Cruise passengers describe mood onboard following Ft Lauderdale shooting

first_img Travelweek Group Share Tags: Fort Lauderdale Monday, January 9, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Cruise passengers describe mood onboard following Ft. Lauderdale shooting Posted by FORT LAUDERDALE — For many flight passengers arriving Friday in Fort Lauderdale, it was supposed to be the start of an idyllic week cruising the Caribbean. Then, the deadly shooting in baggage claim happened. Cruises have gone forward, but not without delays, arrangements for traumatized travellers and some dampening of the usual atmosphere.Holland America Cruise line operates many of the massive ships that typically set out around the weekend from the tourism hub’s Port Everglades terminal. The company offered free counselling via a hotline run by emergency management company Empathia on at least two of its ships – one that departed Friday night and another that left Saturday, company spokeswoman Sally Andrews said.“The staff are being very attentive to how folks are feeling on board,” Andrews said.The mood aboard the Holland American Eurodam ship late Saturday was “subdued,” said Sandy Robertson, a 61-year-old retired school principal from the Chicago area.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesAlthough Robertson and her husband Tom arrived before the shooting happened, others passengers aboard the ship had lived through the ordeal.As Robertson was headed to dinner Saturday night before the ship left port, she was reflective. A veteran of 10 cruises, she noted that the ship’s captain was making more announcements than usual, and had thanked the passengers for being patient. She also discovered at least one of the victims who died was scheduled to be on her ship.“We’re all kind of feeling like, ‘Oh my gosh, here we are on this beautiful cruise ship and these families were affected,’” she said. “I look at this beautiful ship right now and am having dinner thinking about folks who are supposed to be here.”Holland America delayed the departure of its Niew Amsterdam ship Friday by several hours largely because passengers were kept at the airport while authorities investigated the shooting. There was also a matter of luggage; the airport’s director says 25,000 pieces of luggage, cellphones and other belongings were separated from their owners during the shooting rampage.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTThe Eurodam was delayed until 9 p.m., Andrews said. Two passengers were unable to catch the Costa Deliziosa from Port Everglades on Saturday, so the company flew them to Nassau in the Bahamas to catch the ship.A Carnival Cruises ship that took off Friday was supposed to have about 20 passengers who were delayed at the airport. Carnival planned to fly them to Nassau over the weekend, Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said.last_img read more

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ACV adds new Island Hopping cruises in Greece announces sea of savings

first_imgTags: Air Canada Vacations, Greece, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International Posted by Travelweek Group Thursday, February 16, 2017 TORONTO — For clients who prefer to see it all, Air Canada Vacations has announced new Island Hopping itineraries in Greece as part of its highly anticipated Europe collection.Packages include flights, transfers, accommodations, meals as per itinerary, and cruise and ferry transportation between Athens and the islands. All packages also begin in the capital city and include visits to Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Milos or Paros.The ‘Best of Greece’ itinerary begins with two days at leisure in Athens and includes a ferry to Mykonos for two days, plus another two days in Santorini. Also included are roundtrip flights from Canada to Athens, eight nights’ accommodation in three-, four- and five-star properties, all airport and pier transfers in Athens, Mykonos and Santorini, inter-island ferries in economy class, flight between Santorini and Athens, meals as per itinerary, and porterage.A number of special offers are on offer to entice clients to book. For example, for all Europe packages, cruises and tour bookings, ACV is offering clients savings of up to $100 per couple, and agents 3X ACV&ME points until Feb. 28.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upNorwegian’s Free at Sea promotion allows clients to choose two perks when booking an oceanview, balcony or mini-suite stateroom by March 5. Perks include free Ultimate Beverage Package, free Specialty Dining Package, 250-minute Internet package, a $50 credit per port shore excursion, and a free stay for kids.Norwegian is also offering a Canadian at Par promotion that’s valid until Feb. 28 and applies to select 2017 European cruises on Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Star.MSC Cruises has 2-for-1 rates that include 50% savings on the second passenger until March 31. Clients will also receive a reduced deposit of $70 per person, while kids sail free on select sailings.And Royal Caribbean’s BOGO promotion is especially enticing, with 60% off the second passenger plus 30% off for the third and fourth passenger until Feb. 28.If that weren’t enough to excite travellers, when clients book air and cruise on the Norwegian Star and Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas sailings from Venice, ACV will pay the gratuities, a value of US$100 per person. This offer expires Feb. 28 for sailings from April 15 and Oct. 31.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterPlus, with ACV’s CruiseAir program, travellers can easily add flights to their cruise packages. All flights are 100% refundable up to 30 days prior to travel, and a $100 refundable deposit is all it takes to place a hold. One name change is also permitted up to 30 days prior to travel, plus clients will receive Aeroplan Miles.For more information go to vacations.aircanada.com.center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Share ACV adds new Island Hopping cruises in Greece, announces sea of savings & cruise perkslast_img read more

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Costa Rica still has a ways to go on gay rights says

