Agents can win 100 gift cards with Carnivals anniversary contest

first_imgTags: Carnival Cruise Line Share Posted by Tuesday, March 7, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img MIAMI — To celebrate its 45th anniversary, Carnival Cruise Line has launched a new travel agent trivia contest on its trade-focused Facebook page.Running until March 10, the ‘Carnival 45th Anniversary Trivia’ game features one trivia question related to the company’s history each day for the duration of the game period. The first nine agents to answer the daily question correctly will each win a US$100 Visa gift card.A total of 45 agents will be awarded a combined $4,500 in gift card winnings.“The cruise industry was built by our travel agent partners, who took a leap of faith with our fledgling industry in the 1970s,” said Carnival’s Vice President of Sales & Trade Marketing Adolfo Perez. “During these 45 years, agents have helped tens of millions of Carnival guests realize our founder Ted Arison’s vision that everyone deserves a great cruise vacation at a fantastic value. This contest is one more way of thanking agents for their tremendous support through the years.”More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoThis year marks the 45th anniversary of Carnival Cruise Line’s inaugural cruise, which departed from Miami on March 11, 1972 aboard the TSS Mardi Gras.For more information about the contest go to facebook.com/CarnivalTrade. Agents can win $100 gift cards with Carnival’s anniversary contest Travelweek Group last_img read more

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Star Clippers waives single supplement to the Mediterranean and Indonesia

first_imgStar Clippers waives single supplement to the Mediterranean and Indonesia Posted by Tuesday, March 14, 2017 MIAMI — Star Clippers has savings for solo travellers on 2017 cruises to the Eastern and Western Mediterranean and Indonesia, for travel April through October.Solo traveller rates start from US$1,650 onboard Royal Clipper or Star Flyer. For an exotic trip, clients can sail around Indonesian isles and stop at ports of call on Bali, Lombok, Java and Komodo Islands with solo traveller rates starting from $1,360 onboard Star Clipper.Star Flyer and Star Clipper are the cruise line’s two smaller ships, sailing with 170 passengers each and a crew of 74. Royal Clipper sails with 227 passengers and a crew of 106. Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Indonesia, Mediterranean, Promotions, Star Clippers Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Martinelli says FARC controlled 25 percent of Panamanian forests

first_imgNo related posts. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said on Monday that the Colombian guerrilla group FARC controlled 25 percent of the Darién Gap, along the Panamanian frontier with Colombia, in 2009. The testimony followed news that thefirst coca plantation in Central America had been found and destroyed in the same region last month, according to the Spanish newspaper El País. “When I arrived in office in 2009, 25 percent of Darién was controlled by the FARC,” Martinelli told the Panamanian Congress, adding, “today I can say that Panama is totally sovereign over 100 percent of its land.” The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are currently in negotiations with the Colombian government of Juan Manuel Santos to put an end to more than 40 years of violence.Darién has been a conflict zone for Panama, not only because of the presence of guerrilla forces but also because of drug trafficking.On June 18, a joint operation between Panamanian authorities and the Colombia military destroyed nearly 5,000 coca plants in the area and a laboratory to process the plants into cocaine. The facility had the ability to process 30 kilograms of cocaine, reported El País.Carlos Alvarado Valverde, director of the Costa Rican Drug Institute, told the newspaper that the find was not surprising, considering the presence of coca plantations on the Colombian side of the border.InSight Crime, a nonprofit research center, noted that the Darién Gap is used as an operational base by the 57th Front of the FARC, a branch of the guerrilla group involved in international cocaine trafficking. The center suggested that the FARC’s presence in the area makes it likely that the guerrillas are involved if not complicit with the coca plantation discovered.InSight Crime added that coca cultivation in Ecuador has also been attributed to the FARC.Martinelli said, “In the presence of weak state structures, criminal organizations grew,” and noted that the majority of the countries in the region face “escalating violence, increased crime and the presence of organized crime.”“It’s our duty to fight against a new class of sophisticated and organized criminals who have no respect for the law or the constitution,” the president said. Official figures estimate that 90 percent of the cocaine that enters the United States passes through Central America from South America.During 2012, Panama seized some 35 tons of drugs compared to 39 tons in 2011, according to official records. The largest seizures, however, took place in 2009 and 2010 with 54 tons each year.Panamanian authorities reported a drop in the movement of drugs through their national waters thanks to police presence and “Operation Hammer,” a multinational anti-drug initiative launched by the United States and Central America in 2012.The Darién Gap is a nearly impassable stretch of thick jungle along Panama’s western border with Colombia. Known for its lawlessness and isolation, the terrain is so rugged that it remains the only break in the Inter-American Highway, which otherwise stretches interrupted from Alaska to Argentina.  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Presidentelect Luis Guillermo Solís adds more names to his Cabinet

