Ponant wants to work with travel agents to get more Canadians on

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Luxury Travel, Ponant Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Friday, February 9, 2018 Ponant wants to work with travel agents to get more Canadians on its luxury ships TORONTO — Travellers need expert advice when they’re planning a $25,000 Antarctica cruise. So it’s no surprise that nine out of 10 bookings for Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions – for Antarctica, the Arctic or warmer ports of call in more than 80 countries around the world – come through travel agents.“Well upwards of 90% of our bookings come through the trade,” says Navin Sawhney, CEO, Ponant USA. With a high-end product like Ponant, and price points to match, “people need an expert to tell them this is the right way to travel.”So far only a very small fraction of those bookings come from Canada, but with the help of travel agents as well as Vanessa Lee and her company Cruise Strategies, which represents Ponant in Canada, Sawhney is looking to boost volume from this market. “We plan to increase it quite rapidly,” he says, not just for FIT but groups as well.Navin Sawhney, CEO, Ponant USA and Theresa Gatta, VP Sales, North AmericaLee and her team at Cruise Strategies hosted Sawhney and Theresa Gatta, VP Sales, North America along with trade and consumer media and industry partners at a reception last night at Toronto’s Auberge du Pommier.Clients who make the move to Ponant will have plenty of ships to choose from in the next few years. The company has no fewer than five new vessels coming on line between now and 2021.Four new Ponant Explorer Yachts, all sister ships with 92 staterooms each, are on their way this year and next. Scheduled launch dates are June 2018, October 2018, March 2019 and June 2019. ‘Discover Yacht Cruises’, reads the tagline, and the ships deliver, with appropriately luxurious accommodations, high-end amenities from companies like Hermès and Veuve Clicquot.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesThe four new ships will also deliver a truly unique experience with ‘Blue Eye’, billed as the first multi-sensory underwater lounge, offering spectacular underwater viewing – under the ship’s waterline – from the comfort of a lounge chair.The Blue Eye lounge will make its debut on Le Lapérouse, followed by Le Champlain, Le Bougainville and Le Dumont-d’Urville. The four new ships will sail in tropical and sub-tropical destinations, everywhere from the Seychelles to Australia to South Africa to the ‘Coral Triangle’, the tropical marine waters between Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.Meanwhile in December 2017 Ponant confirmed its order for the very first electric hybrid cruise icebreaker propelled by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). The Ponant Icebreaker “affirms Ponant’s place as the world leader in luxury polar expeditions”, says the company. The new ship, scheduled for delivery in 2021, will have 135 staterooms and will take passengers to never-explored polar destinations including the true geographic North Pole (90 degrees North Latitude), the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island.Sawhney says Ponant’s luxury polar expeditions “truly define what Ponant has done to this category.” The company, founded in 1988, embarked on expedition cruising in 1999. “No one had thought of luxury expeditions in such detail,” he said.The cruise line launched Le Boreal in 2010 and it was an immediate success. “In an environment like the Arctic or Antarctica, you do want an expedition ship with balconies,” says Sawhney. The cruise line has now completed some 400 expeditions in polar regions, he adds.Ponant’s passengers, not surprisingly, are a discerning group. They’re very well-educated, says Sawhney, typically married, very well-read and well-travelled. “They have moved from sightseeing to sight-doing to sight-being,” he says, adding “they want travel to transform them.”More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Ponant is the only French cruise line and appropriately about 40% of its passengers are French speaking. About 30% are from North America and another 15 – 20% are from Australia. Some are from the UK and the rest come from Latin America, continental Europe and Asia. The ships are bilingual and sail all over the world, except to the Galapagos Islands. “We’re proudly French and sailing the Galapagos Islands would mean sailing with the Ecuadorean flag, and we sail with the French flag,” says Sawhney.Sawhney is particularly excited about a number of just-announced new theme cruises, especially for the Canadian market, where groups are big business.The theme cruises, dubbed the ‘Quintessential Collection’, include: a gardening cruise in May 2019 led by Holly Shimizu, retired Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden; a Sicilian Food & Wine Experience in June and July 2019 with Mary Taylor Simeti, food and travel writer for The New York Times; A Musical Odyssey in the Mediterranean in September 2019; and a World Affairs Cruise – Origins of Greek Civilizations in October 2019 with CNN host Fareed Zakaria.Sawhney notes that interest in expedition cruising is at an all-time high – both with travellers and other cruise lines. “There are a lot of upstarts looking to do expedition cruises,” he says. “Of the 22 new expedition class vessels currently being built, five of those are for Ponant. That shows just how seriously we take this market.”The price points are appropriate for the luxury market but agents should know that Ponant’s lineup also includes $5,000 cruises. He sums up the Ponant experience: “Everything French, everything elegant, everything superb.”For more details see ponant.com.last_img read more

