Fly Nonstop to Xiamen ex YVR with Xiamen Airlines

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first_imgTags: Videos, Xiamen Air Travelweek Group Tuesday, November 6, 2018 TORONTO — In this new video, learn more about Xiamen Airlines’ new nonstop flights from Vancouver International Airport to Xiamen, China.Established in 1984 and headquartered in Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian in Southeast China, Xiamen Airlines is China’s first airline company operating under the modern enterprise system.Through 34 years of steady development, Xiamen Airlines is praised by President Xi Jinping as “an epitome of China’s civil aviation development” and has become one of the most distinctive airline companies in China’s civil aviation industry.It operates a fleet of 163 aircraft as of early 2018, which is also among the youngest fleets in the world. Xiamen’s network of nearly 400 domestic and international routes covers China, Southeast and Northeast Asia, and reaches Europe, North America and Oceania. Taking advantage of its SkyTeam membership, it has extended its reach to 1,074 destinations in 177 countries.To book your flight, visit https://www.xiamenair.com/. Sharecenter_img Fly Nonstop to Xiamen ex YVR with Xiamen Airlines << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more

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Costa Rican neoNazi cop shown in Nazi salute on Facebook

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first_imgRelated posts:Human rights group asks Costa Rica to close down shop that displayed Nazi collectibles Is it fair to fire the cop for his Facebook pictures? Yes. His beliefs don’t belong in the ranks of the National Police.  No. Everyone has the right to express personal opinions. No opinion Neo-Nazi cop poll Authorities are investigating a Costa Rican police officer whose Facebook profile shows him posing in a Nazi salute with a Nazi flag and other symbols of the defunct German fascist party.Murdock Ronald Herrera, 26, has been a member of the National Police since 2009, and according to Public Security Vice Minister Celso Gamboa, an investigation of the photos is underway, although Herrera’s Facebook profile was deactivated on Monday  afternoon.The news of the neo-Nazi cop was first published by Tico blogger “El Chamuko” on his site “El infierno en Costa Rica” (Hell in Costa Rica), where he also published some of Herrera’s Facebook pictures.Herrera spoke to the daily La Nación on Monday and confirmed that he has worked for the National Police in San Pedro, east of San José, since November 2006. He said the pictures had caused him several problems and resulted in threats against his family. He did not say why he hadn’t removed the photos earlier.Herrera also said he was sent home from work  Monday, after social media sites and mainstream news outlets covered the story.According to Herrera, the photos depicting Nazi gestures where taken before he joined the National Police, but he acknowledged that “a few of his fellow police officers share his neo-Nazi ideologies.”National Police Director Juan José Andrade said Monday that Herrera’s case is under investigation to “verify if some of his actions are against the institution’s values and principles.”Tico blogger El Chamuko was more succinct: “It’s clear that even Jack the Ripper could pass psychological evaluations required to carry arms [in Costa Rica]. This public official [Herrera] shouldn’t even have a permit to carry a water pistol.”On Tuesday, Security Minister Mario Zamora said he asked for Herrera to be fired, because “no one linked with Nazism should be in the police force”. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Jubilee Picnic

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first_imgThe British community in Costa Rica invites all of its members, families, friends and supporters to the Diamond Jubilee Picnic, which celebrates the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne of Great Britain. The event will be held on Sunday, June 17, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Zamora Estate in Santa Ana southwest of San José (from the Bacchus Restaurant, 200 meters north) and will be similar to events held in the last 10 years, although on a smaller scale. Tickets are {10,000 ($20) per adult and {4,000 ($8) per child, which includes admission, a picnic lunch and access to the pool, the British goods shop, a fully stocked cash bar, secure parking, a bouncy castle and other attractions. Tickets can be purchased at Bagelmen’s Rohrmoser and San Pedro, Wendy’s Hair Studio (Escazú), and Oasis Café (Trejos Montealegre) until Tuesday, June 12. All proceeds will go to needy schools in Costa Rica, as usual.-Mike Hudson Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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Sarapiquí Stories

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first_imgThe community of San Ramón is hosting a traditional fiesta from Aug. 25-Sept. 3 Sept. This fun and traditional event is organized by the local Junta de Desarrollo.Come experience culture, food and beautiful scenery. Sample traditional dishes such as tamales and picadillos (a spicy dish of ground meat and vegetables) and experience traditional bull rides, topes (horse parades), rodeos and Latin dancing. San Ramón is a quaint little town located close to La Virgen de Sarapiquí, where you can take advantage of the local tours, hotels and a nature sanctuary.–Gloria Oliugosarapiqui@gmail.com Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img

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Enough says Guatemala journalist group citing preelection threats