first_imgPresident-elect Luis Guillermo Solís on Monday announced 19 new members of his administration, short of the full staff he had promised during a previous naming ceremony.During a 4 p.m. press conference at the Children’s Museum in San José, Solís presented the new officials and said a few posts remain to be filled. The president-elect continues holding talks with possible appointees, he added.A first group of 21 officials was named last Monday, and “the remaining names will be announced next Monday,” Solís said a week ago, accompanied by vice presidents Helio Fallas and Ana Helena Chacón.The surprise of the evening was the appointment of two former officials of President Abel Pacheco’s administration (2002-2006) in key posts: former Social Christian Unity Party members María del Rocío Sáenz, who previously served as health minister and now will lead the Social Security System, and Delia Villalobos, who served as health vice minister and sports director, and now will lead the Social Protection Council.The new officials appointed Monday are:Foreign Minister: Manuel González SanzAgriculture and Livestock Minister: Luis Felipe Arauz CavalliniAgriculture and Livestock Vice Minister: José Joaquín SalazarAgriculture and Livestock Vice Minister: Ginna Paniagua SánchezPolitical Affairs Vice Minister: Ana Gabriela ZúñigaSmall and Medium Businesses Vice Minister: Geannina Dinarte RomeroWaters, Oceans, Coasts and Wetlands Vice Minister: Fernando Mora RodríguezYouth Vice Minister: Helena Quesada SerranoPeace Vice Minister: Víctor Barrantes MarínHousing Vice Minister: Ana Cristina Trejos MurilloCosta Rican Oil Refinery Executive President: Sara Salazar BadillaRural Development Institute Executive President: Ricardo Rodríguez BarqueroSocial Security System Executive President: María del Rocío Sáenz MadrigalNational Production Council Executive President: Carlos Enrique MongeSocial Protection Council Executive President: Delia Villalobos ÁlvarezInstitute for Municipal Development Executive President: Yanina Soto VargasChild Welfare Office Executive President: Ana Teresa León SáenzUnited Nations Ambassador: Juan Carlos Mendoza GarcíaOrganization of American States Ambassador: Pablo Barahona KrugerSolís and his Cabinet members will take office at the official inauguration ceremony on May 8 at the National Stadium in La Sabana Park, west of San José. Facebook Comments Related posts:President-elect Luis Guillermo Solís names first half of his Cabinet How much money did members of Solís’ Cabinet donate to the PAC election campaign? Cabinet appointment of Lutheran bishop is unconstitutional, says Government Attorney’s Office Costa Rica’s health minister steps downlast_img read more

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Duh DEA finally admits marijuana is safer than heroin

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s official: the U.S. government’s top drug cop has acknowledged that marijuana is less dangerous than heroin.At a meeting with reporters this week at the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration, acting chief Chuck Rosenberg said that “heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana,” Matt Ferner of the Huffington Post reports. This clarifies a statement he made last week, when he told reporters that marijuana was “probably not” as dangerous as heroin, adding “I’m not an expert.”This shouldn’t be news. Researchers have known for decades that marijuana is a much safer substance than heroin — and nearly all other psychoactive drugs, for that matter. Heroin overdoses kill thousands of people each year, while marijuana has no known toxic dose. It’s considerably less habit-forming than heroin, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs. And medical marijuana treatments hold a lot of potential — particularly as an alternative to dangerous prescription painkillers.As far back as 1972, a federal report commissioned by U.S. President Richard Nixon recommended that marijuana use and possession be decriminalized, arguing that “neither the marihuana [sic] user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety.”But Nixon ignored the report’s findings. Marijuana was left on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, the most restrictive category, reserved for drugs that “have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.” Other Schedule 1 drugs include heroin and LSD.In recent years as public opinion on marijuana has shifted and the science on the drug becomes more settled and accepted, the DEA has stuck with its anti-marijuana stance. Former DEA administrator Michelle Leonhart, who resigned under a cloud of scandal and managerial lapses earlier this year, famously refused to say whether marijuana was less dangerous than crack or heroin in a 2014 congressional hearing. The exchange drew widespread ridicule.Under Leonhart, the DEA also repeatedly challenged the White House on marijuana reform measures, aggressively pursued medical marijuana raids in defiance of congressional mandates, and was ridiculed by congressmen for its opposition to industrial hemp.And in that context, Rosenberg’s cautious acknowledgement on the relative safety of marijuana is indeed news. It’s a small sign that under its new leadership the DEA may start staking out policy positions that are more in line with the White House, Congress, and the U.S. public.Former DEA administrator Michelle Leonhart famously refused to say whether marijuana was less dangerous than crack or heroin in a 2014 congressional hearing. The exchange drew widespread ridicule. Watch: © 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Medical marijuana opponents’ most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research Global drug policy isn’t working. These 100-plus organizations want that to change. The New York Times calls for marijuana legalization 92 percent of California patients say medical marijuana workslast_img read more

