 10 visitors and can view the arribadas and nesting for no longer than 30 minutes. That is down from the previous allowance of one hour, when tour guides explain the arribada process and other community projects related to turtle visits.ADIO members in recent days have begun informing residents and property owners that they will be fined if they allow tourists to access the beach through their properties.SINAC officials are evaluating the implementation of crowd control measures to help improve the identification of unauthorized visitors at the beach. Options so far include providing wristbands or badges to tourists who enter the beach through one of the authorized entrances.Ostional residents are the only people legally allowed to harvest turtle eggs for consumption and sale. They can take only eggs deposited within the first 72 hours of the arribadas, as the number of turtles – particularly in September and October – and the amount of eggs are so high that when new groups of turtles arrive, they often end up destroying the eggs from earlier nesting.Elmith Molina said that despite these measures, the Ostional community still needs help to prevent further disturbing incidents. Molina said the Public Security Ministry’s Tourist Police could assist them with on-the-beach inspections of groups to verify that they are led by a licensed tour guide and wearing whatever visitor ID system MINAE ends up enforcing.Tourist Police Director Fulvio Fernández on Wednesday said officers on motorcycles began patrolling the beach’s surrounding areas on Tuesday, and he is prepared to send more officers if alerted to an increased presence of tourists. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Jason Torres takes Billabong Fest surf title

