Rail Europes Impressionist trains make a colourful trip

first_imgTags: Rail Europe Travelweek Group WHITE PLAINS, NY — In celebration of Normandy Impressionist Festival, taking place through Sept. 25, three French TER regional express trains have been wrapped in duplicates of paintings by Monet and Pissarro and are being referred to as the ‘trains of Impressionism’.Onboard passengers can discover famous art work on the walls with descriptive captions while they whisk through Normandy’s colourful countryside, following the path Monet, Renoir and Delacroix painters would have used 150 years ago to travel the region by steam train from Paris.Departing from the iconic landmark Paris Saint-Lazare train station, which happens to be the train station that inspired Claude Monet for a series of paintings, the train stops at Vernon-Giverny, site of the house and garden where Monet painted his Water lilies series, and the Normandy capital, Rouen.The train’s final destination is the town of Le Havre, just over two hours from Paris. This special train service makes daily departures from Paris on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer.More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?Whether travellers catch this Impressionist train, or hop aboard a more traditional local TER train to Normandy, all passengers can enjoy train stations that have been decorated in celebration of impressionism in Normandy.For travellers who wish to make this easy connection to Normandy from Paris, visit Rail Europe to purchase a point-to-point local train ticket, or with a France Rail Pass, board any Normandy-bound TER train with no reservation needed. See raileurope.ca. Friday, August 19, 2016 Sharecenter_img Posted by Rail Europe’s ‘Impressionist trains’ make a colourful trip << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

New York Times lists Saskatoon as top travel destination in 2018

first_imgTags: Canada, Trend Watch The Canadian Press Share NEW YORK CITY — The New York Times has published an interactive feature listing the top 52 places in the world to visit in 2018, and the lone Canadian destination to make the list is Saskatoon.The feature selected the Saskatchewan city primarily because of the new Remai Modern Museum and its 8,000-work collection.“Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and other heavyweight 20th-century artists now have a home in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, thanks to the Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan,” reads the article.It calls the museum “a centerpiece of Saskatoon’s redeveloping riverfront” sporting world-class modernist architecture.The article adds that art fans flying to the city will arrive at the “recently expanded and refurbished (and award-winning) airport and can soon stay in style near the museum at the 15-story Alt Hotel.”Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark trumpeted the article on his Twitter feed, writing “Welcome World! Come for the art, stay for the people.”More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?The article’s top five places to visit in 2018 are New Orleans; Colombia; Basilicata, Italy; the Caribbean; and Vierwaldstattersee, Switzerland. << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img New York Times lists Saskatoon as top travel destination in 2018 Thursday, January 11, 2018 Posted bylast_img read more

Grainger comes to Costa Rica

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionGrainger, a U.S.-based industrial supply giant, opened its first Costa Rica location on Tuesday in the northwestern San José district of La Uruca.“Our clients in Costa Rica have said they want an inventory available locally and we’ve responded,” said Eduardo Sauma, general manager of Grainger Costa Rica. “Local businesses are looking for products and solutions that help them be more efficient, reduce operating costs and keep their employees safe at work. We are obliged to help them accomplish these goals.”The new location is a 1,000 square meter warehouse stocked with everything from drive belts to fluid cleanup kits, and work boots to tool bags. The warehouse will be staffed by area residents and will employ about 15 people by the end of the year, said Mauricio Ganem, general manager of Central America and the Caribbean for Grainger.In 2011, Grainger racked up some $8.1 billion in sales. The company serves approximately two million countries worldwide in 157 countries, and employs more than 21,500 individuals.“Costa Rica is part of an international expansion that Grainger is doing in Central America and the Caribbean,” Ganem said at the inauguration of the new store. “Costa Rica is the fourth opening we’ve had in the region. We’ve opened stores in Puerto Rico, Panama, the Dominican Republic and now Costa Rica.”Grainger has had clients in the country for about 30 years, Ganem and Sauma explained, but always through its export business from North America. The La Uruca store will be the first here, but both men acknowledged that other stores could open if the market demands it.“By opening a location here we’re not only doing it to have local inventory to distribute, but apart from that, we are putting in place infrastructure starting with the sellers up to customer service,” Ganem said.Delivery time on orders will be reduced by having that local inventory, but Ganem added that product orders from the new location will be delivered in 24 hours or less. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Arenal Report

first_imgCosehas has opened a new store next to Musmanni on the main street of Nuevo Arenal. Cosehas, a franchise with stores throughout Costa Rica, specializes in fruit and antioxidant drinks (www.cosechas-express.com).Options range from a tasty, medium-sized lemonade ({700/ $1.40) to the healthy antioxidant special containing vinegar, cabbage, apples, broccoli, pineapple and tomato ({1,100/ $2.20). There are a wide variety of milkshakes and other fruit drinks as well. This franchise implements Taiwanese technology for packaging and sealing; drinks are served in sealed containers that you can carry down the street or take in the car without fear of spilling or contamination. A short distance up the unpaved Gymnasium Road is Río Frío Macadamia Farm, where University of Costa Rica recently began shooting video for a story. It’s tentatively set to air on Channel 15 in October. Michelle Cloutier, a former Peace Corps volunteer living in Costa Rica, owns and operates the farm. She offers tours and an opportunity to learn more about macadamia nuts. The tour covers the entire life cycle of the nut, and includes a visit to the nursery and the fields. Río Frío Macadamia Farm not only processes the nuts they harvest, but also nuts from farmers in Tronadora.The best time to take a tour is at the end of July, when a crew of 20 women cracks, sorts and packages the nuts. To schedule a tour, contact Michelle Cloutier. Her hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays; call 2694-4225 or 8896-2048 in advance for a tour.–William & Jean Priestjean_pri@msn.com Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Blue skies high temperatures expected for Semana Santa

first_imgNational Meteorological Institute (IMN) forecasts released Thursday predict temperatures in the Central Valley will hover around 31 degrees Celsius (88 F) for Semana Santa, next week.The IMN said beachgoers can expect clear, blue skies in coastal areas, and temperatures could reach up to 36 C (97 F) along Pacific shores. Temperatures at Caribbean beaches could reach 33 C (91 F), making for a hot week for vacationers.Although the temperatures are high, they will not surpass those registered during the same period last year, meteorologists said.The IMN also said that high temperatures will continue through April and could even increase, because the sun’s heat will be more direct over the country. Officials caution residents to avoid excessive exposure to direct sunlight.A slight chance of occasional showers in mountainous regions is forecast, the IMN added. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Santas invade rural Costa Rica

