Porter Airlines crew FlyPink with custom epaulets pins for October

first_img Posted by Monday, October 2, 2017 TORONTO — For the second year in a row Porter Airlines pilots and flight attendants will wear custom Fly Pink epaulets and pins to raise awareness for breast cancer during the month of October.The pink epaulets are worn by Porter pilots in October as part of their standard uniform. New this year, all Porter team members will also have the opportunity to show their support with custom pins displaying the breast cancer awareness pink ribbon.“We recevied such an enthusiastic response from our team last year that we are extending the initiative across the company. All Porter team members will receive a custom Fly Pink pin to show their support and help raise awareness for breast cancer,” said Robert Deluce, President and CEO of Porter Airlines. “Seeing our team rally together behind such an important cause is truly inspiring.”Porter was the first Canadian airline to join the efforts of Fly Pink, a global aviation initiative raising awareness and funds for breast cancer. Porter joins more than a dozen international airlines supporting the cause. The airline’s Women Soar at Porter committee is hosting various fundraising initiatives throughout the month of October with all proceedsl supporting the Canadian Cancer Society. Follow @PorterAirlines #FlyPink. Porter Airlines crew #FlyPink with custom epaulets, pins for October

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Cyber Monday deals from Air Canada WestJet Sunwing Transat

first_img TORONTO — Sunwing is keeping the deals coming with its one-day Cyber Monday promotion, offering up to 60% on select vacation packages at resorts across the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.The Cyber Monday sale comes right on the heels of Sunwing’s Orange is the New Black Friday sale, which wrapped up Nov. 26.The booking deadline for this latest promotion is midnight tonight, Nov. 27.Taking part in the deal, Now Amber Puerto Vallarta on Banderas Bay in Mexico boasts a top-notch spa, specialty restaurants, five bars serving premium drinks and extensive pool complex with dedicated kids pool.Also included in the promotion, the five-star Royalton White Sands Montego Bay combines an enviable beach location with extensive amenities including a splash park and water slides, complimentary daily activities including beach Olympics, Circus Day with acrobatics and abundant water sports.The family-friendly Bavaro Princess All Suites Resort and Spa features a full entertainment program, kids’ club and dedicated children’s pool. Watersports at the resort are plentiful, from surfing and boogie boarding, to catamaran rides.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaAir Canada’s one-day Cyber Monday sale takes 15% off Tango, Flex and Premium Economy lowest base fares, to Air Canada destinations worldwide. The deal applies to travel Jan. 10 – June 15, with some blackout dates.Air Canada Vacations’ Cyber Monday deals includes up to 30% off select MGM Resorts International properties in Las Vegas, including MGM Grand, New York-New York, Monte Carlo, Luxor, Delano, Excalibur, Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, The Mirage and The Signature at MGM Grand. The up to 30% deal also applies to kids’ bookings. The promotion is available today for travel through April 30.Transat’s Cyber Monday VIP Bonus offer includes free access to airport VIP lounges, at both origin and destination airports. The perk is available with South or South Cruise packages booked today at transat.com for travel Dec. 4 – April 30.WestJet has extended its Black Friday sale to today, making it a Cyber Monday sale too. Sale fares must be booked by 11:59 p.m. (MT) tonight for travel Nov. 29 – April 30. Posted by Monday, November 27, 2017 Cyber Monday deals from Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, Transat Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Air Canada, Promotions, Sunwing, Transat, WestJet Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

So this just happened Woman and her peacock denied boarding a United

first_imgHmmmm*orders an emotional support peacock immediately* https://t.co/ZDDP728FXK— Sam Fishwick (@Fish_o_wick) January 31, 2018 Travelweek Group Share Wednesday, January 31, 2018 This is getting ridiculous an emotional support peacock? If you need a peacock for emotional support you shouldn’t be free to walk the streets with the rest of the population https://t.co/HZaKrshc3A— Paul Wrenn (@AGoalScorer) January 31, 2018 NEWARK — You mean I can’t bring my peacock on the plane? You don’t say.A female passenger attempting to fly from Newark Liberty International Airport with United Airlines was denied boarding due to her very strange travel companion: a living, breathing, strutting peacock.The unnamed woman, a New York-based photographer, told United employees that Dexter the bird was, in fact, her “emotional support peacock” and that she was willing to buy a separate ticket for him. But despite her repeated attempts at boarding, the airline said Dexter was too big and heavy to travel in the cabin.“This animal did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size,” United said in a statement to Fox News. “We explained this to the customers on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport.”United’s policy on support animals requires passengers to provide documentation from a medical professional as well as provide 48 hours advance notice prior to their flight.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalTwitter, not surprisingly, reacted in full, with people poking fun at the passenger and questioning how they, too, can get their hands on a feathered sidekick.Im a firm believer in aupport animals, but a peacock?? RT @ABC: Woman arrives with an “emotional support peacock” at Newark Airport. United Airlines allegedly refused to let the woman board the aircraft with her peacock. https://t.co/CTuzfJ0wxF pic.twitter.com/Y9t4HpV7ln— Gerrad McConnell (@_Gerrad) January 31, 2018 I wish the United agent had let the “support peacock” on the plane if only for the priceless subsequent video of the peacock being dragged off the plane.— Kevin Koster (@NotCostner) January 31, 2018 So this just happened: Woman and her peacock denied boarding a United flight Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Feeling left out that I don’t have an emotional peacock to take on trips with me #UnitedAirlines— Gary Humphrey (@garyhumphrey11) January 31, 2018 Tags: LOL, WTF This is the most Newark Airport thing to ever happen and I’m in love with it https://t.co/PIQTnI0i7N— josh groban (@joshgroban) January 31, 2018United’s stance comes at a time when other airlines are doubling down on rules and restrictions for support animals. Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines announced that any passenger who wishes to bring emotional support animals onboard their flight must show proof of vaccinations 48 hours in advance, and also prove that the animal is trained well enough to handle a flight.More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsLast November, a woman and her emotional support pig was kicked off a US Airways flight after it went hog wild in the aisle. Also, in 2016, an angry-looking turkey was caught on camera flying in Delta’s Comfort+ cabin.last_img read more

