Although we’ve had many false hopes for the paving of the road from 27 de Abril to Villareal, it looks like the day may finally have arrived. On May 28, Dr. Pedro Castro Fernandez, the Minister of Public Works and Transport, signed a contract for the Raasa Construction Company, SA, to do the much needed work on the vital road. Two days later, the contract was endorsed by the Legal Affairs Management at CONVI, and the preparations for the work are underway. With this order, Raasa has 210 calendar days to complete the execution of work on the road. The 13.5-kilometer route goes from 27 de Abril to Villareal, and will be two lanes with ballast and asphalt payment, as well as cement sidewalks.Some really good news out of Hacienda Pinilla. Looks like the 4,500 acre project, which maintains a very ecologically sound perspective in its development, will not be sold to outside investors. Instead, Hacienda Pinilla will remain in the family of its founder and former president HG “Pat” Pattillo. Instead, the developer’s granddaughter, Bree McClure Pattillo will be the new president of the Board of Agroganadera Pinilla, S.A. She has been a director of the company and holds positions at Pattillo Construction Corporation and various real estate companies in the United States.Local Rex Barnes has put the word out that he is a United States licensed general contractor available for remodeling, roofing and gutter, ceramic tile, ceilings and drywall, electrical, painting and patching and plumbing. You can reach the talented man at 2653-1432 or email him at email@example.com.On June 16, there will be a bike ride called Ciclistica Recreative, sponsored by the Villareal High School and Cindea Haucas. The ride begins at 8:30 a.m. and to join up its ₡3,000 for students and ₡5,000 for the general public. The proceeds from the event will go towards buying a water system and lighting for the students. To find out more, call 2653-0716 or 8824-7955.It looks like the 3 Kings Poker League has a new champion. In the final standings, which came about after the year’s final tournament a few weeks ago, Henrik Bodholdt was no. 1 with $3,008 in the annual winnings. Even though Luis Alejandro Giralt won the final tournament, he was no. 2 in the final standings with $1,731 in earnings for the year. Remember, there is a Texas Hold’em poker game every Friday at the Diría Casino. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.June 20 is International Surfing Day, and once again the Tamarindo Surfrider Foundation is having a fundraiser to support the people who clean up area beaches. The event will take place at 6 p.m. at the Langosta Beach Club, with live music, food and drink specials, as well as a silent auction. You can get more information by facebooking: Mike Clifford, Wendy Boerner, Clifford Lock Cooper or Murray Greer. –Ellen Zoe Goldenellenzoe@aol.com Facebook Comments No related posts.
No related posts. Those who get caught in the act of committing environmental crimes such as gold mining, illegal logging or hunting in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica will be judged within 24 hours, according to a new resolution issued by Costa Rica’s Supreme Court.Supreme Court justices authorized legal proceedings in environmental crimes committed in the cantons of Golfito, Osa and Coto Brus to be judged at a local flagrancy court – un tribunal de flagrancia in Spanish – instead of being transferred to a criminal court in another location.In Costa Rica, a flagrancy court allows judges to convict within 24 hours suspects who are caught in the act of committing a crime.Officials of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) welcomed the justices’ decision because “environmental crimes cases usually take up to two or more years to be resolved by the courts to which they are transferred,” a SINAC press release said.Costa Rica’s Southern Zone includes the Osa Peninsula, one of the richest regions in the world in terms of biodiversity, boasting nearly 2 percent of animal and plant species found around the world.The first conviction of a flagrant felony was handed down last Friday when five people were caught mining gold by staff of the Osa Conservation Area. A sentencing date has not yet been set, but is expected in coming days.Environmental crimes have sentences ranging from three months to five years in prison, plus fines. Last December, Costa Rica became the first country on the continent to ban hunting for sport. Facebook Comments
Related posts:Big Tobacco need not apply for work in the cannabis market A huge new study finds that medical marijuana doesn’t ‘send the wrong message’ to kids Another medical use for pot: Healing broken bones Colombia legalizes medical marijuana SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico’s Governor Alejandro García Padilla has authorized the use of marijuana for medicinal use, in a surprise move after Puerto Rico’s legislature failed to act on the issue.García Padilla signed the decree late Sunday, instructing his health secretary to work out the details of its implementation.The measure will clear the way for suppliers to begin making medicines derived from marijuana as early as August, Health Secretary Ana Rius Armendariz said.The governor provided few details of the plan, but smoking marijuana will continue to be banned.Rius Armendariz said regulations must now be drawn up governing how cannabis will be dispensed, who will have the right to produce it and what diagnoses will be required for treatment with marijuana-derived products.The governor cited U.S. studies that have found that cannabis can relieve pain caused by multiple sclerosis, AIDs, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, migraines and other diseases that sometimes resist traditional treatment.The move follows a trend in the United States, where 24 of 50 states plus the District of Columbia allow the use of medical marijuana.It drew criticism from some members of Puerto Rico’s legislature, where medicinal marijuana legislation had failed to win passage.García Padilla warned last week he intended to rule by decree to circumvent the legislature, after it defeated his proposal for a 16 percent value-added tax. Facebook Comments
