Members can earn 4X the bonus miles with ParkN Fly

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: Aeroplan, Park’N Fly Tuesday, February 7, 2017 Posted by Tweetcenter_img MISSISSAUGA — Park’N Fly has a new promotion for Aeroplan members. Valid until the end of March, Aeroplan members can earn 4X the points when they stay at Park’N Fly Self-Park locations in Ottawa and Edmonton and earn 2X the points at one of Park’N Fly’s Valet locations in Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.Members must present promotional code PF88 at the participating Self Park locations and promotional code PF89 at participating Valet locations to receive bonus miles. A minimum four-day stay is required.This bonus mile promotion is in addition to the regular miles Aeroplan members earn when they stay at Park’N Fly. Members earn 100 base Aeroplan Miles for every Valet stay in Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver, and 50 base Aeroplan Miles for every Self Park stay in Edmonton, Ottawa, Halifax and Toronto.Park’N Fly Rewards Member also earn 50% more Aeroplan Miles each time they use their Park’N Fly Rewards card.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backVisit for information. Members can earn 4X the bonus miles with Park’N Fly << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

What Canadians need to know about Trumps travel ban

first_img Share Tuesday, June 27, 2017 The Canadian Press Tags: Donald Trump What Canadians need to know about Trump’s travel bancenter_img Posted by OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is waiting for more details on a U-S Supreme Court decision to partially reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on travellers from six mainly Muslim countries.But a spokesman for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said dual nationals from the affected countries travelling on Canadian passports will not be subject to the restrictions.He adds Canadian permanent residents from the six designated countries who have valid resident cards and valid U.S. visas, and are deemed eligible by U.S. border authorities to enter the U.S., would not be denied entry.The government is advising all people planning travel to the U.S. to verify admission requirements ahead of time.The federal New Democrats, meanwhile, criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for refusing to personally speak out against the ban.The U.S. high court decision is a political victory for Trump after two lower appeal courts overturned his earlier attempts at imposing a ban.The court said the ban can be enforced on travellers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen if they lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”More news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedThe U.S. high court said it would hear full arguments in October on the ban. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Hawaii looking to increase accommodation tax

first_img Tuesday, July 11, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Hawaii looking to increase accommodation tax Tags: Hawaii Share WAILUKU, Hawaii — Hawaii Gov. David Ige expressed support for raising the state’s transient accommodations tax by 1 per cent while maintaining the counties’ share of hotel room taxes at $93 million.Ige said Friday he opposed a 2.75 percentage point increase in the transient accommodations tax, or hotel room tax, that had been proposed by House and Senate money committees in late April, shortly before the end of this year’s lawmaking session.The governor said a 2.75 percentage point increase – from 9.25 per cent to 12 per cent, bringing in another $1.3 billion over 10 years – would be “too big a burden to be borne by the visitor industry.”Instead, Ige said a 1 percentage point increase would “be a reasonable increase, especially if it’s for a specific period of time and would go toward helping to fund the transit project.”Ige’s comments came the same day lawmakers announced a special session to address rail funding would be held Aug. 28 to Sept. 1.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulySenate President Ronald Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki have assured the Federal Transit Administration they intend to hold a special session to resolve the funding crisis for rail, which has had its cost estimate skyrocket from $5.2 billion a few years ago to the current estimate of $10 billion, the Maui News reported.Ige said something needs to be done for rail to move forward.“Ultimately, it is clear that additional funds are needed and so certainly a contribution from the transient accommodations tax for a period of time certainly is something that I would be open to consider,” he said.When asked what he believes would be an appropriate allocation of hotel room tax funds for the state’s four main counties, which saw their share fall from $103 million to $93 million this year, Ige said he believes the lower amount is “fair.”County officials have been adamant that the counties deserve a greater share of the hotel room tax revenue.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsMaui County Council Chairman Mike White has argued from 2007 to 2015 counties have incurred more than $170 million in additional costs for parks and fire and police services. However, in that time period, the counties have received only another $2.2 million in room tax revenue, while the state has taken in an increased portion of $196.6 million. Source: The Associated Presslast_img read more

Judge rejects gay couples domestic partnership

first_imgA family court judge in San José has rejected a gay domestic partnership application in the first legal test of Costa Rica’s controversial reform to the Young Person Law.Alberto González and Lorenzo Serrano discovered in July that San José Family Court Judge Jorge Arturo Marchena Rosabel had rejected their petition for a legally recognized domestic partnership. The two young men have been a couple for seven years and have lived together for six-and-half years.“We knew that the result could be positive or negative. Honestly, because of the Young Person Law we thought it would go through but there you have it, it didn’t happen,” González told The Tico Times Friday.The couple’s lawyer, Marco Castillo, president of LGBT organization Diversity Movement, said that they had already appealed the judge’s decision and are waiting for a response. The Supreme Tribunal of the Family Courts will hear the appeal.“We’re hopeful that the Family Court will resolve the matter favorably and that we hope we can move forward with this law because the law is clear,” Castillo told The Tico Times. González and Serrano were one of several couples who applied for a same-sex domestic partnership on July 9, following the approval of a reform to the Young Person Law. The amendment states that common-law marriages shall be granted without “discrimination contrary to human dignity.” Under Costa Rican law, two people must live together for at least three years and provide witnesses who can testify to their relationship. Domestic partnerships are not the same as marriage under Costa Rican law but do provide some of the same benefits as marriage, including hospital visitation, inheritance rights and insurance coverage.Judge Marchena said in his ruling that it was a “legally impossible” in Costa Rica for two people of the same sex to be married or share in a domestic partnership, according to the ruling as provided by Castillo to The Tico Times.Marchena’s ruling goes on to argue that the current law will not support gay domestic partnerships because the relationship cannot result in marriage. In his ruling, the judge cites Family Code Article 14, section 6, which says marriage cannot happen between two people of the same sex; and Article 242, which says domestic partnerships are only between a man and a woman.Castillo’s appeal argues that the ruling confuses domestic partnerships with marriage, asserting that the two are mutually exclusive legal relationships.The lawyer pointed out that there was no reason to believe that this decision would set a precedent for the other eight cases he was aware of pending across Costa Rica for same-sex domestic partnership benefits.González told The Tico Times that he was disappointed with the result but was already looking forward to the next step.This weekend, volunteers with the Front for Equal Rights will start collecting signatures outside San José for its petition to legalize gay marriage in Costa Rica. Advocates will be in Limón, Heredia, Cartago, as well as San José.“Even if the judge had accepted the documents we wouldn’t have stopped there,” González said.  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Parrita becomes Costa Ricas 65th municipality to ban GMO crops

