Monthly Archives: August 2019

Collette highlights free Fiji extension in new brochure

first_imgTags: Australia, Collette, New Zealand Collette highlights free Fiji extension in new brochure Tuesday, July 26, 2016 Posted by Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> MISSISSAUGA – Collette has launched its new 2017-2018 Australia & New Zealand brochure, featuring six South Pacific itineraries and a complimentary extension to Fiji.Tours include ‘From the Outback to the Glaciers’, ‘The Complete South Pacific’, ‘Exploring Australia’, ‘South Pacific Wonders’, ‘Exploring New Zealand’ and ‘South Pacific Wonders with New Zealand’s North Island.’ The Fiji extension includes four meals and three-night stay in the five-star Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa.“We designed some of our first tours to this part of the world with amazing locations such as Milford Sound, Ayers Rock and one of my favourites, the Sydney Opera House,” said Dan Sullivan Jr., President and CEO at Collette. “This year, our team of experts have outdone themselves with each day carefully crafted to share more with you.”To order a brochure go to gateway.gocollette.com. Sharelast_img read more

Porters seasonal OrlandoMelbourne flights resume Dec 10

first_img Monday, September 12, 2016 Travelweek Group Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — Porter Airlines is heading back to Orlando-Melbourne with an enhanced schedule for its second year of service into the Florida vacation spot.Flights will increase by almost 50% over last year, with more flights during peak travel periods including Christmas, New Year’s and March Break.From Dec. 10 to April 15 Porter will offer nonstop flights between Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB). Flights increase to two-times weekly between Feb. 15 and March 22, with a new midweek departure, as well as two flights on Saturdays during March Break. Introductory prices start at $455 roundtrip.“After the success of our first season, travellers have proven there is a demand to serve Orlando-Melbourne,” said President and CEO of Porter Airlines, Robert Deluce. “The enhanced schedule will provide flexibility and convenience when planning a trip south of the border.”Orlando-Melbourne is less than 10 minutes from the beach, 20 minutes from Port Canaveral and 30 minutes from Kennedy Space Center. Orlando’s major attractions, including theme parks, are accessible within an hour’s drive.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaPorter Escapes offers a range of packages including flights, hotels and attractions in Orlando-Melbourne and the surrounding area. The complete flight schedule is available on flyporter.com. Connections for Montreal, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins and Windsor are also available.center_img Porter’s seasonal Orlando-Melbourne flights resume Dec. 10 Share Tags: Florida, New Routes, Porter Airlineslast_img read more

JetBlue to the rescue Flight attendants save French bulldog during flight

first_imgJetBlue to the rescue! Flight attendants save French bulldog during flight Tags: Dogs, JetBlue Travelweek Group ORLANDO — A three-year-old French bulldog has been given a new lease on life thanks to the quick thinking of a JetBlue flight crew.Michele and Steven Burt were onboard flight JBU 330 flying from Orlando to Worcester, Massachusetts when they suddenly noticed their dog Darcy in distress in her pet carrier, which had been placed under the seat in front of them. After taking her out of the carrier, the couple saw that the dog’s tongue and gums had turned blue, a sure sign of insufficient oxygen.According to a Facebook post written by Michele and shared by a friend, Michele placed Darcy on her lap to cool down, at which point a flight attendant came and politely reminded her that the pet was to remain under the seat in her carrier, as per flight regulations.After explaining that Darcy was in medical distress, two other flight attendants, Renaud and Diane, brought ice in bags for the poor pup. Renaud, who has a French bulldog of his own, also brought a small oxygen tank with a mask attached, saying “maybe this will help.”Photos by Michele Burt / Facebook“I placed the mask over her face, and within a few minutes she became alert and after a short time she didn’t want the mask,” wrote Michele. “I believe Renaud and Diane saved a life.”More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthShe went on to praise the flight crew for looking beyond the fact that Darcy was “only a dog”.“It may have been only a dog to some, not a major disaster certainly, but a family member to us,” she wrote. “Goodness and kindness along with the ability to assess a medical crisis, albeit a canine in crisis, saved the day.”Photos by Michele Burt / FacebookMichele also confirmed in her post that Darcy has made a complete recovery, and that in the future she will no longer fly without her vet’s clearance.JetBlue’s flight crew certainly helped prevent another pet tragedy in the air. Earlier in March, a French bulldog puppy died in-flight after a flight attendant forced the owners to place the pet carrier, which contained the dog, in an overhead bin. Tuesday, July 10, 2018 center_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more

Earn an extra 50 per booking with Goways new Asia program

first_img Thursday, February 21, 2019 Share TORONTO — Goway’s new 2019/20 Asia brochure has 230+ independent and escorted touring ideas all across Asia, plus a booking incentive for agents.“Endless diversity means endless choice. Goway’s Asia team are the experts in creating a tailor-made travel experience that showcases all that Asia has to offer, whether that’s a wellness retreat in Thailand, a cruise of the Indonesian islands, or a journey across the landscapes of China,” says Goway.The new brochure features everything from private fully-guided trips to ‘go as you please’ independent city breaks, relaxing beach getaways and unique stays. Says Goway: “If you have ever chatted with any of our expert staff, you will know that a few of them have lived in destination countries such as China, Thailand, Japan, and India, in addition to having travelled extensively in the region. Plus, we have two new additions to our team who grew up in the Philippines. This means that you’ll receive the best advice and expert knowledge about destinations in Asia when travelling with Goway.”New offerings for 2019/2020 include niche travel ideas for Japan, China, Singapore and Sri Lanka, among others. There are also rail options, cruising, art, biking, coach tours, pop culture trips “and some of the best luxury resorts in Asia”. Agents who book any Asia trip with seven nights or more from March 1 – April 30, 2019 will earn an extra $50 per booking on their Goway Rewards Card. Promotional incentives cannot be combined. Earn an extra $50 per booking with Goway’s new Asia program Travelweek Group center_img Posted by Tags: Agent Incentives, Brochures, Goway, New Tours << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Highway deaths increase in Costa Rica in 2012

