Monthly Archives: August 2019

PEOPLE Freed named Trade Relations Committee Chair for CLIA
PEOPLE Freed named Trade Relations Committee Chair for CLIA

first_img Thursday, March 23, 2017 [PEOPLE] Freed named Trade Relations Committee Chair for CLIA WASHINGTON, D.C. — Vicki Freed, Senior VP of Sales, Trade Support and Service for Royal Caribbean International, has been named chair of the CLIA Trade Relations Committee.In this role Freed will lead the committee which consists of senior leadership within the sales and marketing divisions of CLIA’s Cruise Line Members. The Trade Relations Committee works to empower travel agencies and agents to grow consumer, media and industry awareness of the merits of cruise travel and the cruise industry’s unwavering commitment to safety, security, health and sustainability.“Vicki Freed wrote the book on trade engagement in the cruise industry and we are thrilled to have her leading our Trade Relations Committee,” said Charles Sylvia, Vice President, Membership and Trade Relations. “Vicki is recognized as a strong supporter of travel agencies and agents, and serving as TRC chair will elevate her ability to champion for the trade at the industry level.”Freed oversees Royal Caribbean International’s sales force, the largest sales team in the cruise industry, and manages the Trade Support and Service division. Prior to that, she served in various roles with Carnival Cruise Lines for 29 years, spending the last 15 as Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing.Freed assumes the chairmanship from Ken Muskat, formally Executive VP of Sales, Public Relations and Guest Services, MSC Cruises, who left the committee in 2016. << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: CLIA, People, Royal Caribbean Internationalcenter_img Share Posted by Travelweek Group last_img read more

TICO suspends registration of Torontos Millennium Leisure Travels
TICO suspends registration of Torontos Millennium Leisure Travels

first_img Posted by Thursday, September 20, 2018 Share Travelweek Group TORONTO — Consumers have been advised not to purchase travel services from Toronto-based Millennium Leisure Travels Inc., whose registration has been temporarily suspended by TICO.As per a notice posted on its website, TICO made the move after having grounds to believe that the company contravenes the Travel Industry Act, 2002, or the terms of its registration. Clients are advised not to purchase services from Millennium Leisure Travels while its registration with TICO is suspended.As soon as the status of the suspension is either lifted or the registration is revoked, TICO will advise the public with an update on its website.According to TICO, Millennium Leisure Travels has the right of appeal to the Licence Appeal Tribunal, which will then determine whether the registration should be revoked or the suspension lifted, or continued to a hearing date.The suspension does not necessarily mean that Millennium’s registration with TICO will be revoked; it simply means that it has been ordered to stop its operations for a determined period of time.More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyDuring its suspension, Millennium will be allowed to finalize bookings paid in full prior to the suspension, but is prohibited from accepting new bookings.center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Suspensions, TICO TICO suspends registration of Toronto’s Millennium Leisure Travelslast_img read more

Westin Hapunas 25th anniversary calls for 25000 celebrations
Westin Hapunas 25th anniversary calls for 25000 celebrations

first_imgWestin Hapuna’s 25th anniversary calls for $25,000 celebrations Share Posted by Monday, December 10, 2018 Tags: Hawaii, Hawaii Special Edition, Westin Hotels & Resortscenter_img Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is going all out for its 25th anniversary with an ultra-luxe, over-the-top package for two priced at US$25,000.The package includes suite accommodations for seven nights, a helicopter transfer to and from the resort and Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, a rental car, $2,500 in food and beverage credit, unlimited rounds of gold at Mauna Kea Resort, a private cooking class and other island activities.Additionally, beginning in January, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort will offer a 25% off package accompanying a six-night minimum stay, including discounts on select resort activities.For more information go to westinhapunabeach.com.last_img read more

Canadas airlines want longer runway for security screening overhaul
Canadas airlines want longer runway for security screening overhaul