Arenal Report

first_imgNo related posts. We’re in the middle of a huge fiesta week in Nuevo Arenal. Parades, street music, dancing, good eats, a tope featuring magnificent prancing horses, and bull riding – one-handed and no-touch. Tomorrow, May 4, there will be an all-age, everybody’s welcome recreational (no racing) bike ride along the shore of beautiful Lake Arenal. The first 100 participants receive a free commemorative T-shirt. If the weather continues to be so fabulous, wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen.The Arenal Report usually avoids religious issues, but just this once. It appears that the prayers of many are being answered. The 25 km road to Guatuso finally is being widened, concrete drainage canals built on both sides, and a new roadbed constructed. Hopefully the answered prayers include asphalt.Of the dozens of people interviewed concerning the road improvements, only one person expressed disappointment. A long-time retired Gringo resident explained that he would put his laundry into two 55-gallon drums with soap and water, then drive his truck to Guatuso. There, he would drain out the dirty water and add clean for the return trip. The road had always been so rough that when he reached home, his clothes had been agitated to pristine freshness. We suggested that he start using the road to the Red Sunset B+B and Ecolodge to provide adequate sloshing.–William & Jean Priestjean_pri@msn.com Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Stiefel Pub raises the craft beer bar

first_imgThe hard part is choosing: Maldita Vida or Japi Endin? Maja Dera or Mama Candela?Stiefel Pub’s laminated menu is a colorful maze of names and pictures, like a Snakes & Ladders board redesigned by graffiti artists.The first time you visit, the options will overwhelm you. The waitress will help with basic questions: Dark or light? Hoppy or smooth? Are you driving home, or hailing a cab? These considerations are important. But take heart: If you like beer, if you really appreciate beer, you will like almost anything that pours from Stiefel Pub’s taps.Known popularly as “Stiefel’s,” the place is neither bar nor restaurant, but a pub, in the tradition of Dublin or Portland or Düsseldorf. The tabletops are scrapbook collages of beer labels and comic books. The place is low-lit and intimate, like a speakeasy, and the clientele is diverse, though largely scruffy and urban-casual. You could imagine sitting here, late at night, and plotting a revolution over a basket of French fries.Stiefel’s mission is clear from the moment you arrive at its iron gate and trade friendly words with the bouncer, Roger. Everybody loves a bottle of Imperial — it’s refreshing anywhere, anytime — but as craft beer gains global attention, San José’s nightlife crowd desires more sophisticated brewing.The Stiefel’s selection is impressive, and the servers know what they’re talking about. If you can’t pick, ask for a sample. The beer is artesanal and the sandwiches are gourmet. San José will broaden its palette if it’s the last thing Stiefel’s – and barkeep-owners Adolfo Marín and Selman “Grillo” Montes de Oca – do.Adding to the joy of drinking this beer is learning their double entendres. There’s the obvious ones, like “Japi Endin” and “69,” but the more Spanish you speak, the more titillating their titles: “Malportada” means “bad girl,” “Pecadora” means “sinner woman,” and — to finish the night — “Tumba Calzones” translates as “underwear remover.” Pornography never tasted so good.Meanwhile, a single tireless chef, Paulo Valerios, runs the entire kitchen, without so much as a dishwasher to help, creating up to 100 plates a night. Groomed in an Italian restaurant, Valerios combines all kinds of cuisines, drawing inspiration “from his childhood.” Want to know why the meat-packed sandwich with the red-tinted bread is called a “Chuck Norris?” You’ll have to wait for Valerios to have a free second to explain it.The only true caveat is that the Stiefel menu doesn’t show prices, and rest assured that a mug of hearty IPA is not free. You won’t be pilloried for asking how much things cost, but the rule of thumb is to simply bring a robust wad of cash.Like a French bistro, Stiefel Pub is designed for taste, not economy. Unlike a French bistro, everyday twenty-somethings can comfortably afford an evening here.Another consideration is the “percentage” of each glass. If you have never chilled out at 3,800 feet above sea level, and you’re accustomed to Corona, and you ate only a salad for dinner, prepare thyself. Some of the Stiefel selection has the same alcohol content as a glass of Chianti. This is not an exaggeration. Beer is designed to be fun, but you should also be able to stand up without assistance. Pacing is key.If you have frequented the high-end pubs of colder cities, you may be wary of the craft beer archetype — an insufferable snob who wears only ironic T-shirts and listens solely to vinyl. In the age of “Portlandia,” hipsterphobia is a reasonable condition, especially on the edge of Barrio Amón, Chepe’s fastest-evolving neighborhood. You may see the cluster of fashionable, chain-smoking youths with handlebar mustaches at Stiefel Pub’s entrance and think, What have I gotten myself into? I can only insist that Stiefel Pub’s vibe is upbeat and fun, eschewing the East Village nihilism that mainstreamers loathe.The room is frenetic with banter and good will, and if you keep good company, you may have an arduous time leaving. During my own visits, I stay longer than expected, nibble at shared plates, order an extra round, and finish the night with a shot of chileguaro. When I finally leave, the crooked street across from the Parque España is misty and muted, like a midsummer night’s dream. Stiefel’s may be a new addition to the San José bar scene, but with any luck, it’s here to stay.Check out Stiefel’s craft brews on their Facebook page. The pub, open daily except Sundays, is located in Barrio Amón (technically, it’s Barrio Otoya), next to the Mexican Embassy and across the street from CENAC. Facebook Comments Related posts:3rd annual Craft Beer Festival happening Saturday 3rd annual Craft Beer Fest offers a taste of the future in Costa Rica Brewery Treintaycinco wins silver in Brazilian beer competition Perro Vida celebrates first year of craft brewinglast_img read more