first_imgNo related posts. Sunday afternoon, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies are set to meet on the Paseo Colón at noon, in downtown San José, to celebrate gay pride month with the Diversity March.The parade kicks off a whole afternoon of events including speeches from lawmaker Carmen Muñoz, a representative of the United States Embassy, local activists, and a concert by Mary McBride, of “Brokeback Mountain” fame. Organizers are also using the gay pride event to kick off one of the community’s most ambitious projects to date: a national campaign to legalize same-sex marriage organized by the Front for Equal Rights, an alliance of several LGBT groups.It wasn’t that long ago, however, that LGBT groups had to meet in secret in Costa Rica. Wary of discrimination, government meddling and even violence, organizers would meet under the guise of another event or privately at someone’s home.Despite the San José gay pride parade’s high profile, the LGBT community still faces steep hurdles. A week before organizers were set to host a two-day Diversity Festival, the first of its kind here, leading up to the parade, the City of San José pulled the $12,000 it promised for the event. During the last year, Christian politicians, like evangelical lawmaker Justo Orozco, drew wide criticism for their anti-gay statements.   Marco Castillo, president of the Diversity Movement, sat down to talk with The Tico Times to discuss LGBT rights in Costa Rica and the group’s participation in a national campaign to propose a marriage equality bill. Excerpts follow:TT: How would you describe the discrimination faced by the LGBT community in Costa Rica? MC: There is a lot of discrimination, especially against gays and lesbians who are out, especially in the workplace. It’s difficult to find work, and when they have it, it’s difficult to keep.For transgender people, it’s much more difficult. It’s difficult for a gay or lesbian person to find work but it’s nearly impossible for someone who is transgender. You’d never see a trans person working in an office or as a teacher or whatever. Beauty salons are almost the only place that tolerate them.Costa Rica is often honored for its respect for human rights, but the truth is, when we’re talking about sexual diversity rights, this is a lie.What is the marriage equality bill promoted by the Front for Equal Rights?There’s a mechanism by which the people can propose a bill to the legislature. If we can get signatures from 5 percent of the citizens, our proposal to push for a marriage equality bill will be on the docket. This bill would modify the current law so that marriage would not be defined by the sex of the couple. We’re going to start collecting signatures for this on Sunday.Why collect signatures? Two reasons: demonstrate to legislators that there is popular support for the bill but also as part of a campaign to educate and raise consciousness. Approaching people on the street and asking for their signature means speaking with the public to convince them that there shouldn’t be discrimination. That’s the main activity following the parade.We’re also going to be pushing for a gender law for transgender people that would recognize their chosen gender and the right to change their name.What is the political environment for gay rights?There have been past bills [common-law marriage, civil unions] but they haven’t gotten any traction in the legislature. Political will is a problem for us with many of the parties, even those that have anti-discrimination statements in their platforms. That goes for the National Liberation Party, the Libertarian Movement Party and the Citizen Action Party.  We’ve been fighting for seven years to pass protections for LGBT people but they’ve floundered because of the actions of religious fundamentalist lawmakers and a lack of political will.Homophobia has many cultural aspects that depend on the moment in history and geography but also, fundamentally, from religious factors. However, there are evangelical and Protestant churches that are not homophobic. The Lutherans have a saying that goes, “God saw diversity and said it was good.”What do recent successes for LGBT rights in the United States and Latin America mean to the movement here?We’re very glad about the triumph in the United States, with [U.S. President Barack] Obama and the Supreme Court. We include ourselves in that; it’s been a great motivator to us. Now, we’re going to fight for marriage equality. They are successes that were hard-fought in other countries and it’ll be difficult for us too, but we’re going to succeed, sooner rather than later, I’m absolutely sure of it. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Mrs Fields bakeries expanding Costa Rica Colombia operations

first_imgThe local franchise of U.S. cookie company Mrs. Fields will add three new stores in Costa Rica, Operations Manager Jennifer Martínez said.The California-based company distributes cookies, pastries and drinks and already has seven locations at local malls since entering the country in October 2012.Mrs. Fields operations in Costa Rica mean an investment of $2 million for local franchisee Direct Investment, composed of investors from the United States and Costa Rica. They also own the franchise rights for Colombia, where they will open the first store in August, Martínez added.Mrs. Fields stores are located in San José at malls San Pedro, Trejos Montealegre, Lincoln Plaza and MultiPlaza. In the province of Heredia, stores are located at malls Paseo de las Flores and Plaza Real Cariari, and in Cartago at Paseo Metrópolis.Martínez said the three new stores represent an investment of some $450,000 and will be located at MultiPlaza del Este, east of San José, and at two new malls that will open in Desamparados, south of the capital and in the province of Alajuela.The company also is in negotiations for distribution in major supermarket chains in the country.Direct Investment also expects to start Colombia operations in August, with plans to open some 20 stores in the next five years.Mrs. Fields was founded in Palo Alto, California, in 1977. The company has more than 300 franchises and licensed locations throughout the US and in 22 other countries. Facebook Comments Related posts:Smashburger opens first Latin American restaurant in Costa Rica KFC and Quiznos to open 15 new restaurants in Costa Rica Quiznos, KFC opening more Costa Rica locations in $2.5 million regional expansion Johnny Rockets opens third location in Costa Ricalast_img read more

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The Limits to Knowledge

first_imgNature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night;                            God said “Let Newton be!” and all was light.                            But then up jumped the Devil, shouting “Ho!                            Let Einstein be!” and restored the status quo. Jack O’Brien No related posts.center_img Well, I cannot go along with that bit about light; Newton’s Principia Mathematica is pretty heavy reading, and not least because it’s all in Latin. And not a word about falling apples. Nevertheless, I take the point that when Einstein trumped Newton with his General Theory in 1916, there were probably not more than a dozen people in the whole world who could say whether he was right or wrong, and it’s no easy thing to overthrow an ingrained system of thought when practically no one understands what you’re talking about.But Einstein was nobody’s fool, being well aware that successful prediction is the stock in trade of anyone who wants to be believed, and so his first demonstration was the bending of starlight as it grazes the gravity field of the Sun. Newtonian mechanics, elegant as it was, could not even discuss the phenomenon because it dealt only with the behavior of massive objects and so could not be expected to explain how a minuscule photon feels in an intense gravity field.Not that Einstein was the last word on the subject, either, but at least his inscrutable field equations brought us to the point where the task at hand is to explain the apparent excess of matter in the Universe, already knowing that the existence and behavior of Black Holes, Cosmic Expansion and the age of the Universe are all behind us.But the poet was writing about expositional obscurity, and here it is hard to fault him. Even today, nearly a century after the General Theory was published, you might have a hard time finding someone who could clearly explain the curvature of space to any 10-year-old picked at random.True, there are many more who have gone way beyond Einstein into the unfathomable realms of String Theory in a final attempt  to explain everything that goes on out there, but they are all talented mathematicians who have long ago forsaken the everyday language of words and communicate exclusively in the symbolic idiom of tensors and spinors.Which brings us conveniently to the question of what is Knowledge, anyway? I myself rather like the apothegm that Knowledge is nothing but a Hypothesis that happens to fit the facts. Whatever, Knowledge is certainly something about which we can be certain, even if it turns out to be wrong. The whole history of Knowledge is a waste heap of discarded Eternal Truths, but here we’re getting into pretty deep water, so lets just add to my apothegm “… so far as they are known” and come up with a new Hypothesis whenever the facts change. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Habitat for Humanity launches housing microcredit in Costa Rica