“Heroes 1856” is Costa Rica’s first-ever original rock opera, but this innovation is rooted in the past: It stars a large group of young musicians, singers and dancers who exalt the memory of the men and women who shaped the country’s history.The Campaign of 1856, as it is known, was a transcendental and important event for all Costa Ricans and involves one of the biggest heroes of our history. At a time when not just the country but all of Central America saw their integrity and independence threatened by U.S. filibuster William Walker and his army of mercenaries, then-President Juan Rafael Mora Porras inspired thousands of Costa Ricans – men and women – to arm themselves and defend the country they loved.The goal of “Heroes 1856” is to tell that well-known story in a different way, a dynamic approach that reaches youngsters.“To us it is so important to tell, especially to the young people, the story of Costa Rica in a different way and with fresher language, using a music genre they can understand,” Mario Campos, producer and co-creator of the opera with Jorge Urbina, told The Tico Times. “We have heroes who have stood out throughout history.”He added that while ‘Juanito’ Mora is a personality renowned throughout Latin America, Costa Rican discussion of the 1856 National Campaign tends to focus on the iconic Juan Santamaría, who, as the story goes, died while setting fire to the invaders’ garrison. Santamaría was indeed a hero, but the man who planned all the strategy and led Costa Ricans to the victory was Juan Mora, Campos said.“The challenge is quite interesting, because here we can’t make up things or change the chronology of waht’s happening because it is history. We have to become attached to the history, we can’t make anything up,” said Campos, meaning that the creators of the opera had to work within those limits. They based much of their research on the material of well-known journalist Armando Vargas, who has written extensively about Costa Rican history.Playing Mora, Walker and trailblazing army wife and sharpshooter Francisca Carrasco are the renowned actors Juan Alberto Díaz, Luis Montalbert and Priscila Castro, respectively. The Tico Times talked to Montalbert, the singer from the Grammy Award-winning Costa Rican band Gandhi, about the unique challenge of playing Walker.“It’s quite a new experience due to I’m used to perform as the good guy, and it’s not that William Walker was a bad guy. He was moved by his beliefs and his ambitions,” Montalbert explained, although he admitted it was an interesting new experience to play such a reviled figure. He also called the rock-opera approach a “more real way to learn history,” and said that it is gratifying to be a part of the country’s past.According to Montalbert, the show will use actual speeches made by leaders, as well as less literal interpretations. He said the cast and crew hope to shock their audience and help inspire new interest in Costa Rican history, helping viewers to better understand how the country was developed and thus how its future can be built.“We’re influenced by different rock genres, maybe more like contemporary rock such as Green Theater. Also bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Rolling Stones. … Actually, we’re really influenced by heavy rock, we’re taking advantadge of the two excellent guitarrists we have,” said the musical director, Carlos Campos. “The most challenging task was to get to the intensity of what the lyrics mean, for example when the president is explaining that Nicaragua was invaded and immediatly he has to ask the nation to arm against the enemy – that is a dramatic moment so the music strenght has to rise. All those contrasts in the lyrics must be expressed, too, with the music intensity,” added Carlos.“We, in a way, have pushed into the background, into the forgotten, our heroes. What we want is that our people get to know those heroes, because today no one remembers Juanito Mora, among other heroes. … Juanito Mora gave us a sense of a nation,” Mario Campos added.“Heroes 1856” will be performed June 26 at 8 p.m., June 27 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and June 28 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Children’s Museum’s National Auditorium, downtown San José. Tickets are ₡11,000-₡16,500. For tickets, visit the La Boleteria website. Facebook Comments Related posts:U.S. Independence Day Concert, ExpoVida 2015 and other happenings around Costa Rica Art City Tour, Progressive Rock Concert and other happenings around Costa Rica Patriotic tunes, Children’s Day theater, and more events around Costa Rica Cancer awareness run, river picnics, and other happenings around Costa Rica
