Torontos Trump Tower to be sold following low occupancy rates

first_img Friday, November 4, 2016 Travelweek Group Posted by Toronto’s Trump Tower to be sold following low occupancy rates Sharecenter_img TORONTO — The world has to wait another five days until the U.S. presidential election to see whether Donald Trump is a winner or a loser. But in Toronto, the outspoken Republican nominee may already have lost in a big way.According to Huffington Post Canada, Toronto’s Trump International Hotel and Tower went into receivership this past Tuesday after building developer and owner Talon International defaulted on a $301 million loan last year.JCF Capital ULC, which owns the debt, filed for receivership in order for the company to recover its investment. It will trade its debt for ownership if it’s not satisfied with any offers from potential buyers.The tower has encountered several major hiccups since its debut. People who invested in hotel units were told to expect occupancy rates of 55%, wherein reality rates only reached between 15-45%. Politico reported that less than half of the condos have been sold, with average room rates falling well below expectations.More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksLast year, Toronto Mayor John Tory also demanded action following reports of the tower’s unstable antenna.In addition, during the height of Trump’s controversial run for the U.S. presidency, Talon tried to remove the Trump name from the tower. The Trump Organization went to court to stop that from happening. << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Donald Trump, Toronto, Trump Hotelslast_img read more

LA hotel strikes back with 12 commission for group bookings

first_img Posted by Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Commission, LUXE LOS ANGELES — One downtown L.A. hotel is wooing travel agent and meeting planner business with a new limited-time 12% commission rate on group room sales and meetings.The boosted rate at L.A.’s LUXE City Center is a competitive move against big-name brands like Marriott, Hilton and IHG, all of which announced commission cuts for group bookings earlier this year.Marriott notified the trade in January that it was dropping its group booking commission rate from 10% to 7% effective March 31 for all properties across the U.S. and Canada.Hilton followed in March, with a cut to 7% that takes effect Oct. 1.And then in May IHG InterContintnental Hotels Group announced that its group booking commission cut to 7% would be effective Jan. 1, 2019. The move impacts all IHG properties, including Kimpton Hotels properties, in the U.S. and Canada. Group bookings at IHG properties outside of the U.S. and Canada will still earn 10%.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaLUXE City Center says its new 12% rate for group room sales and meetings applies to all groups booked before Sept. 30.“We hope this offer demonstrates to meeting planners and travel agents how integral their relationships are to our business,” said Brian Comeau, General Manager of Luxe City Center Hotel. “As a boutique hotel, we are leveraging our position in comparison to the major commission cuts recently made by Marriott, Hilton and Starwood and extending our appreciation to them for all the hard work they do.”LUXE City Center recently underwent modernizations to its venue spaces in March of this year, with three newly renovated venues: the Angeleno Room, Figueroa and Olympic Ballroom, and Nixo Patio Lounge, overlooking L.A. Live.The hotel also features an 8,400-square-foot north parking lot, which works well for large-scale events such as car shows, concerts, team building and other public activations, say hotel reps. Directly off of Figueroa and Olympic Boulevard, the blank space “allows for one-of-a-kind events”.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJFor more information on LUXE City Center visit, fill out a request for proposal, or call (213) 748-1291. Monday, August 20, 2018 L.A. hotel strikes back with 12% commission for group bookingslast_img read more

WestJet to add Barcelona to growing Europe network in 2019

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Barcelona, New Routes, WestJet Share CALGARY — WestJet is tripling down on Europe with new seasonal three-times weekly service between Toronto and Barcelona next year.Starting May 24, 2019 and running until Oct. 21, 2019, the new nonstop flights “will provide even more access between Canada and Europe as we continue to expand our international network,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “The addition of flights to Barcelona, an important European cruise hub, offers our business and leisure guests convenient flight times and one-stop flight connections from Canada via our Toronto hub.”Toronto-Barcelona will be operated on WestJet’s Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, seating 262 guests and featuring Premium and Economy cabins.For summer 2019, WestJet will operate the following European service: London (Gatwick) service from Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto, service from Halifax to Glasgow, London and Paris, and service between St. John’s and Dublin.The news about Barcelona service comes on the heels of WestJet’s recent announcement of its first Dreamliner routes to Paris, London (Gatwick) and Dublin from Calgary. Travelweek Group center_img Wednesday, October 31, 2018 WestJet to add Barcelona to growing Europe network in 2019 Posted bylast_img read more

Two new US cities bring WestJets peak summer 2019 network to 92

first_img Travelweek Group CALGARY — WestJet’s just-announced summer 2019 schedule includes two brand new seasonal U.S. destinations.The carrier says it will launch daily nonstop service to Portland, OR on April 29 and twice-weekly service to Austin, TX on May 2.The new routes complement the addition of Atlanta, GA starting March 3, says Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. All three new routes will operate out of Calgary.“These three key markets help diversify Alberta’s economy, open new trade links and forge stronger connections between Alberta and these major destinations,” says von zur Muehlen.The new routes are part of WestJet’s 2019 summer schedule, which includes previously announced nonstop flights to London (Gatwick), Paris and Dublin from Calgary on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.In all this summer WestJet will operate 750+ daily flights in peak summer to 92 destinations including 42 in Canada, 23 in the United States, 27 in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America, and 5 in Europe.Here’s a closer look … FROM CALGARY. Calgary-Houston, from 12 weekly flights to 13 weekly flights. Calgary-London (Gatwick), adding two weekly flights with daily Dreamliner service. Calgary-Orlando, from once weekly to twice weekly. Calgary-Phoenix, will double service from once daily to twice daily. Calgary-Puerto Vallarta, from three times weekly to four times weekly. Calgary-San Diego, from three times weekly to four times weekly. Calgary-San Francisco, will double service from once daily to twice daily. Calgary-Kitchener, from seven weekly flights to eight weekly flights Monday, January 28, 2019 Posted by Two new U.S. cities bring WestJet’s peak summer 2019 network to 92 destinationscenter_img Other highlights of WestJet’s 2019 summer schedule include:. New nonstop three times weekly service between Edmonton and St. John’s. Toronto-Nashville, from seven weekly flights to 10 weekly flights. Toronto-Grand Cayman, will double service from once weekly to twice weekly.. Toronto-Kingston, from three weekly flights to four times weekly. Toronto-Liberia, will double service from once weekly to twice weekly. Toronto-Montego Bay, from 11 weekly flights to 12 weekly flights. Toronto-Nassau from six to seven times weeklyToronto-Saint Maarten, will double service from once weekly to twice weekly. Toronto-Halifax, adding five weekly flights for seven-times daily service Monday to Friday. Toronto-Charlottetown, adding two weekly flights. Halifax-Winnipeg, from four weekly flights to five times weekly. Toronto-London, from two times daily to three times daily. Extension of existing once weekly winter seasonal service between Vancouver and Orlando Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

