New survey on Business Travel reveals increase in duty of care and

first_img PLYMOUTH, Minn. — Travel Leaders Group released its latest survey data specific to its business travellers, where more than one in 10 participating corporate travel agent specialists indicated they have handled a ‘Duty of Care’ situation involving a business traveller – and the top three circumstances where clients required assistance were airline emergencies, civil unrest in international countries, and snowstorms.Additional findings from the survey revealed a significant increase in one segment of the ‘sharing economy’ – alternative ground transportation – and a plurality of respondents have said that their business travel bookings are up over one year ago.Duty of CareThe concept of “Duty of care” has grown considerably in recent years with regard to business travel management.  In this survey, when asked “Have you ever been involved with a ‘Duty of Care’ situation for one of your business travel clients?” 11.3% of Travel Leaders Group’s business-focused travel agents responded affirmatively.The Top 5 situations that required these business travel agents to assist their clients included: airline emergency; civil unrest in an international country; snowstorm; terrorist incident; and hurricane.More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?Hotel Bookings for Business TravelWhen asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a hotel reservation to their travel itinerary?” nearly 70% (69.5%) of Travel Leaders Group agents reported that more than half of their clients request a hotel booking in addition to their airline reservation, while 20.7% stated that between 21-50% of their business travel clients require a hotel booking in addition to their airfare.When asked “Which hotel category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book?” 70.0% of Travel Leaders Group agents stated the “Luxury” and “Upper Upscale” categories, while 27.7% indicate “Upscale” and “Upper Midscale” categories.Car Rentals for Business TravelWhen asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a car rental reservation to their travel itinerary?” 39.6% of Travel Leaders Group agents reported that more than half of their clients request a car rental in addition to their airline reservation; while 36.7% stated that between 21-50% of their business travel clients require a rental car in addition to their airfare.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulySharing EconomyWhen asked, “What percentage of your business travel clients are using an alternative supplier for their accommodations?” 55.4% of business travel agents said 0% of my clients, while 34.1% reported 1-10% of clients are in Fall 2016.When asked, “What percentage of your business travel clients are using an alternative supplier for their ground transportation?” 54.6% of business travel agents reported that 11% or more of their clients are in Fall 2016, up from 32.4% in Fall 2015.“While traditional transportation suppliers still command the majority of the market, there is a shift and businesses can’t ignore this trend,” noted Gabe Rizzi, Chief Sales Officer and Head of Travel Leaders Corporate. Thursday, September 15, 2016 Posted by New survey on Business Travel reveals increase in ‘duty of care’ and ‘sharing economy’ Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Business Travel, Trend Watch Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Shorter durations allin pricing driving strong cruise sales says CLIA

first_img Posted by WASHINGTON DC — Travel agents are seeing a positive uptick in cruise bookings, according to CLIA’s first Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report of 2017.Trends contributing to this growth include the rise of multigenerational cruise travel, a high demand for shorter duration cruises and travellers looking for all-inclusive options.“Travel agents have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the cruise industry. By tapping into insights through the Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook report, the industry is able to forecast upcoming travel and traveler behavior trends and tailor business strategies accordingly,” said CLIA President and CEO Cindy D’Aoust.Key findings from the first Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report of 2017 include:. Cruise Industry Continues to RiseAccording to the report, cruise travel agent sales continue to increase. In fact, 77% of cruise travel agents indicate that their sales volume is better than last year. Additionally, nearly three quarters (74%) of agents say they expect to experience an increase in customer spending in 2017, especially when it comes to cost of excursions.More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemThe cruise industry continues to grow across all sectors with nearly half (47%) of travel agents reporting the highest customer satisfaction with ocean cruises over all-inclusive resorts (21%) and house or condo rentals (7%). River cruises also continue to garner popularity, as agents report clients value smaller ships, less structure and a variety of river cruise amenities.Changes in Traveller Behavior & Cruise DurationThe report also found some developing changes in cruise traveler behavior. Travel agents taking part in the report stated that shorter cruise lengths are becoming more popular than ever with the greatest interest in cruises lasting less than two weeks. More than four out of 10 agents (43%) reported that clients were most interested in cruises of three to five days and 44% of agents predict increased bookings in cruises lasting six to eight days. North America-based travel agents have also seen a shift towards domestic travel.A Multitude of Multigenerational & All-Inclusive DemandMultigenerational and group travel both continue to be a developing trend within the industry, with agents reporting more and more families choosing cruises for travelling together. The report found that age-appropriate amenities and onboard activities are attracting multigenerational travel groups, as cruise ships often offer something to suit every preference and age group.Travel agents are seeing a rise in bookings across a variety of age-groups, with nearly seven out of 10 (67%) agents citing an increase in Boomer generation bookings and over half (55%) seeing an uptick in bookings among the Generation X age group.Agents also report that all-inclusive cruises are a big attraction to first time cruise travellers, citing the biggest draws for travelers as the desire to sample multiple destinations, gain a rich international experience and only unpack once on a multi-leg journey, all without the worry of being surprised by a large bill at the end of the trip.The full report is available at http://www.cruising.org/TA-Outlook. Tags: CLIA Travelweek Group Shorter durations, all-in pricing driving strong cruise sales, says CLIAcenter_img Tuesday, June 6, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Sharelast_img read more

Thomas Cook Expedia enter into mutually beneficial relationship

first_img Thursday, September 14, 2017 Share Travelweek Group BELLEVUE, Washington — Thomas Cook has signed a new agreement with Expedia, Inc., one that will provide Thomas Cook clients with access to thousands of additional hotels for the company’s city and domestic holiday businesses.The deal, made possible by Expedia Global Partner Solutions (the partnership arm of Brand Expedia), will also see Thomas Cook’s primary websites, contact centres, stores and distribution to affiliated travel agents powered by Expedia’s platform for various types of travel bookings.“We’ve always had profound respect for the Thomas Cook brand and we believe that our coming together will enhance our abilities to help more people to get out and see the world, while enhancing each of our competitive positions in the European market,” said Aman Bhutani, President, Brand Expedia Group. “Expedia’s Global Partner Solutions business brings to life the ability to leverage the strength of our technology and operations for our partners, powering leading brands with private label booking engines, agent tools, web services and operations for all travel products, including lodging, flights, packages, and car rentals. We are thrilled to add Thomas Cook to our roster of premier clients around the globe.”More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?Peter Fankhauser, Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Cook, said that Expedia’s portfolio of hotels and online technology will “transform Thomas Cook’s city breaks and hotel-only offer for customers.” He also added: “Joining forces with a company that has the global reach and expertise of Expedia will allow Thomas Cook to further simplify our systems and processes, freeing us up to focus on holidays to our own brand and selected partner hotels where we know we can really make a difference to customers. I am confident this marks the first step in a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship with Expedia.” Thomas Cook & Expedia enter into “mutually beneficial relationship”center_img Posted by Tags: Expedia << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Get ready for rebranding of Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Green