MIAMI – The United States warned pregnant women Friday to avoid travel to 14 countries and territories in the Caribbean and Latin America due to the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects.“The virus is spreading fairly rapidly through the Americas,” said Lyle Petersen, director of the division of vector-borne infectious diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a conference call with reporters. “We thought it was very important to warn people as soon as possible.”The level two travel alert applies to Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.“Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing,” the CDC said.Zika virus can cause fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, with symptoms usually lasting under a week. But in pregnant women, the virus can spread to the fetus and cause brain shrinkage or death.Along with a rise in Zika cases in Brazil, more than 3,500 cases of microcephaly have been documented in the country between October 2015 and January 2016. Four of those cases have recently been analyzed, showing that babies were infected with Zika virus while they were in the womb and that it reached their brains. Two of the cases involved miscarriages, and two of the babies died soon after birth.“All four mothers reported having experienced a fever and rash illness consistent with Zika virus disease during their pregnancies,” the CDC said. “Genetic sequence analysis showed that the virus in the four cases was the same as the Zika virus strain currently circulating in Brazil.” Countries that have past or current evidence of Zika virus transmission as of January 2016. (Courtesy CDC)Special precautions for pregnant womenExperts say they don’t know just how much of an increase Brazil is experiencing in microcephaly, but that there is a rising number of cases.The virus appears to destroy brain tissue that had already formed, resulting in smaller brain sizes and birth defects.“Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant.”Those who are trying to become pregnant “should consult with their health care provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow” steps to prevent mosquito bites, including wearing long sleeves and pants and applying insect repellant.There is no vaccine to prevent Zika and no medicine available to treat it.There have been 26 travel-related cases of Zika virus in the United States since 2007, but no locally acquired cases so far, Petersen said. He added that the situation is changing rapidly and urged women to “take these recommendations quite seriously.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Birth defects in Latin America spark Zika virus panic Costa Rica’s inclusion in Zika travel warning has tourism leaders worried Zika alert: Costa Rica increases surveillance of travelers entering the country The hidden environmental factors behind the spread of Zika and other devastating diseases
Earlier this year, Cris Gomar, the founder of theVaso Lleno social outreach initiative, created a forum for survivors of sexual abuse to share their stories.Gomar was so overwhelmed by the response that she has organized an event for victims that will be “full of love, support, affection and understanding.”“No one is going to be forced to tell their story in any way,” Gomar wrote. “The idea is to see how we feel in this space, to help the victims, to generate a support network and to accompany them in their struggle.”The event, called Reconstruí tu historia (Rebuild your story) will be held Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Selina CoWork in Barrio Otoya, San José.It will be moderated by Militza Castellot, a personal growth and transformation coach. Entries are limited and cost 5,000 colones (about $8.25) each.Click here to learn more about Vaso Lleno, and click here for more information about Tuesday’s event.The Tico Times recently covered Vaso Lleno in a story you can read here: The Tico Times is an in-kind sponsor of this event. Selina CoWork is donating the event space and is also an in-kind sponsor.You can find Vaso Lleno’s form to submit stories of sexual abuse here. They are also on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook Comments Vaso Lleno opens the door, hundreds of stories of sexual abuse pour in Related posts:Vaso Lleno opens the door, hundreds of stories of sexual abuse pour in World Bank: Zika will cost Latin America $3.5 billion in 2016 Costa Rica confirms 2 more cases of Zika virus Costa Rica reports lower cancer mortality rates
Comments Share Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center BANJA LUKA , Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) – A small sports plane burst into flames just after takeoff in northwest Bosnia on Sunday, killing the five people on board.Banja Luka police spokesperson Mirna Soja told the AP that three skydivers, an instructor and the pilot of the Cessna plane died in the crash.She said the skydivers had just finished their training and were about to embark on their first jump, but their plane burst into flames just after takeoff from a small airstrip in Banja Luka. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Firefighters rushed to the scene and set about extinguishing the blaze.Video obtained by the AP from the crash site showed families of the dead hugging each other and crying after watching the plane plummet from the sky.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – A U.S. group monitoring religious freedoms has hailed the release of a Christian pastor after nearly three years in custody in Iran.A statement by the U.S. Commission of International Religious Freedom says it welcomes the release of Youcef Nadarkhani and urges Iran to free other “prisoners of conscience.”Nadarkhani had been held since October 2009 amid conflicting reports on the charges against him. Top Stories International rights groups said he faced the death sentence for refusing to renounce his Christian faith after he converted from Islam as a teenager. Iranian officials later claimed Nadarkhani was not jailed on religious grounds but was charged with rape and extortion.Iranian officials had no comment Sunday on the reports of Nadarkhani’s release. His whereabouts were not immediately known.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments Share Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center 5 treatments for adult scoliosis How do cataracts affect your vision?
