NCLs 201819 lineup includes Alaska sailings on new Norwegian Bliss

first_img Travelweek Group MIAMI — Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2018/19 deployment includes Norwegian Escape sailings to the Caribbean and Bermuda from New York, Norwegian Breakaway cruising to bucket list destinations in Scandinavia and Russia from Copenhagen, Norwegian Bliss sailing to Alaska from Seattle and new ships in several seasonal homeports sailing to the Caribbean.Here are the highlights:AlaskaThe brand new Norwegian Bliss, arriving in June 2018, will lead Norwegian’s 2018 Alaska fleet with her inaugural season to the region, offering seven-day voyages departing each Saturday from Seattle. The largest ship to sail to Alaska, Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built for the Alaska cruise experience. Following an extensive renovation in 2017 as a part of the Norwegian Edge program, Norwegian Pearl will sail seven-day Glacier Bay Alaska cruises from Seattle departing on Sundays. Rounding out the Alaska fleet, Norwegian Sun will return to Vancouver and Seward to offer her northbound and southbound seven-day Alaska highlights voyages, offering guests the opportunity to combine back-to-back sailings for an immersive 14-day roundtrip cruise.EuropeNCL will have five ships based in Europe in summer 2018. Norwegian Breakaway will depart her New York homeport on April 15 for the first time since her inaugural season in 2013 for a 12-day transatlantic voyage to London (Southampton). Following her arrival in Europe, Norwegian Breakaway will undergo enhancements in dry dock and then journey to her new seasonal homeport of Copenhagen, where she will sail nine-day Scandinavia & Russia cruises through the summer season.  Norwegian Jade will return to Europe in summer 2018 and sail a series of Norway, Iceland, and North Cape cruises from London (Southampton) and Hamburg. Norwegian Spirit will return as well, sailing longer 10-day Western Mediterranean and 11-day Eastern Mediterranean & Adriatic cruises from Civitavecchia. Norwegian Star will reposition from the West Coast to Venice, sailing a series of seven-day Greek Isles and Adriatic & Greece cruises from The Floating City. Norwegian Epic, which received ship wide enhancements earlier this year during an extensive dry dock, will once again sail seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona and Civitavecchia, showcasing the best of Italy, France and Spain.In winter 2018/2019, Norwegian Spirit will set sail from Barcelona to the Canary Islands & Morocco on a series of 10- and 11-day cruises.BermudaNorwegian will continue its tradition of sailing from both New York City and Boston to the pink sand beaches of Bermuda between April and September 2018. Norwegian’s newest ship, Norwegian Escape, will reposition for the first time since she was christened in 2015, and will sail from New York City to Bermuda on seven-day cruises to every Sunday. Norwegian Dawn, essentially a new ship after bow to stern enhancements this year, will sail seven-day cruises from Boston to Bermuda, departing every Friday.More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemBahamas & FloridaIn summer 2018 Norwegian Gem will set sail for the Bahamas and Florida each Saturday from New York City.  Norwegian Sky will continue to sail three- and four-day Bahamas cruises from Miami year-round.In winter 2018/2019 Norwegian Escape will remain in New York, and bring guests to the tropical beaches of the Bahamas & Florida on seven-day cruises. Norwegian Breakaway will return to New York from Europe and will also sail seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises from Manhattan during winter 2018/2019.CaribbeanGuests can set sail to the Caribbean on seven Norwegian ships in 2018 & 2019, sailing from departure ports including New York, Boston, Port Canaveral, San Juan, Miami, New Orleans and Tampa.From December 2018 to February 2019, Norwegian Escape will set sail from New York on extended 12- and 14-day Southern Caribbean cruises, as well as 14-day Western Caribbean cruises, which will include a call at NCL’s Harvest Caye in Belize. Norwegian Breakaway will also sail 10- and 11-day Eastern Caribbean cruises from New York. New for 2018, guests cruising from New England can set sail to the Caribbean from Boston on Norwegian Dawn for a 14-day Eastern Caribbean cruise in October 2018.Norwegian Gem will reposition to New Orleans, sailing to the Western Caribbean on seven-, 10- and 11-day cruises from the Crescent City.  Guests sailing from Miami in winter 2018 can cruise to the Western Caribbean on Norwegian Getaway, which will sail seven-day cruises that will also include a call to Harvest Caye.  Norwegian Pearl will homeport in Tampa during winter 2018, sailing seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean.Norwegian Dawn will seasonally homeport in San Juan, Puerto Rico during the winter 2018/2019 season, sailing to the heart of the Southern Caribbean on seven-, 10- and 11-day cruises, with calls in Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and more. Guests can also sail to the Southern Caribbean from Miami on Norwegian Jade, on a 10-day cruise on select dates from November 2018 – April 2019.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionNorwegian Epic will again return to Port Canaveral in fall 2018, sailing alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, along with select longer 10- and 11-day Western Caribbean cruises from November 2018 – January 2019 that will include a call at Harvest Caye.Canada & New EnglandNorwegian will offer guests the opportunity for prime “leaf peeping” in Canada & New England on three vessels in fall 2018. Norwegian Escape will be the company’s largest vessel to bring guests on fall foliage cruises, sailing seven-day Canada & New England cruises from New York on select dates in September 2018.  Norwegian Gem will also sail north from the Big Apple in June 2018 on two seven-day cruises, calling in Maine, St. John and Halifax. Norwegian Gem will sail extended 10-day cruises from New York that include an overnight in Québec City, while Norwegian Dawn will sail a series of northbound and southbound seven-day cruises between Boston and Quebec.HawaiiThe recently-refurbished Pride of America will continue to sail her popular seven-day Hawaii itinerary departing from Honolulu every Saturday through May 2019.Panama Canal and Mexican RivieraNorwegian will offer one-way and roundtrip Panama Canal cruises on three ships in 2018/2019. Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Pearl will sail 11-day and 14-day roundtrip canal cruises from Tampa and Miami in 2018/2019. For guests looking for an extended Panama Canal cruise, they can embark Norwegian Star from either Miami or Los Angeles during select dates in January – March 2019 for a 14-day one way cruise that includes a day-time transit of the canal.  Norwegian Pearl will also sail a one-way 15-day Panama Canal cruise from LA to Tampa in October 2018.West coast guests looking for a sun and fun cruise can embark on a seven-day Mexican Riviera sailing from L.A. on select dates in December 2018 and March 2019 that features calls in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas.South AmericaNorwegian Sun will sail a series of alternating westbound and eastbound 14-day itineraries between Valparaiso, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina in Winter 2018/2019, featuring a sail around Cape Horn and Tierra del Fuego’s fjords. Tags: Norwegian Cruise Line << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, December 15, 2016 Posted by NCL’s 2018/19 lineup includes Alaska sailings on new Norwegian Blisslast_img read more

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Were just days away from FIT Cuba 2017