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Isabel Allende I love my dog unconditionally but never the man Im

first_imgNovelist Isabel Allende is 73 years old and newly single. Allende — author of “The House of the Spirits” and 20 other books that often explore love, family and history — wrote her latest novel, “The Japanese Lover,” while her 27-year marriage was ending.“I was in the process of deciding if I should stay in the marriage, because it’s always comfortable to stay in which you know rather than to launch into the void at 70,” she told Collier Meyerson in an interview for Lenny Letter.Yet launch she did — all the while pondering the durability of love and marriage. “Is it possible to love the same person?” Allende asks herself. “I concluded that maybe, if they’re lovers, but husband and wife is very hard.”On average, divorce rates in the United States have been declining for the past 30 years. But Allende is part of a demographic group in which divorce rates are increasing. For married individuals 65 or older, the risk of divorce has more than doubled since the 1990s, according to researchers from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Most often, the researchers noted, these unions aren’t plagued with “severe discord”; rather, “the partners have simply grown apart.”In her interview with Meyerson, Allende says, quite starkly, that if a marriage is romantic (as opposed to a union based more on companionship), unconditional love is nearly impossible. “In my long life, in my experience, you can love your friends unconditionally,” Allende said. “Your parents. Your children. Your pets, of course. I love my dog unconditionally, but never the man I’m sleeping with.”Why is unconditional love harder when sex is in the mix? Because it’s easier to feel like you’re not receiving as much love as you’re giving, Allende says. “I want something back” in romantic relationships, Allende says. “It’s such an intimate and profound relationship that it cannot be unconditional.”“I think that the perfect arrangement, the perfect couple, would be a couple that have been able to preserve the romantic and passionate bond, and they are great, great friends,” she says. “Friendship is all about trust and sharing. Passionate and romantic love is all about sex and emotions. You have to try to combine those, I think. The great marriages, the great couples I know, have both.”Read the full interview here.© 2016, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:5 questions for a U.S. writer in Costa Rica No love scenes allowed: P.D.A. across borders ‘Green Season’ book excerpt: Moving Pictures Agüizotes: The Folk Magic of Costa Ricalast_img read more

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India says Pakistan websites caused migrant panic

first_img Top holiday drink recipes Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Singh said India would discuss the matter with officials in Pakistan but gave no other details about the websites. The two countries routinely blame each other for fomenting domestic strife.There was no immediate reaction from officials in Pakistan.The exodus followed clashes in Assam state in recent weeks between ethnic Bodos and Muslims settlers that killed more than 50 people and displaced 400,000 others. The largest number of people fled the southern city of Bangalore. News reports said people also left some other cities in southern and western India. Those fleeing said they had heard text messages had been circulating threatening retaliatory attacks by Muslims.Decades of ethnic violence have forced hundreds of thousands of young people from the northeast to move away in search of education and jobs. They find work mostly in the service sector in big cities, working in restaurants, shops and airlines.The recent rioting in Assam mainly involved land rights. It has largely been brought under control, although sporadic outbreaks have occurred in the past week.The Bodos and Muslim settlers, who mostly came from the former East Pakistan before it became Bangladesh in 1971, have clashed repeatedly over the years but the recent violence is the worst since the mid-1990s. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Quick workouts for men Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project NEW DELHI (AP) – The Indian home secretary has accused websites in Pakistan of spreading false rumors that caused thousands of people from India’s remote northeast to panic and flee from southern and western India. They feared they would be attacked in retaliation for ethnic violence in their home state.Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters late Saturday that investigators had found that most of the websites used images of people killed in cyclones and earthquakes and passed them off as Muslims killed in violence earlier this year to spread fear of revenge attacks. He said most of the images were uploaded from Pakistan. The sites have now been blocked. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   last_img read more