Intrepid Group posts Cdn379 million growth for 2018 another record

first_img Travelweek Group Monday, January 14, 2019 TORONTO — Intrepid Group is reporting its third consecutive year of record growth including a 29% uptick in its North American markets.The multi-brand company announced 17% growth in revenue globally to take the Group to AUD$397 million (about Cdn$379 million) in 2018.Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) came in just shy of $15 million in 2018 with a 25% increase in underlying profitability.Intrepid Group CEO James Thornton says he believes the company’s profit growth is driven by an increasing global demand for sustainable travel and the company’s commitment to having a ‘Purpose Beyond Profit.’Intrepid Group has more than 2,700 trips in 120 countries operated by the Group’s four tour operator brands (Intrepid Travel, Peregrine Adventures, Urban Adventures, Adventure Tours Australia) and is now the world’s largest provider of adventure travel experiences, adds Thornton.The vertically integrated business also includes a global network of local destination management companies, as well as several suppliers which Intrepid Group has a stake in, such as Chimu Adventures. In December, Intrepid Group announced that it will become a seven-continent operator with the launch of a range of charters in Antarctica in partnership with Chimu.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaThornton says this diversification has helped to protect the Group from the highs and lows of world events.“Over the past 30 years we’ve seen many of our favorite places suffer through the lows of natural disasters and we’ve learned how important it is to diversify not only where we go, but also our brands, products and sales regions so that we can cater to all ages, budgets and appetites for adventure,” he says.Last year also saw 60% growth in customer numbers from Urban Adventures and the opening of PEAK DMC Indonesia, the company’s 21st destination management company, he adds.Intrepid Group employs 1,800 staff and leaders in more than 40 offices around the world, with company headquarters in Melbourne. Almost a quarter of the company’s 2018 profits will be paid out to staff in bonuses.In 2018 Intrepid Group also achieved B Corp certification, joining a growing global community of businesses looking beyond the bottom line. Meanwhile The Intrepid Foundation also marked a record year in 2017, raising AUD$1 million (about Cdn$960,000) for local and international charities.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoIntrepid Group is also reporting a record Employee Engagement score of 82% and a record customer feedback score of 4.7 out of 5 for the year.“This year we celebrate Intrepid’s 30-year anniversary and it’s fantastic to be achieving this level of growth. We’re as committed to sustainable travel as we were in the beginning, so the truly inspiring thing for everyone here at Intrepid is just to see that the more we grow, the more we can do. Customers really are looking for businesses to be a force for good.” Tags: Adventure Tours, Intrepid Group, Intrepid Travel, Peregrine Adventures, Urban Adventures Intrepid Group posts Cdn$379 million growth for 2018, another recordcenter_img Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Latest SO hotel slated to open in Mexico hotspot in 2021

first_imgTags: SO/ Los Cabos Hotel & Residences Latest SO/ hotel slated to open in Mexico hotspot in 2021 TORONTO — Accor’s expansion of its luxury portfolio in North America and Central America continues with SO/ Los Cabos Hotel & Residences, scheduled to open at the end of 2021.The new 200-room beachfront hotel will be located on the Baja California Peninsula on Mexico’s Pacific Coast.The new build will be Accor’s first SO/ property in Mexico, and the second in the region. The hotel group says the avant-garde hotel & residences will boast stylish interiors and décor combined with signature services, lively social events, entertainment and unique experiences.“We are proud to expand SO/ Hotels & Resorts in our region and bring our unconventional and exclusive luxury lifestyle brand to Mexico,” says Chris Cahill, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Accor. “SO/ Los Cabos Hotel & Residences will introduce an incredibly bold and exhilarating energy to the Baja California Peninsula, blending the brand’s audacious luxury and services with the heart and soul of the destination. The property will most certainly become an exciting addition to Los Cabos, appealing to chic international luxury travellers and stylish locals.”More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaSO/ Los Cabos Hotel & Residences will offer:Two modern restaurants serving innovative Mexican gastronomyA trendy lounge with outstanding ocean views, surrounded by five swimming poolsOutdoor event spaces with floor-to-ceiling glass windows7,500 square-feet of flexible indoor and outdoor function spaceA SO/ SPA offering bespoke treatments inspired by Mexican beauty ritualsAccess to an 18-hole Nicklaus Design golf course adjacent to the propertyA SO/ FIT fitness centre including a glass-bottom poolIn addition to the upcoming openings of SO/ Havana Paseo del Prado in Havana, Cuba (2020) and SO/ Los Cabos Hotel & Residences (2021) in the North & Central American region, the brand will soon unveil hotels in several locations worldwide including Kuala Lumpur (2020), Samui (2020) and Jakarta (2021.) The SO/ portfolio already includes two properties in Thailand (SO/ Bangkok and SO/ Hua Hin, SO/ Mauritius, SO/ Singapore, SO/ Berlin Das Stue, SO/ Vienna and SO/ St. Petersburg. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Travelweek Group Monday, February 25, 2019 Sharelast_img read more

You wont believe what this man was fined for in Singapore

first_imgYou won’t believe what this man was fined for in Singapore Monday, May 27, 2019 SINGAPORE — If you’ve got clients heading to Singapore, you may want to warn them of the country’s strict litter laws.How strict? An unidentified man was just fined S$300 (approximately Can$295) for shooting two rubber bands that landed on a public road.The National Environment Agency (NEA), which issued the ticket on May 23, accused the man of throwing rubber bands in a public place, an offence under Section 17(1)(A) of the Environmental Public Health Act.“NEA enforcement officers observed a man walking towards his vehicle and shooting two rubber bands, on after the other, into the air,” the agency said as reported by Channel News Asia. “The rubber bands landed on the public road. Our officers thus informed him of the littering offence and issued him an enforcement ticket.”The NEA also added that the man “was cooperative throughout officers’ engagement with him.”This incident comes on the heels of another similar situation in which two men were fined S$300 each for leaving behind beverage cans at Singapore’s Woodlands MRT station.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthAccording to the NEA, “public littering has environmental consequences” and that “keeping our environment clean by not littering is a gracious and socially responsible thing to do.” Posted by Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Globus family of brands announce 10 savings increased sustainability efforts