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, April 26, 2017 HOLGUIN — Cuba is gearing up for its Cuba International Tourism Fair, also known as FIT Cuba, which takes places from May 3-6 in the province of Holguin.The Fair takes place each year in May and attracts tour operators and travel agents from around the world. The 2016 event saw its biggest turnout yet, with over 5,000 delegates from approximately 60 countries.This year, there will be both pre- and post-FIT Cuba tour options in Holguin for attendees. The focus of the event will be on tourist excursions, which had over four million participants in 2016. Discussions will also cover the expansion of Cuba’s docking facilities as well as new construction planned to meet the growing demand of cruise ships, managed mainly by Canadian and European companies.Ahead of FIT Cuba, the town of Gibara will be officially launched as a tourist destination on May 2. Cuba’s Tourism Minister, Manuel Marrero, said that “improving our tourism product is our top priority.” Travelweek Group We’re just days away from FIT Cuba 2017center_img Share Tags: Cuba Posted bylast_img read more

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Holland America refines its Group Advantage Program for 2019

first_img Wednesday, January 23, 2019 Travelweek Group SEATTLE — For 2019 Holland America Line’s streamlined Group Advantage Program (GAP) is aimed at helping travel advisors grow their portfolios with small affinity groups of 24 guests or less.This year’s edition of the program includes 29 different amenities from which to choose — plus three GAP packages that cater to weddings, family reunions and wine groups. Holland America says the program is one of the industry’s most extensive group programs with incentives for travel advisors booking groups on cruises and Alaska Land+Sea Journeys.GAP provides customization and incentives tailored to each group program, while other groups earn amenity incentives based on GAP points established by the cruise destination, departure date and length.And the GAP Plus offer gives travel advisors bonus commission and more perks on select sailings, as well as the option to combine amenities with additional promotions offered by the cruise line.“Holland America Line’s Group Advantage Program is one of the most extensive in the cruise industry, and we developed it so that travel advisors can elevate and grow their group business with some exciting benefits across a variety of interests,” said Eva Jenner, Holland America Line’s VP Sales. “For 2019 we fine-tuned the menu of amenities to feature what’s popular so that our travel partners have the best options that their clients will really appreciate.”Travel advisors can ‘spend’ GAP points on select personalized amenities for their groups, she adds. Additionally, the incentive-based program supports travel advisors’ marketing efforts to affinity groups to increase their revenue. Tour conductors are earned for every 10 and 15 lower berths.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureHere’s a look at the highlights…GAP Plus offers bonus commissionThrough the 2019 GAP Plus offer, travel advisors can earn up to a 17% commission, one tour conductor for every 15 lower berths and a bottle of sparkling wine in each stateroom from a selection of hundreds of Holland America Line sailings. Additionally, GAP Plus features a 1% bonus commission with five or more sailed staterooms.Small affinity groups receive perks with Connections programThrough Holland America Line’s Connections program, groups of 24 or less guests can now get added incentives. When booking a smaller group, travel advisors can take advantage of a tour conductor for every 10 berths and earn an extra two GAP points per group to be used for a variety of amenities. This program can be combined with additional promotional offerings including GAP Plus.Families, weddings and wine packagesFor family reunion packages, when eight or more staterooms are booked the group receives exclusive amenities in place of GAP points. These include a free upgrade for the head of the family, a within-stateroom category upgrade for all family members, a US$50 value fountain soda card per stateroom, Pinnacle Grill lunch for all family members and a $50 value beverage card per stateroom.Guests who say “I do” with Holland America Line and book their wedding group of eight or more staterooms receive a free upgrade for the wedding couple, a complimentary wedding cake for up to 16 guests, a Pinnacle Grill lunch per guest, chocolate-dipped strawberries in each stateroom, a bottle of sparkling wine per stateroom and a private one-hour wine tasting per guest, all in lieu of GAP points.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upFor culinary groups of 16 or more guests, the Wine and Food Pairings package entitles guests to a five-course premium dinner with five premium wine parings selected by the cellar master, in lieu of GAP points.Other amenities designed to facilitate custom groupsHolland America Line’s culinary expertise is celebrated with several GAP amenities showcasing the premium dining, including lunch or dinner at Pinnacle Grill, Rudi’s Sel Del Mer Pop-Up on select ships, dinner at Canaletto or Tamarind, a BLEND wine making experience on Koningsdam or Nieuw Statendam, and a lobster roll at Lobster Shack on Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award winning private island.Other available 2019 GAP menu amenities include beverage cards; the Wine Cellar No. 1 package with one, two or four bottles of wine per stateroom; bon voyage sparkling wine in each stateroom; $25 or $50 beverage cards; an Internet package; $20 photo credit; sparkling wine and strawberries; a cocktail party with hot hors d’oeuvres; Fiesta Party with margaritas, mojitos and fiesta food; and a Cruise With Purpose charity donation.On the land portion of Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys in Alaska, GAP amenities include lunch aboard the McKinley Explorer railcar, a cocktail party in Denali, an entrance pass to Diamond Tooth Gerties in Dawson City and $25 in Denali Dollars.GAP points are based on stateroom occupancy, and selections must be made 90 days prior to the cruise departure.Travel advisors can connect with their BDM and the sales team through GoHAL.com or by emailing sales@hollandamerica.com. Posted by Holland America refines its Group Advantage Program for 2019center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: GAP Points, HAL, Holland America Line Sharelast_img read more

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Chávez cancer surgery successful says Venezuelan vice president

first_imgBy Jordi MiroAFPCARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was recovering after a successful cancer operation at a Cuban hospital, his vice president said on Tuesday.A visibly moved Nicolas Marduro, to whom Chávez delegated power before undergoing his fourth round of cancer surgery in Havana, said Chávez would shortly begin a “post-operative phase” that would last several days.“This operation ended correctly and successfully,” Maduro said in an address to the nation. “In these coming hours, we will be very attentive.”He said the operation took six hours and was “corrective surgery of a lesion” that occurred in the same place as before, without elaborating.Earlier, Tareck El Aissami, a former interior minister and member of Venezuela’s ruling party, took to the airwaves shortly after doctors began operating to tell the Venezuelan people all was “going well.”Chávez’s medical team expressed “optimism” as the cancer-stricken Venezuelan president went into surgery, while hundreds of faithful supporters gathered to pray that the longtime, omnipresent leader would live.In the capital, Miriam Escobar stopped with her daughter at a mass being held in a downtown street to “pray for our commandante,” an act replicated in cities across the South American nation.“We know that with faith you will succeed,” Escobar said tearfully.Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, who visited Chávez on Monday, expressed concern at the “very delicate operation.”“He is going through one of the most difficult moments of his life, this dear friend, colleague and Latin American leader, Commandante Chávez,” Correa said in the border town of Tulcan, Ecuador.“Truly, he is a historic president and let’s hope he comes through this health problem totally re-established,” said Correa, who was meeting with Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos.Chávez, 58, flew to Havana for surgery on Monday after revealing to his stunned countrymen over the weekend that his cancer had returned just two months after his triumphant re-election to a six-year term.The president was first diagnosed with the disease in June 2011. He had assured Venezuelans that he was cancer-free after three bouts of surgery and debilitating rounds of chemo and radiation therapy.Significant aspects of his condition – including the type, location and severity of his cancer – have been kept secret over the past 18 months, fueling rumors and uncertainty in Venezuela.Chávez made clear before his departure to Havana that he was facing a serious setback, publicly naming Maduro as his preferred successor for the first time.Without formally handing over the presidency, Chávez said he was delegating the country’s “high political command” to Maduro while he was gone and said the vice president would succeed him if he became incapacitated.Under Venezuela’s constitution, elections must be held within 30 days if the president dies or is incapacitated either before being sworn into office or in the first four years of his term.Correa, a firebrand leftist economist who could succeed Chávez as leader of the Latin American left, on Monday flew to the Venezuelan’s side in Havana where he found him in “great spirits.”“He gives us all strength,” Correa said on Twitter.Correa said he had also visited Cuban President Raúl Castro and his predecessor, Fidel Castro, during his day-long stay in the Cuban capital.With Cuba’s backing, Chávez has taken the lead in forming a bloc of leftist Latin American governments that vehemently opposes the United States and has friendly relations with U.S. adversaries like Iran.Members of the group include Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.Though Cuban authorities did not announce it, Chávez is believed to be receiving treatment at the same Havana hospital he was at earlier, known as CIMEQ.The hospital, where Fidel Castro has been cared for, is seen as the communist country’s best facility for complicated medical conditions. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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Costa Rica must defend its citizens and protected lands says UN expert