first_imgLittle known fact: Santa Claus’s favorite beer is Imperial. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Even the dog, Charlie, got a beard. It may not look like it, but he loved it. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times They defiled trashcans. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times But a dark jungle hike was required to get to a cab. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times And had mysterious late night phone conversations Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Before hitting the bars, the Santas decided to go to the playground. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times But there wasn’t all that much going on in town. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times And yelling “ho ho ho” at passersby. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Until the Santas started attacking random cars in the streets. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Facebook Comments The stray dog followed the Santas to the bar. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Related posts:If you brew it they will come Corcovado Foundation opens budget hostel in Osa Peninsula Owners offer glimpse of new Maradentro restaurant in Escazú Puerto Viejo to host third annual chocolate festival The Costa Rican town of Paraíso was visited by a troop of Santa Clauses Saturday in the area’s first Santacon, hosted by the local hostel Brewha Costa Rica.Now a tradition in many large cities worldwide, Santacons are large gatherings of bar-goers dressed in Santa suits. The events often bring together hundreds of people, overwhelming city blocks.With only three popular bars in town, Paraíso was not adequately prepared for a Santa siege, even a small one.It started back at the hostel, where everyone donned beards and Santa hats. After too much mulled wine, it was time to leave. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Where they blew off Costa Rica’s strict handicapped laws. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times And stealing each other’s beards. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times They took photos under Christmas trees. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Merry Christmas Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Then they hit the bars. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times And a stray dog interrupted because that’s what happens in Costa Rica. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times So they found other ways to amuse themselves. Like getting stuck in trees. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times But no one else really seemed to notice their presence. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Timeslast_img read more

Chile declares huge Easter Island marine reserve US announces 2 more protected

first_imgAn 875-square-mile (2,300-square-kilometer) area of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin that holds dozens of historic wrecks will be protected, U.S. officials said.Mallows Bay on the Potomac River in Maryland, a tidal wetland and a graveyard for scuttled warships since the Revolutionary War, will also become a reserve.“And, in the coming months, I will look for even more opportunities to protect our waters,” Obama said.“We will leave our children a planet as full of possibilities as the one we inherited.”Several more countries and foundations pledged funds and proposed initiatives to fight pollution, overfishing and the acidification of the ocean by carbon emissions.Last year’s conference in Washington saw $800 million pledged to support various environmental initiatives and this year’s host Chile hoped for similar success.But perhaps the initiative with the most long-term potential is a U.S. plan to regulate the world fish trade. According to a 2014 study by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 29 percent of the world’s fish stocks which have been adequately studied are overexploited.Regulation and quota systems vary wildly around the world and some countries -– particularly in Southeast Asia -– have been accused of allowing large-scale unregulated fishing. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and English businessman Richard Branson at the “Our Ocean” meeting in Viña del Mar, Chile, on Oct. 5, 2015. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet opened the conference by announcing a pledge to create huge new marine reserves around Easter Island in the Pacific. Martin Bernetti/AFPSea Scout and targeting ‘hot spots’Part of the U.S. plan, dubbed Sea Scout, will seek to unite governments around the world in the fight to identify illegal fishing vessels and fleets and bar them from landing catches. Under the plan, experts will identify regional fishing “hot spots” and target them for enforcement by member states’ fisheries protection teams, the White House said.The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration will track suspicious fishing boats by satellite and alert authorities in Indonesia, the Philippines and other countries.Meanwhile, Washington will make its own fishing industry and importers serving its huge market –- U.S. consumers eat 4.6 billion pounds of seafood per year -– track products from their origin.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Chile to present the U.S. plan, and took the time to talk to a group of students about the challenge of allying technology and law enforcement.“The problem is there are people fishing illegally, unregulated, vast areas of the ocean where people use fishing methods that have been prohibited,” he said.Kerry said governments need “the technology, the armed forces of countries, the navies, coast guard; we need police and major commitment by countries to come together to focus on enforcement.”The conference will also take on the problem of pollution from the land — such as agricultural pesticide and fertilizer run-off and waste plastics — hurting the sea. Facebook Comments Related posts:Sea Shepherd’s R/V Martin Sheen lands in Costa Rica for 4-month research mission Imagine living underwater for 31 days. Or better: Watch other people do it. Costa Rica’s erupting volcanoes may help slow global warming The Guardian names Costa Rican journalist among ‘young climate campaigners to watch’ ahead of Paris 2015 Update, Monday, Oct. 5, 4:47 p.m.The United States and its former Cold War foe Cuba are discussing a joint maritime reserve in waters between their countries, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday.The United States had already unveiled two new marine reserves on its own territory at the conference, and Kerry revealed that another may be the fruit of the U.S. rapprochement with Cuba.“We are also working to finalize a new sister marine protected area arrangement with Cuba to connect protected sides in our two countries, so we can better collaborate on scientific research, education, and sound management,” he said.Kerry did not give details on where the reserve would be, but there are barely 90 miles (145 kilometers) of shallow tropical waters between Cuba‘s northern shore and the U.S. state of Florida.Talks on the reserve will form part of the ongoing process of renewing Cuban and U.S. ties, which were cut off five decades ago at the height of the Cold War and only restored in July.Kerry said he hoped to visit Cuba in late January to pursue the dialogue.Original post continues here:VIÑA DEL MAR, Chile – Chile declared huge new marine reserves in the Pacific off Easter Island on Monday as it hosted a major conference on protecting the world’s oceans and fisheries.The host’s announcement came as the United States unveiled two smaller protected areas and a major global initiative to better police over-fishing and track illegal catches.Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet opened the “Our Ocean” conference by declaring a 243,630-square-mile (631,368-square-kilometer) sanctuary around iconic Easter Island.Taken together with its existing marine reserves, Bachelet said, Chile now has a million square kilometers of sea under protection from commercial fishing — “one of the biggest in the world.”Easter Island’s waters are a spawning ground for tuna, shark, marlin and swordfish and a food source for the Rapa Nui people of the island, who were involved in designing the reserve. Participants in the “Our Ocean” summit at Viña del Mar, Chile, on Oct. 5, 2015. Martin Bernetti/AFPIt joins reserves declared by the United States, Britain and New Zealand off the U.S. Pacific Islands, Pitcairn and the Kermadecs, as areas protected from the depredations of unregulated fishing.Charitable institutions the Pew Charitable Trusts and The Bertarelli Foundation welcomed the decision, which they said would protect 27 endangered species and the people who fish there.And Pedro Edmunds Paoa, the mayor of Easter Island’s Rapa Nui community, came to the mainland to thank the conference and welcome the news that his people would be involved in the plan.“We must think of optimizing our resources. Our resource is the sea and the future of Rapa Nui is the sea,” he said.Chile hosted “Our Ocean” in the picturesque Pacific port city of Valparaíso, a second annual day-long get-together for states and foundations to pledge support for the marine ecosystem.U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the meeting in a video message to announce two new U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries:last_img read more