first_img Travelweek Group Posted by Tags: Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, Rebranding Thursday, May 24, 2018 Get ready for rebranding of Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Greencenter_img TORONTO — Bahia Principe is making the move to rebrand one of its top properties in Punta Cana: the Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Green.Under the company’s newly restructured classification system the adults-only, five-star property will now fall under the Grand Bahia Principe category, featuring the new name Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine.Early this year Bahia Principe announced it was reclassifying all of its properties into four categories (Luxury Bahia Principe, Grand Bahia Principe, Sunlight Bahia Principe, and Fantasia Bahia Principe). These categories are further segmented by experience: Treasure, Escape, and Family & Friends.As an adults-only resort, the newly branded Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine will now be classified as an Escape property.Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine is expected to have its new branding in place by fall 2018.Agents can now enter their bookings for Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine, for hotel bookings as of Nov. 1 and onwards, on Bahia Principe Rewards and will earn 100 points for each room night.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureWith the rebrand, the resort will debut several new offerings. Subject to change, these offerings include:Extended hours for music and barMeals, cocktail nights, music and shows structured around three different themes per weekTwo midday swimming pool parties will include finger foods, live music, DJ, drinks and showsFitness training in swimming pools and sport areasFree Wi-fi throughout the hotel (limited to two devices per room)Unlimited à la carte dinnersTwo room categories are available: Junior Suites & Junior Suite SuperiorThe massive Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort complex in Punta Cana comprises seven properties in total with resort-sharing privileges. Effective Nov. 1 clients staying at Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine will be able to access all Grand hotels. Adult guests from Luxury and Fantasia hotels will be able to use the facilities of the newly rebranded resort. Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

French premier holds talks after violent protests in Paris

first_imgFrench premier holds talks after violent protests in Paris Share Monday, December 3, 2018 PARIS — French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe met with political rivals Monday in a bid to ease protesters’ anger after facing widespread criticism following violent anti-government protests that rocked Paris.More than 130 people were injured and 412 arrested Saturday in the French capital amid the nation’s worst riot in a generation. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons, closing down dozens of streets and subway stations to contain the riot.By Sunday, some of the most popular tourist streets in Paris were littered with torched cars and broken glass from looted shops and the Arc de Triomphe monument was tagged with graffiti.French President Emmanuel Macron, just back from the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, held an emergency meeting Sunday on security and the government hasn’t ruled out the possibility of imposing a state of emergency.It was the third straight weekend of clashes in Paris led by protesters wearing distinctive yellow traffic vests. The protests began last month with motorists upset over a fuel tax hike and have grown to encompass a range of complaints that Macron’s government doesn’t care about the problems of ordinary people. Yet other protests in France on the same topic Saturday remained peaceful.More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamPhilippe and Macron have been lambasted for their handling of the crisis. After meeting with the prime minister, Socialist leader Olivier Faure urged Philippe to drop the tax hikes and to restore a wealth tax that was slashed by the centrist government.“We want a change in the method. One needs to come down from Mount Olympus,” Faure said, referring to Macron’s Greek god nickname of Jupiter.Laurent Wauquiez, head of centre-right Les Republicains party, urged Macron to hold a referendum to end the crisis but did not say what its topic should be.“French people need to be heard again, and for that we must organize a referendum to decide these issues. Only these measures will restore calm,” Wauquiez said.More anti-government protests took place Monday as ambulance workers took to the streets near the National Assembly in Paris to complain about changes to working conditions. Protesters set tires on fire and blocked traffic. One activist held up a sign reading “The State killed me” and others chanted “Macron resign!”More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsThe yellow vest movement is bringing together people from across the political spectrum complaining about France’s economic inequalities and waning spending power.Since the movement kicked off on Nov. 17, three people have been killed and hundreds injured in clashes or accidents stemming from the protests. Over the past three weeks, protesters have been setting up road blockades across the country and their movement has garnered wide public support.Philippe will try to defuse tensions this week before more possible protests this weekend, speaking with yellow vest representatives on Tuesday. Members of the National Assembly will also hold talks on France’s social crisis later this week. By: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Paris, Protestlast_img read more

TICO issues reminder to registrants in light of B737 Max grounding

first_imgTags: boeing, TICO Thursday, March 14, 2019 Posted by Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Share TORONTO — TICO has responded to Transport Canada’s decision to ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft, encouraging registrants to be aware of their customers’ consumer protection rights.According to the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and Ontario Regulation 26/05, registrants must offer the customer a full, immediate refund or comparable alternate travel services acceptable to the customer, where the registrant becomes aware that “the scheduled departure of any transportation that forms part of the travel services is delayed or advanced by 24 hours or more, unless the reason for the delay is one described in subsection (2)”.Subsection (2) states that the above does not apply “if the delay results from mechanical problems that relate to the mode of transportation, safety considerations, the weather, a strike or a force majeure”. Force majeure refers to unanticipated, uncontrollable events such as acts of nature (ie. hurricanes or floods) or acts of people (ie. riots or wars).It is TICO’s position that based on Transport Canada’s ruling, the grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft would be considered the result of a safety consideration.Therefore, subsection 40 (2) of the Regulation would apply, and registrants would have the right to “delay” the scheduled departure of transportation by 24 hours or more without offering a refund or alternate travel services.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaWhile a registrant may not be responsible to provide a refund or comparable alternate travel services acceptable to the consumer pursuant to the Regulation, the registrant may have certain obligations under the common law and the specific terms and conditions of the booking. Registrants should carefully review the terms and conditions of their contracts and what their obligations are in regard to those agreements.TICO also notes that Section 40 of the Regulation does not address cancellation of travel services. Registrants who acquire rights to travel services for resale should also be aware of their obligations under s. 46 of the Regulations, which reads as follows:“If a registrant acquires rights to travel services for resale to other registrants or to customers, and the supplier fails to provide the travel services paid for by a customer, the registrant who acquired the rights for resale shall reimburse the customer or provide comparable alternate travel services acceptable to the customer.”Moreover, if the registrant cancels the travel service, common law may find that there had been a complete failure of consideration in the contract. In such circumstances, the customer may be entitled to a refund unless there are contrary requirements in the contract between the registrant and the customer.Here are some other takeaways from TICO:TERMS & CONDITIONSMore news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsTravel agents may be contractually bound by the terms and conditions of their agreements with their customers and with suppliers. Agents should carefully review those terms and conditions to determine the extent of their obligations.ROUTING CHANGE / TRAVEL DOCUMENTATIONWith regard to refunds and/or comparable alternate travel services being offered, it should be noted that section 40(1)(6) does apply when the documents needed for the trip are changed because the transportation routing is changed, and there is not enough time for the person to obtain the documents before the departure.DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTSTravel agents are further advised that there is a general requirement before and after entering the sale of travel services that a customer be advised of any condition or change related to the travel service that may affect, or would otherwise have affected, the customer’s decision to purchase the travel service.In cases where consumers have lost confidence and no longer wish to travel, it is the individual consumer who must make that decision, taking into consideration the terms and conditions of the contract with the supplier. If the consumer chooses not to travel, the consumer may or may not receive a refund depending on the cancellation requirements stated in the terms and conditions. TICO issues reminder to registrants in light of B737 Max groundinglast_img read more