A visit from the turtles

first_imgPlaya Ostional sees at least one arribada a month, either in the three days before or after the full moon. In turtle season, which is just coming to a close, the beach sometimes gets two arribadas per month.The beach at Ostional is the only beach in the country where locals are legally allowed to harvest the turtle eggs for consumption. At each arribada, hundreds of people accompany the thousands of turtles on the beach where they dig up the nests and take the eggs, which are believed by some to be an aphrodisiac.Olive Ridley turtles, the most common visitor to Ostional beach, are endangered, making the legal harvesting of the eggs a controversial topic. A large chunk of the town’s income comes from guiding turtle tours and selling the harvested eggs.  Biologists justify it by saying that the huge influx of eggs during an arribada contaminates the beach, leaving it unfit for the other nests made later. Only about 1 percent of the total number of eggs is harvested.Chacón thinks these are just excuses.“It’s not natural,” he said.  “Nature needs to run its course. Facebook Comments Photo gallery  No related posts. Arribada at Ostional Last week’s visitors to the Pacific coast’s Ostional Wildlife Refuge don’t realize how spoiled they are.Usually, tourists are lucky if they get to see one sea turtle, in darkness, from ten feet away. But last week, three days before the full moon, hundreds of thousands of turtles hauled themselves onto Playa Ostional to lay their eggs. Called arribadas, these mass egg-layings take place on just a few beaches in the world, and Ostional is has the highest numbers, with more than a million turtles sometimes arriving in one night. “It is an incredible site every time,” said Warren Chacón, a Tamarindo guide who often brings tourists out to see the arribadas. “I’ve seen hundreds but it never gets old.”last_img read more

Costa Rican court condemns Cuban man on human trafficking charges

first_imgRelated posts:Analysis: Obama-Castro handshake offers hope for US-Cuba ties Freedom eludes Cubans U.S. woman, 64, makes history with Cuba-Florida swim Ties between North Korea, Cuba hinted at in route of seized freighter A Criminal Court in the province of Alajuela on Wednesday sentenced a Cuban man with the last names Montero Delgado to 16 months in prison for helping Cuban nationals to illegally enter Mexico and the U.S. from Costa Rica.Montero will not serve any time in prison in the country as he was given a suspended sentence for three years and will be deported to the United States in coming days, where he is wanted on robbery charges in Miami, Florida. He is a legalU.S. resident, Immigration Administration officials reported.Montero is the first foreigner convicted of human trafficking in Costa Rica, the Immigration Administration reported. The man was arrested Wednesday in a house in Sabana Norte, west of the capital, and pleaded guilty before the court.He was forbidden from returning to Costa Rica for the next five years.Montero’s operation consisted of coordinating transportation for Cuban nationals – usually by air – from South American destinations to Costa Rica, and then sending them to Mexico and the United States using altered passports.Immigration authorities estimate that the man likely helped transport at least 20 people as part of an international trafficking network.Human trafficking in Costa Rica is punishable by sentences ranging from two to six years in prison. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Internet users could face speed access problems over the weekend

first_imgRelated posts:Telecom regulator hires ad agency to promote change in mobile Internet rates President Solís to weigh in on proposed changes to Internet rates Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber to hold hearing on proposed mobile Internet rate changes Court orders state-run mobile carrier to pay customers for poor coverage The Telecommunications Superintendency (SUTEL) announced that users of both fixed line and mobile Internet services could experience intermittent or full interruptions beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday and lasting until 6 a.m. on Sunday.The corporate group that administrates the MAYA-1 submarine cable will be repairing the cable, one of three that provide Internet access to the country.Costa Rica is connected to the Internet mainly through three submarine cables: ARCOS, MAYA-1 and Level 3 Communications.Each local Internet Service Provider (ISP) usually has connections to at least two of these cables, so that Internet traffic can be routed to another cable when problems occur.SUTEL officials said the most likely consequence will be reduced transmission speeds of up to 50 percent. But intermittent and total interruptions also are possible.The Science, Technology and Telecommunications Ministry on Thursday confirmed that not all of the country’s ISP’s are interconnected to MAYA-1. They recommended users ask providers for more information.Planned work on the cable includes securing the electrical infrastructure, the transport route and the platforms that support the cable, SUTEL reported. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica to take a hard look at its diplomatic missions foreign

