TORONTO — Sunwing’s new Cuba Libre promotion gives agents the chance to earn bonus STAR Agent Reward points and receive complimentary hotel stays at a number of the tour operator’s top new resorts.Sunwing has partnered with three of its top-rated hotel partners – Royalton Luxury Resorts, Memories Resorts and Starfish Resorts – to offer agents multiple ways to be rewarded.From Dec. 13, 2016 to Jan. 8, 2017 agents will receive double STAR points (which convert to cash) for each new confirmed booking at Memories Varadero, Memories Flamenco, Memories Holguin or Starfish Cayo Santa Maria.Each booking an agent confirms will also get them closer to prizes offered by Royalton Luxury Resorts, Memories Resorts, and Starfish Hotels and Resorts.Once an agent has made 10 new room bookings, she or he will automatically receive a seven-night hotel stay for two at any Royalton, Memories or Starfish resort in Cuba.Alternatively, they could convert their prize into a three-night hotel stay for two and be amongst the first to experience one of the new Royalton resorts opening this winter in Jamaica and St. Lucia, including Royalton Negril and Royalton Blue Waters.More news: Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterAgents who confirm 25 room bookings or more will also receive a seven-night hotel stay to any of the above resorts across the Caribbean and Mexico. The offer is applicable to all new bookings made from Dec. 13, 2016 to Feb. 1, 2017 with departure dates between Dec. 13, 2016 and April 30, 2017.There will also be a grand prize for the top-producing agent across the country that will be drawn at the end of the contest period. One agent will be awarded a seven-night stay at the Royalton or Hideaway resort of their choice, along with two return flights on Sunwing Airlines and private airport transfers provided by Sunwing’s exclusive destination services partner, NexusTours.To learn more about the promotion, or to sign up to the STAR Agent Reward Points program, visit sunwingagents.ca. Wednesday, December 14, 2016 Tags: Royalton Luxury Resorts, Sunwing Sunwing launches Cuba Libre promo, rewards agents with double STAR points, hotel stays Share The Canadian Press Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>
DUBAI — A heavy seasonal fog engulfed the skyscraper-lined skyline of Dubai for several hours, causing some flights to be delayed at the world’s busiest international airport.At sunrise Wednesday, downtown Dubai was so foggy that even the outline of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, could not be seen by passers-by. Fog also engulfed Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.At Dubai International Airport, home to the long-haul carrier Emirates, flights were delayed by up to an hour. Delays also hit Abu Dhabi’s international airport.The UAE’s National Center of Meteorology & Seismology earlier had warned that visibility Wednesday morning would be less than 50 metres (55 yards).High humidity and falling temperatures cause the fog to roll in seasonally along the coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The Canadian Press Wednesday, December 28, 2016 Posted by Heavy fog engulfs both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, delaying flights << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Tags: Dubai
Tags: American Airlines Monday, July 17, 2017 Share What’s that smell? Fart reported to be the cause of plane evacuation Travelweek Group RALEIGH — American Airlines is clearing the air after reports surfaced that a fart forced passengers to evacuate a plane on Sunday evening.According to International Business Times, a flight had just landed at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on July 16 when a man passed gas so violently that U.S. airport officials said “it caused nausea and headaches among his fellow passengers”. The funky smell was so bad that passengers were rushed off the plane.However, an American Airlines representative confirmed to Fox News that the story is not true. Since then, Andrew Sawyer, a spokesperson for Raleigh-Durham International Airport has also confirmed that the plane in question was never even evacuated, but deplaned “normally”.In an official statement, American Airlines said: “We did have an aircraft from Charlotte to RDU this afternoon, that landed at 2:19 p.m. ET, and arrived the gate at 2:21 p.m. ET, that is currently out of service for an actual mechanical issue – and odour in the cabin. But it is not due to ‘passed gas’ as mentioned.”More news: Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyThis did not stop people from cracking jokes on social media, with many applauding the suspected passenger for his farting abilities. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>
Share Travelweek Group Wednesday, November 15, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> CELEBRATION, FL — Passengers sailing onboard Disney Magic starting in March 2018 will find new experiences including family dining in an enchanted kingdom, a transformed teen club and a sophisticated café just for adults.The new enhancements debut on Disney Magic starting March 9, 2018, on sailings from Miami. The four- and five-night Disney Magic sailings from Miami visit Key West, Fla.; Nassau, Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Beginning on May 14, 2018, the Disney Magic repositions to Europe for the summer season.Here’s a look of some of the highlights:An Enchanting Dining Experience for Families: At Rapunzel’s Royal Table, families get an all-new dining experience inspired by Disney’s ‘Tangled’. It’s the first table service restaurant themed to ‘Tangled’ and features characters and live entertainment. Guests will step inside a regal ballroom in the royal castle, lit by glowing wish lanterns and adorned with colorful drawings that reflect Rapunzel’s artistic talents. Throughout dinner, guests of all ages will be treated to live entertainment, including singing and dancing led by the maître d’, a band of musicians, the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs and of course, Princess Rapunzel herself.Redesigned Retreat Just for Teens: Vibe, the space on the ship reserved for teens ages 14-17, is being transformed into a trendy urban loft environment. Vibe will offer a new coffee and smoothie bar, video and virtual reality games, DJ spin-offs and movie making. Activities at Vibe are organized and hosted by trained Disney counsellors.Cove Café: This adult-exclusive retreat will be redesigned in a sophisticated tropical style, with specialty coffees and teas on offer as well as wine, cocktails and light bites during the evening hours. Adult beverage tastings are also available at select times for an additional fee. The adjacent Signals Bar will also be transformed with a similar look.More news: Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaElsewhere around the Disney Magic, other enhancement highlights include the addition of Club Disney Junior in Disney’s Oceaneer Club for children and a redesigned Rainforest Room with steam and hydrotherapy in Senses Spa for adults.These additions are part of an overall commitment by Disney Cruise Line to invest in its ships, says the company. ‘Tangled’-themed dining headlines Disney Magic drydock enhancements Tags: Disney Posted by