first_img Share Wednesday, May 1, 2019 OTTAWA — The federal plan to revamp Canada’s air-security screening system is running into headwinds from major airlines, which are urging the government to take things slow to get the changes right.In their last budget, the Liberals announced plans to turn the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, the Crown corporation responsible for screening people and baggage, into an independent, not-for-profit agency.Transport Minister Marc Garneau says the new model will benefit the travelling public.The National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents the country’s four largest carriers, told MPs on the House of Commons transport committee Tuesday that the government expects the new system to be in place by next April.However, the council says, many important questions still need to be answered.For instance, while the budget sets aside millions of dollars in transition funding, the council is unclear on how the government arrived at the figure or what it includes.The airline industry is already grappling with major challenges, including the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max airplanes and planning for new passenger rights rules, and “we are again confronted with a government-imposed deadline and process,” council president Massimo Bergamini told the committee.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong Kong“Surely no one would suggest that this way of conducting government business meets the standard of unhurried, prudent decision-making that our air carriers are expected to exemplify.”The current screening authority was created following the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the United States, and a new user-pay security levy was ushered in to support the agency.A federal transportation review three years ago found that the agency, while fulfilling its screening mandate, had been unable to meet the challenge of increasing demands with limited resources.The review noted that Canadian travellers were paying one of the highest aviation-security fees in the world, but screening queues were getting longer.The airlines council says the goal of screening 85 per cent of passengers within 15 minutes or less at Canada’s eight largest airports is not feasible with existing equipment and staffing levels.The government hopes that spinning off the agency will result in more modern, efficient screening. Garneau has compared the move to the 1990s privatization of air-traffic control services through the creation of Nav Canada.More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksThe airlines council says the comparison is “disingenuous at best.”“The success of the Nav Canada model was the result of almost two years of tough negotiations, with almost weekly meetings where everything was on the table,” Bergamini said Tuesday.When Transport Canada consulted industry players two years ago on the future of the screening authority, the airlines supported the principle of transferring its functions to a not-for-profit organization – with a number of serious questions and caveats, he said.But the government has not worked with the industry since to address the concerns, Bergamini said.Ferio Pugliese, an Air Canada vice-president, said reform of the air-screening agency must meet the needs of the industry and the travelling public.“A new model is necessary to improve efficiencies and to reduce wait times, delayed departures and missed connections for travellers,” he told the committee.“While this reform is welcomed, Air Canada cautions that in order to get it right, it must be done in a thoughtful, well-planned and fiscally responsible manner.” Tags: CATSA, Ottawa Canada’s airlines want longer runway for security screening overhaul By: The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Jacó Happenings

first_imgNo related posts. The Jacó Library and Learning Center thanks everyone who showed up to support the Save the Library charity fundraiser dinner at EAT! in July. The event was a huge success and raised more than $1,000. Many thanks to EAT! for hosting the dinner and creating a delicious three-course meal; the restaurant was an excellent venue.The library would also like to thank those who could not attend but donated anyway. With the funds raised, the library hopes to move to a new location. If anyone knows of an available first-floor facility in Jacó, contact Liana Robinson at 8378-9978.Costa Rican Mother’s Day is Aug. 15, and there are many promotions going on in Jacó Beach. Jacó’s theater will feature La Tía Maricucha, Elodia, Juana, Lucerito, Farra Fauces, and other characters in “Las Mil Caras de María” Aug. 14-16. Tickets cost ₡5,000 ($10) or ₡10,000 ($20) for VIP. Alice Veillon and Leandro Luján from Sabores Lejanos, the Panadería Artesanal, have been open for three years. She’s originally from France and he’s from Argentina. Together, they make everything by hand, using all-natural ingredients from local producers. The hours are 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. They are joined by Maurice and Vida Martínez, who are serving lunches every day but Wednesday from noon-4 p.m. Lunches feature salads, sandwiches and natural frosty lemonades. Catering service and to-go are both available. Stop by their local across from Chuck’s WOW surf shop or call 2643-6413 to place an order.If you need your chocolate fix, drop by The Costa Rica Coffee Experience next to Panchi’s Pan. The store sells organic chocolate from four artisanal producers. Both Caribbean and Pacific cacao are featured, and more flavors arrive each week. New chocolate disks in four flavors, including Mumbai Chai and Mountain Mocha, makme amazing hot chocolate and can be used for baking chocolate as well. Manager Greivin Quirós will be more than happy to help you find your favorites.  For more info, contact 2643-6197. Services at the local area spas are always a good choice. Check out Never Better Beauty Center, Nazareth Spa, Serenity Spa or Acqua Spa for gift ideas. Decoglobosyfiesta Jacó can meet all of your decoration, party favor and gift-wrap needs. Stop by their locale in the Pacific Center #6 or call 2643-1806. The Credomatic Music Festival takes place at Villa Caletas tomorrow night and next Saturday night. Tomorrow: José Adán Pérez from Mexico with Michiyo Morikawa on the piano from Japan with songs from Spain and Latin America at 5:30 p.m. For more info, call 2630-3000. Mark your calendars for the end of August, when the National Surf Circuit’s Olympus 2012 Contest comes to Playa Hermosa. The event will be held Aug. 24-26.  For more info, visit www.surfingcr.net.–Christina Truittchristina_truitt@yahoo.com Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Commission needs more time on GMO ruling