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Check your body, save your life SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) – A Canadian joint venture and the government of the Dominican Republic announced an agreement Wednesday on new terms for the operation of a big gold mine, resolving an acrimonious dispute over whether the Caribbean country had gotten a fair royalty deal for its natural resources.The new terms eliminate one of the most controversial provisions of the old contract, a requirement that the venture majority owned by Barrick Gold Corp. would not have to begin paying a net profit tax until it made a 10 percent return above the cost of its initial investment, according to the company and government officials. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories The new agreement will increase the rate of payments to the Dominican Republic, helping the government address its budget deficit by providing an additional $1.5 billion over the life of the mine, Barrick spokesman Andy Lloyd said.“We see ourselves as a long-term investor here and we see it as in our interest to support the economic stability of the country,” Lloyd said.Barrick, based in Toronto, and Goldcorp Inc. of Vancouver reopened the long-dormant Pueblo Viejo mine north of Santo Domingo last year. At nearly $4 billion, it is the largest single private investment in the country’s history and the company had said it would provide about $7 billion in revenue to the government over the 25-year-life of the mine.In recent months, the government sought to renegotiate the terms of the contract amid a budget shortfall and public anger over what many people felt was a deal that was overly generous to the joint venture. As negotiations bogged down, with the company insisting it had a legally binding contract, the government in March briefly detained a company shipment of gold and silver valued at nearly $12 million.The proposed new contract must still be presented to the Dominican congress and receive approval from the board of directors of both Barrick and Goldcorp and lenders. Top Stories Comments Share
Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help “I’m afraid I decline to answer,” he said.British journalists had been looking forward to Hollande’s appearance, which comes less than a week after the French president officially ended his relationship with Valerie Trierweiler following a report that he was having an affair with glamorous actress Julie Gayet.Instead they got an all-too-sober discussion of the enduring relationship between France and Britain, which bore fruit Friday in the form of a nearly $200 million agreement to develop an armed combat drone, approval of an investment deal for nuclear power in Britain which Hollande valued at 16 billion pounds (more than $26 billion), and 15 million pounds earmarked for joint investment on space-related programs.They also agreed on developing an undersea drone _ intended to counter mines _ and more logistical support for the French military mission in Central African Republic. British and French soldiers are due to hold a joint training exercise later this year, and Cameron said the British military would take France’s VBCIs _ eight-wheeled infantry tanks _ for a test drive with a view toward buying some.There was considerably more daylight between the two leaders on the subject of Europe. Cameron has said he wants to renegotiate key parts of the European Union treaties as a prelude to an in-or-out referendum in Britain. Hollande said treaty change “is not a priority for the time being.” Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Parents, stop beating yourself up Four benefits of having a wireless security system The leaders addressed Syria, too _ including a comment from Hollande that between 600 and 700 Britons or U.K. residents had traveled to the Middle Eastern country to fight in its civil war. British intelligence bosses had previously put the figure vaguely at “hundreds.”Hollande and Cameron were speaking at an aircraft hangar at England’s Brize Norton air base. The two later retired for drinks and grub at a local pub, The Swan Inn.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments Share LONDON (AP) – French President Francois Hollande wants to talk about his country’s work with the U.K. on a new combat drone, a multibillion-pound deal which could see France help build new nuclear power plants in the U.K., and thorny questions about his British counterpart David Cameron’s contentious relationship to the European Union.Just don’t ask him about his love life.Quizzed during a news conference at an English air base whether his reported philandering had turned France into an “international joke,” the 59-year-old French leader deadpanned.
