Urban businesses push Ottawa to improve airports to attract tourists

first_img Posted by MONTREAL — A coalition of business leaders in Canada’s largest cities is putting pressure on Ottawa to reduce security screening times and cut travelling costs to bolster a prime engine of the country’s economy.In its first political foray, the Canadian Global Cities Council is pushing to make airports more internationally competitive in order to attract more tourists, enhance economic activity and improve the travelling experience.The group of Canada’s eight largest urban chambers of commerce will unveil a series of recommendations Thursday morning on security screening, border entry and visas, and transit connectivity.“We want to make sure that Canada can be a global transit hub,” said Adam Legge, council chairman and president of Calgary’s Chamber of Commerce.The coalition says Canada’s top seven airports collectively contribute $59 billion of economic activity and support 272,000 jobs.The group is calling for enhanced use of technology, the adoption of international security screening standards and targeted checks of travellers from high-risk countries to speed up how long it takes to pass through security.While London Heathrow and Hong Kong International airports require that 95 per cent of passengers be screened within five minutes, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority expects that on average half of passengers wait longer than 15 minutes.More news: GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programs“We can’t say that we’re open for business and then expect people to wait in a three-hour queue,” Legge added.The council is calling for increased funding for CATSA and the Canada Border Services Agency to meet growing demands.It also wants Canada to harmonize immigration and trusted traveller programs with other countries. That means only requiring visas for citizens of high-risk countries and increasing the use of automated border clearance systems.The traveller experience can also be improved and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving transit connections from airports to downtown cores and to communities and facilities surrounding airports, it adds. While just eight per cent of passengers at Toronto Pearson airport used transit, about 40 per cent do so in London, Paris and Amsterdam, said the report.Legge said the government needs to cut taxes, fees and rents that increase the price of air travel in Canada and has driven travellers to use U.S. airports.He said the changes could see one-way travel costs cut by about $25.“It’s a bold ask but I think we have to bring to government’s attention the uncompetitiveness of Canada’s current position that will continue to be eroded over time,” said Legge.More news: Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyAir Canada says it supports initiatives that foster growth at Canadian airports and reduce high taxes and fees.Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced in November that the government will work to reduce waits at airport security to international standards and introduce an air passenger rights regime.The voice for Canada’s airports said it’s optimistic that years of talk will result in changes in the country’s airport policy.“To have the business communities in our largest cities on board with that just adds to the voices that have been calling for air policy reform for years,” said Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the Canadian Airports Council.Montreal Board of Trade president Michel Leblanc said the coalition will push the government to adopt changes within a year.“The solutions that we are putting on the table exist elsewhere,” he said. “We’re not reinventing the wheel so that should require rather quick deadlines for implementation.”After addressing airports, the coalition plans to speak out on other subjects including infrastructure and the availability of skilled workers. Thursday, December 8, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Airports, Ottawa Urban businesses push Ottawa to improve airports to attract tourists Sharelast_img read more

Definitely targeted to the nofrills consumer and direct trade reacts to basic

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> About Latest Posts Kathryn FolliottEditor at TravelweekKathryn is Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 1995. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Hong Kong, Jerusalem, the Swiss Alps and the Galapagos Islands among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Kathryn Folliott (see all) “They need to go where the bucks are”: Agents on ACTA partnership – April 18, 2019 As the cost of doing business climbs, host agencies, retail groups say they have options – April 4, 2019 As of 2021 Europe-bound clients will need to apply online for a visa waiver and pay a fee – April 3, 2019 Tags: Feature Story, Low-Cost Carriers, Trend Watch Posted by Kathryn Folliott This story originally ran in the March 8th, 2018 issue of Travelweek magazine. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here. TORONTO — Now that Canadian carriers are following the U.S. and European lead with rock-bottom basic economy fares, travel agents have a lot of explaining to do – explaining about just how restrictive basic economy fares are, to clients who can’t see past all the low prices.Air Canada introduced its Economy Basic fare last month. WestJet’s newest fare class, Econo (Lowest), came days later. Both fares are in line with the trend from the U.S. and Europe, where the rampant success of ultra low-cost carriers has driven legacy carriers including American Airlines, Delta, United, Air France KLM and British Airways to drill down as far as possible with low-priced basic economy fares.Basic economy fares typically don’t allow cancellations, changes or free advance seat selection, leading to consumer outcry about families having to pay to sit together.There’s also, at least in the case of United and American Airlines, the infamous ban on the use of overhead bins.Travel agents are well versed in fare restrictions, but the travelling public is not.“These are definitely targeted toward the (absolutely) no-frills consumer and direct,” says Allison Wallace, SVP, Communication & Engagement for Flight Centre Travel Group.She adds that while FC will sell the basic economy fares if requested, these types of fares “no matter how much you advise a consumer of the restrictions, usually breed the most complaints or dissatisfaction with service. Our strategy will continue to be to provide the options available and recommend the fare best suited to that itinerary.”Brian Robertson, President (Ontario-West), Vision Travel, says basic economy fares “rarely deliver an experience the traveller is expecting. Most come with additional charges for seats, checked bags, meals, changes; they typically earn zero points and are of course non-refundable. They are designed for travellers who fly infrequently and are looking for the very basics… a seat between point A and B.”More news: Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTHe adds: “The airlines discourage frequent travellers from using them and we discourage our frequent travellers from selecting them by monitoring travel compliance and matching traveller needs with corporate travel policies. The additional potential charges related to these fares far outweigh any benefits for frequent travellers.”Even the airlines admit that basic economy fares are not for everyone.“Econo (Lowest) is designed for the value-seeking guest who doesn’t travel often. We want to attract travellers who are looking for low cost fares without any added amenities,” says WestJet. It advises passengers: “Available on select routes and flights, this basic economy fare is for you if your plans are set in stone and you don’t mind where you sit. If you select this option, please understand that this is our most restrictive fare, and it’s non-refundable. You are not able to make changes, so if cancelled more than 24-hours after booking, no funds will be placed in a Travel Bank account. Your seats will be assigned at the time of check in, but, if needed, your seats can be changed at this time, for a fee.”The airlines say basic economy fares are about choice. As WestJet transitions to a global airline, the carrier says it wants its passengers to have more choices when it comes to their travel experience.Basic economy fares are also a defensive move against price pressure from ultra low-cost carriers. Flair Airlines, now operating as a scheduled carrier, has a network of seven cities and more planes on the way, while WestJet’s own Swoop launches June 20. Bob Cummings, when he was Executive VP for Swoop, has said WestJet believes there is room for only one major ultra low-cost carrier in Canada.The lowest fares, and the LCC and ULCC airlines models, are also about ancillaries.Between 60% and 70% of Swoop passengers are expected to pay fees for carry-on and checked baggage, according to the airline’s estimates. Meanwhile WestJet’s fees for services like flight changes, cancellations and checked bags increased 12% in Q3 2017, to $117 million, or $18.64 per passenger. Air Canada says ancillaries are a key focus as the airline grows its network.More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Ancillaries, or ‘a la carte revenue’ for everything from checked bags to meals, for the world’s airlines has grown 308% in the past seven years, from US$14 billion in 2010 to $57 billion in 2017, according to the latest numbers from IdeaWorksCompany, which through the sponsorship of CarTrawler, reports on ancillary revenue disclosures for the world’s airlines.For North American carriers, ancillary revenue was up 176% from 2010 to 2017, from $5.4 billion in 2010 to $14.8 billion in 2017.The report notes that the industry should be on the lookout for increases in North America and in Europe as transatlantic airlines begin to add fees during 2018 for the first bag checked.The GDSs are onboard with ancillaries, with Amadeus announcing that by the end of 2017, 143 airlines had signed up for its Amadeus Airline Ancillary Services for the indirect channel, including Air Canada. Total travel agency air bookings for Amadeus in 2017 grew 6.3% to 568.4 million.This story originally ran in the March 8th, 2018 issue of Travelweek magazine. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here. Share Thursday, March 15, 2018 “Definitely targeted to the no-frills consumer, and direct”: trade reacts to basic economylast_img read more