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. – Paving the way for a possible visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to Costa Rica later this year, Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel González met last Friday with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry, for the first time since theMay 2014 inauguration of President Luis Guillermo Solís.“Costa Rica has been doing a great deal on counterterrorism; great deal particularly on climate change, where they have always been a leader,” Kerry said.“I can remember personally visiting Costa Rica in the earliest days when I was in the United States Senate – one of the first places I went. And then they were working hard to help lead the region out of the difficulties of war, and now they’re working hard on a continued basis to lift the region up economically, to try to help us deal with climate change, and they’ve become good partners in our agriculture initiative with respect to climate.”The 45-minute meeting focused on improving bilateral relations in the absence of a U.S. ambassador in San José. It was followed by a courtesy call at the White House with Ricardo Zúñiga, Obama’s National Security Council adviser on Latin America, and finally a wide-ranging interview with The Tico Times at the Costa Rican Embassy.“One of the purposes of my visit was precisely to look for ways to have a more permanent and fluent political dialogue between the two governments, and to encourage high-level visits and senators to come and visit Costa Rica,” González told The Tico Times in the presence of Costa Rica’s envoy to the U.S., Román Macaya, and the embassy’s deputy chief of mission, Alejandra Solano.“We need to have these kinds of meetings on a more regular basis at the highest possible level. We also discussed the possibility of President Solís visiting Washington sometime in the near future,” he said.Where’s our ambassador?González, noting that it’s been more than a year and a half since the departure of the last U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, Anne S. Andrew, said his government is waiting patiently for the arrival of Andrew’s likely replacement, political appointee Stafford Fitzgerald Haney. A New Jersey businessman who donated money to Obama’s re-election campaign, Haney is one of several dozen nominees facing confirmation by the slow-moving Senate Foreign Relations Committee.“We understand that there are internal processes which have to be conducted, but it doesn’t prevent us from moving ahead with our agenda,” González said. “Now with the new Congress, hopefully things will move faster than has been the case until now.”During the interview, González laid out his key priorities as foreign minister. He said Costa Rica needs to take a hard look at its 62 diplomatic missions around the world.“I want our embassies and consulates to promote the country and generate business and investment for Costa Rica. This is something they have not done until now,” he said. “I would like to see a foreign policy that goes beyond the traditional values of political stability, human rights, democracy and freedom of expression, which don’t change from one administration to another.”To that end, González said his ministry is conducting a study to decide which embassies to close for budgetary reasons, and where Costa Rica needs new ones.“In an ideal world, I would like to open an embassy somewhere in Africa,” he said. The two alternatives under consideration are Ethiopia, whose capital, Addis Ababa, is home to the 53-member African Union, and South Africa, a member of the five-nation BRICS grouping that also includes Brazil, Russia, India and China. González said he’s leaning toward South Africa for business reasons.Another priority is reviving the frequently criticized Organization of American States, whose secretary-general, José Miguel Insulza, of Chile, is stepping down in June after 10 years at its helm.One of the two men campaigning to replace Insulza, Guatemala’s former Vice President Eduardo Stein, recently withdrew from the race. That leaves Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro as the only other serious contender, though as González said, “a lot can happen between now and March 18,” when OAS member states will choose their next leader.In recent years, he said, the organization’s relevance has been undermined.“If we don’t have an excellent – not just a good, but an excellent – secretary-general, it’ll only get worse. Its influence will be greatly diminished, and that’s a luxury we cannot afford,” González said. “From our perspective, one of the organization’s most important aspects is the inter-American human rights system. I don’t see any other organization or mechanism taking its place.” Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel González meets with Ricardo Zuñiga, special assistant to President Obama and senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 20, 2015. (Courtesy Costa Rican Embassy)The problem with SICAAnother body in need of reform, he said, is the Central American Integration System (SICA, in Spanish). Based in San Salvador, its members are Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic.“SICA has many institutions, but with very ineffective results. We need very clear leadership and very clear reform in terms of transparency and accountability, and we have proposed the complete review of the Tegucigalpa Protocols that serve as the legal basis for SICA,” González said, adding that in its 24-year history SICA has never had a secretary-general from Costa Rica, and that perhaps it’s time for a Tico to lead the bloc.Yet another regional bloc that interests Costa Rica is the Caribbean Community (Caricom), with which Costa Rica signed a free-trade agreement back in 2004. He said Caricom’s 15 members – along with the rest of Central America – are natural customers for Costa Rican products, particularly for small- and medium-sized companies.“We’ve talked a lot in the past about free-trade agreements, as if a small company in Costa Rica taking its first steps in the export business will enter the U.S. or European markets. It doesn’t happen that way. First, they have to focus on the Central American and Caribbean markets,” he said.Meanwhile, said González, “we want to have a closer relationship with Brazil. We want to learn from Brazil’s experiences in fighting poverty during the last three administrations. Brazil is a regional power, and there is a lot to be learned.”González, 46, studied at Columbia University on a Fulbright scholarship, and was a lawyer for 25 years. He entered the public sector in 1992, when he served as adviser to the vice president of Costa Rica on relations with international financial institutions.From 2002 to 2006, he was Costa Rica’s ambassador in Geneva to specialized U.N. agencies. He was then minister of foreign trade and president of Procomer, a government investment promotion agency, before going back to law for eight years. Since assuming his new post as foreign minister last May, he’s traveled to 15 countries.“I think my background in both the public and private sectors helps me to have a different approach,” González said. “I am not a member of the president’s party, or any party actually. I did not participate in anybody’s campaign, so I was amazed, to say the least, that he called on me.”ChinaOne of Costa Rica’s biggest foreign policy issues is its growing cooperation with China – a friendship that began in 2007 when then-President Óscar Arias Sánchez broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan after 63 years in order to establish ties with Beijing.As then-foreign trade minister, González strongly supported that decision despite accusations that Arias had betrayed the Taiwanese.“I had to deal with Taiwan, and it was not a very positive reaction, and we did have some political pressure,” he recalled. “Taiwan was, at the time, the main investor in China and still is. Secondly, a small country like Costa Rica cannot skip any potential market just because of the political situation. Everybody does business with China.”On Monday, Costa Rican lawmakers voted 45-6 to borrow $395 million from the Chinese government to finance the expansion of Route 32, the main highway from San José to the Caribbean province of Limón. The loan covers 85 percent of the $465 million cost of expanding the 107-kilometer highway from two to four lanes; the Costa Rican government will fund the remaining $70 million.But China offered the loan on the condition that the project is developed entirely by China Harbour Engineering Company using only Chinese workers.“When you have a loan, they want you to use as many Chinese companies as possible,” he said, adding he hopes construction will start before the end of this year.In neighboring Nicaragua, a secretive Chinese company, Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Group, is planning a $50 billion interoceanic canal that will extend 259 kilometers from the Pacific coast through Lake Nicaragua to the Atlantic coast. Yet González said he’s skeptical about the enormous project. From left, Ramón Macaya, Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States, Alejandra Solano, deputy chief of mission at the Costa Rican Embassy in Washington, and Foreign Minister Manuel Antonio González Sanz. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesThe Middle EastCosta Rica’s foreign policy interests also extend to the Middle East, particularly Israel, which is home to about 300 former Ticos.In December, González announced that Rodrigo X. Carreras, the country’s longtime envoy to the Jewish state, would take over as Costa Rica’s ambassador in Cuba. Asked whether the Foreign Ministry would change its relatively pro-Israel policy once a new envoy arrives in Tel Aviv, González responded “yes and no.”“We’ve always been very supportive of Israel in all forums, but in last year’s war in Gaza, we were very critical of both sides,” he said. “We always condemn any form of violence, but self-defense has its limits. They [the Israelis] think that if you’re not 100 percent in favor of Israel, you must favor Hamas. That’s a logic I don’t understand.”The foreign minister said a replacement for Carreras has already been chosen, but he declined to identify him until it’s officially announced.“Some people think that being friends means you have to follow Israel all the way,” he said, assuring that Costa Rica’s warm ties with the Israelis would continue. “From our perspective, being friends also means agreeing to disagree.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica celebrates 66th anniversary of the abolition of its army Costa Rica announces its own international aid policy After 23 years, the US is dropping its claim that Cuba sponsors terrorism. Here’s what it means. Obama promises human rights talk with Castrolast_img read more