Costa Rica leads Latin America in Social Progress Index

first_imgThe average Costa Rican’s quality of life matches that of some European countries, including Spain and Italy, according to a new report that measures a country’s social progress beyond its gross domestic product.“Costa Rica, an upper middle-income country (GDP per capita of $11,165), has achieved a level of social progress that is close to that of far richer countries such as Italy and Spain,” the report observed.The 2014 Social Progress Index ranked Costa Rica the top country in Latin America and 25th in the world based on categories like basic human needs (medical care, personal safety, clean water), well being (sustainability, basic education, health) and opportunity (personal rights, tolerance, access to higher education).“We’re very pleased that we are truly demonstrating that the social policies and institutions we have been cultivating  in Costa Rica for many years are in fact making a great difference,” President Laura Chinchilla said.Costa Rica scored especially well in nutrition, water and sanitation, and opportunity.The Social Progress Index argued that gross domestic product alone is not an accurate measurement of a country’s social progress. The group defined social progress as “the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.”Uruguay (26) and Chile (30) followed closely behind Costa Rica. The report observed that Latin America as a region tended to show “balanced” social progress, but that personal security concerns weighed down the scores of several countries including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.Cuba, which came in at 79 in the world, outranked many countries in the region in fulfilling “basic human needs,” but saw low scores on personal expression and opportunity.New Zealand ranked first in the world in social progress, according to the index, even outpacing the self-proclaimed land of opportunity, the United States, which ranked 16th.Chad ranked last of the 132 countries surveyed.Watch the video below for a full explanation of the index. Related posts:Costa Rica top ‘out-performer’ in 2016 Social Progress Index Costa Rica outscores US in 2014 Social Inclusion Index Costa Rica, Latin America home to some of world’s happiest people, surveys say Just say ‘No’ to the War on Drugs: Seeking a Latin American solution Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Shorthanded Costa Rica ties Ireland 11 in final World Cup warmup with

first_imgIreland, which did not qualify for the World Cup, shut down Costa Rican forwards Joel Campbell and Marco Ureña early on. Costa Rica only got going after one of their players received a red card. Afterwards, the short-handed Ticos turned up the pressure in search of an equalizer.Costa Rican defender Giancarlo González was expelled from the field at the 41st minute after elbowing Doyle in the head during an aerial clash for the ball. Blood streamed down the side of Doyle’s face as the official showed González the red card although replays seemed to show González’s arm just grazed Doyle. The whack came in retaliation for an earlier hit the Tico had taken from the Irish player. Giancarlo González draws a red for bashing Kevin Doyle in the head. Courtesy of balls.ie Several minutes later, Irish star Robbie Keane received his own penalty. However Tico goalie Patrick Pemberton, who started the second half in place of Navas, made a diving stop to keep the game level. Costa Rica goalie Patrick Pemberton saves a penalty by Irish legend Robbie Keane. balls.ie Costa Rica, down one man, rallied for a 1-1 tie against Ireland in Philadelphia on Friday night during the team’s final warm-up before the World Cup.The team led by Colombian Jorge Luis Pinto showed two faces in the game: In the first half the team looked slow and imprecise. In the second half, Costa Rica overcame its shortcomings with a strong dose of force and intelligent ball movement.Costa Rica actually began the game by dominating ball possession, but never threatened the Irish goal.On the contrary, it was the Europeans who opened the scoring when Kevin Doyle, uncovered, headed in a cross past Tico goalie Keylor Navas at the 18th minute. The goal exposed the defensive frailties that the Ticos had shown Monday, when they fell 3-1 to Japan. Kevin Doyle with the header to score on Keylor Navas. balls.ie Navas, the top goalie in the fierce Spanish League last season, will start the World Cup for Costa Rica. But Pemberton got to be the hero tonight after making a few more saves that allowed his struggling team to salvage the draw.Despite the tie, Costa Rica demonstrated plenty of reasons to worry as the team’s World Cup debut approaches. The Ticos open the tournament on June 14 against Uruguay. La Sele later faces Italy and England. La Sele will spend the weekend back in Costa Rica before flying to Brazil on Monday morning. Facebook Commentscenter_img Playing down a man, Costa Rica played a much more impressive second half. Campbell, especially, kept creating problems for Ireland. Midway through the second half, he snuck a pass inside to Ureña who was subsequently taken down by the goalie. Costa Rica was awarded a penalty, and midfielder Celso Borges converted to tie the match at the 64th minute. Related posts:UPDATE: Costa Rica suddenly realizes its playing Ireland not Northern Ireland in final World Cup warm-up Tickets on sale for Costa Rica’s final World Cup warm-up against Ireland in Philadelphia Defense falls apart as Japan pounds Costa Rica 3-1 in World Cup warm-up Monday night 6 questions for Costa Rica before tonight’s World Cup tune-up against Irelandlast_img read more

Government to shut down CONAVI National Concessions Council and create new infrastructure

first_imgPublic Works and Transport Minister Carlos Segnini on Wednesday announced the creation of a new agency called the National Infrastructure Institute (INI), which will entail the closure of the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) and the National Concessions Council (CNC).Segnini confirmed the government’s move at a press conference where he said the process already had begun with the appointment of Luis Gerardo Porras Quesada as the “Reforms and Projects Vice Minister,” serving under the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT).In the first stage of the process, Porras will lead a staff composed of 10 MOPT and CONAVI officials who will be tasked with drafting a bill to create the INI and close the two agencies, which Segnini said “have been deficient in executing public infrastructure projects that the country urgently needs.”The bill will be submitted for approval by the Legislative Assembly during the first quarter of next year. Segnini stressed the process shouldn’t be considered a “reorganization, a strengthening or restructuring of CONAVI,” but rather its “closure [and] disappearance as the executing agency for public works.” The CNC also will “disappear as the governing body for public works projects granted under concession and in public bids,” the minister said.Both agencies were created in 1998. CONAVI was tasked with building and maintaining national roads, and the CNC with supervising projects awarded to private companies in concession contracts.The creation of a new agency must follow a process that could take up to four years, Porras said.The first step is the drafting of the bill to create the INI, expected to be ready by the end of the year. The bill then will be sent for discussion and approval by lawmakers in early 2015.MOPT officials did not announce layoffs, but according to Porras, it is a possibility.“The INI will require well-trained personnel with knowledge and experience. Decisions on employment and hiring will be based on performance and constant evaluation; we will keep the good employees and let the bad ones go,” the new vice minister said.Currently staff at the two agencies totals 500 employees, most of them at CONAVI (460). On Wednesday afternoon, CONAVI employees protested the announcement by placing banners on the agency’s walls and windows showing concern about the future of their jobs.Segnini said the INI would redefine the way public works concessions are executed by guaranteeing efficiency, quality and timely supervision of projects. He also said it aimed to establish new parameters for public employees based on performance.Both CONAVI and the CNC have been under heavy criticism over several failed roadway and bridge projects, most notably the shoddy work on Route 1856, a 160- kilometer road parallel to the border with Nicaragua that led to corruption accusations and an international dispute with Nicaragua for alleged environmental damage. Facebook Comments Related posts:Prosecutor’s Office to charge 26 people for failed border road project Solís visits scandal-plagued border road, vows to clean up predecessor’s mess Solís pledges to fix La Platina bridge – the third president to make the promise Chief prosecutor pledges indictments in border road scandal by year endlast_img read more