first_imgNo related posts. The Costa Rican government must protect those who work to defend the environment, said a United Nations human rights expert on Thursday afternoon.U.N. independent expert on human rights and the environment John Knox presented his initial findings on the state of Costa Rica’s environmental human rights at a press conference, where he lauded the country for its strong history of environmental protection but urged it to aggressively address growing threats against civil society groups who work to protect the environment.“It’s not the task of social organizations, civil society or citizens to put their own lives at risk to protect the environment. These are police functions that have to be adequately carried out by the government,” Knox said.“It’s one thing to protect turtle eggs from tourists, it’s another to protect them from poachers” or drug traffickers, the U.N. human rights expert added.  The expert’s comments, which wove in and out around the case of the slaying of Jairo Mora, came just one day after the Judicial Investigative Police arrested eight suspects for the 26-year-old environmentalist’s killing two months ago.Knox declined to comment on specific cases but acknowledged that Mora came up frequently in his conversations with academics, civil society groups, government agencies and the U.N.’s local office.“Criminal threats to that process strike at the heart of one of Costa Rica’s traditional strengths,” Knox said, referring to civil-society participation in environmental protection.The lawyer celebrated the proposed commission currently in the Legislative Assembly on past and current crimes against human rights defenders working to protect the environment. Crimes against environmentalists are often “treated as a series of isolated incidents, so that each incident is treated as perhaps a threat because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time, or perhaps that they just wanted to steal a cellphone,” Knox observed. “But from the environmentalists’ perspective, they see it as part of a broader pattern that includes threats to a wide range of people working to protect the environment.”The lawyer also urged the legislature to quickly overhaul the country’s aging water law, including a provision to establish water as a human right, based in part on the previous recommendations from a U.N. rapporteur on water who visited Costa Rica in March 2009. Knox, however, remained bully on Costa Rica’s ability to address these challenges.“Costa has a history of not waiting until problems become particularly bad in the environment before trying to do something about them,” he said.Knox also lauded Costa Rica’s sustainable tourism certification and the country’s long history of civil society involvement in environmental lobbying and protection. He also acknowledged the country’s pioneering decision to grant its citizens the constitutional right to a healthy environment.“Costa Rica is considered to be a leader in human rights, but like all leaders there is the challenge to be better than you have before,” the lawyer concluded.The U.N. expert plans to release a formal report on his findings to the public and the Human Rights Commission sometime in early 2014. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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National Theater opens new gallery show

first_imgThe scene was festive at the National Theater Tuesday night, as staff members and supporters sipped wine and ate hors d’oeuvres in the café of the country’s most distinguished playhouse. On the surface, the private party was to celebrate “Mayo en Verde,” the latest art exhibit in the José Luis López Escarré Gallery, for which The Tico Times is a sponsor. The group show includes the painted landscapes of 12 artists, each representing the theme “Green May.” Landscape by artist Ana Griselda Hine. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesBut the National Theater has much to celebrate: After months of labor, the stage has been refurbished, and the first phase of an ambitious renovation project is nearly complete. This month, the main auditorium will open its doors for the first time since work began. While the café has remained open throughout the project, and the lobby space has been used for afternoon concerts, patrons will now enjoy the theater’s regular programming: May brings a production of “King Lear,” The Tico Jazz Band, The National Symphony Orchestra, and the play “La Bruta Espera” in its studio theater.During a short speech for attendants, general director Adriana Collado-Chaves alluded to the theme of “Mayo en Verde.” The green watercolors of trees, rolling hills and even bicyclists punctuated the feeling of renewal. Like the changing season, when abundant rains turn Costa Rica’s try landscape green again, the theater also blossoms. Facebook Comments Related posts:National Theater starts ambitious makeover National Theater opens exhibit in Bank of Costa Rica lobby Final World Cup showdown, viral theater, and other happenings around Costa Rica Modern dance, ancient pilgrimage and other happenings around Costa Ricalast_img read more

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Russia OKs imports of Costa Rican beef milk powder

first_imgCosta Rica’s cattle industry meets all health requirements for exporting to Russia, according to Russia’s Federal Administration of Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control.The approval, currently granted only for meat and milk powder, was issued after Russian experts conducted evaluations of infrastructure at local export companies and investigated the country’s vigilance of animal diseases, Costa Rica’s Animal Health Service (SENASA) said.“This is a great achievement for the meat and dairy sectors of our country that now are allowed to enter a market as big as Russia,” SENASA’s Director of Food Safety Olivet Cruz said.The agency also confirmed that two local companies already received SENASA’s authorization to start selling to Russia. Ganaderos Industriales de Costa Rica received the approval to export meat, and Dos Pinos was granted permission to export milk powder.Executive Director of the Costa Rican Cattle Corporation (CORFOGA) Luis Diego Obando Espinach said they are pleased with the approval.“Traditionally Costa Rican beef products were mostly sold to the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and any opportunity for diversification is always good news,” he said.El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala are the next major buyers of Tico meat, according to CORFOGA data.“The Russian market is large, it offers good prices and I believe that our meat will find a good niche considering its high quality and has other characteristics such as low fat levels obtained through good farming practices and good pasture selection,” Obando said.National Livestock Survey figures in 2013 stated that 1.8 million hectares were dedicated to cattle farming in a total of 45,780 farms. That accounts for some 1.57 million head of cattle in the country.The main source of profit for local producers in recent years however has been the increase in prices.In 2004, a ton of meat was sold at $2,200; in 2013 the export price reached $4,100, meaning revenues in those 10 years grew by 88.1 percent, while the quantity of exported meat rose by just 2.9 percent, according to the National Livestock Survey.Foreign Trade Ministry data indicate that Costa Rican beef exports in 2012 totaled $51 million. Facebook Comments Related posts:China helps boost Costa Rica’s beef exports US updates import requirements for tomatoes, gluten-free products Costa Rica fashion designers to promote their creations abroad Costa Rican importers decry black market avocados 1 year after banlast_img read more