In San Salvador everyone has to pay the gangs

first_imgSAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — It all started with a phone call. The man on the line said he was part of the Mara Salvatrucha gang and asked for money in exchange for the gang’s protection.Carlos owns a car wash in one of the upper-middle class districts in the western part of the capital. He did not want his real name or the name of his business to appear in print for fear of retaliation.Carlos said he couldn’t afford the $100 per week the gang demanded. The criminals had guessed his income too high.The man kept calling, though, so Carlos went to the police with his phone. The police’s anti-extortion unit listened in on one of the conversations and advised Carlos to change his number and forget about everything. As long as there was no culprit they could catch in the act, there was no case, the police told him.So Carlos painted a new telephone number on the front of his business and waited. It was quiet for 18 months. Then one day a young boy walked in with a cellphone. He placed it on the counter and told Carlos he would get a call in an hour.Carlos contacted the police again, who advised him not to answer the phone. But his employees were scared: It wouldn’t be the first time Salvadoran gangs killed a low-level employee to increase pressure on the boss.So Carlos answered the phone. Indeed, it was a marero again, who asked him politely how he was doing.The phone kept ringing in the following days. The voice, always polite, said it knew when Carlos was waiting at a traffic light or shopping at the supermarket.The voice said the gang knew where Carlos’ son was, and when his wife was at the hairdresser. It asked Carlos threatening questions like: “Would you rather have your picture up on the wall in your house, or in the newspaper?”Constant fear kept Carlos awake. Finally, the voice gave him an ultimatum: Starting the following Saturday, he had to pay. Otherwise the gang would visit him on Monday.In return for the money, the voice on the phone promised to protect Carlos from the rival gang, whose territory began down the street from the car wash.Carlos figured he could afford to pay $50 max per month. But he thought of something else he could offer: free car washes to Mara Salvatrucha members.The man on the phone agreed. Since then, every week someone shows up to collect the $50, and cars are regularly brought for washing. These moments are always scary — Carlos knows he has a car that belongs to a gang whose rivals are not far away.Playing soccer with the maraCarlos’ story is one of thousands of similar anecdotes in San Salvador. The city is controlled by gangs, mainly the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, and Barrio 18. According to InSight Crime, an organization that analyzes organized crime in Latin America, there are an estimated 20,000 active gang members in El Salvador.Gang members get much of their money and power through extortion, often killing people who refuse to pay. Carlos has been lucky; he knows business owners who have not been so lucky.There are regular shootouts in San Salvador. Bodies of tortured gang members are frequently found in the streets.The 26-year-old psychologist Alan Henriquez tells how he grew up among gangs.“As an 8-year-old I played soccer with the big guys,” he told The Tico Times. “My friends and I knew they did bad things, but we didn’t understand it. Then one day we heard gunshots. We ran toward the shots and saw a body in the middle of the street, a rival gang member who was first beaten up, then attacked with machetes and finally shot nine times in the back.”As Henriquez grew older, he learned that his community was subdivided into territories where different gangs would recruit the more aggressive boys. Henriquez was never approached. The guys he played soccer with eventually told him not to come any more.Henriquez came from a stable family and had opportunities in life, so he wasn’t the kind of boy they where looking for. Gangs specifically target boys and girls from broken homes, and the gang becomes their family.Most often recruiting is paired with violence: If you’re asked to join and don’t, you risk being killed.“It’s important not to consider the gangs as a free-standing phenomenon,” Henriquez said. “They evolved out of our country’s problems: poverty, corruption, the weapons trade. If we want to face the gang issue, we actually have to work on these problems.”Prison as main officeAlthough many gang members and their leaders are locked up in prison, being behind bars does little to diminish their influence. In fact, most extortion calls come from prison, while gang members on the outside collect the money and kill when necessary.In March, the government passed an anti-extortion law that, among other measures, forbids companies from supplying cellphone signals near jails. Under the new law, a phone company who breaks the law is subject to a fine of $753,000 per day.In the meantime, gangs are part of daily life in El Salvador. Many citizens are confronted with violence and extortion on a daily basis.People who can afford to send their children to private school do so to try and keep them from being recruited by gang members.The daily newspapers report an average of 15 murders per day.Still, because of heavy policing, gangs have become less obvious than they used to be. Members have begun hiding tattoos, and gang-related graffiti is less prevalent.Now, gang members travel through the city invisibly, though in reality they’re everywhere, from poorer districts such as Soyapango to luxurious areas like Escalón and San Benito.Carlos recognizes the good fortune he’s had up until now — in part, because gangs have always been in his life.“I grew up with some of these gang members so they knew who I was and they didn’t kill me immediately,” he said. “But still, this is our sad truth: I’m always afraid something will happen to my children.”Carlos said he has friends living across the border, in Barrio 18 territory, whom he could no longer safely visit.“We live in fear every day,” he said.Read also:From ‘America’s Mayor’ to international security guru: Rudy Giuliani sends experts to El SalvadorExperts debate approaches to stemming Central America gang violence Facebook Comments Related posts:El Salvador moves 400 jailed gang members as part of plan to curb violence As gang violence surges, El Salvador fears bloody war From ‘America’s Mayor’ to international security guru: Rudy Giuliani sends experts to El Salvador El Salvador on pace to become the hemisphere’s deadliest nationlast_img read more

Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey dies at 67

first_imgNEW YORK – Eagles guitarist and founding member Glenn Frey, a U.S. rocker whose band dominated charts throughout the 1970s with hits such as “Hotel California,” died Monday, the group said.“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our comrade, Eagles founder, Glenn Frey, in New York City on Monday,” the band wrote on its website.Frey died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, the Eagles said.“We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow,” fellow Eagle Don Henley was quoted as saying in an email message announcing Frey’s death. “He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit.” Eagles, fronted by drummer-vocalist Henley and Frey, dominated the U.S. rock charts throughout the 1970s with hits including “Take It Easy,” “One of These Nights” and “Hotel California” — songs that endure as cover-band classics to this day.The group postponed by a year a December appearance to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Lifetime Artistic Achievement award due to Frey’s health problems. The band was founded in the early ’70s and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. It pioneered the West Coast, Los Angeles sound of laid-back, country-tinged rock that dominated early ’70s U.S. pop.The band split in the early 1980s and reformed in 1994. Related posts:Phife Dawg brought humor and humanity to A Tribe Called Quest Pop icon Prince dead at 57 Springsteen turns song into book with unflinching ‘Outlaw Pete’ A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg dies at 45 Facebook Commentslast_img read more

First Central American satellite is ready to launch

first_imgCosta Rican scientists have finished construction on the first Central American satellite, which will be launched into space for a carbon emissions project.The satellite, named Project Irazú in honor of one of Costa Rican’s iconic volcanoes, is now ready to send to the Kyutech Technological Institute in Japan, where it will undergo flight tests before its launch in 2018.The device was built by the Central American Aeronautics and Space Association (ACAE) and the Costa Rican Technological Institute (TEC), which announced the results of the project at a press conference.“This is a historic day for [Costa Rica] and Central America,” said ACAE president Carlos Alvarado. “Our intention is to develop space technology to promote peace and create prosperity in the world.” AFP Photo / Ezequiel BecerraFour TEC engineers tested the systems and assembly of the satellite at a facility provided by MOOG Medical at El Coyol Industrial Park, west of San José.“Once the satellite reaches the Kyutech Institute, it will undergo studies that simulate the extreme conditions of launch and orbit in the most realistic way possible, in order to ensure optimal functioning in space,” said project manager Luis Diego Monge.The CubeSat1U satellite was developed to help Costa Rican scientists gather information about the country’s efforts to mitigate carbon emissions.It will connect to a TEC station in the northern canton of San Carlos. Sensors to monitor tree growth will connect via antenna to the satellite twice per day when it passes over Costa Rica. Facebook Comments Related posts:Ex-NASA astronaut Franklin Chang talks about ‘The Martian,’ Hollywood’s take on his VASIMR engine US Sen. Bill Nelson: Costa Rica has a place in the future of space flight Crowdfunding campaign to orbit Costa Rica’s first satellite surpasses goal Franklin Chang’s VASIMR plasma engine readies for key testlast_img read more