first_imgNo related posts. The municipality of Parrita, on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, unanimously approved on Nov. 7 a ban on the planting of genetically modified crops. The ordinance was officially ratified and went into effect on Monday.Parrita is the 65th municipality to pass an ordinance banning GMOs in some form, and only 16 municipal governments in Costa Rica do not have such bans. While many environmental groups have declared that Costa Rica is almost completely GMO-free, without a national law, the ordinances are almost entirely unenforceable. GMO projects already approved by the country’s Agriculture and Livestock Ministry are allowed to continue even in areas with active bans.Lawmakers are in the process of drafting a national moratorium bill for GMO projects that would halt future genetic modification plans. In June, the Ombudsman’s Office brought a case before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court that could result in a complete constitutional ban of all GMO crops in the country.   Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Snuba comes to Costa Rica

first_imgIn the waters surrounding Catalina Island off the northern Pacific coast, divers can encounter giant schools of neon-colored fish, octopi, manta rays and even sharks. Most who have seen sea life like this in the wild has done so with a giant tank strapped to their backs, a wet suit squeezing their limbs and hours of training under their belts. But a new dive shop near Tamarindo is now offering an easier way to get under the water: snuba diving.Blending the ease and safety of snorekeling with the below-the-surface exploration of scuba diving, snuba divers can reach depths of 25-30 feet while breathing from long hoses attached to oxygen tanks at the surface. Though the word snuba sounds like a fusion of snorkel and scuba, snuba is actually its own acronym, standing for surface nexus underwater breathing apparatus. Snuba has been around for about 20 years, but this month SNUBA Costa Rica opened its doors, becoming the first SNUBA operator in Costa Rica. “We are definitely excited about being in Costa Rica,” said Kyle Mayfield, SNUBA’s director of water operations and safety. Like so many before him, Michael Wunderlich came to Costa Rica and fell in love with scuba diving. He was already an experienced diver, but during his first dive off Costa Rica’s shores he swam with giant manta rays. On ever dive after, he saw just as many incredible creatures.“I decided I was going to stay here and try to make a living in the water,” he said.Wunderlich had tried snuba in Hawaii and, after some research, decided to open a snuba franchise. He convinced his Costa Rican partner, Paula Saenz, to join the project and the two moved out to the Tamarindo area in the northwestern province of Guanacaste last December. After months of practice runs, the co-owners began taking customers out last week.Unlike scuba diving, snuba requires no training or experience. Anyone eight years or older who knows how to swim can do it.“If you can snorkel you can snuba,” Wunderlich said. “If you are 90 years old and have the spirit to do snuba, you can do it.”In the 20 years since its invention, snuba divers have never reported a serious dive-related injury. The depth limits in snuba eliminate the most dangerous risks associated with diving, like the decompression sickness and lung expansion. Divers do not exceed one bar of pressure while underwater, making the sport about as safe as walking on land.SNUBA Costa Rica is a full dive shop, also offering scuba and snorkeling so families with different dive preferences can still dive together. Rafts floating on the surface provide oxygen to snuba divers. Lindsay Fendtcenter_img Going there: All of SNUBA Costa Rica’s dives leave from Playa Flamingo, a 20-minute drive north of Tamarindo and an hour drive from the Liberia airport. Tours include transportation to and from Tamarindo. A one-tank snuba dive is $95 per person and a two-tank dive is $135 per person.Phone: 8523-3649, 8864-0742Website: Facebook Comments Related posts:Fine Diving Reported on Both Coasts Diving Conditions Good All Over Condominium “Village” Offers Water Sports, Diving, Fishing, Beaches and Other Amenities Spinning sea creature sings our tunelast_img read more

Costa Rica reels in tuna fishermen with tighter regulations

first_imgRelated posts:Tuna company, fishermen and environmental groups squabble over unpublished fishing decree Costa Rica’s dolphin-safe tuna designation under scrutiny Solís signs tuna fishing decree, but will it help Costa Rica’s oceans? Winners of Costa Rica Fishackathon create tool to help track fuel subsidies for fishing President Laura Chinchilla announced new, stricter tuna fishing rules during her opening remarks at the Fourth Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop in Playa Herradura, on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, on Monday.The new regulations require operators of fishing vessels to show proof that they are aware of Costa Rican laws banning the use of Fish Aggregating Devices, known as FADs. Critics suggest that FADs contribute to overfishing by concentrating large groups of tuna and other fish in the same area.International fishing boats will need to recognize the authority of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and provide Costa Rican authorities with the methods they used to fish tuna during the previous year.“In Costa Rica we have implemented a set of national policies, and I’m convinced that in the next few years Costa Rica will be an international example of marine biodiversity protection,” said Chinchilla, according to a statement from her office.Costa Rica is the first country in the Americas to host the GFETW. The international workshop was organized by the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry, Costa Rican Fisheries Institute, and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Organization of the Central American Isthmus. It has drawn support from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, and lasts from Monday through Friday, Feb. 21. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