Books open for MSC Seashores inaugural season

first_imgBooks open for MSC Seashore’s inaugural season Posted by Tags: MSC Cruises, MSC Seashore << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, June 26, 2019 center_img GENEVA — MSC Cruises has opened the books on MSC Seashore’s inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean. Starting in June 2021, the ship will sail a seven-night itinerary calling at Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Messina and Valetta.Sales open today, June 26, exclusively for MSC Voyagers Club members for a two-week period, as one of the many benefits of the program that rewards loyal MSC Cruises’ guests. All other guests will be able to book cruises starting July 11. MSC Seashore will be the third ship in MSC’s Seaside generation, following MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, which launched in 2017 and 2018 respectively, and the first of two enriched Seaside Evo ships with extended public spaces, more staterooms and the highest ratio of outdoor space per guest of any cruise ship in the company’s fleet.“Each and every ship that we build is different,” says CEO Gianni Onorato. “MSC Seashore is an evolution of the ground-breaking Seaside prototype but this enriched ship has allowed us to further enhance the guest experience with the introduction of new features and facilities as well as some further improvement of the existing ones. With an increased capacity and expanded facilities, MSC Seashore will offer guests myriad opportunities to get closer to the sea, providing yet more options for vacationers to enjoy the beauty of the Mediterranean when the ship comes into service.”More news: Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaThe increased size of the ship by 52 ft. has allowed for some of the public spaces to be redesigned, creating new public areas as well as optimizing the location of other areas throughout the ship. A new double deck show lounge has been created below the aft pool, which is now on Deck 8, while the indoor pool on Deck 18 will be extended with an additional deck over and around the pool. The family offering has also been expanded with an even bigger kids’ area and the ultimate state-of-the-art waterpark. A brand-new restaurant will be introduced for Aurea guests as well as an additional main restaurant. There will be a new location for the specialty restaurants on Deck 8, as the buffet will move to Deck 16. This new position for the specialty restaurants allows for waterfront seating on the iconic waterfront boardwalk bringing guests ever closer to the sea as they enjoy their lunch or dinner.More news: ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthMSC Seashore will also feature new stateroom designs such as connected staterooms for families and groups. The MSC Yacht Club will offer a new style of suite, featuring a walk-in wardrobe. In addition, there will be two more luxury suites with whirlpool baths, and 28 more terraced staterooms with their own private area for sunbathing.MSC Seashore, as well as the fourth ship from MSC Cruises’ Seaside-generation is being built by Italian shipyard Fincantieri.When booking MSC Seashore over the initial two-week opening of sales period exclusive to them, MSC Voyagers Club members will not only be able to have the first selection of staterooms, but also receive a special 5% discount in addition to their 5% loyalty discount. All other guests will enjoy a 5% early booking discount until Sept. 11, 2019. Prices start at Cdn$1,249 per person for a balcony stateroom.MSC Seashore will commence its maiden voyage on June 13, 2021 and will be joined 18 months later by a second Seaside EVO ship in autumn 2022. Travelweek Group Sharelast_img read more

What if kids could build a city

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionRespect and care for private and public spaces where humans coexist is the theme of a new exhibit under construction at the Children’s Museum. Sponsored by the Association of Engineers and Architects and the separate Architects’ Association, seven architects and two engineers are designing the “Built Environment” room, where kids will be given the tools to build their own city.When completed around this time next year, projected audio and video will surround visitors with a clash of images and sounds, including falling water, crashing waves and wind in the trees. More cacophonous sounds will include honking traffic, jackhammers and car engines. The room’s floor will change colors and shapes when walked on.The exhibit’s main room will lead outside to an open-air structure composed mostly of bamboo. Here visitors will find a continual mural where kids can write, paint and draw ideas of what they’d like to see in their “city.” For five years, the room will continuously change based on kids’ ideas, and they can build their own city with mobile blocks and columns, and horizontal, vertical and leaning structures. Architect and project coordinator Ana Carolina Pizarro is very experienced in working with children and architecture. She has executed numerous rooms in the museum as well as workshops around the country. Petty theft is a crime she wishes to alter with experiences in the new room. One of the rooms she designed at the museum has a giant book with pages kids can turn, toy blocks that fit into the pages and headphones to hear the story. The headphones have been stolen three times, even when they were bolted to the wall.“This isn’t the children stealing the headphones, it’s the adults,” she said. “I hope [the new] room can foster a little more respect for our surroundings. I’ll not likely live to see it, but we need to establish these values when people are young.”Bernal Castillo, another architect working on the project, said much of the research and inspiration came from workshops held across the country. These workshops featured plays and discussions about respecting and caring for one’s urban, communal places. Kids received materials to build their own cities with boxes, cups, paper-towel tubes and other items. One child posted a sign on a cardboard tree asking for a happy city. Another asked for a city full of trees and animals. A third asked for a city with more dark-skinned people. “It’s always surprising what kids ask for,” Pizarro said. “These are the children’s voices, and we should listen. They are the actual designers of this space.”Castillo said he would study kids’ reactions to the room when it’s completed.“I hope it will become a favorite room in the museum,” he said. “It’s an ambitious project, but we are really enthusiastic and are working hard to make it a reality.”But the two architect associations have raised only 60 percent of the project’s cost of $250,000. To help reach their goal, The Tico Times has joined the associations in a fundraising campaign. The Tico Times is offering its readers subscriptions to the Online Edition for $12 per year, with half of all proceeds to be donated to the Children’s Museum project. The Association of Engineers and Architects is offering the special subscription rate to its 18,000 associates as well. If you already have a subscription, you can renew at the special rate; just specify “Children’s Museum Project” with your renewal. Individuals and companies are also welcome to donate subscriptions.If you’d like to contribute or need more info, please call The Tico Times marketing department at 2258-1558 or email Kathia Coto at klcoto@ticotimes.net. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Bill on Maritime Zone Law moratorium moves forward

first_imgLawmakers in the Legislative Assembly’s Tourism Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of a bill to “protect inhabitants of special areas.”The bill, presented by Social Christian Unity Party lawmaker Wálter Céspedes, aims to establish a two-year moratorium on “all evictions, demolitions and prohibitions of commercial activities and projects in the Maritime Zone.”The bill now will be debated in the general assembly. If approved, it could prevent the destruction of thousands of homes and businesses located on the country’s coastlines.However, Carolina Delgado, a lawmaker with the National Liberation Party, said the moratorium does not suspend current administrative or judicial proceedings.Costa Rica’s Maritime Zone Law, passed in 1977, defines all land 50 meters from the high-tide line in coastal areas as public land and prohibits construction in that zone. The area from 50 meters to 200 meters is considered restricted, but municipalities are allowed to issue concessions to certain developments. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Former Costa Rican foreign minister to chair UN International Law Commission