Springsteen turns song into book with unflinching Outlaw Pete

first_imgRelated posts:Leonard Cohen announces new album for 80th birthday Singer-songwriter Kevin Johansen makes everyone feel good in Costa Rica debut Swedish police briefly hold US rapper Snoop Dogg New York hip-hop legend AZ gets ‘back to himself’ in new video filmed in Costa Rica With the publication of his not-quite-for-children children’s book, “Outlaw Pete,” Bruce Springsteen has surprised even himself. Writing such a book “was the last thing I saw coming,” he says, never mind the many other rock stars who have delved into the children’s section lately — including, most recently, Keith Richards with “Gus & Me.”The Boss says “there’s no grand plan behind this.” Still, he admits publishing the book, inspired by his song of the same name, is a kick, and in a phone interview joked, “maybe I’ll have a whole series now.”Despite the many Springsteen songs that might make a good children’s story — he admits that “Blinded by the Light,” with its antic rhymes, “would be fun to read” — this book is not the first of a series. “Outlaw Pete,” which was launched last Tuesday, was a bit of a lark, and, he writes in the afterword, “I’m not sure this is a children’s book.”Indeed, the book deals with some heavy themes — death, violence and abandonment among them — and does not sugarcoat them. The book’s illustrations, by cartoonist Frank Caruso, include vivid scenes of a knife fight and a man lying dead in a pool of blood.Essentially an illustrated version of the song from his 2009 album “Working on a Dream,” the 50-page picture book begins with Pete, as a 6-month-old, robbing a bank and follows him through the course of a life as “an outlaw killer and a thief.” Wherever he goes, “women wept and men died.” About midway through the story, Pete seeks redemption, marrying a Navajo girl and having a child.But for him there is no escape from who he is — “I’m Outlaw Pete” is the refrain he repeats more fervently as the book moves into its dark second half. A bounty hunter comes to remind him, “you think you’ve changed but you have not.” And to prove the point, Pete kills him. “We cannot undo these things we’ve done” are the man’s final words.Pete rides off into the proverbial sunset — in this case an icy ledge — into legend, a bereft young girl calling out after him: “Outlaw Pete! Outlaw Pete! Can you hear me? Can you hear me?” The story, Springsteen writes in the afterword, “is not easy.” But, he adds, “I believe children instinctively understand passion and tragedy. And a 6-month-old, bank-robbing baby is a pretty good protagonist.”On the phone, he describes the book as a cross between the spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone and “Goodnight Moon,” a favorite book of his three children, Evan, Jessica and Sam, who are in their 20s. “The characters are outlandish. They’re not real. They’re mythical. The tale is a fable,” he says. And while it has an admittedly a challenging lesson “about the difficulty of redemption,” this shouldn’t scare off kids — or their parents.“If ‘Bambi’ is for kids, this is fine,” he says. “If ‘Lion King’ is for kids, this will be fine also.”“The act of growing up is filled with so much raw passion and tragedy that they can’t escape it,” he says. “Children’s lives revolve around these things, and as parents we do our best to guide them through these things, but we can’t protect them from occurring.”As a friend once told him, he recalls, “Parents give their kids the best they have to offer, and the world takes care of the rest. There’s no escaping from the blues or whatever you want to call it.”Springsteen had no plans to make a book — children’s or otherwise — out of the song until he heard from Caruso. The cartoonist was immediately drawn to the dark tale when he first heard the song version in 2009.“I stopped what I was doing and thought it was like a story being read to me,” Caruso says. “Everyone’s got to be seeing this.”He made some pencil sketches and presented them to Springsteen and Caruso’s mutual friend, music critic Dave Marsh. About a year and a half later, Caruso got a call out of the blue one Sunday morning from Springsteen, who was excited about the project. “This was the first time anyone has approached me to do a book of this kind,” Springsteen says.The collaboration went smoothly, according to both the writer and the illustrator, with about three or four dummy copies of the book passing back and forth between them.“He dug the pencil drawings,” Caruso says of Springsteen. “It was just a matter of tweaking a color to get the right emotion.”On the eve of the book’s publication, Springsteen says he feels the work has a universal appeal.“It’s a very human story,” he says. “We start carrying some of the baggage of our past as small children. And then at some point, we either try to sort it out or outrun it. You can’t outrun it, which is what this character tries to do. And it’s very difficult to sort it out. But it’s the only way to go.”© 2014, The Washington Postcenter_img Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Fabio Lobo Honduras drug trafficking presidential son