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s top two surfers bow out against the sport’s best at Vans World Cup Puerto Viejo native Gilbert Brown wins Latin Pro surf competition in ALAS debut Costa Rica surf squad wins Central American Games for 10th straight year Team Costa Rica shines on first day of 2016 World Surfing Games The winners list on Sunday was peppered with Ticos, as has become the norm when the ALAS comp comes to town.Pavones’ Leilani McGonagle, home from her own rookie QS jaunt this year, has only participated in one other ALAS competition in 2015, the Roca Loca event in nearby Hermosa, which she also won. At the Billabong Fest on Sunday, she found herself in a finals heat made up entirely of Tica chicas. McGonagle, the national Women’s Junior champion and frequent international medalist, outmaneuvered 12-time national Women’s champion Lisbeth Vindas (Jacó), who came in second. Emily Gussoni (Jacó) came in third, and Paula Duarte (Jacó) was fourth.“This tournament had very good waves compared to previous years that I’ve done it and I was very happy about that,” McGonagle said. “It’s always fun to compete against all the girls here; we always go head to head. I am very happy to be back home after a month and a half away. Now, I have to study and train to be ready for the Central American Games and hopefully Costa Rica can bring another gold medal.”According to Diego Naranjo, one of the organizers of Billabong Fest (which was also the second date of the Costa Rica Pro Surfing Tour 2015), McGonagle is unstoppable because of all the effort she puts into her training for these contests. “Of course, there are girls that can challenge her, but Leilani is physically, mentally and technically prepared to compete. She works very, very hard for her achievements so far.  She’s such a disciplined athlete, and such a smart girl.” Winners of the 2015 Billabong Fest, Women’s category, from left: Paula Duarte, Emily Gussoni, Leilani McGonagle and Lisbeth Vindez. (Courtesy ALAS)Rounding out the winners of the Billabong Fest were Aldito Chirinos of Playa Negra for Juniors, Joseph Méndez of Jacó for Boys, Kenet Peralta of Jacó for Grommets (under 14), and Anthony Flores of Jacó for Longboard.With new, big name sponsors such as Ford, Naranjo hopes to bring ALAS to other beaches around Costa Rica such as Negra, Pavones or even Salsa Brava next year.Final results for the ALAS Billabong Fest:Open Men:1- Jason Torres (Costa Rica)2- Jonathan Chila (Ecuador)3-Anthony Fillingim (Costa Rica)3-Leon Glatzer (Costa Rica)Women:1- Leilani McGonagle (Costa Rica)2- Lisbeth Vindas (Costa Rica)3- Emily Gussoni (Costa Rica)4- Paula Duarte (Costa Rica)Juniors:1- Aldo Chirinos (Costa Rica)2- Joseph Méndez (Costa Rica)3- Leon Glatzer (Costa Rica)4- Lucca Mesinas (Perú)Boys:1- Joseph Méndez (Costa Rica)2- Aldo Chirinos (Costa Rica)3- Leilani McGonagle (Costa Rica)4- Tiago Carrique (Costa Rica)Grommets (Under 14):1- Kenneth Peralta (Costa Rica)2- Gabriel Córdoba (Costa Rica)3- Axel Castro (Costa Rica)4- Neo Escaler (Costa Rica)Longboard:1-Anthony Flores (Costa Rica)2- Julian Schweizer (Uruguay)3- Diego Naranjo (Costa Rica)4- William Aguero (Costa Rica) Facebook Commentscenter_img People in the Costa Rica surf world excitedly bandy the names Noé Mar McGonagle and Carlos Muñoz — and with good reason, they’re amazing and represent their country well on the international circuit. Yet, it’s another Tico surfer who seems to be shining brightly on his home waves and will soon get the chance to show the world what he’s made of.That’s Jason Torres of Jacó, who is not only the Costa Rica national surf champion this year, but now the winner of this year’s second Association of Latin American Professional Surfers (ALAS) contest in Costa Rica. The ALAS circuit includes competitions throughout Latin America.With his win at the Billabong Fest in Jacó this past weekend, Torres is tied at No. 8 in the 2015 ALAS rankings. The Latin Pro circuit will continue on without Torres into its finals, the Puntas Rocas Super Prime Classic, which starts Nov. 30 in Perú. Instead, the two-time Central American surf champion will join Anthony Fillingim, David Herrera, Gilbert Brown, Leilani McGonagle and others in Nicaragua the first week in December as Costa Rica battles for its 10th Central American Games team title.More good news for Torres: Thanks to his sponsor O’Neill noticing all his accomplishments in Costa Rica and allocating a nice budget, it looks like Torres will be joining Noé McGonagle and Muñoz next year In the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS), a step he’s been itching to take these past few years.In Jacó, however, this latest notch on Torres’ surfing belt came as no big surprise to everyone but him. For the first two days of Billabong Fest, the German-born Costa Rica resident Leon Glatzer was touted as the score leader, and the one to watch for the win. Meanwhile, Torres was “doing his own thing,” he said. “I wasn’t in competition with anyone but myself.”Glatzer made it all the way to the semi-finals, but the finals ultimately pitted Torres against the ALAS No. 1-ranked Jonathan Chila of Ecuador.“Chila started fast, but I did not get anything for like seven minutes,” recalled Torres of the final that took place in 3-5-foot waves. “Then a good right came, I got three snaps and closed really good. The score was 7.33. My second wave was a left with a little snap and a nice little air for 6.83, beating his air, a little Superman maneuver. This put me in first place. The other guy had a little right 30 seconds before the end, but it wasn’t enough,” Torres recounted. Torres won.“These are the kinds of situations I like to surf,” he added. “These are situations with justice.”See also: Jason Torres: From bad boy to national surfing champ Nicaragua’s Rosanny Alvarez competes in the 2015 Billabong Fest in Jacó, Nov. 20-22. (Courtesy ALAS)last_img read more