Travelweek Group Tags: Punta Cana, Sunwing, Thunder Bay Posted by Tuesday, July 31, 2018 Share TORONTO — For the first time ever, Sunwing will be offering direct flights from Thunder Bay to Punta Cana starting this winter.The airline is returning to the Canadian gateway for a ninth season this coming winter with the addition of new weekly, nonstop service to Punta Cana, which will operate between Dec. 19, 2018 and March 27, 2019.In addition, Sunwing is bringing back its popular winter flight services to Varadero, Cuba from Nov. 6, 2018 to March 26, 2019, and Cancun, Mexico from Dec. 24, 2018 to April 1, 2019.With these latest flights, vacationers departing from Thunder Bay will enjoy convenient and direct access to what the company says are its three most popular vacation destinations.“We are delighted to be returning to Thunder Bay this coming season and to be offering our customers even more choice from their doorstep, without the need to make the long winter drive to Toronto or change planes to reach the sunny south,” said Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations. “Our seasonal flight services from Thunder Bay have always been well received and we are very pleased to be able to expand our operations even further this year.”More news: Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJEd Schmidtke, President and CEO of Thunder Bay International Airports Authority Inc., added: “Sunwing has a long positive history in Thunder Bay. With three destinations and a schedule that spans four months, Sunwing offers Thunder Bay tremendous winter getaway options.”The travel company offers a number of family and adult options in Punta Cana, including the new Grand Memories Punta Cana, a modern all-inclusive resort featuring unlimited free access to one of the largest on-site water parks in the Caribbean, a complimentary kids club, two adult-only pools and varied specialty restaurants. Guests will also enjoy discounted green fees at nearby Punta Blanca Golf Club, an 18-hole championship course designed by Nick Price.Also available is the recently renovated Riu Palace Punta Cana, home to an extensive pool complex, RiuLand Kids Club, a spa, gym and exclusive RIU-topia inclusions like unlimited a la carte dining, spa discounts and more.Riu Palace Punta CanaAll vacations packages include return flights on Sunwing Airlines. A Thunder Bay first: Sunwing to launch direct service to Punta Cana << Previous PostNext Post >>
TORONTO — It’s been a full week since the world learned of a video allegedly showing Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, smoking crack cocaine. On Wednesday, Ford’s older brother, Toronto councilor Doug Ford, told the media that he believes what his brother tells him, which is that the accusations are ridiculous. “I don’t know how much more he can say,” he added.But there is something that should be said. Rob Ford is a crass, offensive, and ill-tempered buffoon. He may (or may not) smoke crack. But he has not been a complete failure as mayor.Even Torontonians find it hard to believe this mayor has accomplished much, given his capacity for breathtakingly stupid behavior. Last August, he was photographed reading city hall staff briefings while driving his Cadillac Escalade on the city’s downtown expressway. (The chief of police promptly urged him to get a chauffeur. He refused.) Not long ago, when asked for his thoughts on 11 proposed new taxes for transit, the 300-pound Ford bent over and made a retching noise for the cameras. In 2006, he drunkenly berated a couple at a Maple Leafs hockey game, at one point saying, “Do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?” He initially denied ever being at the game, even though he’d given the couple his business card.Ever since word of the crack video surfaced, these incidents and more have been compiled in dozens of Rob Ford top-10 lists across the Internet. Toronto is mortified. Until last week the embarrassment that is Rob Ford was our little secret, but now the world has discovered our shame. Toronto is an ambitious city, eager to join the world’s top civic brand names alongside New York, Washington, Paris, and Beijing, instead of being forever relegated to the B-list with Helsinki and Lima, Peru. But it is a strangely contemporary kind of ambition. Torontonians love their city like a helicopter parent loves his kid: proudly but protectively and smothered with projected anxiety.We want everyone to know Toronto is full of potential, home to stunning Libeskind architecture, gleaming condo towers, solvent banks and Richard Florida. We did not want anyone to know about Rob Ford. We are embarrassed he was elected, we tell friends from afar who now inquire in droves. We’ve been saying it among ourselves for months, as though it was all someone else’s doing. But we did elect him — and not with entirely disastrous results.In a city rife with cosmopolitan affectation, Rob Ford has proved to be a highly effective populist. During his 10 years as a suburban ward councilor, Ford built the base of his political support by answering all his calls personally, then showing up on voters’ doorsteps to solve their ensnarement with the civic bureaucracy. His speeches in the council chamber were remarkable only for their inanity. But on budget day, the anti-tax crusader would rail against waste and overspending to the delight of the press gallery.He wasn’t blowing smoke, at least not back then. Under his predecessor, David Miller, city expenditures ballooned by 39 percent in a mere seven years. The union-friendly Miller was undone by a monthlong garbage strike in 2009 that left mild-mannered Toronto angrier than ever before. We tapped our toes loudly as we stood queued up at transfer stations in the heat to drop off our reeking trash. Miller, who’d always insisted he’d seek another term, decided not to bother and soon accepted a fellowship at New York University. Ford won in a landslide on a promise to “stop the gravy train.”Once Ford took up office in the Clamshell — local argot for Toronto’s spaceship-like Viljo Revell-designed 1960s city hall — he moved fast to act on his mandate. With the assistance of Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, a staunch fiscal conservative and a veteran of many council battles, Ford started by slashing councilors’ office budgets. He then dissolved the board of Toronto’s public housing corporation, the largest in North America, whose buildings were rampant with criminal activity and bedbug infestations. He later fired the head of the Toronto Transit Commission, which had sunk into ineptitude, and replaced him with an official dedicated to customer service who had worked in Australia.Ford has also managed to flatline city expenditures while revoking a much-loathed $60 annual vehicle registration fee. Then he aced his first round of labor negotiations: The city’s largest unions agreed to his terms with barely a whimper, even as he outsourced half the city’s residential waste collection to the private sector. He’s no Michael Bloomberg, but his list of accomplishments is nothing to sneer at, especially when you