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Citizen group wants referendum on drafting a new Constitution

first_imgThe group “Nueva Constitución CR” (New Costa Rican Constitution) submitted a request Monday to the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) to collect signatures across the country to hold a public referendum on drafting a new Constitution.The group includes college professors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, citizen activists, writers, lawmakers and politicians from various parties. Among them is former President Luis Alberto Monge Álvarez, the last surviving member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted and approved Costa Rica’s current Constitution in 1949.Monge, who presided over the country from 1982 to 1986, was recently released from the hospital after recovering from a respiratory arrest.Former Comptroller General Alex Solís Fallas drafted the proposal presented Monday to TSE President Luis Antonio Sobrado. Solís said the initiative seeks to overcome “Costa Rica’s current crisis of governability in a peaceful, inclusive and democratic manner.”He said the plan does not represent the interests of any political party, though several current and former politicians are involved, and that it aims to improve the quality of life of all Costa Ricans and make public administration more efficient.Proposal for forming Constituent AssemblyThe proposal delivered Monday requests TSE’s authorization to begin collecting at least 160,000 signatures — the required 5 percent of registered voters — in order to hold a referendum.If approved, citizens would vote “Yes” or “No” to hold a national election for appointing 61 citizens to a Constituent Assembly for drafting and passing a new Constitution.The election would be open to members of political parties registered with the TSE, along with members of workers’ unions, cooperatives, environmental groups, business chambers and professional associations.Under the proposal, any citizen who is not part of one of these groups could also run as long as he or she can got the support of at least 20,000 registered voters.If enough voters sign the petition, the election would take place the first Sunday of July 2019. Elected members of the Constituent Assembly would take office in November that same year and would have 20 months to draft and approve a new Constitution.If the plan gets that far, the new Constitution would enter into force on Sept. 15, 2021 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Central American nations’ declaration of independence from Spain.Solís said he believes a new Constitution is urgently needed because the country has become stagnant.“The last time our country saw a major achievement was the construction of the National Stadium, and it was a gift from the Chinese, and built entirely by them,” he said Monday.Solís told attendees at the TSE presentation that all candidates aspiring to a seat at the Constituent Assembly must promise the Costa Rican people to not eliminate or diminish rights established in the current Constitution, “especially those of social content or associated with private property,” he said.Nueva Constitución CR leaders believe a new Constitution should preserve current citizens’ rights and add new chapters, among others, related to civic responsibilities. They also believe it should add provisions to ensure greater protection of natural resources and should declare the state secular (Catholicism is the official state religion under the current Constitution).The proponents also want to decentralize the government’s power with the aim of improving its administrative structure and management of public affairs.History of Costa Rica’s ConstitutionsMembers of the Nueva Constitución CR group believe the 1949 Constitution is outdated and doesn’t represent the country’s current reality.Costa Rica drafted its first legislation as an independent republic in 1821. Presidents and lawmakers later amended and added new laws that resulted in the country’s first Constitution in 1871.After President Rafael Calderón Guardia was overthrown during the 1948 Civil War and a governing board headed by José Figueres Ferrer took office on May 8, 1948, Figueres immediately restored some chapters of the 1871 Constitution.On Sept. 3, 1948, the governing board convened elections for a Constituent Assembly that appointed a group of lawmakers to draft a new Constitution.On Nov. 7 1949 the Assembly adopted the new Constitution, which is still in force.Members of the Nueva Constitución CR describe the 1949 Constitution as a polished version of the one approved in 1871, and therefore long outdated.“Instead of fixing the situation, we’ve been amending and creating new rules. As a result, to live and develop in our country has become very difficult,” the group stated in its principles.But the 1949 Constitution also includes some of the country’s most celebrated characteristics, like the abolition of the army.It lays out individual, social and political rights and duties, the separation of powers of the government’s three branches, and the structure of public agencies.According to Legislative Assembly records, the 1949 Constitution has been amended 62 times since its approval. Currently, there are over 40 bills pending approval aimed at amending the wording of 61 articles of the Constitution. Facebook Comments Related posts:Ten new parties register for the 2018 election Lawmakers approve Social Security loan, highway fund during extraordinary period Supreme Court rules prison sentences in animal welfare bill unconstitutional Brazil faux pas sparks heated debate in Legislative Assemblylast_img read more

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The real reason the cementazo is so scary for Costa Rica –

first_imgThe “cementazo” and its offshoots have caused Celso Gamboa, the prominent judge of them all in the media, to be suspended while an investigation determines whether he “fixed the game.” This is unprecedented in our history, and that’s not even the only blow we’ve suffered. On top of this, Chief Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría – yes, the head of the organization in charge of prosecuting corruption – has also been suspended.Chavarría has been temporarily replaced by Emilia Navas, a woman who looks like she means business. I swear that my comparison of the Judicial Branch to a soccer goalie has nothing to do with the fact that she shares a last name with Keylor Navas, but since we’re talking about this: yes, we should hope that Costa Rican justice has agility, concentration, a constant drive for self-improvement, and honesty. And if it fails here and there – ok, but don’t give up and leave the goal unprotected.Navas’ arrival to this position has generated lots of optimism. Her first moves have been healthily aggressive. As a result, some have already placed her on a hero’s altar. This is as bad as the attitude as many others who think she’s here to put on a media show and place heads on stakes for a bloodthirsty public. UPDATED: Court orders three months of prison for cement case detainees In this country, as in so many others, sports metaphors can explain just about anything. They even work in the most complex and serious cases we face as a society, like the “cementazo” that has submerged us in a cocktail of sadness, worry, distrust – and hope, felt by those of us who believe the cure begins when you diagnose the problem.That’s why I dare to compare our Judicial Branch to a soccer goalie.The goalkeeper is the player the team can’t do without, and the player who can’t fail. The goalie must be the most respected player on the team, the Most Valued Player, a leader who draws on the trust of others. The goalie is the one dressed differently, and the only one left on defense when every other player – every other yard of the playing field – has been left behind.That’s why the Chinese cement scandal has unlocked such a huge wave of worry among Costa Ricans, because while all three branches of government have been questioned, the Judicial Branch is the most sensitive. It is the branch that we must safeguard above all else, not only so that it can remain among the top 25 in the world, but also so that Costa Rica continues to function.That’s how I would respond to those who think public attention around the “cementazo” has focused too much on the Judicial Branch and not enough on the legislature or the administration of President Luis Guillermo Solís. The Judicial Branch is our goalie! It’s the one player who, because of the nature of the position, cannot walk off the field. How Costa Rica’s cement market became a hotbed of intrigue Every one of the links in this chain deserves legal or constitutional reforms that will take more or less time, but we have to start by those that could allow us to have a better keeper guarding our nets. After that, we can put together the defense, the midfield and the offense – but you’ve got to start with a good goalie.We can name examples of stable governments with horrible leadership (the Italy of Berlusconi, or the United States of Trump), or even non-existent leadership (Belgium from 2010-2011), or with circus-act leadership (Brazil). But a democracy only fails when its Judicial Branch collapses. Case in point: Venezuela.That’s why the “cementazo” is so scary: it has fallen upon the Judicial Branch and allowed us to see a crisis that was already underway. Our goalie is injured. We can only hope our MVP will recover soon. Facebook Commentscenter_img We saw it this week when authorities searched seven locations related to the investigation and arrested businessman Juan Carlos Bolaños, along with six members of the upper levels of management at the Banco de Costa Rica. Some people want these men – and hundreds of others – thrown in jail without even a trial. Others criticize authorities’ actions as part of an unnecessary circus.It’s worth thinking how people will act if they have information related to the “cementazo” and see that their boss, or the businessman behind the cement-import business, has been arrested. I know that this Friday, when the searches and arrests took place, a person emerged who put valuable information in front of the prosecutors in charge. And no, that person’s name was not published by the media, nor the person’s photo. Those who believe Friday’s operation was overdramatic are simply wrong. None of the searches were livestreamed, and no one was handcuffed in front of the cameras.I wouldn’t give Prosecutor Navas a merit badge just yet, but I would give her the benefit of the doubt. During her first three weeks she has appeared, at the very least, highly energetic, and that’s a win. What we’ve seen thus far are just the warmup exercises, although we’ve been grateful for them after such a long period during which the Public Ministry seemed prostrate before evidence of corruption. I don’t have any proof on which to base that statement, but there’s no proof to the contrary, either. Time has been wasted, and in a judicial investigation, wasting time is the same as losing evidence – but better late than never.We should remember that in this country, the Chief Prosecutor is not chosen by the president, but by the members of the Supreme Court of Justice, who are chosen by our legislators. Our legislators, in turn, are nominated by the political parties we vote into power (or not) in every election cycle. Related posts:Police arrest two key figures in Chinese cement case Prosecutors requests six months of prison for seven cement case detainees Cement case detainees await space at San Sebastián prison President Solís: ‘I’ve always told you the truth’ Police arrest two key figures in Chinese cement caselast_img read more