first_imgFormer Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bernd Niehaus on Monday was elected president of the United Nations’ International Law Commission, based in Geneva, Switzerland.“Niehaus is the first Costa Rican to reach the highest position in one of the most prestigious institutions in the creation of international law,” the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.The U.N.’s International Law Commission is composed of 34 members who are elected for distinguished records in the field, with the mission of promoting the development of international law.The members are elected for five years, and they are not direct representatives of their governments or countries, but instead act as experts in their individual capacities.Niehaus has been a member of the International Law Commission since 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. He served as foreign minister of Costa Rica from 1980-1982 and again from 1990-1994. He is Costa Rica’s current ambassador to Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and was previously the Costa Rican ambassador to the United Nations (1998–2002).In 1994, he was a candidate for the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States.His term as president of the organization lasts from 2013-2014. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Snowden wants asylum in Brazil report

first_imgBRASÍLIA – U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden plans to seek political asylum in Brazil in exchange for helping investigate U.S. spying on this country, a newspaper said Tuesday.The former contractor expressed his willingness to aid a Brazilian Senate probe in an “open letter to the Brazilian people” which was published in Folha de São Paulo.In the letter, Snowden, who has temporary asylum in Russia, said that until he obtains permanent asylum the U.S. government will continue to interfere with his ability to speak out.Snowden, by downloading a vast trove of classified documents while working as an intelligence contractor for the NSA, has revealed a vast NSA program that culls information from telephone calls and emails around the world, including in Brazil.Snowden avoids directly requesting asylum in the letter, but Folha said his goal is in fact to come to Brazil. It quotes the journalist Glenn Greenwald, who is based in Brazil and has written about many of the documents released by Snowden.Brazil has a long tradition of granting asylum.Snowden praises Brazil’s fierce reaction to news it was among the countries the NSA spied on. President Dilma Rousseff canceled a visit to Washington in October after learning of it.Rousseff was among the targets of the U.S. surveillance, via her cellphone, as were the state oil company Petrobras and everyday Brazilian citizens. Facebook Comments Related posts:Edward Snowden: ‘I already won’ Britain defends destruction of Snowden data European Parliament wants Snowden, NSA chief to testify on spying ¡Bienvenido, Señor Snowden!last_img read more

Costa Rica to bring another case against Nicaragua in International Court of

first_imgThe government of Costa Rica announced Tuesday that it would file a new complaint against Nicaragua at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, this time for alleged seizure of maritime territory offered by Managua to international oil companies.“We’re working on a complaint against Nicaragua for commandeering and offering Costa Rican maritime territory and arbitrarily and unilaterally setting maritime limits to mark what they say are their oil blocks,” Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo said on Tuesday.The top diplomat said that the complaint would be presented at The Hague on May 8, the day President Laura Chinchilla leaves office and is replaced by the winner of an April 6 runoff election.Castillo added, “We also are working on an agreement (for the United Nations) between Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica to express our opposition to Nicaragua’s attempts to extend its claims.”The minister did not offer further details.In July 2013, the government of Costa Rica claimed that an important number of blocks offered by Nicaragua for oil concessions in both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean were in Costa Rican waters.At the time, the foreign minister in San José sent a protest letter to his counterpart in Managua demanding the “immediate withdrawal” of printed material Nicaragua was using to promote its oil concessions.According to Costa Rican authorities, the document showed 18 areas for oil exploration and exploitation in the Pacific and 55 in the Caribbean that did not belong to Nicaragua.Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has said that Costa Rica’s allegations lack substance and that the concession territories offered by his government are clearly defined in a November 2012 ruling from the world court on maritime borders between Nicaragua and Colombia. The announced complaint joins two others that both Central American nations have pending before the court.In November 2010, Costa Rica filed the first complaint against its northern neighbor for the alleged seizure of Isla Portillo, also known by Costa Rica as Isla Calero and by Nicaragua as Harbour Head, a small territory of 3 square kilometers along their shared border.In March 2011, the court ordered both countries to leave the disputed territory while the issue is resolved, among other precautionary measures.In December 2013, Nicaragua filed a complaint against Costa Rica alleging that the construction of a highway near the San Juan River had caused environmental damage to the river bed.Both controversies, among other diplomatic incidents, have driven the relationship between both countries to historic lows.On Monday, the Nicaraguan government expressed its interest in reopening dialogue with a new administration elected in Costa Rica’s upcoming April 6 runoff.On Sunday, Costa Rica held elections to replace President Laura Chinchilla, but none of the 13 candidates running exceeded the minimum 40 percent of votes required. Ruling party candidate Johnny Araya and opposition party candidate Luis Guillermo Solís will go head-to-head for the job in the April election. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica, Nicaragua on opposite sides of UN resolution on Crimea Costa Rica seeks $6 million in environmental damages from Nicaragua in border dispute Oil drilling rights at the heart of maritime dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua VIDEO: Costa Rican officials present new evidence of alleged damage to its territory by Nicaraguan workerslast_img read more

Procter Gamble to hire 300 employees for new Costa Rica operations

first_imgRelated posts:Industrial sector foresees low job growth this year, citing high costs for electricity, raw materials Wanted: bilingual professionals in Costa Rica Equifax to offer 400 jobs in Costa Rica Canadian textile company to open new plant in Costa Rica U.S. company Procter & Gamble (P&G) on Wednesday evening opened in Costa Rica a new supply-chain planning center for its entire operation in Latin America, which will employ 500 workers when it reaches full capacity in June 2015.The company has already hired 200 employees, and in coming days will begin recruiting an additional 300 workers, company officials said at an opening ceremony attended by President Luis Guillermo Solís.The new facilities span more than 6,000 square meters at Forum Industrial Park in Santa Ana, southwest of the capital. The center will consolidate supply-chain planning of 25 company operations on the continent.At the opening ceremony Solís said new facilities reflect the country’s key role in operations of several multinational businesses.“We are glad to know that multinational companies are relying on Costa Rican talent to expand their operations,” Solís said.P&G is seeking bilingual professionals in systems engineering, economics, logistics, computing and business administration.Candidates interested in applying for a job can find a list of available posts and submit their resumes at: www.experiencepg.com.P&G launched operations in Costa Rica in 1999 and currently employs 1,500 bilingual professionals in two operations: a financial services center and a business transformation center. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Consumers rejoice Metropolitan water rates set to decrease on July 1

first_imgIn a couple days, customers of the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) – which services the San José Greater Metropolitan Area – will see a decrease in their monthly water bills thanks to a 26 percent decrease in tap water rates and a 13 percent drop in sewage service rates that will take effect on Wednesday, July 1.The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) on Monday dismissed an AyA request to postpone the rate decrease until 2016, as studies found that AyA currently has enough funds to meet this year’s planned expenditures.The reduced rates were authorized in July 2014 and initially were scheduled to take effect last January. However, ARESEP in December postponed the measures until July.AyA in April filed a request to suspend the rate reduction until next year arguing that it would negate ₡16 billion ($30 million) in projected income for this year.Following Monday’s decision ARESEP’s water services manager, Carlos Herrera Amighetti, asked AyA to justify each rate change request starting now. Those requests must be based on the agency’s investment plan for the next five years and on goals set to meet customers’ needs.The new rates only affect residents in the San José Greater Metropolitan Area who are serviced by AyA. Facebook Comments Related posts:Regulatory agency proposes reduction in water rates Electricity rates for ICE customers to increase in October Fuel, public transportation likely to see a hike in prices in coming weeks Electricity rates to rise 19 percent in Januarylast_img read more