realize, as the world surely does by now, that he’s a fairly dim bulb.None of this is probably enough to redeem his tenure. Because what has defined his mayoralty is neither his policy successes nor his failures, which have also been numerous, but the endless soap opera of scandal and buffoonery that has followed his every move and which has now ground council business to a near halt.Last November, Ford took the witness stand in a conflict-of-interest lawsuit precipitated by the least interesting mistake he ever made: raising $3,150 for his youth football foundation using city letterhead. He promptly made a fool of himself, insisting he’d never read, or even considered reading, the conflict-of-interest handbook that had been lying around his office. He left the judge with no option but to convict him and, as required by statute, remove him from office. Had that decision not been overturned on appeal, Ford would have been long gone by now. The world would never have known he existed, and Toronto would never have suffered this indignity.And yet, just like Washington’s Marion Barry, the Rob Ford era may not be near its end. Ford’s core supporters, whom he dubbed “Ford Nation,” have rarely wavered in their support. In fact, in moments of scandal — such as when local publisher Sarah Thomson, one of Ford’s opponents in the 2010 mayoral election, accused him earlier this year of sexual harassment (“Rob Ford grabbed my a–“) at a function celebrating International Women’s Day — his polling numbers tend to go up. In the past, even when besieged by ridicule, he continued to answer residents’ phone calls personally every day. It’s what he finds fulfilling about politics. When he’s done being mayor (and with whatever legal proceedings that may follow from his alleged behavior), he could eventually return to his old council seat. He could conceivably hold it for a long time.So Toronto is mortified, but embarrassment is pointless. Great cities are always known by the most outlandish characters they bring into the world, and if Toronto thought it was going to climb to the top solely on the reputations of Mike Myers and Morley Safer, it was mistaken. We just need to find a better coping mechanism. Because, like it or not, Rob Ford just put us on the map.Philip Preville is a contributing editor at Toronto Life Magazine, where he has been writing regularly about city life and politics since 2006.© 2013, Slate Facebook Comments Related posts:Tornado, hail sweep through Heredia, killing one person, damaging houses, cars and power lines Obama visits tornado-devastated city Quake Disaster in Haiti Prompts Aid Efforts Ticos and tourists cope with disaster
HAVANA, Cuba — In nations all over the world where the United States has an embassy, U.S. diplomats promote trade and assist American companies looking to make business contacts.And now, the United States has an embassy in Cuba. But it also has a trade embargo against the island.That puts U.S. officials in Havana on an uncharted and complex new course. The United States and Cuba have normal diplomatic relations once more, but their economic and political relations are anything but.Although most forms of U.S. trade are still banned under the 54-year-old embargo, a limited but growing number of American firms, such as food exporters and technology companies, are eligible to do business here. The online vacation rental site Airbnb has added more than 2,000 Cuban listings this year. Ferry companies and cruise ship operators are lining up to storm Cuba’s ports. A few consumers on the island are signing up for Netflix.But some U.S. companies that would be otherwise eligible under President Barack Obama’s loosening restrictions still face daunting American regulatory obstacles — not to mention an opaque, state-run economy in Cuba that is no place for novices.“As a small-business exporter to Cuba, I would like to work with embassy staff who could help navigate the commercial challenges within Cuba,” said Paul Johnson, president of Chicago Foods International and the co-chair of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, an anti-embargo group.PHOTOS: Cuba as it was – A glimpse of life before the US arrivesJohnson and others say they’re seeking guidance on regulatory compliance as well as networking help. The U.S. Embassy can do that in Cuba, at least in theory.But practices such as contacting Cuban state firms on behalf of U.S. companies are still foreign territory for American officials.“We haven’t engaged here in Cuba on a commercial level in a very long time,” said a senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of U.S. diplomacy in Cuba. “But we certainly want to be helpful for Americans who come down here and are looking around.”Still, the official cautioned, “We’re at the beginning of this.”Obama has called on Congress to lift the embargo, arguing that expanded trade and travel by U.S. citizens will do more to change the island’s one-party communist system than punitive sanctions.The large U.S. diplomatic compound along Havana’s seafront boulevard — completed in 1953 — formally returned to being a full-fledged embassy on July 20, more than a half-century after relations were severed.But other aspects of making the embassy operate like U.S. diplomatic missions elsewhere in the world will take time, officials say.One of the most sensitive issues involves Washington’s support for opponents of the Castro government’s communist system. Cuba vociferously objects to U.S. democracy promotion, which it considers “subversion.” U.S. diplomats say they will continue to stand up for human rights and “universal values” in Cuba but concede that some U.S. programs could change as the embassy’s role evolves.There are no specific plans to alter them, the senior official said, but “the programs are always under review.”An early test will come Aug. 14, when Secretary of State John F. Kerry arrives for a ceremony to raise the U.S. flag over the embassy. The U.S. official could not confirm whether Cuban dissidents will be invited to attend. Cuban government officials have been invited, but they typically boycott diplomatic functions in which Castro opponents are present.Recommended: Sparks fly as Cuban flag flutters once again over Washington embassyAmerican diplomats say one of the biggest changes in their role will take place outside the embassy, as they are able to travel much more freely around the island. They will be required to notify the Cuban government of their plans but do not require permission to visit areas outside Havana, an arrangement they abide by elsewhere in countries that impose “restrictive” conditions.U.S. officials are also making plans to expand consular services for Americans in Cuba, as more and more U.S. travelers arrive. A new initiative in Congress is seeking to lift U.S. travel restrictions, an event that would dramatically increase the need for U.S. consular services on the island. Currently, visits are restricted to travelers who have family in Cuba, or who travel with licensed “people-to-people” groups and other forms of “purposeful” travel.One possibility is that the United States would reopen a consulate in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s