Shrimping boat sinks in Guanacaste spilling diesel on Costa Ricas Pacific coast

first_imgRelated posts:Crocodile that attacked U.S. surfer captured in Tamarindo Thousands of dead fish wash up from Gulf of Nicoya Death of crocodile in traditional Costa Rican activity stirs controversy Shark species win international protection despite Costa Rica’s abstention A Costa Rican shrimping boat sank earlier this week off the coast of Playa Brasilito on the country’s northern Pacific coast, spilling large amounts of diesel fuel into the ocean. In the aftermath, community members have come out in force to help mitigate the damage.According to the Costa Rican Oceanology Institute, the spill happened Sunday night at approximately 8 pm, when it is believed that the boat hit a large cluster of rocks that ripped a large hole in the hull of the vessel. Institute president Marie Beal told The Tico Times that about 80 members of the local community have helped with cleanup efforts on the beach, and that they group finished removing scrap metals and debris from the beach on Wednesday morning.Beal said that while it is unknown exactly how much diesel fuel leaked into the ocean, the boat’s tank had a capacity of 18,000 gallons of diesel, which is made from crude oil. Nelson Soto, the head of the Navigation and Security Division of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT), indicated in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that the maximum amount of fuel the boat could have carried while fishing was 5,000 gallons.“We’re extremely worried about the environmental damage that this is going to leave behind,” Beal said during a phone interview. “The good news is that the whole community rallied to help clean up everything that came to shore.”Beal, who lives in nearby Playa Potrero, said that five to six crew members were aboard when the boat sank. Members of the Costa Rican Coast Guard were then immediately sent to bring them to land.The boat, named Azoriano and registered in Puntarenas, was safely situated onshore Wednesday morning as oil remains in the water, Beal said. The statement from MOPT indicated that the boat will be removed from the water on Thursday.A Coast Guard member from Playa Flamingo who was a part of the rescue crew, and who asked not to be named because he is not an official spokesman, told The Tico Times that the boat sank “very rapidly” after hitting the rocks and that it was impossible to save the ship because so much water was rushing in. He said he could not comment on whether the captain of the boat made an error, but did say that the accident occurred in a very dangerous part of the ocean because it is rocky.Nelson Marín, a regional director for the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), told The Tico Times that it is not yet possible to gauge the severity of the damage.“Since yesterday we have been working with other institutions to clean up and do an evaluation of how much has spilled and the long-term effects on the fauna,” he said.Marín added that this is the first large fuel spill in Guanacaste that he could remember. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Venezuelan company to furlough workers in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:President Solís takes credit for healthy economy; Business leaders push back Venezuela dominates agenda ahead of Trump’s Latin American visit Now in Costa Rica: Amazon direct delivery Costa Rica’s Epsy Campbell speaks out against Venezuelan elections A Venezuelan state-owned aluminum firm has announced it wants to furlough more than 300 workers at its Costa Rica plant because of lack of raw goods to operate, Costa Rica’s Labor Ministry announced this week.The situation is one more manifestation of Venezuela’s economic agony as it teeters on the brink of default and as its government scrambles to juggle its shrinking finances.The Venezuelan army general in charge of the factory in Costa Rica, Noel Martinez, told a group of the workers on Tuesday that Alunasa had problems sending needed aluminum from Venezuela for the plant to operate.He said he had asked Caracas for permission to source the metal from other markets.According to Costa Rica’s Labor Ministry, the company issued a notification on March 22 that it wanted to suspend all but 40 of the workers at the plant because of the lack of raw materials.The suspension would be for three months, the ministry said, adding that it was examining whether the request was justified.The factory is located in Esparza, 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the Costa Rican capital, San José. It is the principal employer in the town and its surrounding area.Venezuela’s economy has sunk inexorably since 2014, when global prices for oil crashed. Venezuela is reliant on exports of crude.Since then, hyperinflation has set in, basic foodstuffs and medicine have become scarce, and state workers have seen their work week shortened to save electricity. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Health Ministry expands list of liquor brands suspected of causing methanol poisoning