AFX AeroFest takes off Sunday in Puntarenas province

first_imgRelated posts:Actor Leonardo DiCaprio talks about illegal fishing in Costa Rica’s Cocos Island After three-year hiatus, Blues Festival plays in Guanacaste Health Ministry shuts down Chocolate Festival Flamenco superstars, Soda Stereo tribute, and other happenings around Costa Rica Aerial acrobatics by pilots in an Extra 300 plane, skydiving, helicopter rappelling and other activities are on the agenda at this year’s second-annualAFX AeroFest 2015 on Sunday.Described as one of Costa Rica’s best air shows, the AeroFest takes place at the Aeroclub del Aranjuez in Miramar, Puntarenas, about 100 km northwest of San José, beginning at 7 a.m.Some 20 national and international aeronautic companies will showcase their planes, helicopters and other gear on land for all to see. Álvaro Sánchez/The Tico Times“This show is a guaranteed spectacle,” said Pablo López, founder of Latin American Air Production and marketing manager of Aerotica. “The Extra 300 will be flying throughout the day with extreme acrobatics for aviation fans. Also, this year’s festival wants to facilitate interaction between the public and the planes.”There also will be two shows featuring acrobatic skydiving and other events.The event grounds have a capacity for 12,000 spectators and ample parking is available. Entry is ₡14,000 ($27), and children under 10 are free. Tickets are on sale online at: http://www.specialticket.net. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Tico bullfights and horse shows Tradition or torment

first_imgThe holidays may be over in some places, but in Costa Rica, festival season is just getting started.This time of year, nearly every town holds an annual fiesta cívica with horse parades called topes, carnival rides, greasy Chinese food and corridas – Tico-style bullfights where everyday Juans go up against bulls in the ring sans weapons.But this year’s revelry has been dampened by local media’s heavy coverage of gory injuries — to both humans and animals — and the spread of such stories though social media. Instead of the usual images of delighted carnival-goers, Ticos browsing Facebook and Twitter have been bombarded with gruesome photos of, for example, a dead horse hoofs-up in a tractor loader at the Palmares festival, and videos of an amateur bullfighter taking a horn through the shoulder.Though these type of incidents have always been commonplace at the festivals, the conversation surrounding the annual town fairs has usually revolved around their merits as a cultural tradition and their importance in replenishing municipal coffers.Over the past month, however, the festivals have come under increased scrutiny from politicians, members of animal rights groups, public health agencies and the public — leading some to publicly question their true cost.Thousands injured At the crux of any Costa Rican civic festival are the bullfights. The events resemble a traditional rodeo, but as an added spectacle members of the audience can enter the ring to face down the bulls. These unarmed amateur rodeo clowns, known in Spanish as improvisados, taunt the bulls while trying to avoid being gored. In the bull ring there are no rules, save for one: no one kills the bull.Unsurprisingly, the bullfights almost always lead to injuries. Red Cross workers say they often treat up to 30 people a night at mid-sized festivals. The bullfights at Palmares and Zapote, the two largest festivals, routinely result in hundreds of injuries – and sometimes deaths. According to the Costa Rican Social Security System, or Caja, 65 people were hospitalized during this year’s Zapote festival. Hundreds of others were treated on-site by the Red Cross.Several of these bullfighters required emergency surgeries, and one, Luis Salas, the one who was pierced through the shoulder with a bull’s horns, remains in serious condition at the publicly funded Calderón Guardia Hospital in San José. He’s recovering from artery and nerve damage as well as a punctured lung.The high number of serious injuries this year prompted an outpouring of concern from the medical community.“The impact of the corridas is very serious and has huge implications for the improvisados, their families and the Costa Rican social security system,” wrote Walter Vega, head of surgery at Calderón Guardia Hospital, in an opinion piece published in the daily La Nación. “We can find other types of diversions that don’t create this much pain and suffering for our families.”Injuries are so common during bullfights that Costa Rica’s public health insurance won’t cover bull riders or improvisados. Since 2008 the law has required festival organizers to take out insurance policies for the events’ participants, but the insurance limit is often too low to cover severe injuries, leaving wounded bullfighters to settle their own bills.This was the case with several of the bullfighters at this year’s Zapote Festival. Salas’ injuries alone exceeded Zapote’s per-person insurance limit by more than ₡1.5 million ($2,800), more than three times the average monthly salary in Costa Rica. The bill is likely to increase as Salas’ hospital stay drags on.“In theory the festival organizers are supposed to tell the participants how much their policy [will cover] so they aren’t surprised with a bill when they leave the hospital,” Wven Porras, the chief of risk management at the Costa Rican Social Security System told The Tico Times. “In our experience, [the organizers] generally avoid providing them with this type of information.”In 2013, organizers with the Palmares Festival skirted these regulations altogether. Instead of purchasing the required health insurance, organizers took a gamble and hoped their standard labor insurance would cover bullfighting injuries. Improvisados reportedly signed fake policy sheets before entering the bullring.The alleged fraud came to light after an improvisado, 29-year-old Melvin Valverde, was wounded in the neck by a bull and killed. Valverde’s family never received an insurance payout.It isn’t only health professionals who are showing increased concern. Former President Laura Chinchilla took to Facebook after the Zapote festivals ended to express concern about the high number of injuries. The ex-president noted that the television networks broadcasting the events make lots of money off the backs of injured bullfighters.“Putting aside whatever motivations amateur bullfighters may have for entering the ring, the truth is that they are serving themselves up on a silver platter for the people who really make money on the event,” Chinchilla wrote. Related posts:Bullfighter gored at Zapote festival remains in serious condition PHOTOS: Bulls, beer and injuries at Costa Rica’s annual Zapote festival Costa Rica animal welfare bill gains momentum as horrifying abuse cases circulate on social media Volcanic ash from Turrialba contributes to air pollution in metro area Tope Palmares 2016 dueño lo deja morir para continuar con fiesta asco y repugnancia #costarica #SENASA #… pic.twitter.com/2YNNvHZCT8 (@AL_Ma_M)— @TicoTrafico (@TicoTrafico) January 14, 2016 Animal rights activists have long been opposed to topes and bullfights, and some of their complaints are slowly seeping into the collective Tico consciousness. In 2014, more than 200,000 Costa Ricans signed a popular initiative bill that would ban taurine events. A second bill, drafted by lawmakers and supported by 136 different civil organizations, would put stricter regulations on events using animals.Still, these traditions have many supporters who believe that eliminating the events would be an affront to Costa Rican traditions. They point out that both types of events are sanctioned and monitored by the National Animal Health Service (SENASA).Despite the uproar at Palmares this year, veterinarians and animals health officials working at the tope — the country’s largest — say the event has greatly improved its track record on animal treatment. One vet said the accident that resulted in the horse’s death was erroneously portrayed by social media users who didn’t have all the facts.“I don’t like feeling that all the improvements we have made for the animals in the last five years will go to waste because of one accident,” Juanma Estrada, one of the vets who tried to rescue the dying horse, wrote in an emotional Facebook post after the incident. “Right now, I can tell you that the Palmares Tope probably takes animal treatment more seriously than any other.” Facebook Comments Animal mistreatmentConcerns about the welfare of the animals at the heart of several Tico fiesta traditions also seem to be growing. Social media networks exploded two weeks ago with graphic images of a horse that died on its way to the Palmares horse parade, or tope, which is one of the major attractions of the festival. The horse and its rider had been on their way to the parade when the horse spooked and stumbled into a ditch by the side of the road.The rider emerged from the incident with only minor wounds, but the horse, panicked to escape from its trap, eventually succumbed to injuries and extreme stress. The incident sparked scattered protests around the country, and an online petition to prohibit topes has collected nearly 20,000 signatures as of this writing.SENASA officials also treated 91 horses for injuries at Palmares and seized three horses that were abandoned during the tope. Four other horses were seized before the tope even started, due to poor health.last_img read more