first_imgStatistics released by the Roadway Safety Council (COSEVI) showed that highway deaths in Costa Rica are up from the same period in 2011.The number of deaths on the road totaled 177 in the first six months of 2012, 13 more than the previous year. The majority of the deaths were motorcyclists (50), followed by pedestrians hit by vehicles (38) and cyclists (18).Motorcycle deaths have been in the news frequently this year, and according to COSEVI, the number of deaths resulting from motorcycle accidents increased by eight in 2012. A press release by COSEVI implored bikers to wear a helmet, “even when traveling 200 meters to the bakery.”The release noted pedestrian deaths included instances of people walking through the streets drunk and being struck by cars. Other statistics showed that 46 of the highway deaths were due to speeding, while 20 more were a result of drunk driving. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Cloudy skies could ruin tonights blood moon in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Meet Sandra Cauffman, the Tica co-directing NASA’s current mission to Mars A rocket landing in Tortuguero? Costa Rica’s first satellite project enters decisive stage For a week, people in Costa Rica cast no shadow Partly cloudy skies might make it difficult to view tonight’s full lunar eclipse from Costa Rica, according to the National Meteorological Institute.A total lunar eclipse, also known as a blood moon, will be visible in North and Central America early Tuesday morning, the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses that will appear in the region’s skies between now and Sept. 28, 2015.According to NASA, the event will begin at midnight, Costa Rica time, when the earth’s shadow will creep over the moon’s surface. However the light show might be dimmed in most of Costa Rica due to cloud cover.  The National Meteorological Institute told La Nación that the eclipse can be best seen from Guanacaste and in lower areas of the Central Valley.Once the sun, moon and earth are completely in line – about an hour after the eclipse starts – the moon will assume a coppery red hue caused by the sunlight peeking out from behind the earth and illuminating the moon. The red moon will hang in the sky for about an hour.Get NASA’s explanation here: For those looking to geek out on astronomy, NASA is hosting two live online events to commemorate the occasion. Between noon and 1 p.m. there will be a Reddit Ask Me Anything with planetary scientist Renee Weber. Starting at 11:45 p.m., NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams and astrophysicist Alphonse Sterling will also answer questions in a live web chat that will continue through the eclipse, ending at around 3 a.m. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

State Department official Real improvement in regional security requires new approach