Help build Costa Ricas first animal hospital with a virtual brick

first_imgRelated posts:PHOTOS: March Against Animal Abuse Animal abuse reports on the rise Animal rights activists protest against Tico-style bullfights Signature collection for animal welfare bill referendum set for July Good news for pets in Costa Rica, and for those looking for ways to help them: The country’s first animal hospital is in the works.Dog food company Super Perro plans to build the hospital, which will operate on an ability-to-pay basis. Pet owners who can afford services will subsidize care for those who can’t and for street dogs and other ownerless or abandoned animals.The first animal hospital in Costa Rica will be administered in conjunction with the Animal Rescue Association (Rescate Animal). Rescate Animal estimates that there are approximately two million homeless dogs in the country.The hospital will offer surgery, basic care, grooming and emergency services. It will also include a pharmacy.Two ambulances will be available for emergencies and to visit animals in remote areas.The hospital’s backers hope to make it financially sustainable through its solidarity model, to avoid relying on the government or donations.Super Perro already has the funds to build the hospital, but it wants 50,000 people to join a virtual building campaign in order to get started on the actual construction. Collaborators can create a “virtual brick” with their name or their pet’s name on it. Those virtual bricks will then become an actual “wall of collaborators” in the hospital.As of Monday at noon, less than 6,000 bricks were needed to get started.Find more information about the initiative and create your virtual brick on the Super Perro Ayuda website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

After last years flooding San José officials say city is prepared for

first_imgRelated posts:San José’s Chinatown woes continue Heavy rains cause flooding in Costa Rica’s southern Pacific region Low-pressure system over Costa Rica brings rain Landslides block roads, cause losses at farms in Tilarán The first showers of the rainy season have fallen throughout most of Costa Rica, and in the capital, officials say they have taken appropriate measures to prevent the kind of flooding that turned some city streets into lakes in recent years.The most severe flooding in San José last year occurred between September and October, usually the months of highest precipitation. Flooding in downtown and other areas of the capital carried away vehicles, damaged merchandise in stores and forced many businesses to close for several hours and some for days. When San José’s Barrio Chino flooded on Sept. 25, 2015, the Internet responded with memes like this, which thumbs its nose at Costa Rica’s international tourism publicity campaign, “Essential Costa Rica.” (Via Twitter)One of the worst sectors was the capital’s “Barrio Chino,” or Chinatown, but overflowing sewers and rivers affected areas all over the city, including Barrio Luján, Hatillo, San Sebastián, San Pedro, Tibás, Pavas and Rohrmoser.Outgoing San José Mayor Sandra García, who left office last week, said city workers have been cleaning and removing debris in recent months to prevent swollen rivers from causing floods this year. García said the city requested permission from the National Emergency Commission to remove sediment, trash and weeds along several rivers in the capital.A report from the municipality states that employees removed old structures and walls that caused accumulations of trash near rivers and also cleaned debris left by last year’s flooding.Services department manager Marco Corrales Xatruch told The Tico Times in an email that the city is also routinely cleaning sewers to prevent accumulation of garbage.“In Barrio Chino alone, we carried out two cleaning jobs this year that included 128 street drains and gutters, as well as five wells. Another 52 drains and 17 wells only required minor cleaning,” Corrales said.Court ordersThe city’s recent cleanup work was actually the result of a court order. In January, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, ordered the municipality “to fully clean, within three months, the city’s entire sewer system and conduct all necessary actions to prevent flooding during the rainy season, such as that which occurred last year.”Sala IV’s orders came in response to a complaint filed last year against the Municipality, the Water and Sewers Institute and the Health Ministry by business owners in the capital who were affected by the flooding in Barrio Chino.Mayor García attributed last year’s floods to “natural events of extreme proportions,” during the rainy season. Justices, however, ruled that there was enough evidence to attribute the flooding to a lack of proper maintenance of San José’s “obsolete sewer system.”The Court ruled that whether or not last year’s circumstances were unusal, “that circumstance does not relieve the local government of providing quality public services, and particularly of ensuring that the city’s sewer system is in optimal condition for the protection of public health.”Municipal officials acknowledged that sewer infrastructure around Barrio Chino is inadequate. Mayor García also attributed the problem to a lack of planning and action from the previous administration of Mayor Johnny Araya —who took office again on May 1. She said problems in the capital’s sewer system are the direct result of the lack of proper maintenance for many years.Watch a video of the flooding in Barrio Chino last September:https://vine.co/v/exe0OzZUFbbPolemic farewellFormer Mayor García’s legacy on city streets will face the test over the coming months of the rainy season, but other aspects of her legacy are already visible — for better or worse. In one of her last public appearances, Mayor García unveiled a $90,000 monument on Thursday, which sits on Calle 9, just outside of Barrio Chino.The sculpture honors a student movement that in 1919 protested against the government of then-President Federico Tinoco, who seized power in a coup and established a repressive military dictatorship. The unveiling ceremony forced the closure of surrounding streets, causing traffic jams downtown and angering drivers.But mostly, people were upset about the sculpture’s price tag. Angry citizens blasted the municipality on its Facebook page, criticizing García for investing in pricey public art rather than using those funds to fix the city’s sewers, sidewalks and roads, and to improve garbage collection and security.Mayor García defended her decision, saying that “all projects are important,” and that she will leave unfinished projects mostly because of the lack of cooperation from other public agencies.The new 12-foot-high monument on Calle 9 depicts three students representing protesters from three public high schools who took part in the street demonstration nearly a century ago.The daily foot traffic of students from those same high schools gave the iconic street where the statue is located its nickname: Paseo de los Estudiantes, or “The Students’ Walkway.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