López Guatemalas 1st billionaire beating Slim with Tigo Mobile

first_imgRelated posts:2 Costa Rican business groups among Central America’s most influential, says Forbes México Pioneering Costa Rica’s solar push in the Central Valley: Alajuela’s Llobet and Sons Nicaraguan coffee farmers seek creative solutions to drought, climate change Six years later, what impact has CAFTA had on Costa Rica? When Mario López Estrada was head of Guatemala’s state telecommunications monopoly in the 1980s, making a phone call in the war-ravaged Central American nation was a hopeless endeavor.Most cities didn’t have a single working phone. Switchboards were overloaded amid one of the lowest penetrations in Latin America, at 1.5 lines per 100 inhabitants. Getting a fixed line could take years, prompting businesses to abandon phones for two-way radios. López saw an opening.“No one believed in cellphones back then,” he said in an interview at his office in Guatemala City. “It seemed like a good opportunity, but no one had a clue it would reach this level. No one.”Almost three decades later, Guatemala ranks No. 1 globally in mobile network coverage, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. Mobile phones outnumber human beings and López’s stake in Tigo Guatemala, the country’s biggest mobile phone service with 54 percent market share, has made him the country’s first billionaire.López’s self-made fortune is noteworthy in a region where most wealth is inherited and divided between family members. Guatemala has an annual per-capita income of $5,300, about half the average in Latin America, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.“In Guatemala, there is no other large capital that was so quickly forged,” Juan Luis Bosch, co-president of Corporacion Multi Inversiones, said of López. Bosch oversees a family-run empire started in 1911 by his grandfather, which invested $500 million last year to buy a stake in the Central America operations of Telefonica SA.López left his communications minister post under President Vinicio Cerezo as the government granted a 20-year concession to Comunicaciones Celulares in what was an early step in the country’s effort to privatize its phone operations. Comcel was handed a monopoly in exchange for sharing profits with the government.López bought his first stake in Comcel in 1993 and increased his ownership to 45 percent after several share purchases. The company held its monopoly position until 1999 when Telgua, owned by billionaire Carlos Slim’s América Móvil, and Madrid-based Telefónica entered the market.“López was in the right place at the right time — much like Carlos Slim,” said Fernando López, president of Guatemala’s Chamber of Industries.The former public servant’s stake in Tigo is valued at about $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, based on the average enterprise value-to-Ebitda and price-to- book value multiples of three publicly traded peers: Telefónica, América Móvil SAB de CV and Portugal Telecom SGPS SA. He could become even richer if his partner, Millicom International Cellular SA, buys him out.In a two-year put-and-call option agreement that Millicom and López struck in January, Millicom has the option to buy his stake for $1.8 billion. López said the backing of Millicom, which operates throughout Latin America and Africa, was essential in cementing his fortune.“I am somewhat affluent,” López said, before letting out a gleeful laugh inside the high walls of his guarded office building. “What’s important is to not stay in the comfort zone.”López backed a law passed in April that limited the power of local governments to block the construction of data transmitters. Guatemala’s Chamber of Industries and local newspaper El Periódico said an article in the bill favors Comcel over smaller competitors. Companies applying for the permits are asked to have 6,000 kilometers of cable already installed. López says the law doesn’t favor his company.Comcel’s monthly smartphone sales have surged sevenfold from a year ago to 150,000, fueled by a Twitter campaign that encourages Guatemalans to abandon their no-frills mobile phones. These “frijolitos,” or “little beans,” cost as little as a shot of rum at the local bar.“You have to constantly innovate,” he said, standing before one of the bronze sculptures by Mexican artist Javier Marín that adorn his office. “If not, you’re left behind.”López doesn’t see his growth stopping at telephony. He plans to invest in a solar power project and to put $200 million into a mall and office tower development in Asunción, Paraguay, which will house Brazilian lender Banco Itau. He is also considering wind power investments in Guatemala and solar in Ecuador.“Everything is already taken in the big countries,” he said.López, who has a minority stake in local newspaper Prensa Libre, also wants to start a bank. Comcel charges a fee for money transfers using mobile phones that can be withdrawn at Tigo offices, and offers minutes on credit interest-free. His Fundación Tigo helped wire money for food supplies in parts of rural Guatemala to fight malnutrition last year.López says he has no further interest in pursuing a political career like his grandfather, Manuel Estrada Cabrera, a dictator who ruled Guatemala for 22 years before he was overthrown in a 1920 armed revolt.“You have more possibilities to grow in the private sector,” López said. “You can always have more power than bureaucrats.”López declined to reveal his age in a two-hour interview. Instead, he offered his thoughts on aging.“Youth, much like the spring, is overvalued,” he said, flanked by miniature models of his helicopter and jet plane. “They both bring many flowers, but also thorns. In maturity, there may not be so many flowers, but there are many fruits.”© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Situación sentimental:— Tigo Guatemala (@Tigo_GT) June 12, 2014last_img read more

Costa Rica recalls its ambassador to Venezuela after proMaduro statements

first_imgWhen representing the Switzerland of Central America in the midst of a major diplomatic battle between powers to the north and south of you, it may be best to keep your mouth shut.Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister Manuel González announced Wednesday afternoon that he was dismissing the country’s ambassador to Venezuela, Federico Picado Gómez. Picado found himself in hot water this week after voicing support for the Venezuelan government in an interview published in the daily La Nación.González said Picado violated protocol by not asking permission from the Foreign Ministry to do the interview. Still, the minister said in a statement that Picado “is an excellent professional and political analyst with wide knowledge of international affairs and recognized personal virtues.”Picado’s trouble began Sunday when La Nación published his emailed responses to questions from one of its reporters. Picado wrote that he observed a free press in Venezuela, and he blamed the country’s high inflation and shortage of basic goods on plunging petroleum prices and political maneuvers by “big business” looking to destabilize the Venezuelan government.The diplomat also said he thought Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was right to ask for, and receive, extraordinary powers to bypass the country’s legislature in order to respond to U.S. President Barack Obama’s declaration of a “national emergency” to deal with the “threat” of Venezuela.In the wake of the interview, reporters questioned Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís about the appropriateness of Picado’s statements. They also questioned Solis’ appointment of Ambassador Picado, who studied in the former Soviet Union and has previously written admiringly of the vast socialist makeover initiated in Venezuela by former President Hugo Chávez.Solís mostly defended his ambassador during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.“One doesn’t have to be neutral to be an ambassador,” Solís told reporters. He said ambassadors should be chosen based on their diplomatic talents, not their political ideology.Still, Solís sought to separate Picado’s opinions from the country’s official position on South America’s most troubled country.“In the case of Venezuela, the only spokesman authorized to give statements about the issue is the foreign minister,” Solís said. “We’re centralizing all statements there precisely because the current situation is so delicate.”On Monday, the Foreign Ministry reaffirmed Minister González’s position regarding Venezuela, which he voiced last week at a meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C.“The situation in Venezuela requires us to stay alert to the evolution of events and to clearly signal the importance, in a full democracy, of exercising the democratic balance of power and generating appropriate conditions so that the opposition can carry out its actions within the framework of legality and respect.”Tensions have escalated between the U.S. and Venezuela over the past month, forcing nations friendly with both countries, like Costa Rica, to walk a fine diplomatic line.In late February, Venezuelan President Maduro announced mandatory visas for all U.S. citizens as a way to “control” U.S. interference. Soon afterward, Maduro ordered the U.S. Embassy to reduce its staff from 100 to 17 officials.The following week, on March 9, Obama ordered the freezing of U.S. properties and bank accounts of seven Venezuelan officials — most of them accused of participating in the 2014 crackdown on opposition protests in which more than 40 people died.In the wake of the new sanctions announced by the U.S., some Latin American countries backed Venezuela and indicated that the U.S. is inappropriately interfering in the country’s affairs. But Costa Rica has thus far remained more neutral.The order recalling Ambassador Picado is effective April 1. Picado arrived at his post in January. Facebook Comments Related posts:US Senate panel approves Venezuela sanctions Venezuela’s dynastic diplomacy puts a Chávez at the UN Absences, again, shine at Ibero-American summit US arrests relatives of Venezuela first lady over drug-trafficking allegationslast_img read more