first_img Facebook Comments GMO’s in Costa Rica Should Costa Rica allow GM corn to be grown here?  Yes. There is nothing wrong with GMO crops.  No. It’s a dangerous step and could threaten Costa Rican farmers.  No Response. Costa Rica’s National Technical Biosecurity Commission announced Monday it needs more time to evaluate whether to grant permission to a local subsidiary of multinational biotechnology company Monsanto to grow genetically modified corn in Costa Rica. The commission is reviewing a request by the company D&PL to grow GM corn seeds for export in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. The company’s plan has sparked protests in recent days by several groups of environmentalists, farmers and university students and professors, who say GM crops pose a threat to the environment and public health. Company representatives dismiss those claims.Commission president Alex May said colleagues from the National Academy of Sciences and the Environment Ministry asked to review more information before issuing a final vote.Agronomist Fabián Pacheco, from the Ecologist Federation and a member of the commission, said D&PL has up to 60 days to provide the requested information. Once the request is fulfilled, the commission will have five days to issue a ruling.On Monday, opponents of allowing GMOs in Costa Rica demonstrated outside the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry in western San José while commission members met inside.“Our food autonomy is at stake here, as well as our right to choose what we want to eat and what products we can grow,” University of Costa Rica professor Carlos Garro said on Monday.An unscientific Tico Times poll asking readers to weigh in on the issue found that 82 percent of 1,031 respondents – 841 readers – opposed allowing GM crops to be grown here. Sixteen percent – 167 readers – were in favor of allowing GM crops. Readers can vote only once in Tico Times polls. No related posts.last_img read more

Can the UN reach a deal to better regulate the global arms

first_imgNo related posts. NEW YORK – Talks resume Monday on a United Nations treaty to regulate the sale of conventional arms ­– amid roadblocks put up by some of the world’s key players.After four weeks of negotiations failed in July, the 193 members of the global body will again attempt to hammer out an accord that could force states to assess, before making a sale, whether weapons will be used for human rights violations, terrorism or organized crime.But hurdles loom large since major arms producers and buyers have fought to chip away at the sales conditions and even to exclude whole categories from the treaty.The United States, for example, refuses to include ammunition. China wants to protect its small arms, and Russia opposed including gifts and transfers of arms that could be made to an ally.The U.S. State Department reaffirmed Friday that it opposes any treaty that includes ammunition because of the financial and administrative burden of keeping checks.“The United States is steadfast in its commitment to achieve a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.But he added that his country, the world’s top arms producer, could only agree on a “treaty that addresses international transfers of conventional arms solely.”U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meanwhile called for a treaty that includes ammunition.“It is our collective responsibility to put an end to the inadequate regulation of the global trade in conventional weapons – from small arms to tanks to combat aircraft,” he said.As talks were about to get underway, Amnesty International urged action by pointing to conflicts in Syria, Mali and elsewhere.“Syria, Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sri Lanka are just a few recent examples where the world bore witness to the horrific human cost of a reckless global arms trade steeped in secrecy,” Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said in a statement.“It shouldn’t take millions more dying and lives destroyed before leaders show some backbone and take action to adopt global standards to effectively control international arms transfers.”Amnesty has highlighted how the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – account for more than half the global sales of conventional arms. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Kennedy remarks on dolphin kill catches Tokyo off guard
Kennedy remarks on dolphin kill catches Tokyo off guard