EURO 2012 LIVE Russia starts with impressive win

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Greece will look to Giorgios Samaras for goals today, as he will lead the line for them. They go into today’s match on the back of a 1-0 victory over Armenia, where Samaras missed a penalty.Defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos scored for the 2004 champion Greece, who later missed a second penalty through Kostas Katsouranis.___1713: No surprises there from Polish manager Franciszek Smuda, as Robert Lewandowski leads the attack for the co-host. Ludovic Obraniak, who normally plays behind Lewandowski, is also one to look out for. He is a Ligue 1 winner with Lille, too.___1709: GREECE: Chalkias, Torosidis, Papadopoulos, Papastathopoulos, Holebas, Maniatis, Katsouranis, Karagounis, Ninis, Gekas, Samaras___1717: POLAND: Szczesny; Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch, Blaszczykowski, Polanski, Murawski, Rybus, Obraniak, Lewandowski.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) ___2017: Zenit St Petersburg goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev starts in goal, ahead of Igor Akinfeev. It is unclear if Akinfeev is still struggling with fluid on his knee or Malafeev is outright first choice for manager Dick Advocaat. Milan Baros, who finished as joint top-scorer in 2004, has overcome a muscle strain and starts tonight for the Czech Republic. Here are the lineups:Czech Republic: Cech, Gebre Selassie, Kadlec, Hubnik, Sivok, Rezek, Rosicky, Plasil, Pilar, Jiracek, Baros.Russia: Malafeev, Anyukov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov, Berezutski, Shirokov, Denisov, Zyryanov, Dzagoev, Arshavin, Kerzhakov.___GAME OVER: POLAND 1 GREECE 1. Honors even in first game of the Euros. Loads of action, two goals, two red cards and a missed penalty. It’s a great start.___1944:Lewandowski unleashes a stinging half volley from the right corner of Greece’s penalty area. It swerves into the side netting, but signs are there that Poland will try to snatch a goal here. Eugen Polanski tries his luck from 20 yards out, but it is straight at Kostas Chalkias. Six minutes left for Poland or Greece to find a winner. Kostas Fortounis replaced Fanis Gekas moments before the Greece penalty, by the way. Sponsored Stories ___2108: GOAL! Russia 2, Czech Republic 0.___2107: Konstantin Zyranov escapes down the right and floats an inviting cross to Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who had just side-footed wide from eight yards. Kerzhakov hits the post with a downward header but the ball rebounded to Alan Dzagoev who blasted home to give Russia the lead.___2059: GOAL! Russia 1, Czech Republic 0___2049: Good positive start from the Czechs – and a replay shows a Russian player handled the ball in his penalty area but the referee didn’t see it. The Russians are on the defensive here.___2048: mikecorder (via Twitter): All smiles at the toss between Arshavin and Rosicky. Russia to kick off.___2045: Russia, playing in red, kicks off against the Czech Republic, in white.___2039: 2010 World Cup final referee Howard Webb of England is taking charge of the match tonight.___2038: Russia and Czech Republic are in the tunnel, kick-off for the second match is imminent.___2018: Russia substitutes: Akinfeev, Shunin, Sharonov, Granat, Nababkin, Izmailov, Kombarov, Kokorin, Glushakov, Semshov, Pavlyuchenko, Pogrebnyak.Czech Republic substitutes: Lastuvka, Drobny, Suchy, Limbersky, Rajtoral, Petrzela, Hubschman, Kolar, Darida, Necid, Pekhart, Lafata. ___1924: Chance for Greece. Samaras turns his marker as a ball is chipped over the top. But the ball refuses to sit up for him and in the end Samaras slices high and wide from a tight angle.___1918: A second look at Greece’s goal shows that Ninis had a header blocked by Szczesny before it dropped to Salpingidis. The Arsenal keeper will feel he could have got back in position quicker for that.___1912: Captain of Greece, Giorgos Karagounis is booked for handball moments after the games get underway again. That goal has seen the volume levels drop inside the National Stadium. Poland had rarely been threatened until then.___1909: Greece attack down the right this time and deliver a cross into Fanis Gekas, who attacks the ball as Szczesny comes to claim. They clash and the ball is spilt. For a split second nobody realises where it is, except for Dimitris Salpingidis who runs on to the ball and slots home from no more than six yards.___GOAL: POLAND 1 GREECE 1___1904: The second half is underway and Lewandowski comes close to doubling the lead for Poland and his tally for the match. He pulls away from his marker but blazes over the bar from inside the penalty box. Decent chance. ___1902: Dimitris Salpingidis replaces Sotiris Ninis for Greece at the start of the second half. No changes for Poland.___1900: Poland manager Franciszek Smuda has spoken very highly of his side in the build up to the curtain-raiser of Euro 2012. “This team has convinced me I can rely on them; they have convinced me in every way during the last two and a half years,” said Smuda. They have not let him down so far today.___1857: The referee today is Carlo Velasco Carballo of Spain. He gave 15 red cards and 141 yellow cards in 19 matches last season.Jose Holebas is booked now for Greece. Defender Perquis loses his footing trying to deal with a ball in and seems to handle on his way down. Holebas is booked for protesting to the referee, who waves the play on. A good thing for Greece that half-time is now as a few players seems close to losing their temper.___HALF TIME POLAND 1 GREECE 0___Papastathopoulos has received the first red card at Euro 2012 after bringing down Rafal Murawski. It seemed harsh as Murawski looked to be on his way down already. The referee thought deeply about sending off Sokratis…___1844: Away from events here at the National Stadium for a moment. AP reporter Karl Ritter says Denmark midfielder Niki Zimling left the team’s training session in an ambulance today. It is unknown what the problem is at the moment. ___2224: GOAL! Russia 4, Czech Republic 1___2221: GOAL! Russia 3, Czech Republic 1___2218: The pace has slowed and some of the players are looking a bit leggy. Aleksandr Kerzhakov’s night has come to an early end as Roman Pavlyuchenko replaces him. Fifteen minutes left to play. Theodor Gebre Selassie goes close now for the Czech Republic. Plasil floats the ball over to right back, who takes it first time on the volley but the ball hits the side netting at high speed.___2211: Russians now finding space: Kerzhakov looks desperate for a goal. He runs at the Czech defense and forces his way into a meter of space, but shoots wide to add to his growing frustration. Another chance missed by Aleksandr Kerzhakov. Andrei Arshavin spots Kerzakhov’s run across the defense and picks him out, Kerzhakov spins and shoots but sees his shot flash wide of the far post. He looks to skies in dismay.___2205: The game is getting a bit scrappy at the moment. The Czech Republic seem reluctant to commit too far forward at this stage, knowing that conceding a third will kill them off. Russia are also anxious about conceding another and allowing all the momentum to be with the Czechs.___ Parents, stop beating yourself up More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments Share ___1817: Poland 1 Greece 0. Robert Lewandowski scores the first goal of the tournament with a close range header.___1807: Greece are looking to keep the ball and take the pace out of Poland’s early advances. When Poland win back possesion, Greece are quick to get at least eight men behind the ball. And it is not long until Chalkias is in action again, this time having to tip a shot from Rafal Murawski over the bar from 20 yards. The resulting corner is dealt with by Greece, but Poland have the upper hand in the opening minutes.