first_img Facebook Comments There is plenty of housing in Costa Rica but little for those who need it.“The State of Housing and Urban Development in Costa Rica 2012,” released Wednesday, observed that a glut of expensive housing developments has out-priced many middle class and poor Costa Ricans as developers emphasized “walled city” style developments with private security and other amenities like swimming pools.The asymmetry between supply and demand in the housing sector is one reason that Habitat for Humanity International and Plycem, a Mexican building materials company, are partnering with local banks to start a microfinance pilot program here to help the many poor Costa Ricans add on to or build their own homes.“The supply available does not meet the actual demand,” said Foundation for the Promotion of Housing (FUPROVI) Director Eloisa Ulibarri during the report’s presentation Wednesday. Despite the abundance of high-priced housing, Costa Rica currently faces a qualitative housing “deficit” of 152,464 homes, slightly better than in 2011.According to FUPROVI’s 2012 report, 5.8 percent of the housing in the Central Region, which includes the San José greater metropolitan area, is considered to be in “poor” condition, along with upwards of 13.4 percent along the Atlantic Coast, the Huétar Atlántica Region.The 2012 report listed 98,965 homes in “poor” condition across Costa Rica, roughly 8 percent of the country’s housing.Finding affordable, dignified housing in Costa Rica is especially difficult for poor Ticos who can’t afford the housing stock available and lack access to traditional housing credit from banks.“The purpose of micro-financing is that it offers [lower-income people] financing in amounts they can generally afford,” said Torre H. Nelson, area vice president of Habitat for Humanity, who represents all participating Latin American countries and the Caribbean.Unlike traditional home ownership, the program also provides some security for people who enroll.“There’s a difference between a mortgage loan and micro-financing,” Nelson said. Many households in the micro-financing program have a co-signer, or they use personal property as collateral, although the latter practice is inconsistent.“Most organizations aren’t interested in collecting TVs for collateral. It’s just too expensive for them,” he said.According to Nelson, strong organizations have shown enormous success with the program; he estimates that default rates are as low as 5 percent and rarely exceed 7 percent. Instead of being evicted from a property, defaulting households may damage their credit history and ruin their chances for a future loan.Micro-loan proponents believe that the nontraditional loans — often lasting three months instead of 30 years — will benefit poor would-be homeowners and open untapped revenue streams for local banks.Housing micro-finance projects have has success in Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Brazil.Robert Isenberg contributed to this story. No related posts.last_img read more

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Meet Costa Ricas 13 presidential candidates