Costa Ricas election result two rounds and two realities

first_imgWith the key support of the founders of the party and PAC legislators critical of the current legislation, Carlos Alvarado was able to move up in the polls with speeches that were socially and geographically inclusive, and promoted the rights of the sexual minorities.Some analysts worry that the campaign ahead of the second round will show even more polarization around religious matters and leave out pressing “earthly” topics, such as the government’s fiscal crisis and numerous pending decisions related to the country’s economical and social sustainability.The PAC, in leaving behind its label as an alternative party, faces the challenge of being accountable about the current administration, which, as Carlos Alvarado insists, “with its errors and successes, but better than the past ones and future vision.”Facing this speech, his adversary clings to the motto of“clean hands” and “let’s do it together.” He seems to be listening to political and economical sectors that, in the absence of consolidated frames of governance, see opportunities in National Restoration.Just like a soccer team that has classified for the World Cup with thousands of committed followers, but not enough players, Fabricio Alvarado’s party has offerings everywhere.The game of alliances for a second round has started with gestures and rumors, but it’s two months away, an eternity for the current political dynamics.“Two months are craziness,” said expert Daniel Zovatto this Monday, director of IDEA International, convinced that Sunday’s election revealed huge changes in one country. Or two.This article was originally published at the Semanario Universidad on Feb. 7 by journalist Álvaro Murillo. Read more from Alvaro in his Tico Times column, “No Sugar Please.” New poll in Costa Rica shows huge surge for evangelical pastor Costa Rica has earthly problems, but this election season ended over the rainbow Faces of Sunday’s vote in and around La Carpio Costa Rica will return to the polls on April 1 with only a few certainties: a new political map, heightened religious fervor and the geographical divisions in the country.Fabricio Alvarado and Carlos Alvarado are now competing to win Costa Rica’s presidency in the second round of voting. This past Sunday’s election showed a profound change in Costa Rica’s political map and the popular response to the country’s marginalized areas. Juan Diego Castro on a motorcycle after voting at the Escuela República de Chile. Via Sara Quesada / Semanario UniversidadThe election also confirmed the huge impact of religion-driven voters, who represented half a million votes (24,9%) in representation of the growing and dynamic evangelic sector combined with the indispensable support of conservative forces within traditional Catholicism, the majority in Costa Rica.The former journalist, Pentecostal preacher and legislator Fabricio Alvarado now symbolizes something much bigger than just his small party, National Restoration, which was founded by the pastor Carlos Avendaño after political disagreements with former legislator Justo Orozco. He also represents the evangelical churches that work tirelessly through prayers and social work to promote a “pro-life and pro-family” political agenda, which the Catholic Church has boosted less and less with each election.The evangelical candidate, 43, who never before expressed political ambition, has demonstrated the consequences of the drop in popular support for traditional parties.The election also rearranged the map for parties that do not draw on ideologies of discrimination: the Broad Front went from nine legislators to one, and Otto Guevara’s Libertarian Movement is out after 20 years of parliamentary presence. As for the historically dominant National Liberation Party (PLN), they saw their dominance of rural territories snatched away. The center of the country turned toward the Citizen Action Party (PAC), which is no longer an alternative force and seeks to stay in power. Who says election season isn’t fun anymore? PAC supporters in Costa Rica on the eve of the Feb. 4 election. Andrés Madrigal / The Tico TimesOn Sunday, central regions voted once more for PAC and Carlos Alvarado (21.6 percent). On the national map, you can see his triumph in the provinces of San José, Heredia and Cartago, but National Restoration won the four coastal or border provinces: Alajuela, Guanacaste, Limón and Puntarenas. In these last two, the votes for Fabricio Alvarado even surpassed the 40 percent minimum required for winning the presidency in a first round.This contrast can also be seen on smaller scales. In many cantons, PAC obtained better results in the central districts and National Restoration did better in outlying areas with, in general terms, lower quality of life. An example of this can be seen in the vote for presidential ballots in the central canton of Alajuela, where the PAC triumphed only in one district, the central, with 25 percent. The other eight districts of the canton were left in hands of Fabricio Alvarado’s party, and none favored Liberation.San José showed the same pattern. PAC won the most central and prosperous districts (Carmen, Merced, Catedral, Zapote, San Francisco de Dos Ríos) and National Restoration won in Hospital, La Uruca, Pavas, Hatillo and San Sebastián. Another video of Fabricio Alvarado was relevant: the last one before the veda, or advertising-free electoral truce preceding the vote. In the face of questions about his lack of a governing team, the candidate made public the names of various persons that have helped him in the campaign.These included the lawyer Alexandra Loría Beeche, an anti-abortion activist and the candidate’s replacement in the Legislative Assembly while he campaigns in the second round, and Alejandro Leal, an expert on bioethics who opposed in vitro fertilization (IVF). Both are well-known Catholics. Those who once treated each other as “separate brothers” are now reunited in one family where political and ideological origins matter much less.“Defending the family and life” is the chorus of Fabricio Alvarado’s speeches, as we heard on Election Night. It’s the message that he has repeated since his debut as a political figure from his seat in the Legislative Assembly, which he attained by chance in 2014 when the Restoration Party candidate resigned and saw in Alvarado the makings of a good communicator.The PAC’s challengeWhile this theory is not backed up with numbers, it seems possible that religious shock also accounted for some of the votes that allowed Carlos Alvarado to pass to the second round.The final result placed Alvarado nearly 62,000 votes over Álvarez Desanti, despite the TSE’s first report on Election Night which placed the liberacionista ahead of the PAC and made PAC sympathizers nervous. Their number had multiplied in the last two weeks of the campaign.By coming in second, Carlos Alvarado, a former Minister of Human Development and Labor, was able to surpass, at least for the moment, the questionings of President Luis Guillermo Solís’s administration and the criticism of the PAC for corruption related to the cementazo, the case of traffic of influences that dominated the beginning of the campaign in October. Related posts:New poll: Statistical dead heat in Costa Rica’s presidential elections 5 keys to understanding Costa Rica as it faces new elections Election Eve in San Pedro, Costa Rica PHOTOS: Costa Rica’s political dogs on Election Day Facebook Comments In some districts, such as Katira in Guatuso or Bijagua in Upala, National Restoration got more than 50% of the votes.Voter turnout, despite some fears, stayed at what have become normal levels for this century. Only 34 percent of voters stayed home, confirming ongoing popular trust in the elections as a form of political action.Nevertheless, as in previous elections, in general it’s the more marginalized regions of the country that vote less, as in the case of Talamanca. In this coastal, border and indigenous canton, only half of the population turned out to vote.In the Colorado district of the canton of Guácimo, which borders Nicaragua in the Calero Island region, abstention was bigger: 58 percent. Golfito’s Central District, despite being considered an urban center (municipality, university, hospital and so forth), also showed high abstention at 44.9 percent. Voters crowd the halls of one of San Pedro’s voting centers, the Universidad Americana, east of San José on Feb. 4, 2018. Turnout in many rural areas was much lower. Andrés Madrigal / @andresmadrigalcr / The Tico TimesGod’s big moment?This was the first time that the traditional Liberation Party came in third (18.6 percent) . This shows not only the party’s profound internal crisis, but also, with new clarity, the collapse of the political sympathies that marked the dispute for power in Costa Rica during the past 70 years.“We finally see a historical moment. The political identities and traditions are out,” explained researcher Ronald Alfaro, director of the University of Costa Rica’s (UCR) Political Center for Studies and Investigation (CIEP).“The outlying areas were Liberation’s lifesavers, but now we see they aren’t anymore,” adds Alfaro, coordinator of the CIEP polls that helped take the pulse of this campaign and now understand the results. With weakened party borders and the rise of ideological politics, the population is more susceptible to mass manifestations for or against the concrete topics that cause polarization, as occurred in 2006 with the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA), or, in this case, with religion. Almost 60 percent of people surveyed by researchers from the University of Costa Rica in 2017 oppose same-sex marriage. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesThe Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling on Jan. 9 is now confirmed as the decisive element of these elections. No one ever imagined that the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage would take place at the height of the campaign. “I never saw it coming,” admitted Liberation candidate Antonio Álvarez Desanti in his concession speech.The impact of the religious surge clouded the possibilities of Juan Diego Castro (who ended up with 9.5 percent of the votes) and his anti-establishment, anti-corruption approach. His messages of mano dura didn’t permeate enough or lacked an organized base, especially given that he represented a weakened National Integration Party (PIN), which will return in May to the Legislative Assembly after 16 years.Nothing was as strong as the religious shock. In the last two weeks, election sympathies, which had already been volatile, were completely reordered by the debate between those who feel that Christian values are threatened, and those who believe Costa Rica must advance in ensuring the rights of sexual minorities. Discussion of abortion and sex ed elevated emotions still further, contradicting the Supreme Elections Tribunal’s (TSE) plea for a rational vote. At the polls, Fabricio Alvarado managed to hold onto his abrupt rise from the middle of January. As untold as it looks, it isn’t a surprise, at least for those who have studied the evolution of religion in Costa Rica during the last 30 years. These three decades coincide with the increase of social inequality in the country, as demonstrated by numerous international studies.For Laura Fuentes, expert in the sociology of religion and researcher at the National University (UNA), it was not a surprise seeing Fabricio Alvarado celebrating this Sunday.“The Costa Rican elites have excluded a part of the population, and we now see that evangelical churches have been fruitful, working for more than 30 years with abandoned communities that have educational and labor instability or violent situations. There, the population has found support in the churches, which have complied with a role not only with affairs from the más allá [heavenly or spiritual concerns], but also with things from the más acá [here and now], responding to the needs of care, housing, preparation of leaders or scattering.” The strategy has worked.It’s calculated that Costa Rica’s practicing evangelical population is around 20 percent. Even though it’s impossible to affirm that all of this group voted for Fabricio Alvarado, it does represent an indispensable muscle that complements other conservative groups. This communion between Catholic and evangelical authorities has been growing in recent years, and was reflected in a massive march on Dec. 3 in San José.“That day was important. We could see in a very clear manner the size of the alliance and the potential mobilizer of masses that has this cause of defense of the traditional family, of life from the conception, or rejection towards the ‘gender ideology,’ as they call it,” said analyst Gustavo Araya.However, the strong base and those who headed to the San José Palacio Hotel on Sunday night to celebrate Fabricio Alvarado’s triumph come from evangelical groups. A supporter of the National Renovation Party celebrates his candidate’s early lead in San José. AFP Photo / Jorge Rendon“Our bubble impedes us from understanding the strong growth in areas that traditional political actors visit only sporadically. The churches don’t. The churches are there [all the time], present with the people there, and they do constant work, house to house, often connected to an international network that has economic resources,” adds Laura Fuentes. The churches don’t go there; they live there.To this, we add the impulse of “prosperity theology,” which exalts the success that comes with being a good Christian, whether economic or the professional. An increasing number of soccer players have become popular faces of that success. This approach was also seen in a campaign video in which Fabricio Alvarado’s wife, Laura Moscoa, spoke about the hardships of her childhood in contrast with her current well-being.For that reason, it would be an error to limit the phenomenon to the rural and marginalized areas, warns Randall Blanco, director of the UCR’s Postgraduate in Sociology.“There are a lot of middle class and powerful sectors that also work for what they consider to be defending the founding principle of collective life: the family,” Blanco says. Here, the evangelical movement connects with the traditional values of Costa Rica that have always been dictated by Catholic priests and bishops. President Solís: ‘I’ve always told you the truth’last_img read more