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first_imgA hostile and dangerous atmosphere is being created to thwart journalism in Guatemala ahead of elections, the Guatemalan Journalists Association, or APG, has warned.Perpetrators hope to curb access to information and discredit journalists and columnists, the APG said in a Jan. 21 statement by its Press Freedom Committee.As examples, the APG mentioned the cases of Juan Luis Font, editor of the weekly magazine Contrapoder, Spanish journalist Pedro Trujillo, a columnist with the morning daily Prensa Libre, and José Rubén Zamora, president of the daily El Periódico.Reporting on the communiqué, Agence France Presse pointed out that Font and Trujillo have been criminally charged after criticizing Manuel Baldizón, a presidential hopeful in the September elections and a favorite in opinion polls.Baldizón seeks the presidential nomination of the center-right Libertad Democrática Renovada party, which he founded in 2010.Zamora “was legally persecuted by President Otto Pérez Molina and Vice President Roxana Baldetti for reporting in the newspaper alleged acts of corruption and illicit wealth,” AFP reported.In a separate incident, according to AFP, on Jan. 20, television news anchor Susana Morazán “was attacked by strangers who warned her to stop criticizing Pérez Molina’s government.”The same day, journalists and other personnel of the community radio station Snuq’ Jolom Konob’, in Santa Eulalia, some 335 kilometers northwest of Guatemala City, “were attacked by a group of people, apparently sympathizers of Diego Pedro Mateo, the town’s mayor,” it added. Members of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) José Roberto Dubriz, left, and Claudio Paolillo, right, arrive for a meeting with journalist José Rubén Zamora, center, director of El Periódico in Guatemala City, on Feb. 19, 2014. Johán Ordóñez/AFPThe APG committee pointed out that in Font’s and Trujillo’s cases, “the situation has worsened due to the fact that … the accusation was made by media allegedly at the service of a campaigning politician,” whom it did not name.The journalists’ association stated that “resorting to legal means without basis, bending the truth, distorting facts or manipulating legitimate action guaranteed by law to protect rights is perverse and must be condemned.”“What is happening will lead us to unpredictable situations and undesirable clashes,” the association warned, adding that, “besides repudiating a strategy aimed at discrediting journalists, this committee calls for respect for the legal system and for responsible attitudes befitting our role.”“We have knowledge of similar cases of which we already have reported, and the committee will follow up on all attacks aimed at curbing our constitutional rights,” it stated.In a lengthy, detailed report released last year and titled “Who is killing Central America’s journalists?” the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) noted that Guatemala – along with Honduras – provides a case study in attacks against members of the media in Central America.“Amid the violence and instability caused by organized crime and corruption in Central America, Honduras and Guatemala have experienced an alarming rise in the number of murders and attacks against journalists,” the CPJ stated.“Near complete impunity for these crimes means cases go mostly unsolved and the motives are unexplained. As fear grips newsrooms in both countries, critical media outlets and journalists find they are reined in by governments increasingly intolerant of dissent,” it added.“Both countries — two of the deadliest, according to U.N. statistics — are plagued by impunity, and in neither case is it clear who or what is behind the violence,” according to the CPJ.“This uncertainty has exacerbated the tense environments in Central America, which is experiencing widespread violence and a breakdown of the already limited rule of law due to a rise in organized crime,” the report added.Among the causes, the CPJ cited “lingering divisions and institutional weakness from political violence and conflict in the 1970s and 1980s, coupled with the influx of gang members deported from the U.S. and Mexican drug cartels.”The CPJ – which describes itself as a nonprofit organization run by journalists and promoting press freedom worldwide – referred to the internal wars being waged at the time between local guerrillas and national armies.After a complex negotiating process, the governments of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua signed on Aug. 7, 1987 in Guatemala the “Procedure to Establish a Firm and Lasting Peace in Central America.”The document led to the end of armed conflicts in Nicaragua (1982-1990), El Salvador (1982-1992) and Guatemala (1960-1996), which produced hundreds of thousands of victims.According to the committee, “in the capitals Tegucigalpa and Guatemala City, much of the press corps worries that the space for critical reporting is shrinking under governments they view as intolerant to dissent.”“In both places, lingering political polarization from earlier social conflicts and long-standing rivalries have left the press divided and reluctant to unite against common threats. As a result, the Honduran and Guatemalan public is being deprived of information at a moment of intense challenges for their countries,” it warned.“Responding to pressure by local and international civil society, the governments of both countries acknowledged the dangers facing journalists, and in 2012, publicly endorsed creating protection mechanisms modeled after Colombia’s successful program. For more than a year, both programs faltered,” it reported.In Guatemala, that initiative is called the Journalists’ Protection Program.For several years, the country has ranked among the top 30 most dangerous countries – among an average of 120 – for the practice of journalism, according to annual reports by the Press Emblem Campaign, a Geneva-based, international nonprofit organization to protect journalists.In 2010, Guatemala ranked 27th, with one journalist killed that year. In 2011, the country ranked 26th, and in 2013, it ranked 10th, with four journalists killed.On Oct. 7, 2014, the APG committee issued a communiqué stressing the need for journalists to take part in drawing up the program, a point made by international experts.“Trust is a key element in a protection mechanism, and at this moment, when most aggression comes from State spheres, the Press Freedom Committee considers the State is not only failing to fulfill its obligation to prevent, protect and punish, but, also, there are flagrant violations of the constitution” and other regulations, it added.“This committee backs the legitimate demands by those who have promoted this mechanism, and demands they be added in order for the goal, which is the profession’s protection, to be fulfilled,” the APG stated.“It demands the government cease aggression against journalists … by authorities at all levels, by the National Police, among other perpetrators of violence against journalists, and that violations of freedom of thought, freedom of the press and access to information cease,” it stated. Facebook Comments Related posts:In Guatemala, anti-establishment presidential candidate benefits from corruption scandals Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina dismisses ‘spurious’ corruption case Why Guatemala’s Pérez Molina turns a deaf ear to widespread calls for his resignation Unanimous: Guatemalan Congress strips President Pérez Molina’s immunitylast_img read more

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WATCH Costa Ricas Bryan Ruíz scores beautiful goal for Sporting Lisbon in