El Salvador court freezes expresidents bank accounts

first_imgSAN SALVADOR — El Salvador’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered bank accounts of former president Mauricio Funes, who is facing civil trial for alleged illegal enrichment, frozen because the origin of the $700,000 they contain was unknown.The court also said it might order the “preventive seizure” of properties and other assets owned by Funes, who was in office between 2009 and 2014.Funes on Tuesday railed against the civil case opened against him and said he had documents proving his money and assets came from legal sources.He denies the allegations that he filled his pockets while in power and says he is the victim of a “political vendetta” because he exposed corruption under the conservative government that preceded him.One of the allegations he made was against Francisco Flores, the country’s president between 1999 and 2004, whom he accused of embezzling $15 million donated by Taiwan for earthquake relief.Flores died late last month after a massive stroke as he was awaiting trial. Facebook Comments Related posts:Refugee program for Central Americans ‘still on the drawing board’: US official After 7 months on the run, El Salvador’s ex-President Flores turns himself in Court revokes house arrest for former president of El Salvador, orders him to prison pending trial US puts heads of El Salvador MS-13 gang on sanctions listlast_img read more

Costa Rican cyclist Andrey Amador surges to 2nd place in Giro dItalia

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican cyclist Andrey Amador finishes third in opening stage of Giro d’Italia Andrey Amador grabs hold of first place in Giro d’Italia Andrey Amador finishes 8th in Giro d’Italia VIDEO: Traffic cop stops Costa Rican bicyclist Andrey Amador in bizarre highway altercation #Giro: Viniste de Costa Rica para luchar y darlo todo por @Movistar_Team. Hoy, 2º en la general. Continuará… pic.twitter.com/DmdjNwelHP— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) May 17, 2016 Bob Jungels of Luxembourg has the overall lead in the Grand Tour race that will conclude on May 29. Amador remains just 26 seconds behind Jungels in the standings. Jungels’ teammate Gianluca Brambilla, who had the pink jersey coming into the day, sacrificed his spot to fend off Amador and allow Jungels to take the lead.Jungels’ teammate Gianluca Brambilla, who had the pink jersey coming into the day, sacrificed his spot to fend off Amador and allow Jungels to take the lead.The Costa Rican finished sixth for the day with a time of 5 hours 46 minutes and 42 seconds.Amador clearly feels comfortable in the Italian climate as he is just one year removed from finishing fourth in the race that is widely considered the second most competitive international cycling race behind the Tour de France.The Giro d’Italia continues Wednesday as the 212-kilometer Stage 11 takes riders from Modena to Asolo. Amador’s Movistar teammate, Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, is third in the overall rankings and just 24 seconds behind the Tico.Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Andrey Amador finished third in last year’s Giro d’Italia. That is incorrect. He actually finished fourth. We regret the error.  Facebook Commentscenter_img Andrey Amador continues to ascend in poll positioning at the 2016 Giro d’Italia. One stage after making a 10-spot leap into the top three overall, the Costa Rican is now in second place after another strong showing at Tuesday’s Stage 10.Amador looked as if he would take the pink jersey on Tuesday by taking the number one overall spot as he roared through much of the 216-kilometer medium-mountain stage.last_img read more

Costa Ricas police force plans to add 1000 officers

first_imgThe Costa Rican government plans to take more than $80 million dollars (₡45 billion) from the revenues that would be generated by a new tax law to increase public security across the country.The increased security efforts come as part of a new corporate tax policy approved by lawmakers in first debate in a recent Legislative Assembly session. Of the ₡45 billion the bill is expected to generate if it is approved in second and final debate and becomes a law, the goverment will allocate 90 percent to the Public Security Ministry, while the remaining 10 percent will be split between the Justice Ministry and the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).The bulk of the Public Security Ministry funds will go to the National Police Force, which will use it to put 1,000 more officers on the streets and purchase new equipment, according to a news release from the Costa Rican government Monday.Presidency Minister Sergio Alfaro said in the statement that the bill is “vital to guarantee the security of Costa Rican citizens.”“We extend our appreciation to lawmakers for passing this vote for the well-being of the country,” Alfaro said, urging legislators to hold the second-debate vote on the bill as soon as possible, since the tax change will not take effect for three months after its official publication. “The sooner it can be officially passed, the sooner we can dole out those resources for public security.”Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata also expressed gratitude to Costa Rican lawmakers for the potential increase in funds, saying that the money will go to specific programs to modernize patrols all over the country.“We can invest this money in radar and boats to combat the drug trafficking happening in the Caribbean, hiring more officers, improving our delegations and adquiring the technology that the ministry needs,” Mata said.The bill, No. 19,818, was discussed by the Finance Commission and was put on the fast track to expedite the legislative process.In 2016, Costa Rica saw record highs in violence with 577 reported homicides and nearly 448 accident-related deaths. Facebook Comments Related posts:Five Costa Ricans caught with 600 kilos of cocaine off Colombian coast Park rangers arrested in drug bust Former U.S. convict Dan Fowlie speaks out against being barred entry to Costa Rica again Men caught with one ton of drugs in Costa Rica allowed to walk free, police saylast_img read more