Disenchantment grows in Venezuela six months after Guaidó proclaimed himself president

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica again voices support for new elections, peaceful transition in Venezuela Contact Group pushes for progress on Venezuela impasse Venezuela: three months of crisis Venezuelan embassy reopens in Costa Rica Like millions, Eskeira turned her confidence in Juan Guaidó when he declared himself president of Venezuela. Six months after that oath, she carries the weight of disenchantment, as Nicolás Maduro is still in power.In the portal of her house in Cúa (60 km south of Caracas), where she sells food under an umbrella, Eskeira says she went from hope to frustration as the boldness of Guaidó has been insufficient to displace Maduro, whom she blames for the economic devastation of the country.“It is a mixture of impotence, fatigue, disenchantment,” says Eskeira Padrón, 47, still mourning the 2017 death of her father — reportedly due to a lack of medicine.Six months of Guaidó’s interim presidency were reached Tuesday under the shadow of a new blackout that hit the entire country on Monday and still affects several regions.“Hope went on vacation,” adds Eskeira, near a table where she offers beans, rice and pasta. She sells “everything that she can” but only earns enough “for half a meal” due to an inflation that, according to the IMF, will close this year at 10,000,000%.Guaidó, head of the opposition party, proclaimed himself president before thousands of followers in a street in Caracas. His presidency is recognized by 50 countries, including the United States and Costa Rica.He is commemorating the date with a legislative session and a rally, during which he summoned supporters to protest the blackout.“Don’t give up!” said the 35-year-old engineer, who promises to expel Maduro this year “por las buenas o por las malas” to establish a transitional government and democratic elections.‘Further from a solution’After his oath, Guaidó led massive protests that have lost strength. Meanwhile, he tried to break the Armed Forces’ support of Maduro through an April 30 uprising and attempted to usurp international aid on Feb. 23 — but both operations failed.“We have already left, and we have seen many people fall. There is hunger,” said Eskeira, who claims “international action” is needed because “in good times these people do not leave.”In the park of neighboring Charallave, while working on business accounting, Gabriela Micó believes that today the country — which has large oil reserves — is “further from a solution” to the crisis.She misses her 19-year-old daughter, who emigrated to Costa Rica four months ago because her salary was insufficient to meet inflation.She says she has lost seven kilos (about 15 pounds) in a year because of anxiety and food shortages.An intervention by the United States, which Donald Trump does not rule out, “does not seem like a good idea because innocent lives would be lost, but you start thinking and it seems that this is a solution,” confesses the 47-year-old woman.According to the UN, four million Venezuelans have emigrated from the crisis since 2015.Félix Seijas, director of the Delphos polling agency, observes “wear” among Venezuelans.“Although people see hope in Guaidó, it is also true that every day they find less reason to go out because they feel that it contributes nothing,” he says.Despite this, Guaido is by far the most popular opposition leader with 53% support, according to Delphos.‘Paratrooper President’After the rebellion of a small group of military personnel, which Guaidó said failed because hierarchs failed to comply with his word, the opponent agreed to negotiate with the government under the mediation of Norway in mid-May, without ruling out “military cooperation.”The dialogues move forward with a secret agenda, although the main opposition demands are new elections.“Here, there will be no presidential election; there will be election of the Parliament in 2020,” said Carlos González in Charallave, after an altercation with a man who insulted him for being a Chavista, a left-wing ideology that Delphos says encompasses 25% of the Venezuelans.With a red cap of the government party and camouflage pants, Gonzalez, a 36-year-old construction assistant, calls Guaidó a “paratrooper president” and accuses him of seeking “conflict.”He also believes Guaidó is trying to “destroy” Venezuela by supporting Washington’s sanctions, including an oil embargo since April.González admits that his economic situation is difficult, but he predicts that Maduro will govern “until 2035” and trusts in the negotiation. Eskeira, on the other hand, believes that Guaidó’s big mistake “was to fall into the dialogue trap” after several failed operations.According to Delphos, just over half of the population “looks forward to” the negotiations.But Eskeira’s despair seems stronger. “It doesn’t matter if [the outcome] is extreme. What is higher than the price we are paying? If we continue like this, even our faith will go on vacation.”This story was written in Spanish by Alexander Martinez / AFP and translated by The Tico Times.  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Georgia opens new parliament far from Tbilisi