first_img Travelweek Group Share Tags: Cosmos, Environment, Globus, World Environment Day << Previous PostNext Post >> Globus family of brands announce 10% savings & increased sustainability effortscenter_img Posted by Wednesday, June 5, 2019 TORONTO — Globus and Cosmos are giving agents some extra help to close early sales with a new promotion that includes savings on European and North American tours.When clients book by Nov. 26, 2019, they’ll save 10% on every European and North American Globus itinerary for 2020 (excluding Escapes by Globus).When they book value-brand Cosmos by Oct. 22, 2019, their European and North American tours will be reduced by $50.The offer applies to groups as well as individuals.“This is a great opportunity for agents to pique their clients’ interests for next year while giving them the widest range of choice possible,” said Stéphanie Bishop, managing director for the Globus family of brands in Canada, parent company of Globus and Cosmos.In other Globus news, in celebration of World Environment Day, the company has announced plans to increase sustainability efforts, reduce waste and contribute to ‘The Ocean Cleanup’, a non-profit focused on ridding the world’s oceans of plastics.As part of its efforts, Globus family of brands is encouraging travellers to choose e-documents over printed travel itineraries, prior to their vacations. When they choose the eco-friendly option, the company will donate funds to The Ocean Cleanup.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish Steps“It’s never been more important for companies to take a role in cleaning up our planet while also reducing and recycling waste,” said Scott Nisbet, chief executive officer and president of the Globus family of brands. “Now we’re asking our travellers to join us by favouring electronic travel documents over paper ones. When they do, our planet benefits.”Over five trillion pieces of plastic currently litter the ocean, which, if left to circulate, will impact ecosystems, our health and economies. The Ocean Cleanup has developed advanced technologies to eliminate these plastics, and has plans to cleanup 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years.Pam Hoffee, managing director of Avalon Waterways, part of the Globus family of brands, added that it’s up to river cruise companies to preserve the environment around us. “We have taken great strides to improve monitoring and measurement to reduce our environmental impact, to save water, to limit waste and to foster a sustainability culture among our crew and guests,” she said.More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?As part of these efforts, Avalon’s fleet of Suite Ships use LED lightbulbs, which consume 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and implement propulsion systems that use 20% less fuel than other river cruise ships. The ships also feature upgraded sewage treatment plants that ensure clean water is discharged back into rivers, as well as low-flow toilets and tap flow restrictors to help guests limit water consumption.“In the past two years, we have reduced paper waste by 80%,” said Hoffee. “We’ve done this, in party, by favouring electronic media. For instance, onboard we no longer deliver city maps to staterooms each day, Instead, we encourage our guests to use our new AvalonGO app, while off the ship we prioritize e-brochures over printed brochures. And now, we hope our contributions to The Ocean Cleanup will encourage even more guests to choose e-documents.”For more information go to globusjourneys.com/Globus-Cares/ and theoceancleanup.com.last_img read more

Vehicle restrictions to be suspended Friday for holidays most tolls free starting

first_imgRelated posts:Hotels in Costa Rica expect high occupancy during Easter Holy Week Red Cross concerned about number of violent deaths in first few weeks of January Untapped destinations hope to attract visitors at Expotur Manuel Antonio National Park administration moving to comply with Health Ministry orders A restriction that prohibits vehicles from entering downtown San José on specific days according to the last digit of a license plate will be suspended on Friday and will resume on Monday, April 21, Traffic Police said on Tuesday. That means that all drivers can access the city this Friday.This Friday, April 11, Costa Rica commemorates its national hero, Juan Santamaría, and Easter Holy Week follows. That prompted Traffic Police to launch special operations on the country’s main routes as a large number of vehicles likely will be leaving San José starting Thursday night.“We are trying to facilitate things for many families and groups of friends leaving the capital for traditional vacation destinations outside the Greater Metropolitan Area,” Traffic Police Director Germán Marín said.In that same spirit, the National Roadway Council on Tuesday said that government-run tolls will stop collecting from noon on Holy Thursday (April 17) and will resume on Saturday, April 19 at 6 a.m.Tolls will be free on the General Cañas Highway from San José to Alajuela, on the northern section of the Inter-American Highway in Guanacaste, at Florencio del Castillo Highway between the capital and Cartago, and at the Braulio Carrillo Highway connecting San José with the Caribbean province of Limón.Public Works and Transport Minister Pedro Castro said the ministry decided to suspend toll collection on those highways to facilitate travel to and from tourist destinations across the country.However, toll booths on Route 27, the main highway connecting San José to the Pacific province of Puntarenas, “will operate as normal,” Montserrat Courrau, a spokeswoman for Autopistas del Sol, the private contractor that administers the highway, said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Privatesector employers offer 133 percent salary hike