first_imgRelated posts:Adulterated alcohol in Costa Rica: What you need to know today Costa Rica issues sanitary alert over adulterated alcohol Updates: Health Ministry suspects 19 deaths due to adulterated alcohol Costa Rica in sanitary alert due to respiratory illnesses Costa Rica’s Health Ministry on Tuesday expanded to eight the list of liquor brands that may contain dangerous amounts of methanol.Translated from Spanish, the Health Ministry’s update reads as follows:The Ministry of Health … informs the general population about the extension of the Health Alert issued regarding the sale of products packaged in bottles labeled “Guaro Guerazo”, “Guaro Sacheto”, “Guaro Gran Apache”, “Aguardiente Estrella Roja”, “Guaro Montano”, “Aguardiente Barón Rojo”, “Aguardiente Timbuka” and “Aguardiente Molotov”, which according laboratory results, are adulterated with methanol.On July 5, the Ministry issued an alert due to the adulteration with methanol of a product identified on its label as “Guaro Montano”. In follow-ups to this alert, it was found that other products with labels that indicate “Aguardiente Barón Rojo”, “Aguardiente Molotov” and “Aguardiente Timbuka,” are also adulterated with methanol. Samples of other similar products were taken and adulteration was found in packaging labeled “Guaro Gran Apache” and “Aguardiente Estrella Roja”. To these alcoholic beverages we now add those labeled “Guaro Sacheto”.It should be noted that “Guaro Guerazo”, “Guaro Sacheto”, “Guaro Gran Apache”, “Aguardiente Estrella Roja”, “Guaro Montano”, “Aguardiente Barón Rojo”, “Aguardiente Timbuka and “Aguardiente Molotov” are registered before the Ministry of Health. It is suspected that counterfeit products of these brands circulate in the national market.Do not consume any of the liquor brands named in the alert, and report to authorities if you suspect an establishment of selling adulterated liquor. A criminal complaint can be filed via email at: or companies selling adulterated alcoholic beverages are subject to various administrative and criminal penalties.The Health Ministry says at least 45 people have been treated for methanol poisoning in recent weeks. As of last Wednesday, 20 people had died. The U.S. Embassy said last week it is “not aware of any U.S. citizen illness or death due to consuming adulterated alcohol in Costa Rica.”In an effort to reduce the risk of additional poisonings, more than 38,000 bottles of liquor have been seized by authorities, according to the Health Ministry. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Bahamas searches for owner of smugglers boat

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 4 sleep positions for men and what they meancenter_img New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Police earlier detained eight people in another Abaco town for questioning.Assistant Superintendent Loretta Mackey says searchers were out again Thursday but no survivors or new bodies were found. Among those missing are several children.Mackey says authorities are trying to tow back the capsized boat that attempted the ill-fated smuggling journey to Florida.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The vital role family plays in society NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) – Bahamian police are searching for a 52-year-old man believed to be the owner of a boat that capsized in rough seas and killed at least 11 Haitian migrants and left some 12 others missing.A wanted poster issued Thursday says Chancelaire Baptiste is wanted for questioning about the Sunday night capsizing off the northern Bahamian island of Abaco. He is apparently a Bahamian-Haitian residing in the Abaco town of Treasure Cay. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debateslast_img read more