first_imgWith much of the attention focused on the fivetop-polling presidential candidates in Costa Rica’s upcoming Feb. 2 elections, you might have missed that there are eight more. Not to worry, here’s your rundown on all 13 candidates, in alphabetical order. Get to know them before you vote!The Big ShotName: Johnny ArayaAge: 56Party: National Liberation PartyWho is he? This politically astute nephew of former President Luis Alberto Monge (1982-1986) is trying to offer a new spin on an old classic of the Costa Rican political system.The Palmares native and former San José mayor has had a rocky ride so far. The Supreme Elections Tribunal shut down his campaign’s program to provide free health care in communities around the country amid accusations of vote-buying. When asked about the price of a liter of milk and a casado, the candidate fumbled, underestimating the cost of both, and coming off as out of touch with the struggles of residents in the city he governed for more than 20 years.Araya has distanced himself from Chinchilla while claiming the PLN’s historic social democratic mantle. However, he is a controversial figure who is dogged by corruption allegations and charges that he was a do-nothing mayor.Likes:  A value-added tax to replace the country’s current sales tax, state-run infrastructure projects, and natural gas exploration by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute. Also, free trade, agricultural exports and close relations with China.Dislikes: “Extremist” liberal views, journalists and anyone who rocks the PLN’s boat.Campaign link here.The ‘Little Orozco’Name: Carlos Luis AvendañoAge: 57Party: National Restoration PartyWho is he? The lesser-known conservative evangelical, pastor and lawmaker from San José. Avendaño’s party does not have a functioning website and had 355 likes on its Facebook page at press time. Avendaño’s current claim to fame is being a member of the legislative coalition that blocked in vitro fertilization legalization.Likes: Family values.Dislikes: Anything proscribed in Leviticus.Campaign link here.The Almost-PresidentName: José Miguel CorralesAge: 75Party: New Homeland PartyWho is he? Corrales is a lawyer, who before launching his political career also was a successful soccer player, who even held a spot on the national team. He served as a Supreme Court justice and was elected lawmaker for the National Liberation Party three times.In 1998, Corrales won the presidential nomination for the PLN but lost to Miguel Ángel Rodríguez of Unity by a mere 2.5 percent of the votes.In 2002, he lost his party’s presidential nomination to Rolando Araya Monge.He left the PLN in 2005 amid bitter differences over the nomination of President Óscar Arias. In 2007, he returned to the public eye when he filed a legal complaint against the signing of the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement. That led to an historic national referendum on the issue.Likes: Soccer, classical music (Chopin, Beethoven and Mozart) as well as Mexican and Argentine folk music. He currently is reading Barack Obama’s biography.Dislikes:  Tardiness, hypocrisy and dishonesty from public officials.Campaign link here.The GrandnephewName: José Manuel Echandi MezaAge: 49Party: 
National Advancement PartyWho is he? Echandi, a lawyer, is the grandnephew of former President Mario Echandi Jiménez and was presidential candidate in 2006 for his great-uncle’s National Union Party (PUN).Mostly known as a former ombudsman, Echandi also was a lawmaker and board member of state agencies such as the Child Welfare Office, the Social Protection Council and the Costa Rican Post Office. He was a member of the Supreme Elections Tribunal for 11 years.Echandi currently is running for both president and lawmaker for PAN, the party he founded after leaving PUN in 2007.Likes: Soft rock and comic books.Dislikes: Lack of transparency.Campaign link here.The Silver-Haired Libertarian FoxName: Otto Guevara Age: 53Party: Libertarian Movement PartyWho is he? A four-time presidential candidate, Guevara was beat only by Wálter Muñoz for the title of All-Time Professional Candidate. He ran in 2002, 2006 and 2010. But this, year, he might actually have a shot if the election goes to a second round.In previous bids, the well-coiffed Guevara could pick up a few thousand votes just by flashing a smile. The ravages of time are catching up, but Guevara still has his commanding talking points. Parts of his platform might surprise purist libertarians, as he opposes gay marriage and abortion. This heterodoxy has earned him the support of some factions of the Social Christian Unity Party. With that support, will the fourth time be the charm for Guevara? Some polls think so.Likes: Individual liberty.Dislikes: Government control (except to enforce his Christian values).Campaign link here.The Man in the White SuitName: Óscar Andrés López Age: 43Party: Accessibility Without Exclusion PartyWho is he? Born with a degenerative eye disorder, López was a motivational speaker before founding his party in 2004. He became a lawmaker representing San José in 2006. His party is not a single-issue platform as its name might imply. López has been a strident cultural conservative, opposing gay marriage, in vitro fertilization and changing Costa Rica into a secular state.Likes: Providing opportunities for disabled Costa Ricans.Dislikes: Secularism.Campaign link here.Rookie of the YearName: Sergio Mena DíazAge: 36Party: New Generation PartyWho is he? One of the youngest candidates, Mena is an attorney who has served in public office for almost two decades. He was elected youth president of the Social Christian Unity Party at 17.After serving as a commercial attaché at Costa Rica’s Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago, he returned to Costa Rica six years later with the idea of creating “a new party with new people.”Participating in its first election, the New Generation Party (PNG) maintains nontraditional principles which state, for example, that former members of other parties are not allowed to run for any post, and that at least half of the party’s candidates must be young people between 18-35. Currently, 22 of PNG’s candidates for the Legislative Assembly are university students and young professionals under 25.Likes: 
Sports (mostly soccer), books about politics, government and globalization, and spending time with his family.Dislikes: The “pobrecito” mentality (the “poor-me” attitude) and the commodification of education in the country.Campaign link here.The 21st Century TrotskyistName: Héctor Enrique Monestel HerreraAge: 57Party: Workers’ PartyWho is he? Don Héctor is a lawyer and the only unabashed communist candidate. Dressing like John Lennon, Monestel has said that his youth was strongly influenced by the hippie movement. He demonstrated against the Vietnam War and dictatorships in Africa and the Middle East during the 1970s. A lifelong leader of worker’s unions, he is now retired after working as a TV producer at the University of Costa Rica.He describes his political movement as a vindication of Marxism and a repudiation of Stalinism, and claims his party was born to fight the “light” leftist movements.Likes: His bass guitar, classic rock and his books – lots of books – that fill his house.Dislikes: Suits. He claims to buy most of his clothes at Wal-Mart.Campaign link here.The CardiologistName: Wálter Muñoz Céspedes 
Age: 56Party: 
National Integration Party  Who is he? This cardiologist has been a part of two organizations that were awarded Nobel Peace Prizes, both of them international medical groups: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (1985) and Doctors Without Borders (1999). He was individually nominated in 2009, but lost to U.S. President Barack Obama. He founded his own political party and has run for president five times in a row. He was elected lawmaker once, representing the province of San José from 1998-2002.Likes:
 Animals (mostly stray cats, but he also has zaguates) and gardening.Dislikes: Costa Rica’s apathy for small political parties.Campaign link here.The Evangelical PreacherName: Justo OrozcoAge: 63Party: National Renovation PartyWho is he? In three words: God, family, country – with a big emphasis on God. There is no constitutional separation of church and state in Costa Rica, and Justo Orozco takes full advantage. The two-term lawmaker from the evangelical National Renovation Party got into hot water recently for using his official office at the Legislative Assembly to conduct private business, including marriages (and divorces). He also holds Bible study and prayer sessions in his public office. He frequently bashes gays and lesbians, whom he considers lost sheep and sinners.Likes: God, family, country. And math. (He likes pointing out he was a former high school math teacher.)Dislikes: Gays, lesbians, atheists, liberals, in vitro fertilization.Campaign link here.The Option for Disillusioned Liberation VotersName: Rodolfo PizaAge: 55Party: Social Christian Unity PartyWho is he? Rodolfo Piza’s candidacy has to be one of the most bizarre in recent memory. After losing the PUSC primary, Piza, a former director of the Costa Rican Social Security System, found himself back in the limelight when the party’s candidate, Rodolfo Hernández, suddenly dropped out of the race one week into the official campaign.Piza stepped in as the last-minute presidential hopeful. Despite his wild gesticulations during debates, the Unity candidate never recaptured Hernández’s strong start. Struggling to raise funds, and even build a campaign website, Piza never claimed more than 5 percent of voters in national polls from Unimer, CID-Gallup and the University of Costa Rica.But lots of lifelong Liberation members who are disenchanted with Johnny Araya wish he had enough support to win.Likes: Jesus, trains, competition and talking with his hands.Dislikes: More taxes, public sector debt, quitting. Campaign link here.The Political ScientistName: Luis Guillermo SolísAge: 55Party: Citizen Action PartyWho is he? An academic and former diplomat, Luis Guillermo Solís has focused his campaign on restarting Costa Rica’s domestic economy, reducing the fiscal deficit and social inequality, boosting education, and creating more access to credit for small businesses. He hopes to scale back Liberation’s export-heavy and privatization-friendly economic model.Solís has positioned himself as a progressive alternative to PLN’s Johnny Araya, without going as far to the left as Broad Front Party’s José María Villalta.After a disappointing start in the polls, Solís came out aggressively against Araya, lambasting his “Hire Me” slogan and sharply criticizing President Laura Chinchilla’s multi-million-dollar settlement with Brazilian contractor OAS over a botched San Ramón highway concession. Now he’s criticizing Araya’s exorbitant salary as mayor.Many citizens seem to agree with his academic pedigree, international experience and even-keeled politics. But not enough seem inclined to vote for him yet.Likes: Small businesses, the “Costa Rican dream,” social media, diversity, history, political analysis and Pac-Man.Dislikes: Johnny Araya’s mayoral salary, neoliberalism, excessive concessions.Campaign link here.The Populist UpstartName: José María VillaltaAge: 36Party: Broad Front PartyWho is he? Equally comfortable shouting in a street protest or stumping in the halls of the legislature, Villalta emerged as the top challenger to Costa Rica’s political status quo. The young San José lawmaker has skyrocketed his nascent progressive party to previously unthinkable heights.Villalta has a penchant for placing every argument under the umbrella of human rights – whether critiquing free trade, government corruption or advocating small-scale environmental tourism or same-sex marriage. Not every Costa Rican is a fan. Villalta’s critiques of free-market policies and supportive remarks for notorious socialist leaders such as Hugo Chávez have led his opponents to brand him as a socialist or communist. Other critics have flagged him as inexperienced due to his short record and boyish looks.Likes: Government as the watchdog for human rights.Dislikes: Neoliberalism, chorizos (Costa Rican slang for bribes).Campaign link here. Facebook Comments Related posts:Head of election monitoring mission expresses support for Costa Rican election authority Live Costa Rica election results Supreme Elections Tribunal dismisses request to reprint ballots for runoff election President Laura Chinchilla expresses dismay with low voter turnout in presidential runofflast_img read more