second-largest city, on the eastern end of the island.With some 300 Cuban employees and about 50 American staff personnel, the U.S. compound in Havana is the largest diplomatic mission in the country. As a result of the upgrade to embassy status, the United States is planning to send an additional 25 U.S. officers, but the senior U.S. official said that number could increase if federal agencies such as the FBI, the Commerce Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration place attaches in the embassy, as they do in other countries.The embassy building would be large enough to accommodate them, for the time being. “We have room to grow,” the U.S. official said.Cuba held a flag-raising ceremony to reopen its embassy in Washington on July 20.More quietly, it has sent a commercial attache to its embassy, a move that Johnson, the Chicago food exporter, said has been “extremely helpful.” The attache is expected to focus on identifying business opportunities and promoting participation of U.S. firms in Cuban trade fairs and events, with the goal of boosting support for an end to the U.S. sanctions.“It has opened up a new channel to discuss commercial projects, which can then be navigated through the Cuban system,” he said. “It would be great to see that happen on the U.S. side as well.”In spite of the diplomatic thaw, trade between the United States and Cuba has been shrinking in recent years.Johnson said his company has been selling food to Cuba since 2009, averaging more than $1 million in gross annual sales, but business has fallen off “precipitously” in the past 18 months. U.S. sanctions don’t allow exports to Cuba on credit, and Johnson said he and other U.S. firms are losing out to foreign competitors who can offer financing.In 2008, Cuba imported more than $700 million worth of U.S. goods, mostly foodstuffs, but that number has declined since then and is projected to fall to $166 million this year, according to the New York-based U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.© 2015, The Washington PostRead more stories about the U.S.-Cuba thaw from The Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:US, Cuba said to have reach deal to reopen embassies US, Cuba agree on restoration of ties, embassies to reopen Cuba and US renew direct postal service after 52 years How Cuba is and isn’t changing, one year after thaw with U.S.
Related posts:Former Guatemalan police chief to stand trial for 1980 Spanish Embassy fire that killed 37 Warm welcome home expected for former Guatemalan leader after time served in US prison Organized crime and local power struggles blamed in murder of three Guatemalan journalists Guatemala vice president resigns amid corruption scandal GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — Many Guatemalans and interested observers were glued Friday to live feeds of disgraced ex-President Otto Pérez Molina’s second appearance in court. The white-haired, hawk-nosed former general, who faces potential jail time for his alleged participation in a massive corruption scandal, appeared composed but refused to answer questions regarding the origin of his vast personal fortune and his ties to the ringleaders of the customs fraud network known as “La Línea.”Pérez Molina stepped down on Sept. 2 after Guatemala’s Congress voted to strip him of his prosecutorial immunity and a criminal court issued a warrant for his arrest. He is accused of masterminding a huge customs fraud network in tandem with his former Vice President Roxana Baldetti.Baldetti has been formally charged with customs fraud, illicit association and bribery and is currently under preventive detention in the Santa Teresa women’s prison in Guatemala City.The embattled former president could suffer the same fate and his future looks increasingly grim after the court heard 15 wiretap recordings that allegedly prove his involvement in La Línea.The recordings indicate that Pérez Molina had a close relationship with Salvador Estuardo González Álvarez, known as “Eco,” who was allegedly La Línea’s second in command. González, a publisher who owns two major Guatemalan newspapers, Siglo21 and Al Día, was arrested on April 16 along with several top government officials. He is currently in prison.According to Guatemalan daily elPeriódico, González’s father, former Defense Minister Marco Antonio González Taracena, was Pérez Molina’s direct superior when the former president served in the intelligence wing of the presidency and helped Pérez Molina design his national security strategy after the latter was elected president in 2011.A former Siglo21 reporter quoted by elPeriódico claims that after González took over the media conglomerate that owns Siglo21 and AlDía, in 2013, he pressured editors to publishing articles that cast Pérez Molina and Baldetti in a favorable light.In addition, following Pérez Molina’s arrest another alleged member of La Línea, Giovanni Marroquín Navas, told the court that Pérez Molina attended a meeting organized by González to discuss a plan that was supposed to improve Guatemala’s tax collection services, which reported huge shortfalls throughout the Pérez Molina administration.Pérez Molina blamed record-low tax collection on contraband and responded by sending the army to the country’s major customs offices in 2013, purportedly to stamp out corruption. However, after the fraud scandal was uncovered it became clear that the reason for the massive tax revenue shortfall was that La Línea was pocketing at least $328,000 per week.The secret meetings at PP headquartersA three-part investigation published by online news site Plaza Pública explains how the probe into La Línea was like pulling a single stray thread that unraveled an entire ball of yarn. The investigation, conducted by the U.N.-funded International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor’s Office, began in May 2014 with an investigation into a Chinese importer named Miao Miao. His phone was tapped and he was overheard talking to another importer, who turned out to be Julio César Aldana — a key player in La Línea — about a tax evasion scheme.Tapping Aldana’s phone and hacking into his email accounts led them to uncover the names of other members of the network as well as their meeting places. One of them was a clothing store called Boutique Emilio, owned by Luis Mendizábal, a businessman also linked to the bizarre 2009 murder of lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg. Mendizábal is currently wanted by the police. Another meeting place was the headquarters of Pérez Molina’s Patriot Party (Partido Patriota, PP).At a birthday party attended by members of La Línea on June 4, investigators spotted González, the publisher. Tapping his telephone led them to former Vice President Baldetti’s private secretary, Juan Carlos Monzón Rojas. Monzón disappeared on April 16 when the customs fraud scandal hit the headlines. He had been accompanying Baldetti on an official trip to South Korea. He is currently wanted by Interpol.PHOTOS: A look back at how Guatemalan citizens demanded justice – and wonOn Friday the court heard evidence intended to establish that Pérez Molina met with González at the PP’s headquarters