Gay couple married in US feted at Malaysia banquet

first_img 0 Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The Malaysian government had no immediate reaction to news of Saturday’s event.Banquet guests ushered to their seats at a Chinese restaurant in Kuala Lumpur had found small, heart-shaped chocolates wrapped in Chinese-language notes that translated into “God loves gays.”Two guests serenaded each other with Lionel Richie and Diana Ross’ duet “Endless Love,” while a transgender entertainer tearfully praised Ngeo and Newborn for reminding everyone that “there is only one sexual orientation: love.”One guest, Eric Goh, said gay Malaysians “need to come out in bigger numbers and we need to have more straight people support us.”Ngeo made his trip back to Malaysia a month after Prime Minister Najib Razak said in in a speech that gay, lesbian and transsexual behavior was part of a “deviant culture” that should “not have any place in this country.”Najib’s statement marked a reiteration of the government’s stance and did not trigger new concerns. But for gay Malaysians, especially Muslims, it nevertheless meant that the door to public self-expression remained slammed shut.Most gay Malaysians live free from direct harassment by authorities, and a law that prescribes 20-year prison sentences for sodomy, even consensual, is rarely enforced. The most prominent person charged under that law was Anwar Ibrahim, an opposition leader acquitted this year of sodomizing a male former aide in what he claimed was a politically motivated case. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist The couple risked the ire of a government that has banned a gay arts festival, prosecuted a politician for sodomy and declared that homosexuality has no place in Malaysian society.“We’re thankful to be able to make Malaysian history here,” Newborn said.Ngeo, an ethnic Chinese pastor who has lived mainly in the United States since 1998, attracted criticism from Malaysian officials and religious groups when he married Newborn, a Broadway musical producer, last August.Even though Ngeo identifies himself as a Christian, Malaysia’s Cabinet minister for Islamic affairs voiced fears at the time that his nuptials could promote “extremism” among Malaysia’s 28 million people, including ethnic Malay Muslims who comprise nearly two-thirds of the population. A newspaper owned by the ruling party urged authorities to prevent Ngeo from holding any wedding celebration in Malaysia.But by this summer, the couple, both in their 40s, believed enough time had passed for them to fly to Malaysia for a few days without fanfare and invite Ngeo’s mother, friends, former colleagues and schoolmates for a traditional Chinese wedding feast.“It’s my right to celebrate my joy with the people I care about,” Ngeo told The Associated Press. “The government can make noise, the religious conservatives can make noise, but they’re not welcome here.” Patients with chronic pain give advice More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – A gay pastor who married his musical producer boyfriend in New York last year has fulfilled a vow to hold a wedding banquet in his native Malaysia in what they believe is the first such event in the Muslim-majority country.Malaysian-born Ngeo Boon Lin and African-American husband Phineas Newborn III, quietly held the closed reception Saturday _ complete with public kisses and karaoke ballad performances _ with about 200 guests, including a handful of Chinese-language journalists who were asked not to report on the event until afterward. “I understand the sensitivities. I’m not demanding for gay marriage to be allowed now in Malaysia,” Ngeo said, adding that his advice to gay Malaysians was to “keep going and be creative.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Ethiopia Longtime leader to be buried next month

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Top Stories Sponsored Stories Bereket Simon, Ethiopia’s communications minister said the country had “ample time” to swear in the new prime minister. He said Meles will be buried in the capital Addis Ababa“There is no need to rush into it when the nation is grieving,” Bereket said. “What all the lawmakers and their constituencies and the nation at large want to do at this time is mourn the great loss and honor the late prime minister. We want to first honor this and handle the prime minister’s funeral with due diligence.”“The succession is already completed, and Hailemariam will take over as a prime minister,” Bereket said.Bereket also said the death of Abune Paulos, the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, was another reason for the delay. Hailemariam attended and spoke at the Thursday funeral.Leaders from around the world are expected to attend Meles’s funeral. Meles who ruled Ethiopia for 21 year, died in a Belgium hospital late Monday from an illness that Ethiopian officials have not revealed.Hailemariam is a relatively young figure on Ethiopia’s political scene and it’s not clear if old guard leaders will allow him to hold onto the prime minister’s seat until 2015 elections. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Associated PressADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died of an unknown illness earlier this week, will be buried on Sept. 2, the government spokesman said Thursday.The government had postponed an emergency session of parliament to swear in a new prime minister as many leaders attended the funeral of a church leader.Acting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was to be sworn in Thursday following Zenawi’s death on Monday. Ethiopia is a strong U.S. ally on counter-terrorism issues, particularly in Somalia. Meles was hailed for advancing Ethiopia’s economic progress but was denounced by human rights groups for a heavy handed approach to political dissent.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

US urges China to free family members of USbased journalist

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to homecenter_img Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is urging Chinese authorities to release family members of a Washington-based Radio Free Asia journalist who have faced harassment in apparent retribution for his reporting.Shohret Hoshur (SHOH-ret HO-shur), a U.S. citizen, works for the U.S. government-funded radio’s service for minority ethnic Uighurs (WEE’-gurs) in China’s far west.Hoshur says his family has learned that two of his brothers, detained since last August, will go on trial next week on anti-state charges. A third brother was sentenced last June to five years, accused of endangering state security. Parents, stop beating yourself up Michael Quinlan, a spokesman for the department’s East Asia bureau, urged China Friday to release the family members who have been detained and treat them fairly and with dignity.He said the department continues to closely monitor the case.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Turkey vows to press on with constructions in Kurdish region