first_imgRelated posts:Japan dolphin hunt goes on after slaughter US, China pledge cooperation on climate change At least 17 dead as tornadoes strike southern US California fires expected to continue The Japanese loved the idea of Caroline Kennedy in Tokyo – Camelot meets the Chrysanthemum Throne. But what if the new U.S. ambassador proves to be a handful for a nation that prizes politeness and propriety above all else?Tongues are wagging around Nagatacho, Tokyo’s Capitol Hill, following Kennedy’s tweet about a notorious annual dolphin hunt in the western town of Taiji – the topic of Oscar-winning 2009 documentary “The Cove.”Kennedy was “deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing,” she wrote, noting the U.S. opposes the practice of prodding hundreds of dolphins into a cove for slaughter or capture.It’s a brutal business, one that the townspeople passionately defend on the grounds of heritage and tradition. They work aggressively to stop film crews from chronicling a hunt that seems more the stuff of 1814 than 2014. (Activists say the annual hunt became a “tradition” only in the 1960s.) Whatever the official U.S. policy, Kennedy’s criticism caught the Tokyo establishment off guard, raising questions about whether she will be a more outspoken and unpredictable U.S. envoy than expected.Kennedy’s first foray into the sensitive waters of domestic Japanese affairs came after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Dec. 26 visit to Yasukuni Shrine. The site, which honors 14 Class A war criminals from World War II, is downright radioactive in a region that believes Japan hasn’t atoned for its wartime aggression. Kennedy’s team surprised many in Tokyo by expressing disappointment with Abe’s action. The question is whether the dolphin tweet is an aberration or a sign of a newly activist embassy.If words are cheap, then tweets are little more than bankrupt thought fragments. But if Kennedy becomes a consistent and thought-provoking voice in Tokyo, broaching issues officialdom would prefer the U.S. ignored, her ambassadorship will be a fascinating and potentially fruitful one. I, for one, would encourage her to opine early and often on any number of topics: empowering women in the workforce and politics; improving geopolitical relations in North Asia; encouraging young people to go into public service and to question authority; inviting America’s top entrepreneurs to spend more time in Japan to encourage startups; and, yes, speaking out about issues like Taiji and also Japan’s continuing whale hunts.Ambassadors naturally must be careful and respect local cultures. Kennedy also needs to watch the hypocrisy factor. Japanese are plenty horrified about U.S. methods for raising and slaughtering cows, pigs and chickens in factory farms, not to mention the passion for genetically modified food. Chinese officials wonder how animal-rights folks like Brigitte Bardot have time to bash their culinary quirks when there’s plenty to complain about in her native France. Hey, Brigitte – fancy some foie gras?But Japanese seem not to understand how severely issues like Taiji and whaling damage its “soft power” around the globe. The headlines generated in New York, Zurich or Sydney from anime, manga, cosplay and food conventions can be quickly undone by a three-minute BBC or CNN report about bloody waters and mammals culled for questionable reasons. My own favorite canard is Japan’s “research whaling” program. OK, so which website can I visit to read all the research and insights gleaned from harpooning 1,000 or more whales every year? Oh, that’s right. There isn’t one.That’s precisely the point Yoko Ono made Monday in an open letter to the Taiji fishermen, urging them to halt the annual bloodbath for the “future of Japan.” She warned that this unsightly tradition “will give an excuse for big countries and their children in China, India and Russia to speak ill of Japan. I am sure that it is not easy, but please consider the safety of the future of Japan, surrounded by many powerful countries which are always looking for the chance to weaken the power of our country. At this very politically sensitive time, the hunt will make the children of the world hate the Japanese.”“Hate” is a strong word coming from the widow of John Lennon, who wrote pop standards like “Imagine,” “Give Peace a Chance” and “All You Need is Love.” But Ono’s point is a timely one. With one brief trip to a Tokyo shrine, Abe squandered all the great international press about Japan winning the 2020 Olympics, or racing to help typhoon-ravaged Filipinos. These inhumane dolphin and whale hunts are equally self-destructive.Kennedy’s own comments were an unusual move for a U.S. envoy in Japan. Previous ambassadors such as John Roos, Thomas Schieffer and Howard Baker did fine jobs, but were uncontroversial and, for many Japanese, forgettable. Kennedy arrived in November with considerable fanfare. She’s the only surviving child of President John F. Kennedy, the first woman to represent the U.S. in Japan and quite the wild card.The thing is, the Japanese and U.S. governments are as close as friends get in this chaotic world of ours. Friends should always be honest with each other, and that goes too for Kenichiro Sasae, Japan’s envoy in Washington. It’s certainly possible that Kennedy’s dolphin comment was a one-off and that the outcry it inspired will chasten her Twitter musings. But that would be shame. We live in dynamic times. Why not spark a dynamic and unscripted discussion from time to time between friends?William Pesek is a Bloomberg View columnist.© 2013, Bloomberg News Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Family demands justice after Mexican students body identified
Family demands justice after Mexican students body identified