on March 26. The evidence included wiretap recordings referring to someone as “the President,” “the big chief” (el mero mero) and “the owner of the finca.” Presidential security guards were also seen around the building during the alleged meeting.Of all the recordings, perhaps the most incriminating is a conversation between former Vice President Baldetti and González on March 27. “Look, I was talking to the head of last night’s meeting and he was telling me about the figure you discussed,” Baldetti told the publishing magnate. “I don’t think the pres, Mr., Mr., the head of the company ought to pay for that,” she is heard saying.Prosecutors also showed the court two photographs — one showing Pérez Molina and González together, and one showing Pérez Molina with the stepdaughter of Francisco Ortiz, one of La Línea’s ringleaders — as evidence that the former president had a close friendship with the two individuals.Pérez Molina denies charges and dodges questionsPérez Molina continued Friday to deny his participation in the fraud ring, but he failed to answer key questions about his relationship with La Línea’s leaders. In his defense, the former president said that when notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was arrested in Guatemala in 1993, he unsuccessfully tried to bribe Pérez Molina with amounts that far exceeded the sums that the former president allegedly received from the customs fraud sceme.Regarding the incriminating photographs, he said that “hundreds of thousands” of people that he’s never met have had their photograph taken with him. “On a personal level, I feel very said, not just because of all this [evidence of La Línea] but because of what I’m going through right now,” he said.Prosecutors have frozen the former president’s assets and are investigating the origins of his personal wealth, which includes a $2 million farm located in the department of Chimaltenango, 60 kilometers west of Guatemala City. According to an investigation published by elPeriódico, some properties owned by Pérez Molina and Baldetti were purchased after the two were voted into office using a network of front businesses owned by Monzón, Baldetti’s former private secretary.In the only interview that Pérez Molina has given to the press since he stepped down, he told the AP that the investigation was based on “hearsay,” not solid evidence. He also said prosecutors were trying to “boost their egos.”Unlike Baldetti, who has been known for her histrionics since being implicated in the fraud case, (she wrote the Lord’s Prayer over and over again in her notebook during one court appearance), Pérez Molina appeared tired but composed during Friday’s hearing. At times he glared intensely at prosecutors.Pérez Molina’s defense attorneys are César Calderón and Moisés Galindo, both of whom have defended former government and military leaders accused of wrongdoing. Calderón defended Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, former head of intelligence under dictator Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-1983), during his first trial for genocide in 2013. (Rodríguez was acquitted but he and Ríos Montt are now facing a retrial).Galindo has defended a long list of retired army officers, including Byron Lima Oliva, who was convicted of the 1998 murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi.Pérez Molina’s next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 8, two days after the general elections. Since he is in custody, the former president will not be allowed to vote.Recommended: How Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina fell from grace and what it means for upcoming elections Facebook Comments
Facebook Comments After a match devoid of goals but full of tension, near-misses and vivid reactions from the stands, Costa Rica walked away from its World Cup qualifier against Panama with a 0-0 draw Thursday night.La Sele left their hearts on the field in a hard-fought match in the fifth game of the final CONCACAF qualifying round for the World Cup to be held in Russia in 2018. The team played a man down starting in the 54th minute when Giancarlo González received a red card, but continued to knock on the door with shots on goal right up until the final whistle.Costa Rica leaves the game gaining one point for a total of eight, holding onto second place behind Mexico, which defeated Honduras 3-0 tonight.Panama also retains a shot at a World Cup spot, since the qualifying round will provide three guaranteed spots in the tournament, with a fourth available to the winner of an intercontinental playoff.Fans didn’t see much play out of renowned Costa Rican goalie Keylor Navas, fresh off his Champions League win in Wales with Real Madrid on Saturday. However, his every touch of the ball, no matter how routine, sparked a roar of approval from the appreciative crowd. Costa Rica’s Celso Borges (L) vies for the ball with Panama’s Ismael Daiz (R) during their World Cup 2018 CONCACAF qualifier match in San José on June 8, 2017. AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA Midfielder Joel Campbell heads the ball. AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA La Sele’s Kendall Waston (L) vies for the ball with Panama’s Ismael Daiz (R). AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA Costa Rica’s Christian Gamboa (L) and Panama’s Anibal Godoy (R) give it their all. AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA Related posts:Costa Rica returns with full-strength lineup in last step toward World Cup qualifying Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying Phew! La Sele ekes out 2-1 win over Trinidad & Tobago in key World Cup qualifier Ramírez announces a National Team lineup with a few surprises
Related posts:Costa Rica’s capital wins ‘Travel Oscar’ Weekend tourism fair hopes to draw local tourists with special travel deals Sport fishing season in the South Pacific could generate up to $331 million, study says Beach, mountain hotels report 88 percent occupancy for the holidays The Costa Rican Hotels and Restaurants Expo, Exphore, took over the Pedregal Events Center in Heredia from Tuesday to Thursday this week.More than 150 business had booths set up in an attempt to lure in Costa Rica’s hotels — hocking everything from craft beer to frozen foods to industrial washing machines.A valuable piece of the trade show is the ability for Costa Rica producers to connect with other homegrown business. Expohore 2019 featured more than 150 booths. (Jacob Spetzler / The Tico Times)Coby Lang, the owner of Zazel Hot Sauces, a family business, had a booth set up near the front of the events center. The trade show gives a chance for small operations like his to get beyond the numbers with potential buyers. His hot sauces are made from the chile perro, and he claims to have the only industrial hydroponic system growing the peppers in the world, a fact he cheerfully proclaims from behind his row of hot sauces set up to taste.Across from his booth stood a row of taps showing off products made with Tico Birra, a beer brewing supply chain that specializes in helping hotels and bars set up their own brewing operations. On the other side of the event center was another beer booth, OS Beer, which has been working with Tico Birra since their beginnings as a brew pub in Los Yoses.There were also several smaller events inside of the event, including a cocktail mixing show and chef competition. Cheese on display at Expohore 2019. (Jacob Spetzler / The Tico Times)Exphore 2019 marked the trade show’s 19th year, and it has grown exponentially since it began. According to Karl Hempel, the director of Exphore, the trade show has gone from a mere 700 meters in 2000 to its current size of 5,000 meters. He attributes the growth of Exphore to the growth of the tourism industry in Costa Rica at large. Facebook Comments