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States has a moral and historic responsibility to help reduce violence in Central America, but the region’s governments must do their part too, a top State Department official said last Thursday during a conference on the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI).“We are at the most important juncture with Central America in the last 20 years,” declared Francisco Palmieri, deputy assistant secretary of state for Central America and the Caribbean. “Central America matters to us because of its geographic proximity, our family and cultural ties, and the recognition that we – the United States – bear at least some responsibility for the region’s problems.”These problems simply outstrip the countries’ capacity to respond, he said.“This year, 60,000 Central Americans left their homes to make the dangerous journey northward. This spike in migration is a serious warning sign that the long-standing challenges in Central America are worsening,” Palmieri warned. “The course of action is clear. We must adequately address the underlying reasons for migration.”Palmieri was one of several officials to address the Dec. 11 seminar, titled “Central America’s Security Challenges: Has U.S. Assistance Helped or Hindered?” Francisco Palmieri, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Central America and the Caribbean, speaks Dec.11 at the Wilson Center, as part of a panel titled “Policy Options for Dealing with Central America’s Chronic Insecurity.” Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesThe event – sponsored by the Washington-based Wilson Center – focused on CARSI, a U.S. taxpayer-funded program that since 2008 has spent $642 million to combat crime, gang violence and drug trafficking throughout the region.“The region’s leaders will make tough choices to address these challenges, but they need our help. Over the past 18 months, long before the mass media picked up the messages of children arriving at the border, the U.S. has been taking a hard look at our approach,” he said.“From a U.S. standpoint, significant interagency assistance over the next five years is critical to achieving our objectives. We simply will not achieve the end state we envision with a short-term surge of assistance. Changing the trajectory of Central America will require a sustained, well-resourced response from the United States.”Palmieri’s diplomatic career includes posts in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras and Iraq; he was also senior desk officer for Venezuela. In addition, he headed Latin American and Caribbean programs for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL). In that job, he supervised $800 million in programs, including the Colombia and Mexico/Mérida operations, 19 narcotics affairs offices throughout the Western Hemisphere, and more than 1,500 employees.But U.S. action doesn’t absolve Central American countries from cleaning up their act when it comes to tax evasion, corruption and abuse of power.“Central America also has the world’s lowest tax revenues as a percentage of GDP, with Guatemala coming in lowest at 10.8 percent of GDP,” he said. “Transparency International consistently ranks many Central American countries poorly on the perception of corruption, and its tremendous youth bulge threatens even greater turmoil. Six million people will attempt to enter the work force over the next decade, but cannot be absorbed. Disenfranchised youth will join gangs or migrate.”While insecurity is definitely a problem, said Palmieri, that’s not the whole story.“Impunity and corruption undermine so many of the things we try to do. But we’ve also got to invest in economic growth,” he explained. “Panama and Costa Rica are demonstrating the economic benefits of modernization. Now is the time for a new U.S. approach to Central America that prioritizes investments in governance and security.” Paloma Adams-Allen, senior adviser at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesPaloma Adams-Allen is a senior adviser at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. She said USAID is “scaling out” and hopes to expand its geographic footprint with the help of large multinationals.“In the wake of the unaccompanied minors crisis, Central America’s governments have stepped up and declared to us that they intend to address this issue, and we believe them,” she said. “Not only are governments doing this, but also other stakeholders in the private sector as well. Wal-Mart, Tigo, Microsoft and others have all been working very closely with us and are ready to do more.”Matthew C. Ingram, assistant professor at the State University of New York-Albany, said the U.S. officials in charge of CARSI should pay particular attention to “geographic targeting” of communities that straddle international borders in the Northern Triangle, as well as municipalities with historically high levels of bloodshed.“For the last 10 years, Honduras and El Salvador have reported the highest homicide rates in the world. Yet at the sub-national level, even in those countries we’re used to thinking are very violent, there are areas that are not violent,” Ingram said. “If we drill down below the national level, in El Salvador, there were 14 municipalities with zero homicides, and several with homicide rates above 100.”Another big hotspot is the northern part of Honduras, spreading into southeastern Guatemala, he said, “and in El Salvador, there’s a dramatic, sizeable cluster of youth homicides around the nation’s capital and all the municipalities that make up a larger metro area around San Salvador.” Matthew C. Ingram, assistant professor at the State University of New York-Albany. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesLast year, the homicide rate in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, was 169 per 100,000, making it the most violent city in the world’s most violent country. By comparison, the U.S. average is 5 per 100,000. Even in the most crime-ridden U.S. cities such as Flint, Michigan, homicide rates rarely exceed 50 per 100,000.“We need to take geography into consideration,” said Ingram. “If we want to emphasize where to target most of our resources, we should aim at highly populated communities, and the communities around them. I would heavily favor conditioning funding assistance on developing place-based, geography-sensitive policies.”Yet Eric L. Olson, associate director at the Wilson Center, said few people know what CARSI is – even embassy officials in Central America who ought to know better.“When you don’t have a strategy, you have a series of priorities. Then things all become relatively equal, and it doesn’t amount to anything. Clarity about your priorities really has to be at the top of the agenda,” said Olson, who says CARSI’s goals are admirable but unrealistic as long as the program focuses on fighting drug trafficking and organized crime without getting at the roots of the problem.“Too many times, policy is sort of a grab bag of a hundred things,” Olson concluded. “We know that Central America faces hundreds of challenges, but what should be our priorities, the ones we’re going to put front and center? The issues of corruption, impunity and lack of accountability have to be at the top. It’s not just about putting drug traffickers in jail. Otherwise everything else becomes secondary.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Is the US taxpayer-funded Central America Regional Security Initiative effective at stopping violence? Latin America sees the economic toll of corruption Costa Rican special operations unit participates in regional ‘war games’ Outrage at likely Mexico massacre spreads to Acapulcolast_img read more