___1805: Lewandowski and Obraniak look to link up in Greece’s penalty area, but Lewandowski’s overhead flick falls to Kostas Chalkias in the Greek goal. AP reporter Derek Gatopoulos says the majority of Greek fans in Poland are from the immigrant community in Germany. It is Greece who get the game underway. The pitch looks in immaculate condition.___1800: The Euros have started. Poland and Greece teams on the field on a hot, humid day in Warsaw.Today’s match will be played at the newly built National Stadium. The first game there for Poland saw them draw 0-0 against Portugal.Stadium looks to be packed with red and white fans of Poland with a handful of Greeks. ___RED CARD. Sokratis Papastathopoulos picks up a second yellow in a few minutes and it’s the first red of the tournament.___1840: Poland should be 2-0 up but it is a horrible miss from defender Damien Perquis who drags his shot wide after Greece fail to deal with a set-piece. And the first substitution, too. Avraam Papadopoulos has picked up a knock and Kyriakos Papadopoulos replaces him.___1838: Sokratis Papastathopoulos gets the first yellow card of the tournament after a challenge with the lively Lewandowski.___1830: Signs in the last few minutes that Greece are getting back into the game but Poland look dangerous and fast on the counter attack. Greece win a free kick just outside the right hand side of the penalty area. Sotiris Ninis, who was fouled, takes it and Poland clear.___1826: Kostas Katsouranis tries his luck from 25 yards out for Greece, but his effort bounces tamely wide of Szczeny. The Polish fans are waving their red and white scarves in unison and chanting the name of their team. That goal has seen the atmosphere go up another gear. Poland are looking to get forward at every oppoRtunity.___1819: Poland attack down the right once again and this time, they take full advantage of another opportunity. A cross from captain Blaszczykowski finds an unmarked Lewandowski, who dispatches his header with ease and sends the National Stadium into raptures. Minutes earlier Lewandowski was inches away from giving Poland the lead. A neat interchange of passing releases Lukasz Piszczek and his ball across the six yard box is millimetres away from the head of Lewandowski, with goalkeeper Chalkias stranded. How men can have a healthy 2019 2200: simonhaydon (via twitter) “Howard Webb is showing the ref of Poland vs Greece how to ref. At least one red was unnecessary. Webb’s cards still in pocket.___2156: Vaclav Pilar is known as the Czech Lionel Messi and with a such a finish, you can begin to see why. He picks up on a through ball and rounds Malafeev before passing the ball into an empty net. Could a second-half comeback be on for the Czech Republic?___2153: GOAL! Russia 2, Czech Republic 1___2148: The second half is underway. One change: Jan Rezek is replaced by Tomas Hubschman for the Czech Republic. The Czechs are moving the ball around better but lack movement to pull a stern Russian defense out of position.___2139: Alan Dzagoev has enjoyed a great first half for Russia. He started the move that led to Russia’s first goal, releasing Andrei Arshavin down the right flank. He should have done better with a chance moments later when he was released by Kerzhakov, again down the right, but blasted wide of the near post. The first half an hour was electric. The Czech Republic began the brighter but a goal from Alan Dzagoev was a catalyst for the Russians to play some good attacking football of their own, with pin-point passing and fast movement causing chaos. They doubled their lead through Roman Shirokov and deserve to lead 2-0 at half time. ___1937: Dimitris Salpingidis has been at the heart of everything since he came on at half time. He has a goal ruled out for offside now. He timed his run well, but Kostas Fortounis was ahead of the play before he centered the ball. Greece have the upper hand.___1931: Greece missed two penalties in their last warm-up match against Armenia. One was taken by Georgious Samara, the other by Kostas Katsouranis. This time, captain Giorgios Karagounis steps up and brings a fine save from substitute goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton, who dives low to his left and claws the ball away with his first touch of the game.___1930: (via Twitter)PhillipsIan: But advice to the referee: After giving a red card, don’t get caught on TV cameras smiling and joking with the opposition.___1929: (via Twitter)PhillipsIan: What a start from the Polish substitute ‘keeper , saving penalty with first touch.___1927: A ball over the top is taken down by Dimitris Salpingidis, who in the process looks to take it round Szczesny. His stray foot catches Salpingidis though, who goes to ground leaving the referee with no choice but to send Szczesny off and give Greece a penalty.___RED CARD: WOJCIECH SZCZESNY, POLAND. GREECE PENALTY SAVED. WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Russia started the European Championship in impressive style, beating the Czech Republic 4-1, while host Poland drew 1-1 with Greece, who squandered a chance to take all three points by missing a late penalty.Here is a running account of Friday’s developments. The times, which indicate when each update was filed, are Polish time, which is two hours ahead of GMT and 7 hours ahead of EDT. ___HALF-TIME: Russia 2, Czech Republic 0___2129: A downward header from Vaclav Pilar brings the first real save of note from Russia’s Vyacheslav Malafeev. The Russians win a free kick inside the Czech Republic half, Plasil bringing down Kerzhakov, but nothing comes of it. The Czechs are trying to keep possession inside Russia’s half as much as possible. The Czechs are trying to battle their way back into the match, but Russia’s defense is starting to look a bit stronger than it did during the first 30 minutes of this match.___2119: Russia are causing the Czech Republic all sorts of problems with their movement going forward. The ball is pulled back from the left to Kerzhakov who should at least hit the target, but instead blazes high and wide. That said, they look a little edgy in defense. Could be a lot of goals tonight. There was a good penalty shout for Russia, Andrei Arshavin taking a tumble after a knock from Plasil. Looked like there may have been something in that but Howard Webb was not convinced.___2110: What a turnaround in fortunes. Having been up against it, Russia look like they are going to score every time they make it into the final third of the pitch. Andrei Arshavin plays a superbly weighted through ball into the path of Roman Shirokov, who dinks the ball over Petr Cech from little more than eight yards out. ___2240: A superb attacking performance from Russia. They passed the ball well, looked dangerous on the break and the movement from the likes of a rejuvenated Andrei Arshavin and Alan Dzafoev were just too much for the Czech Republic to handle. It’s been a good start to the tournament. Holland vs. Denmark and Germany v Portugal have a lot to live up to tomorrow night.___2239: mikecorder (via twitter): RUS beats CZE 4-1, an emphatic and stylish win for Dick Advocaat’s team to open its Euro2012 campaign. Petr Cech looks shellshocked.___2235: FULL-TIME: Russia 4, Czech Republic 1.___2230: Milan Baros has gone off for the Czech Republic, with David Lafata replacing him. For Russia, Aleksandr Kokorin replaces two-goal man Alan Dzagoev.___2227: It’s turned into a rout. Two goals in a matter of minutes. Alan Dzagoev nets his second goal of the game to cap a great evening for the 21-year-old. The ball falls to Pavlyuchenko who plays a great first-time pass into the feet of Dzagoev, who drives home. Then, Pavlyuchenko weaves his way into the penalty area and holds off a Roman Hudnik challenge with a twist before turning and unleashing a powerful left foot drive past Petr Cech to make it 4-1.last_img read more