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first_imgRelated posts:Bryan Ruíz scores another golazo in Portugal Cup Watch Bryan Ruiz’s historic goal against Italy from 3 different angles 3 things to watch in La Sele’s Copa América prep against Venezuela Costa Rica’s La Sele stays on World Cup track with 1-1 tie against Honduras While Thanksgiving celebrations up north are so often synonymous with watching pigskin, the other kind of football rules supreme in Costa Rica.And an absolute golazo on Thursday from Costa Rican captain Bryan Ruíz for his European club gives Ticos everywhere reason to be thankful for the 30-year-old forward. Ruíz gave his team Sporting Lisbon from Portugal an early 2-1 lead over Lokomotive Moscow in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League by chipping in a gorgeous side volley in the 38th minute of the match at Lisbon’s José Alvalade Stadium.https://vine.co/v/ia7OTz1AFq3/embedSporting Lisbon won 4-2 over Moscow, which currently leads Group H of the Europa League. Lisbon’s win gives it seven points in group play, just behind Turkey’s Besiktas which is in second place with eight points. The two teams meet on Dec. 10 in a game that Sporting Lisbon needs to win in order to advance to the elimination stages.The captain for Costa Rica’s men’s national team also scored in his last appearance for “La Sele,” a crucial 2-1 World Cup qualifying win last week over Panama, when he hammered home a 65th minute goal that led the Ticos to the top of CONCACAF’s Group B in the qualifying rounds. The score was Ruiz’s 18th for his country and today’s goal marks just his second score for Sporting Lisbon after joining the club in July. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Why Googles new quantum computer could launch an artificial intelligence arms race

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first_imgThe way forwardGoing forward, it’s possible to think of two vastly different scenarios for quantum computing. The first scenario is that Google uses these D-Wave quantum computers to corner the market in artificial intelligence. Just as once nobody could have predicted that everyone would own his own personal computer one day, maybe people will all own their own quantum computer one day.The other scenario is that the world moves on to other forms of computing, perhaps using components that are easier to program than qubits. Maybe quantum computers are just too quirky, too hard to program, to solve the types of problems most people want to solve. Quantum computers may be able to optimize an entire nation’s air-traffic control grid or fly a spacecraft to Mars, but what if you just want to check your phone to know what to wear to work tomorrow?Either way, the future of artificial intelligence will never be the same. Thanks to exponential gains in computing power on the horizon, it’s becoming increasingly clear that today’s digital computers have the potential to become obsolete. Let’s just hope that tomorrow’s super-powerful quantum computers don’t become transcendent and try to take over the world.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Ever since the 1980s, researchers have been working on the development of aquantum computer that would be exponentially more powerful than any of the digital computers that exist today. And now Google, in collaboration with NASA, says it has a quantum computer – the D-Wave 2X – that works.Google claims the D-Wave 2X is 100 million times as fast as any of today’s machines. As a result, this quantum computer could theoretically complete calculations within seconds to a problem that might take a digital computer 10,000 years to calculate. That’s particularly important, given the difficult tasks that today’s computers are called upon to complete and the staggering amount of data they are called upon to process.On the surface, the D-Wave 2X represents a quantum leap not just for computing but also for the field of artificial intelligence. In fact, Google refers to its work being carried out at NASA’s Ames Research Center as “quantum artificial intelligence.” That’s because problems that are too hard or too complex for today’s machines could be solved almost instantaneously in the future.Because of the specifics of how Google’s quantum computer works – a process known as quantum annealing – the immediate applications for Google’s quantum computer are a class of A.I. problems generally referred to as optimization problems. Imagine NASA being able to use quantum computers to optimize the flight trajectories of interstellar space missions, FedEx being able to optimize its delivery fleet of trucks and planes, an airport being able to optimize its air-traffic control grid, the military being able to crack any encryption code, or a Big Pharma company being able to optimize its search for a breakthrough new drug.You get the idea – the new Google quantum computer could potentially be worth millions, if not billions, to certain types of companies or government agencies.Moreover, consumers might also benefit from the development of quantum artificial intelligence. In a promotional video for its Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, Google suggests that travel might be one type of consumer optimization problem worth pursuing. Imagine planning a trip to Europe, selecting which cities you’d like to visit, telling a computer how much you’d like to pay, and then having Google optimize the perfect trip itinerary for you.There’s just one little problem with all this: Quantum computers are notoriously difficult beasts to tame. With quantum computers, you’re dealing with quantum bits (“qubits”), not digital bits. Unlike digital bits, which are binary (either 1 or 0), a qubit could be either – or both at the same time. That means you have to deal with all the quirky properties of particles predicted by quantum mechanics in order to program quantum computers correctly.Oh, and each 10-foot-high D-Wave computer also needs to be super-chilled to a temperature that’s 150 times as cold as that of deep space, making them pretty much inaccessible to anyone who hasn’t been stockpiling liquid helium.And that’s where the A.I. contest comes into play. IBM, for instance, has a digital supercomputer – IBM Watson – that also wants to play the A.I. optimization game. IBM Watson also wants to optimize the research and development process for pharmaceutical researchers to find new cures. And IBM Watson wants to play in the consumer realm, where it’s already at work optimizing the training regimens of top-flight athletes. Related posts:Robin Williams is Google’s top search trend; in Costa Rica, it’s Keylor Navas Warning: Wearing Google Glass to a bar might get you attacked Feel the full frustration of Costa Rican roads with Google Maps’ new Pac-Man game Snapchat vanishing video viewing hits 6 billion dailycenter_img The other competitorsAnd it’s not just Google D-Wave vs. IBM Watson in some ultimate cage match to see which is better and faster at optimizing solutions to hard problems; it’s all the other classes of unconventional computers out there. Consider, for example, the new memcomputer, which mimics the way the human brain works, storing and processing information simultaneously. There are plenty of other unconventional computers, too, including some that are biological. And other research labs and universities –such as at the University of Maryland or Yale University, which recently launched the Yale Quantum Institute – are working on their own quantum computers.What all this points to is that traditional digital computing (what Google refers to as “classical computing”) is on the way out. We’re now looking for a new heir apparent, and Google hopes to anoint D-Wave as the rightful heir. With its big announcement that quantum computing can work, Google hopes to show that they’ve figured out how to make practical quantum computers for the commercial market.Anytime you claim to have created something that’s 100 million times as fast as anything else that’s ever existed, though, you’re bound to run up against skeptics. Indeed, there are plenty of skeptics for the D-Wave. One big quibble about the quantum qubits, for example, is that the test results were not nearly as impressive as Google claims they were. That’s because the digital computer trying to defeat the quantum computer was forced to compete under Google’s house rules, which meant that it had to use the same algorithm that the quantum computer used – and that algorithm had already been carefully sculpted to the peculiarities of the quantum world. Imagine running a race against a competitor in shoes that are too big, pants that keep falling down, and on a course where your competitor can run across and through the track – not just around it.last_img read more