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   How men can have a healthy 2019 Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to homecenter_img The announcements were the latest setback to the peace efforts launched in 2012 in a bid to end the three-decade long conflict between government forces and the rebels of the autonomy-seeking Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.“Governments build roads and dams. They don’t back down through threats,” Davutoglu told reporters. He accused the Kurdish rebels of reneging on the pledge to withdraw armed fighters from Turkish territory.The PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan declared a ceasefire in 2013 and ordered his group to withdraw fighters to bases in neighboring northern Iraq as part of the peace efforts. The ceasefire largely holds but the PKK later halted the fighters’ withdrawal, saying Turkey had not taken any steps to reciprocate.The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984. Turkey and its allies regard the PKK as a terrorist group.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed on Monday to press ahead with the construction of dams and roads in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast, saying Turkey would not bow to Kurdish rebel threats.Kurdish militants threatened to resume attacks on Saturday, accusing Turkey of “preparing for war” by continuing to build military outposts as well as dams and roads they claimed would be used by the military. They warned the constructions were a violation of a two-year old ceasefire brokered as part of Turkey’s fragile peace process with the Kurdish rebels. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more

Emirates Awards Top NSW Cargo Agents

first_imgSource = Emirates Emirates SkyCargo’s top cargo agents in NSW have been recognised in style at the carrier’s annual awards luncheon in Sydney.This year’s event was hosted at Sofitel Wentworth Hotel in Central Sydney in an intimate private dining setting, with guests enjoying a tailored French Contemporary menu.Those agents recognised for their substantial contribution to Emirates SkyCargo’s business in 2010 were John Contos, DHL Global Forwarding; Brad Bouch and Lee Martin, DHL Express; Wade Bollard C.T. Freight; Mark Gonsalves, Airmark Air & Sea Logistics; Scott O’Keeffe, Panalpina; Justin Campbell and Mike Pattinson, Air Menzies International; and Goran Panovski, Fedex.“We are grateful for the continued support of all our cargo agents nationwide, and congratulate those who have received awards this year,” said Greg Johnson, Emirates’ National Cargo Manager.“It has been a milestone year for Emirates SkyCargo with exciting growth in the pharmaceutical, fresh produce and special freight areas of our business. We also operated specialist cargo charter flights to/from Australia, transporting the V8 Supercars into Victoria and Queensland and the export of the World Superbikes from Australia to Italy.Mr Johnson added: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to officially recognise and thank our cargo partners for their invaluable contribution.” SkyCargo2 NSWCargo Agent Awardslast_img read more

Scotland welcomes ancestors home

first_imgLonely Planet recently named Scotland as one of the top three hottest travel spots to visit in 2014. Source = ETB News: P.T. Earlier this year a public forum was opened to the world asking ‘What makes Glasgow?’ and the resounding response was that ‘People make Glasgow’; the basis for the current marketing campaign. VisitScotland and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau gathered Australian media and industry partners in Sydney this week to celebrate the upcoming 2014 Homecoming and Commonwealth Games. Homecoming – last celebrated five years ago in 2009 – invites travellers with Scottish ancestry or those that are Scottish at heart, to return to the country and re-discover their roots. The Ryder Cup will also be held in Scotland next year at the Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire between 23-28 September.center_img The Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow between 23 July and 3 August 2014. Homecoming 2014 will encompass a year-long programme of events and activities, showcasing Scotland to the world; including festivals and arts, cultural and ancestral heritage to explore. “It’s about feeling the pull towards a certain country or place… in this instance, Scotland,” VisitScotland consumer public relations manager Clair Coer said. 50 million people around the world claim Scottish ancestry, which is 10 times the population of Scotland, while 1.5 million of these descendants reside in Australia.last_img read more