Sponsored Stories The protesters hurled bottles and rocks at police and burned several cars and buildings, including an office of the ruling People’s Progressive Party.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments Share Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Four benefits of having a wireless security system More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) – Guyana’s national security minister has ordered the removal of a police superintendent accused of ordering officers to shoot at protesters during a confrontation in which three died and 20 were injured.Minister Clement Rohee said Friday that his ministry gave no orders to shoot anyone and that he is seeking a full report on what exactly happened. He said Senior Police Superintendent Clifton Hicken was the commander on the ground at the bauxite mining town of Linden where people were protesting rising electricity rates on Wednesday.
Associated PressBERLIN (AP) – Struggling cellphone companies T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS Communications are set to merge, in a deal that will create an operator with more than 40 million subscribers.In a joint statement, the two companies said Wednesday that Deutsche Telekom AG, the owner of T-Mobile USA, will hold 74 percent of the new business, while MetroPCS’s shareholders will hold the remainder, as well as receiving a payment of about $1.5 billion. Top Stories Deutsche Telekom said the combined company would have revenues of around $24.8 billion based on analysts’ estimates, and cost synergies are expected to be worth $6 to $7 billion.The deal still has to be agreed by shareholders and will require regulatory approval.The regulatory concerns this time round appear set to be much milder than the proposed deal involving AT&T. Both companies are relatively small, and T-Mobile USA has been losing subscribers for the last two years.A linkup would be complicated by the fact that MetroPCS and T-Mobile USA use different network technologies. That means MetroPCS phones would not work on T-Mobile USA’s network, and vice versa. However, both companies are deploying the same “fourth-generation” or “4G” technology, so they’re on a path to harmonizing their networks.Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Obermann said the new company will have the “resources to expand its geographic coverage, broaden choice among all types of customers and continue to innovate, especially around the next-generation LTE network.”Germany’s stock market was closed Wednesday because of a national holiday. But the prospect of seeing Deutsche Telekom finding a solution for its struggling U.S. business sent the stock higher Tuesday after both companies had confirmed their talks. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of “The combined company, which will retain the T-Mobile name, will have the expanded scale, spectrum and financial resources to aggressively compete with the other national U.S. wireless carriers,” the two said.Both companies have struggled in the highly-competitive U.S. cellphone market.And even after the combination with Dallas-based MetroPCS, which has 9.3 million subscribers, T-Mobile USA _ the country’s fourth-largest cellphone company with 33.2 million subscribers _ will still trail the market’s No. 3, Sprint Nextel Corp.However, the deal would give T-Mobile USA, which is based in Bellevue, Washington, access to more space on the airwaves, a critical factor as cellphone carriers try to expand their capacity for wireless broadband.Last year, AT&T struck a deal to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion for much the same reason. That was shot down by regulators, who believed competition would suffer if the second-largest cellphone company were to gobble up the fourth-largest.“We are committed to creating a sustainable and financially viable national challenger in the U.S., and we believe this combination helps us deliver on that commitment,” Deutsche Telekom chief executive officer Rene Obermann said. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments Share Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Sponsored Stories MetroPCS’ shares shot up some 20 percent to $14.16 in New York on Tuesday.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day
Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Comments Share New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Shirdon studied economics at Somalia National University in the 1970s. He served as an economist in the ministries of finance and agriculture in the 1980s. Shirdon is married to a Somali member of parliament.Shirdon left Somalia in 1991, when the last fully functioning government collapsed. He relocated to Kenya.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – Somalia’s president has appointed a new prime minister, a businessman who worked as a government economist in the 1980s.Abdi Farah Shirdon was named prime minister on Saturday. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said he appointed Shirdon in part because of his academic background.Shirdon said he would form a “quality” Cabinet that will not tolerate corruption. He said the government he forms will move past the disputes Somali political leaders have engaged in previously. Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist
Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories In that vein, he decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the council with the launch of a “Year of Faith,” precisely to remind Christians of what the council truly taught and seek to “re-evangelize” those Catholics who have fallen away from their faith in the decades since.He lamented Thursday that a “spiritual desertification” had advanced where people think they can live without God.“In the council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us,” he said, referring to the totalitarian, atheistic regimes of the 20th century. “But it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women.”Benedict was the Rev. Joseph Ratzinger, a young priest and theological consultant to German Cardinal Joseph Frings when Vatican II began, and he has recently reminisced about what the council sought to accomplish, where it succeeded and where it erred.