5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist 0 Comments Share Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility MILAN (AP) — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne says the public offering of 10 percent of supercar maker Ferrari will be delayed until the fourth quarter.Marchionne told reporters in Venice on Friday that the lawyers have advised that the IPO must wait for one year after the Fiat-Chrysler merger, which took effect on Oct. 12. A spokesman confirmed the remarks Saturday and said the period was defined by U.K. tax law. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Fiat Chrysler had initially planned the initial public offering for the first half of this year, then extended it to the third quarter.The move unlocks the luxury brand’s value and distinguishes it from its mass-market parent, while raising cash to support the newly merged carmaker’s plans to invest 48 billion euros ($61 billion) over five years.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 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 Sponsored Stories Syllm-Rapoport emigrated to the United States in 1938 without a degree. After applying to several American universities, she eventually finished her degree in Philadelphia and worked as a pediatrician, before moving with her husband, a socialist like herself, to East Berlin in 1952. The mother of four was the first head of the neonatology department at Berlin’s Charite hospital.Asked about how Syllm-Rapoport did in her oral exam last month — which was on the topic of diphtheria, just like her original Ph.D. thesis — Uwe Koch-Gromus, the university’s dean of the medical faculty said, “She was brilliant, and not only for her age.”“We were impressed with her intellectual alertness, and left speechless by her expertise — also with regard to modern medicine,” Koch-Gromus said.Almost 80 years after Syllm-Rapoport had to flee from the Nazis’ terror, she concluded her studies with the overall grade of magna cum laude.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist BERLIN (AP) — Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport wasn’t allowed to defend her doctoral thesis in 1938 under the Nazis because she was part-Jewish. Nearly eight decades later, she became Germany’s oldest recipient of a doctorate at age 102 on Tuesday.The neonatologist, a specialist in caring for newborns, cleared the final hurdle last month by passing an oral exam. She received her doctorate in a celebratory ceremony at the University of Hamburg. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories “After almost 80 years, it was possible to restore some extent of justice,” Burkhard Goeke, the medical director of the university’s hospital, said in his speech. “We cannot undo injustices that have been committed, but our insights into the past shape our perspective for the future.”Syllm-Rapoport stressed in her acceptance speech that she went through all the efforts of getting the degree at her advanced age not for herself, but for all the others who suffered from injustice during the Third Reich.“For me personally, the degree didn’t mean anything, but to support the great goal of coming to terms with history — I wanted to be part of that,” Syllm-Rapoport told German public television station NDR.After the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, they gradually disenfranchised Jews, expelling them from universities, schools and many professions, before eventually deporting and killing them in death camps across Europe.When Syllm-Rapoport handed in her doctorate thesis, her supervisor at the time, Rudolf Degkwitz, wrote in a letter in 1938 that he would have accepted her work on diphtheria if it hadn’t been for the Nazis’ race laws which, he said, “make it impossible to allow Miss Syllm’s admission for the doctorate.” The vital role family plays in society 5 ways to recognize low testosterone
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, right, poses with Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during their meeting at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, Wednesday June 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere) Top Stories PARIS (AP) — Saudi Arabia signed agreements worth billions of dollars on Wednesday to buy helicopters, Airbus jets and two possible nuclear reactors from France.The signing in Paris comes as Saudi Arabia is seeking to bolster its military capabilities while it is leading a coalition against extremists in neighboring Yemen. A high-level delegation is in the French capital this week led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is King Salman’s youngest son and has quickly risen to become one of the most powerful men in the kingdom. How men can have a healthy 2019 0 Comments Share Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Quick workouts for men Saudi and French officials signed accords at the presidential Elysee Palace on Wednesday for 23 helicopters for the Saudi Interior Ministry, 50 Airbus jets and a study for two new-generation nuclear reactors, as well as nuclear waste and safety training.French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Wednesday that the two have agreed to sell French patrol boats “to enhance the capability of the Saudi Coast Guard, which is today facing growing threats.”The Foreign Ministry said three of the accords were worth more than $12 billion. It didn’t put a monetary value on the others, which likely involve several billion more.Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir also urged more help from the region to help Yemen reconstruct.“Gulf countries should send their help to Yemen, so that our (Yemeni) brothers could reconstruct their country and find a political solution and sign a (peace) agreement,” he told reporters. “I hope that Houthis will return to senses and understand that they might have a role in Yemen, but that it should be done in a peaceful manner.”French President Francois Hollande presided over Wednesday’s signing, after pushing the deals during a recent visit to Riyadh. France has cultivated ties with Gulf states even as relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have cooled under President Barack Obama. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The Travel Corporation has appointed Matthew Cameron-Smith as the new Trafalgar Australia managing director. Mr Smith will commence his new role early next year and is joining the team after six years of working in various positions at Tourism Australia. The Travel Corporation Australasia chief executive John Weeks said Mr Smith’s previous experience makes him an asset to the company. “I am confident that he will continue to lead the brand’s growth and take it to the next level,” he said. Trafalgar president and chief executive Gavin Tollman added the new managing director would be entering an “excellent team”. “Trafalgar has enjoyed significant growth aided by the evolution of its guided holiday product,” Mr Tollman said. “I look forward to working with Matthew to ensure to continue to build on the solid foundation that has been built over the years and under Matthew direction, it not only remains the market leader in Australia but with his knowledge provide further inspiration.”