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Obama hits back hard at foreign policy critics

first_imgRelated posts:Deal throws Obama foreign policy into sharp relief Obama urges Putin to back down in Ukraine or face new steps White House seeks emergency funds to handle rush of young immigrants 10 key quotes from Obama’s final State of the Union speech MANILA, Philippines – U.S. President Barack Obama’s frustration is spilling over as he makes the most strident defense of his foreign policy yet, rebuking critics who say his diplomacy is haphazard, weak and blurs U.S. national security red lines.The U.S. president’s patience snapped several times during his tour of Asia which wrapped up in the Philippines Tuesday, when confronted by arguments that he has failed to put his stamp on a world increasingly flouting U.S. power.His four-nation trip was meant to cement the most substantive doctrinal element of his foreign policy, the pivot of U.S. power to Asia, which had been a little ragged of late.But Obama’s inability to deter President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, the crumbling Middle East peace process and the unstoppable carnage in Syria, opened the president to new charges his foreign policy is a bust.He had to reassure Asian allies nervous of China’s growing territorial muscle that despite his reluctance to fight traditional wars, Washington’s defense guarantees are rock solid.He rarely loses his cool in public, but Obama was at his most waspish in public comments on foreign policy during the trip — recalling his ill-tempered debates with Republican Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential race.His wariness of foreign quagmires is also a consistent political theme — recalling the 2002 rebuke of “dumb” wars that helped him harness public dismay with the Iraq war six years later to win the White House.Obama argues that hubris gets the U.S. into trouble and that avoiding “mistakes” like the Iraq and Vietnam wars is paramount, while advancing modest goals and hoping for the odd foreign policy “home run.”“That may not always be sexy. That may not always attract a lot of attention — but it avoids errors,” he said in a press conference in Manila on Monday.As a foreign policy doctrine, this might lack a little lofty vision — but seems to represent a trimming of Obama’s global aspirations since he swept to power vowing to change the world.What critics see as a retreat, Obama sees as a wise turn away from foreign adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan that have drained the U.S.’ power, stretched its finances and strewn a new generation of U.S. dead on foreign battlefields.Obama is especially sardonic about Republicans who portray him as overly reluctant to commit military force other than in robust drone wars, or to arm rebels in Syria or the Ukraine government.“My job as commander-in-chief is to deploy military force as a last resort, and to deploy it wisely,” Obama said. “Most of the foreign policy commentators that have questioned our policies would go headlong into a bunch of military adventures that the American people had no interest in participating in and would not advance our core security interests.”He did not name particular critics, but his top antagonist is hawkish Republican Senator John McCain who he beat to the presidency in 2008.“I believe that the president does not believe that America is an exceptional nation. And if America doesn’t lead, other people do lead,” McCain said on PBS show Charlie Rose this month.McCain believes Obama has been cowed by Putin and that he dismayed U.S. allies in the Middle East by stepping back from attacks on Syria.“The most powerful, richest nation in the world can carry out a lot of measures to assert our leadership in the world,” he said. “We have to take steps that convince the bad people in this world … that there is a very heavy price if they do things … in gross violation of international norms.”Administration officials are privately incensed that a deal with Russia to remove Syria’s declared chemical weapons stocks — which emerged after Obama blinked at the last minute on firing missiles into Damascus — is seen a failure.They say more than 90 percent of the stocks have been removed and that this represents a foreign policy triumph.Obama is also fuming over claims that he has left Ukraine high and dry and should arm Kiev to deter Russia — despite Monday imposing new sanctions on Putin’s inner circle.“Do people actually think that somehow us sending some additional arms into Ukraine could potentially deter the Russian army?” Obama asked.Obama’s unusually blunt language may also be born of frustration that a foreign policy record, adorned by the killing of Osama bin Laden, that was once seen as a political asset is now often seen as a liability.For the president, his critics have one solution to every foreign policy headache — deploy the U.S. military.“Many who were proponents of what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven’t really learned the lesson of the last decade,” he said as his frustrations spilled over — again in Manila.“They keep on just playing the same note over and over again. Why? I don’t know.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Linguist Miguel Ángel Quesada Pacheco receives Magón Award

first_imgSurrounded by iconic historical murals, Culture Minister Elizabeth Fonseca Corrales announces the winner of the Magón Award at the Museum of Costa Rican Art in La Sabana. This year’s recipient is linguist and university professor Miguel Ángel Quesada Pacheco. The Magón Award is given each year to a Costa Rican citizen who has made profound contributions to the nation’s cultural life. Quesada is known for his research into Latin American dialects, particularly the history of Spanish and indigenous languages. Facebook Comments Related posts:VIDEO: Thrill of victory, agony of defeat during France-Germany game Cyclists rally at Legislative Assembly to demand safer roads WATCH: Keylor Navas makes incredible save against Bayern Munich PHOTOS: Faces from La Reforma prisonlast_img read more

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Dance Company performance La Llorona and other happenings around Costa Rica