first_imgLeaders of the Costa Rican Union of Private Sector Chambers and Associations (UCCAEP) on Monday evening presented the National Wages Council with their wage-hike proposal for the private sector. The proposal would change wages for the second half of the year.Employers proposed a wage increase of 1.33 percent, a much smaller amount than the 4.12 percent requested by workers’ unions last week.UCCAEP members at the hearing said their proposal is based on accumulated inflation during the second half 2013 and on estimated inflation forecasts for the second half of this year by Costa Rica’s Central Bank (BCCR).As of May, accumulated inflation was 3.75 percent, according to the BCCR.“We must be aware that the country’s production figures are not growing enough to approve higher salary adjustments,” economist and UCCAEP Director Luis Mesalles said.But the secretary general of the National Association of Public and Private Employees, Albino Vargas, disagreed, saying that employers’ reasoning is “getting too old.”The union leader said negotiations would be a major test for government officials: “If they accept the employers’ arguments, they would contradict recent statements by President Luis Guillermo Solís about fighting inequality in the country,” he said.The proposals will be evaluated by Labor Ministry officials, and on Wednesday members from all three sectors will gather to negotiate an agreement on a final figure that would take effect next month.Records from the Social Security System in April show that 1.3 million employees work in the private sector. But the wage increase is only mandatory for workers earning minimum wage, according to the country’s labor laws. Facebook Comments Related posts:Salary increase for private sector set at 2.35 percent with a little extra for minimum-wage earners Salary increase for private sector set at 2.01 percent Government, private-sector unions negotiate wage hikes for second half of 2015 Private-sector employers offer 0.94 percent wage increase for second half of 2015last_img read more

Only 108 child migrants given US asylum in 2014

first_img Facebook Comments Just 108of the thousands of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the U.S. border have been granted asylum in 2014, in a process that often takes more than a year, members of the U.S. Congress heard on Tuesday.Many more children who entered the country are likely to be provided asylum status later this year, and experts say there are several other avenues through which minors can seek to stay in the country. But the process, especially for asylum-seekers, is cumbersome and slow, contributing to what U.S. President Barack Obama labeled a humanitarian crisis on the southwest border.Since October more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have been apprehended crossing the border, and about three-quarters of them are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — Central American countries where youths are fleeing poverty and gang violence.More than 1,500 child migrants who arrived in the United States without papers or parents applied for asylum in fiscal year 2014, according to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodríguez.But with immigrants usually making their formal asylum requests more than 10 months after first being apprehended, most of those applicants arrived the previous year.“Of the 167 unaccompanied children asylum cases adjudicated on the merits in [Fiscal Year 2014] through the third quarter, 108 have been granted asylum status,” Rodríguez told a House panel.But in a sign of how the process is mired in legal hurdles and delays, only two of those minors granted asylum were apprehended this year, he said.“For those who do apply, the delays in the process are very significant,” Anwen Hughes, a senior counsel at Human Rights First told AFP. “It is taking over a year for asylum applicants to get an initial hearing before the immigration court in some jurisdictions.”Hughes said that nearly half the child migrants are not represented by a lawyer when they appear in immigration court for the first time.Obama is seeking $3.7 billion in emergency funding aimed at boosting the number of immigration judges, improving care for detained minors and deterring illegal immigration.Congress members are likely to trim his request dramatically.Senate Democrats have introduced a $2.7 billion package, but House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled funding pared down to just $659 million.The House plan would tweak a 2008 law targeting child trafficking that expanded legal rights for Central American child migrants, essentially revoking some of those rights to allow for speedier deportations.The Senate bill would not change the 2008 law, which many Republicans blame for fueling the immigration wave.House Speaker John Boehner said he hopes to pass legislation this week, before lawmakers leave town on a five-week recess, but that would require significant compromise between the two chambers before Friday. Related posts:Central American kids risk everything on road to US Obama calls wave of children across US-Mexican border ‘urgent humanitarian situation’ Fix the immigration crisis at its root US to spend $750 million to attack Central America poverty woeslast_img read more

Art City Tour to celebrate halfdecade of GAM Cultural

first_imgFor five years, Art City Tour has been re-introducing Costa Ricans to their own capital. Organized by the arts proponents ofGAM Cultural, the quarterly event is a citywide open house, showcasing a variety of galleries and museums. Let the free shuttle service transport you from one cultural hotspot to another: Visit the colossal Jade Museum, the petite art space TEOR/éTica, and the all-inclusive National Museum, among other exciting venues.At 9 p.m., head to the club El Steinvorth to celebrate GAM Cultural’s fifth anniversary. Expect music, dancing, and lots of fun people at this late-night fiesta. Happy birthday, GAM!Art City Tour takes place in various locations throughout downtown San José. 5 p.m. Free. After party will be held at El Steinvorth’s, downtown San José. 9 p.m. Free. Info: Art City Facebook page. Facebook Comments Related posts:Art City Tour offers free admission to city’s museums Group show ‘Valoarte‘ surprises and impresses at Avenida Escazú ‘Urban Sketchers’ draw San José Artist Justin Griffin-Zúñiga receives first solo show in Costa Ricalast_img read more