Indonesian protests Aussies cautioned

first_imgSource = ETB News: P.T. Local police in Indonesia have warned of civil unrest and rising political tensions, with a planned demonstration to take place outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta today. The Australian government’s Smart Traveller website has urged travellers to exercise a high degree of caution if visiting Indonesia, including the island of Bali. Australian’s have been advised to monitor local media reports, avoid protests and maintain high levels of vigilance and security awareness. A demonstration is scheduled to occur outside the Australian Embassy on 21 November 2013.last_img

Princess Cruises announces biggest European season

first_imgPrincess Cruises’ Enchanted PrincessPrincess Cruises announces biggest European season with newest ship Enchanted PrincessPrincess Cruises has announced 2020 will be its biggest European season ever[2], and is set to see its fifth Royal-class ship Enchanted Princess debut in June 2020 with a series of Mediterranean voyages.As part of its maiden season, Enchanted Princess will sail from Barcelona, Athens and Rome, offering a variety of cruises from seven to 12-nights.“Europe is our top long-haul fly-cruise destination for Australian guests – and, in 2020 we’re pleased to announce we have three of Princes Cruises’ newest ships Enchanted, Sky and Regal based in the region,” says Senior Vice President Princess Cruises Asia Pacific, Stuart Allison.“Australians love discovering Europe by sea, with the continent offering a rich mix of history and culture that appeals to our guests.”In addition, the 2,200-guest Island Princess will spend August to October sailing around Northern Europe while the 3,080 Crown Princess will cruise both Northern and Southern Europe.Both ships including a series of new voyages:An eight-day Norwegian Fjords voyage on Crown Princess to Bergen, Aalesund, Olden/Nordfjord, Hellesylt Geiranger and StavangerA 13-day summer holiday cruise in August on Crown Princess to Barcelona, Marseille, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Sardinia and Ceuta in Spanish MoroccoA 17-day Mediterranean voyage on Crown Princess to Lisbon, Santorini (Greece), Mykonos (Greece), Kusadasi (Turkey), Katakolon (Turkey) and Cartagena (Spain)A 12-day Northern Capitals cruise on Island Princess to cities including Hamburg (for Berlin), Copenhagen, Oslo, Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris (via Le Havre)A 14-day Scandinavia & Russia Collection cruise on Island Princess to Bornholm (Denmark), Stockholm, Helsinki (Finland), St. Petersburg, Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia), Visby (Sweden), Helsingborg (Sweden) and Copenhagen. The calls to Stockholm and St Petersburg are both overnight visitsTwo 12-day Northern Lights cruises on Island Princess via the Norwegian destinations of Aalesund, Tromso, Alta (overnight) and StavangerMeanwhile the 3,660-guest Sky Princess, which launches in 2019, will spend its first European spring and summer season sailing Scandinavia and Russia roundtrip from Copenhagen. From April to September Sky Princess will take in the likes of Stockholm, Oslo, Tallinn, Helsinki, Berlin and an overnight stay in St Petersburg.Closer to home, the cruise line announced 2020 will be its longest Japan season yet – with Diamond Princess set to offer 44 itineraries, travelling to 41 destinations across Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Russia.The sailings will explore Japan’s natural beauty and rich culture, featuring 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, seven local festivals and five spring flower voyages among the highlights.“Our 2020 Japan journeys give Australian travellers more choice than ever before. And, with ten of our ports offering More Ashore, we’re confident our guests will have the opportunity to experience all that Japan has to offer – from the shining lights of Shinjuku to the charm of cherry blossom season,” says Allison.The announcements form part of Princess Cruises’ 2020 programme, which includes sailings across Europe as well as Asia, the Caribbean, Alaska and Canada & New England.Further afield, highlights include:65 Japan voyages setting sail from either Tokyo or Kobe on the 2,670-guest Diamond Princess28 summer Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale with seven, 14 and 21-night optionsOver 130 Alaska sailings across eight ships, with departures from Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Whittier and Vancouver16 Canada & New England sailings on Sky Princess or Caribbean Princess, which depart from Fort Lauderdale, New York or QuebecFares for 14-night cruise onboard Enchanted Princess’ Western Mediterranean & Aegean Medley cruise from Barcelona to Athens departing 25 July 2020 start from $4,219 per person twin share.**Subject to availability, conditions apply.Source = Princess Cruiseslast_img read more