Tourism sector seeks to calm fears of Zika virus

first_imgThe day after health authorities announced Costa Rica’sfirst two locally-transmitted cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, tourism officials held an emergency meeting to talk about how to quell fears from potential visitors.Tourism Ministry officials met Tuesday with representatives of the Health Ministry, the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR), the Guanacaste Tourism Chamber and municipal officials to discuss possible implications of Zika for the tourism sector — one of the country’s main sources of jobs and income. The two cases reported this week were women from the popular beach town of Sámara on the Nicoya Peninsula.Some health experts have linked Zika to birth defects and a neurological disorder, although most people who contract the virus face only mild or no symptoms and no long-term health repercussions.Alberto López Chaves, general manager of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), said the group agreed on a series of measures to curb the proliferation of the mosquito-borne virus in Guanacaste province, a major destination for beach-bound tourists. Nearly 40 percent of tourists who visit Costa Rica spend at least one night in the northwestern province, and local entrepreneurs are hoping the news won’t affect visitation during Easter Holy Week next month.The Health Ministry agreed to ramp up fumigation and waste collection in the province starting Wednesday, focusing on all objects that can collect stagnant water and become breeding sites for mosquitoes.National Police officers will help with fumigation and transportation. Cops also will join Traffic Police officers at checkpoints along main roads, where they will hand out information about preventing Zika to motorists.Municipalities and community associations pledged to finance a public information campaign. Cars will circulate neighborhoods in the province, blasting prerecorded messages with tips to prevent the proliferation of mosquitoes and identify Zika’s most common symptoms.The ICT’s López said tourism industry leaders have actually been meeting with the government for almost a month to assess the possible impact of Zika on the tourism sector.In recent weeks the committee began distributing information from the Health Ministry to tourism businesses and requesting collaboration from business owners on getting the word out about Zika and supporting government efforts to stem the virus’ spread.On Tuesday tourism sector leaders pledged to provide food, transportation and other resources to all officials who will be conducting fumigation and inspections.López said they also are coordinating with the Immigration Administration to continue handing out information on Zika to tourists arriving at the country’s airports.López said he hoped the Guanacaste plan would be a model to be replicated in other cantons throughout the country. “The priority now is to urge the population to take action on preventing the virus’ spread,” he said.Low impact from Zika so farWendy Arguedas Murillo, executive director of the National Tourism Chamber, said the chamber hadn’t received many reports of cancelled trips due to Zika, and that hotels in Guanacaste had only reported a few cancellations in recent days.ICT’s López said tourism during this year’s high season, which started in December, has thus far been normal.“You could probably find a hotel reporting a couple of cancellations, but those numbers currently do not represent any significant impact on our overall visitation figures,” he told The Tico Times.López also said ICT’s promotion offices in the U.S. and Europe have not reported tourists changing their minds about visiting the country because of news about Zika.The most recent visitation figures will be ready next week (currently, figures are only available through December, before news of Zika became widespread). “Until then we won’t make a decision on whether any action is needed, but so far the country’s current situation does not call for any further action,” López said. Facebook Comments Related posts:Zika virus total surpasses 100 cases in Costa Rica Costa Rica boosts measures against Zika, rules out risks for tourists Costa Rica’s rainy season brings rise in Zika cases Health Ministry confirms sixth case of a baby born with Zika viruslast_img read more

Costa Rican band performs at Rose Parade

first_imgOkay y’all, La Banda Municipal de Acosta was amazing!! Oh my god I am so proud! When they said, “ From Costa Rica to the world, que vive siempre el trabajo y la paz” I cried so much!!!! — les (@leslie_actually) January 1, 2019 No related posts. #RoseParade an amazing perform by the Banda municipal de Acosta the best band so far— Alejandro (@ale745) January 1, 2019 The TT 5% Club is a group of Tico Times readers who donate at least $2 a month to keep our newsroom operational. That’s how we’re able to bring you stories like these. Click here to become a member of The Tico Times 5% Club today. Facebook Comments The Banda Municipal de Acosta celebrated New Year’s far from home this year – for an exciting reason.The local band was selected to perform at the 130th edition of the Rose Parade, a New Year’s Day tradition in Pasadena, California.Tune in now to enjoy Acosta’s moment in the California sun. Check out the local station Canal Altavisión, Canal 7 or the band’s Facebook page for more. The band performed on Dec. 29 at the Band Fest at Pasadena City College. Courtesy of the Banda Municipal de Acosta via FacebookOnline reactions to the performance were positive.Extremely proud of the performance of the Banda Municipal de Acosta in the Rose Parade.. #ProudToBeTico @CentAm_Beauty— NJ (@antonio2nicolas) January 1, 2019last_img read more

Catholics make annual pilgrimage to Cartago for romería

first_imgAn estimated 2 million people made the pilgrimage to Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago on Friday.Virgen de los Ángeles Day, celebrated annually on August 2, honors Costa Rica’s patron saint. Costa Rican Catholics — and faithful from across the world — complete the romería to give thanks to and ask for blessings from La Negrita. Here are some photos from the 2019 romería (shot on my cell phone, since I was too hot/tired/sweaty to carry another camera). Romeros, or pilgrims, making the trek toward Cartago. Alejandro Zúñiga / The Tico Times Romeros took pictures — and took a break! — upon reaching Cartago. Alejandro Zúñiga / The Tico Times Many romeros visited the Santiago Apóstol Parish Ruins in Cartago. Alejandro Zúñiga / The Tico Times Related posts:Costa Rica celebrates Virgen de los Ángeles Day Millions expected in annual Costa Rica pilgrimage La Romería: From 1635 to now La Romería: From 1635 to now Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Ecuador says 13 million found on crashed plane

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The two men were identified as 22-year-old Santiago Alfonso Lopez Monzon and 36-year-old Cruz Alfredo Solis Lopez.No flight plan had been filed for the plane. It bore a Mexican registration number, but it may have been false because it does not appear in the Mexican registry available to the public.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day QUITO, Ecuador (AP) – Ecuador’s anti-narcotics chief says authorities have found $1.3 million in cash in a plane from Mexico that crashed into a rural hillside.Gen. Juan Carlos Barragan says officials counted up the cash and also found the remains of two Mexican men and three dogs in the wreckag of the plane that went down at about 8:40 p.m. Sunday. Officials have said the flight was probably part of a money-laundering or drug purchase operation.last_img read more

Azerbaijans first president returns from exile

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   center_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) – The political party of Azerbaijan’s first head of state says he has returned to his home country after two decades in exile in Russia.Ayaz Mutalibov, who briefly served as president after the former Soviet nation gained independence in 1991, is benefiting from recently approved legislation granting all heads of state immunity from prosecution for acts committed while in office.He was accused by prosecutors of involvement in the bloody Soviet crackdown on pro-independence demonstrators in 1990 and later of attempting to overthrow the post-independence government. The Social-Democratic Party said Monday that its co-founder flew into the country over the weekend.Mutalibov announced earlier this year that he would abstain from political activity.The law approved by parliament in June extends immunity to incumbent President Ilham Aliyev and his wife.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familylast_img read more