first_imgDance: TaciturnThe National Dance Company presents its last performance of the year. It seeks to lead the audience into a melancholy and introspective state, aided by some unconventional seating: the public will be seated right up onstage, among the dancers.“Taciturno” will be performed Nov. 6 -7 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. At Teatro De La Danza, National Culture Center (CENAC), downtown San José. ₡2,500 – 5,000 ($5 – 10). Limited spaces. For more information call 2256-4838.Theater: “Legends of La Llorona”The Mexican legend La Llorona takes a spin through musical theater in a performance that tells stories related to the mourning figure, each tale from a different Mexican town.“Leyendas de La Llorona” will be performed Nov. 6 – 7 at El Hormiguero Theater, Heredia. 8 p.m. ₡2,500 – 5,000 ($5 – 10). For more information call 6115-7841.Music: Beethoven’s SonatasFeaturing Violinist Erasmo Solerti and pianist Leonardo Gell.“Sonatas para piano y violín de Beethoven” will be performed Nov. 6 at the University of Costa Rica (UCR), María Clara Cullell Room, Rodrigo Facio Campus in San Pedro. Free. 7 p.m. For more information call 2511-5565.Theater: Círculo ViciosoA story of four friends who studied together at college, but now have started a process of individual transformation.“Círculo Vicioso” will be performed Nov. 7-8 at the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center (CCN), Barrio Dent, San Pedro. Free. 8 p.m. For more information call 2207-7561.Storytelling FestivalAlajuela becomes the “City of Words” as a weeklong storytelling festival descends upon the city. Check out our preview, published today, for more details.Festival de Cuentacuentos, Nov. 6-13 in Alajuela, starting daily with a 10 a.m. story in front of the Juan Santamaría Museum.Film WeekendSala Gómez Miravalles, at the Centro de Cine, will screen four free movies this weekend. On Nov. 7: “Y tu mamá también” at 4 p.m., and “The American Friend” at 7 p.m. On Nov. 8: “Paris, Texas” at 4 p.m., and “Tres Reyes” at 7 p.m.“Noche de Películas” takes place November 7-8  at Sala Gómez Miravalles, Centro de Cine, San José. 4 p.m. Free. For more information call 2542-5200.Music: Camerata VIvaldiAs a part of its “Noon Theater” series, the National Theater will feature Camerata Vivaldi, of the Musical Arts School of the University of Costa Rica.Camerata Vivaldi will perform Nov. 6 at the National Theater, downtown San José. 12 noon. ₡1,500 ($3). For more information call 2010-1111.Dance: Eco IncorpóreoA tribute, through dance, to history’s most transcendent artists.“Eco Incorpóreo” will be performed Nov. 8 at Melico Salazar Theater, San José. 5 p.m. ₡5,000 – 8,000 ($10 – 16). For more information call 2257-6005.Theater: Jarte Jarte Commedia dell’ArteA performance fusing the antique theater technique of Commedia dell’Arte and improvisation. The public will choose the topic and the stories that will be developed.“Jarte Jarte Commedian dell’Arte” will be performed Nov. 6-7 at 8 p.m., and Nov.8 at 6 p.m. At the Teatro Universitario, at the University of Costa Rica, San Pedro. ₡4,000 ($8) general public, ₡3,000 ($6) senior citizens and students. For more information call 2511-6722.Carpe Craft BeerCarpe Chepe is organizing a beer-tasting tour of four different bars; ticket includes a souvenir glass and transportation in Carpe Chepe bus “La Carreta.” The tour will be guided by a craft beer expert.“Carpe Craft Beer” takes place Nov. 6 starting at Stiefel Pub, San José, 7:30 p.m. $40. More info at the Event Facebook page.Upcoming Concerts:Trapiche Sonico: Fo Leon and RadioSoma. Nov. 5 at El Steinvorth. Free. 9 p.m. More info at the Event Facebook page.La Raza: La Raza, a house music band, celebrates its seventh anniversary with a concert at Antik Restaurant + Bar. Nov. 5 at Antik. 9 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). For more information call 4033-3324.Unión Acústica: Open mic at 2 p.m., followed by a concert at 4 p.m. featuring bands ForEveryAction (U.S.), Nanuka Pituka, Chax and The Blank Paper. Nov. 6 at Fresco. 2 p.m. Free. More info at the Event Facebook page.Los Kaites: The ska-reggae-rock-punk band celebrates its sixth anniversary with a concert also featuring the band Shuttle Time. Nov. 6 at Amón Solar. 9 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). For more information call 2221-2302.Fluye: The reggae band Fuerza Dread presents their single “Fluye,” part of their latest album. Nov. 6 at MundoLoco El Chante. 10 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). For more information call 2253-4125.Bolera: Famous composer, producer and DJ Kate Simko, from Chicago, will present her music alongside Melissa O and Eles. Nov. 6 at Antik. Women get  in for free, men pay ₡3,000 ($6). For more information call 4033-3324.Amón Solar: Instrumental rock band Niño Koi and experimental noise rock band Colornoise team up. Nov. 7 at Amón Solar. 5 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). For more information call 2221-2302. Facebook Comments Related posts:Yoga Day, Father’s Day exhibit and other happenings around Costa Rica ‘Abominable Creatures,’ contemporary dance, and other happenings around Costa Rica San Ramón celebrates, International Guitar Festival, and other happenings around Costa Rica International Film Festival, The Nutcracker, and other happenings around Costa Ricalast_img read more

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Heavy rains flood several communities in three provinces

first_imgHeavy rains and strong gusts of wind on Monday afternoon caused dozens of incidents including flooding, downed trees, flying roofs and power outages in three provinces, mainly in Cartago.The National Emergency Commission (CNE) reported Monday evening that winds had ripped down several trees, some of which fell on vehicles at the campus of the Costa Rican Institute of Technology (TEC). Rains flooded several classrooms, corridors, offices and parking lots.TEC Rector Julio Calvo Alvarado‏ confirmed in a public statement that the university evacuated some of the buildings on campus at around 3:30 p.m. Related posts:Costa Rica nearing record rainfall for May Landslides block roads, cause losses at farms in Tilarán Heavy rains cause flooding in Costa Rica’s southern Pacific region National Emergency Commission issues preventive alert for heavy rains Floods in other areasThe CNE received 20 reports of flooding caused by rains and roofs removed by high winds in the communities of Dulce Nombre, Caballo Blanco and Agua Caliente, south of Cartago.In San Rafael de Oreamuno, in the eastern part of the province, a tree fell on power lines and caused a short circuit that left most of the community without power for several hours. Fallen trees and strong winds also caused short circuits in downtown Cartago and in the canton of El Guarco.The Firefighters’ Department reported that they evacuated students from a public high school in Agua Caliente due to flooding and also a blind senior citizen who had been trapped by flooding inside his home.The CNE also received reports of damage from floods in the Alajuela canton of Naranjo, and in Puerto Jiménez, in the South Pacific.The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) forecast for Tuesday says that high temperatures during the morning, and new humidity coming into the country from the sea, will cause more rains and thunderstorms in the afternoon and the evening. The IMN expects the heaviest showers and storms across the Central Valley, the Southern Pacific, the Northern Zone and the mountainous areas of the Caribbean region. Facebook Commentscenter_img Situación en el @Teccr es grave después del evento atmosférico q impacto en horas d la tarde.se ha ordenado la evacuación ordenada. pic.twitter.com/N43fGnwu06— Julio Calvo-Alvarado (@julio_calvo) June 19, 2017last_img read more

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USbacked firm enters German rail passenger market

first_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The company uses refurbished carriages from the 1970s for the 425-kilometer (264.09-mile) route from Hamburg to Cologne.The trains themselves are operated by French company Veolia that also runs InterConnex, the other long-distance alternative to state-controlled Deutsche Bahn.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths BERLIN (AP) – A rail firm backed by U.S. investors has launched a long-distance route in Germany connecting the northern city of Hamburg with Cologne in the west.Hamburg-Koeln-Express GmbH is only the second company to challenge market leader Deutsche Bahn AG for its lucrative long-distance business.A subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based Railroad Development Company owns a majority stake in Hamburg-Koeln-Express.Tickets for the maiden voyage Monday sold for (EURO)20 ($24.21), about a quarter of the regular fare charged by Deutsche Bahn. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familycenter_img Top Stories Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Quick workouts for men Comments   Share   last_img read more