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Star chefs turn to Mexico haute cuisine

first_imgLike other top chefs from around the world, Kostow comes to study and experiment with the purity of ingredients and flavors in real Mexican cuisine, now a top export commodity that was dismissed for decades as tortillas suffocated in heavy sauces, cheeses and sour cream.“I don’t know if you come to Mexico to learn what’s new, but rather you come to Mexico to learn what’s old,” said Kostow, referring to the ancient cooking traditions of the many indigenous groups. “There are flavors of great depth, and there are techniques that are pretty challenging.”Though the movement has been slow, Mexico in the last few years has begrudgingly earned the respect of an Italy or France as a destination for the world’s foodies, be they top chefs such as Kostow, who was crowned America’s best new chef just three years ago, or curious foreigners in sandals writing food blogs and leading mezcal-tasting tours.Mexico’s diverse terrain, from deserts and coastlines to cloud forests and jungles, has produced a vast range of flora and fauna that since pre-Hispanic times provided the ingredients for dishes that vary by ecosystem. It is the perfect model for the new global trend to cook “paleo” and eat local. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories In Mexico, that includes worms, grasshoppers and insect larvae, long considered caviar-like delicacies that are now being introduced to a wider world.“A lot of people that I know are sort of turning their eyes to Mexico as a new place where a lot of innovation is going to happen,” said Lars Williams, the research director of the Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen. “It’s going to be a very strong player in the culinary world.”Star chef Alex Stupak, who runs a high-end taco joint in New York, visited a Mexico City street food stall and made a cellphone recording of cooks kneading masa dough to make huaraches, thick oval tortillas topped with cheese and steak resembling the leather sole for which they’re named.He is experimenting with pasta made from the same dough.“We are trying to get the right consistency,” Stupak said.Up-and-comer Rosio Sanchez, a Mexican-American pastry chef at Copenhagen’s Noma _ recently named the best restaurant in the world _ made her signature Gammel Dansk dessert, substituting the Danish liqueur with tequila and bathing the creamy whey in bitter cactus juice.The leaders of this movement include Mexican chef Enrique Olvera of Pujol restaurant, a pioneer in the country’s rediscovery of its authentic cuisine. He has been featured in local magazines as a young yet influential cook who has managed to modernize Mexico’s pre-Hispanic food traditions in an elegant way. His menu includes tostadas with escamoles, ant larvae, and green mole made with different types of ubiquitous Mexican herbs cultivated since Aztec times, known as quelites, that can range in taste from spinach salty to minty.Olvera has traveled the world in the past few years, including Napa Valley and Copenhagen, forming a large network of the world’s best cooks, most ranging in age from late 20s to mid-30s. His creative plates have inspired chefs such as Daniel Patterson of Coi in San Francisco, who said Olvera shows them not how to make Mexican food, but to incorporate Mexican flavors into their own creations.“Mexico is definitely a strong taste influence that we have,” Patterson said. “I like Mexican cooking, the depth but also the brightness, a lot of acidity.”It’s a hard sell in some aspects, especially to Mexico’s Taco Bell-inundated neighbor to the north.Soft tacos of crunchy grasshoppers or ants’ larvae seasoned with garlic, onion and green pepper are delightful to many Mexicans. Paxia, one of Mexico City’s many new restaurants featuring haute cuisine, includes a plate of fat, delicately seasoned worms on its menu, as does Olvera’s Pujol. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 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.)center_img Associated PressMEXICO CITY (AP) – Christopher Kostow foraged in the open stalls of the Mercado San Juan, the most gourmet of Mexico City’s crumbling, pungent public markets, as vendors hawked: “This way, this way! What can we offer you?”Kostow, whose Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley has three Michelin stars, wanted to sample the diversity of the country’s fresh ingredients: gray oysters from Baja California, lychee-like hairy rambutan from southern Chiapas, and bags of red flying ants from Oaxaca. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day “How can you get gringos to eat bugs?” said Nordic Food Lab’s Williams, who grew up in New York City.Williams and his team experiment with Mexican techniques at the nonprofit lab established by Noma chef Rene Redzepi.One goal, he says, is to discover new flavors in edible bugs. Ants spray a defensive chemical that tastes like coriander or tobacco, and fermented grasshopper’s juice tastes like a mix of mole and soy sauce, they discovered.“We are trying to get insects to be seen as a very valuable commodity,” Williams said.Mexico’s original food pilgrim, Diana Kennedy, who is considered the world’s recognized authority on Mexican cuisine and has made a career of preserving its heritage, worries some of these chefs are mixing the wrong ingredients and “killing the flavor.”“Many of them are using it as a novelty and do not know the things that go together,” she said. “If you are going to play around with ingredients, exotic ingredients, you’ve got to know how to treat them.”She also says these cooks may be biting off more than American or European clients can chew.“It’s going to be a very small public that’s going to accept these very innovative things,” she said. Olvera recently invited a group of chefs to a Mexico City food conference where they shared ideas and dishes, and spent off hours exploring markets, kitchens and restaurants of their Mexican colleagues. They opened the conference with banquet featuring the fruits of their experiments.Olvera presented a charred mushroom tamale that was smoked, not steamed, bathed in Serrano chile sauce that was just spicy enough to draw attention.“In this time of year, it gets very foggy, like misty,” Olvera said of his technique. “We added roots of cilantro, which is our way to say that our dishes have roots.”Stupak made crunchy waves of masa sandwiching shrimp, sea urchin mousse and roasted tomato sauce.Sanchez, the pastry chef at Noma, knew she wanted something acidic to transform her Danish bitters dessert.The Chicago-born daughter of two Mexican parents tried with juice from the fruit of prickly pear cactus, but it didn’t work. It wasn’t until she tasted the juice of the plant, the spine-covered green paddles known in Mexico as “nopal,” in a sorbet at Mexico City’s Quintonil restaurant that she had the answer.Drinking mezcal later that night, Sanchez asked chef Jorge Vallejo how he made it. Easy, he said, you just stew the cactus leaves in salt and lime and smash them. The 27-year-old Sanchez, her sous chef and Vallejo smashed cactus late into the night at Vallejo’s restaurant until they were a mess. Then they rinsed and pureed it. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories Less than 12 hours before the banquet, she was juicing 20 kilos of cactus for her signature dessert, a disc made of whey with roasted agave syrup, milk ice cream, crumbs and small cookies. The cactus juice gave it a taste that was acidic, then sweet and finally creamy.“We were like, `That’s amazing,’” Sanchez said.___Adriana Gomez Licon is on Twitter http://twitter.com/agomezliconlast_img
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Angola Ruling party wins election