first_imgRelated posts:Clashes as Mexicans hold rally for 43 missing students Independent probe doubts 43 Mexico students cremated Mexico’s 43 missing students continue to haunt President Peña Nieto – and they should Parents of 43 missing students in Mexico wage hunger strike TECOANAPA, Mexico – The family of the first victim identified among 43 missing Mexican students lamented the dashed dreams of the aspiring teacher Sunday, calling for justice in the case that has shocked the country.Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karám confirmed that Alexander Mora, 19, was identified among charred remains found in a landfill and a nearby river, bolstering suspicions that all 43 young men were slaughtered by a police-backed gang in September.Authorities had sent 17 badly burned remains to an Austrian medical university last month after the Guerreros Unidos cartel confessed to executing the students in the southern state of Guerrero.Murillo Karám said more tests will be conducted on the remains sent to Austria that have still not been identified.If all the students are confirmed dead, it would rank among the worst mass murders in a drug war that has killed more than 80,000 people and left 22,000 others missing since 2006 in Mexico.The case has sparked nationwide protests, highlighted Mexico’s struggle with corruption and undermined President Enrique Peña Nieto’s assurances that his security policy was bearing fruit.‘Let justice be done’At their humble home in the village of El Pericón, Mora’s family remembered him as a cheerful youth who dreamed of becoming a teacher to help his widowed father.“He decided to go to school, because it was his dream to be trained as a teacher, but his life was taken away,” his father Ezequiel, a farmer, told AFP of his youngest of eight children.Neighbors and fellow students have been paying visits to the tiny two-room house where the family displayed a small altar with candles, several photographs and a beach football, recalling his favorite hobby.But locals lamented the fact that no government representative has yet to visit the impoverished mountain community of 1,800 people.“Let justice be done because it cannot stay like this. My brother was not an animal that was killed,” said his sister, Edith. “We are poor people who live in the countryside. We will give him a funeral as is done here, honestly, poorly.”Authorities say the aspiring teachers vanished after gang-linked police attacked their buses in the city of Iguala on September 26, allegedly under orders from the mayor and his wife in a night of terror that left six other people dead.The police then delivered the young men to members of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, who told investigators they took them in two trucks to a landfill, killed them, burned their bodies and dumped them in a river. Mexico’s Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karám offers a press conference in Mexico City on Dec. 7, 2014. Omar Torres/AFPMore DNA testsMurillo Karám said only Mora’s remains, found in the San Juan River, were identified so far among those analyzed by Austria’s Innsbruck University.He stressed that the identification process “reinforces the historical reconstruction” suggesting that the young people were massacred by drug hit men.Independent Argentine forensic experts hired by the families to assist the authorities said, however, that “for the moment” there was not enough physical evidence to connect the two sites where the remains were found — the river and the landfill near Iguala.“The evidence that links both sites for now is essentially through testimony,” the world-renowned Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team said in a statement, adding that the search for the students should continue.Family spokesman Felipe de la Cruz had already declared Saturday that relatives would continue looking for the 42 others.The parents have rejected claims the students were killed, demanding that the government find them alive and leading their own searches around Guerrero.Authorities have arrested 80 people over the deaths, including Iguala’s mayor and his wife, and are still searching for 11 other suspects.Peña Nieto vows reformsThe case has turned into the biggest challenge of Peña Nieto’s two-year presidency, shattering his attempt to move the narrative away from the drug war to his internationally acclaimed energy and economic reforms.His approval rating has plunged to around 40 percent, the worst for a president in almost two decades.The Mexican leader will host the Ibero-American Summit in the eastern city of Veracruz on Monday and Tuesday.Last month, Peña Nieto unveiled a plan to replace the country’s notoriously corrupt municipal forces with state agencies, but security experts say it fails to address corruption at all levels of government. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

National Museum restoring Costa Ricas largest preColumbian sphere
National Museum restoring Costa Ricas largest preColumbian sphere

first_imgMore than three years of analysis are culminating in 2019 with the restoration of Costa Rica’s largest pre-Columbian stone sphere.The National Museum showcased its efforts Wednesday at El Silencio archaeological site in Palmar Sur de Osa, Puntarenas. Via Museo Nacional.According to the National Museum, the principal objective of the restoration project is “to preserve the historical and archaeological value of this archaeological resource.”“The works carried out are due to a need to improve the sphere’s conditions given its age and the effects of the climate,” said Wendy Segura, spokesperson for the National Museum. “This process seeks to improve the conditions of this sphere and allows it to maintain its optimal state of stability.”The project will be completed with in a partnership with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History and its National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museography.The sphere in question weighs nearly 53,000 pounds and has a diameter of 8.73 feet.Read more about Costa Rica’s mysterious stone spheres in The Tico Times.  Finca 6: Mystery of ancient Costa Rica stone spheres solved? Related posts:U.S. Embassy funds research to preserve Costa Rica’s famous stone spheres Costa Rican indigenous women to learn about solar power in India Environmental agency orders suspension of pineapple farming project IACHR mission visits Costa Rica to evaluate protections for indigenous communitiescenter_img Facebook Commentslast_img read more

2nd Israeli man sets himself ablaze in protest

first_img 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories center_img Comments   Share   JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli police says a second Israeli man has set himself on fire after falling on hard times.Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a man in his late 40s set himself ablaze Sunday near a bus stop in central Israel. Onlookers tried to extinguish the flames. He was rushed to the hospital with severe burns.The man’s brother told Israeli media he faced large debts and warned his family he would follow in the footsteps of Moshe Silman, who set himself on fire at a protest against Israel’s high cost of living last week. Silman later died of his wounds and was buried Sunday. Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Cases of self-immolation as a form of protest are extremely rare in Israel, but Rosenfeld said four Israelis have attempted or threatened it since Silman’s act.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Glimpse into underground sect that shocked Russia