Misión Tiburón The husband and wife team protecting sharks in Costa Rica

first_imgBrought to you by the Costa Rica USA Foundation (CRUSA). Brought to you by the Costa Rica USA Foundation (CRUSA). Courtesy of CRUSA There has been a drastic decline in the population of several shark species around the world over the past few years, and according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the scalloped hammerhead sharks are an endangered species.But in Guanacaste, husband-and-wife marine biologists Ilena Zanella and Andrés López are working hard to protect this shark species. They are the founders of Misión Tiburón, a non-profit organization committed to marine life with a focus on shark conservation.Zanella said she has been interested in sharks since college. Fittingly, the couple met while studying marine biology at the National University of Costa Rica (UNA). Their passion and concern for sharks encouraged them to create Misión Tiburón in 2009.“Misión Tiburón is a dream come true,” Zanella said. “At the time there was little to no effort aimed at shark conservation. Sharks are a very important species, not only from an ecological, but also from a social and economic perspective.“The scalloped hammerhead shark is one of the most representative marine species for Costa Rica and the region.”Zanella came in contact with the hammerhead sharks firsthand while conducting field work in the country’s Cocos Island.“While I was diving among these sharks, I discovered that protecting them was my true calling,”  she said. Ilena Zanella during a dive (Courtesy of Misión Tiburón)Zanella explained hammerhead sharks are highly migratory species and spend most of their lifespan near oceanic islands. In Costa Rica, they are most common in the waters near Cocos Island as well as coastal zones.“Unfortunately, in the coastal environment, factors such as overfishing, habitat destruction and coastal pollution are extremely affecting hammerhead shark populations,” Zanella said.Zanella added that baby hammerhead sharks live near estuaries and mangroves and that any alteration or destruction in coastal zones caused by human activity directly affects their ecosystem. This put the scalloped hammerhead shark’s survival at risk.The hammerhead shark is a top predator and plays a critical role in the food chain.  Zanella said they commonly feed on old, sick or weak fish that get in their way.“Sharks keep marine ecosystems and fish populations healthy,” Zanella said.And she said hammerhead sharks in particular contribute to ocean balance because of their migratory habits .“If we protect hammerhead sharks, we are protecting other fish species, too,” Zanella said. A group of hammerhead sharks (Courtesy of Daniel Perez & Nico Ghersinich)Scalloped hammerhead shark value in Costa Rica While they are beneficial to ocean ecosystems and help promote tourism, hammerhead sharks in Costa Rican waters have been victims of shark fishing.“In Costa Rica, fishing practices which are predominant in coastal areas aren’t the most responsible, fishing focused on the young hammerhead sharks that can barely weigh up to half kilogram to two kilograms,” Zanella said. “This meat is not the best for the local market.“When they are adults, hammerhead sharks’ meat turns black and has a poorer quality. This doesn’t meet the food industry standards. So, their meat is used to make fish flour.”She said the commercial value of a hammerhead shark is $100.“On the other hand, the economic value a hammerhead shark represents for the tourist industry is higher,” she said. “Here in the Cocos Island, people come from around the world to have the experience of a lifetime diving with hammerhead sharks.”She estimated a hammerhead shark’s value to tourism is approximately $1 million each.“If we compared $100 when caught and sold, this is a noticeable difference,” Zanella said. Hammerhead shark (Courtesy of Misión Tiburón) Facebook Comments According to a study from the University of British Columbia, the ecotourism industry is booming and its profits will exceed global shark fisheries in the coming years.In short, hammerhead sharks are worth more alive than dead.Raising awareness through marine educationZanella wants to make sure people know the true value of marine species.She said Misión Tiburón is working with communities in Golfo Dulce, Puntarenas, to help promote the importance of marine animals beyond just being fishing resources.“Marine resources are for everyone,” Zanella said. “It’s necessary to find a balance.”Zanella said that although fishing practices have decreased in the last few years, that may be due to a lack of surviving marine resources.“It’s important to find livelihood alternatives that will benefit locals and marine life,” Zanella said. The initiative Salvamos al Tiburón Martillo is an educational program for children (Photo Courtesy of Enrique Uribe Salvando)Educating future generationsMisión Tiburón’s “Salvemos al Tiburón Martillo,” or “Save the Hammerhead Shark,” is the educational component of its Hammerhead Shark Conservation Project.Salvamos al Tiburón Martillo is an initiative designed for children.“We strongly feel that teaching future generations environmental or marine education is key to achieve real and long-term changes,” Zanella said. “It’s difficult to assimilate changes when you are an adult. Kids have open minds, they are naturally empathetic about an issue.” Children paint sharks and fishes as part of the educational initiative (Photo Courtesy of Enrique Uribe Salvando)Zanella said science is the foundation for implementing effective strategies aimed at conservation and appropriate management of marine resources.“After years of working, I have realized the scientific aspect goes hand in hand with marine education,” Zanella said.Misión Tiburón plans to implement a learning station in the southern Pacific port of Golfito, which is geographically close to Golfo Dulce’s hammerhead shark sanctuary. The organization expects to reach about 3,000 public-school students with its message.The organization also wants to hold workshops and launch awareness campaigns. That may include diving experiences for youth to help spark their interest in marine life.“Working with kids has been a rewarding experience,” Zanella said. “We are hopeful they will protect the hammerhead shark.”To know more about their work, you can visit or Misión Tiburón Costa Rica’s Facebook page.To make a U.S. tax-deductible donation, visit the Amigos of Costa Rica Misión Tiburón page.The Tico Times Costa Rica Changemakers section is sponsored by the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) and Amigos of Costa Rica. Related posts:Costa Rica’s Corcovado Foundation a finalist for international funding Costa Rican organization seeks fresh approach to teenage pregnancy prevention This week in the Peace Corps: Celebrating a scout anniversary Lifeguards call for help in Costa Rica: support their work in Osalast_img read more