UN panel warns of rising temperatures blames humankind

first_imgNo related posts. STOCKHOLM – The U.N.’s climate panel said Friday it was more certain than ever that humans were the cause of global warming and predicted temperatures would rise another 0.3 to 4.8 degrees Celsius (0.5-8.6 degrees Fahrenheit) this century.Heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising seas are among the threats that will intensify through warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report released in Stockholm.Environmental activists, scientists and leading politicians said the long-awaited review of climate science proved fossil-fuel burning must be urgently curbed.In a government-approved summary, the Nobel-winning group said it was “extremely likely” – a term meaning it was 95-percent convinced – that humans caused most of the warming observed over the past 60 years.In its last report in 2007, the panel had put this at 90 percent.U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres, from Costa Rica, said the report was “an alarm-clock moment for the world.”“To steer humanity out of the high danger zone, governments must step up immediate climate action and craft an agreement in 2015” against greenhouse gases, she said.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also urged strong action, labelling the report “yet another wakeup call.”“Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire,” he said.The volume is the first of a trilogy summarizing the status of global warming and its impacts.The IPCC has delivered four previous assessments in its 25-year history.Each edition has sounded an ever-louder drumbeat to warn that temperatures are rising and the risk to the climate system is accentuating.The projections for this century are based on computer models of trends in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, especially from coal, oil and gas which provide the backbone of energy supply today.The most optimistic of four warming scenarios sees an average temperature rise of 1.0 C (1.8 F) by 2100 over 2000 levels, ranging from 0.3 to 1.7 C (0.5-3.1 F). This is the only scenario that can safely meet the U.N.’s target of 2 C (3.6 F), which also factors in warming from the start of the Industrial Revolution to 2000.By comparison, the highest IPCC scenario has an average warming this century of 3.7 C (6.7 F), ranging from 2.6 C (4.7 F) to a 4.8 C (8.6 F) – a maximum many experts deem catastrophic.“Global surface temperature change for the 21st century is projected to be likely to exceed 1.5 C relative to 1850-1900 in all but the lowest scenario considered,” said Thomas Stocker, co-chairman of the working group that authored the report.‘Unbiased assessments’ of climate changeHeatwaves this century “very likely” will be more frequently and longer, he said, with added risk of floods and droughts in a warmer world.Depending on how much carbon gas enters the atmosphere, sea levels will rise by between 26 and 82 centimetres (10.4 and 32.8 inches) by 2100, the report added.Climate skeptics have pointed to a slowdown in warming over the last 10 to 15 years as proof that scientists’ models are flawed – or that global warming is a green scare.The IPCC acknowledged the slowdown but noted the decade ending 2010 was still the warmest on record and was marked by extreme weather events.It also cautioned against arbitrarily selecting dates to justify an argument.Thirty years or more are needed to see whether any slowdown was for real or just a quirk, said Stocker.World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) chief Michel Jarraud warned that climate change effects could last centuries.“Our activities today will have a profound effect on society, not just for us but for many generations to come,” he told a press conference.In a video statement, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the report was “essential” for governments thrashing out an ambitious global deal by 2015 on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.Ban will host a summit in September 2014 to boost political commitment to reach the 2 C target, a level that some experts say will avoid the worst climate fallout.“The heat is on,” said the U.N. chief. “Now we must act.”Political interest in climate change dwindled after a near-disastrous U.N. summit in Copenhagen in 2009, and willingness for concessions has fallen back in developed countries still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis.To safely reach the 2 C target, carbon emissions would have to peak by 2020 and then fall dramatically over the next half century, according to previous research.The report said mankind has already used 53 percent of the emissions allocation that would make 2 C possible – a trillion tons of carbon.The work released Friday comprises a 2,000-page report authored by 257 scientists, plus a 36-page Summary for Policymakers.Two more volumes of the Fifth Assessment Report will be released next year. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Nephew of Environment Minister René Castro drowns in riptide in Santa Teresa

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Watch out for riptides during the Easter Holy Week Hollywood celebrity Matt Damon and family vacation in Costa Rica Costa Rica’s Environment Ministry still hopes to close public zoos, despite losing in court Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches The Costa Rican Red Cross found the body of 18-year-old Felipe Castro Espinoza, a nephew of current Environment Minister René Castro, Friday, the day after he was caught in a wave at a beach in Santa Teresa, on the Nicoya Peninsula,La Nación reports.The younger Castro disappeared at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday after he and six relatives were caught in a riptide wave. Rescuers pulled out six of the the beach-goers from the ocean, and transported them to a hospital. Castro’s body was found 6:12 a.m. on the beach’s shore.René Castro confirmed the incident Thursday to La Nación.“It was my nephew who didn’t reappear,” Castro said. “He was together with his other brothers and cousins.”The Red Cross also recovered the body of 40-year-old Rafael Ángel Solano Carranza, who disappeared from another Nicoya Peninsula beach, Punta Morales.Riptides are a recurrent cause of misfortune on Costa Rica’s beaches. Earlier in the week, oceanographers at the National University broadcast a riptide report for the Easter Holy Week and asked travelers to take extreme caution during this week’s vacations.last_img read more