first_imgAssociated PressKAZAN, Russia (AP) – Authorities spoke of a creepy cult living in an “eight-level ant house” dug deep into the ground, where children were kept in unheated cells and starved of daylight. A visit to the compound suggests a more ordinary reality.A brief visit inside the compound, which provided shocking headlines around the world when police raided it and seized the children, revealed none of the elaborate underground design described by prosecutors. Nor does a police video showing rooms inside. The father of a cult member, who originally disapproved of his daughter joining the group, said he was able to visit freely and has no complaints about how members live or treat their children. He also disputed claims that the children rarely saw sunshine and were not allowed to leave the property, saying they had visited both sets of grandparents and gone to summer camp, and that he visited frequently for up to three days at a time.“They pray. They are religious. But they are not junkies, drunks or bandits,” Ziganshin said in his home in the village of Bailyangar, 200 kilometers (120 miles) away. “They never abuse the kids, never beat them.”Neighbors, however, said the children were raised to look upon others with disdain and would curse and throw stones from inside their compound.“They consider themselves a higher race, while other people are garbage,” said Ildar Khusainov, 42, who lives in a nearby wooden house.It was not possible to determine from a short visit to the compound or from the video taken by police the day of the raid how much, if any, of the living space lies underground.The compound’s main, three-story house is built into the side of a steep hill. A covered passageway leads down the hill to another house, with doors on both sides. At street level, a wooden minaret topped by a tin crescent moon rises above a 2-meter (7-foot) fence. Power was cut off years ago when the sect stopped paying its utility bills. The sect now gets water from a well and uses wood and propane gas for heat. Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Patients with chronic pain give advice Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The sect, whose members call themselves “Muammin” _ Arabic for “believers” _ had thousands of followers in the 1990s. But they began to drift away after the founder, Faizrakhman Satarov, declared himself the “messenger of God” and his sect to be the world’s only true Muslims. When police raided about 60 people, including the children, were living in the compound.Ibragimova’s husband accused authorities of seizing the children and filing abuse charges as a pretext for closing down the sect. Police have not reported finding weapons or any other evidence that sect members were involved in violence.“They want to frighten us so that we leave by ourselves, so that we disappear,” said Shamil Ibragimov, a lean 30-year-old with a thin beard. “This is immoral. This is lawlessness.”Ibragimov was at the compound on Sunday packing his possessions. His wife suffered a miscarriage the day after the children were seized, and on Friday he sent her to her parents’ home in Bailyangar. He was preparing to join her there and hoped they would soon regain custody of their children, aged 18 months to 9 years.He said it took him five days to locate the children in an orphanage outside Kazan. They seemed happy but “did not realize they might lose their parents forever,” their father said. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements The conflicting portrayals raise questions about whether authorities may have exaggerated the eccentricity of the sect, perhaps in an effort to show they are cracking down on radical Islamic groups. The spokeswoman for Kazan prosecutors did not answer repeated calls to her office and cell phones on Monday.Police stumbled upon the bizarre sect in early August as they investigated what they described as a terrorist attack that killed a top cleric in oil-rich Tatarstan, a central Russian province where the population is about 60 percent Muslim. Officials blamed the attack on the radical Islamic groups proliferating in the region.Police seized the 20 children living in the compound and put them in orphanages. Their parents were charged with child abuse, which prosecutors said could deprive them of custody for up to two years. Prosecutors allege that the children, who did not attend public schools, lived in conditions “unfit for humans,” in small, dark and unventilated cells dug into the earth. Health officials said the children rarely saw the light of day.Relatives of cult members disputed that. Madganur Ziganshin, whose daughter, Ralifa Ibragimova, joined the cult over his objections, said the room where she lived with her husband and four children was not underground and had normal windows. Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The fate of the sect’s property remains unclear. Police, accompanied by social workers and construction experts, conducted a third search last week to further assess the living conditions and decide whether the haphazardly built structures should be demolished or allowed to stand.In many ways, conditions at the compound are typical for rural Russia. Ziganshin’s wooden house in Bailyangar, for example, has low ceilings and creaky floors, with a wood-burning stove in the kitchen for heat and cooking.Sect leaders are enraged over the seizure of the children and the police action against their holy project, and vowed to triumph.“Allah will punish you,” Gumer Ganiyev, the sect leader’s deputy, yelled at police officers. “You will all die tomorrow.”___Andrey Bulay in Kazan contributed to this story.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