Under fire a Vietnamese blogger vows dissent

first_imgAssociated PressHANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Vietnam’s government has vowed to crack down on three dissident blogs, a move that appeared to backfire Thursday as record numbers of people visited the sites and the bloggers pledged to keep up their struggle for freedom of expression.Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s order for police to arrest those responsible for the websites reflects growing unease within the Communist Party over the emergence of blogs and social media accounts that publish dissenting views, independent reporting and whistleblowing. The party doesn’t allow free media, and fears criticism or discussion of its failings on the Internet could lead to social instability and _ ultimately _ loss of its power. “Nobody can shut our mouth or stop our freedom of expression,” said a member of the team that administers one of the targeted blogs, Danlambao. “This is our mission. We will continue at any cost.” The blogger chatted over the Internet with The Associated Press on the condition that his name and exact location not be published because of the risk of arrest.Danlambao, or “Citizens’ Journalism,” is one of the most prominent of several dissident blogs that have sprung up in the last two years.It has attracted thousands of viewers in recent weeks because of its reporting on suspected power struggles among the ruling elite that it says may have been behind the arrest of a banking tycoon last month. It has speculated that the detention of Nguyen Duc Kien, said to be close to the prime minister’s daughter, was the result of tensions between the premier and the president.Late Wednesday, the government said Danlambao and two others sites had been “publishing distorted and fabricated articles” against the leadership. It said that Vietnamese state employees were forbidden from visiting the sites.It is not illegal for Vietnamese to visit the targeted sites, but they are blocked by the government’s firewall. Vietnam blocks many sensitive websites, though the firewall is fairly easy to get around. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona “This is a wicked plot of the hostile forces,” a government statement said, adding that the prime minister had ordered police to arrest those associated with the sites.The statement led to a surge in visitors to the sites as curious Vietnamese wanted to see what they had been publishing, according to the blogs.The Danlambao blog said it was on course to have more than 500,000 page views Thursday, more than double its normal amount, thanks to what it called the unintended public relations coup handed to it by the government.One of the other targeted sites, Quanlambao, or the “Officials’ Journalism” blog, said Dung’s threat was meant to lay the legal groundwork for a campaign of arrests against bloggers.The blogger contacted by The AP said Dung mentioned their site by name to try to scare contributors from contacting it.“They (the government) are losing control of the independent blogs,” the blogger said. “Not just our one.”The blogger said Danlambao’s sources of information were other bloggers, journalists who work for state-run media, ordinary citizens and Communist Party members seeking to damage other factions within the party. Some of the material comes from reading between the lines of reports in the state-run media, the blogger said. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Sponsored Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories “They provide us the bullets and we shoot _ because they can’t,” the blogger said.International watchdog Reporters Without Borders says there are currently at least five journalists and 19 bloggers being held on various charges in Vietnam, part of a gathering government effort to stifle criticism over the last two years even as the country presses ahead with opening its economy to foreign investment. The government labels democracy and free speech activists as terrorists.Journalists working for foreign news organization are allowed to live in the country but must ask permission to report outside the capital. That is routinely denied if the subject of the story is seen as sensitive or damaging to Vietnam.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Four benefits of having a wireless security system Comments   Share   last_img read more

Sen John McCain Dont risk American lives in Syria

first_img Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system “But the president, I’m afraid, is only going to launch some cruise missiles, strike some targets and basically call it a day,” he said. “That may be better than nothing, but if it doesn’t change Bashar Assad’s behavior, he can say ‘Look, I stood up to the Americans,” so it could be counterproductive.”When it comes to American involvement, McCain said the most important thing that happens is to turn the tides of the fight, something a few strikes may not accomplish.“What I worry about is retaliation and we really don’t change the momentum on the ground,” he said, adding that the civil war is destabilizing the entire region and creating opportunities for those who want to attack America.Some have called for the United States to keep its nose out of Syria’s business, but McCain said President Barack Obama can’t go back on what he has said.“Part of the reason is the president of the United States, a year ago, said that if Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, that would be a red line,” he said. “Bashar Assad, by the way, has already used chemical weapons, but now he used it to slaughter about 1,000 people so that has really forced the administration to take action.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean McCain called for the United States to take out Assad’s air force — estimated to be 50 planes flying from six airfields — and supply weapons to the rebels, who are fighting against troops armed with Russian and Iranian arms and are backed by Hezbollah and Lebanon.“It’s an unfair fight right now,” he said.McCain said that over 100,000 have been killed in Syria and at least one million people are now refugees. 1 / 7Sen. John McCain (center) poses with hosts Mac Watson (left) and Larry Gaydos after his appearance on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday, Aug. 27, in Phoenix. (KTAR Photo/Carter Nacke) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Check your body, save your life PHOENIX — American lives should not be risked in Syria but the United States should involve itself in the embattled country, Sen. John McCain said.“We need to not have a single American boot on the ground or a single American life in jeopardy,” he told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday.McCain said he had heard media reports that the United States would launch a cruise missile attack on Thursday that would last at least three days, but he is worried that such a strike may not be enough.last_img read more

States vary in success at improving high school grad rates

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — The record high American graduation rate masks large gaps among low income students and those with disabilities compared to their peers.There are also wide disparities among states in how well they are tackling the issue.“This year, we need to sound a stronger alarm,” said Gen. Colin Powell and his wife, Alma Powell, in a letter released Tuesday as part of an annual Grad Nation report produced in part by their America’s Promise Alliance organization. The report is based on 2013 rates using federal data, the most recent available. Comments   Share   The nation’s overall graduation rate has reached 81 percent, a figure frequently touted by Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Duncan said Tuesday in a statement that the gains are encouraging, but “we know that more hard work remains to truly prepare all — not just some — students for success in college.”Here are five things to know about high school graduation rates:THE GOOD NEWS:More students are graduating from high school than ever before, with large gains among African-American and Hispanic students. Since 2006, the percentage of black students graduating has risen 9 percentage points to 71 percent and Hispanic students has risen 15 percentage points to 75 percent.The improvement is due to a variety of factors, including greater consistency in comparing graduation rates from state to state and the development of systems to identify and target at-risk students. The increase in the graduation rate also has been accompanied by a decline in the number of “dropout factory” schools, where 60 percent or less of students graduate.The report estimates that the U.S. is on track for a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020.STATE-BY-STATE COMPARISONS: How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation LOW-INCOME STUDENTS:The graduation rate for low-income students was 73 percent. It’s moved up 3 points in the last two years, but is still 8 percentage points below the national overall rate.In Kentucky and Texas, 85 percent of low-income students get a diploma. In contrast, 65 percent or less of low-income students do in Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Wyoming, New Mexico or Washington.In Kentucky, where there’s about a 1 percentage-point difference between the graduation rate of low-income students and the overall population, Dale Winkler, a state education official, said there’s been a years-long effort to tackle the problem. The efforts include districts and later the state raising the compulsory attendance age to 18, changing the state’s standards and assessments system, required interventions for students off track, and incentivized early graduation, Winkler said.“It’s a lot of work,” Winkler said, adding that districts have school leaders who have been engaged in helping to make improvements.MINORITY STUDENTS:Six states combined to educate more than 70 percent of Hispanic or Latino students, but Texas is the only one that has a graduation rate for these students above the national average of 81 percent. Michigan, New York, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, California and Illinois are collectively home to more than 40 percent of African American students. These states graduate only about 6 out of 10 black students or have recently had declines.“Minority students continue to face barriers in their academic success, including discipline disparities that push them off track for graduation, language barriers and lack of access to rigorous coursework that will enable them to be successful in college and career,” the report said._____Online: Kimberly Hefling on Twitter: © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Graduation rates among the states vary, ranging from 90 percent in Iowa to 69 percent in Oregon.Gains have been fueled, in part, by large growth in some of the nation’s largest states, including California, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. But 15 percent of the nation’s high school students attend school in New York, Illinois, Washington and Arizona, where rates are declining or stagnating.STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES:Students with disabilities graduate at a rate of 62 percent, 20 points behind the national average. The rate is 2.9 percentage points higher than two years earlier.These students include those with intellectual disabilities with significant limitations, but also a wide range of other disabilities such as autism and speech impairments.It’s estimated that 85 percent of students with disabilities can do grade-level work, said Katy Neas, executive vice president for public affairs at Easter Seals. Neas said there have been improvements in the number of students with disabilities earning standard diplomas, but historically low expectations kept these students from getting the support they need.“When these kids get the right services and support, they can be successful in grade level academic work,” Neas said. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milklast_img read more