Proposed change in pricing model would increase cooking gas costs by 72

first_imgRelated posts:President Solís says proposals to lower record-high fuel prices are not viable Gas prices to go up this week Gasoline prices may drop again in October Gas prices in Costa Rica to remain unchanged through 2015 Costa Rica’s executive branch is criticizing changes to the method used for setting fuel prices as proposed by the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP), arguing the move would increase prices of other products, particularly cooking gas.The proposed change in the calculation formula used for setting fuel prices would lower per-liter prices of gasoline and diesel by up to ₡10, but it would increase the price of cooking gas by 72 percent, along with bunker fuel (35 percent) and asphalt (45 percent), the government claims.ARESEP proposed the elimination of a subsidy included in the prices of gasoline and diesel since 2009 that allowed lower prices for other products. The regulatory agency will present its proposal at a public hearing on Feb. 14.If approved the new calculation formula would apply later that month and increase the price of a 25-pound cylinder of cooking gas by about ₡2,000 ($3.75), from ₡6,410 to ₡8,470 ($11.90 – 15.75).According to ARESEP some 651,000 homes – 55 percent of the country’s households – use cooking gas, and most of them use 25-pound cylinders.The business sector also disapproves of ARESEP’s proposal. Leaders from the Costa Rican Food Industry Chamber on Monday said they are aware that several companies are currently evaluating the relocation of operations to another country if higher prices are approved.The statement from Casa Presidencial asks the Economy Ministry (MEIC) and the Environment Ministry (MINAE) to issue an official position on ARESEP’s proposal.The government expects MEIC to determine the implications of higher propane prices in products and services, and the effects on the population.MINAE officials are expected to address what terms should be considered in setting a new fuel pricing model, in order to comply with policies set by the National Energy Plan outlined by the administration of President Luis Guillermo Solís. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US expat Ann Patton to face fourth murder trial

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica appeal of Patton ‘not guilty’ verdict would have little to stand on, legal experts say Accused serial killer ‘Wild Bill’ Holbert asks forgiveness for murders of U.S. expats Canadian tourist stabbed to death on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast Government announces increased security measures to curb recent crime wave Ann Patton Bender, the widow of U.S. financier John Felix Bender, will face prosecutors who, for the fourth time in seven years, will try to prove that she killed her husband seven years ago.The Prosecutor’s Office this week announced in a news release that on June 23, an Appellate Court “annulled the second acquittal of Anne Maxine Patton, 46, and ordered a new trial.”Patton’s husband was found dead in his bed in Florida de Barú, Pérez Zeledón, with a bullet through the back of his head, on January 8, 2010. His wife was apparently the only person at home with him at the time of his death.Since then, Bender has been through three separate murder trials for intentional homicide, and has served nine months of preventive detention at El Buen Pastor Prison.She also had her jewels confiscated as evidence in a jewel smuggling case, lost her estate and nature reserve in the Southern Zone, and barely made it out of Costa Rica after she was acquitted at her third trial in September 2015.At that time, legal experts consulted by The Tico Times expressed doubt that prosecutors would seek, or would be granted, a new trial for a person who had already been acquitted twice for the same crime. While there is no prohibition against double jeopardy in Costa Rican law, the Constitutional Chamber of the country’s Supreme Court has called for a “reasonable limit” on prosecutors’ ability to appeal rulings with which it does not agree.In yesterday’s news release, the Prosecutor’s Office reported that the appellate judges ruled that Patton’s last acquittal “was not well-founded, as there was an inadequate analysis of the evidence provided during the trial.”The court, however, did not disclose the date for the new trial, which will be announced by a Criminal Court in Pérez Zeledón.Read The Tico Times coverage of Ann Patton Bender’s case here. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Groups investigate Rwandas Kagame for war crimes

first_img Top Stories Protestors outside the International Criminal Court Friday seemed most concerned with Kagame’s possible involvement in events of the 1990s, especially leading up to and after the 1994 genocide. But the ICC would only have jurisdiction over any war crimes he committed after the court came into being in 2002.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day AMSTERDAM (AP) – Rwandan and Congolese groups opposed to Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s rule asked the International Criminal Court on Friday to investigate him for war crimes for allegedly backing rebel groups in eastern Congo.A small group gathered outside the court in The Hague, Netherlands, with banners reading “Kagame Assassin,” and “Freedom for Congo.”The gesture is mostly symbolic, as it is up to Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate Kagame. She is already probing members of the M23 rebel group in eastern Congo that formed this April with alleged ties to his regime across the border. Kagame denies involvement. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology The move was in part self-defense as U.N. and Western powers failed to act while the “genocidaires” used the cover of massive refugee camps to arm themselves and make incursions into Rwanda.Remnants of the genociders in Congo formed the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, which has become part of a never-ending cycle of violence in eastern Congo. Kagame’s government fears they could one day invade Rwanda.In response, Kagame first orchestrated a rebellion of Congolese Tutsis led by Rwandan soldiers that toppled Congo’s longtime dictatorship and precipitated back-to-back civil wars that drew in the armies of eight African nations in a scramble for Congo’s massive mineral resources. Some 5 million people died before the war ended in 2003.After Rwandan troops withdrew under international pressure, Kagame turned to proxies, supporting a Congolese Tutsi-led rebellion that engulfed east Congo in 2008. To end that insurgency, Congo’s President Joseph Kabila signed a pact allowing the rebels to integrate into the army and for Rwandan troops to come into Congo for three months to again hunt down the FDLR.The mutinying soldiers who began this year’s insurgency were once part of the 2008 rebellion. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The vital role family plays in society Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Christopher Black, a lawyer for the groups that want Kagame investigated, said Friday that Bensouda need only turn to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to launch a case against Kagame, asserting it has a “mountain” of evidence against him in its archives. Kagame has been an important military leader in Rwanda since 1990 and its president since 2000.The U.N.-backed Rwanda tribunal, based in Tanzania, never pressed charges against Kagame, long seen as key ally for Western powers in central Africa.But Friday’s demand for action follows a report issued by the U.N. in July that accused high-ranking Rwandan officials of helping to create, arm and support the current M23 rebellion within Congo.A bipartisan group of U.S. legislators on Aug. 3 also sent a strongly worded letter to Kagame saying they are “absolutely convinced that Rwanda is involved in supporting the unrest” in eastern Congo.Several Western countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, have suspended some aid to Rwanda as a result.Kagame, an ethnic Tutsi, has a history of intervention in eastern Congo. Rwanda first invaded its neighbor to the west in 1996, pursuing Rwandan Hutus who fled after committing the 1994 Rwandan genocide of some 800,000 Tutsis. It took Kagame a year to admit that his troops had invaded eastern Congo.last_img read more