“It was a splendid day on 11 October, 1962,” Benedict wrote in a forward to a commemorative book about the anniversary published this week by the Vatican newspaper. “It was a moment of extraordinary expectation. Great things were about to happen.” Men’s health affects baby’s health too (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressVATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council _ the church meetings he attended as a young priest that brought the Catholic Church into the modern world but whose true meaning is still hotly debated.Benedict celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Square, attended by patriarchs, cardinals, bishops and a dozen elderly churchmen who participated in the council, and later will greet the faithful re-enacting the great procession into St. Peter’s that launched the council in 1962. In his homily, Benedict urged the faithful to return to the “letter” and “authentic spirit” of the council found in the Vatican II documents themselves, rather than rely on the distorted spirit promoted by those who saw in Vatican II a radical reform away from the church’s tradition.“The council did not formulate anything new in matters of faith, nor did it wish to replace what was ancient,” Benedict said from the steps of St. Peter’s. “Rather, it concerned itself with seeing that the same faith might continue to be lived in the present day, that it might remain a living faith in a world of change.”The anniversary comes as the church is fighting what it sees as a wave of secularism erasing the Christian heritage of the West and competition for souls from rival evangelical churches in Latin America and Africa. Clerical sex abuse scandals, debates over celibacy for priests, open dissent among some priests in Europe and a recent Vatican crackdown on liberal nuns in the United States have also contributed to erode the church’s place in the world.The pope has spent much of his pontificate seeking to correct what he considers the misinterpretation of Vatican II, insisting that it wasn’t a revolutionary break from the past, as liberal Catholics paint it, but rather a renewal and reawakening of the best traditions of the ancient church. Comments Share Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Indeed, by its conclusion in 1965, the council had approved documents allowing for the celebration of Mass in the vernacular rather than Latin, and revolutionizing the church’s relations with Jews, Muslims and people of other faiths.Yet as great as that document on relations with other faiths was, Benedict wrote, a “weakness” has emerged in the ensuing years in that “it speaks of religion solely in a positive way and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion” that have become all too apparent.Ratzinger was joined at Vatican II by another young theologian, Hans Kueng, who subsequently brought him to Tuebingen University in southern Germany as professor of dogmatic theology, helping promote an academic career that resulted in a papacy.In the years since, Kueng has become one of Benedict’s greatest critics, complaining that there has been no progress in reforming the church since Vatican II and calling for a grassroots revolt against the church hierarchy to carry it out.“The council was unable to guarantee that the reforms would be implemented,” primarily because the Vatican bureaucracy was and still is opposed, he said in an interview with German news website ntv-de this week. Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Parents, stop beating yourself up Kueng, who lost his official license to teach Catholic theology but continues to teach, has opposed Benedict’s outreach to traditionalist Catholics and his reintroduction of the old, pre-Vatican II Latin Mass.“Ratzinger and his peers spiritually live in the Middle Ages,” Kueng told n-tv.A similar complaint was made recently by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, one of the last liberals in the College of Cardinals, who died Aug. 31. Martini was quoted as saying in his final interview that the church was in need of radical reform and was “200 years behind the times.”___Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Both officials spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to speak to reporters.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Comments Share SANAA, Yemen (AP) – A government official says gunmen have ambushed a colonel in the security forces in central Yemen, killing him and wounding his guard.The official said the colonel was traveling by vehicle Sunday on the outskirts of the city of Radaa, south of Sanaa.Meanwhile, armed tribesmen clashed with security forces on the southern edge of Sanaa, leaving two gunmen dead and three soldiers wounded, another official said. The official said the clashes erupted when the force attempted to prevent the tribesmen from entering Sanaa with guns, in line with a government policy to limit weapons in the capital. The official called the tribesmen’s attempt to enter Sanaa a “provocation.” Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Sponsored Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How do cataracts affect your vision?
Comments Share 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy 5 ways to recognize low testosterone BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Burundi’s most prominent opposition leader said on Friday his party is boycotting national elections amid political unrest stemming from the president’s bid for a third term.Agathon Rwasa, who leads the opposition party known by its initials as FNL, told The Associated Press that he is pulling out because he no longer feels safe on the campaign trail. He added that he believes credible elections cannot be held amid persistent violence as the security forces try to quell protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to extend his time in office. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement There have been almost daily street demonstrations in Bujumbura, starting a month ago after the ruling party announced it had nominated Nkurunziza as its candidate for a third term, a decision many see as unconstitutional. At least 20 people have been killed in the violence.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories At least two grenades exploded in the nation’s capital, Bujumbura, on Friday, witnesses said. Three people, including a woman and her child, were wounded in one of the explosions, which happened in the parking lot of a commercial bank, according to witness Yves Florent Nkundwa. Another grenade exploded on a bus moments after passengers vacated it.Nkurunziza’s government is pressing ahead with elections despite violence in Bujumbura and growing international calls for the elections to be postponed. The government says such a move would create a dangerous political vacuum and possible opportunities for more chaos.Prospere Ntahorwamiye, a spokesman for Burundi’s electoral body, said elections would proceed as scheduled despite Rwasa’s decision. Parliamentary elections are set for June 5, and presidential elections for June 26.Citing insecurity, Catholic Church leaders here said on Thursday they had withdrawn support for the elections as scheduled.The European Union also said it is suspending its election observer mission in Burundi over concerns about restrictions on the independent media, excessive use of force against demonstrators and intimidation of opposition parties and civic groups.