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Check your body, save your lifecenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Critics have said the move could be aimed at marginalizing the legislature.Construction of the building sparked controversy because a massive Soviet war memorial was demolished to clear the site. The monument was razed in an explosion that killed a woman and her eight-year-old daughter who were spectators.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories TBILISI, Georgia (AP) – Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has inaugurated the country’s new parliament building in the city of Kutaisi, some 220 kilometers (150 miles) from the capital Tbilisi.Saakashvili said moving the parliament to Kutaisi, in west-central Georgia, would help unify the country and devolve power from Tbilisi. He told the legislature’s first session in the new building Saturday that “we have fought so that Georgia would not have a single elite and that the country would not be managed from a single street.” 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img read more

Justice demanded for slain Cambodian journalist

first_imgIllegal logging is rampant in Cambodia and believed to be supported by tycoons with good political connections.The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Prime Minister Hun Sen to make a stronger commitment to protecting journalists.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) – Press freedom groups are calling for justice for a Cambodian reporter whose slain body was found in the trunk of his car.Reporters Without Borders said Thursday that police must probe whether Vorakchun Khmer Daily reporter Hang Serei Oudom was killed in connection with stories he was said to have written exposing illegal logging.The reporter’s body was found in his car Tuesday in the remote northeastern province of Ratanakiri. Police believe he was killed by blows to the head with an ax. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

Tunisian president vows crackdown on extremists

first_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches “After what happened, we couldn’t be quiet,” el-Megarif said of the attack that killed Stevens and three other Americans.Tunisia is rewriting its constitution, which is seen as a test of Islamist influence in newly-democratic Arab nations. Marzouki said the charter would be ready by January, around the second anniversary of the revolution. Marzouki said he would not allow the word “sharia,” or “Islamic law,” to be part of it.Marzouki is expected to face sharp resistance on blasphemy laws, which he does not want to be part of the constitution, though they enjoy broad political support.Relations between men and women would be defined by the word “equality,” Marzouki said _ and not the term suggested by Islamists, “complimentary.”In his speech to the General Assembly on Thursday, Marzouki called for the creation of an international constitutional court to rule on the legality of elections and deter tyrannical regimes.Marzouki asked the U.N. to declare dictatorship a “scourge” to be eliminated by a bold program similar to those dedicated to eradicating polio and small pox.Marzouki told The AP he was proposing an Arab League force to secure Syria after the civil war there ends, echoing a similar call from Qatar for an Arab intervention. Marzouki said he believed it was only a matter of time before Bashar Assad’s regime collapses, when the “real nightmare” would begin. He said Arab League troops from Tunisia, Egypt and perhaps Sudan could secure the country before elections install a new government. Last week, several thousand demonstrators attacked the U.S. embassy, tearing down the American flag and raising one associated with hardline Muslims, while looting and burning buildings. Four demonstrators were killed and dozens injured.The protest was part of a wave of violent demonstrations around the Muslim world after excerpts of a crude anti-Islam film was dubbed into Arabic and uploaded to YouTube.Marzouki said the crackdown would involve arrests of those planning or involved in violent riots.The president said he cautioned security forces not to engage in torture or other abuses, but conceded that would be difficult to avoid. The former exile said he and many other members of his government were once thrown in jail for their beliefs, and many were harshly interrogated and abused.“We don’t want to behave like the dictator,” Marzouki said.Libya’s fledging government has also struggled with how to confront Muslim extremists.“The truth is, we have a weak army. We didn’t have the ability. We were waiting to build up our security forces,” el-Megarif said after a lecture to the International Peace Service in New York on Thursday.El-Megarif said the government has disbanded some 10 militias so far and would tackle more. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments   Share   Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The remarks from the two leaders underscored their concerns over how the attacks have affected relations with the United States, one of their most important allies since the Arab Spring revolts that toppled dictators in their countries.Marzouki’s promised crackdown on hardline Muslims in Tunisia follows months of struggles by his Islamist-dominated governing coalition to stem a small but aggressive minority of extremists emboldened since the fall of the North African nation’s secular dictator in last year’s revolution, which kicked off the Arab Spring. Salafi extremists have pressured bars to shutter and bullied university campuses to become more conservative, threatening Tunisia’s secular traditions.“The more we wait, the worse it will become,” Marzouki said. “We have no choice, a crackdown will happen.”“The Salafis are not just a danger to our democracy, and … our image abroad,” Marzouki added, but also to “relations with our friends, the Americans.”Marzouki has promised that his government will protect the rights of women and religious freedom, while building a robust democracy. But the party also relies on conservative Muslims for votes, and has been reluctant to be associated with a crackdown on the Salafis before elections, expected next year. It is concerned security forces would commit the kind of human rights abuses that were common under the former regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. “What we are seeing today is killings of no less than 25,000 people and thousands of wounded and the destruction of infrastructure that will weaken the living standards of the Syrian people,” he told the General Assembly. “It is an example of what a dictator can do in his bloody-minded madness.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressNEW YORK (AP) – The newly-elected Tunisian president vowed Thursday to crack down on Islamist extremists after they encouraged crowds to attack the U.S. embassy in the capital Tunis.President Moncef Marzouki, in an interview with The Associated Press during the annual United Nations General Assembly gathering of world leaders, also called for the Arab League to send a force to Syria.In separate comments Thursday, Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif promised a similar crackdown on extremists in his country, where an attack on a U.S. Consulate led to the death of the U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens. Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Kerry hopes next Palestinian PM can work with US