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Arcadios World

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first_imgRelated posts:Arcadio’s World Arcadio’s World Arcadio’s World Arcadio’s World Facebook Commentslast_img

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Colombia announces ceasefire deal to end 52year conflict with FARC

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first_imgHAVANA – In a ceremony meant to mark the symbolic end to 52 years of fighting, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and leftist guerrilla commander Timoleón Jiménez shook hands on a cease-fire pact Thursday that paves the way for a final peace deal and the rebels’ complete disarmament.With U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and six Latin American presidents in attendance, Santos and Jiménez celebrated the deal — which overcomes the last major obstacle to a larger peace accord — as a historic moment for a country that has been at war with itself for the past five decades.“This is the end point of the armed conflict,” said Santos.“May this be the last day of the war,” said Jiménez, leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who is better known by the nom de guerre Timochenko.Santos said this week he wants to sign a final peace accord in time for Colombia’s July 20 independence anniversary, but officials with knowledge of the talks say it will likely take longer to iron out the last few details and that a signing ceremony in August is a more realistic target.Still, the agreement signed Thursday essentially maps out the complex choreography of getting 7,000 heavily armed rebel fighters to leave their jungle camps, lay down their guns and turn their insurgency into a legal political movement. With drug trafficking gangs and other armed criminal groups still powerful in parts of rural Colombia, the rebels retain deep fears that they will be left defenseless to attacks from their longtime enemies, despite assurances that government security forces will protect them.But after 3 1/2 years of formal negotiations, the most delicate aspects of the peace talks have been settled.“There is nothing big and substantial left that will pull the two parties apart,” said Bernard Aronson, the U.S. special envoy to the Colombian peace process, who also attended Thursday’s ceremony.“The finish line has been defined,” said Aronson. “Absent some unanticipated extraneous event, this is the end of the war.”The conflict has killed an estimated 220,000 people and forced nearly 7 million Colombians from their homes over the decades — the highest number of what the United Nations considers “internally displaced persons” in the world.Santos said Thursday that a final peace accord will be signed in Colombia. The accord will then be subject to approval by Colombian voters through a referendum. While government negotiators and the FARC had been at odds over the form the referendum would take, they announced Thursday that the plebiscite would be defined by Colombia’s judiciary — meaning that the rebels accepted the government’s position.For the FARC, the most difficult part of the peace process essentially boiled down to two highly sensitive issues.The rebels did not want a peace deal that would put them in prison. And they refused to give up their guns if it meant they would be exposed to bloody payback from their enemies.They reached an agreement last year on the first point. Essentially, FARC rank-and-file members whose only formal criminal charge is “rebellion” will receive a blanket amnesty.FARC leaders with convictions in absentia or who are charged with serious crimes — including terrorism, murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking — will be eligible for an alternative judicial process.If they agree to testify to crimes and fully disclose their roles in the conflict, they will be eligible for sentences that are less punitive than prison and resemble something closer to community service. But if they withhold information or do not tell the truth, they could be tried by Colombia’s criminal justice system and face the risk of lengthy terms in conventional prisons.Critics of Santos and the peace deal say that amounts to a wrist-slap for FARC commanders and a betrayal of the conflict’s victims.Under the terms of the agreement announced Thursday, the rebels will gather in 22 protected zones and eight camps, where they will disarm in phases once the final accord is reached. Colombian security forces will provide security, but unarmed U.N. observers will be present in the camps with the rebels to oversee the process.FARC fighters will begin by giving up heavy weapons, followed by rifles and, eventually, sidearms. The process could take up to 180 days, during which only a limited number of FARC personnel would be allowed to leave the zones, and no civilians would be allowed to enter them without government approval.“The idea that the FARC would concentrate its forces and lay down its weapons in exchange for security guarantees was always the goal in theory,” said Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin America program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington. “But agreeing on the concrete steps to make it happen is just huge,” she said.“There’s no doubt that the hardest part — implementation of the accords — is yet to come,” said Arnson. “But recognizing that shouldn’t detract from what a transcendental moment this is.”With Santos’s public approval ratings sliding and impatience with the peace talks among the Colombian public, the government has done little to conceal its eagerness to close the deal.The FARC has proceeded more cautiously, knowing that the terms of its disarmament are the last card it holds at the bargaining table. But sources close to the talks say FARC leaders are eager to jump into Colombian electoral politics, with members of its negotiating team hoping to enter congress when Colombia holds its next elections in 2018.The presidents of Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic also attended Thursday’s ceremony.© 2016, The Washington Post Related posts:Demining Colombia will take ‘a generation’: minister Colombia suspends peace talks with FARC after general kidnapped An end to Colombia’s war seems close – except in rebel territory Waging peace in Colombia Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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This week in the Peace Corps Building sustainable recycling projects