Kids Welcome home page Kids Welcome founder Sarah Pye with her daughter on holidays Child friendly travel company, ‘Kids Welcome’ has recently launched an extensive web directory packed with family fun activities and is about to launch Kids Welcome iphone and ipad apps.Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard, Kids Welcome founder and author Sarah Pye said as a child she travelled extensively with her parents and identifies the importance of travel to a child’s development.“Kids grow up so quickly and go through so many different stages along the way,” Ms Pye said.“I want to encourage parents to experience new things with their children, even close to home, while the kids still want to.”The free Kids Welcome directory assists parents in building the perfect holiday for their family by featuring over 2000 reviews of activities, attractions, tours, restaurants, events, playgrounds and beaches throughout QLD, NSW and the ACT.Ms Pye said the new Kids Welcome iphone, android and ipad apps will make it even easier for users to find things to do with the kids while on the move.“I would like to encourage people to participate and get involved in Kids Welcome by contributing their comments, holiday reviews, photos or videos to the website,” Ms Pye said.The website founder initially kicked off her directory with the successful guidebook ‘Kids Welcome to Queensland’ which was endorsed by Tourism Queensland and Playgroup Queensland.Tourism Queensland chief executive officer Anthony Hayes described the kids travel directly as “a terrific practical guide for families”.Ms Pye was also awarded the Small Business Woman of the Year in 2010 for her business achievements.Kids Welcome fan and mum Terri Sanderson used the family-friendly web directory to plan her family’s last adventure. “It really made life easier and the colourful pictures and easy-to-read style makes it possible for the whole family to help plan their holiday,” Ms Sanderson said.“I can’t wait for the new phone app.”Kids Welcome is giving you the opportunity to win one of five ‘Kids Welcome to Queensland’ guidebooks by simply visiting www.kidswelcome.com.au and posting a comment on one of the reviews.A Kids Welcome representative will choose the best five comments and winners will be contacted by the company by the end of May 2012. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P
TEQ, Sunshine Coast and Flight, $500,000 winter campaignSunshine Coast Destination (SCDL), Tourism Events Queensland (TEQ) and Flight Centre have launched a $500,000 national campaign designed to woo people north to the Sunshine Coast to escape the winter chill.The Sunshine Coast campaign will be featured in 750 Flight Centre stores nationally during May, with content and product showcased extensively in The Captains Getaways brochure. The campaign will be supported by a dedicated digital campaign on the Flight Centre website, along with specific product pages and display banners.The promotion will highlight the Sunshine Coast’s rich diversity for travellers, offering visitors everything from diving with whales and 4WD beach drives to indulgent spa and food-related travel ideas.SCDL CEO, Simon Ambrose, said the aim of the campaign was to build on the 9.7% domestic growth in visitor numbers achieved in 2014, and attract residents looking for respite from the southern winter.“The Sunshine Coast is offering a rich, diverse range of attractions over winter that – combined with typically mild, sunny weather – makes the destination ideal for those who want either a short-break or an extended migration away from the winter chill,” said Mr Ambrose.“Flight Centre has extensive experience of the Sunshine Coast and with their extensive presence in both retail and online, we expect a strong response from the campaign. We also appreciate the partnership with TEQ, and the multi-media campaign forms part of an ongoing campaign to attract more visitors to Queensland for holidays and events.”Flight Centre’s Head of Product, Advertising and Customer Experience, Darren Wright, said the timing of this campaign is ideal.“The Sunshine Coast is easily accessible via its own airport as well as Brisbane Airport, and combined with recent reductions in fuel prices making drive holidays even more attractive, the timing of this campaign is ideal.We believe we can attract considerable short-break vacations to the Sunshine Coast, especially as temperatures begin to drop down south.”The latest phase of the Sunshine Coast’s Vacation Migration campaign is in market from 3 to 31 May 2015. Source = Sunshine Coast Destination
Source = THAI Airways Fly THAI Airways THAI maintains highest safety standardsThai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) today announces that it operates with the highest safety standards in all operational areas.Mr. Charamporn Jotikasthira, THAI President, said that in light of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) public posting a red flag today on Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation (Thai DCA), as a result of the findings during the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP) and the issuance of a Significant Safety Concern (SSC), Thai Airways International wants to reassure the travelling public that THAI operates with the highest safety standards in all operational areas.“A significant safety concern (SSC) does not necessarily indicate a particular safety deficiency in the air navigation service providers, airlines (air operators), aircraft or aerodrome; but, rather, indicates that the State is not providing sufficient safety oversight to ensure the effective implementation of applicable ICAO Standards,” ICAO.Despite the ICAO having “identified that Thailand has a significant safety concern with respect to the ability of the Thai DCA to properly oversee airlines under its jurisdiction,” Thai Airways International assures all parties that THAI strictly practices the safety standards of these international agencies.EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency)FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority)CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) JCAB (Japan Civil Aviation Bureau) IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit)Since 13 February 2015, when ICAO first issued the SSC on Thai DCA, Thai Airways International has had to rely on other states’ civil aviation authorities to provide oversight for where THAI operates. As such, THAI has undergone additional and more frequent safety audits and station inspections by these authorities; and as a result of these audits, THAI has been able to continue operating regular flights to these countries. In the very near future, THAI will be audited at the Company’s base by other states’ civil aviation authorities.For updates and more information, visit www.thaiairways.com.