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   The largest opposition party, UNITA, won 18 percent of the vote and a newcomer party, CASA-CE, gained four percent. The opposition parties criticized the elections for not being free and fair.Elias Isaac, an observer for the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa, criticized the process, saying he was surprised the MPLA did not get 90 percent of the vote.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) LUANDA, Angola (AP) – Preliminary results show that Angola’s ruling party has won 75 percent of the national vote, assuring President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, in power for 33 years, another five years in office.With 60 percent of the vote counted, the state election commission said the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola , or MPLA, has gained a large majority, but it is a reduced margin from previous elections in 2008. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Four benefits of having a wireless security systemcenter_img Check your body, save your life Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How do cataracts affect your vision? Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

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Students at SAfrican university boycott Israel

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day South Africa’s government angered Israel three months ago by issuing instructions that goods imported from Israeli West Bank settlements not be labeled “product of Israel.”Many South Africans equate the Israeli treatment of Palestinians with their former apartheid regime’s abuse of blacks.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Sponsored Stories JOHANNESBURG (AP) – Students at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand say they are adopting an academic and cultural boycott of Israel in solidarity with the Palestinian people.A statement Monday says the school’s student representative council is calling for an immediate investigation into any academic, financial and cultural relations with Israeli institutions.The University of Johannesburg last year became the world’s first to impose an academic boycott on Israel, ending its relationship with Ben-Gurion University. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Check your body, save your life How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Comments   Share   last_img read more

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London mayor slams government delay on airports

first_imgLONDON (AP) – London’s mayor says the British government is risking economic catastrophe by not quickly expanding airport capacity.Boris Johnson says London is losing out to other European cities because the government of Prime Minister David Cameron won’t act.Under pressure to build a third runway at Heathrow, London’s busiest airport, the government has ordered a review into airport capacity. But it will not report until 2015. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Top holiday drink recipes Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   center_img In a speech Thursday, Johnson _ like Cameron a member of the Conservative Party _ criticized the “lamentable attention that the government has paid to this pressing issue” and said it “sets a course for economic catastrophe.”Johnson opposes expanding Heathrow and favors a new air hub in the Thames estuary _ dubbed “Boris Island” _ or at Stansted Airport to the north.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