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first_imgFrom the Caribbean to the Pacific, Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) work with local communities on environmental awareness, trash collection systems, and recycling projects.PCVs Tanya, Laura, and Paige participated in recycling campaigns in their respective communities, in an effort to keep youth involved and motivated in community projects. Photo courtesy of Peace Corps Costa RicaFrom environmental fairs, to starting recycling routes, to a truck full of recyclable materials – all of the volunteers are at different stages of the project life cycle. PCVs work in communities to help educate locals on issues like these so that when they leave, healthy projects are up and running, and most importantly, sustainable. Photo courtesy of Peace Corps Costa RicaThe Peace Corps photo series in The Tico Times Costa Rica Changemakers section is sponsored by the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), a proud financial supporter of Peace Corps Volunteer projects nationwide. Learn more here. To donate to support the Peace Corps Costa Rica, visit the official donation page.  Volunteers’ last names and community names are withheld from these publications, per Peace Corps policy.Connect with the Peace Corps Costa Rica on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Brought to you by the Costa Rica USA Foundation (CRUSA). Courtesy of CRUSA Facebook Comments Related posts:This week in the Peace Corps: Cacao in Talamanca This week in the Peace Corps: Celebrating English learning This week in the Peace Corps: Brick to Bread ovens This week in the Peace Corps: Cooking like a Costa Ricanlast_img read more

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Costa Rica inaugurates countrys largest solar park

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first_imgThis story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5% Club. If only 5 percent of our readers donated at least $5 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Costa Rica on Saturday inaugurated the country’s largest solar park, which the government says will provide electricity to 5,000 homes. Located in Pocosol of San Carlos, Alajuela, Parque Solar Cooperativo comprises 19,000 solar panels over 11.2 hectares. It will help northern communities enjoy uninterrupted electric service throughout the dry season, when hydroelectric capacity diminishes, according to Casa Presidencial. “From Pocosol we send a message to the world that a country committed to renewable energy is capable of generating a solar panel project,” President Carlos Alvarado posted on Twitter. “[This is] a strong message of the path that we are following as a country.” Inauguramos el parque solar más grande del país. Desde Pocosol se manda un mensaje al mundo de que un país comprometido con las energías renovables es capaz de generar un proyecto de páneles solares. Un mensaje fuerte de la ruta que seguimos como país. #DescarbonicemosCR pic.twitter.com/dYPK6AY0oR— Carlos Alvarado Quesada (@CarlosAlvQ) March 30, 2019“Parque Solar Cooperativo will be an important step to reach the [decarbonization] goal by 2050,” Alvarado said. “Photovoltaic energy will be paramount to electrify transport and to abandon hydrocarbons.” The project cost nearly $6.5 million, according to Casa Presidencial. It was overseen by the Cooperative and the Consortium of National Electrification Companies (CONELECTRICAS), and Coopelesca, the rural electrification cooperative of San Carlos.“This is a very important project for us because we are working to diversify the production of energy from environmentally friendly sources,” said Omar Miranda, Coopelesca’s general manager. Costa Rica in February announced plans to decarbonize by 2050, an ambitious plan that will involve modernizing the country’s transportation sector with a focus on walking, biking and electric-powered trains. The Minister of the Environment and Energy, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, also unveiled a 10-point plan for decarbonization beginning with short-term goals the current administration aims to complete before 2022. Related posts:Regulator approves decrease in electricity rates for next quarter A little funding and a lot of ideas on how to decarbonize Costa Rica Costa Rica moves forward on distributed generation with net metering to start in April Costa Rica bets on ending fossil fuel use by 2050center_img A plan to decarbonize by 2050 – how will Costa Rica pay for it?last_img read more

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Costa Rica approves law against child abuse prepared by alleged victims of

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first_imgRelated posts:Vatican expels Costa Rican priest from Catholic Church for alleged abuses Costa Rican priest arrested for alleged sexual abuse of a minor Priest accused of sexual abuse arrested trying to leave Costa Rica Archbishop minimizes fall in reputation of the Church, predicts ‘high participation’ during Holy Week Costa Rica’s congress approved on Tuesday a bill that extends the statute of limitations for the crime of sexual abuse of minors.The initiative, known as Derecho al Tiempo (“Right to Time”), increases the statute of limitations for sexual offenses against minors from the current 10 years to 25, starting from when the victim reaches adulthood (at 18).“It is a time that will allow for the doors of justice to be open when those victims are prepared, overcome the traumas, reconstruct the facts, and touch the door of justice,” said deputy government official Enrique Sanchez, project promoter.The legislator supported the initiative prepared by Michael Rodriguez and Anthony Venegas, who denounced a Catholic priest for allegedly having sexually abused them when they were teenagers. However, both accusations were filed after the expiration of the 10-year statute of limitations.The initiative was approved in only two months, a very short time for the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica.According to Sanchez, that suggests that many of the deputies believe the victims.“That we are on their side and that we are doing what is necessary to guarantee them effective access to justice,” he said.Rodríguez and Venegas denounced for alleged sexual abuse the priest Mauricio Víquez, who was recently disbarred by the Vatican after accumulating at least nine accusations against him.The priest left Costa Rica in January and is currently facing an international arrest warrant from Interpol.Víquez left Costa Rica after a complaint for which the statute of limitations has not expired, since the alleged victim has not turned 28 years of age and therefore was still within 10 years to appear before the courts. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Manuel Antonio expands capacity following improvements