first_imgRelated posts:New Generation cartel is Mexico’s latest menace Global drug policy isn’t working. These 100-plus organizations want that to change. Costa Rican special operations unit participates in regional ‘war games’ The undoing of Gary Webb and today’s news organizations NEW YORK – The United States has indicted the son of former Honduran President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo (2010-2014) on drug trafficking charges, U.S. federal prosecutors announced Friday.Fabio Lobo was arrested on Wednesday in Haiti and extradited to New York. He is charged with conspiracy to import and distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine in the United States and could be sentenced to life imprisonment, according to a statement from U.S. Federal Prosecutor Preer Bharara’s office.Fabio Lobo was brought Friday before federal judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox in a southern Manhattan court, according to the same source.“Fabio Lobo tried to break the law in the United States by plotting to traffic cocaine. Being the son of a former president does not mean one is above the law,” Bharara stated.Prosecutors say Lobo is accused of trafficking cocaine from 2009 to 2014, the same years his father was elected and served as president of Honduras, following a coup that toppled former President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, 2009.Hondura’s current president, Juan Orlando Hernández, recently has been carrying out an offensive against drug traffickers in his country, who play a vital role in transporting cocaine from South America to the U.S. Those involved in the illicit drug trade reportedly are linked to seven out of every 10 violent deaths that occur in Honduras, according to officials.After learning of his son’s arrest, former President Lobo thanked Hernández for having informed him of the detention, saying that he did not wish this to happen “to any father.”“I’ve always taught my children the right path,” the former president said. “They’ll always have me at their side, but not for something that is wrong. … If he’s guilty he should answer to the law.”Honduras is the global leader in homicide rates, with 68 per 100,000 residents, according to the National University’s Observatorio de la Violencia. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Scandalplagued Honduras needs dramatic overhaul say analysts

first_imgRelated posts:Honduras court orders house arrest for US-targeted tycoon Jaime Rosenthal Honduran military aims to fill in for ‘absent’ parents with program targeting at-risk kids Petrobras top management resigns in Brazil corruption case Honduras shutters bank linked to drug trafficking WASHINGTON, D.C. – Hondurans don’t have it easy lately. For years, their Tennessee-sized country of eight million has suffered the world’s highest homicide rate: 90.4 killings per 100,000 inhabitants in 2012, according to the United Nations, and a frightening 169 per 100,000 in San Pedro Sula, its second-largest city.As if that’s not enough, Honduras also ranks as the second-poorest country in the Americas (after Haiti), its economy is stagnating – and now it may be one of the most corrupt as well.Last week, the U.S. government threw the book at one of the most powerful families in Honduras, frightening political and economic elites across Central America who have long thought themselves untouchable.Earlier this month, the Justice Department unsealed an indictment against 79-year-old Jaime Rosenthal, his son Yani Benjamin Rosenthal and his nephew Yankel Rosenthal for allegedly laundering cash through U.S. bank accounts from 2004 to 2015 on behalf of drug traffickers.Until recently, Yankel Rosenthal was an adviser to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández. Jaime Rosenthal, one of the country’s richest men, was himself a perennial candidate for president and leader of the Honduran Liberal Party who once met Ronald Reagan in the White House.On Oct. 10, three days after the feds listed his Tegucigalpa-based Banco Continental under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, the Honduran government closed the bank and announced the forced liquidation of its assets, estimated at $500 million.“The question everybody in Honduras is asking, is where were our national institutions? The supervisory body for banks didn’t detect this,” complained Honduran economist Hugo Noé Pino, a scholar with the Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales, a Guatemala-based think tank.See also: He’s a Honduran banker, crocodile farmer and wanted in the US Carlos Ponce of Freedom House speaks Oct. 13 at Washington’s Inter-American Dialogue on corruption, violence and political reform in Honduras. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesPino spoke Oct. 13 at a Washington panel co-sponsored by Inter-American Dialogue and the American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS). The event, titled “Corruption, Violence and Reform: Honduras’ Struggle for Democratic Governance,” also featured Carlos Ponce of Freedom House, Eric Hershberg of CLALS and Michael Shifter, president of Inter-American Dialogue.Pino said that despite the country’s expected 3-3.5 percent GDP growth over the next two years, its annual population growth of 2 percent means that “in per-capita terms we are growing only 1 to 1.5 percent, which is not enough to reduce unemployment or poverty – and the situation is getting worse.”Today, 62 percent of Hondurans live in poverty and 42 percent live in “extreme poverty,” he said. To make matters worse, violence and organized crime is fueling emigration, while the country’s weakened institutions are encouraging a process of remilitarization.“Police functions are being carried out by the Honduran Army. What we are seeing is a concentration of power in the executive who handles decisions in Congress, the Supreme Court, the Electoral Tribunal and the Controller’s Office,” Pino warned. “The group in power in Honduras is trying to get the president re-elected for another term. That’s going to be very confrontational.”The Rosenthal case is hardly the first scandal to rock Honduras in recent years. In late 2014, investigators uncovered a massive fraud within the country’s health care system – the Instituto Hondureño de Seguridad Social (IHSS) – in which white-collar thieves siphoned off the equivalent of at least $200 million, leading to the needless deaths of thousands of Hondurans for lack of medicine and hospital equipment.At least some of that money ended up in the coffers of Hernández’s election campaign; the president has acknowledged as much but insists he was not personally involved. From left, Eric Hershberg of American University moderates a panel discussion with prominent Honduran economist Hugo Noé Pino of the Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales and Carlos Ponce of Freedom House. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesFaced with increasing public pressure to clean up its act, the government has asked the Organization of American States to intervene, though the new OAS “Support Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras” has elicited strong skepticism here.“The solution is not making more reports, but bringing change to Honduras,” said Ponce, who spent six months working there last year. “We’re not talking about India or Brazil but a small country with lots of potential – but a lack of will to change. The families in power are in bed with factions in the government that also control the media. Corruption is linked directly to political parties, so you have to change the power structure.”Ponce added: “Even a commission tied to the OAS won’t change anything, unless you bring people to justice to face due process. Without that, Honduras will not change.”Pino said what Honduras really needs is “an international commission against impunity with enough leverage to make investigations.” He called for an entity similar to Guatemala’s CICIG, which helped uncover a widespread corruption network in the country’s tax and customs agency that led last month to the resignation and subsequent arrest of ex-President Otto Pérez Molina.“I think CICIG with an ‘H’ instead of a ‘G’ at the end would be good for Honduras. I have seen CICIG work in Guatemala,” said Pino. “Honduras needs an international commission like CICIG in order to restore general confidence.”But that’s unlikely to happen, said Ponce, because the leaders of Honduras will do whatever is necessary to prevent the formation of just such a commission.“They know that the corruption scandals can touch them. That’s why they tried to find another alternative,” he said. “More than ever, it’s necessary. But this has to be asked by the government itself, and the government doesn’t have the political will to do it.”Meanwhile, the closing of Rosenthal’s Banco Continental means the loss of 11,000 direct jobs and possibly other consequences for an already struggling economy. Pino noted that in a recent poll, 63 percent of Hondurans said they’d live elsewhere if they could.“If I’m a foreign investor, why would I invest in a country like Honduras? Right now, the general sense is that it’s not just the Rosenthals who are involved,” Pino said. “For the first time in my life, I see middle-class and upper-class people protesting in the streets. This is a new phenomenon and I don’t think it’s going to disappear anytime soon.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Police arrest suspected killers of Gerardo Cruz