No Chavez running mate in Venezuela despite cancer

first_imgAssociated PressCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – When he takes the stage at campaign rallies, Hugo Chavez stands alone.Under Venezuela’s election system, presidential hopefuls don’t choose running mates, and that raises few eyebrows in normal years.But this has not been a normal year. President Chavez has been fighting a mysterious cancer, and the lack of a prospective No. 2 has left voters wondering who in fact would take over were Chavez to win next month’s elections but be forced to leave office prematurely. Top Stories Some say identifying a vice president now could cause divisions within Chavez’s movement by favoring one faction over another.And because none of Chavez’s possible vice presidential candidates have anywhere near his popularity, choosing one might alienate some sectors within his movement or prove less appealing to voters still on the fence.“He is aware that if he appoints the VP (ahead of the vote), that would trigger divisions and increase uncertainties,” said Diego Moya-Ocampos, an analyst with the consulting firm IHS Global Insight in London.Capriles has not named a likely vice president either, though the issue is less pressing because there are no questions about the 40-year-old’s health.“Capriles, like Chavez wants to make this a contest between the two figures,” said Miguel Tinker Salas, a Latin American studies professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California. For both candidates, he said, to name a vice president now “would detract from this strategy.”Under Chavez, the vice presidency has been an office of limited authority. In fact, the country’s constitution doesn’t even specify how soon a president must name a vice president after winning office. Chavez has delegated little to his vice presidents over the years, instead using his deputy as one in a team of aides who largely carry out his instructions. Even when he was forced to scale back his work due to taxing cancer treatments in Cuba, Chavez delegated only minimal administrative duties to current Vice President Elias Jaua, whom he appointed in 2010, the seventh man to hold that post during the socialist leader’s 13 years in office.Venezuela’s Constitution says that if a president-elect dies before taking office, new elections would be called. If a president dies during the first four years of the term, the vice president would temporarily take over, but a new election would be held. If a president dies during the last two years of the six-year term, the vice president would finish the term and the next election would be held as planned.In most South American countries vice presidents are elected at the same time as the top of the ticket. In Chile, however, presidential candidates run for office alone, but once in office name an interior minister who serves as vice president when necessary.As for which ally Chavez might pick as his deputy if re-elected, speculation in recent months has ranged widely across figures such as Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello. Patients with chronic pain give advice Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Nearly alone among South American nations, Venezuelan law leaves designation of a vice president until after the new leader is sworn in. It did not even have a vice president until 1999, when the office was created in a new constitution promoted by Chavez.Campaigning against youthful challenger Henrique Capriles, Chavez seldom mentions his health problems, which over the past 15 months have required frequent trips to Cuba for three surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. When asked about his health last week, Chavez said his last checkup in June showed he was cancer-free and “everything will be fine.”Still, even some loyal Chavez supporters who plan to vote for him on Oct. 7 acknowledge feeling uneasy about the uncertainty.“Who would take his place? Nobody knows, and that’s makes me worry,” said Maria Lovera, a street vendor selling household cleaning supplies on a street corner.“I love Chavez and I want him to remain in power for many more years, but I must confess that some people like me have suspicions that he hasn’t told us the whole truth about his cancer,” Lovera said. “The possibility of him getting sick again and having to step down exists.” Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Throughout his presidency, Chavez’s closest confidants have been characterized by their lack of an independent following, a relative lack of charisma and military-like allegiance to their leader, a former army paratroop commander.Moya-Ocampos said the vice-presidential mystery is by design. By saving any talk of his choice for later, he said, Chavez aims to send a simple message, “that there is no clear successor.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Mexico fines firefighters others for bear abuse