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After vibrant first weekend International Arts Fest continues through April 15

first_imgRelated posts:What to do in Costa Rica: concerts, culture and love around the country PHOTOS: The final days of Costa Rica’s International Arts Festival 13’30 Restaurant hosts exhibit by Guatemalan artist Herssonoe Ballet performance raises funds for low-income patients and families The 2018 edition of the International Arts Festival (FIA) kicked off on Friday with national and international artists, particularly visitors from this year’s highlighted country, Colombia.Throughout the weekend, performances from music to puppetry to dance took place throughout central and eastern San José, from the Plaza de la Cultura to the Plaza Máximo Fernández in front of the Escuela Roosevelt in San Pedro.For maps and a detailed schedule, or to download the FIA2018 app, visit the government-sponsored event’s Facebook page or website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Survivor of 77 attacks fears exclusion from UK

first_img Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Tulloch became a citizen of Australia in 1985 while working there, and says he has been told that this canceled his right to remain in the U.K.The U.K. Border Agency says it’s an individual’s responsibility to check whether acquiring citizenship elsewhere would affect rights in Britain.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   LONDON (AP) – British media report that a man injured in the London terror bombings in 2005 and who was praised by Prince Charles as an example of British resilience now fears that he won’t be allowed to live in the country.The plight of John Tulloch was highlighted by national newspapers Monday.Tulloch, former head of Cardiff University’s journalism school, was born in India to British parents. Although he has held a British passport, he has been told that he is a “British subject without citizenship.” Top Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizonacenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

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Correction UNNuclear Report story

first_imgUNITED NATIONS (AP) – In a story Nov. 5 about the U.N. nuclear chief’s report to the General Assembly, The Associated Press incorrectly spelled his first name. His name is Yukiya Amano, not Yukio Amano.A corrected version of the story is below:UN: Iran not cooperating on nuclear weapons probeUN nuclear chief: Iran not cooperating with probe of suspected secret work on nuclear weaponsBy EDITH M. LEDERER Ri said North Korea is a full-fledged nuclear weapon state and should be treated the same way as other nuclear weapon states like the United States whose activities are not investigated by the IAEA.IAEA inspectors were most recently expelled three years ago after the North quit the six-party talks. North Korea restarted its nuclear facilities and less than a month later, in May 2009, it conducted its second nuclear weapons test.Amano also urged the Syrian government to respond to questions about a building destroyed by Israeli warplanes at the Deir El-zour site in the Syrian desert in 2007. The IAEA has said the building was “very likely” the covert site of a nuclear reactor.The United States asserted more than four years ago that the bombed target was a nuclear reactor, but Syria has repeatedly denied allegations of any covert nuclear activity or interest in developing nuclear arms, saying the building was a non-nuclear military site.Amano also reported on prospects for convening a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons, which the 189 nations that are parties to the NPT called for in May 2010.The IAEA held a forum on the possible relevance of creating such a zone in November 2011, he said, but “there remain fundamental differences of views among countries of the region on this important issue and it has not been possible to make further progress.” Egypt’s U.N. Ambassador Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil stressed the importance of holding the conference in 2012 and told the General Assembly that any delay “will affect the effectiveness of verification activities in the Middle East” and “the integrity of international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation.”He warned that it could even lead to the failure of the next conference to review the NPT in 2015.Israel is not a party to the NPT and has long said a full Arab-Israeli peace must precede such weapons bans.Thomas Mayr-Harting, head of the European Union delegation to the United Nations, said it is holding a seminar in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday where “an open exchange of views on all aspects related to the creation” of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Mideast will take place.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressThe U.N. nuclear chief said Monday that Iran is not cooperating with an investigation into suspected secret work on nuclear weapons.Yukiya Amano told the U.N. General Assembly that talks between the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran have intensified this year after an IAEA report in November 2011 said it had “credible information that Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” he said.“However, no concrete results have been achieved so far,” Amano said.While the IAEA continues to verify that Iran’s declared nuclear material is not being diverted from peaceful purposes, “Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities,” Amano said.“Therefore, we cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” he said.But the IAEA director general said “the agency is firmly committed to intensifying dialogue with Iran.”“We will continue negotiations with Iran on a structured approach,” he said. “I hope we can reach agreement without further delay.” North Korea is under tough U.N. sanctions, and Amano called on Pyongyang to comply with its obligations under Security Council resolutions and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and “to cooperate promptly and fully” with the IAEA.North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador Ri Tong Il rejected Amano’s report, saying the country is not a party to the treaty, known as the NPT, or a member of the IAEA because the agency is not impartial and has “blindly” sided with the United States.“Now, if you look at the current situation and developments on the Korean peninsula, the United States did not hesitate to escalate, aggravate, increase its threats and blackmails with increased hostilities toward the DPRK,” he said, using the initials of the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.“And the situation on the peninsula is on the brink of explosion, and nobody knows when the war will break out,” Ri warned.Under this situation, he said, six-party talks on the North’s nuclear disarmament, which Pyongyang walked away from in 2009, have come “to the point of becoming almost a dead body at the moment.” The talks include the U.S., China, Japan, Russia, North and South Korea. Sponsored Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Iran has repeatedly denied any interest in possessing nuclear arms, but the international community fears that Tehran may turn its peaceful uranium enrichment program toward weapons making _ a concern that is growing as the government expands the number of machines it uses to enrich its stockpile of enriched uranium.As those fears grow, so does concern that Israel could carry out its threats to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before that nation reaches the bomb-making threshold.Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee reiterated his country’s position, that it has a right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and rejected the claims in the IAEA report saying they are “not credible” and based on “forged reports” provided by Israel and the United States.In his annual report to the world body, Amano said he also remains “seriously concerned” about North Korea’s nuclear program, calling its statements about uranium enrichment activities and the construction of a light water reactor “deeply troubling.”In late 2010, Pyongyang unveiled a uranium enrichment facility that could give North Korea a second route to manufacture nuclear weapons in addition to its plutonium-based program. Earlier this year, satellite images showed that North Korea has made progress in building a light-water reactor to expand its nuclear program. Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories last_img read more