first_imgJudicial Investigation Police (OIJ) arrested six people Tuesday morning allegedly responsible for the killing ofGerardo Cruz, a young man stabbed days after publicly shaming a video voyeur on Facebook. Police said one of the suspects, a woman, had recently ended a romantic relationship with Cruz at the time of the attack against him.OIJ Director Walter Espinoza told reporters the eight-month investigation determined that Cruz’s death was a crime of passion and not related to the now famous Facebook video, in which Cruz filmed a man walking through downtown San José with his cell phone camera apparently pointed up a woman’s skirt.“There is absolutely no relation between the man caught on the video and the killing of Gerardo Cruz,” Espinoza said.The alleged former lover and her daughter were the crime’s masterminds, investigators said. The mother, last name Fonseca, 41, was romantically involved with Cruz, investigators said, but the relationship ended badly. The breakup prompted the woman and her daughter, last name Valerín, 19, to plot the attack on Cruz, according to Espinoza.The women allegedly contacted three of the men arrested Tuesday who acted as middlemen to hire the two men suspected of stabbing Cruz in October 2015.Tuesday’s arrests came two weeks after OIJ released a video compiled from recordings of various surveillance cameras showing Cruz’s alleged killers. Related posts:Video shows suspected killers of Gerardo Cruz, who confronted man filming up skirt Salvadoran man deported from United States suspected in murder at San José hotel Woman records video of man reaching down her shirt on bus; receives no help from driver Canadian tourist stabbed to death on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast A 22-year-old detainee with the last name Ledezma is believed to be one of the killers. A sixth man voluntarily surrendered soon after the raids and OIJ’s Espinoza said police are still on the lookout for another suspect.“The suspects attacked Mr. Gerardo Cruz at Parque Kennedy on October 7 and took some of his clothes and other belongings as proof of the crime for the women,” Espinoza said at a news conference Tuesday.Cruz’s video of the man filming a woman’s behind while walking went viral last year. He was stabbed on October 7, shortly after leaving his job in San Sebastián, a suburb south of downtown San José. Cruz spent over a month at Calderón Guardia Hospital, where he underwent three open-heart surgeries and died of a heart attack on November 19, 2015.The violent attack on Cruz triggered a national debate on the sexual harassment of women in public in Costa Rica, including marches and calls to penalize street harassment. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Eight dead in car bomb attack at Colombian police school

first_imgA car bomb attack on a police cadet training school in the Colombian capital Bogota left at least eight people dead and 10 injured on Thursday, the defense ministry said.The attack happened at the General Francisco de Paula Santander Officer’s School in the south of Bogota during a promotion ceremony for cadets.Fanny Contreras, the armed forces’ health inspector, told local radio the car “entered (the school compound) suddenly, almost hitting the police and then there was the explosion.”Early images from City TV showed ambulances traveling through the area close to the school in the south of Bogota.“All Colombians reject terrorism and we’re united in fighting it,” President Ivan Duque tweeted.Vowing to “bring to justice” those responsible for the attack, Duque added: “COLOMBIA is sad but will not bow to violence.”A security council meeting that Duque was due to attend outside the capital has been canceled, with the president saying he would return to Bogota immediately.The defense ministry said an investigation has been opened “to find those responsible for this terrorist act.”Ecuador’s center-left President Lenin Moreno said he would call Duque to “express all our solidarity with our Colombian brothers.” People wait for news outside the site of an explosion on a police cadet training school in Bogota on January 17, 2019.  (Juan Barreto / AFP)Right-wing Duque, who assumed power in August, has peddled a tough line against Marxist rebels and drug traffickers in the largest cocaine producer in the world.Peace talks with ELN guerrillas that stalled before Duque replaced Juan Manuel Santos as president have not been restarted.Duque has made several demands, including the release of all hostages, as prerequisites to kick-starting the peace process, but the ELN has dismissed those as unacceptable.Since Santos signed a historic peace accord with FARC guerrillas in 2016, turning the former rebels into a political party, the ELN remains the last recognized armed group in a country that has suffered more than half a century of conflict.Bogota also suffered a pair of major attacks in 2017.In February of that year, the ELN claimed responsibility for an attack on a police patrol in the Macarena neighborhood that left one officer dead and several seriously wounded.In June, three people —including a Frenchwoman— were killed and nine others injured in an attack on a shopping mall that authorities blamed on a fringe left-wing group called the Revolutionary People’s Movement (MRP), which had previously been accused of carrying out low-impact attacks in the capital. Security forces stand guard outside the police cadet training school in Bogota, where an apparent car bomb attack left at least four people dead and 10 injured on January 17, 2019.  (Juan Barreto / AFP)This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica.We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Colombia blames deadly Bogota car bombing on ELN rebels U.S. woman to be deported after living in airport in Colombia Colombian police bust child sex network run by Israelis UN rapporteur slams killings of Colombian rights defenderslast_img read more

Refueling problem causes delays at Oslo Airport

first_imgOSLO, Norway (AP) – Dozens of flights were delayed or canceled Tuesday at Oslo Airport after a malfunction in the pumping system halted all aircraft refueling.Airport officials said all flights from Oslo after 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) were affected by the electronic fault before it was repaired some three hours later.Airport spokesman Vegar Gystad said that several arrivals had been directed to other airports to refuel and that officials had negotiated with airlines about alternative routes. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Check your body, save your life In a brief statement, the airport authority said later that the fuel system was running as normal but that some delays could be expected throughout the evening.(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 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Comments   Share   last_img read more