Bright colors make a mans summer wardrobe shine

first_img 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 0 Comments Share Maier also leaves loud prints to his colleagues, preferring a delicate floral print which fades into the fabric of his jackets and pullovers or makes up the fabric of a suit or pair of pants, veiled with a subtle layer of organza.The renowned Bottega Veneta bags on this round are extra large and come in functional brown leather, with an elongated strap so that they can be worn across the body. It all looks so simple, and yet somehow no other designer can carry off the intricate workmanship behind the collection with such nonchalance.____VERSACEDonatella Versace has always put up a good fashion fight.For next summer she outfits a man facing today’s tough world with clothes fit for an ancient Roman arena.“The new gladiators are the young. I would like to see them fighting for a goal,” she told reporters ahead of her Saturday night show, which closed the first day of menswear preview showings in Milan for summer 2013.The designer opened the show with a bare-chested model sporting a gilded warrior belt, wrestling trunks and high-laced centurion sandals fashioned in contemporary sneaker fabric.Throughout the show, Versace came back to the gladiator theme, decorating T-shirts and tunics with gilded embroidery, pairing the centurion sandal with evening wear and offering the Roman-inspired boxer robe as a lightweight overcoat. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home How do cataracts affect your vision? When she wasn’t in the combat arena, Versace drew inspiration from the Memphis Group _ the 1980s furniture movement which opted for a colorful style in contrast to conventional home furnishings.She used famous graphic prints to liven up classic suits as well as summer shirts and tote bags.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Young lads and mature men walked down the sloped, pristine white runway wearing nothing more than revisited track suits.Prada created an entire collection and a brand new look, starting with the white-band theme of sportswear items.First, she put the white bands on the inside instead of outside of a trouser leg, then she accentuated the same white band for the neckline of the accompanying T-shirt top. Like musical variations on a theme, the imaginative designer worked the bands into different components of her summer wardrobe from shirts to jackets to overcoats. As the show went on, the bands changed color and became ever larger, culminating in a two-tone effect for a simple polo shirt or the lapel of a jacket.Meanwhile, the white band also showed up under the arm of a lightweight raincoat or became the cross strap of a flat leather sandal.Not satisfied to limit the new inventions to the male population, Prada put together a his-and-her version of most of the outfits.For the girls, however, the T-shirts came in luxurious dyed fur. All the female models wore a tennis band around their head to accentuate the sporty feel of the collection.The new Prada bag is unisex. Big and boxy, it can be carried by hand and double as an overnighter. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family The only designers so far to have shied from the new color movement are Dolce&Gabbana who preferred Sicilian black and Tomas Maier for Bottega Veneta who stuck to conservative brown and blue.But Maier embraced the craze for floral and geometric prints, which have shown up everywhere. However, he dimmed the effect, covering his large floral prints with a film of delicate organza, a usually feminine fabric.The overall summer silhouette is on the casual side, with slim but not tight-fitting pants, a comfortable fit for jackets and lightweight outerwear including raincoats, bomber jackets and wind breakers.While the colors are bold, the fabrics are light from cotton to silk to the see-through organza.Bags are big and roomy, and usually come with a shoulder strap for easier carrying.Footwear is sporty, with the rebirth of the sneaker and simple training shoe, often in bright fluorescent shades. There are also sturdy leather sandals and classic lace-ups, updated with colorful soles.____PRADAMiuccia Prada always puts together a great show.The designer’s latest collection presented Sunday evening, the second day of preview showings for summer 2013 menswear, was happy, snappy and just minimalist enough to insure the label’s reputation as the most avant-garde maison of Italian fashion. ____BOTTEGA VENETAThe latest Bottega Veneta collection is inspired by the pullover _ or as creative director Tomas Maier puts it _ “a top that you pull over your head.”In his fashion notes for the summer 2013 menswear collection, the designer points out that the pullover is a universal piece that can be found in both traditional and contemporary cultures.What Maier fails to add is that a Bottega Veneta pullover is not just any pullover. The designer puts into this seemingly simple attire the manufacturing expertise, the fabric and the attention to detail which make the difference.Many of his summer pullovers are actually tunics. They come in light wool or cotton silk and casually caress the body, giving the impression of effortless elegance. Sometimes these tunics are worn with comfortable cropped trousers; at other times their hemline hangs down from under the jacket of a cotton suit.Many of this season’s Bottega Veneta shirt/pullovers have a lace-up front reminiscent of frontier buckskin garb, especially when they come in super-soft suede and are paired with fringed ankle boots. A V-neck cashmere pullover has side-seam zips for extra freedom.The summer silhouette is sporty without losing its class. Jackets and trousers have a classic fit. Colors _ unlike the garish shades seen on a number of the current menswear runways _ are calm tones of brown, from beige to tobacco, or a quiet series of blues. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths AP Fashion WriterMILAN (AP) – Midway through the four-day menswear preview showings, it was clear that Italian designers are looking ahead to a bright summer in 2013.Bold shades of blue, red, yellow and green, plus pink, orange, turquoise and lime, light up the current runway, bursting into color like fireworks on the 4th of July. Monochromatic, two-tone, fluorescent or metallic, they give extra pep to a classic suit, a blazer or a pair of cotton slacks. Top Stories last_img read more

China signals more active role in world affairs

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Hu said China would “get more actively involved in international affairs, play its due role of a major responsible country,” while underlining Beijing’s deep sensitivity to matters of sovereignty and its rejection of “any foreign attempt to subvert the legitimate government of any other countries.”China’s foreign minister introduced the plan for a political solution to the Syria conflict to U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, during his visit to Beijing last week.It calls for a phased, region-by-region cease-fire; the appointment of representatives to negotiate a political resolution while maintaining “the continuity and effectiveness of Syria’s governmental institutions;” international support for Brahimi’s efforts; and steps by the international community to ease the country’s humanitarian crisis.The U.N. has welcomed the effort, but there hasn’t been much international discussion of it. Observers have found it vague, and likely aimed at bolstering China’s reputation following criticism of its moves to join Russia in blocking U.N. resolutions aimed at ending Syria’s bloodshed, including calls for Syrian leader Bashar Assad to step down. Sponsored Stories Comments Share China’s move may be mostly about improving its standing in the Middle East, where it is a major buyer of petroleum _ not from Syria, but from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.In recent decades, China has kept a low-profile in global affairs, abiding by a policy of non-interference in the affairs of other countries. Having used the military against its own citizens in 1989 and facing accusations of ethnic oppression in Tibet and Xinjiang, China is wary of approving any interventions that might set precedents for intervention in its own affairs.“Nonetheless they are realizing you can’t just say you can’t interfere,” said Roderic Wye of London-based think tank Chatham House. “There are consequences in the real world for people living in countries and China is beginning to realize China needs to take account of that.”Li, the Shanghai-based scholar, said he sees no contradiction in China’s principle of non-intervention and playing a bigger role on the world stage.“Non-intervention doesn’t mean paying no attention,” he said. “On the one hand, we should adhere to the non-inference policy. On the other hand we want to play a bigger role in international affairs as a big responsible country. Sometimes, it’s hard to differentiate between the two things.” Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day BEIJING (AP) – China’s four-point plan for Syria is a rare foray into international mediation for the rising power, a sign that Beijing’s increasingly global economic interests can trump its traditional hands-off diplomacy.Outgoing President Hu Jintao, in his agenda-setting report this week at a Communist Party gathering to choose the coming decade’s leadership, signaled China’s intent to step out more on the world stage. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of China’s proposal leaves open the possibility of Assad staying on in a power-sharing agreement, and does not significantly add to past peace plans that have failed.“But then this statement isn’t so much about setting forward a concrete proposal for action as about the messaging that underpins it,” said Sarah Raine, a consulting fellow for Chinese foreign and security policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “It has become increasingly clear that Beijing is worried about the reputational damage its relative intransigence on Syria has been doing to other important relationships, in particular in the Middle East.”The 20-month crisis in Syria pitting Assad’s government forces against a fractured opposition has so far defied the trend of other Arab Spring uprisings that have seen authoritarian leaders ousted, exiled or killed. Assad is determined to stay in power and has vowed never to leave Syria, leaving world leaders to look for a solution.If Assad were to step down, “China will surely accept that,” said Li Weijian, a Middle East studies scholar at the Shanghai Institute for Foreign Studies. However, “China believes it’s not up to the international community to judge the legitimacy of the government or the leader of a country.”last_img read more