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Chairman of troubled Cyprus bank quits

first_img“These measures have to be taken, they will be somewhat painful, but I repeat, they should be viewed as an investment for the future,” Demetriades said.Cyprus, whose credit rating is now junk, has been unable to borrow from international markets and is relying on a (EURO)2.5 billion loan from ally Russia to pay its bills until the end of the year. It has asked Russia for another loan of (EURO)5 billion.The country’s economy is projected to shrink by 1.5 percent of gross domestic product this year and Demetriades said it would stay in recession in 2013.(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 Associated PressNICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) – The chairman of Cyprus’ second-biggest bank, Laiki Bank, resigned Thursday, saying that he was bowing to the government’s wishes for him to leave.Michalis Sarris said that he stepped down after Central Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades had asked him to. He said he was also told that the government also wanted him to resign.Sarris didn’t elaborate on the reasons why he was asked to leave. But he has been critical of the government’s handling of the economy as the recession-stricken country’s credit rating sank into junk territory. Quick workouts for men Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family In June, the government became Laiki’s main shareholder after buying nearly (EURO)1.8 billion ($2.21 billion) in shares to help it meet European Union capital buffer requirements. The bank, which posted record losses last year because of its Greek exposure, couldn’t raise the money privately.Cyprus in June became the fifth country to seek a bailout from its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund, mainly because of its banks’ exposure to Greece, where Cypriot banks have an extensive network.Also Thursday, Demetriades told state broadcaster CyBC that he sees a bailout deal being signed by the end of next month. The government is currently in talks with representatives of the country’s potential creditors _ the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF, collectively known as the troika.However, he didn’t specify how much Cyprus would need to recapitalize its banks and to meet its financing needs, saying only that the amount would be “sufficiently large.”He said measures that the government will have to take to trim spending, especially in the bloated public sector, “won’t be pleasant.” But he insisted that they will be “reasonable” so as not to plunge the country into recession. Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

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German court rejects calls to block ESM fund

first_imgAP Business WriterKARLSRUHE, Germany (AP) – Germany’s high court on Wednesday rejected calls to block the Europe’s permanent rescue fund, paving the way in a much-anticipated ruling for its ratification by the country’s president.Investors breathed a sigh of relief that Germany’s highest court was not putting up a roadblock in a central part of Europe’s efforts to contain its near three year debt crisis. Stocks across Europe rallied strongly, the euro spiked to a four-month high of $1.2897 and the borrowing rates of troubled economies, such as Spain and Italy, eased further too. Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Still, he said Germany must get legal guarantees before ratification that the provisions of the ESM can’t be interpreted in such a way that Germany’s financial liability could be increased without the approval of Berlin.Germany must also ensure that provisions in the ESM treaty demanding “professional secrecy” from fund employees don’t stand in the way of the German Parliament being informed in full about fund decisions.Germany is liable for about 27 percent _ about (EURO)190 billion _ to the overall European bailout scheme of (EURO)700 billion, which includes the ESM and remaining money from the current temporary fund, the European Financial Stability Facility.It was not immediately clear when the President Joachim Gauck would be able to sign the measure, which was already approved by Parliament.Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to address lawmakers later Wednesday.___David Rising and Geir Moulson contributed from Berlin.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Opponents had challenged Germany’s ratification of the European Stability Mechanism _ a new, permanent (EURO)500 billion ($638.8 billion) bailout fund for the 17 countries that use the euro _ arguing that it violated the country’s constitution. They had sought an injunction preventing the country’s president from signing the legislation into law.Germany’s ratification of the ESM is key, because the fund cannot work without the country’s participation. Germany, as Europe’s biggest economy, is the number one contributor the fund.The taxpayer-backed fund is crucial to the eurozone’s debt crisis resolution efforts because it can loan money to governments that can’t borrow otherwise, and markets had been nervously awaiting the ruling.Federal Constitutional Court Chief Justice Andreas Vosskuhle said the case posed “special challenges” _ not just because of the political significance of the ESM, but because the financial and political consequences of a possible delay were “almost impossible to estimate reliably.”But, he said, the court’s “examination showed that the law with high probability does not violate the constitution.” Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk How do cataracts affect your vision? Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

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Report says EU nuclear plants need better safety

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Associated PressBRUSSELS (AP) – EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Thursday the cost of necessary improvements at the 145 nuclear reactors in the European Union could be as high as (EURO)25 billion ($32 billion) over the coming years.A European Union report released Thursday says stress tests carried out in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan show that almost all the plants need safety improvements. Officials said earlier that the tests did not reveal the need to close any plants immediately. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   5 treatments for adult scoliosis Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day EU leaders agreed last year to put the reactors through the toughest security checks possible to gauge their ability to withstand accidents and natural disasters.Oettinger said that `’nearly everywhere” there was potential for improvement to reach the highest level of safety, ranging from ensuring more time to react to an electricity blackout to adding more seismic equipment to detect earthquakes.`’At least (EURO)10 billion will need to be invested in the EU and possibly up to (EURO)25 billion,” Oettinger said.The report also called for more consistency across the 27-nation EU in assessing and managing safety threats.`’Hundreds of technical upgrade measures have been identified,” the report said. EU leaders will now assess the report at their Oct. 18-19 summit in Brussels to chart the way ahead.The report criticized the authorities for not taking the latest standards into account to assess risks.For earthquake and flooding risk, standards now called for an assessment based on occurrences of the past 10,000 years, while many nuclear power plants use a shorter timeframe.Equipment to fight severe accidents is not stored for quick retrieval in 56 percent of cases, and almost everywhere equipment to alert for earthquakes should be upgraded, or installed. In case of an electricity blackout, five reactors would not be able to cope for more than an hour without intervention.European nuclear plants are already regularly checked, but under the stress test system, the checks were toughened up and coordinated across the EU before facing peer review by a multinational teams of experts.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top holiday drink recipeslast_img
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Video released of jailed China dissidents wife

first_img Comments   Share   In the video, a lone woman identified as Liu Xia is shown smoking by a window with its blinds open.China in 2009 sentenced Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in prison on charges of inciting subversion of state power.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) BEIJING (AP) – An international rights group has released a video in which it says the wife of China’s jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo is shown under house arrest.Reporters Without Borders on Friday made the video public and called on authorities to release Liu Xia from house arrest and stop harassing Liu’s family.The video came on the same day that Chinese novelist and 2012 Nobel literature prize winner Mo Yan told reporters that he wished for Liu Xiaobo’s freedom. It was released hours before the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize was announced. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 3 international destinations to visit in 2019center_img Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