Czech government fights for austerity

first_imgPRAGUE (AP) – The Czech government is re-submitting unpopular austerity measures designed to help bring the country’s budget deficit below 3 percent of GDP.The lower house on Wednesday rejected a 1 percent increase in the sales tax on retail goods and a 7 percent income tax increase for the highest-earners.The parliamentary refusal came after six lawmakers from the conservative Civic Democratic Party of Prime Minister Petr Necas voted against because they said the tax hikes are against their party’s values. Necas said Thursday a new vote should take place in three months and the government is linking it to a confidence vote. If that vote also fails, the coalition government will fall.The government wants to reduce the deficit to retain the confidence of the markets.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Quick workouts for mencenter_img Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Four benefits of having a wireless security system Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

Bolivia signs deal for cable cars in capital

first_img Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) – Bolivians will soon be able to get around their capital by cable car.President Evo Morales signed a $234 million contract Monday with the Austro-Swiss company Doppelmayr-Seibahnen to build the cable car system. It’s supposed to carry 30 million passengers a year on cables between the mountainous capital of La Paz and the suburb of Los Altos.Officials say the system should be finished shortly before the December 2014 national elections. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Iran prosecutor Blogger died in police custody

first_img Patients with chronic pain give advice Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories “The deceased had been handed over to cyber police for completion of investigation under a judicial order for a period of time,” Sajedinia told Asr-e-Iran news website Monday.The 35-year-old Beheshti was said to be a factory worker. He was not a well-known activist.Dozens of bloggers and journalists have been arrested in widespread crackdowns in Iran in recent years.In 2010, Iran’s parliament played a major role in probing the deaths in detention of three people during the unrest that followed the disputed 2009 presidential elections. The inquiry led to the dismissal of several judicial and police officials.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi told reporters that Beheshti was detained Oct. 30 for alleged cybercrimes and taken to Evin prison in north Tehran the next day. Beheshti was handed over to cyber police for interrogation the same day, He died Nov. 3.“The coroner’s office has provided a detailed report saying that signs of wounds were found in five places on this person’s body, including foot, hand, back and one of his thighs, but no broken bones,” the semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted Ejehi as saying.Ejehi said a final report on the cause of Beheshti’s death may take as long as 45 days to release. He said copy of a letter of complaint in Beheshti’s name against his interrogator was found.The semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted Ejehi as saying that Beheshti charged in the letter that he was subject to “threats, insults and beatings.”Ejehi said Iran’s judiciary chief, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, has ordered a full inquiry into the death.The government-owned Iran Network news website said three interrogators involved in the case have been arrested. The website, inn.ir, did not provide further details.The Tehran police chief, Gen. Hossein Sajedinia, also confirmed that Beheshti died while in cyber police custody. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressTEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s state prosecutor confirmed Monday that a jailed blogger died in police custody last week and that wounds were found on his body, the first official confirmation of his death while being held.The U.S. State Department and a press freedom group have called for investigation of the “suspicious death.”The prosecutor’s statement came a day after Iran’s parliament announced it would probe reports on the circumstances of Sattar Beheshti’s death. Sponsored Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

Venezuela angry Colombia hosts opposition leader

first_img(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 Quick workouts for men New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuelan officials reacted angrily to Colombia’s president meeting with Venezuela’s opposition leader Wednesday and warned it could severely damage relations between the neighboring countries.Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos received Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who is trying to build international support for his efforts to overturn an April 14 presidential election he claims was fraudulent. Capriles narrowly lost to governing party candidate Nicolas Maduro. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua told state TV that the meeting “will bring a derailment of the good relations that we have.” Parliament Speaker Diosdado Cabello compared the meeting to “placing a bomb on the train.”Jaua says Venezuela will re-evaluate its role as an observer at the peace talks in Cuba between Santos’ government and Colombia’s biggest rebel group. He said Maduro had recalled Venezuela’s envoy to the talks for consultations.“Without a doubt today’s situation obliges us to study Venezuela’s participation as a facilitator in the peace accord,” Jaua said.Venezuelan officials played an important role in bringing the talks about, and Venezuela has long been a haven for leaders of the rebel group in the negotiations, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.The Havana talks recessed Sunday after both sides said they had reached agreement on agrarian reform. They are to resume negotiations June 11.Santos has recognized Maduro’s election victory and attended his inauguration last month. Colombian officials had no immediate comment on Venezuela’s objections to his meeting with Capriles. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories During a visit to Colombia’s parliament, Capriles said he didn’t care “what this illegitimate government says,” calling its criticism “mosquito bites.”Capriles claims Maduro, the anointed successor of the late President Hugo Chavez, stole the election through fraud, voter intimidation and abuse of government resources.The opposition leader described as a “farce” an audit that will review only the results from electronic voting machines. Capriles also wanted an examination of voter registries and fingerprints to find out if all the votes cast were legitimate.“In Venezuela, in my beloved homeland, on April 14 they stole the election, they stole them not through an automated system, they stole it like you steal elections when you put in more votes than the people want,” Capriles said.He has asked the Supreme Court to annul the election result, which is considered highly unlikely because the panel is dominated by pro-government justices.The government says Capriles is to blame for the deaths of 11 government supporters in post-election violence. He rejects the allegations.___Associated Press writer Fabiola Sanchez reported this story in Caracas and Cesar Garcia reported Bogota, Colombia. Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