Israeli offensive in Gaza was years in the making

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology JERUSALEM (AP) – With little notice, Israel has launched a blistering air offensive against the Gaza Strip’s ruling Hamas militant group. Here’s a look at why the violence erupted, the goals of the warring sides and how it may end:LIGHTNING STRIKEIsrael opened its offensive with a surprise airstrike on Nov. 14 that killed the shadowy leader of Hamas’ military wing. Since then, it has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in what it says is a systematic campaign to halt years of rocket attacks launched from Gaza. While Israel claims to have inflicted heavy damage, dozens of rockets have continued to fly out of Gaza each day. Top Stories Sponsored Stories WHY NOW?Israel launched the operation in response to days of rocket attacks out of Gaza, highlighted by a rare missile strike on an Israeli military jeep that wounded four soldiers. But the operation was actually years in the making. Since a previous Israeli offensive four years ago, Hamas has restocked its arsenal with more sophisticated and powerful weapons smuggled in from Egypt through underground tunnels. After a lull following Israel’s previous offensive, rocket fire has steadily climbed the past two years. The Israeli military says more than 700 rockets were launched into Israel this year before it launched the offensive last week. In this environment, Israeli officials have said it was only a matter of time before a new round of fighting broke out.THE BATTELFIELDHamas seized control of Gaza, a densely populated strip of land sandwiched between southern Israel and Egypt’s Sinai desert, five years ago from the rival Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas, a militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction, has developed is rocket arsenal to the point where nearly half of Israel’s population is in range.WHY FIRE ROCKETS?Palestinian militants, led by Hamas, say the rocket fire is a legitimate response to continued Israeli attacks. They also claim they are resisting Israeli occupation of the territory. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, ending a 38-year military occupation. But it has maintained a blockade of the territory in a step it says is needed to prevent arms smuggling. In the murky world of Gaza politics, the attacks also stem from internal rivalries between groups eager to prove their militant credentials. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says no country would tolerate repeated missile attacks on its civilians. Comments   Share   BY THE NUMBERS_More than 100 Palestinians, half of them civilians, have been killed, according to Palestinian medical officials. Three Israeli civilians have died from rocket fire._Israel has attacked more than 1,350 targets in the current offensive, according to the Israeli army. Hamas and smaller armed groups have responded with nearly 600 rockets, the army says._Israel says its new “Iron Dome” rocket-defense system has shot down more than 300 incoming projectiles.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement RISKY BUSINESSProlonged fighting carries great risks for both sides. As Israel presses forward, the number of Palestinian civilian casualties is likely to rise _ a scenario that could quickly turn international opinion against it. Israel’s previous offensive left hundreds of civilians dead, drawing international condemnation and war crimes accusations. By continuing to fire rockets, Hamas raises the risk of tougher Israeli attacks, including a possible ground offensive. Well aware of these risks, both sides are working through mediators to arrange a cease-fire.TERMS OF THE DEALIsrael wants a halt to the rocket attacks and an end to arms smuggling into Gaza, most likely in a deal that is guaranteed by Egypt or other international parties. Hamas wants a halt to Israeli assassinations of its leaders and a lifting of the Israeli blockade. While gaps remain wide, both sides have strong interests in a deal. Bringing quiet to Israel’s embattled south will make Netanyahu a national hero, weeks before parliamentary elections. Hamas, branded a terrorist group by Israel and the West, has seen its influence grow as the Arab Spring brings Islamists to power across the region. A cease-fire, particularly an arrangement guaranteed with international partners, would cement Hamas’ control of Gaza and give it more of the international recognition it covets so much. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairylast_img read more