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first_imgWant stories like this delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to the Tico Times newsletter Facebook Comments Related posts:Health Ministry orders improvements at Manuel Antonio National Park Health Ministry extends deadline to perform improvements at Manuel Antonio Costa Rican court orders effective protection for Corcovado National Park Environment Ministry officials report increased damage of wildfires inside protected areascenter_img Costa Rica’s most popular national park is getting busier. Manuel Antonio National Park now welcomes up to 2,700 visitors each day following upgrades to its wastewater treatment facilities, the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) announced earlier this month.Prior to the announcement, Manuel Antonio had limited daily entrances to 1,700 people due to sanitation concerns. The improvements include the addition of 10 portable toilets near the beach known as Playa Tres, and the hiring of 10 additional park officials to assist tourists. “The Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) managed to make improvements in the wastewater treatment system at beach 3, which was key to recovering the number of visitors,” said Pamela Castillo, the Deputy Environment Minister, in a statement. In March, MINAE announced plans to design and construct additional wastewater treatment systems at Manuel Antonio. The new resources will be built in August, according to ICT. MINAE also hopes to introduce an online reservation system for purchasing tickets later this year. Manuel Antonio could join Póas Volcano National Park and Chirripó National Park as protected areas that require tickets be purchased online in advance of a visit. More than 311,000 people visited Manuel Antonio National Park in 2017, according to data provided by ICT. The park is popular for its beaches, abundance of wildlife and its relative proximity to San José. The entrance fee to Manuel Antonio is 1,600 colones (about $2.70) for citizens and residents, and $16 for foreigners and non-residents.last_img read more

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Swedens prime minister files for divorce

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first_imgReinfeldt, 46, and his 45-year old wife, local Stockholm politician Filippa, separated in March this year, but the reason for the split has not been made public. The couple married in 1992 and has three children.Former Prime Minister Goran Persson also divorced while in office. Reinfeldt’s center-right coalition ousted Persson’s social democratic government in the 2006 elections.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) STOCKHOLM (AP) – Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has filed for divorce after having separated from his wife earlier this year after two decades of marriage.A brief statement sent from Reinfeldt’s office, including a copy of the divorce documents, said the prime minister had handed in the paperwork at the Stockholm District Court on Wednesday. It added that no further comment would be issued on the matter. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Sponsored Stories center_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 0 Comments   Share   New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

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Africa West combine to rout militants in Somalia