Soy pico rojo the new form of protest in Nicaragua

first_imgSocial media has been filled with photos of men and women wearing red lipstick as a way of protest Daniel Ortega’s dictatorship.The protests in Nicaragua have varied over nearly six months of sociopolitical crisis. Blue and white balloons, cobblestones with the names of political prisoners, stickers with messages demanding democracy. Nonetheless, since last Monday, social media is full of pictures of lips painted red.This new way of protest started after it became public that Marlen Chow, one of the 38 people arrested on Sunday on the Camino de Oriente while marching for the freedom of the political prisoners, said in an interrogation with the Police of Ortega (PO) that she was a member of the Asociación de Mujeres Nicaragüenses Pico Rojo (Association of Nicaraguan Women with Red Mouths). #SoyPicoRojoMañana nueva forma de protesta Asociación de Mujeres Picos Rojos y pedimos libertad para todxs y cada uno de lxs presos políticos! #SOSNicaragua pic.twitter.com/BZoOnKKvfW— Ocupa Inss (@OcupaINSS) October 16, 2018Tomorrow a new way to protest Asociación de Mujeres Picos Rojos and we ask for the liberation of every single one of the political prisoners!Chow, a feminist defender of human rights, told other local media that she always wears the lipstick during marches and that she passed it to the other prisoners when they were interrogated. The all said they would be part of the association as well.On social media, with the hashtag #SoyPicoRojo, dozens of women and men have posted photos of their lips painted in different shades of red, as a new form of protest against the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega.Soy miembro de la Asociación #PicoRojo. Gracias a la gran mujer Marlen Chow.¡Nada va a parar esta insurrección cívica!#ResistenciaFeminista#SOSNICARAGUA#SoyPicoRojo pic.twitter.com/haeCutWlV4— Madelaine Caracas Flor De Una Noche (@_flordeunanoche) October 16, 2018I am member of the association #PicoRojo. Thanks to the great woman Marlen Chow.She will never stop this civil insurrection!Women, as well as men, have declared themselves members of the association Pico Rrojo.#SoyPicoRojo #SOSNicaragua pic.twitter.com/j6U9sDN8Un— Juan Carlos López (@JuanCarlosNic) October 16, 2018The association is extending and already counts hundreds of members.Por Marlen Chow, activista feminista que mientras estuvo presa ilegalmente, pintó sus labios de rojo y el de sus compañeras. En el interrogatorio para saber a qué organización pertenecía ha dicho “A la asociación de mujeres Pico Rojo”. #SoyPicoRojo #SoyMalcriada pic.twitter.com/gAgnFPBrsh— Las Malcriadas (@LasMalcriadasNi) October 16, 2018For Marlen Chow, the feminist activist who – while being illegally imprisoned – painted her lips and the ones of her companions red. In the interrogation to find out which organization she belonged to, she said “to the association of the women Pico Rojo.”This form of protest also demands the liberation of political prisoners in Nicaragua.#yosoypicorojo #PicoRojoEn rebeldía por la libertad de las Y los presos políticos. #SOSNICARAGUA pic.twitter.com/YhqcH1RQnc— Grecia Ramirez (@GreciaRamirez7) October 16, 2018In rebellion for liberty of the female AND male political prisoners.Read the original story in Spanish at La Prensa, first published on Oct. 16 2018.This story was translated into English and republished in The Tico Times as part of a partnership with La Prensa to help bring their coverage of the Nicaraguan crisis to an English-speaking audience. Facebook Comments Related posts:“Comandante Macha,” the young woman with cancer fighting from the barricades in Jinotepe Life after the brutal attack in Monimbó Álvaro Conrado, the young martyr of Nicaragua’s protests Free press accuses Daniel Ortega’s dictatorship of wanting to impose a reign of silencelast_img read more

Opinion Cutting Northern Triangle foreign assistance a shot in the foot

first_img Want stories like this delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to the Tico Times newsletter Related posts:Avianca and regional tourism ministries want you to ‘Discover Central America’ with deep travel discounts Central American leaders offer plan to slow child migrant surge Biden urges Central America to tackle poverty, violence, impunity Trump cuts aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador; threatens to close Mexican border An example of a program on the chopping block is Mercy Corps, in the highlands of Guatemala. They help farmers grow snow peas in volcanic soil and then use software to help bring them to market.According to program managers, after two years, there was a 30 percent drop among participating farmers who wished to emigrate. “We are very disappointed in this decision and believe it is counterproductive to our mutual goals with the administration to address the root causes of the migration,” said Dafna Rand, the Corps’ Vice President of Policy and Research.Are they producing perfect results? No, they’re not and will not because they exist and operate within an imperfect and deteriorating environment. However, the Northern Triangle countries would be in far worse shape without these programs with an even higher outflow of refugees. We should be sending reinforcements to our the professionals running these programs — not pulling the plug out from under them midstream.Unfortunately, isolationists are in full ascendency in Washington and claim we owe Central America nothing. Their willful ignorance is as painful as it is wrong. Our past support of authoritarian governments as we fought the Cold War through Central American proxies set democracy back a generation. Honduran military police look on at the body of a man killed in gang violence at the La Rosa neighbourhood south of Tegucigapa on April 2, 2016. (Orlando Sierra / AFP)These were mostly Pyrrhic victories won at great cost to the populations who bore the brunt of the fighting. Even after peace accords were signed, thousands of former combatants and huge stockpiles of weapons poured onto the streets fueling rampant criminality that nascent civilian police forces were ill-equipped to handle.We should also acknowledge that a decades-long insatiable U.S. appetite for illegal drugs is driving Central American violence. After the U.S. shut down Caribbean drug trafficking routes during the 1990s, the traffickers simply adjusted and moved their routes and operating bases to Central America.This paved the way for the rise of Mexican cartels and left a bloody trail of murder, corruption, and general lawlessness along the isthmus. This might seems academic and far away sitting in Washington, but if you are unfortunate enough to be caught in the crossfire of these murderous groups, your option to “stay and fight it out” is simply impossible.No matter how good a mother or father you are, there is simply no way to keep your children safe against gang violence, corrupt police, and a toothless and ineffective judicial system. Fast forward to 2019, and people are voting with their feet to escape this misery. Central American migrants -mostly Hondurans- moving in a caravan towards the United States in hopes of a better life, head to Tijuana in Mexico’s Baja California State, after leaving Mexicali on November 19, 2018. Photo by Pedro Pardo / AFPFinally, as the U.S. prepares for shifting global security challenges, increased mass migration appears in almost every plausible planning scenario. Whether it’s driven by war and violence, or by climate change making some areas of the world uninhabitable, Western democracies will continue to be the preferred destination of these migrants.Forward-looking and greatly increased foreign assistance will be key in anticipating and shaping some of the major movements. This is common sense, long-range planning. Our foreign assistance, up to now, has largely been a bipartisan effort. Now we must strive to convince a new generation of U.S. citizens that it’s in our best national interest to stay engaged with the rest of the world. Workers carry a sign that reads ‘Finish the Wall’ as they prepare for the arrival of President Donald Trump for a rally at the El Paso County Coliseum on February 11, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)Amazingly, the majority of many people in the United States vastly overestimate how much of goes to foreign assistance, thinking that over 20 percent of the entire federal budget is earmarked for those programs. In fact, the U.S. foreign assistance budget is less than 1 percent of the budget and actually ranks low among industrialized countries as a percentage of GDP.We can and must do better, and the logical starting point is restoring and reinforcing our Northern Triangle assistance. We must work together to improve people’s lives at home before they start the perilous journey north.Mark Wilkins is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who served in security and defense positions throughout Latin America and in Washington, DC, including Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras. Since retiring from active duty, he worked for the U.S. Department of Defense focusing on designing and implementing programs with partner nations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their security and defense forces. Most recently, he served as the Director of the William J. Perry Center for Defense and Security Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, DC.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5% Club. If only 5 percent of our readers donated at least $5 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 Commentscenter_img This week, President Trump precipitously cut U.S. foreign assistance to the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. This is a mistake, plain and simple. It serves to further destabilize struggling countries and will produce the worst possible outcome — an increased flow of refugees to the U.S. border.“If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately,” former Secretary of Defence James Mattis once said.This is a perfect case in point. Pay now or pay more later.Our Northern Triangle assistance programs are working. The U.S. government works with community-based organizations, local and international NGOs and U.S.-based contractors trying to create the conditions where people want to stay home, not embark on a perilous 2,500-mile trek to “El Norte.”The programs focus on core issues like bolstering police skills and professionalism, countering gangs and drug trafficking cartels, building effective judicial systems, disaster preparation and response, and improving Central America’s disadvantaged economic position in an increasingly globalized world.last_img read more