Costa Rica dominates Nicaragua 30 in national teams first match since World

first_imgRelated posts:Arsenal’s Joel Campbell stars on Costa Rica roster for Ticos’ first post-World Cup match Costa Rica takes on Nicaragua on Wednesday afternoon in Ticos’ first match since World Cup Watch Costa Rica’s three (yes, three!) goals in the victory over Uruguay Thanks to dear neighbor Nicaragua, Costa Rica advances to Central America Cup final against Guatemala Costa Rica showed no signs of a letdown against Nicaragua during the Ticos’ first match since their history-making runto the World Cup quarterfinals. In the opening game of the Central America Cup, Costa Rica defeated the worst team in the region, 3-0, on Wednesday evening in Washington D.C.The roster only included seven players who played in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but those same players were key to Costa Rica’s dominant victory. Team captain Celso Borges converted a penalty at the 38th minute to open the scoring. (Borges made two penalty kicks during the World Cup as well.)https://vine.co/v/OuqtbbxHVzuAt the start of the second half, Marco Ureña scored a beautiful left-footed goal. With an assist from Joel Campbell, Ureña, who scored against Uruguay in Brazil, clanged a shot off the top post to put the Ticos up 2-0. (No idea what’s up with Pearl Jam in the video.)https://vine.co/v/OuqYbwK6eZBA newcomer contributed Costa Rica’s final goal of the match. Johan Venegas, making his La Sele debut, headed in a well-placed pass from Cristopher Meneses the 85th minute. (No idea what’s up with Jamiroquai in the video.)https://vine.co/v/OubAjvnaAg5The Ticos could’ve easily scored a couple more goals. Arsenal’s Joel Campbell repeatedly sliced through the Nicaraguan defense and found open space, but failed to finish when given the opportunity. Venegas subbed in for Campbell at the 66th minute.The Nicaragua attack hardly threatened the Costa Rica goal all match. Two Ticos did pick up yellow cards, Nicaragua-born defender Óscar Duarte and José Miguel Cubero (both of whom played in the World Cup).Paulo Wanchope, in his first match in charge of La Sele, celebrated an easy victory. The legendary Tico player took over for Jorge Luis Pinto after a nasty split following the World Cup. Pinto left La Sele in late July after accusing his assistant Wanchope of betraying him. Pinto said Wanchope tried to have him fired during World Cup qualifying. Wanchope is just a temporary fix at head coach as FEDEFUT searches for a veteran foreign coach to take over the team later this fall.  But most fans took Pinto’s side in the coaching controversy, so it should at least be a relief to FEDEFUT and Wanchope that the team didn’t stumble against a lousy Nicaragua squad ranked 175th in the world.Costa Rica, ranked No. 15 internationally, take on Panama in Dallas, Texas, on Sunday. The winner likely will head to the Central America Cup championship on Sept. 13 in Los Angeles, California.All seven countries in Central America compete in the cup, which is taking place in the United States for the first time. The top four teams secure an automatic berth to next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. Costa Rica is in Group B with Nicaragua and Panama. Group A contains the remaining sides: Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and El Salvador.Honduras, the only other Central American country to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, also has a new head coach — former Costa Rican star Hernán Medford. The Medford era has gotten off to a swell start. Belize scored two own-goals in the opening half against Honduras as the Hondurans won 2-0 in the second match of the Central America Cup on Wednesday. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

VIDEO Aviation fans weather rain at Aero Fest

first_imgBy early afternoon on Sunday, storm clouds had gathered over San José and unleashed a rainstorm on La Sabana Park. Rivers of muddy water gurgled along the gutters, and pedestrians headed for the cover of trees and bus shelters. But even the distant rumble of thunder couldn’t keep folks from attending Aero Fest, a celebration of helicopters hosted by Volar Helicopters and sponsored by Banco Nacional.At 2 p.m., scores of people were huddled under the festival’s tents, watching the overcast skies for circling helicopters. One by one they swooped downward and landed softly on the La Sabana lawn. Passengers leaped out and trotted toward the tents while new passengers sprinted in the opposite direction.“It’s too bad that it’s raining,“ said one Banco Nacional representative. “But the event is still going – for now.”Following a nearly identical event in September, Aero Fest was a showcase for helicopters and pilots, but visitors seemed most eager to fly around San José in their very own chopper.“It was sunny this morning, and I thought it would be a good day to come out,” said Irmina Centeno, a Desamparados resident who brought her children to fly in the helicopter. Centeno had taken a similar tour in New York City some years ago, and although her children had previously flown in a plane to Colombia, a helicopter struck her as something special. When she saw advertisements for the event on Facebook and in the newspaper, she seized the opportunity. “It’s their first time. I think it will be nice for them.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Harley’s electric hog targets selfie-taking green hipsters Second Oktoberfest migrates to Pedregal Solís signs tuna fishing decree, but will it help Costa Rica’s oceans? National Geographic fans worry about partnership with climate change skeptic Rupert Murdochlast_img read more

Costa Rican police leadership denies targeting Uber drivers

first_imgRelated posts:Uber starts accepting drivers in Costa Rica but government threatens fines Yes, Uber Costa Rica is still illegal, says transport ministry Uber up and running in Costa Rica despite red light from Transport Ministry Costa Rica will not block Uber, says presidency minister After a rough start to Uber operations in Costa Rica over the weekend, President Luis Guillermo Solís’ administration finds itself at loggerheads with the ride-hailing company and with the Traffic Police union over how to enforce the country’s transportation laws.Hours after Uber service went live in San José Friday afternoon, police impounded two Uber vehicles. Later that same night, vandals smashed the windows of a car that was in Uber service, according to the company. Uber said that those drivers had its full support, legally and financially, according to company spokeswoman Rocío Paniagua.Sunday, in an interview with Channel 7 TV News, Traffic Police Union President Homer Alfaro accused authorities of unduly pressuring officers to go after Uber drivers at the expense of their other duties. Alfaro said officials were “coercing” traffic cops to go after the app’s drivers. Alfaro told Channel 7 that it would be an “abuse of power” for Traffic Police to interrogate drivers about who was or was not an Uber driver.Traffic Police Commissioner Mario Calderón denied Alfaro’s allegation in a statement Monday afternoon. Calderón replied that enforcing Costa Rican law on the illegal transport of people was not an abuse of power but rather compliance with the officer’s job description.“Members of the union, who are traffic officers, have the right to have their own opinion about the legality or not of Uber but they do not have the right to not comply with their duties and disobey orders,” Calderón said.The police chief said that only two Uber drivers have been fined since the company started operations on Aug. 21. On the other hand, Calderón said 4,260 people have been fined between January and July for unlicensed taxi service.The Solís administration issued a statement Saturday denying that the government had “declared war” on Uber, as reported by CRHoy.com on Aug. 21. The president did not, however, backtrack on Transport Vice Minister Sebastián Urbina’s statements that the company was providing an illegal service and violators would be fined.“In Costa Rica the law regarding the transport of people is clear. We regulate it in order to guarantee security for our consumers of public services. And in this case there can be no exceptions,” Solís told reporters on Aug. 21.Uber Costa Rica has denied that it is a public service, identifying instead as a private club that meets members’ transportation needs.As the government struggles to implement an enforcement strategy, Uber drivers continue to circulate and the company continues to solicit new drivers. The latest Uber Costa Rica workshop for new drivers was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Hotel Auténtico. Uber spokeswoman Rocío Paniagua previously told The Tico Times that the company would support any drivers fined by police.Paniagua would not say how many drivers Uber has signed up in Costa Rica but said the company’s goal is to have enough drivers so that an Uber can be available “within 5 minutes for anyone in Costa Rica.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Venezuelan voters showed overwhelming desire for change says John Kerry