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Italy recalls ambassador to India over trial delay

first_imgThe Italians have sought international support for their cause. The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said the EU was “deeply worried” about the use of the anti-piracy statute and was following the case closely.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Parents, stop beating yourself up Top Stories Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 ROME (AP) – Italy recalled its ambassador to India on Tuesday after the South Asian country’s supreme court delayed a decision on trying two Italian marines held without charge since 2012.The foreign ministry also summoned India’s ambassador to Italy after the latest delay in a case that has seriously strained ties between the two countries and prompted Italy to seek U.N. and European Union intervention. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “The behavior of India’s judicial authorities, two years after the incident, is unacceptable and shows that India is intent on procrastinating beyond every limit,” Rome’s foreign ministry said in a statement.Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were providing security aboard a cargo ship in February 2012 when they opened fire on a fishing boat they mistook for a pirate craft and killed two Indian fishermen. The marines are on bail pending trial, and are living and working at the Italian Embassy in New Delhi.India’s supreme court was to hear arguments on Tuesday on whether to try the marines under India’s severe anti-piracy statute, which could result in a 10-year sentence. But the court delayed the hearing until Monday.India has ruled out the death penalty.Italy has objected for two years over India’s handling of the case, insisting at the outset that the firing occurred in international waters during an international anti-piracy mission and thus Rome, not India, should have jurisdiction. It has denounced India’s planned use of the anti-piracy statute, saying it was “absolutely out of proportion” crime and implied that Italy was a terrorist country.last_img read more

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Money laundering investigation stymied by China Italy says

first_imgThe perils of non-cooperation are becoming clearer as Chinese businesses go global. Chinese companies have invested $46 billion in the U.S. since 2000, mostly in the last five years, according to the Rhodium Group, a New York research firm. Chinese banks have expanded their reach, opening overseas branches and buying stakes in foreign banks. Chinese firms have voraciously tapped U.S. financial markets, with the 2014 IPO of e-commerce giant Alibaba ranked the largest in history.In the shadow of this rapid expansion, a quiet war is brewing over whose rules will apply. At issue is how much China will adhere to existing norms, forged largely by Western powers, and how much it will try to reshape them on its own terms.“Chinese financial institutions can effectively operate behind a firewall that keeps them largely immune from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts and regulatory agencies, leaving U.S. partners, competitors and investors vulnerable,” according to a report last month from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which advises Congress.Judicial cooperation has become a top priority for China’s Communist Party, which is ramping up efforts to repatriate corrupt officials who have fled overseas. In April, China launched a new initiative, “Skynet,” to trace fugitives and their overseas money and released a list of its 100 most wanted economic criminals. Forty of them are thought to be in the U.S, according to the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — As Italy’s economy was heading off a cliff, police couldn’t help but notice that the country’s Chinese communities were booming. Luxury cars rolled past Chinese betting parlors and garment factories. Chinese immigrants were buying up Italian coffee bars and real estate. Their prosperity, however, was not reflected in local tax records.“What do they do with the money?” said Pietro Suchan, then deputy public prosecutor in Florence. “Do they eat it?” Six other defendants reached settlements with Converse. Wenzhou Foreign Trade did not.“China and America have different cultural backgrounds,” Cai said. “Chinese prefer communication to lawsuits.”__Associated Press photographer Mark Schiefelbein contributed to this report from Wenzhou. Associated Press writer Frances D’Emilio contributed from Rome.Kinetz can be reached at http://twitter.com/ekinetzCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. China’s foreign ministry said in a faxed statement that Chinese authorities knew nothing of the Italian case. “China is always committed to deepening law enforcement cooperation with other countries, jointly cracking down on transnational crimes and punishing criminals,” the ministry wrote.The AP has traced some of Italy’s missing money to an import-export company owned by the Chinese government. The company, Wenzhou Cereals Oils and Foodstuffs Foreign Trade Corporation, has been accused of repeatedly shipping counterfeit goods, some to the United States. But it has also taken shelter behind the firewall, refusing to respond to a U.S. lawsuit brought by Converse Inc., which says the Wenzhou company sent tens of thousands of fake sneakers to the U.S. and Croatia.That firewall has also helped counterfeiters use major, state-run Chinese banks as financial shelters on a significant scale, AP found in an article published last month. The banks, including the Bank of China, have processed credit card payments for online sales of fake goods and held accounts for counterfeiters.Western companies that have pursued Chinese counterfeiters in the U.S., where many fakes are sold, have been blocked by China’s secrecy laws. The banks say they are caught in a jurisdictional dispute between the U.S. and China, which maintains that bank secrecy is a matter of national sovereignty. The Italian case remains stalled, however, as prosecutors try to locate 300 defendants, most of them Chinese. The Bank of China said it had “no clues of the alleged criminal activities underlying the transfers of money.” Lawyers for Money2Money, the financial transfer service, said their clients are not guilty.Many of the transfers, fractioned into small sums to avoid scrutiny, were a way for Chinese immigrants to avoid paying taxes, according to hundreds of pages of court documents reviewed by The Associated Press. Other migrants were caught with heaps of counterfeit purses and shoes. Police also traced money to men running Chinese prostitution rings.Using evidence from seized Money2Money computers, prosecutors say they identified Chinese individuals and companies that received the illicit funds.Wenzhou Foreign Trade was one. Prosecutors said it received 3 million euros via Money2Money in 2007, in exchange for shipping counterfeits to Italy. Last October, Converse sued Wenzhou Foreign Trade in a New York federal court, saying it had shipped over 24,000 pairs of fake sneakers to the U.S. and Croatia.Cai Jiliu, Wenzhou Foreign Trade’s general manager, declined to comment on the Italian case, saying he didn’t work at the company then. He said the fake Converse exports were the result of “management negligence.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Quick workouts for men In this photo taken Wednesday, April 15, 2015, residents walk past the Bank of China branch in downtown Milan, Italy. Italian prosecutors say more than 4.5 billion euros ($4.9 billion) were smuggled to China in less than four years – nearly half of it with the help of the state – run Bank of China. Italy is now investigating four Bank of China employees and its Milan branch for allegedly laundering 2.2 billion euros, the proceeds of counterfeiting, labor exploitation and tax evasion, according to court documents obtained by the Associated Press.(AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) 4 must play golf courses in Arizona The answer, after a four-year investigation by Italy’s financial police, was no. They discovered that more than 4.5 billion euros ($4.9 billion) — the proceeds of counterfeiting, prostitution, labor exploitation and tax evasion — had been smuggled out of Italy to China in less than four years using a money-transfer service. Nearly half that money was funneled through one of China’s largest state banks, the Bank of China, which earned more than 758,000 euros in commissions on the transfers, according to Italian investigative documents obtained by The Associated Press.Beijing, which is seeking Western help in hunting its own economic fugitives, did not cooperate with the investigation, Italian officials said.Once the money left Italy, it vanished behind China’s great legal firewall.Despite the deep economic ties between China and the West, inconsistent cooperation, incompatible legal systems and China’s secrecy laws have allowed criminals to globalize more effectively than law enforcement — and made it harder for Western companies and courts to put them out of business.“We did not have the possibility, despite many attempts made, to have an official contact with the judicial authorities and police of China,” said Suchan, who oversaw the investigation. “We have discovered 50 percent of the truth.” Patients with chronic pain give advice Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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Leader of Russian neoNazi group sentenced to life