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Sri Lanka criticizes UN rights chief visit

first_imgThe groups referred to by Rajapaksa have accused the Sri Lankan government of killing ethnic Tamil civilians during the war and vowed to work to create self-determination and self-rule for Tamils in Sri Lanka’s north and east regions, which they consider their traditional homeland.A U.N. report says that as many as 40,000 people may have been killed in the final phase of the civil war, and Pillay’s visit followed a resolution in the U.N Human Rights Council in March which called on Sri Lanka to investigate more alleged war crimes committed by government forces and Tamil rebelsPillay, on Saturday, concluded a weeklong visit aimed assessing the rights situation in Sri Lanka, and her comments drew heavy criticism from the government which said she violated her mandate by making political comments.The government said it was up to the Sri Lankan public to judge the country’s leadership, rather than being “caricatured by external entities influenced by vested interests.”Pillay will report her findings to the council at the end of this month.Separately, External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris said Pillay’s report “is indicative of a prejudiced mind and in no way shows the fairness and open-mindedness of an official undertaking of such a mission.” New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – Sri Lanka’s powerful Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa complained Tuesday that a visit of the United Nations human rights chief to the island nation was influenced by propaganda from remnants of the Tamil Tiger rebels who lost the civil war four years ago.His remarks came after U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said during the weekend that democracy was being undermined and the rule of law eroded in Sri Lanka, with the country increasingly becoming an authoritarian state despite the end of the war.center_img How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Top Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 “What we find disturbing is the tone and substance of her report, the lack of fairness and balance,” Peiris had reporters at the Sri Lankan Embassy in London on Monday, according to a statement released Tuesday by his ministry.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Rajapaksa, the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said that although war is over, the “re-emergence of terrorism is still a threat,” and that remnants of the rebels and their support groups were working to increase international pressure on Sri Lanka.“Their intention is the division of Sri Lanka and the establishment of a separate state for Tamil Eelam,” said Rajapaksa, adding the groups _ based in Europe and the United States _ were trying to win “international opinion for the separatist cause” and were “undermining the government’s efforts for reconciliation and development.”As a result, he said, Sri Lanka’s internal affairs have featured “on the agenda of many prominent international NGOs and even at the UNHRC sessions.” The visit by Pillay “is another instance of this attention,” Rajapaksa said.“This has been accomplished mostly by the actions of the LTTE linked groups, which have many trained LTTE cadres and operatives who are now fully engaged in propaganda activities,” Rajapaksa told a seminar on post-conflict stability that had participants from about 25 countries.The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is the official name of the Tamil rebels who were defeated by government troops in 2009, ending nearly 30 years of civil war. The Tigers were fighting to create an independent state for ethnic minority Tamils, saying they faced discrimination from the Sinhalese majority. 0 Comments   Share   last_img read more

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FBI dismantles powerful Puerto Rico drug group

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “They are one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, organizations in Puerto Rico and probably the Caribbean in the last 20 years,” Carlos Cases, Puerto Rico-based FBI special agent in charge, said in a phone interview.Previous leaders and associates of the group include convicted drug dealer Jose Figueroa Agosto, once dubbed the “Pablo Escobar of the Caribbean,” and Angel Ayala Vazquez, once considered Puerto Rico’s top drug dealer and sentenced to life in prison in December 2011.The suspects are accused of moving at least 9,000 kilograms (19,800 pounds) of cocaine from May 2005 to June 2010, and of sending at least $8 million in cash to the Dominican Republic aboard a private yacht, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.Among those indicted is Edgar Collazo Rivera, a well-known businessman who owns a transportation and garbage collection company that has several contracts with the government of Puerto Rico and various municipalities, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said. She said Collazo is the owner of the yacht and faces money laundering charges.It was unclear if Collazo has a lawyer. A woman who answered the phone at his company said she didn’t have any information. She wouldn’t give her name. FBI spokesman Moises Quinones said at least 18 of the 27 suspects had been arrested in Puerto Rico and in states including Texas, Florida and California.The arrests come a few days after the Department of Homeland Security has announced a campaign to target high-level drug traffickers following a three-month street operation in Puerto Rico to gather intelligence. The crackdown is part of a federal operation that began in July 2012 to reduce the smuggling of drugs and weapons, among other things. Agents so far have seized a total of 53,000 pounds (24,000 kilograms) of drugs and confiscated hundreds of firearms.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – The FBI said Tuesday that is has dismantled a powerful drug trafficking organization in Puerto Rico with ties to the U.S. and the Dominican Republic that generated more than $100 million in revenue.The 27 suspects indicted are accused of conspiring to import cocaine from the Dominican Republic into Puerto Rico to sell it on the U.S. mainland and in Puerto Rico’s northern and central regions. The revenue was then used to buy boats, cars and businesses, according to the indictment. Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Sponsored Stories Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

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India Pakistan trade blame as border exchanges kill 5