first_imgRelated posts:Venezuela gives US 15 days on embassy staff cuts Struggles loom as Venezuela opposition vows to fix crisis Absences, again, shine at Ibero-American summit Venezuela elections: Opposition declares victory, wins control of legislature WASHINGTON, D.C. – A clear victory for Venezuela’s opposition inweekend elections showed that voters had an “overwhelming desire for a change,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday, calling for dialogue in the oil-rich, cash-poor country.“The United States congratulates the people of Venezuela for making their voices heard in a peaceful and democratic way on election day,” Kerry said in a statement. “Venezuelan voters expressed their overwhelming desire for a change in the direction of their country. Dialogue among all parties in Venezuela is necessary to address the social and economic challenges facing the country.”Kerry also said the United States — which has fraught ties with the governments of leftist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro — stood at the ready to support the process “together with others in the international community.”Venezuela’s opposition won control of the National Assembly in Sunday’s poll from Maduro’s PSUV party. It is the first time in 16 years that the PSUV will not control the National Assembly.Maduro conceded defeat and called for “coexistence” between the opposition and his party, as Venezuela struggles in the throes of an economic crisis, with shortages of basic foods and supplies.The U.S. secretary of state urged authorities to “continue to tabulate and publish voting results in a timely and transparent fashion.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

QA with Robyn Hitchcock He began in the punk era but landed

first_imgYour most recent album, “The Man Upstairs,” had as many covers as original songs, including ones by the Doors and Psychedelic Furs. Coming from someone so well known for writing their own, the covers came as a surprise.Well, you have these songs lying around in you for years. They’re where you start from. They’re part of your matrix, and they don’t necessarily dissolve and go away. They give you something to aim at and miss. They remain in you, and I think, after all, they become yours. You don’t collect the publishing royalties, but they are.For instance, Dylan’s “Visions of Johanna” is still my favorite song, and I’ve been singing that for 45 years off and on. It took me 15 years to even feel I could do it in public. But I feel it belongs to me more than it does to Dylan, because if he does it, he will drop a couple of verses, scramble the tune, sing the words inaudibly, and he knows his ghouls will be saying: “Great Caesar’s Ghost! Bob did ‘Visions of Johanna.’ Oh, master.”As influences on your work, you’re as likely to cite “Dr. Who” as your admiration to Bob Dylan.Dr. Who was a creature of the mid-’60s who was a sort of trans-dimensional sage. As a 10- or 11-year-old, I thought: “Oh, my God, this is what I want to be. I just want to be a trans-dimensional sage. That’s not asking too much?” He flies through time and space, but he doesn’t know where or when he’s going to land. It’s all random. He has a sonic screwdriver, but he can’t find it. How human is that?What’s the forthcoming album going to be like?It looks at my old life in England, and some of the characters in it, through the prism of Nashville. Brendan Benson [of the Raconteurs] produced and engineered it, and he prompted me to return one more time to the two-guitars, bass, drums and harmonies template, cut this time with Nashville players and a little pedal-steel. I’ve always been drawn to the portal between psychedelia and country, though whether this is either is questionable. (Via www.robynhitchcock.com)© 2016, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Red Hot Chili Peppers to play Lollapalooza as new album emerges Pop icon Prince dead at 57 Singer-songwriter Kevin Johansen makes everyone feel good in Costa Rica debut Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey dies at 67 The world first became aware of Robyn Hitchcock in 1980. He was with the Soft Boys, singing:Ahh aah aahWanna destroy you!It was the punk era, and the song boosted the band. But it also deceived. Hitchcock wasn’t, as it turned out, much of a nihilist. Now 63, he has proved more durable and complicated than his vintage. Hundreds of songs have poured forth, psychedelia-tinged, engraved with daft and sorrowful words.My dead wife’s upstairsShe’s still wearing flaresShe talks out loudBut no one hearsHis work became more personal, too, or apparently so.I water the tomatoes and I think of you“No one’s ever watered me the way you doAnd so a career that might have been a good bet to burn out with the Soft Boys has taken a long and curious path: from busking in Cambridge, England, across what he describes as the digital void of the ’80s, to Nashville, where he now lives. And though Hitchcock has had only a smattering of radio hits – “Balloon Man,” most prominently – his work has inspired devotion among songwriters of the next generation, including Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, who has been a cheerleader.Before a show at the Arden Club in Delaware recently, Hitchcock sat down to talk, with wry detachment, about taking root in the ’80s despite his affinity for the ’60s, his admiration of Bob Dylan’s work, and his own next album. (Via www.robynhitchcock.com)Q: How did you end up in Nashville?A: My partner, Emma [Swift], was living there when we met. She’s Australian but she’s – they call her an Americana singer. We are both Americana acts, funnily enough. Mature Brits of my age – Billy Bragg, Richard Thompson, Nick Lowe and myself – are now deemed Americana artists. Ten years ago, we would have been alt-country.That seems like a pretty broad category. What does “Americana” mean now, anyway?It means it doesn’t have tattoos and it doesn’t use a lot of amplifiers – it’s anything that doesn’t require a lot of plumage or volume, and as you get older you tend to shed both. I’m probably about a quarter of the volume and I’m half the speed of the Soft Boys. As you get older, you get quieter and slower and you become Americana. It helps that I’m in Nashville now.You’ve been around long enough that people are almost startled by your longevity. Has your approach to performing and to writing songs changed?I think you gain things and you lose things. You get weathered. When you’re younger, you have to rely on your imagination and your intuition. When you’re older, there’s that much more to remember and much less to imagine. More and more of my stuff is based on people that I’ve known and on things that actually happened.When you’ve got so many songs, and fans who began with you more than 30 years ago, how do you balance their expectation for the oldies and what you’re working on now?Fortunately, having never been burdened with a hit, I’m not tethered to the past.You’ve had some hits.I’ve had some radio hits, but it’s not like, “Oh, my God, if he doesn’t play that one I’ll feel cheated.” I’ve accepted the fact that I’m rooted in the past of my listeners and myself. Doing all this [touring] pays for my songwriting habit. People really get something out of hearing the old ones, the songs they heard when they were 15, and I’ll play some. I then scuttle to Nashville and I spend my disposable income on recording new songs. There’s piles of stuff lying around, which will probably come out later.last_img read more