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Several activists of Goryachev’s group, called The Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists, were sentenced to jail time earlier this year.Goryachev, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, was hiding in Serbia before he was extradited in 2013.Among those murdered by Goryachev’s group is lawyer Stanislav Markelov, who was shot after leaving a news conference near the Kremlin in January 2009. Markelov, 34, was appealing the early release of a Russian military officer convicted of killing a young Chechen woman. A journalist walking with Markelov, Anastasia Baburova, also died in the attack. A Russian nationalist extremist from Goryachev’s group was sentenced to life in prison for the killings in 2011.Recent high-profile trials of neo-Nazis like Goryachev have been perceived as the Kremlin’s attempt to curb xenophobic views that have been increasingly popular in Russia in recent years.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories Top Stories Ilya Goryachev looks from a defendants’ cage in a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, Friday, July 24, 2015. Moscow’s highest court on Friday sentenced Ilya Goryachev, a leader of a militant neo-Nazi group, to life in prison after he was convicted of ordering five brutal killings including that of a prominent human rights lawyer. (AP Photo) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall MOSCOW (AP) — Moscow’s highest court sentenced a leader of a militant neo-Nazi group to life in prison Friday after he was convicted of ordering five brutal killings, including that of a prominent human rights lawyer.A jury earlier this month found 33-year-old Ilya Goryachev guilty of ordering five killings, setting up and running an extremist cell, and illegally possessing firearms.The Moscow City Court said in a statement Friday the life sentence reflected the “exceptional danger of the defendant for society.” Check your body, save your life New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

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Aussie agents selling the right product Hurtigruten

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Australian agents are doing a great job at selling products to the right customers, according to Hurtigruten’s sales and marketing director, who found satisfaction amongst Aussie travellers at an all time high.The company’s marketing head Kathryn Beadle told e-Travel Blackboard the cruise Group’s satisfaction levels amongst Australians boarders sat above 98 percent, proving local agents were selling the right products to the right people.She explained although Hurtigruten was a cruise product, it was not up against “big white ships” but rather designed to offer travellers unique experiences.“Australia is the perfect market for us because Australians love to travel,” she said.“They love trying something a little big different… and that is what we offer.“People get to meet Norwegians and they are incredibly friendly, all our food is sourced locally, we are vital for the local economy and the Australian market has embraced this and enjoy that experience. “We’ve been delighted with the way we’ve grown and continue to grow in Australia.”Last year the company welcomed a 15 percent growth in the Australian market compared to the prior year, an increase which surpassed the company’s 12 percent expectations.Predicting a further 15 percent growth in bookings from down under this year compared to last year, Ms Beadle said business had picked up due to more targeted focusing in Australia over the past few years.Showcasing the products to agents in Melbourne and Sydney over the past week, Ms Beadle noted that as new passengers play a part in building passenger numbers, repeat business was booming.“People who have been to the South Pole feel that they need to do the North Pole and vice versa,” she explained. “It’s no longer okay just to do one so we get enormous repeat business from just that.“Again with the coastal cruises, those who come in the summer want to come in the winter because it’s a totally, completely different experience.”Click here for more information on Hurtigruten or check back onto e-Travel Blackboard tomorrow to find out how the Chinese market is driving in new business.last_img read more

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Earthquake Recovery Environmental Excellence See Accor Triumph

first_imgAccor enjoyed triumph at last night’s New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference (NZHIC) Awards, taking home two major awards. Novotel Auckland Airport, which celebrated its first anniversary this week, won the Hotel Industry Environmental Initiative Award for its pioneering “green” credentials. The hotel is the first in New Zealand to reach Accor’s new Planet 21 accreditation and was recognised because of its innovative design which features New Zealand’s largest internal living green wall, timbers from certified sustainable forests, low-energy fittings and a unique façade that optimizes acoustic and thermal insulation. The hotel has a water-saving rate 4.1 points higher than best practice, has set a benchmark to recycle 75% of its waste and by the end of the year will use 50% eco-labeled chemicals amongst a host of other environmental initiatives.The Novotel was developed by Tainui Group Holdings and Auckland International Airport Limited, and was launched in May 2012 by Maori Kiingi Tuheitia and New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key.On the same night Tim Dearsley, General Manager of All Seasons Christchurch Papanui Road, was honoured with a Special Award for his key role in the recovery of the city after the February 2011 earthquake. Tim has spent more than 30 years in the tourism industry in New Zealand and was instrumental in assisting guests and staff in the aftermath of the earthquake. As part of Accor’s Crisis Team, he helped to relocate staff to other Accor hotels, kept the entire network up to date on what was happening and coordinated the recovery of guest belongings. He was seconded to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and worked tirelessly to get the city back to business, while helping to raise more than $170,000 with his Accor colleagues for the people of the city. Most recently Tim has been working with the Central City Development Unit to help reopen Christchurch’s central business district. Tim will take over management of the Ibis Christchurch later in the year, with the Ibis expected to be the first hotel in the city centre to re-open following the earthquake. Paul  Richardson, Accor’s Vice President New Zealand and Fiji said the two awards were a great recognition of two areas in which Accor has a very strong focus.“We are delighted to see Novotel Auckland Airport and Tim Dearsley recognised with these two awards,” he said. “Accor has a strong focus on sustainability and on playing a role in the communities in which our hotels operate and these awards honour that commitment.” Source = Accorlast_img read more

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Federal Budget brings good and bad news for Australian tourism

first_imgThe Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has said there is good news and bad news for Australia’s booming visitor economy in the Federal Budget.“We are pleased to see the certainty of funding for Tourism Australia over the next four years but given the Treasurer’s strong rhetoric on supporting the future industries of the Australian economy which would include the tourism sector, we would certainty expect to see a significant increase in funding for Tourism Australia in the future,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.“The Federal Government’s decision to stay its hand on visa fees and the continuing freeze of the Passenger Movement charge at the current $55 rate is good news.”Ms Osmond said the industry is, however, bitterly disappointed that the Government has decided to forge ahead with the 32.5 per cent backpacker tax on working holiday makers.“The Federal Government’s destructive backpacker tax is going to smash the number of people choosing Australia as a backpacking destination when working holiday makers are taxed 32.5 per cent on every dollar they earn on their holiday.“Working holiday backpackers are a crucial source of labour for tourist operators in remote and regional parts of Australia. These are businesses that are heavily influenced by seasonality and locations where it is extremely difficult to find local or permanent staff.“TTF will be actively working during the Federal Election campaign to hold both sides of politics to account to continue the freeze on the Passenger Movement Charge, scrap the backpacker tax, reform visas, boost Tourism Australia and privatise the Tourist Refund Scheme.’’Ms Osmond said on the transport front it is positive to see a down payment in this budget on the Federal Government’s renewed interest in investing in our cities and public transport.“The establishment of an infrastructure financing unit to work with private sector to develop financing solutions for important infrastructure projects is a positive announcement.“We are starting to see the fruits of the Federal Government’s Asset Recycling Scheme with a number of states and territories taking advantage of the fund to recycle their “lazy assets” into new productive economic infrastructure such as the Sydney and Melbourne metro rail projects.“However, industry would like to see additional funding and support from the Government for high priority transport projects such as the Brisbane cross river rail, the Perth light rail and airport rail link and the AdeLINK tram network in Adelaide.”Source = Tourism & Transport Forum Australialast_img read more