Jailing made Colombian relive kidnapping trauma

first_imgProsecutors alleged that the man was Sigifredo Lopez, and arrested him on suspicion of murder, kidnapping, perfidy and rebellion. Besides the video, prosecutors said four former FARC guerrillas had given testimony implicating Lopez, according to a copy of his arrest order.No motive was offered, leading to speculation that Lopez could have plotted with the rebels and then been betrayed when they kidnapped him as well.Colombians were aghast. It seemed unthinkable that a man who himself was held captive for nearly seven years could have betrayed his own, and some people, including Colombia’s interior minister and relatives of the slain legislators, expressed hope that somehow it was all a terrible mistake.“Judas?” Colombia’s leading weekly newsmagazine asked on its cover.Another former hostage, Gov. Alan Jara of the southern province of Meta, said he felt “absolute disbelief” when the allegations surfaced, though he never met Lopez because they were held in distinct parts of the country.“It’s two different hells,” Jara said. “And who knows know which is worse: the kidnapping, or being imprisoned for something he didn’t commit.” Top Stories Associated PressCALI, Colombia (AP) – Sigifredo Lopez personally paid the cost of Colombia’s bloody civil war when he was kidnapped by rebels along with 11 other legislators, held captive for seven years and became famous as the lone survivor of a notorious massacre of his captive colleagues.His stunning arrest this year made him a symbol of something else as well: the murky nature of Colombia’s long civil conflict. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project After his arrest, Lopez was taken to the capital, Bogota. Behind bars, he was suddenly reliving a nightmare of captivity that he thought was over. Even worse, he was suspected of complicity in the death of his fellow captives.It wasn’t long, however, before the prosecutors’ case began unraveling.On May 24, Caracol Television broadcast an interview with a former rebel who took part in the legislators’ kidnapping and said the man on the video was actually guerrilla Milton Sierra Gomez, alias “JJ,” the commander of the assault.At the request of Lopez’s lawyers, the video was examined by Colombian forensic experts and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was determined the video was too brief and the audio too muddled to tell whether the man was Lopez.The testimony of the former rebels who implicated Lopez was also thrown into doubt.One had said Lopez used a cellphone to call then-President Andres Pastrana from the jungle and tell him not to bomb an area where the captives were being held. But Pastrana told Colombian media he was never contacted by Lopez during those years.A judge rejected the charges brought by prosecutors and Lopez was freed on Aug. 14, though the prosecutors have not formally withdrawn the charges, acknowledged error or apologized. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 0 Comments   Share   “I hope that what happened to me never happens again to any Colombian.”___Associated Press writers Cesar Garcia and Vivian Sequera in Bogota contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Prosecutors alleged that far from being a victim, Lopez was actually in cahoots with the rebels who seized the lawmakers. The former hostage found himself a prisoner again.“They painted me as the worst criminal in the history of humanity,” Lopez said in an interview with The Associated Press at his home in Cali.Now 48 and with thick, graying hair, the heavyset lawyer lives with his high school sweetheart, also an attorney, in a middle-class house. He apparently practices little law these days, but ran for the national Senate in 2010 and for mayor of Cali in 2011, losing both times.Lopez has frequently recounted his ordeal as a rebel hostage to investigators and others, so he didn’t think much about the phone call from prosecutors summoning him to their office on May 16.But he was floored by what they had to say: “Sir, you are under arrest.”“I thought it was a joke,” Lopez said.Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC, staged a dramatic raid on the provincial legislature in 2002 and grabbed 12 little-known lawmakers, including Lopez.He was a member of the center-left Liberal Party, but the rebels apparently gave no thought to his politics. He and his companions were among at least 50 military officers, police and politicians taken captive between 1997 and 2002. They made up a group that the FARC called the “exchangeables”_ hostages it wanted to swap for imprisoned rebels. Successive Colombian governments, however, rejected that idea. How do cataracts affect your vision? How men can have a healthy 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Other former hostages said his case highlights deficiencies in Colombian justice system, which allows prosecutors to order a suspect detained without charge during an investigation.“Sigifredo’s case is one of those episodes in which injustice borders on madness,” said Ingrid Betancourt, a French-Colombian who was running for Colombia’s presidency when she was taken captive by the FARC in 2002. An army rescue freed her and 14 other hostages in 2008.Legal authorities defend their actions, noting they had testimony from the ex-rebels to corroborate their suspicions about the video.“Prosecutors had no evidence that those witnesses were untruthful,” Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre told the AP. “It was in no way staged.”Lopez said his 38 days in a Colombian jail did bring a major life change. On June 22, the day he was released from prison and put under house arrest, he asked his partner of 26 years to marry him. Patricia Nieto said yes, and they tied the knot a week later.“I had several revelations from God,” Lopez said. “In one of them he told me: `Get married by the Holy Mother Church.’”Today Lopez said he’s happy and trying to move on. He doesn’t know yet whether he will sue the government, but he hopes to see changes in the legal system. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Eleven of the legislators were executed five years later in a confused incident when their rebel captors mistook another guerrilla unit for a government rescue force and carried out standing orders to kill their hostages in the event of such an attempt. Lopez was the only survivor. He was freed by the FARC in 2009 and returned to Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca.Since Lopez was released, his story has not wavered: He survived the 2007 executions because on that day the rebels were punishing him by keeping him 50 meters, or about 50 yards, away from the others, separated by a wall of palm leaves.Lopez said he heard the gunshots but other rebels quickly spirited him away. He said he finally learned of his companions’ massacre two weeks later from the guerrillas and radio broadcasts.For a long time, nobody had cause to doubt him.That changed after a military operation killed FARC maximum leader Alfonso Cano in November 2011 and troops recovered his laptop, which contained videos and numerous documents on FARC’s operations.In one of those videos, a man’s voice can be heard explaining in front of a map of the Valle del Cauca legislature how the 2002 kidnapping raid would be done. Suddenly the speaker shifts position, offering a brief glimpse of his profile. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img