Costa Rican lawmakers approve bill to ban sex with minors

first_imgRelated posts:Supreme Court backs bill to ban sex with minors New campaign targets sexual harassment in public places Video shows suspected killers of Gerardo Cruz, who confronted man filming up skirt Zika: Tragedy or Opportunity? The Legislative Assembly has approved Bill #19,337, which establishes prison sentences for adults convicted of having sex with a minor.A majority of 43 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill in a second and final debate on Monday evening, while three legislators from the Libertarian Movement, plus the Broad Front’s Ligia Fallas, voted against the initiative.The Assembly passed the bill in the first round of debate on Aug. 29, but the process stalled after a group of legislators lead by Libertarian Otto Guevara sent the bill for consultation before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV. The court eventually ruled that bill did not contain any unconstitutional provisions.The bill will take effect after President Luis Guillermo Solís signs it and it is published in the official government newspaper La Gaceta.Elizabeth Ballestero Araya, the Technical Manager of the Child Welfare Office (PANI), told The Tico Times yesterday that the agency supports the approved bill in its entirety.“Adults must fully understand that they should think only about protecting minors, not about having sexual relations with them,” she said.Controversial billFollowing Monday’s vote, Guevara said he still believes the approved bill violates principles of the Iberoamerican Convention on Youth Rights and of the Universal Convention on the Rights of the Child.“This is a hypocritical bill that lacks a legal basis,” Guevara told reporters at the Assembly on Monday evening.Guevara again criticized the Sala IV ruling, which he says did not take into consideration various aspects of the bill that he had highlighted.For example, he pointed out that the approved prison sentences “could result in the conviction of a 24-year-old person who is in a stable relationship with someone of 17,” he said. The Libertarian said that there are a lot of relationships like that in Costa Rica, and now all these people could face criminal charges.Emilia Molina from the ruling Citizen Action Party welcomed the positive vote and said the new law will be vital for protecting Costa Rican minors.“This law is a commitment to the protection of our children and adolescents’ innocence, health and future,” she said.Casa Presidencial also expressed satisfaction with the vote. Vice President Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría said in a statement that the initiative gives minors the right to live their lives with dignity and without “abusive relationships where they are subjected to forced early marriages and pregnancies. They now will be able to focus on staying in school.”Ombudswoman Montserrat Solano Carboni said that various international organizations have been asking countries without laws that ban these types of relationships and ban marriages with underage people, to put such laws on the books. In this sense Costa Rica has paid a debt by passing the bill, she said.Solano told The Tico Times that she agrees with the age difference ranges included in the bill, as Costa Rica has high rates of teenage pregnancy that in most cases were caused by men many years older than their partners.“In the end, we need people to understand that engaging in a relationship with an underage person is wrong,” Solano said, and added that men in countries with similar laws “now are used to asking girls their age when they meet them, in order to avoid legal problems.”The Ombudswoman added that young women need more and better sex ed, and the population in general needs a change of mindset about certain behaviors and cultural patterns.“I’ll give you an example. People here use the term ‘viejos verdes‘ (dirty old men) for old men who hunt underage girls, but they should be called pedophiles. That’s the appropriate term, and we shouldn’t make jokes about it or use funny names,” she said.Elizabeth Ballestero of PANI pointed out that boys and girls in their adolescent years are in the process of understanding their roles in the society.“They look for affection, acceptance, identification, and that makes them vulnerable to older people offering them a relationship,” she told The Tico Times.She said she also believes the country still needs to move forward with strategies to protect minors from situations derived from social media and other technological tools that expose them to a broad range of risks.Approved lawThe approved legislation, known as the “Bill to Ban Improper Relationships,” amends various articles of the country’s Criminal Code, Family Code and Civil Code, as well as laws of the Supreme Elections Tribunal and the Civil Registry.Under Costa Rican legislation, sex between an adult and a person under 13 is considered rape.The new law closes a loophole that had left minors between ages 13 and 18 unprotected, as no previous law provided any legal sanctions for sexual relationships between adults and those adolescents.Prison sentences in the new law depend on the age difference between the adult and the adolescent. For example, sentences range from three to six years when the adolescent is between the ages of 13-15 and the adult is five or more years older. In the case of an adolescent between 15-18 years old and an adult who is seven or more years older, the sentence will be two to three years in prison.A sanction of four to ten years would apply when the adult is the minor’s family member, legal guardian or caregiver, or has a close relation with the adolescent or his or her family.The law also bans marriage between people under 18; between an adult and a minor; and between an adoptee and any member of his or her adoptive family.Data from the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses indicate that there were 290 births from mothers under 15 years old in 1983, and the number rose to 460 in 2015. Almost 90 percent of these pregnancies were from adult men. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Manuel Antonio National Park closed due to heavy rains

first_imgRelated posts:VIDEOS: Water sweeps away roads, bridges, cattle around Costa Rica Government decrees state of mourning; donation, volunteer efforts increase Rescue operations, recovery continue after Hurricane Nate Rains expected to lessen as of Saturday; Manuel Antonio reopens Costa Rica’s most popular national park, Manuel Antonio, on the Central Pacific coast, is closed until further notice because of heavy rains in the area.The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and its Central Pacific Conservation Area ordered the temporary closure of the park because of the its vulnerability to flooding. In a statement released Tuesday, SINAC indicated that because several river drainage channels pass through the park, authorities decided the risk of sudden flooding in the event of intense rainfall was too great to keep the park open.Park administrators evacuated all tourists and researchers within the park and will continue to evaluate evolving weather conditions to determine when the park can reopen, the statement said.Heavy rains are forecast Tuesday and Wednesday across Costa Rica’s Pacific slope, much of which is under yellow alert at the time of this writing. Authorities are keeping a particularly close eye on the rains because recent landslides and flooding in the wake of Tropical Storm Nate increase the possibility of additional incidents. The Tico Times will continue to monitor this developing story. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Expo opens in South Korea with robots ocean theme