Qantas welcomes interim authorisation of enhanced AA allianceQantas customers will soon be able to start booking direct flights to San Francisco for travel from 18 December 2015.This follows interim authorisation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for the continuation and enhancement of the Qantas and American Airlines relationship announced in early June.Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans welcomed the ACCC’s decision as it will enable customers to book the airline’s new direct flights from Sydney to San Francisco and reach their destination faster.“The feedback from our customers since we announced the expansion of the Qantas and American Airlines alliance has been fantastic,” said Mr Evans.“They are thrilled we are returning to San Francisco, which is the most popular onward destination for Qantas’ customers travelling to the U.S.“Our corporate customers in particular have told us they look forward to saving about four hours each way by not having to connect through Los Angeles.”Qantas’ San-Francisco services will initially operate on peak days^ and ramp up to six per week in January 2016 using its newer Boeing 747-400 aircraft with similar interiors found on the airline’s A380s.Qantas’ flights to San Francisco are made possible by American Airlines starting a direct daily Sydney-Los Angeles service from 19 December 2015. This will replace four of Qantas’ B747 Sydney-Los Angeles services per week and one Qantas B747 Melbourne-Los Angeles service per week.Today’s decision also allows Qantas to begin selling new codeshare services operated by American Airlines on the Sydney-Los Angeles route using their state of the art B777-300ER aircraft.Qantas and American Airlines are now working to finalise the schedule of new services with fares available in coming weeks. Fly QantasSource = Qantas
New Orleans Convention and Visitors BureauNew Orleans to host NBA All Star 2017New Orleans has been selected to host NBA All-Star 2017, the NBA announced today. The 66th NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, February 19, at Smoothie King Center – home of the New Orleans Pelicans. The game was previously scheduled to be held in Charlotte, N.C.In addition to the game, the Smoothie King Center will host the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 18 while the NBA All-Star Practice, NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This will mark the third time the “Crescent City” has been the site of the league’s annual midseason celebration, having previously hosted the event in 2008 and 2014.“New Orleans is a world-class destination for sports and entertainment and we are very appreciative that the city is once again hosting our All-Star festivities,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We are grateful to Tom and Gayle Benson and the Pelicans organization and to Governor John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation for inviting us back for what promises to be another exciting and memorable celebration of the game.”“We are grateful that the NBA has selected us to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans,” said New Orleans Pelicans Owner Tom Benson. “We have made tremendous upgrades to the Smoothie King Center and know the building will be a first-class venue to host the myriad of events associated with All-Star weekend. New Orleans has hosted the All-Star Game twice in the past nine years, and is a perfect destination for NBA fans. As we know, the NBA will engage thousands of local children and charities during this weekend. On behalf of my wife Gayle and the entire Pelicans organization, we thank Governor Edwards, Mayor Landrieu, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, SMG, and all of the others that worked so hard in a short amount of time to bring the All-Star Game to New Orleans.”In addition, in the wake of the devastating floods that have affected tens of thousands of Louisiana residents, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have joined the Pelicans and the New Orleans Saints to provide financial and other ongoing support of the flood rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts.NBA All-Star oncourt festivities tip off Friday, Feb. 17, with the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, where the league’s top rookies and second-year players will compete in a U.S. versus World game format for the third consecutive year. On Saturday, Feb. 18, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will feature current NBA players showcasing their unique abilities in exciting basketball competitions, including the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, where participants compete head-to-head in a series of passing, shooting and agility drills; the Foot Locker Three-PointContest; and Verizon Slam Dunk. The weekend concludes on Sunday, Feb. 19, with the NBA All-Star Game.“Even in the midst of a historic crisis, I am excited that the NBA has recognized how great the City of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are,” said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. “In Louisiana, one of the strongest bonds that unites all of us is our passion for sports. Not only will NBA fans be able to participate in the All-Star Game events, they will also be a part of our world-famous Mardi Gras festivities. The fan experience can’t get any better than that. While we move into the recovery phase of this disaster, I want to thank the NBA for the vote ofconfidence in our state to host this event and their support of the relief efforts currently underway. I want to congratulate Mayor Landrieu, the City of New Orleans, and the Pelicans for working in short order to make this all possible.”