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility ISLAMABAD (AP) — India and Pakistan traded blame on Thursday for a series of firefights and shelling over the past two days along their border in the disputed Kashmir region that killed five civilians and wounded nine people.On Thursday, four civilians were killed and five were wounded in artillery fire that struck Pakistani villages near the eastern city of Sialkot, and Islamabad said the archrival neighbor was responsible for the casualties. Top holiday drink recipes Comments   Share   Top Stories The latest exchange of fire came despite a meeting of the two countries’ prime ministers last week on the sidelines of a summit in Russia in an effort to ease tensions.India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over competing claims to Kashmir. A 2003 cease-fire has largely held despite small but regular skirmishes, which the two sides routinely blame on one another.While the highly militarized line of control in Kashmir is guarded by the armies of India and Pakistan, each country keeps a separate paramilitary border force guarding their lower-altitude frontier defined by coils of razor wire that snake across foothills populated by ancient villages, tangled bushes and fields of rice and corn.___Associated Press reporter Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India, and Muneeza Naqvi in New Delhi contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. India’s paramilitary Border Security Force, meanwhile, blamed Pakistan for shooting at an Indian border post and for firing mortar shells that landed in a border village on Wednesday, killing one woman and wounding four people, including a soldier at a border post.Pakistan also claimed that an Indian spy drone had violated its airspace Wednesday and that the Pakistani military shot it down. India’s army rejected that allegation, saying none of its drones “crossed into the Pakistani side.”“None of our unmanned aerial vehicles has been shot down by them,” said Col. S.D. Goswami, an Indian army spokesman.A senior officer of India’s Border Security Force said skirmishes between the two sides continued on Thursday morning and that Indian troops only responded to “safeguard Indian villagers” from Pakistani mortar shells. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.On Thursday, both Islamabad and New Delhi summoned each other’s diplomatic envoys in protest of the latest exchanges. Pakistan also denounced the alleged violation of its airspace.India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Thursday insisted that all firefights and mortar shelling over the past two days were initiated by Pakistani troops. He told reporters the type of drone Pakistan claimed it had downed was not of Indian design or part of India’s arsenal. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Mesa family survives lightning strike to homelast_img read more

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In shift Turkish jets strike Islamic State targets in Syria

first_imgA government statement said the airstrikes were approved Thursday after IS militants fired from Syrian territory at the Turkish military outpost, killing one soldier. A funeral was held Friday for the slain Turkish soldier, Yalcin Nane, where mourners denounced IS violence, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.Officials said Friday’s airstrikes were codenamed “Operation Yalcin” in his honor.The agency said as many as 5,000 police officers were involved in Friday’s sweep against suspected extremists, which also targeted the PKK Kurdish rebel group and the outlawed far-left group DHKP-C. Davutoglu said those detained included 37 foreign nationals but did not name their home countries.One DHKP-C suspect, a woman, was killed in a gunfight with police in Istanbul, Anadolu reported.The agency said those detained in Istanbul included Halis Bayuncuk, an alleged IS cell leader in the city who is suspected of having helped recruit supporters.On Monday, a suicide bombing blamed on IS militants killed 32 people in Suruc, a Turkish town near the Syrian border. The bombing ignited protests from Turkey’s Kurds, who said the government had not done enough to prevent attacks from the IS group. Turkish police also launched a major operation Friday against extremist groups including the Islamic State, detaining more than 290 people in simultaneous raids in Istanbul and 12 provinces.Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the airstrikes Friday had “removed potential threats” to Turkey, hitting their targets with “100 percent accuracy.” He did not rule out further airstrikes, saying Turkey was determined to stave off all terror threats.“This was not a point operation, this is a process,” Davutoglu said. “It is not limited to one day or to one region … the slightest movement threatening Turkey will be retaliated against in the strongest way possible.”A government official said three F-16 jets took off from Diyarbakir air base in southeast Turkey early Friday and used smart bombs to hit three IS targets. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of government rules requiring authorization for comment.Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the three Turkish airstrikes were all near the border, hitting north of the village of Hawar al-Nahr, east of the Rai area and west of the town of Jarablous. Top Stories He said the airstrikes killed nine IS fighters, wounded 12 others and destroyed at least one IS vehicle and a heavy machine gun.The private Dogan news agency said as many as 35 IS militants were killed in the airstrikes, but did not cite a source.The Observatory also reported that an airstrike targeted a post near the border with Turkey for al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, the Nusra Front. It said it was not clear if Turkish warplanes or those of the U.S.-led coalition struck the Nusra Front position.Davutoglu said Turkish planes did not violate Syrian airspace Friday, but he did not rule out incursions in the future. He denied news reports claiming that Turkey had told the Syrian regime about the airstrikes, but said it had contacted NATO allies before the operation.The agreement on the Turkish air bases follows months of U.S. appeals to Turkey and delicate negotiations. Davutoglu said Friday that an agreement that takes Turkey’s concerns into account had been reached, but did not elaborate.Turkey’s moves came as the country finds itself drawn further into the conflict in neighboring Syria by a series of deadly attacks and signs of increased IS activity inside Turkey itself. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Turkish officials say the Suruc bombing could be retaliation for Turkey’s crackdown on IS operations. In the last six months, more than 500 people suspected of working with the IS group in Turkey have been detained, officials say.___Butler reported from Istanbul. Bassem Mroue in Beirut and Josh Lederman in Washington contributed.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — In a major tactical shift, Turkish warplanes struck Islamic State group targets across the border in Syria on Friday, a day after IS militants fired at a Turkish military outpost. A Syrian rights group said the airstrikes killed nine IS fighters.Turkey, which straddles Europe and Asia and borders the Middle East, had long been reluctant to join the U.S.-led coalition against the extremist group.center_img Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system In a related, long-awaited development, Turkey said it has agreed to allow U.S.-led coalition forces to base manned and unmanned aircraft at its air bases for operations targeting the IS group.A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said Turkey’s military would also take part in the operations.The ministry would not provide details on the agreement, citing operational reasons, but said it expected Turkey’s cooperation to “make a difference” to the campaign. The statement did not say which bases would be used, but Turkish media reports said they would include Incirlik, Diyarbakir and Batman, all in southern Turkey near the border with Syria.President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed earlier that Turkey had agreed to let the U.S. use Incirlik air base for operations “within a certain framework.” A U.S. official said the agreement was reached during a phone call this week with President Barack Obama.In June 2014, the Islamic State group launched a blitz, capturing large parts of Iraq and of Syria — which has been ravaged by a four-year-old civil war. The group subsequently declared an Islamic caliphate on the territory it controls. The U.S.-led coalition has been striking the group in both Syria and Iraq. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Comments   Share   5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