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family YEOSU, South Korea (AP) – Expo 2012 has opened in South Korea’s coastal city of Yeosu for a three-month run.Organizers say the fair, which kicked off Saturday, has the largest number of robots in the history of expos. Attractions include a robot fish that explores underwater resources in an environment-friendly way.Organizers say about 33,000 tickets were sold for the opening day. More than 100 countries are participating in the expo to display their technology, culture and products. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Yeosu is a port city 300 kilometers (185 miles) south of Seoul. It has built a gigantic structure in the water to display colorful hologram images and promote the expo.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img Top Stories Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

Zimbabwe AIDS activist sues prisons for drugs

first_imgMuzanenhamo, who has been HIV-infected for 18 years, was freed without charge in March 2011 after police arrested bystanders at a lecture in Harare on the Arab Spring they claimed was in preparation for a revolt in Zimbabwe.In court documents released Friday, he said he was kept in filthy cells making prisoners with HIV susceptible to fatal infections. He said he was held in solitary confinement for demanding his drugs.Sudden changes in drug treatment over 48 hours are known to lead to a sharp deterioration in the body’s immune system, even if the drug is resume patients are at risk that the treatment will not be effective, leading to their death.In the first lawsuit of its kind, citing as respondents Zimbabwe’s police and prison commanders, government ministers and the nation’s attorney general, the chief law officer, Muzanenhamo said on the day of his arrest officers at the main Harare police station didn’t allow him to call his family to bring medication he took twice daily to a precise timetable.After lawyers intervened, his family brought medication two days later but they were kept by police and not given to him at the prescribed times. Then he was given a single prison issue tablet once a day that he was unfamiliar with. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona In the court deposition, he said he was “totally dependent” on the drugs, along with a healthy diet, to stay alive.He suffered hypertension and depression, fearing he was in “mortal danger” on an insufficient diet of black tea, corn gruel and beans in harsh prison conditions.Since his HIV infection, Muzanenhamo has campaigned among fellow sufferers on hygiene and medical and dietary ways to be able to live a “happy and fulfilling life,” he said.Upon his arrest, the police ordered him to take off his jacket, socks and shoes and remain only with “one layer of clothing.” He was put into a tiny cell for five days with no running water with 15 other inmates, sleeping on the floor without blankets.He said was made to walk barefoot through “human excreta and dried blood all over the place.”“Walking barefoot significantly increases the likelihood of me contracting a life-threatening infection,” he said in his Supreme Court deposition.No official figures are available on deaths in the nation’s police cells and prisons.Lawyers acting for Muzanenhamo said Friday his plight and that of thousands of other prisoners suffering from illness who do not get treatment was a cruel and inhuman denial of basic constitutional rights to life for many inmates, like Muzanenhamo, who had not been convicted of any crime. Zimbabwe has one of the world’s highest rates of HIV infections and AIDS.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Associated PressHARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – An AIDS awareness campaigner and his lawyers said Friday they are taking a groundbreaking test case to Zimbabwe’s highest court to force police and prison authorities ensure HIV sufferers get their life prolonging medication.Douglas Muzanenhamo said in papers filed at the Supreme Court that he was denied appropriate antiretroviral treatment in jail for three weeks last year and his condition veered toward death.center_img Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories last_img read more

Egypt postpones curfew on shops cafes by a week

first_imgCAIRO (AP) – The Egyptian government decided to postpone by one week the imposition of a curfew on shops and restaurants that had been intended to save energy and bring order to the street but sparked a broad backlash.The 10 p.m. curfew, which had been due to start on Saturday, is compulsory for all shops, while restaurants and cafes are to close at midnight. Few businesses, such as those with a tourism license and pharmacies, are exempted from the new regulations. Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Quick workouts for men However the chambers argue that the plan would lead to higher unemployment as millions of Egyptians work at night.Critics also believe that it will be virtually impossible to enforce the new regulations in Cairo, home to an estimated 18 million, given the absence of strong law enforcement since last year’s uprising.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of The postponement appeared to be driven by pressure from chambers of commerce and the public, who say the plan causes more harm than good and its implementation is unclear.Municipal Development Minister Ahmed Zaki Abdeen told private TV network Al-Hayat late Thursday that the new rules will come into effect next week, when “executive regulations” are ready.The government has made no official announcement regarding the postponement.On Friday, state-run Al-Ahram daily described Abdeen’s comments as a reflection of “confusion” in the government as it deals with pressure from business groups and merchants.The paper quoted Ahmed al-Wakeel, head of the Union of Chambers of Commerce, as saying that his group has suggested extending the curfew to 11:00 p.m. for big cities and tourist sites such as Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and resort areas like Sharm el-Sheikh.Egypt’s Prime Minister Hesham Kandil is to meet with representatives from the chambers to look into their suggestions, the paper added.The government has said that the early closure would save nearly 3 billion Egyptian pounds annually by conserving electricity, as the nation struggles with an economic crisis and fuel shortages. It also says the move will ease traffic congestion, which in turn would make it easier for municipalities to clean the streets, make renovations, and bring order. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Spain Sephardic citizenship plan hits snags unlike Portugal