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Nobel prize for EU is case of winning ugly

first_imgAssociated PressBRUSSELS (AP) – Just what does the EU really stand for?With a multitude of nations at the same table, the European Union has always been a big, bickering family of former allies and enemies that has somehow stuck together through good times and bad for the past 62 years.Even if some don’t really have their heart in it, they still show up whenever a gathering is called.A slew of jerry-rigged EU institutions built over decades of brinksmanship is the glue that has bonded leaders as diverse as Britain’s Margaret Thatcher to Germany’s Helmut Kohl to France’s Francois Mitterrand. Top holiday drink recipes ___SUMMITS GALOREWhat stands out is all 27 leaders rubbing shoulders during the many EU summit meetings. Often they look like endless debating sessions that highlight deeper political rifts between aging world powers like Britain, France and Germany. They often end in the wee hours with bleary-eyed leaders explaining some compromise deal that will placate the disparate nations at least until the next summit a month later.The European financial crisis has given such meetings in Brussels much more urgency in the past few years. Still, the markets have more often punished EU nations for their lack of decisive action at summits rather than reward them for coming up with crafty solutions.During the war with Iraq almost a decade ago, the meetings often laid bare the glaring differences between British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a staunch U.S. ally, and French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on the other hand.As fundamental as such differences were, the EU always survived, since on many key issues of sovereignty, member states could still go their own way.It is this flexibility and amazing measure of compromise that has given the EU such a central role in holding together Europe’s disparate nations. In that sense, it has been a driver of sustained peace. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Detractors relentlessly rip the EU’s ability to come up with a fudge, papering over fundamental differences while the EU seems inexorably headed towards even more unity by stealth.___A UNITED EUROPEAs the dust of World War II settled, it gave way to the dream of a united Europe, where Germany and Italy would no longer be able to fight Britain and France, but all be condemned to cooperation. The success of turning that vision into reality earned the EU its Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.Faced with a patchwork of languages, religions and cultures, it was clear from 1950 that economic unity was the best way to unite former enemies. France and Germany welded steel and coal industries together and industry cooperation drove ever closer cooperation as six founding members became a dozen, and then some. A united farm policy drove out the fear of hunger, the best guarantor of peace.It was not all peace and prosperity though. Soon sovereignty clashed head on with unity, and once Britain joined, the engine that drove the union suddenly found a nation reaching for the hand brake.And what better issue to fight over than finances? Thatcher, Britain’s former leader, insisted her nation was contributing far too much and famously said “we are simply asking to have our own money back.” That is not how the EU works, and the principle of `rich’ helping `poor’ led to the union expanding south and east. Comments   Share   It all looked so good that a core of EU nations even agreed on a common currency _ the euro.Now though, with 17 nations sharing the euro, money is again stretching the EU to the brink, with insults going back and forth between rich and poor nations over who is to blame for the financial crisis.`’We needed good news,” said EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso upon hearing the Nobel win on Friday.“WHO DO I CALL IF I WANT TO CALL EUROPE?Barroso, of course is only one of the EU presidents. There is EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy too, and the president of the European Parliament, on top of a European Union presidency that rotates between its member nations.All those politicians are only the tip of a bureaucratic iceberg whose byzantine institutions have distanced decision-making from citizens across the continent.Complicated? It has always been. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was driven to such despair that he openly asked `’Who do I call if I want to call Europe?”There still is no clear answer several decades later.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories last_img
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AP PHOTOS Surfing takes Brazilian kids out of Rio slum

first_img Top Stories RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — It’s dawn and barefoot boys are hustling down the inclined alleys of Rio de Janeiro slums, surfboards under their arms. They’re heading to nearby Sao Conrado and Arpoador beaches, where they catch waves and momentarily leave their impoverished lives behind.The youngest boys use pink, yellow and neon green bodyboards of foam, while the teens strap leashes from their short, sturdier surfboards to their ankles before gleefully paddling out to the waves. Comments   Share   Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Not long ago, many of these kids were begging on the streets or engaged in crime, but two surf schools serving youth from Rio’s largest slum, Rocinha, have helped change that.Marcio da Silva founded the Rocinha Surf Association a few years back and hundreds of kids have gone through his school, which he funds through donations and by doing some repair work on surf boards.“We rescue the youth from inside the community, taking them to the beach to teach them the sport while at the same time socializing them,” he says. “When they join the surf school we give them full support, providing boards, clothes, everything, totally free of charge.”Take 18-year-old Cristiano Gomes. Before he learned how to surf at one of the Rocinha schools, “life was pretty bad,” he says. He would juggle for spare change from motorists at the busy highway intersection at the base of the shantytown.Now, he ranks in the Top 10 in Rio’s junior surfing league. Inspired by the recent rise of Brazilians among the global surfing elite, he says he’s focused on becoming the first professional to come out of the school and make a life out of the waves.“A lot of my friends who aren’t surfing don’t have anything, they don’t know what to do with their lives,” Gomes said after recently riding waves at Sao Conrado, where pro events have been held in the past, but where sewage pollution has also kept them away. “I don’t know what would have become of me without surfing.” Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywallcenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Quick workouts for men Still, making a career out of surfing remains an elusive goal for many of surfers from the slums.Magno Neves da Silva, a 23-year-old from the Cantagalo slum, surfs nearly every day at the nearby Arpoador beach, one of Rio’s chicest. He discovered the sport at age 8 after a surf teacher spotted him skateboarding in the slum and taught him how to surf.“My dream until today is to be a pro surfer,” said Silva, who works as a dog-walker to make ends meet. He says Rio’s relatively underdeveloped pro-surfing infrastructure is largely to blame.“I still compete in championships, but there aren’t many of them in Rio, so it’s not easy,” he said. At this stage, Silva acknowledged, his dream of living off his passion are “far from becoming reality.”___Associated Press photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo .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 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Cristiano Gomes ‘Xuxu’ leaves Rocinha slum on his way to Sao Conrado beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, May 21, 2015. Before he learned how to surf at the school, his “life was pretty bad,” he says. He would juggle for spare change from motorists at the busy highway intersection at the base of the Rocinha shantytown. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)last_img read more

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Search ceases for overboard cruise passenger

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/299ca/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Authorities have stopped searching for a Royal Caribbean passenger who went missing at sea last week.Twenty-three year old Neha Chhikara was a passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas which was heading from Nassau to CocoCay.Bahamian government officials said security camera footage showed she had jumped overboard on the 11th deck on Thursday, the same day she was reported missing.The ship finished its five-day cruise through the Bahamas and returned to Port Canaveral in Florida on Saturday.last_img read more

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