Israel police Armed man attacks US Embassy guard

first_imgJERUSALEM (AP) – An Israeli man wielding an ax and a knife attacked and lightly wounded an Israeli security guard at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on Tuesday before he was apprehended at the scene, police said.The man, in his early 40s, attacked the guard outside the embassy gates, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. He said the man’s motive was unknown, but political motives were not suspected and the incident had nothing to do with Israel’s battle with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Sponsored Stories Top Stories Comments Share Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to arrive in Israel later Tuesday to try to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.U.S. Embassy spokesman Geoff Anisman said the “situation in under control.”Security was increased after the attack, and the suspect was being questioned, Rosenfeld said.The beachfront embassy is one of the most secure locations in Israel, guarded around the clock by teams of Israeli and American security guards.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Hungary Snowstorm strands thousands in their cars

first_img Top Stories Over 100 people were injured in traffic and snow-related accidents, the Hungarian Disaster Management Agency said, adding that 5,700 cars were stranded on the roads and 18 trains were stuck between stations.Snowdrifts up to 3 meters (10 feet) high and the violent gusts of wind brought many major roads across the country to a standstill. The storm also left more than 100,000 people without electricity.More than 8,000 people had to take refuge in heated buildings set up by the disaster agency for stranded travelers.Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said police and rescue units were called in, along with military vehicles with caterpillar treads.The weather prompted the government and several opposition parties to cancel outdoor festivities for Friday’s national holiday commemorating Hungary’s 1848 revolution against the Habsburgs.In neighboring Serbia and south across Montenegro, melting snow caused rivers to burst their banks and flood some villages.In Slovakia, just north of Hungary, some schools in the eastern part of the country were closed because of heavy snowfall, and the Cunovo-Rajka border crossing between the two countries was closed to trucks. Slovakia also banned trucks going from the Czech Republic to Hungary through its territory. Around 20,000 households were without electricity in eastern Slovakia after high winds damaged the grid. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement About 300 Slovak soldiers were deployed to help authorities cope.To the south in Kosovo, authorities said an 8-year old girl drowned when a river burst its banks and swept her downriver. Heavy rains caused flooding that stranded dozens of people and prompted emergency rescues.___Karel Janicek in Prague, Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, and Nebi Qena in Kosovo contributed to this report.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Patients with chronic pain give advice Check your body, save your life Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 0 Comments Share Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) – A snowstorm in Hungary brought drifts 10 feet (3 meters) high and violent gusts of wind, forcing thousands of people to spend the night in their cars or in emergency shelters after being stranded on a major highway.Rescue officials said wind gusts up to 100 kph (62 mph) caused trucks to jackknife across the key M1 highway between Budapest and Vienna _ the capitals of Hungary and Austria _ leading to the traffic jams. On Friday, rescue workers cut across guardrails to let vehicles leave the jammed highway on makeshift side roads.last_img read more

Madeleine McCann father attends Lisbon libel trial

first_img Top Stories LISBON, Portugal (AP) – The father of missing British girl Madeleine McCann has attended a Lisbon court hearing the family’s libel case against a former Portuguese detective, but he wasn’t called to testify.Gerry McCann said he had hoped to address the court Wednesday. Calling witnesses is at the discretion of the judge. McCann family relatives have already testified at the trial which is expected to last at least another two months. Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Parents, stop beating yourself upcenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Gerry McCann said he was disappointed, but added that “we’ll keep going and see the process through.”The McCanns are seeking 1.2 million euros ($1.6 million) in damages from Goncalo Amaral. His 2008 book alleged they were involved in their daughter’s disappearance from a vacation resort in Portugal’s Algarve region in 2007, days before her fourth birthday.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finisheslast_img read more

Republican lawmakers shrug off Pope Francis climate message

first_img Top holiday drink recipes Comments Share WASHINGTON (AP) — Pope Francis’ call for dramatic action on climate change drew a round of shrugs from congressional Republicans on Thursday, while many of the party’s presidential candidates ignored it entirely.“I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I don’t consider him an expert on environmental issues,” said Texas Rep. Joe Barton, a senior Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, in a comment echoed by a number of other Republicans. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Francis is to address lawmakers in September in the first speech by a pope to Congress.Despite his status as an exalted spiritual figure and leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, his pronouncements on climate were received much as a presidential address might be: with enthusiastic embraces from those who already agreed with him, and disavowals or silence from most everyone else.President Barack Obama fell into the former category. “I welcome His Holiness Pope Francis’s encyclical, and deeply admire the pope’s decision to make the case — clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position — for action on global climate change,” the president said in a statement.The Republicans vying to replace Obama were not so full-throated. A number of them, including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, did not respond to requests for comment or avoided answering when questioned by reporters on the topic.Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush questioned the pope’s foray into climate science when discussing the issue Wednesday ahead of the encyclical’s release.“I don’t think we should politicize our faith,” he said. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories ___This story has been corrected to show that Rick Perry is the former governor of Texas, not the governor.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. A statement from a spokesman for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry did not directly mention Francis but said, “Gov. Perry believes the climate is always changing, but it’s not clear what role humans have in it.”It’s not the first time the Catholic Church’s teachings on political or social issues have created complications for Catholic lawmakers who take a different view. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who is Catholic, faced questions in the run-up to passage of Obama’s health care bill over her support for abortion rights in light of the church’s opposition.But with his entry into the contentious politics of climate, and his attempt to reframe the issue in moral terms, Francis opened a new chapter in the long-running debate over the intersection of politics and religion.And it was one that most Republicans did not particularly welcome.“I think the pope needs to continue to study this,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. “I think it will be given respectful treatment, but I don’t think it’s going to change a lot of votes.”___Associated Press writer Steve Peoples contributed to this report. The vital role family plays in society Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Even Capitol Hill’s many Catholics, despite their religion’s reverence for the holy father, seemed unmoved by his urgent plea to save the planet. The reactions suggested that the pontiff’s desire to translate his climate views into real action to combat greenhouse gases could fall flat, at least as far as the American political system is concerned.House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, a Catholic who invited the pontiff to address Congress later this year, said the pope is not afraid to challenge thinking on various issues. “I respect his right to speak out on these important issues,” Boehner said, but he demurred when asked whether Francis’ views, made public in an encyclical released Thursday, might spur legislative action by the Republicans who run Congress.“There’s a lot of bills out there. I’m not sure where in the process these bills may be,” Boehner said.In the encyclical, a landmark foray by the Vatican into the area of environmental policy, Francis called for a bold cultural revolution, framing climate change as an urgent moral issue and blaming global warming on an unfair, fossil fuel-based industrial model that harms the poor most. He urged people of every faith to save God’s creation for future generations. Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Mead Johnson paying 12M to settle US bribery charges

first_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Mead Johnson has said its business in China, where it makes and sells products, is one of its most important operations.The SEC said the Chinese subsidiary paid doctors and other professionals in government-owned hospitals to recommend the formula and to give the company the contact information of patients for marketing purposes.The improper payments totaled more than $2 million from 2008 to 2013 and generated about $7.8 million in profits for the company, according to the SEC. Mead Johnson failed to accurately record the payments on its books, the agency alleged.Employees of the subsidiary paid for the bribes by tapping funds for outside distributors that market and sell Mead Johnson products in China, the SEC said.Kara Brockmeyer, who heads the foreign corrupt practices unit in the SEC’s enforcement division, said the company’s lax internal controls enabled the subsidiary to use “off-the-books slush funds” for the payments.Mead Johnson is paying $7.77 million in restitution plus $1.26 million in interest and a $3 million penalty under the settlement.The SEC said that after conducting internal investigations, the company took corrective measures such as firing senior staff of Mead Johnson China, improving accounting controls and establishing a unit in China to monitor compliance. Check your body, save your life Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies WASHINGTON (AP) — Mead Johnson has agreed to pay $12 million to settle federal civil charges that its Chinese subsidiary bribed hospital professionals to recommend its infant formula to new or expecting mothers who were patients.The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement Tuesday with Mead Johnson Nutrition Co., which has operations around the world and makes Enfamil formula. The Glenview, Illinois, company neither admitted nor denied SEC allegations that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribery of foreign government officials or company executives to secure or retain business. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 0 Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “We are pleased to have reached this final resolution with the SEC,” Mead Johnson CEO Kasper Jakobsen said in a statement. He said the company will continue to stress principles of integrity and compliance with the law “in all our interactions with customers and business partners.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more