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first_imgAssociated PressMOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – The first Ugandan soldiers to fly into Somalia 5 1/2 years ago came under attack as soon as they arrived: Militants fired mortars at the new mission’s welcome ceremony.Today, backed by a sweeping multinational effort that includes $338 million in U.S. equipment, wages and training, the force of Ugandans, Burundians, Kenyans and Somalis that was deployed to take on the country’s Islamic radicals can claim a degree of success that had initially seemed highly unlikely. Many ingredients went into making AMISOM a credible force: U.S. money, equipment and training; United Nations logistical support, food, housing and an international mandate; training in how to avoid or respond to civilian casualties, an important hearts-and-minds investment.Another advantage: The invading soldiers, like the Somalis, were black Africans and therefore a more acceptable foreign presence. They were not the first African force policing Somalia _ an Ethiopian contingent had been deployed three months before the Ugandans arrived. But Ethiopia, unlike Uganda, moved in with a heavy hand and a poor reputation.Among the most important factors in AMISOM’s success were a high tolerance for casualties, and the incentive of salaries of $1,028 per month, paid for by the European Union _ 10 to 20 times the average incomes in Uganda and Burundi. AMISOM and participating governments refuse to release death tolls. The topic is too politically sensitive back in home capitals. But two Western officials who work on Somalia issues and who were not allowed to be identified told The Associated Press that some 500 Ugandans and Burundians have been killed, plus an unknown number of Kenyans who joined AMISOM over the last year. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day AMISOM’s U.N. mandate was narrow: provide security for the airport, seaport and presidential palace. No major battles took place, though mortars hit the airport and targeted killings of troops slowly rose. Al-Shabab seemed more interested in fighting the Ethiopian force.By the time the Ugandans and the Burundians who had joined them began pushing out from their airport base in 2009, al-Shabab had built a vast network of tunnels and trenches through the city to move supplies and hold back AMISOM’s tanks. The Ugandans and Burundians fought building to building, and the civilian casualties often were blamed on AMISOM.“There was a point when Mogadishu’s sentiment was shifting against AMISOM,” and the U.S. and its partners decided action was needed, said Hogendoorn.Troops readying to deploy to Somalia were trained by U.S. and European advisers in firing and maneuvering, fighting in built-up areas, rules of engagement, and making friends in the Somali culture. Somali troops were increasingly integrated into operations.Capt. Henry Obbo credits those soft military skills with winning the mission. “You can see whenever we move, they wave at us. It’s the way we interact with them.” Most Ugandans are Christian and Somalis are Muslim, he said, but, “we are all Africans. We have Somalis who are citizens in Uganda. My best friend in school was a Somali called Suliman.” 4 must play golf courses in Arizona (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) When the Ugandan spearhead arrived on March 6, 2007, Somalia had been in chaos for years, ruled by warlords and insurgents bent on creating an Islamic state. AMISOM, the African Union Mission in Somalia, was the most ambitious response since the failed 1990s U.S. intervention of Black-Hawk-Down infamy.The militants called al-Shabab, who once controlled nearly all of Mogadishu, have been gone from the capital for more than a year, and last month AMISOM booted them out of their last urban stronghold, the port city of Kismayo.“I think from a military and security perspective it has been a success. Absent AMISOM, al-Shabab would now be in control of Mogadishu. We would not be talking about a new (Somali) national government with a president from civil society in charge,” said E.J. Hogendoorn, a Horn of Africa expert at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that tracks conflicts.But if the specter of Somalia as al-Qaida’s next Yemen has been averted, the challenge now is to achieve strong central government for an estimated 10 million Somalis.  “What is necessary for the long term in Somalia,” said Hogendoorn, “is some sort of political resolution to this conflict.” Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement AMISOM was gaining ground, and the militants knew it. In August 2010, just before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, al-Shabab mounted a massive offensive to overrun the government and control all of Mogadishu. Among its ranks were veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war, and at least two dozen Americans, mostly of Somali origin.The militants battled to within 100 meters (yards) of the presidential palace. But they took heavy casualties.“That was when we broke their back. That marked the beginning of the end of al-Shabab,” said Mugisha, the ex-AMISOM commander. “We were supposed to be thrown in the sea. But this was not possible because we were also prepared. There were several battles, very serious and intense. We took some casualties, but I think we won the battles because we had better equipment and we were determined.”Rouget estimated that al-Shabab suffered more than 1,000 dead and wounded, and that the militant commander Mukhtar Robow lost 400 of his men, a blow that began to fracture al-Shabab leadership.Even after the failed Ramadan offensive, fighting was still intense. In February 2011, AMISOM troops pushed out into southwestern Mogadishu, where the Ministry of Defense was occupied by insurgents. More than 50 AMISOM troops, mostly from Burundi, reportedly died in one day _ a figure never officially confirmed. Somali militants are melting into the local populace and could be preparing a comeback, as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan after invading coalition forces made early claims of success. Al-Shabab still controls wide areas of south-central Somalia.Their territory, however, is low-value countryside and shrinking, while Mogadishu and other urban areas are enjoying a long-awaited respite from Islamist radicalism.Some may see AMISOM’s success as reaffirming the blueprint of African boots on the ground, backed by U.S., European and U.N. money, as a possible model for the future on this troubled continent.But Dr. J. Peter Pham, an Africa specialist at the Atlantic Council, a Washington, D.C. think tank, echoes Hogendoorn’s caution.“It’s a success for the military strategy, but a military strategy can only achieve military ends … Victory is secured when Mogadishu faces up to its political crisis. The military can clear out a space but cannot fill a space. That requires civil society and a political solution,” he said.     ___Back in 2007, the first Ugandan troops to arrive barely had enough food. Soldiers actually died of scurvy. An army of bush fighters had been dropped into the most dangerous kind of urban terrain. It lacked _ and still lacks _ the attack helicopters essential to fighting this kind of war. Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories center_img ___Somali leaders in August voted in a new constitution, a 275-member parliament and a president. Businesses and sports are thriving in Mogadishu under the AMISOM security blanket. Al-Qaida-linked fighters have fled to Yemen and northern Somalia.But AMISOM leaders know Somalia needs a long-lasting political solution and trustworthy army to escape its two decades of chaos and hold back the warlords.Brig. Gen. Paul Lokech, the current commander of the Ugandan contingent of AMISOM, attended senior staff college at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and has “The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell” on his desk. When asked earlier this year if he trusts Somali politicians, he exhaled loudly.“Trust? That is too powerful. But these are the elected leaders and we will work with them,” he said. He added: “There is need for political actors to come on board and appeal to the fighters to put their arms down. They should be saying, `Brothers, it is high time to end the fighting.’”___Jason Straziuso was embedded with African Union troops in the Mogadishu suburb of Afgoye in June. Associated Press reporters Abdi Guled in Mogadishu and Rodney Muhumuza in Kampala, Uganda contributed to this report.       Sponsored Stories In May 2011, Ugandan troops fought their way back to Bakara market. Mugisha said that “was the last nail in the coffin of al-Shabab.”“They could not believe that they could be uprooted from that market,” he said. “It was a built-up, very formidable area where they had stocked a lot of ammunition, and that’s where they sell guns. All sorts of equipment were there. Once they were uprooted out of Bakara and in the northern part of Mogadishu, it marked the major beginning of the end of the whole offensive against al-Shabab.”On Aug. 6, 2011, residents in Mogadishu awoke to find that the militants had fled. The city was free of fighting for the first time in years. Al-Shabab called the pullout a tactical retreat, a way to preserve its dwindling manpower. It was the first of a series of such retreats, culminating in their withdrawal from Kismayo, 415 kilometers (260 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, last month. Kenyan troops launched an overnight amphibious assault on the port city, and al-Shabab announced a pull-out the next day.“It is an absolutely amazing success,” said Bancroft’s Rouget. “It’s the first time Africa proved it can sort out African conflicts.” Comments   Share   That may seem much less than American losses in Iraq and Afghanistan, but proportionate to their troop levels they are high. AMISOM troop levels only recently reached their current peak of 17,000.“Somalia was the worst situation in the whole world. Somalia was hell on earth, and now it has been turned around. The Somalis now have got hope. So when you ask about the casualties we have taken, I tell you that it was worth it,” said Uganda’s Gen. Nathan Mugisha, who commanded AMISOM from 2009 to 2011.AMISOM did not fight in Somalia’s pirate-infested region, but with al-Shabab on the run, the government may be able to begin tackling the on-land problems that produced pirates at sea.___Having survived the attack on the welcoming ceremony unscathed,  the Ugandan force, then numbering 1,500, soon went to work. It suffered its first fatality in late April, and a week later drove into Mogadishu’s Bakara market, with its notorious weapons section called Cirtoogte, meaning “sky shooter,” because buyers would test-fire weapons into the air.It was the first time a foreign military had entered the market in the 15 years since the U.S. forces came and went. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Mugisha notes that the U.N. feeds AMISOM’s troops, the EU pays them and the U.S. and Italy pay Somali troops. The U.S., though, is the biggest single financial contributor.“The Americans have supported the training of our troops here, in Uganda and in Burundi, and largely they sponsor it. They give uniforms, body armor and whatever, everything that prepares a soldier for battle,” he said. “… Without them I don’t think we would have been able to put the soldiers on the ground and sustain them.”The U.S. has equipped AMISOM with ammunition, some rifles, armored personnel carriers, communications gear and small, hand-held surveillance drones called Ravens. They give them boots, uniforms, bulletproof vests and helmets. And U.S. money supports Somali troops with non-lethal equipment.The U.S. also flies larger drones that occasionally fire at one of al-Shabab’s _ or al-Qaida’s _ top leaders.The U.S. insists AMISOM is not the West’s proxy. “AMISOM is an African peacekeeping force responding to an African crisis,” says the top U.S. official on Somalia, James Swan. “And like every other peacekeeping operation in the world, it receives a great deal of international support.  In the case of AMISOM today, the majority of that support comes from the U.N.” “When they first arrived, we thought that they were an invading force that wanted to colonize Somalia,” Abshir Mohamed, a Mogadishu resident, said. “But their actions quickly changed our minds. We saw they didn’t have that intention and are doing an ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”Another Somali, Muhummed Nor, had mixed feelings. AMISOM troops, he said, freed Mogadishu from constant war, but he lamented the number of civilians killed. In his view, AMISOM shelled residential areas. Military leaders blame that shelling on al-Shabab.After the Ethiopians pulled out in 2009, the U.N. upgraded the mission and AMISOM slowly gained momentum and manpower. Bancroft, a U.S. company hired by the U.S. State Department, introduced sniper rifles and trained 100 marksmen, reducing the need for mortars that could hit civilians. Training sessions back in Uganda incorporated the lessons being learned in Mogadishu.“Every day they changed and got better,” said Richard Rouget, a Frenchman who works for Bancroft. “Better discipline, better battlefield control, better logistics.”The U.S. and Italian governments began paying Somali soldiers’ wages, reducing the number of trained government troops who defected to al-Shabab. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img