Latest war adds new generation of mental trauma in Iraq

first_img Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober With such group counselling sessions, international aid groups are trying to help at least some of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who fled from their homes to escape the Islamic State and now live crammed into multiple camps like Chamishko around the north. But the efforts are a drop in the ocean in a county where an overwhelming number of people are dealing with mental trauma and where there are almost no facilities to help them.The IS rampage across northern and western Iraq the past 18 months only adds a new generation of traumatized Iraqis after decades of war and conflict. From the long Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s, to the 1991 Gulf War, through the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and the sectarian slaughter that followed, Iraqis have witnessed untold horrors and suffered the agonies of displacement.Dr. Emad Abdul-Razzaq, the adviser on mental health issues to the Health Ministry, estimates that 40 to 50 percent of Iraq’s 33 million people have been affected by the trauma of the last few decades, in some cases causing serious personality changes like increased anger, anxiety and aggressiveness.This in a country where there are only 130 licensed psychiatrists. There are just 2,000 beds in mental hospitals nationwide — 80 in the northern Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, the rest in the capital Baghdad. A mental health hospital planned in the southern city of Diwaniya will be the country’s first new facility in 60 years. _____Schemm reported from Baghdad. Associated Press reporters Salar Salim and Bram Janssen in Irbil, Iraq contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. At Baharka, another camp for the displaced, Muntaha Salih Khalaf described how her life started to fall apart. In 2006, an American soldier patrolling in her Sunni neighborhood of the northern city of Mosul started asking her neighbors about her, referring to her as “the beautiful girl.” He even visited her home once when her husband wasn’t there, an unforgiveable breach of conduct in her deeply conservative community that sparked rumors that she was having an affair.Her neighbors started calling her a prostitute and her husband’s family began sending threatening text messages. When her latest pregnancy began to show there was even talk that the soldier was the father, she said. Her husband, Mohammed Abdullah, decided to move the family to Damascus. But the stress of having her whole neighborhood turn against her had driven Khalaf into depression, severe mood swings and increasingly erratic behavior.Then one day in Damascus, feeling that she had to get rid of everything and start anew, she set the house on fire.“My whole family has become like a sick body infected by me because of my mental issues,” said Khalaf, a 40-year-old mother of eight. Her husband finally got the family to the Baharka camp, where she is now receiving group therapy and individual treatment for bipolar disorder. “This has saved me as a mother and as a wife,” she said. “I am meeting with people here who are supporting me and giving me advice on how to confront life.”Losing one’s home is one of the biggest stress factors that can raise mental health issues — and since January 2014, more than 2.7 million Iraqis have fled their homes because of the IS advance, about a third of them flowing into camps in and around the northern Kurdish region. UNICEF, the International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and other international agencies have set up programs in the camps to try to address the mental health issues through counseling rather than medication.“They have lost close relatives. They are still in mourning, they have a lot of anger and anxiety,” said Olivia Nevissas, the psycho-social activities coordinator for Handicap International at Baharka camp near Irbil. “Six months after the conflict, they have had very few moments to let go of their emotions, to verbalize what they have gone through, and that’s why those sessions fill a void.”The group sessions with women have been the biggest success. Organizers say they can tell it’s benefiting them because the women take time out of their busy days of cleaning and taking care of their children and the elderly to attend and talk. In this photo taken on Saturday, March 28, 2015, Muntaha Salih Khalaf, an Iraqi woman from Mosul, carries bread for her family at the Baharka camp for Iraqi displaced people outside of Irbil, Iraq. Decades of war and international sanctions have left millions of Iraqis traumatized after seeing loved ones killed or being uprooted from their homes. The medical infrastructure in the country, however, is ill-served to treat them. The situation has been exacerbated by the latest wave of fighting in the north, which has displaced tens of thousands of Sunnis, Kurds, and Yazidis, sending new flows of traumatized people into overcrowded camps for the displaced. (AP Photo/ Maeva Bambuck) Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories Helped by organizations like Doctors Without Borders, Iraq has struggled to provide more mental health services, setting up centers in hospitals and training regular doctors to provide some counseling. But the effort is hamstrung by lack of funding. “We have accumulated problems, and the policymakers in the past have not made mental health support a priority,” said Abdul-Razzaq.At Baghdad’s Ibn Rushd hospital mental health center, which sees about 150 patients a day, Dr. Mohammed Koreishi said the staff has tried to increase awareness in the public about the benefits of professional mental health care and overcome the strong social stigma against it. But he said there’s a profound lack of trained professionals, including clinical psychologists and counselors.“We have a problem in Iraq that doctors don’t like to specialize in psychiatry because it has the poorest economic status — not like a surgeon,” he said. At his center, patients are mainly treated with medication such as mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics and antidepressants, with limited recourse to counseling.The vast majority of Iraqis are left to deal with their traumas on their own, and the causes of trauma can be varied and unexpected.center_img Patients with chronic pain give advice 0 Comments   Share   CHAMISHKO CAMP, Iraq (AP) — The group of women, members of Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority, first did deep breathing as a relaxation technique. Then, as their children played in the center of the room, they talked about the traumas they had lived through when Islamic State extremists rampaged through their town.Muna Murad spoke of the sorrow that overwhelms her when she’s reminded of her brother-in-law, who was killed by the militants before her eyes. “Whenever I see his two kids playing with mine, I have trouble breathing,” she said. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement It is more difficult with the men, who often are reluctant to express themselves in a group. Instead, they gather in political discussions or music performances that can have some of the same therapeutic effects.The hardest part of Handicap International’s work, however, is the children, many of whom are just too young put their emotions into words.Asya, a very young looking 13, smiles a lot, stares off into the distance and shakes her head, but she doesn’t speak. Her father, Aido, said she was having trouble in school even before they had to flee 10 days on foot from Islamic State fighters who attacked their home in Sinjar, a mainly Yazidi area in northwestern Iraq. They are now staying at an abandoned construction site next to Chamishko camp.“My youngest daughter is sick, her mental state isn’t normal,” he said, while his daughter held his hand after he collected the girl and her sister from a group therapy session.Kureishi, at Baghdad’s Ibn Rushd medical center, said his hospital often deals with children suffering from mood disorders, disruptive behavior, bed wetting, and high anxiety, which they treat initially with medication. While men have more room in society to engage in life outside the home to work through their problems, “the effect is more on women and children,” he said. “They are less supported in society.” New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