Top Israeli rabbi faces house arrest travel ban

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Top Stories Spokesman Rosenfeld would not confirm the details of the media reports, but said Pinto had offered the policeman a “considerably large amount of money.”Pinto and his wife deny the allegations, Pinto spokesman Amir Dan said. “The rabbi answered all the questions in his investigation,” said Dan. “He is sure that after the facts come to light, the police will understand that the suspicions are completely baseless.”Dan had no comment on the suicide attempt report, nor on Pinto’s connection to the charity.Pinto’s congregation has also been the subject of an investigation into alleged illegal campaign financing in New York, and a former aide has been charged with immigration fraud.In Israel, the current investigation has sparked concern about the close ties between Israeli police officials and spiritual gurus like Pinto. Top police chiefs are known to be followers of Israel’s wealthiest rabbis, and they frequently appear in uniform at their gala events.Israel’s daily Haaretz said police were considering banning officers from attending rabbis’ public events while in uniform. Rosenfeld could not verify that report.“This is just the tip of the iceberg because beneath it hides an intolerable reality,” wrote commentator Nahum Barnea in the Yediot Ahronot daily. “A handful of rabbis, whose disciples attribute to them superhuman qualities, has accumulated tremendous economic and political power in recent years.” Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Pinto is under 15-day house arrest and a six-month travel ban, Rosenfeld said, but police allowed him to visit his wife in the hospital. He said police are continuing their investigation and would question the rabbi again if necessary.Pinto is among a group of rabbis who have amassed vast fortunes by becoming spiritual gurus to the top rung of society, attracting many followers among the rich and powerful in Israel, New York, and elsewhere.He is ranked by the Israeli edition of Forbes Magazine as Israel’s seventh wealthiest rabbi with an estimated net worth of about $19 million.Israeli media reported the police began tracking Pinto after he approached the head of the investigations department in the Israeli police _ who is reportedly an adherent of the rabbi _ and allegedly offered him a large sum of money in exchange for access to a separate investigation involving him.That investigation, Israeli media reports said, concerned an aide to Pinto, a charity executive suspected of embezzling donations and selling food intended for Holocaust survivors.According to the English-language Jerusalem Post, Pinto’s wife brought the police officer’s wife a suitcase full of cash to deliver to the police officer. Israel Radio reported Pinto had given him $200,000. Comments   Share   Barnea commended the police official for reporting the suspected bribery attempt, but wrote that “it would not be out of place to ask why the lieutenant commander was seeing Pinto in the first place.”___Follow Daniel Estrin at http://www.twitter.com/danielestrin Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix How men can have a healthy 2019 Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressJERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli authorities have placed a multimillionaire celebrity rabbi with a strong American following under house arrest and banned him from traveling abroad as they investigate allegations that he bribed a high-ranking officer for access to his police file, police said Monday.Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto’s legal saga took a dramatic twist this week: investigators interrogated Pinto for three hours Sunday, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, but cut short the questioning after news came that Pinto’s wife _ also questioned in the affair _ had overdosed on pills and was rushed to the hospital. The Israeli media called it an apparent suicide attempt. Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

UN rights chief urges deeper probe of Central Africa abuses

first_imgBERLIN (AP) — The United Nations’ human rights chief is urging several countries to step up efforts to investigate allegations that peacekeepers in Central African Republic may have committed abuses, a call that comes as the U.N. itself faces pressure over child sexual abuse claims against French soldiers.Zeid Raad al-Hussein said in a statement Saturday that, following the French sexual abuse investigation, his office has taken a deeper look into the extent to which allegations of serious rights violations by soldiers in “several other international contingents” in an African peacekeeping force in 2014 were followed up. He didn’t name any countries. Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Comments   Share   The long-standing allegations include the killing of civilians, summary executions, abductions and the sexual exploitation of women.Zeid said investigations into incidents reported by U.N. human rights staff resulted in some action by the countries concerned, including punishment and the early repatriation of some senior commanders, “but this is not sufficient.”“The punishment must fit the crime. Some other incidents were reported that may not have been fully followed up on by the states concerned, and we need to get to the bottom of what precisely was done by whom and when,” he said.Zeid added that, as well as asking countries to provide more information on what steps they have taken to address allegations, he is sending a team from his Geneva headquarters to Central African Republic to look into further measures to address rights violations.French prosecutors are investigating accusations that soldiers deployed there in 2013-14 to quell sectarian violence sexually abused children.A document recently obtained by The Associated Press shows that top U.N. human rights officials knew about the allegations for months but didn’t follow up, even as France pressed the U.N. for more information. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Check your body, save your life Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Afghan war over Then set us free Guantanamo detainees say