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Israeli watchdog reports spike in settlements

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first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Palestinians consider settlements a major obstacle to establishing a state that includes the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war. Israel has since built dozens of settlements that are now home to about 550,000 Israelis.Israelis and Palestinians recently resumed peace talks after a five-year lull.(Copyright 2013 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 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories JERUSALEM (AP) – An Israeli anti-settlement watchdog group says there has been a dramatic spike in West Bank settlement construction this year.Peace Now said Thursday that there has been a 70 percent increase in housings starts in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period the previous year. It said its data was based on a survey of aerial photos and a count of all housings units built in each settlement. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Check your body, save your life Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous oflast_img read more

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LAN Airlines named best airline based in CentralSouth America

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first_imgSource = LAN Airlines LAN Airlines has once again been selected Best Airline in Central/South America and the Caribbean at the annual Airline Industry Awards presented by Official Airline Guide (OAG), the world leader in air travel information. This year marks the 27th anniversary of the awards, which are considered the “Oscars of the Airline Industry” because they are voted for by frequent flyers around the world who choose the best international companies and airports.Winners are chosen through a survey that asks frequent flyers to rank the top three airlines among those they have flown over the past 12 months in each of the award categories. “We are proud to distribute the 2009 OAG Airline Industry Awards to airlines and airports who work hard every day to give travelers the best flying experience possible,” stated Peter von Moltke, CEO of UBM Aviation.Responding to the award announcement, Armando Valdivieso, LAN’s CEO Passenger, said that “We are honored to receive this important distinction, which reflects the opinions of demanding customers from around the globe, and will continue working to offer the best flight experience with the excellent service and high safety standards that have distinguished LAN internationally.”Among the other oneworld alliance companies that received awards were Qantas, for Best Airline based in Australasia/Pacific, and British Airways, winner in the Best Economy/Coach Class category.Complete list of winners for 2009 available at:http://www.oagairlineawards.com/Winnerslast_img read more

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Tiger Airways successful launches IPO

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first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/27588/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Tiger Airways has launched its initial public offering (IPO) at $S1.50 ($1.17) per share. Reports coming out of Singapore on Monday indicated that the partial float had attracted strong interest and the deal appears to have been oversubscribed. The low cost carrier previously indicated it wanted to sell the shares at the top end of its $S1.35 to $S1.65 indicative range and would realise about $S233 million before expenses. Tiger Airways plans to use more than half of these profits to fund aircraft acquisitions. The airline has confirmed that approximately $S50m will go towards paying off short-term loans and a further $S10m will be invested into “potential new airlines or operating bases”. Currently, Tiger Airways has bases in Singapore, Melbourne and Adelaide serviced by 17 aircraft. The airline has also confirmed plans to expand its fleet with a further 51 aircraft by 2015. This would place the low-cost carrier in the same competitive league as its major rivals, Jetstar and AirAsia. The offering consisted of 155,556,000 new shares plus 9,599,000 from investor Indigo Partners. President and Chief Executive Officer of Tiger Airways, Tony Davis said, “We believe that the significant demand for shares in Tiger Airways from investors around the world is a strong vote of confidence in our low-cost business model and the growth potential of Tiger Airways.”The Financial Times has reported that the IPO had been 3 1/2 times subscribed by Friday night and it could end up eight to 10 times oversubscribed. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

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Olympic fever continues in Canada with Paralympics

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first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/299b9/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Vancouver and Whistler will be continuing its Winter Olympic festivities as it launches the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, which this year will feature 64 medal events.This Winter Olympics will feature a first, with the closing ceremony for the Paralympic Winter Games held outside the host city of Vancouver.  Instead the ceremony will take place at Whistler Medals Plaza on the 21st of March.Whistler will have much to boast about over the next week or so, as some 95% of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games will be held within the Whistler and Blackcomb mountain resorts.“Tens of thousands of spectators enjoyed events and celebrations in Whistler during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in February, and approximately 3.5 billion people around the world enjoyed spectacular images of the resort on their televisions and online,” said Tourism Whistler in a statement.“The 2010 Paralympic Winter Games bring an unprecedented opportunity for Whistler to build substantially on its international reputation as an accessible destination.”Despite the games being on, Whistler Blackcomb will remain 90% open for casual skiers and snowboarders.last_img read more

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