Victoria University’s Tourism and Hospitality courses are the first in Australia to receive quality accreditation from the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).VU Faculty of Business and Law Executive Dean Professor David Lamond said the accreditation from the highly respected EFMD showed that VU’s Tourism and Hospitality courses were internationally recognised for their quality of curriculum, staff and graduates.“This accreditation shows just how highly regarded we are in the international community and is testament to all the hard work undertaken by so many of our colleagues,’’ Professor Lamond said.“This quality assurance process means that more students will be attracted to VU from across the world, and will result in greater collaboration with the relevant industries. We can bask in the reflected glow of this success, before we look to take the next steps on our quality journey.”Professor Lamond said that with more than 10,000 students from all over the world and an extensive network of international partnerships, VU’s Faculty of Business and Law is one of the largest business schools in Australia.“The Faculty’s mission for its students is to develop responsible, market-ready professionals with a global outlook. It deserves to be internationally recognised and now it has been,’’ he said.The VU Tourism and Hospitality courses achieved the top quality rating after the EFMD’s Program Accreditation System (EPAS) Board conducted an in-depth review of individual courses through international comparison and benchmarking, including a visit from a multi-national Peer Review Team. The EFMD has over 700 member organisations from academia, business, public service and consultancy in more than 80 countries. Many of the world’s leading business schools and companies currently use the EFMD network to their advantage.For interview: Professor David Lamond, Victoria University, on 9919 1256 or 0468 988 154 Source = Victoria University
The Hertz Corporation and it’s Gold Plus Rewards program sweeps the first annual FlyerTalk Awards garnering top honors for Best Rewards Program and Best Overall Benefits in the Americas, Europe/Africa, and Middle East/Asia/Oceania. FlyerTalk is a community of nearly 400,000 business and leisure travelers dedicated to finding and sharing elite-level knowledge of air, hotel and car rental programs.“Hertz has always led the industry in offering the most robust and rewarding loyalty program,” commented Hertz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mark P. Frissora. “The FlyerTalk awards are strong validation because their members are well-traveled, logging hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of miles on the road worldwide each year. It’s gratifying to know that this group of industry influencers ranked our Gold Plus Rewards program as the best in the business.” The FlyerTalk Best Program award signifies the finest combination of value, ease-of-redemption and customer service. In describing Hertz’s honors, FlyerTalk states, “There’s no point in sugar-coating it: Hertz #1 Club is a juggernaut. They take the award here over National Emerald Club – and every other category as well! That’s right; this one’s a sweep. Well done, Hertz.” In addition to FlyerTalk, Hertz was recently voted the Best Overall Car Rental Company in Zagat’s 2012/13 U.S. Car Rental Survey. In addition to best overall, Hertz earned top honors in 14 additional categories, more than any other car rental company surveyed. Frissora continued, “It is an honor to dominate both the FlyerTalk and the Zagat Surveys. We’re proud of these awards and will continue to focus intensely on providing superior customer service and value with our innovative products and services.” FlyerTalk’s online community is dedicated to providing the inside scoop on all things travel. The site features discussions among travelers of all levels — from vacation travelers to mileage junkies — covering the most up-to-date travel information. Operating one of the youngest and most diverse fleets in the industry, Hertz is committed to offering its customers the most technologically innovative products and services available including its ‘Carfirmations’ mobile SMS text/email service that confirms a Gold member’s reservation and advises them of their car and location prior to arrival at the Hertz facility; ‘Choose Control’ Gold Choice that gives Gold members the power to keep the car they reserved or simply choose a different car from the ‘Gold Choice’ area; ‘Zap Technology’ e-Return which emails the customer his/her receipt, ensuring the fastest car rental drop off ever; and ‘Acceler-Rental’ ExpressRent Interactive Kiosks that let customers rent a car, with or without a reservation, through a live, face-to-face video kiosk. Additionally, Hertz pioneered vehicle specific reservation capabilities via its Collections and has the largest fleet of make and model reservable cars in the industry. Source = Hertz
Manly United Travel received the New Zealand Cruise Agency of the Year Award, while CruiseCo Chief Executive Officer Steve Lloyd was named the Inductee, in recognition of his forty five years of service to the cruise industry. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) recognised another year of cruising success on Saturday, bestowing fourteen winners across six categories with awards including the inaugural CLIA Hall of Fame inductee. Lloyd was inducted along with previous winners of the Neil Frazer Award which the Hall of Fame has replaced. Source = ETB News: T.N.
Booking.com continues to revolutionise on-demand travel spaceGet set for spontaneous adventures as Booking.com expands its mobile presence with the launch of Booking Now for Android. Android users can now indulge in last-minute holidays in as little as two taps, choosing from Booking.com’s vast selection of over 670,000 properties in more than 79,000 unique destinations.Booking Now for Android can be completely tailored to each user’s unique traveller profile, filtering by personal preferences such as price, WiFi, breakfast and parking requirements. The app for Android automatically generates accommodation suggestions based on travellers’ exact street level location and individual preferences, while geo-location technology provides users with step-by step directions right to the front door of each property.86% of global travellers are likely to book accommodation using a smartphone in 2015, with 85% agreeing that because technology makes booking on the go easier, they can be more spontaneous when it comes to taking trips*. Meeting evolving traveller needs, Booking Now for Android’s streamlined search and tailored booking experience makes it easier for travellers to indulge in a last minute break.“We know there is a growing demand for instantaneous and on-the-move travel with almost half of worldwide reservations made within 48 hours being booked on a mobile device**, a significant portion of these being on an Android,” says Stuart Frisby, Principal Designer at Booking.com. “We aim to really empower our consumers through technology, enabling them to book accommodation that’s just right for them, no matter the screen or device. Booking Now for Android really is the ideal on-the-go solution and travel ‘buddy’ for all Android users.”With September the peak month for last-minute bookings in Australia**, Booking Now for Android has launched just in time for travellers to unleash their spontaneous spirit by effortlessly and instantly making a reservation at the nearest property that matches their personal preferences.Backed by Booking.com’s reliable network with 24/7 customer support, Booking Now is available for download in the Google Play Store. Booking.com Source = Booking.com