first_img Sponsored Stories “He’s been sick, he’s tired, he’s been at this seven years. He has kids in school. He’s anxious to carve his own path here and I respect that,” Kerry said.“But he’s going to be there for a while. I had a long conversation with him. He’s resigned and he accepted his resignation. But there’s going to be a caretaker process for some period of time and he’s not going to go away from Palestinian politics completely _ if at all.”(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) TOKYO (AP) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday he hoped the Palestinians pick a new prime minister who can work with the United States and “establish confidence” so that Mideast peace can advance.Speaking to journalists in Tokyo, Kerry praised Salaam Fayyad, who until resigning Saturday as prime minister was seen as one of the Palestinians’ most moderate and respected figures. Kerry called Fayyad a “good friend” who made a big difference for Palestinians. Fayyad’s resignation comes as Kerry is working to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. An important part of his strategy is developing the Palestinian economy and state institutions so the Palestinians can be a viable partner in any peace deal with Israel.The United States had expected Fayyad to play a significant role in that effort.But the 61-year-old political independent and Western-trained economist had clashed with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over the extent of the prime minister’s power.“We’re totally committed to moving forward with the economic thing no matter what,” Kerry said, citing U.S. business partners including Coca-Cola. “The West Bank is there, Palestinian aspirations are there, the government is there. And in order to be a viable government, there’s got to be more than one person that you can do business with.”“So we will continue to work at this and hope that President Abbas finds the right person to work with him in a transition, and work with us, to establish confidence,” he added. “Everybody is going to want somebody who provides confidence.”Kerry said he preferred that Fayyad stay on the job, but that he understood Fayyad’s decision. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Comments   Share   Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Tropical storm heads to Mexicos Pacific coast

first_img Sponsored Stories The storm is expected to produce 10 to 15 inches of rain over parts of the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Guerrero. Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin in the warning area by midday Saturday.Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides are likely.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Four benefits of having a wireless security system Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy MIAMI (AP) – Tropical Storm Manuel has prompted the government of Mexico to issue warnings for the Pacific coast of the country from Acapulco to Punta San Telmo.Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla., say Manuel had sustained winds Friday afternoon of 40 mph (65 kph) and the center was located about 150 miles (240 kilometers) south-southwest of Zihuatanejo. It was moving west slowly and should be near the coast of southwestern Mexico by late Saturday or early Sunday. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

Freed French hostages arrive home after 3 years

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement There are also questions about how the hostages were taken from Arlit, despite substantial security. Alain Legrand said that while he was thrilled at the release of his son, Pierre, he would be looking for explanations.“My son is 28. He’s spent more than one of every 10 days of his life in captivity. I would like someone to explain to me why,” he told French television._____Associated Press writer Rukmini Callimachi contributed to this report from Dakar, Senegal.___Follow DiLorenzo on Twitter at Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosterone At the time of their capture, the four _ Pierre Legrand, Thierry Dol, Marc Feret and Larribe _ were working in Arlit, Niger, where the French state-controlled nuclear giant Areva operates a uranium mine. They were retrieved in northern Mali on Tuesday.Both countries are in the Sahel, the arid region that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea just south of the Sahara Desert that is prowled by militants from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.The former hostages spent their first night of freedom in the Niger capital, Niamey, and left for Paris early Wednesday morning. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had flown to Niger to pick them up. Fabius joked that some of the men slept on the floor of their rooms, finding the mattresses too soft after their ordeal.Francoise Larribe told reporters how Daniel survived the detention. Francoise herself was captured along with her husband and the other three but was released more than a year ago.“I think Daniel on his part had a desire to resist, and he did it in a completely formidable way,” she said. “It’s like what we used to say to each other when we were in captivity together: every day is a victory.” Amid the immense joy of the homecoming, Hollande recalled that there are still seven French citizens being held hostage, three in Africa and four in Syria.“Today it’s joy for the four families, for our four ex-hostages, but it is still an unbearable wait for other families and for other hostages,” he told reporters from the tarmac.None of the men wanted to speak after Hollande, and some were made visibly uncomfortable by the intense media attention, hanging their heads and shifting from foot to foot behind the president as he spoke.Also hanging over the homecoming were questions about why the men were taken captive in the first place and whether a ransom was paid to secure their release. The global intelligence company Stratfor estimates that al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, has carried out at least 18 kidnappings since 2003, raising an estimated $89 million in ransom payments.Pascal Lupart _ who, as head of an association representing friends and families of the hostages, is in touch with those investigating the case _ said he was told that Areva paid a ransom for the captives. He did not know the amount, however.While analysts say that France has previously paid ransoms to free its citizens, Hollande announced earlier this year that the country would no longer pay to secure the release of hostages. He and several other members of the government have since reiterated that no ransom was paid in this case. An Areva press officer, Julien Duperray, also said on Wednesday that no ransom was paid. Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) PARIS (AP) – Four Frenchmen held hostage by al-Qaida militants landed in France on Wednesday after three years in captivity in the punishing African Sahel.The wife and daughters of one hostage, Daniel Larribe, rushed to hug him, and the three held each other while crying. Other friends and family snapped photos of their loved ones finally home.President Francois Hollande greeted each of the hostages on the tarmac at a military airport outside Paris. 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Renters appear more satisfied in many pricey US cities

first_img 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center WASHINGTON (AP) — High rents are worth it.At least that’s the sentiment of apartment dwellers in New York, San Francisco and Washington, who say they’re more satisfied living in those cities than do renters in far more affordable areas such as Milwaukee, Albuquerque and Detroit.The finding comes from a survey released Thursday by Apartment List, a San Francisco-based company that helps renters find homes. It dovetails with other evidence that people are spending more on rent yet avoiding home ownership given the high cost of a down payment. Renters enjoyed the best of all worlds in Louisville, Fort Worth, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio: High satisfaction at roughly the same levels as the most expensive cities but with average rents below $800.Evidence suggests that many renters are accepting the financial pressures created by expensive cities.About a third of apartment dwellers in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami are forking over half their paychecks for rent, said Jonathan Eppers, CEO of RadPad, whose company is slated to process up to $70 million in rental payments this year. The government defines housing costs in excess of 30 percent of income as burdensome.Nearly 50 percent of renters using RadPad choose to pay with a credit card, even though the company charges them an additional fee for doing so. This suggests to Eppers that they’re trying to smooth out their cash flow because payday seldom lines up with due date for the rent.“More renters than we think are living check to check,” Eppers said. “They’re willing to pay that 3 percent fee in order to make sure that they pay their rent on time.”Nationwide, rents are consuming a greater share of incomes.In April, the median rent climbed 4 percent over the previous 12 months to $1,364, real estate data firm Zillow said Thursday. That’s nearly double the 2.1 percent annual increase in hourly wages tracked by the Labor Department. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img How do cataracts affect your vision? Tenants in the most expensive cities expressed more confidence in the local economy, felt safer from crime and enjoyed the parks, recreation and nightlife, according to the survey of more than 18,000 renters.“These are all places that are very, very expensive,” said Andrew Tam, vice president of data science at Apartment List. “It’s this combination of having excellent job opportunities and an amazing lifestyle.”In other words, it appears to reflect the adage that you get what you pay for. The higher prices point to strong demand from renters in cities with solid job markets and cultural and recreational amenities but also limited supplies of apartments. Renter priorities do shift with children. For parents, safety tends to edge out the local economy as the dominant factor.Monthly rent for a two-bedroom in San Francisco averages $4,250. Even so, the availability of higher-paying tech jobs, outdoor space and lifestyle caused renter satisfaction there to be rated “A+.”Washington, with its plum legal and government-related jobs, also earned an A+, and New York drew an A. (A grade at B- or lower was deemed below average.)Cheaper rent proves to be a poor predictor of satisfaction, Tam said. Milwaukee, where rent for a two-bedroom averages $960 a month, earned a C -. Albuquerque ($750 a month) received a C-. Detroit ($610) flunked with an F. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Many renters aspire to own a home. But 70 percent of tenants who dealt with a rent hike in the past two years say they “cannot afford” to buy at this point, according to survey results released Monday by mortgage giant Freddie Mac.“We’ve found that rising rents do not appear to be playing a significant role in motivating renters to buy,” David Brickman, an executive vice president at Freddie Mac, said in a statement.“This contradicts what some in the housing market think as they expect more renters ought to be actively looking to purchase a home.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Men’s health affects baby’s health toolast_img read more