Filipino activists protest Chinas islandbuilding

first_imgCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Filipino activists hold anti-China slogans as they march towards the Chinese Consulate during a rally at the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines Thursday, June 4, 2015. More than 100 left-wing Filipino activists demanded that China stop its increasingly assertive actions in the disputed South China Sea Thursday, warning during a rally that they can target “Chinese economic interests” with protests. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) Comments   Share   Protest leader Renato Reyes Jr. from the the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan group said that while the Philippines could easily be overwhelmed by China’s powerful military, “there are other means to express protests,” including rallies and a possible boycott of Chinese products.The protesters condemned China’s seizures of Mischief Reef in the mid-1990s and Scarborough Shoal in 2012. The two Manila-claimed territories lie west of the Philippine archipelago. Filipino fishermen say a Chinese coast guard ship had used water cannon to drive them away earlier this year from Scarborough, a rich fishing area.“We are serving notice to the Chinese government that Filipinos from different walks of life are united in opposing China’s incursions in Philippine waters,” Reyes said.China claims a huge chunk of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in whole or in part by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.China has said it has the right to carry out the island constructions in a number of reefs and atolls in what it says are its territorial waters since ancient times. Washington has demanded that Beijing stop the massive construction work, saying that the islands could be used by China’s military against America’s allies and interests. Four benefits of having a wireless security system 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement MANILA, Philippines (AP) — More than 100 Filipino activists demanded that China stop its increasingly assertive actions in the disputed South China Sea, and warned during a rally Thursday they could target Chinese economic interests.Waving red flags and yelling “China out now,” the left-wing protesters rallied in front of the Chinese Consulate in metropolitan Manila against China’s island-building and other actions in disputed waters. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Pakistan says it has hosted a round of KabulTaliban talks

first_img Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Patients with chronic pain give advice How men can have a healthy 2019 ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan confirmed on Wednesday that it hosted a round of peace talks between Afghan government officials and the Taliban the previous day, and that another round is planned for after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.The Foreign Ministry in Islamabad said the one-day talks ended with both sides agreeing to meet again. Tuesday’s talks took place at Murree, a hilly resort near the Pakistani capital. Representatives of China and the United States were also present during the meeting, the statement said. Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Previous efforts to start a dialogue stalled, however, largely due the lack of trust and confidence between the two sides.Also, there have been differences among the Taliban over the talks in the past. It was not clear whether the Taliban representatives who attended the Pakistan meeting had a go ahead from their supreme leader, Mullah Omar, or the insurgents’ political office in Qatar, specifically set up with the goal toward a peace deal.A Taliban statement emailed to media in Kabul by the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid did not provide clarity whether the talks have been fully endorsed by the Taliban leadership.“Our political office has complete authority and capability … to hold or suspend talks whenever or wherever it wants,” Mujahid said.Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday night described the holding of the talks as “a major breakthrough.” His comments were recorded for Pakistani TV from the Norwegian capital of Oslo, where he is on a three-day visit.“I hope there will be a positive outcome which will certainly be very helpful for peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Sharif said.Earlier Tuesday, Ghani’s office announced that a delegation from the government’s High Peace Council traveled to Islamabad for the talks. Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai was reported to be among the government representatives. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The participants exchanged views on ways to bring peace and reconciliation to Afghanistan, where fighting has continued since the Taliban were removed from power by U.S.-led forces in 2001. Since taking office in September, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has made it a priority to find a peace settlement.Both sides “expressed their collective desire to bring peace to Afghanistan and the region,” the ministry statement said. The next meeting would be held at a mutually convenient date after Ramadan ends later this month, it added.The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the peace talks, praising Pakistan for hosting them and thanking Washington and China for taking part. “We believe that if there is a good and strong intention in the peace process, there will be good results,” Kabul said Wednesday.The talks came after repeated informal meetings between the Taliban and Afghan government representatives, most recently in Qatar and Norway. The fact that Tuesday’s talks were the first formally acknowledged by the Afghan government and the semi-public nature of the talks suggested possible progress, after years of frustration in trying to bring the two sides together. Top Stories Ghani said the talks aim to “change this meeting into a process of continuing talks,” build trust and develop the agenda for the negotiations, according to his office.The Afghan president has sought Pakistan’s help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiations, since Islamabad is believed to wield influence over the group.But some Afghan politicians have been suspicious of Pakistan’s hosting of the talks, considering it interference in Afghan affairs. Nasrullah Sadieqizada, an Afghan parliament member, denounced the talks “Pakistani propaganda.”The White House praised the Pakistani government for helping facilitate the meeting.“This is an important step in advancing prospects for a credible peace,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “The United States commends the government of Afghanistan’s prioritization of peace and reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.”___Associated Press Writers Amir Shah and Rahim Faiez in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Nigeria celebrates 1 year with no new polio cases