first_img Comments   Share   Parents, stop beating yourself up The questions are important since the Supreme Court has said the government may hold prisoners captured during a war for only as long as the conflict in that country continues.“The lawyers for the detainees are asking the right questions,” said Stephen Vladeck, a national security law professor at American University. “And what’s really interesting is that the government can’t quite seem to figure out its answer.”The Justice Department is opposing the detainee challenges, arguing that the conflict in Afghanistan has clearly not concluded and the president didn’t say that all fighting had ended.The court challenges are the latest example of the yearslong legal wrangling tied to Guantanamo, whose status as a prison for terrorism suspects has long defied resolution. Obama promised to close the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, and has transferred out more than half the detainees who were there when he took office in 2009. In just the last week, six detained Yemenis were relocated to Oman, leaving 116 prisoners.At its peak, in June 2003, Guantanamo held nearly 700 prisoners. More than 500 were released under President George W. Bush. Obama came into office pledging to close the prison in a year, but Congress stopped him by imposing restrictions on transfers. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Over the last decade, detainees have challenged the military tribunal process used to prosecute them, their treatment behind bars and efforts to force-feed them, among other issues.The latest arguments, which could presumably be adopted by other detainees captured in Afghanistan, have played out in recent months in the federal court in Washington. No judge has yet ruled, though legal experts say they expect an uphill battle for the detainees, given the deference courts generally afford to the government on matters of national security.One of the petitions was brought by Faez Mohammed Ahmed al-Kandari, a Kuwaiti who was shipped to Guantanamo following his 2001 capture after the battle of Tora Bora. Another came from Muktar Yahya Najee al-Warafi, a Yemeni whom a judge has determined aided Taliban forces.The two men, both held without charges, argue that an end to the fighting in Afghanistan means their detentions are now unlawful under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. That law provided the legal justification for the imprisonment of foreign fighters captured on overseas battlefields. The Supreme Court stressed in a 2004 opinion, Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, that such detention is legal only as long as “active hostilities” continue. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Guantanamo Bay detainees are using President Barack Obama’s own words to argue that the U.S. war in Afghanistan is over — and therefore they should be set free.The court cases from detainees captured in Afghanistan ask federal judges to consider at what point a conflict is over and whether Obama, in a written statement last December, crossed that line by saying the American “combat mission in Afghanistan is ending.”center_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories FILE – In this June 27, 2006 file photo, reviewed by a U.S. Department of Defense official, U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. President Barack Obama’s declaration that the U.S. is no longer at war in Afghanistan has given rise to new legal challenges from Guantanamo Bay detainees who were captured in that country, but say there’s no longer any legal basis to hold them. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File) Legal experts expect the Justice Department to fend off the challenges.“Presidents say things,” said Eugene Fidell, a Guantanamo expert who teaches military justice at Yale Law School. As one example, he recalled President George W. Bush’s celebratory Iraq War speech in 2003, delivered from the deck of an aircraft carrier under a “Mission Accomplished” banner.“Well, the mission wasn’t accomplished,” Fidell said. “Perhaps some presidential statements of fact have an aspirational flavor.”Vladeck, from American University, said that “the real question is not whether the government is going to win this round, but how.”“There’s going to be some skepticism from the judges about the inconsistencies in the government’s position and its limitlessness,” he predicted.___Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAPCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Quick workouts for men Defense lawyers say Obama unequivocally signaled an end to the military conflict when, on Dec. 28, he declared that “our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.”In a court filing, lawyers for al-Kandari wrote that “there is no longer a battlefield in Afghanistan in which the United States is sustaining active combat operations. Accordingly, there is no longer a basis under the international laws of war to detain” their client.But the Justice Department says “active hostilities” clearly persist against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and that Obama never suggested that all military and counterterrorism operations would be coming to an end.The government says Obama noted at the time that the U.S. would maintain a limited military presence, and about 9,800 troops remain there, advising and assisting the Afghans and conducting some counterterror missions. Besides, the Justice Department says, questions about the status of war are for Congress and the president to decide, not the courts.“Simply put, the president’s statements signify a transition in United States military operations, not a cessation,” government lawyers wrote in April in a reply in al-Warafi’s case.last_img read more

FDA approves new heart failure pill from Novartis

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis It costs the global economy an estimated $108 billion annually, so prevention is a key goal for health care providers.For most patients, heart failure is a chronic condition, caused by high blood pressure or other factors damaging heart muscle. Symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue and fluid retention. That keeps many patients homebound and causes repeated emergency department visits, often in the middle of the night, due to infections or just straying from a low-salt diet.The FDA approved the drug under its priority review program, which accelerates review for drugs that treat serious diseases or offer a significant improvement over older drugs. The agency approved another heart failure from Amgen Inc. in April. That drug, Corlanor, was the first new FDA-approved medication for heart failure to launch in the U.S. in a dozen years.Entresto combines Novartis’ off-patent, blood pressure treatment Diovan with a new drug that decreases certain heart-damaging proteins in the blood.Novartis-based Basel studied its drug in more than 8,000 patients with reduced heart pumping ability. Patients taking the drug experienced fewer hospitalizations for heart failure and death from heart disease than patients taking an older heart drug, known as an ACE inhibitor. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The most common side effects reported by study patients included low blood pressure and kidney problems. Some patients also experienced an allergic reaction that causes swelling of the face or lips.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WASHINGTON (AP) — Government regulators have approved a new pill from Novartis to treat heart failure, a deadly chronic disease that affects millions of U.S. patients.The Food and Drug Administration approved the combination drug, Entresto, based on studies showing it reduced rates of heart-related death and hospitalization compared with older drugs.More than 5 million Americans and more than 25 million people worldwide have heart failure, a disease that causes the heart to gradually lose its pumping power. It kills up to half of patients within five years, despite numerous generic pills and other treatments available. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 0 Comments   Share   last_img read more

Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees Celebrates its FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY with Aw

first_imgMost Popular Hotel Award Tuesday 12th was the celebration of Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees first year anniversary.  With much to celebrate including the success of its now renowned must see uniquely sculpted twisted lobby and numerous return guests for its notable service quality from a team of happy staff, the hotel has already won three honourable awards and two individual staff awards which have stunned the hotel industry.Just a month into the hotels opening, Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees was announced winner of  “The Best Designer Hotel 2009” gained at the Travel Fair (Guangdong International Tourism and Culture Festival’s 2009 Star Hotels Show); in less than 6 months of its’ opening, the hotel won the honourable “Best Mid-range Hotel in Hong Kong” in the Individual Hotel Awards category awarded by TTG China Travel Awards 2010; and just recently on September 25, 2010, the hotel was surprised with “The Most Popular Hotel 2010” award gained once again at the Travel Fair (Guangdong International Tourism and Culture Festival’s 2010 Star Hotels Show) voted by end users whom have had their share of experiencing at the hotel first hand.Two individual staff awards were also awarded to Executive Chef Liu Chi Ming winning “2010 Ten Outstanding Chef in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau” and Marketing Communications Manager CeCe Hoang winning “Rising Star” by SKAL Hong Kong. “We opened a year ago with the mindset of a happy hotel filled with happy staff which was a very simple direction but at the same time a very challenging mission.  These many awards illustrate the staffs’ hard work and dedication throughout this year and with the significant meaning behind each of these awards being voted by guests who have either experienced first hand or heard of our happy hotel, we will only continue to strive to be the best happy hotel filled with happy staff to bring our guests the happiest experience says General Manager – Ms. Christina Cheng.” Most Popular Hotel Award with Management Team1st Anniversary Groupcenter_img Source = Harbour Plaza 8 Degreeslast_img read more