The United Polaris Lounge Opens at Los Angeles International Airport

first_imgSource = United Airlines The United Polaris Lounge Opens at Los Angeles International AirportThe United Polaris Lounge Opens at Los Angeles International AirportBeginning January 12, United customers traveling in United Polaris® business class, the airline’s international premium cabin travel experience, will now be able to relax and dine before their travels in the new United Polaris lounge at Los Angeles International Airport.The award-winning Polaris lounge experience builds on the airline’s concept to be uniquely United while embracing the energy and distinct culture of Southern California and the exciting destinations United serves from here. This Polaris lounge features Southern California-style throughout, including works by local, Los Angeles-based artists, Rema Ghuloum, Chris Trueman and Ruth Pastine, and a food and beverage program inspired by the City of Angels. It is conveniently located in Terminal 7 between Gates 73 and 75A and faces west to capture the city’s vibrant sunset skies.The United Polaris lounge is the most recent investment United has made at LAX, where the airline recently completed a $573 million renovation of Terminal 7. Customers also can now take advantage of the recently completed cut-through, a new road that provides a shortcut to avoid the LAX “horseshoe” road around the terminals to help ease their travels. In addition to the Polaris lounge, United recently opened a new United Club in Terminal 7, and offers customers who want a more upscale experience access to The Private Terminal. These latest improvements and amenities help give United customers the best possible airport experience at LAX.The airline is also committed to the greater Los Angeles community, having announced last year a $1 million grant to Southern California-based First Place for Youth. “Los Angeles is one of United’s most important gateways, particularly to Asia and Australia, and this lounge provides our customers with a best-in-class experience before they board their flights, especially for those customers with late-night departures and early-morning arrivals,” said Janet Lamkin, United’s California President. “We continue to expand our presence in Los Angeles, connecting customers from all over California and the U.S. to our global network. The addition of the United Polaris lounge is yet another way we provide customers with the best possible travel experience at LAX.”United Polaris Lounge at LAX Facts & HighlightsMore than 12,000 square feet140 seats, with a variety of seating areas for productivity, privacy and dining272 power outlets and 120 USB portsLuxurious shower suites, featuring rainfall showerheads and Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa productsPrivate daybeds outfitted with Saks Fifth Avenue beddingCustomers are invited to enjoy a full restaurant-quality experience in The Dining Room before their flights. With a menu that blends international comfort foods developed by Los Angeles native Chef Tritia Gestuvo, highlights include: almond-crusted fish and chips, chilaquiles, Korean bulgogi arancini, fresh crafted sandwiches on La Brea Bakery® bread, flavorful street tacos and house-made cinnamon churros.In a nod to the innovative cocktail culture of Los Angeles, the lounge features signature cocktails inspired by the City of Stars, including the Let’s Rumble, made from Cruso Spiced Rum, fresh lemon, prickly pear puree and house-made simple syrup and the On Sunset, a playful take on the tequila sunrise, made from Casa Noble Tequila, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal and agave nectar.The United Polaris lounge at Los Angeles International Airport is the fifth Polaris lounge to open. Other United Polaris lounge locations include: Chicago O’Hare International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental in Houston, Newark Liberty International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.The focus behind the United Polaris experience has always been to provide long-haul travelers with what they’ve asked for: the best sleep in the sky. On average, United continues to add one aircraft with the new United Polaris business class seat every 10 days from now through 2020. On Monday, the airline’s newest aircraft, the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, officially entered service, featuring the Polaris business class seat as well as the airline’s new United Premium Plus seat. United in the first North American carrier to operate the 787-10 and the only airline in the world to operate all three models of the Dreamliner.last_img read more