Demolition of torched HQ of Mubaraks old party begins

first_imgFor protesters, the building was a charred reminder of the revolt against Mubarak’s 29-year reign. The building was set ablaze on Jan. 28, 2011, when protesters overwhelmed Mubarak’s police forces and took control of Tahrir Square.“The NDP building was one of the last remaining physical reminders of the (2011) revolution,” activist Sherief Gaber tweeted. Lamenting the failure of the pro-democracy movement to take hold in Egypt, Gaber wrote: “The state is in the process of erasing even that.”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 Top holiday drink recipes Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian workers, using construction drills and cranes, began Sunday to demolish the former headquarters of ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s now-defunct party, a towering structure which was torched by protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended Mubarak’s rule.The military’s corps of engineers started bringing down the National Democratic Party’s headquarters — a prime piece of real-estate alongside the city’s central Tahrir square, adjacent to the Egyptian Museum and overlooking the Nile. Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The former ruling National Democratic Party’s headquarters, which was looted and burned during the January 25th uprising in 2011, is demolished by authorities, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, May 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy) The fate of the 56-year old property — which originally housed the offices of the Cairo municipality — has been a contentious issue, with various government bodies bickering over its future. Rights groups and the family of the building’s architect have campaigned to stop the demolition.Mahmoud M. Riad, the grandson of the architect and himself an architect, said the building was registered with the government as a landmark in the mid-2000s as one of the first to blend modernist architecture with art-deco, and Arab styles.The demolition violates the law on dealing with registered landmarks, Riad said, explaining that an earlier attempt to demolish the building was stalled.“There are a lot of different factors that make this building an iconic one that needs to be preserved and adoptively used,” said Riad, who is collecting signatures on a petition to stop the demolition. “It is one of the most studied pan-Arab modernist buildings. It started a new wave by Egyptian architects who were trying to create a new identity.”The deputy governor of Cairo told the state-owned Al-Ahram Online site that the municipality had issued the demolition permits. Comments   Share   last_img read more

Yemen rebel delegation says Egypt blocks UN flight to talks

first_img Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home SANAA, Yemen (AP) — An official with a Yemeni delegation including Shiite Houthi rebels headed to Geneva for U.N.-led peace talks said Monday that the group is stuck in Djibouti because Egyptian authorities will not allow it to land at Cairo airport, a charge Cairo denied.The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief journalists, said the U.N. plane could not reach Geneva because of the ban. Such a pause won’t be enough in itself to get aid to all needy Yemenis “given the obstacles to access and the scale of destruction,” Ban said. He called for the warring factions to go further and agree on local cease-fires, withdrawing armed groups from cities.A previous five-day pause was violated repeatedly, and aid groups said it was hardly sufficient to reach millions in the Arab world’s poorest country.Yemen’s conflict pits the Houthis — who seized the capital, Sanaa, last year — and military units loyal to Saleh against an array of forces, including southern separatists, local and tribal militias, and loyalists of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. A Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes against the Houthis and their allies on March 26, shortly after Hadi fled a rebel advance on the south.The talks in Geneva are expected to last two or three days. The U.N. has said that they will start off as proximity talks — in which mediators meet separately with the various factions — with the hope of eventually getting everyone to sit around the same table.The last delegations were expected to arrive in Geneva late Monday afternoon or early evening, Ban said. Top holiday drink recipes Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Top Stories The delegation, which also includes loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Houthi ally, and representatives of other political groups, left Sanaa on Sunday. The talks are aimed at ending months of fighting that prompted a Saudi-led coalition including Egypt to launch an air campaign against the Houthis and their allies in March.The head of Egypt’s civil aviation authority, Mahmoud Zanaty, said Egypt had not received a request for the plane to land at any of its airports or pass through its airspace.Cairo airport officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief reporters, said Yemeni planes must first stop in southern Saudi Arabia for security checks and passenger counts.Earlier, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pressed for a halt to the fighting in Yemen at the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim month of dawn-to-dusk fasting which starts later this week.Ban, who met in Geneva with some of the delegations involved, said he had “emphasized the importance of having another humanitarian pause, at least two weeks.”“I’m urging them that, particularly during this Ramadan — which is a period for peace for people, and praying for peace — they must stop,” he told reporters. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies In Geneva, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein said he was “gravely concerned” about the high number of civilian casualties from the conflict.“Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks are being used on densely populated areas,” he said in a statement. “Such attacks must be thoroughly investigated, and greater protection of civilians must be ensured by all sides.”___Associated Press writer Geir Moulson contributed to this report from Berlin.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Houthi delegation left Sanaa on Sunday, a day after a plane meant to carry the rebels and their allies to the talks left Yemen without the delegates on board.“The parties have a responsibility to end the fighting and begin a real process of peace and reconciliation,” Ban said, arguing that “the region simply cannot sustain another open wound like Syria and Libya.”Inside the country, however, there were few signs of the violence abating, with airstrikes continuing in the capital and several other cities, including the southern port of Aden, central Taiz, and Houthi stronghold Saada.The Houthis said they consolidated control of Jawf province bordering Saudi Arabia and plan to move forces to the frontier.Houthi leader Zif al-Shami said the move followed heavy fighting with tribes and forces loyal to Hadi, especially in the provincial capital, Hazm, leaving dozens of civilians dead.Houthi-run television showed dozens of bodies lying in the streets of Hazm, while doctors and eyewitnesses backed up reports of the deaths.Security officials who spoke anonymously as they weren’t authorized to brief journalists said that the Saudi-led air campaign has been bombing the city since the Houthis took it over a day earlier, with airstrikes again picking up this morning.last_img read more