UN lowers global economic growth estimate amid modest pace

first_img Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to pain The United States, Japan and the European Union are more sedate. The U.S. is expected to grow by 2.8 percent this year and 2.7 percent next year. Japan’s growth is projected at 1.2 percent this year and 1 percent next year, while the EU is set to grow 1.9 percent this year and 2.1 percent in 2016.Developing countries’ average growth is seen as staying at 4.4 percent.“While the recovery in developed economies is improving, many countries still face considerable headwinds from the legacies of the global financial crisis,” the report says.The forecast says job creation is still weak, with a worrying note for the future: “The global youth unemployment rate is estimated at 13 percent, three times higher than the overall rate, as young people were disproportionately affected by the financial crisis.”Africa overall is expected to see 4.0 percent growth this year and 4.8 percent growth next year. “A large part of the downward revisions for North Africa and for Africa as a whole is due to Libya, which remains trapped in a civil war,” the report says.Latin America and the Caribbean make up the shakiest region outside Russia, with just 0.5 percent growth expected this year and 1.7 percent next year. “Venezuela is falling into a deeper recession, while Brazil and Argentina are expected to contract by 1.1 percent and 0.4 percent in 2015, respectively,” the report says. Patients with chronic pain give advice Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober East and South Asia are expected to keep growth steady at 6.2 percent this year and 6.1 percent in 2016. “East Asian exports are projected to remain relatively strong,” the report says.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Top Stories UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations is lowering its growth estimate for the global economy this year, saying its previous forecast of 3.1 percent growth in 2015 is now more likely to be 2.8 percent instead.The World Economic Situation and Prospects mid-year report released Tuesday says the dip reflects a worsening in Latin America in particular as the region deals with lower commodity prices.Overall, the forecast expects modest global growth the rest of this year and next year, which could see an improvement to 3.1 percent. The U.N. is keeping a wary eye on upcoming monetary policy changes in the United States, where the Federal Reserve is “expected to start raising interest rates in the second half of 2015,” as well as uncertainty about the Greek debt crisis’ effect on the eurozone and possible “spillovers” of conflicts including Yemen, Syria and Ukraine.“In the case of Yemen … the main source of risk is the possible closure of the route through the Bab el-Mandeb Straits, used by tankers to transport crude oil out of the Gulf region,” the report says.Around the world, the drop in prices for oil and other commodities has hurt countries whose economies largely depend on them, while commodity-importing countries benefit from being able to buy more for less. Oil prices are expected to recover slowly, the report says.Russia has been hit hard by the oil price decline. Its economy is expected to shrink by 3 percent this year and grow by just 0.1 percent in 2016.The report sees India’s growth surpassing China’s both this year and next. India is expected to grow by 7.6 percent this year and 7.7 percent next year, while China’s strong growth of recent years continues to settle at 7.0 percent this year and 6.8 next year. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Manufacturing in New York state shrinks in June

first_img Sponsored Stories The economy has shown signs of picking up after a slow start to the year, but manufacturers haven’t yet benefited. Nationwide, manufacturing output slipped 0.2 percent in May, according to a separate report Monday from the Federal Reserve. The Empire State index’s drop in June suggests the sector is still struggling.The dollar has risen 18 percent against a basket of international currencies in the past year. That makes U.S. goods more expensive overseas and makes imports cheaper, hurting sales in the U.S. and internationally.The Empire State index has bounced around zero since April, evidence that factory output in the state has been flat for the past three months.The survey provides an early look at U.S. manufacturing each month. The New York Fed surveys 200 businesses in the state and typically receives responses from about 100.Other recent economic data has painted a brighter picture. With hiring strong and gas prices down about 86 cents a gallon compared with a year ago, consumers are showing signs of spending more freely. That may spur more production in the coming months.Retail sales jumped 1.2 percent in May, the government said last week, spurred in part by strong auto sales. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Top Stories Check your body, save your life New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Employers added a robust 280,000 jobs in May and wages have shown signs of rising more quickly. The unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent, but even that included some good news: More Americans began looking for work, though not all immediately found jobs.Some of the headwinds slowing manufacturing should soon fade. A sharp drop in oil prices last year caused many U.S. drilling companies to cut back on their investments in steel pipe, machinery and other goods. Yet oil prices have ticked up in recent months, reducing the pressure on drillers.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WASHINGTON (AP) — Factory activity in New York state contracted in June, a sign that manufacturers are likely still held back by a strong dollar and cutbacks in investment by oil and gas drillers.The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Monday that its Empire State manufacturing index fell to negative 2 this month, down from plus 3 in May. Any reading above zero indicates expansion.A measure of new orders also fell into negative territory, evidence that factory output in the state may remain low. Shipments grew but at a slower pace. A gauge of hiring ticked up as manufacturers in the state added jobs at a faster pace. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finisheslast_img read more