“The NBA has been a great partner, so we are excited and honored to be selected to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Together with the staff of the GNO Sports Foundation and the hospitality industry, the dedicated members of the New Orleans police, fire, EMS, airport, permitting and sanitation departments, among others, make these major events possible. The combination of NBA All-Star with the first weekend of Mardi Gras will provide our residents, visitors and NBA fans an even more special experience. Havingserved as Lieutenant Governor and Mayor for the two prior NBA All-Star Games held in New Orleans, I also know the NBA is committed to giving back to our community and providing great learning experiences for our kids. The NBA and the Players Association’s generous donations to organizations responding to the devastating flooding across Louisiana is a testament to their commitment to the people of our state.”“The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation is honored to partner with Tom and Gayle Benson and the Pelicans as the All-Star Host Committee for an unprecedented third time in the past 10 years,” said President/CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Jay Cicero. “The strong relationships with our sports, governmental and hospitality communities allowed for a customary eight-month bid process to be compressed into a mere three weeks. The 2014 All-Star Game generated over $100 million in economic impact for the State of Louisiana and the greater New Orleans area. It’s a thrill to welcome our NBA partners back to New Orleans.”“The NBA and New Orleans have a history of producing world-class sporting events, having most recently hosted the All-Star Game in 2014. When we learned that we had an opportunity to host next year’s NBA All-Star Game, we went straight to work to lay the groundwork for 2017,” said President and CEO of New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Stephen Perry. “Our tourism industry is second-to-none at planning and accommodating massive events like this. Within three weeks, we were able to ensure the NBA that all the pieces were in place to make the 2017 NBA All-Star Game an unforgettable experience that will combine our world famous Mardi Gras with all the excitement that the NBA All-Star Game delivers.”The NBA will continue to honor its commitment to social responsibility during All-Star 2017 with a full schedule of NBA Cares and Jr. NBA events in and around New Orleans throughout the week. By working with local schools, government agencies and nonprofits, the NBA will engage thousands of children and families and provide important resources to community-based programs.The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be televised in prime time on TNT for the 15th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 32nd year of NBA All-Star coverage. The game will be broadcast worldwide in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages.NBA All Star history in New OrleansNew Orleans last hosted NBA All-Star in 2014, when the Eastern Conference overcame an 18-point deficit to post a 163-155 victory, snapping a three-game losing streak. Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his team-high 31 points in the fourth quarter and handed out a game-high 14 assists on his way to capturing MVP honors. Carmelo Anthony added 30 points for the East, while Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin each finished with 38 points for the West.The 2008 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans marked the city’s first major sporting event since Hurricane Katrina. In addition to the East’s 134-128 victory and LeBron James’ MVP performance, more than 2,500 members of the NBA family participated in 10 local service projects across New Orleans as part of the inaugural NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service, now an annual tradition and a highlight of the league’s All-Star festivities.Source = New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau
Lufthansa Group Wins Four Skytrax AwardsLufthansa Group wins four Skytrax AwardsClose to 20 million passengers select the best airlines in the world every yearLufthansa Group airlines honored with four Skytrax World Airline AwardsLufthansa was elected as the “Best Airline in Europe” and the “Best Western European Airline”. The awards were presented to Lufthansa on the occasion of a ceremony held by Skytrax in London. The market research institute Skytrax specializing in the aviation industry had previously surveyed about 20 million passengers from more than 160 countries worldwide.Passengers from across the globe voted in favor of the German premium airline and thus also acknowledged the service provided by Lufthansa. “We would like thank our customers for this vote of confidence and our employees for their commitment and customer orientation”, says Andreas Otto, Product Manager of the Lufthansa Group for the premium airlines and Chief Commercial Officer of Austrian Airlines. “We are well aware of the challenge of living up to this award at all times. For this reason, we see this recognition as an incentive to fulfil the promise we make to our customers”, he adds.Austrian Airlines was given two awards. The employees were given the award as the “Best Airline Staff Service in Europe”. Moreover, Austrian Airlines is champion in the category “Best Business Class Onboard Catering”.The survey was carried out by the market research institute Skytrax specializing in the aviation industry. Passengers were asked to assess the offering on board and services of the airlines at the airports. Skytrax has been conducting this survey on an annual basis since 1999. The detailed results of the World Airlines Awards can be found at www.worldairlineawards.com.Source = Lufthansa Group