China assembles 60strong team to probe deadly ship sinking

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice Comments   Share   The ship, which was righted and raised in a swift operation last week, has been moved to a location away from river shipping where it can be stabilized.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy BEIJING (AP) — China has assembled a team of 60 investigators to look into last week’s river cruise ship sinking following orders from President Xi Jinping to find the cause of the country’s worst maritime disaster in nearly seven decades.Just 14 people survived the capsizing of the Eastern Star on the evening of June 1 as the ship was carrying 456 people, many of them elderly tourists, on a cruise to the Yangtze River port of Chongqing. Authorities have attributed the sinking to a freak storm that generated tornado-like winds, but also have placed the surviving captain and his first engineer in police custody.Extensive interviews have been conducted with surviving crew members, witnesses, those who designed and modified the ship and others, state broadcaster CCTV reported Wednesday. It said 60 specialists have been gathered for the investigative team.Video footage and other evidence have been obtained from the ship, and weather, radar and other data was being analyzed for indications of what went wrong.The disaster left 442 people dead or missing.Passengers’ relatives have raised questions about whether the ship should have continued its voyage despite a weather warning. The actions of the captain in the final 12 minutes before the sinking have come under scrutiny, with reports saying he altered speed and course in an attempt to manage the pressure on the ship.DNA has been used to identify the remains, with more than 200 confirmed.Along with the weather, investigators are expected to focus on alternations carried out on the ship in 1997 that lengthened it and may have altered its center of gravity, according to a report this week in the official newspaper Beijing News. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

World stocks slip as Greek debt talks falter

first_imgFILE – This July 15, 2013 file photo shows the New York Stock Exchange in New York. U.S. stocks are opening lower Monday, June 15, 2015, after weekend talks between Greece and its creditors stalled, raising the possibility the country could default. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) Parents, stop beating yourself up New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   THE QUOTE: “All eyes, including our own, are on Greece,” said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank. “This is a grand experiment and if it were to go awry, it would certainly have implications.”GREEK DRAMA: Weekend negotiations on Greece’s bailout terms produced no breakthroughs and Greek officials and creditors remained far apart as a deadline for a debt payment nears. Greek leaders want to get access to the final 7.2 billion euros ($8.2 billion) of their bailout program that’s needed to repay debts and avoid a possible default that could trigger an exit from the euro; the bailout package expires at the end of the month.SEEKING TO OWN: Shares in iDreamSky Technology slumped 10 percent on news that the Chinese mobile games licensing company received an offer to be taken private by its Chairman and CEO Michael Xiangyu. The stock slid $1.50 to $13.06.FOR SALE: AirMedia Group tumbled 15.3 percent following news that the Chinese advertising platforms company is selling a 75 percent stake in its advertising business for more than $338 million. The stock lost $1.08 to $6.18.EXIT THE CHOPPER: United Technologies fell 2.1 percent after the company said it would get out of the helicopter business. The stock slid $2.50 to $115.10. Top Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober MANAGEMENT SHAKEUP: Lumber Liquidators slipped 1.7 percent after the troubled flooring retailer said it has fired its chief merchandising officer. The company didn’t say why it was firing the executive. Shares in the company fell 36 cents to $21.13.BUILDER MERGER: Investors welcomed news late Sunday that California homebuilders Ryland Group and Standard Pacific have agreed to merge. Ryland rose $2.44, or 5.7 percent, to $45.23. Standard Pacific gained 53 cents, or 6.3 percent, to $8.89.DRIVING THE DEAL: Dealertrack Technologies vaulted 57.5 percent on news that digital marketing company Cox Automotive is buying the maker of software used by automotive dealerships for about $4 billion. Shares in Dealertrack gained $22.90 to $62.75.BRIMMING WITH CONFIDENCE: A gauge of U.S. homebuilders’ confidence in their sales prospects surged this month to the highest level since September. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index climbed to 59 this month, up five points from 54 the May reading. The news sent most U.S. homebuilders higher.EUROPEAN MARKETS: European stocks traded lower amid investor concerns over the lack of progress in Greece’s bailout negotiations. France’s CAC 40 shed 1.6 percent, while Germany’s DAX dropped 1.6 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 1 percent. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes ASIA’S DAY: Moves by regulators to tighten up on margin financing sent Chinese shares lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slumped 1.5 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China dropped 2 percent. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index ended 0.1 percent lower and South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.5 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent lower. Benchmarks in Southeast Asia also fell.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil continued to fall, losing 46 cents to $59.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract hit a high for the year on Wednesday but has been falling since then.BONDS: Nervous investors bought ultra-safe U.S. government bonds, pulling the yield on the 10-year Treasury note down to 2.35 percent from 2.39 percent late Friday.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Growing doubts that Greece will be able to negotiate a deal with creditors to avoid defaulting on a looming debt payment weighed on U.S. stocks in midday trading Monday. The major indexes pared back some of their losses from earlier in the day as investors monitored the latest corporate deal news. Technology stocks were among the biggest decliners.KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was down 106 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,791 at 11:44 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell nine points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,084. The Nasdaq composite fell 27 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,023. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Vanuatus Bokissa Island Resort one of worlds best