Princess launches Bon Voyage initiative in Australia

first_imgPrincess Cruises CEO Alan Buckelew at the 2010 Partnership Summit announced it will launch their “Bon Voyage Experience” in Australia allowing friends of passengers a taste of cruising, after proving successful in its initial roll out in North America. The program to be launched on May 21, will allow family and friends of passengers embarking on a cruise from both Sydney and Melbourne to bid farewell to them in true cruising spirit, which for only $49 per person, visitors will enjoy a four course dining room lunch, a ship tour, and also take home a souvenir photo.Visitors participating in the Bon Voyage Experience will undergo the same security screening procedures as regular passengers.There will be a limit of maximum 50 guests able to enjoy the Bon Voyage Experience on any given embarkation day. For more information visit www.completecruisesolution.com.au Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Princess Cruises Exec VP, Sales, Marketing & Customer Service Jan Swartz with CEO & President, Alan Buckelewlast_img read more

APT wins river cruise awards

first_imgAPT are pleased to announce that they won both river cruise categories at last night’s  Cruise Passenger Readers Choice Awards  — Best River Cruise Operator and Best River Cruise Ship, ms Amabella.  APT’s ms Amadagio, which won the award last year, was runner-up to the ms Amabella.The highly-contested awards are voted by travellers , travel agents and industry partners in Australia.   APT’s Emma Coburn (Marketing Executive) and Craig Brown (Marketing Executive) represented APT at the awards ceremony.APT’s General Manager Marketing, Debra Fox said the awards demonstrated the commitment and passion of all people involved in the River Cruise program, from Product to Sales & Marketing, Reservations, Operations and all the supporting areas. “Continual product innovation and delivering outstanding experiences to the cruise passenger is our core focus. Working together, the APT team continue to set and deliver only the highest standards, which are acknowledged in these awards,” she said.Best River Cruise Line 2010 Winner: APT  Australian-owned company APT, is the pioneer of luxury Europe River Cruising in Australia and New Zealand, with over 16 years cruising experience, offering unmatched expertise and insight. APT’s European river ships present the largest range of onboard dining experiences and more space per guest than any other. They are the only ones that feature revolutionary Twin Balcony Suites, and over 80% of suites in their fleet’s ships boast innovative AMA Private Balconies. APT offers fully-inclusive cruising along the some of the most spectacular waterways throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt and AsiaBest River Cruise Ship 2010 Winner:  ms AmabellaAPT’s luxurious 162-passenger ship was launched this year and features twin-balcony suites, three decks, swimming pool, three specialty restaurants (including the unique Erlebnis Chef’s table), a wine room and open fireplace in the library.  On board, there are seven different dining experiences available, including three different speciality restaurants, as well as a large number of unique lounges in which to unwind. The ms Amabella is a very special vessel with innovative, state-of-the-art design features, and takes the river cruising experience in Europe to a whole new level Source = APTlast_img read more

Abbott focus Sydney air travel

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P Adding to the Sydney Airport infrastructure debate Leader of the Federal Opposition Mr Tony Abbot says we need to look at immediate ways to improve air travel in and out of Sydney.During a recent speech outlining the Coalition’s infrastructure plan Mr Abbott said decreasing congestion around Sydney airport for travellers is vital.“Action is urgently required to improve air travel in and out of Sydney. For now, though, this has more to do with addressing the traffic gridlock around the airport at peak times and making better use of other airports than it does with building a new one that couldn’t be operational for many years,” Mr Abbot said. “It is important that we improve the experience of people travelling in and out of Sydney by air.  In the immediate future, that means sorting out traffic problems near Sydney Airport at peak times.  “Down the track it means better use of Sydney Airport. It means better use of Richmond and it means better use of other airports too”.Mr Abbott’s speech did not rule out the construction of a second airport, unlike New Sales Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell who has objected to the project.“Sydney certainly needs better servicing by air as our city expands and grows, as our economy grows, that is certainly going to mean we need more airport capacity no doubt about that,” Mr Abbott said.The Tourism Industry Council general manager Andrew Jefferies said the organisation remained optimistic that the future Abbott government will address the state’s aviation capacity needs wisely.“Aviation capacity is a critical issue for New South Wales tourism and the state’s economy and we welcome Mr Abbott’s healthy contribution to this debate,” Mr Jeffries said.last_img read more