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The 3 1/2-year-old female bear caught this week on the outskirts of Zaragoza, a city in the northern border state of Coahuila, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas, is recovering from mouth and paw wounds suffered after being caught by local people and turned over to volunteer firefighters and civil defense workers.It was the emergency workers who decided to “celebrate” the catch with a photo that someone later distributed on social media sites showing the helpless, bloody-mouthed bear being spread-eagled by ropes tied to each of its paws. One man was pulling its ears.“This is outrageous,” Environment Secretary Juan Elvira Quesada said. “We are going to go after these people with all the force of the law.”Javier de Jesus Rodriguez, the environmental crimes prosecutor for Coahuila state, said the local volunteer fire department and civil defense office were each fined 15,000 pesos ($1,170). He said the fine “for mistreating an animal” was levied collectively, rather than on individuals.“Obviously, it was low, because physically the animal is in good shape,” he said.Rodriguez said the government released the bear back into the surrounding mountains Friday, near where she had been captured in the foothills of the Sierra de la Burra mountain, an area known for its large bear population. “Today, she was in good spirits,” he said. Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressMEXICO CITY (AP) – A photograph showing firefighters and civil defense personnel holding down a young, bound bear spread-eagled and pulling its ears has sparked outrage in Mexico and brought down fines Friday on those involved.Black bears are bouncing back in Mexico after being hunted to near-extinction 40 years ago. And after two years of drought, forest fires and hot weather are causing larger numbers to wander into populated areas, where they face traditions of brutal bear capture and baiting left over from the old days. “The residents were the ones who tied up the bear this way. The civil defense and firefighters showed up and, instead of helping, they joined them … and that’s where they committed their error, by taking pictures with the bear and allowing it to continue to be tied up,” Rodriguez said.Mistreatment of bears is a not-uncommon problem in Mexico, said Manuel Muzquiz, chief inspector of wildlife and parks for Nuevo Leon, another northern border state.“This is a situation that happens on a lot of communal farms. We get reports of people capturing these animals, and because they have no equipment to capture them, they lasso them and tie them up, like they did in this case,” Muzquiz said.Muzquiz, a biologist, said 2012 has been a peak year for bear incursions in Nuevo Leon, which is home to Mexico’s third-largest city, Monterrey. He said about three dozen bear incursions have required official response so far this year.He said the main reason more bears are wandering into urban areas is a series of unusually dry, hot years and forest fires.“There really has been a change in the climate,” he added. “The hot season has become a lot longer.” Comments   Share   Top holiday drink recipescenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Rodriguez said the same appears to be true for Coahuila state.“There is a tremendous drought, and for that reason the bears come down out of the mountains, looking for sources of food and water.”Once found well into north-central Mexico, black bears were hunted out of about 80 percent of their original habitat in Mexico in the last half of the 20th century. Declared a protected species in 1994, the bears have rebounded, especially in extreme northern Mexico near the U.S. border, though estimates of their total numbers are still being studied.Fernando Cortes, a veterinarian and bear specialist for the federal Environment Department, said that during field worker, he and others “have seen a lot more bears.”While studies on total bear population levels in Mexico are still being carried out, Cortes says “we have data that suggest the bear populations are recovering.”“In some cities in the north, we have been having bear sightings, something that wasn’t common years ago,” Cortes said.He said another reason for the rising number of bear encounters could be due to the expansion of human settlements into bear habitats.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories last_img read more

Australia to host 2 US space surveillance systems

first_img Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Check your body, save your life Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   center_img Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith announced they also plan to relocate a Space Surveillance Telescope from New Mexico to an as-yet undecided location in Western Australia.Panetta described the relocation as “a major leap forward in bilateral space cooperation.”Together the radar and telescope will provide accurate tracking and identification of objects in space such as satellites and debris. The radar will be delivered in 2014 at the site of a former U.S. Navy communications base.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressPERTH, Australia (AP) – Australia will host two U.S. space surveillance systems as part of closer military ties agreed to Wednesday at a bilateral security summit.The new cooperation on space is one of a string of enhanced engagements agreed on at an annual summit attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and their Australian counterparts.The two militaries have agreed that Australia will operate a U.S. Air Force C-band ground-based radar system near the northwestern town of Exmouth. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

AlQaida in Iraq calls on Egyptians to fight army

first_img The vital role family plays in society 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   CAIRO (AP) – A leader of al-Qaida’s Iraqi branch called Saturday on Egyptians to fight their army and derided the Muslim Brotherhood as “evil” for seeking power through democracy.The audio message by Abu Mohammed al-Adnani highlights the militant movement’s attempt to use Egypt’s July 3 coup, which toppled the country’s first freely elected president, to bolster a hard-line ideology favoring armed struggle over peaceful politics. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories He described the militaries of Arab states as “armies of the oppressors,” “renegades” and “infidels,” especially the Egyptian army “which tries to prevent God’s rule and establish secular rules.”He said 2011’s Arab Spring uprisings went astray by focusing on rallies, rather than armed struggle.“Muslims who came out unarmed to remove injustice missed their way when they thought that redemption is achieved by getting rid of rulers and that change comes through demonstrations,” he said.He said dignity and freedom from oppression “can only be achieved through the rattle of the swords, shedding blood and sacrifice of life,” he said.He told Brotherhood members: “You have suffered yourselves from the reality of democracy and the loss of your power that you have sought for a century when the army snatched your power within one night and left you either arrested, dead or homeless.”(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober In the 32-minute audio, al-Adnani derided the Brotherhood, from which ousted President Mohammed Morsi hails, as “a secular party with an Islamic cloak, worshipping power and parliaments, and their jihad is for democracy and not for God’s sake.”It is “more evil and malevolent than the secularists, and if seizing power necessitates bowing to the Devil, they will bow without hesitation,” he said.Al-Adnani is official spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is battling Baghdad’s Shiite-led government. The audio could not be independently verified but appeared on a website commonly used by militants.The Egyptian army overthrew Morsi after millions took to the streets demanding his removal. On Aug. 14 the military-backed government moved to break up sit-ins of his supporters, leaving hundreds dead.The Brotherhood has called for protests that it said should be non-violent, although some have turned into clashes with police or civilians. The Aug. 14 crackdown also sparked retaliatory attacks against churches and government buildings as well as a flare-up in the insurgency waged by militants in the Sinai Peninsula.Al-Adnani called on Egyptians, Syrians and Iraqis to “renounce peaceful calls and to carry weapons and join jihad for the sake of God … We advise those in the Egyptian army to repent and to defect.” 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