High court says govt seizure of raisins is unconstitutional

first_img Sponsored Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? The court sided with California farmers Marvin and Laura Horne, who claimed they were losing money under a program they called outdated and ineffective. They had been fined $695,000 for trying to get around it.Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the government must pay “just compensation” when it takes personal goods, just as when it takes land away.Roberts rejected the government’s argument that the Hornes voluntarily chose to participate in the raisin market and have the option of growing different crops if they don’t like it.“‘Let them sell wine’ is probably not much more comforting to the raisin growers than similar retorts have been to others throughout history,” Roberts said. “Property rights cannot be so easily manipulated.”The case was considered one of the most important property disputes to reach the high court since 2005, when the justices ruled that the city of New London, Connecticut, could use the power of eminent domain to hand private homes or businesses to developers to help stimulate economic improvement. That case sparked a backlash in many states and led more than 40 state legislatures to pass laws protecting property rights. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only dissenter. She said the program did not deprive the Hornes of all property rights, it just limited the amount of potential income they could earn from it.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the government can’t force raisin farmers to give up part of their annual crop for less than it’s worth, a victory for conservative groups that hailed the decision as a win for private property rights.The justices ruled 8-1 that a 1940s-era program born out of the Great Depression is unconstitutional because it allows federal officials to seize personal property from farmers without fully compensating them, even though the goal is to benefit farmers by stabilizing market prices. The Hornes’ lawyer, John O’Quinn, called the ruling “a personal vindication” for the couple and “an important win for personal liberty.”Raisin prices have been stable recently, and farmers have not been ordered to put crops in reserve since 2010.Only a small number of other crops are regulated in the same way, though federal officials say most programs are not active. Those include California dried prunes, California dates, California almonds, tart cherries, walnuts and spearmint oil.A USDA spokesman said agency officials were reviewing the ruling and had no immediate comment.Roberts said the government could have restricted raisin sales by limiting production, which is how the vast majority of crops programs work.In a separate opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer agreed that the Hornes were entitled to be properly paid for their crops, but he said the case should be sent back to a lower court to decide whether they would have been owed any money had they complied with the program.Breyer’s separate opinion was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.Justice Clarence Thomas took issue with Breyer’s point and wrote separately to say that sending the case back to figure out compensation “in this case would be a fruitless exercise.” Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies By contrast, Monday’s ruling in the raisin case was seen as a decisive win for property-rights advocates seeking to limit government power.“The decision confirms what should be obvious: the government cannot come and take your personal property without compensation, whether raisins or other property, on the ground that the taking is for your own good,” said J. David Breemer, attorney for the Pacific Law Foundation, a conservative group that backed the Hornes.The program was authorized by a 1937 law that allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep prices for raisins and other crops steady by helping to manage supply. A 1949 marketing order allowed farmers to form a committee that decides how much of the raisin crop handlers must turn over to the government each year.These raisins would be placed into a reserve pool to be sold outside the open market, used for the school lunch program or given away to charities and foreign governments. Any profits from these reserve sales would go toward funding the committee and anything left over went back to the farmers.The Hornes refused to participate in the program in 2003, when farmers were required to give up 47 percent of their crop but received far less in return than their costs of production. They also refused to cooperate in 2004, when other farmers gave up 30 percent of the crop in 2004 and were paid nothing. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Anticapitalist ecocrusader Naomi Klein hosted at Vatican

first_img Top Stories Klein, a Canadian author and activist, said that the critical state of the planet required unusual alliances to be formed to fight the fossil fuel interests blocking courageous action at U.N. climate conferences. That doesn’t mean everyone agrees on everything or that one side’s world view is “being subsumed by anyone else’s,” she said.“This is an alliance on a specific issue. It’s not a merger,” Klein said. “But when you are faced with a crisis of this magnitude, people have to get out of their comfort zones.”In his encyclical, Francis called for a revolution to fix the “perverse” global economic system in which wealthy countries exploit the poor and pollute the Earth in the process.___Follow Nicole Winfield at © 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 Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home “Given the attacks that are coming from the Republican party around this and also the fossil fuel interests in the United States, it was a particularly courageous decision to invite me here,” she said. “I think it indicates that the Holy See is not being intimidated, and knows that when you say powerful truths, you make some powerful enemies and that’s part of what this is about.”The Vatican has come under fire from conservative Catholics for hosting the U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and economist Jeffrey Sachs at another climate conference, given their support for universal access to contraception.U.S. Republicans largely shrugged off Francis’ encyclical, saying the pope should leave science to the scientists. And the conservative Catholic pro-free-market Acton Institute called the pope’s manifesto “flawed” and “imprudent” given the role capitalism has had in lifting millions out of poverty.Nevertheless, the Vatican is forging ahead to promote the encyclical and the science behind it, hosting Klein at its latest climate conference alongside Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and gearing up for Pope Francis’ trip to the U.S. in September, where he will press his climate agenda before Congress and the United Nations. 0 Comments   Share   VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican added yet another strange bedfellow to its expanding ecological alliance Wednesday, hosting anti-capitalist eco-crusader Naomi Klein at a conference on saving the planet.Klein, author of “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate,” acknowledged Wednesday that, “as a secular Jewish feminist,” she never expected to be invited to the Vatican.But she told a Vatican news conference that Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on the environment and the global economic system that is threatening it spoke to her. She said the manifesto should inspire those who use the Bible to defend human domination of nature and deny climate change to change their ways. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean The difference between men and women when it comes to pain 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

Allinclusive for Crystal

first_imgFollowing the success of their ‘As You Wish’ promotion, Crystal Cruises has confirmed their decision to become an all-inclusive cruise line in 2012. The move to all-inclusive will come into place on the first transatlantic voyages next year with Crystal Symphony sailing fromMiami to Lisbon on 18 March 2012 and Crystal Serenity from New York to London on 8 May 2012.With their major competitors offering ‘all-inclusive’ cruising, Philip Ordover, vice president international sales and marketing for Crystal Cruises, said that their aim was to “keep it simple” for their travel agent partners and clients at a media lunch in Sydney earlier this week. With 98% of voyages sold through the travel trade, it was imperative for the line to maintain a sense of clarity with their brand offering and the response has reportedly been positive across the board. Offering an expansive host of additional complimentary services to their current ‘near’ all-inclusive selection, passengers will be privy to fine wines, premium spirits, open bar service and pre-paid gratuities. For a limited time, passengers will also receive a 50% saving per person in each category on all voyages in 2012, subject to availability, along with free flights in Business or Economy Class and transfers or a cruise-only credit. Mr Ordover also detailed to e-Travel Blackboard the push for ‘Book Now’ fares stating that guests won’t save money if they book closer to the sailing date.“We wanted to get across that it is better to book early as opposed to waiting. We are not a discount brand, we never have been,” Mr Ordover said. Sharing that fares are reviewed every 60 days, the most popular sailings can expect a price increase from $100 to $300 per person dependant on category. 21 voyages have been highlighted as increasing in price when fares are reviewed next on 1 November 2011. ‘Crystal Society’ members will still enjoy exclusive savings on all 2012 sailings and are eligible to take part in the 2012 referral program with early bird savings of an additional 2.5% also available when a cruise is booked and paid in full at least six months in advance. Onboard benefits and savings are also on offer for group bookings with multi-generation cruising becoming more popular for the line.“The fastest performing market segment for us at the moment if multi-generational families,” said Mr Ordover.   Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A Nobu Matsuhisa with Chef Tamba for Crystal Serenity’s Sushi Bar –  Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruiseslast_img read more