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Castaway Island Fiji Resort reopens this week

first_imgSource = Outrigger Resorts June 1st will be a day of celebration on Castaway Island, Fiji as this private island resort reopens and welcomes guests back following a three-month island clean-up and property renovation following February’s Tropical Cyclone Winston.Resort General Manager Steven Andrews proudly boasts, “Winston may have been classified as the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in Fiji in recorded history, but the reopening of our beautiful island resort just three short months after such a severe storm is proof that our Castaway Island vuvale, our family, is so much stronger and more resilient than any storm can be.”In addition to repairing the significant damage caused by the cyclone, Outrigger Resorts, which owns and manages the property, took advantage of the down time and invested further in the resort with an upgrade and refurbishment of a number of bures and public areas.“Our hosts, most of whom stayed on the island during the cyclone, have worked tirelessly for the past three months,” Mr Andrews said.“They have put in back-breaking days clearing debris, cleaning swimming pools, restoring gardens and making repairs to bures and thatched roofing.”Fourteen of the island’s 65 bures have either been completely rebuilt or upgraded, but the comfort and traditional style remain, including the beautiful vaulted ceilings featuring traditional hand-painted tapa cloth.The opportunity was also taken to upgrade the outdoor kitchen servicing the resort’s award winning 1808 “feet in the sand” restaurant.To celebrate the reopening, Executive Chef Markus Nufer has created new menus for all of the resort’s four restaurants.“We so look forward to welcoming our guests back to this island paradise we call home and offering the high standard of holiday experience for which Castaway Island is so well known,” Mr Andrews said.“The island is looking great again and our hosts are ready and enthusiastic about the June 1st re-opening and returning to a normal operation.“It’s important not only to Castaway Island, Fiji Resort but to the overall Fijian economy.“Castaway Island has a 40 per cent return guest rate and the highest guest satisfaction scores in the Outrigger portfolio so we are very much looking forward to being able to open the doors and continue this trend.” Castaway Island FijiView the latest dealslast_img read more

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Find faith this Festive Season with Collette

first_imgFind faith this Festive Season with ColletteFind faith this Festive Season with ColletteCollette has announced its new Faith brochure which offers inquisitive travellers the chance to visit and explore some of the world’s most iconic spiritual sites and destinations. With eight itineraries departing in 2017 and 2018, the Faith brochure provides ideal escapes for clients wanting to learn about and absorb the rich history, religion and culture of these symbolic places.“Collette is a family-owned business so the festive season is all about coming together with loved ones and embracing traditions. Our Faith tours provide guests access to sites that are revered by millions with local guides providing expert knowledge. Celebrating spirituality and devoutness is such a big part of cultures all over the world, so we are pleased to be able to offer experiences that capture this,” said Alison Mead, Australian Business Manager, Collette.One of the highlights of the Faith brochure is that five of the tours include scheduled Catholic Masses. Shrines of Italy, Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Patrick’s Ireland, Pilgrimage to Poland and Pilgrimage to Fatima and Lourdes. On the Shrines of Italy tour, visitors will attend a Papal Ceremony at the Vatican City and receive a blessing from Pope Francis, while the 8-day Israel – Pilgrimage to the Holy Land features several services including at the Church of Nativity, Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – the site of Christ’s crucifixion.A second exploration of Israel is possible with Collette’s Israel – A Journey of Faith tour which  includes a visit to Tel Migiddo, the sacred site of the Last Supper and picturesque Mount Zion, just outside the walls of the Old City.Pilgrimage to Poland offers 8 days for travellers to discover the moving history of Warsaw, marvel at magnificent monasteries in Czestochowa and Krakow and embark on a poignant journey to Auschwitz with a guided tour through a former concentration camp. Here they will not only learn about the horrors that occurred within these walls but also about the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit.The brochure also features the 10-day tour Greece: In the Footsteps of Paul the Apostle, which will awaken the spirit and the senses. With the breathtaking blue-white of Santorini, this tour also features a 3-day cruise through the idyllic Greek Islands, an excursion to the Turkish port of Kusadasi to see the ruins of Ephesus (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and a visit to Thessaloniki, an early centre for Christianity founded in 315 B.C.For those wanting to visit central Portugal, Collette’s Pilgrimage to Fatima and Lourdes with Barcelona is ideal, with 2017 marking the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima Apparitions. Making their way through beautiful Portugal, France and Spain, pilgrims on this journey will worship the most revered basilicas of Fatima and Lourdes, visit the Shrine of the Most Holy Miracle in Santarem, view the site of the fifth apparition in Valinhos and enjoy a walking tour of Lourdes.On the Trail of Martin Luther takes travellers through Germany where they can discover the history of the Reformation. Starting in Worms and ending in Berlin, highlights of this tour include an excursion to the Gutenberg Museum to see the famed Gutenberg Bible and a visit to Wittenberg’s St Mary’s Church, where Luther preached and was married.For travellers wanting to trace the roots of their faith or ancestry in Ireland, Collette’s 9-day St Patrick’s Ireland tour is divine. Making their way through the lush, green countryside of the ‘emerald isle’, guests will experience Mass at the Marian Shrine of Knock, reflect at the Tobernalt Holy Well and visit the famous Downpatrick Cathedral – the burial place of St Patrick. A privately guided tour of St Patrick’s first church in Ireland at Saul is another highlight of this Pilgrim’s Path.With Christmas and the festive season just around the corner, what better time to start planning a trip to immerse yourself in faith.For more information on Collette’s tours and to view the full faith brochure click HEREFor details of the full tours or to book a trip:Contact your local travel agentCall Collette on 1300 792 195 or visit www.gocollette.com Private Chauffeur ServiceCollette’s private chauffeur service is included on all Collette tours for customers within a 40km drive of an Australian international airport. as are tips for the land portion of each tour. For more information visit gocollette.com/chauffeurAbout ColletteEstablished in 1918, Collette is a third-generation, family-owned worldwide tour operator. With headquarters in Rhode Island, Collette’s recently- opened Sydney office adds to the company’s global presence which includes offices in Vancouver, Toronto and London.On offer is an extensive collection of four-star escorted tours, river and ocean cruises, rail journeys, small group tours, family tours and garden holidays. Renowned for connecting guests with cultural experiences which go far beyond those of an ordinary holiday, Collette prides itself on providing real value to its guests and agent partners. Knowledgeable tour managers, an industry-leading travel protection plan and inclusive touring are just part of the top-quality Collette experience. Just sit back, relax and be guided on your Collette adventure!Source = Collettelast_img read more

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