China says work on charter for Asian bank completed

first_img Comments   Share   BEIJING (AP) — Negotiators from 57 governments completed work Friday on a charter for a Chinese-led Asian regional bank that is to be signed in late June, the Chinese finance ministry said.Beijing’s proposal for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank attracted unexpected widespread support from Western governments including Britain, New Zealand and France despite U.S. opposition. Washington and its ally Japan have refrained from seeking membership. Agreement on the charter followed a three-day meeting in Singapore of envoys from proposed member governments, the finance ministry statement said. Other nations that have expressed interest in joining include India, Germany and Thailand.Friday’s statement gave no details of the charter, including whether Beijing will have veto power over lending or other special status or how environmental and other standards on lending will be enforced. The finance ministry did not respond to a request for additional details.The bank is intended to finance investments in railways, cargo ports and other trade links. Beijing has pledged to put up most of its initial $50 billion in capital and says that total will rise to $100 billion.The U.S. government had objected that the bank would undercut existing institutions such as the World Bank and might allow looser lending standards.The Chinese finance minister, Lou Jiwei, tried to ease such concern in March by saying in comments reported by the official Xinhua News Agency that the bank would reinforce established institutions and “vigorously push forward the global economy.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Check your body, save your life New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 A woman takes a souvenir photo for her friend posing with a 3-D painting of a vault loaded with piles of 100 Chinese yuan (US$16.17) notes at a shopping mall in Beijing, China Friday, May 22, 2015. Negotiators from 57 governments completed work Friday on a charter for a Chinese-led Asian regional bank and it is due to be signed in late June, the Chinese finance ministry said. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Russia declares US foundation undesirable under new law

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Its head, Igor Kalyapin, told reporters Tuesday they have set up a new head office that won’t accept foreign funding, thus being able to dodge the listing of “foreign agent.”His associates have also founded six other NGOs, which will receive foreign funding, to carry out the actual work — but in a clandestine manner.“All of these organizations will be not be publicizing their work because any publicity, an interview, any mention of such an organization in the media will be treated by the justice ministry and prosecutors as political activities,” thus exposing them to danger, Kalyapin said.In June, the group’s office in Chechnya was attacked by masked men armed with crowbars who bashed their way into the group’s office, sending its staff fleeing.Kalyapin said roughly half of their 44 million ruble ($730,000) budget came from foreign funding last year. Some of their donors are shutting down their operations in Russia, like the MacArthur Foundation, and some are considering leaving. The recent registration of the new six NGOs and their formal lack of background could make it difficult for them to attract some foreign funding this year, Kalyapin said. Patients with chronic pain give advice Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall MOSCOW (AP) — Russian prosecutors on Tuesday moved to outlaw a prominent U.S. foundation, for the first time taking advantage of a new law designed to shut foreign groups deemed hostile to national interests amid a showdown with the West over Ukraine.The Prosecutor General’s office issued a statement describing the National Endowment for Democracy as a threat to “the foundations of Russia’s constitutional order, its defense capability and security” and declaring its activities “undesirable.” Igor Kalyapin, head of Russia’s Committee Against Torture gestures during a press conference in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 28, 2015. A prominent Russian human rights group says it is closing down its operations because of a repressive law but says it has come up with an elaborate scheme to continue its work. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) Comments   Share   Top Stories NED described the move as part of Russian government efforts “to intimidate and isolate Russian citizens.”After receiving a formal approval by the Justice Ministry, the move would prevent the Congress-funded NED from distributing any grants and having offices in Russia.The prosecutors’ action followed recent approval of a new law that empowered prosecutors to shut down foreign groups purportedly threatening Russia’s defense or constitutional order.“The law on undesirable organizations is the latest in a series of highly restrictive laws that limit the freedom of Russian citizens,” NED said in a statement. “This law, as well as its predecessors, contravenes Russia’s own constitution as well as numerous international laws and treaties.”An earlier law required non-governmental organizations that receive funding from abroad and are engaged in loosely-defined “political activities” to register as “foreign agents.” NGOs have protested that law as discriminatory, saying that it aims to erode their credibility by evoking associations with spies.The Committee against Torture, a prominent rights group that has documented torture in Russia for 15 years and provided legal advice for victims, said it is closing down this week because of the law, but has come with a plan to continue its activities in a new form. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Royal Brunei to expand with Sydney Melbourne

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1a831/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) is reportedly set to expand, with prospective plans to revive flights to and from Sydney and add Melbourne to its network.According to reports, the expansion will also involve a fleet update and comes as new chief executive Robert Yang takes the reins.The carrier’s ageing B767 fleet will be replaced with new B777s by mid-2010 and 787 Dreamliners by late 2013 and 737-800s from 2011.  Royal Brunei could also potentially be back in Sydney and Melbourne by 2011.e-Travel Blackboard attempted to contact Royal Brunei for comment but they were unreachable as of publication.last_img read more

BA cabin crew wont strike over Easter holidays

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2341a/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X As a threat by the British Airways cabin crew continues to loom, union members have ruled out striking over the Easter after their planned Christmas strike was blocked by a court junction.Unite the union, who represents the majority of British Airway cabin crew, has last week announced plans to re-ballot for further industrial action, but even if a strike goes ahead it will not take place over Easter.This news comes after reports of British Airways moving to fast-track plans for training other British Airways staff, like ground handlers and check-in staff, to work as stewards.Several British news outlets have reported British Airways informing staff with no flying experience that they could potentially become a strike-breaking workforce within the next 21 days.last_img read more