first_imgBut that enthusiasm fizzled when Ashkenazi began researching the conditions for citizenship on behalf of his family. He realized that proving his family’s lineage was more difficult that he thought. He interviewed his grandmother, looked up archival documents and only got so far as his grandfather’s grandfather. In the end, the expense of hiring a genealogist, coupled with the cost of trips to Spain for the citizenship process, proved prohibitive.Leon Amiras, who heads a group representing Spanish-speaking immigrants to Israel, said his group unsuccessfully lobbied 30 Spanish members of parliament to soften some of the citizenship requirements.“This is scandalous,” said Amiras. “I am not naive and don’t expect Spain to hand out passports without conditions but there is a limit.” He said that beyond costs, the length of the process could deter elderly Sephardim from pursuing citizenship.But 89-year-old Mordechai Ben Abir said he’s not bothered by the extra steps he’ll have to take.He completed a doctoral degree at a Barcelona university at age 82, and discovered his family’s historic links to Spain. Ben Abir’s thesis went back in time through 25 generations to tie him to the Caballero family that fled Spain. Sponsored Stories Top Stories Take Jose Caro, who can trace his roots to Joseph Ben Efraim Caro, a revered Jewish scholar believed to have fled the country in 1492 — the year Spain’s monarchy issued decrees ordering Jews and Muslims in Spain to convert or leave. As a native of Chile, Caro speaks fluent Spanish and studied Spanish culture and history in Argentina, where he was raised.But Caro, a 58-year-old insurance broker, has decided not to apply because he sees the conditions Spain has imposed as an affront to his family and its history of expulsion and persecution.If only Spain’s upcoming law were more like Portugal’s he would seek citizenship and a passport “for the honor of my family.”Caro, who heads a group representing immigrants to Israel from Latin America, won’t apply for Portuguese citizenship because he considers his ancestors’ stay there “just a stop” in their exile from Spain, their ancestral land. Virtually all of Portugal’s Jews fled to the country from Spain. The Jews who ended up in Portugal were only there five years until they, too, were ordered to convert or leave in 1497.Haim Ashkenazi, a 22-year-old university student, said the possibility of getting a Spanish passport was tempting for historical reasons and for the opportunities it could bring. His ancestors left Spain for Turkey and moved to Israel three generations ago. He knows some Spanish. The federation is also warning people the law isn’t expected to become open to applicants until October, in order to give enough time to create the Spanish language and citizenship tests and set up a digital application system.Once the law is in effect, applicants will have a three-year window to seek citizenship. Querub said the amendments added to the Spanish law were unexpected, but declined to criticize them.The law “has a series of conditions but they do not take away from the value of the law,” he said. “And we appreciate this generosity of the Spaniards.”Spain’s ruling Popular Party has brushed off criticism of the amendments. In a parliamentary debate last month, Gabriel Elorriaga, a senator, said that clearer rules were needed for granting Spanish citizenship to all seekers — not just Sephardic Jews.But there is one sense that the rules for Sephardic Jews will be in a privileged class compared with many others seeking Spanish citizenship: The Sephardic Jews will be allowed to have dual nationality. Currently, Spain allows double citizenship for only for applicants from former Spanish colonies, plus Andorra and Portugal.In Israel, reaction to the Spanish law entanglements is mixed — even among those who seem to easily meet the requirements. Four benefits of having a wireless security system MADRID (AP) — For Alfonso Paredes Henriquez, it was the opportunity not only of a lifetime — but of a half-millennium. The Panamanian real estate developer, a descendant of Sephardic Jews kicked out of Spain five centuries ago, was elated when the country announced it would atone for the Inquisition by granting citizenship to people who can prove lineage from exiled Jews.Then came a long wait, as Spain’s Sephardic Jew citizenship law took two years to wind its way through Parliament. Amendments were tacked on that made the application process tougher and delayed approval for a bill that faced virtually no opposition. In this photo taken on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, a jewish woman reads a book at the main Jewish synagogue in Lisbon. Portugal enacted in March a law to grant citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews exiled during the Inquisition 500 years ago. Spain is about to adopt a similar law but its different requirements have brought criticism. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) Despite his age, Ben Abir, who was born in Argentina and moved to Israel in 1955, said he is “going to get a passport no matter what.”“My goal is not to have a passport for the honor of having a European passport,” he said. “I want to feel that we returned to Spain, so it would be clear that we won. That we still exist. That we live.”___Goldenberg reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Barry Hatton contributed to this report from Lisbon, Portugal.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breachescenter_img But Spanish lawmakers ended up adding amendments making the process for Sephardic Jews similar to that faced by permanent residents seeking citizenship. The hurdles are significant: Sephardic applicants must learn and be tested in basic Spanish if they don’t speak one of several Jewish languages rooted in Spanish. They also must pass a current events and culture test about Spain. And they have to establish a modern-day link to Spain, which can be as simple as donating to a Spanish charity or as expensive as buying Spanish property.Paredes Henriquez — whose Spanish ancestors were driven into Portugal by the inquisition — predicted the extra steps would translate into more lost time, money and frustrating red tape. In Portugal, he only has to prove his family history and that he has never been convicted of a crime punishable by three or more years in prison.“Portugal is being more friendly about the process,” he said. Indeed, the country is currently examining its first round of applications with decisions expected in a few months. “There’s more willingness to do it, and they’re doing it right.”Spain’s Jewish federation has received more than 5,000 requests for information about the Spanish law. For now, would-be applicants are advised to start gathering family history as evidence, to consider learning some Spanish and to think about establishing a link to Spain, said federation president Isaac Querub Caro. Frustrated, Paredes Henriquez turned instead to Portugal. The neighboring country had enacted its own law to grant citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews exiled during the Inquisition, which forced Jews to flee, convert to Catholicism or be burned at the stake. He submitted his Portuguese citizenship application in late March.“Spain came out saying they would make a law but Portugal did it first and it’s easier in Portugal,” said Paredes Henriquez. “Portugal just swooped in.”Spanish lawmakers are finally preparing this month to approve a law that potentially allows hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions, of Sephardic Jews around the world a shot at citizenship, though there are no reliable estimates of how many people might be eligible.A Spanish passport means those who get it would be able to live or work anywhere in the 28-nation European Union, and apply for citizenship for immediate family members. While some European nations are experiencing a surge in anti-immigration sentiment, Spain and Portugal are not, and the laws have not generated opposition.Many would-be applicants thought the Spanish law, announced in 2013, would carry few requirements beyond thorough vetting of ancestry. That’s the case with the Portuguese law, which was proposed after Spain’s but went into effect in March 1. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

The top 10 ads on YouTube in 2017

first_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches 0 Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Check your body, save your lifecenter_img PHOENIX – The year is coming to a close and YouTube ads leaderboard has published the top 10 advertisements for 2017.The rankings were based on the amount of views each advertisement received. With well over 150 million views, an ad by Samsung India Service ranked first overall.The seven-minute video set out to explain their dedication to customer service, but provided a message that was much more powerful.That advertisement and the rest of the top 10 for 2017 can be viewed below. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories 1. Samsung India Service (SVC) – We’ll take care of you, wherever you are. #SamsungService2. Clash Royale: The Last Second (Official Commercial)3. Ping Pong Trick Shots 3 | Dude Perfect4. MISS DIOR – The new Eau de Parfum5. Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl Commercial | “Born The Hard Way”6. 2017 Kia Niro | “Hero’s Journey” Starring Melissa McCarthy7. adidas Originals | ORIGINAL is never finished8. iPhone 7 — The Rock x Siri Dominate the Day — Apple9. Levi’s® “Circles” Commercial l Full10. Mr. Clean | 2017 Super Bowl Ad | Cleaner of Your Dreams New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more