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Social and mobile interaction at the forefront of travel

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Fiona Hunt, Google The Australian Travel Export Council provided a platform for key-note speakers to address industry issues at their premiere end-of-year event, the Meeting Place Conference 2010, on Wednesday 1 December at the Hilton Hotel. A striking element that emerged throughout most speakers’ discussions was the need to understand, take advantage of and utilise the full potential of both mobile and social media in all aspects of business and marketing. Google Australia Industry, Government, Travel and Tourism head Fiona Hunt told delegates of the importance in developing interactive, lasting ties with social media and handheld devices. “As consumers, the Internet has changed the way we view travel,” she told attendees of the conference during her delivery. “Consumers are moving faster online and hold the expectation that businesses will keep up with their erratic behaviour,” Ms Hunt said. According to Ms Hunt, in order to build and grow business in this burgeoning online environment, companies not only need to be at the precipice of technological innovation, they must be actively involved in every step of the process. “The Internet has become a formidable two-way marketing tool; you must listen and respond accordingly. “Your customers require an ongoing online presence in every sense of the term,” she told industry members. Ogilvy digital strategy director Carl Moggridge told delegates, “These days being a non-active member of Facebook or Twitter for your business because it’s ‘expected’ is not worthwhile. “You must be pro-active,” Ms Hunt said. SinoTech Group chief executive Dr Matthew McDougall provided an eastern world perspective, outlining China’s dominant and ubiquitous online habits. “Asia, specifically China, engages heavily in social media in the form of blogging, social network and online forums. “It’s just different to the western world. If you explore this constituency, there is enormous potential to create profitable marketing strategies,” he told e-Travel Blackboard. “Monitoring online consumer behaviour is an endless resource for businesses in the 21st Century.”last_img read more

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Travel agents chosen over technology

first_imgTravellers are moving away from technology and using travel agents to book trips a report said. According to Forrester Research the number of American’s preferring to book vacations online has decreased from 53 percent to 46 percent since 2007, The Globe and Mail reported. The report has attributed the renewed interest in travel agents to the Iceland volcano which prevented travel throughout Europe. According to the news source, people that used travel agents to book their trip at the time of the natural disaster were able to use their agent to relocate them quickly. “It’s great to have tools and technology, but you still need human intervention from time to time because it’s not a perfect world,” BCD Travel senior vice president Kathy Bedell said. Expedia managing director Sean Shannon disagreed claiming the site had set up customer care to assist travellers 24/7 via phone and email. Mr Shannon added the service provided customers with answers to questions but also helped customers find hotels and figure out airline policies. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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