first_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Flexible strategy was needed for the campaign to succeed. “Initially there was this wrong approach … we thought we could overcome it with global pressure and scientific information,” Tomori said. “It didn’t work.”The campaign had to win over religious and community leaders and grass-roots women’s groups, he said.Nigeria tracks vaccinators through GPS on their cell phones and has emergency operations centers that provide “real-time information,” said Tomori. “If someone refuses vaccination, we know within minutes and can go back and take action. Before, it could take weeks.”The polio tracking system has additional benefits. It formed the backbone of Nigeria’s successful efforts to fight Ebola.The WHO will not declare Nigeria out of the woods until 2017.“It will take another two extra years of no polio to be polio-free and that is why we cannot relax,” said Tomori, who has been fighting polio for 20 years.He said monitoring, surveillance and vaccinations all must increase to ensure no backsliding: “On no account must we lose focus and take our eye off the polio radar.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Patients with chronic pain give advice Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall “We are celebrating the first time ever that Nigeria has gone without a case of polio, but with caution,” Dr. Tunji Funsho, chairman of Rotary International’s polio campaign in Nigeria, told The Associated Press.If there are no new cases and laboratory tests remain negative in the next few weeks, the World Health Organization will take Nigeria off the list of polio-endemic countries, said Oliver Rosenbauer of the U.N. agency’s polio unit.Nigeria is the last African country on that list.The two remaining countries are Pakistan, which recorded 28 new cases this year, and Afghanistan, with five, said Rosenbauer. It’s a 99 percent reduction since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative began in 1988, when one of the world’s most feared diseases was endemic in 125 countries and was paralyzing nearly 1,000 children every day.Polio shows up unsuspiciously as a fever and cold, followed quickly by acute paralysis as the virus destroys nerve cells. The disease mainly affects children under 5. The virus invades the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine, then is spread through the feces. It is highly contagious with infected but asymptomatic carriers able to spread it silently and swiftly. FILE- In this Sunday, April 13, 2014 file photo, an unidentified health official administers a polio vaccine to a child in Kawo Kano, Nigeria. Nigeria celebrates its first year with no reported case of polio on Friday, July 24, 2015 overcoming obstacles from Islamic supremacists who killed vaccinators to rumors the vaccine was a plot to sterilize Muslims. Just 20 years ago this West African nation was recording 1,000 cases a year of the crippling disease _ the highest number in the world _ and was stigmatized as the polio-epicenter of the world. (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba, File) That’s why “surveillance takes place in every nook and cranny of this country, even in those areas that have been free for years,” said Rotary’s Funsho.In Nigeria, where Boko Haram Islamic extremists held a large swath of the northeast for months until March, that means testing sewage and stool samples of refugees from areas too dangerous to access.The extremists opposed the campaign and Boko Haram gunmen killed nine women vaccinators in northern Kano state in February 2013, but the vaccinations continued.The milestone has been reached despite the government’s failure to deliver the most basic services: 100 million of Nigeria’s 170 million people defecate in the open, while the percentage with piped water has shrunk from 12 percent in 1990 to 2 percent today, according to U.N. estimates.Nigeria has been on the brink of recording no new cases before, only to fall back during elections in 2007 and 2011 when money was lavished on political campaigns instead of vaccinations, said Dr. Oyewale Tomori, chairman of the government’s Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication.Politicians spent unprecedented amounts on March elections that for the first time ousted a sitting president. But 2015 also brought the government’s biggest commitment of $80 million to fight polio. LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Once stigmatized as the world’s polio epicenter, Nigeria on Friday celebrates its first year with no reported case of the crippling disease, having overcome obstacles ranging from Islamic extremists who assassinated vaccinators to rumors the vaccine was a plot to sterilize Muslims.Just 20 years ago this West African nation was recording 1,000 polio cases a year — the highest in the world. The last recorded case of a child paralyzed by the wild polio virus endemic in Nigeria’s impoverished and mainly Muslim north was on July 24, 2014. Top Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

China leads tourism into Oz

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J China is leading the growth in travel to Australia, with a 63 percent increase in visitors for January this year compared to the same month last year. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that the Chinese market has topped the number of UK visitors into Australia with up to 453,800 Chinese travellers arriving in Oz last year. Arrivals from Hong Kong in January were also up by 26 percent compared to the same time last year while travellers from Malaysia rose by up to 25 percent. Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson said the increase in travellers from China into Australia was complimented by extra services and flights running between the two countries. “That means there is even greater urgency to use the $12 million we’ve committed with the Queensland Government in the wake of the natural disasters to help the state’s tourism operators connect with a growing and increasingly lucrative market,” Mr Ferguson said. “And wherever there are potential visitors thinking of deferring a trip to Queensland because of the damage, the clear message is that most of the state’s attractions were either unaffected or have recovered very quickly.” Figures are expected to continue rising throughout the year, with Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) managing director Felicia Mariani stating that the east continues to be one of Australia’s most profitable markets and increasing figures from China will be “good news for tourism operators across the country”. “We believe the Asian consumer demand will continue to go from strength to strength over the next 12 months,” Ms Mariani said. last_img read more

Inland NSW Tourism seeks Govt funding

first_imgInlands NSW Tourism is taking up the funding promise from Minister Souris and the O’Farrell government by applying for funding in excess of AUD$750,000 for the region.In September 2011, the Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris implemented the AUD$5million program to invest in the States tourism potential by introduced two streams of funding.Due to its size and scope, Inland NSW Tourism will be entitled to AUD$750,000 under stream one funding and is working on potential projects appropriate for stream two funding to ensure maximum opportunity is invested in the region.According to Inland NSW Tourism chief executive Graham Perry, tourism employment and revenue is a major contributor to the local economy.“An immediate demonstration of the benefit of the amalgamated Inland NSW Tourism is that we are entitled to a significant base funding under stream 1 arrangements,” Mr Perry said.“Our board has already identified key opportunities in the area of events, arts, agri-tourism and food and wine, and we are keen to work with industry partners to deliver a superior tourist experience.“We are working closely with members to ensure our submissions are completed in a timely manner, for the benefit of the entire inland region’s tourism efforts.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

Fifty Shades Hunger Games most left behind items study

first_imgImage Source: Flickr/Ellebnere Fantasy and fictitious trilogies including Hunger Games and Fifty Shades, topped the Travelodge 2012 Books Left Behind Index.Books from E.L. James’ Fifty Shades novel trilogy, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games triad and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trinity took the top nine spots.“Our 2012 Books Left Behind Index has revealed we are a nation addicted to trilogies, this is probably so that we can flee the reality of gloom and doom for a world of fantasy,” Travelodge spokesperson Shakila Ahmed said. In the past the list has been dominated by celebrity biographies and chick literature.Outside of the trilogies, the only book to make the top 10 was The Help by Kathryn Stockett.Hotel staff reported the popular Shades of Grey trilogy has been left behind by both business and leisure customers of all ages, with 7000 copies found since the book’s release.“Customers cannot get enough of Mr Grey and Miss Steele, they are even reading the book whilst eating breakfast and dinner,” Ms Ahmed said.Over the past 12 months, more than 21,000 books were left behind in Travelodge hotel rooms.Staff at Scarborough Travelodge found a bag of Karma Sutra books which belonged to an elderly couple staying for a week, while the staff at Leamington Spa Travelodge found a suitcase of Mills & Boon books which belonged to a middle aged couple and the hotel manager at Peterborough Travelodge found a briefcase of superhero comics – which were left behind by a CEO who stays at the hotel regularly. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more