first_imgbokissa private island resort Bokissa Private Island Resort is the only hotel or resort in Vanuatu to feature in popular TV travel show Getaway’s just-announced list of the 50 Best Hotel Rooms in the World.Properties in the program ranged from the world’s most expensive, those with the best penthouses and best views, to what the program rated as the world’s best villas, wilderness resorts, lodges, ‘old school retreats’ and the best over-water resorts in “big cities, on tiny islands and everywhere else in-between.”Presenter Kelly Landry referred to Bokissa Private Island Resort’s sixteen farés as “having absolute beach frontage and are air-conditioned if the nights are a little too balmy for comfort… (and have) ensuite, vanity and mini-bar and can be configured from single accommodation up to quad-share.”And she said the 25m freshwater pool with swim-up bar was the resort’s centrepiece, with “the upper deck providing sea-gazing during the day and star-gazing at night,” and that on Bokissa “shoes are optional, jackets and ties are not allowed, and meals are served to the toll of the island drum.” The 70ha rainforest, beach and reef resort is a 20-minute private boat trip from Espiritu Santo Island in Vanuatu’s north, approximately 55-minutes flying time from capital Port Vila. Source = Bokissa Private Island Resortlast_img read more

Tiger Airways expand Australia operations

first_imgTiger Airways Australia has announced dramatic sector increases and a second base at Sydney Airport, creating more jobs and developing its growing fleet. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia (CASA) recently approved the airline’s request to operate a maximum of 64 sectors per day, commencing October 2012. Tiger was originally permitted a limit of 38 sectors per day. The airline confirmed that Sydney Airport would be home to Tiger’s second base of operations, with the addition of three Airbus A320 aircraft. “Three aircraft operating from our second Australian base will provide up to 3,600 extra seats a day through Sydney Airport. This is a win-win for both consumers wanting more low fares as well as for domestic tourism,” Tiger Airways CEO, Andrew David said. Sydney Airport CEO, Kerrie Mather was positive about Tiger establishing a second base in Sydney. “Tiger’s resurgence has been a real boon for the travel and tourism sector and more competition means more choice for travellers, whether it be for business or leisure. “The new base will not only create 150 direct jobs, but also stimulate employment in the tourism and services sector,” she said. Mr David deemed Tiger to be back on a track after recording losses of more than $100 million, due to its past domestic operations in Australia. “We are continuing with our future Australian expansion as planned. The business goal was to have all 10 aircraft operating in Australia by the second half of 2012 and this news proves we’re on track,” he said. Tiger Airways Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

Its a tax on success TTF snubs cruise fee

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J. The NSW government’s decision to add a new tax for cruise ship passengers visiting Sydney has been dubbed “a tax on success” and unfair to “one of the bright spots for the Australian tourism industry”.Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive John Lee said the tax is estimated to be a 14-fold increase on ship turnaround costs in Sydney from $5,000 a day to up to $70,000 by 2015.Mr Lee said it was a ‘regrettable’ decision that will make Sydney Harbour’s overnight business one the world’s most expensive. “It comes at a time when the cruise ship industry faces a 17% increase in the federal government’s passenger movement charge, so in the space of a month it has been wacked twice by governments,” he explained.”The industry recognises that the current fee structure needs reform. “It had proposed a passenger charge of around $5 per head, which better reflects the actual cost of cruise ships staying at Sydney Harbour.”The Minister for Ports has said that the success of the industry justifies imposing the charge.”What the minister is forgetting is that none of this success is guaranteed, and the industry is operating in a highly competitive environment particularly with Asian ports.”Mr Lee added that the $30 a head tax in Sydney is likely to escalate quickly and transform into passengers paying hundreds on ships that are visiting multiple ports.”TTF urges the NSW government to undertake genuine consultations with the industry before the tax commences in 2013 to devise a system that more fairly recovers costs,” he said.   “Importantly, the government should also review the efficiency of Sydney’s ports, which cost more to operate than many overseas, so that they meet world’s best practice.”last_img read more

Fiji Airways sets new profit record

first_imgSource = Fiji Airways Fiji Airways has set a new profit record for the first six months of 2015, reporting an operating profit before tax of FJD$17.5 m from January 1st to June 30th.The result constitutes a solid improvement on the national airline’s profit of FJD$15.4 for the same period last year and is the highest six-monthly result in the company’s history.The Chairman of Fiji Airways, Nalin Patel, commended staff for what he described as “yet another outstanding performance” for the first half of 2015, on the back of a record profit of FJD$60.8m for the 2014 financial year.But he said no-one at Fiji Airways could afford to be complacent if the airline was to equal or better last year’s result and he urged management and staff to remain focussed.“The key driver of our underlying profitability was a 6.7% increase in passenger numbers for the first six months of the year and a 4.7% increase in our overall revenue,” Mr Patel said.“While there is no room for complacency, we are seeing some excellent results from the financial growth plan that Fiji Airways has had in place since last year, with its emphasis on strong fiscal discipline and continuously improving efficiencies.“With strong support from our staff and shareholders, management has been able to make sound financial and commercial decisions that are benefitting our people, the tourism industry and the entire Fijian economy”The result was warmly welcomed by the Attorney General and Minister for Aviation, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who said it laid a solid foundation for the airline’s future growth, including new routes and new aircraft.“This result comes less than a month after Fiji Airways made another early repayment to the FNPF – the national superannuation fund – for the loans it took out to invest in new aircraft,” Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said.“So it is a further vindication of the confidence of the Fijian people in the management of their national airline and especially the efforts of its hardworking staff.“The opportunity now is to fly to new destinations that would position Fiji Airways and Fiji even better.” Fly Fiji Airwayslast_img read more