Search off Puerto Rico for missing MSC cruise ship passenger

first_img SAN JUAN — Authorities are searching near Puerto Rico for a French citizen suspected of going overboard from a cruise ship north of the U.S. island territory.The U.S. Coast Guard says the 74-year-old was reported missing by his wife while the MSC Divina was en route to San Juan. Lt. Leah Roach says a Coast Guard plane and cutter were searching a wide area Tuesday about 24 nautical miles north of Puerto Rico.Roach says Jean Pierre Knorr awoke before dawn Monday and told his wife he was stepping outside for some fresh air. She got up several hours later and realized he had not returned.MSC Cruises said company officials are working with the Coast Guard to determine the circumstances that led to his apparent disappearance. Tuesday, January 3, 2017 Search off Puerto Rico for missing MSC cruise ship passenger Posted by Tags: MSC Cruises, Puerto Ricocenter_img Share The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Bonus commissions client savings more with TravelBrands Encore Cruises promo

first_img Travelweek Group Share TORONTO — TravelBrands is riding a wave of cruise offers that offers travellers and travel agents bonus amenities and added value when booking Encore Cruises in the Mediterranean and Europe.The Encore Cruises European Extravaganza runs from March 1-14 and includes the following:AmaWaterways: $100 spa credit and a bottle of sparkling wineAvalon: $50 bonus commissionAzamara Club Cruises: Guest receive up to US$500 onboard credit, travel agents receive up to $150 bonus incentiveCelebrity Cruises: $200 air creditCosta Cruises: $50 onboard credit and $50 bonus travel agent incentiveCroisiEurope: Clients receive a $100 discountCunard: Up to $300 onboard creditDisney Cruise Line: 2x Loyalty PointsHolland America Line: $50 onboard credit + onboard coupon booklet; $50 bonus travel agent incentiveHurtigruten: $50 onboard creditMSC Cruises: $50 onboard creditNorwegian Cruise Line: Up to 30% savings + 2 bottles of winePrincess Cruises: Chocolate covered strawberries and onboard coupon bookletRoyal Caribbean Cruises: Prepaid gratuities and up to $400 air creditSilverseas: 1% bonus commissionVantage: $1,000 air credit + $100 bonus commissionMore news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemFor more information go to travelbrands.com. Wednesday, March 1, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Posted by Tags: Commission, Encore Cruises, Promotions, TravelBrands Bonus commissions, client savings & more with TravelBrands’ Encore Cruises promolast_img read more

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Universal Orlando unveils new dedicated support resources for travel agents

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Share ORLANDO — Universal Orlando Resort is launching its first-ever customer service team dedicated exclusively to travel agents, with the option for agents to reach UOR reps via online chat and text. The theme park company is the latest in a growing list of travel suppliers announcing major investments into their travel agent booking channels.UOR says its highly-trained team will provide agents “with more support and resources than ever before, reinforcing Universal Orlando’s commitment to the travel agent community”.The all-new resources include a dedicated call centre team, a responsive text message service and a live online chat feature – all created to offer convenient, multi-platform assistance to travel agent partners whenever and wherever they need it.UOR says the new communication options add to the existing tools available to travel agents and are specifically designed to better assist in creating the ultimate Universal Orlando vacation experience for their clients:Call Centre Team for Travel AgentsThis team is dedicated to assisting travel agent partners with bookings and questions about products at Universal Orlando. This team will ensure that agents receive answers promptly in order to create an experience that meets the needs of their clients before, during and after their vacation. Travel agents can contact the team today by calling: 1-800-224-3838.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Live Online Chat for Travel AgentsThe most instant communication method for travel agents is the ability to access a representative via a mobile-friendly chat feature on VAXVacationAccess.com, Universal Orlando’s travel agent vacation package booking website. Agents can chat real-time with a representative as they navigate the booking engine. Representatives are available to answer any questions, discuss pricing, offer suggestions on vacation package options, and more.Text Message Service for Travel AgentsAnother communication capability now available to travel agents is the ability to text a representative once payment of their client’s vacation package has processed. The text service is the perfect method for simple or even last minute questions to be answered in a timely fashion. When final payment is applied, travel agents will receive a code enabling the text message service.For hours of operation and additional information on the new communication resources, travel agents should visit UniversalTravelAgents.com.UOR reminds the trade that travel agents who register at UniversalTravelAgents.com have access to exclusive tools such as training modules, marketing collateral, vacation packages and offers, tickets and enhancements and more.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesTravel Agents can also join the recently launched Universal Orlando Travel Professionals Facebook group to receive the latest news, updates and more.Universal Orlando’s theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, are home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Hogsmeade and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley, and much more. Universal Orlando’s third park, Universal’s Volcano Bay, a new water theme park experience, opened in May 2017.Universal’s on-site resort hotels, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, feature a total of 5,600 rooms. There’s also Universal CityWalk offering dining and entertainment. Tuesday, August 8, 2017 Travelweek Group center_img Posted by Tags: Education, Theme Parks & Attractions, Universal Studios Universal Orlando unveils new dedicated support resources for travel agentslast_img read more

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Flight Centre Independent agents Discover the Undiscovered in Tulum

first_imgFlight Centre Independent agents ‘Discover the Undiscovered’ in Tulum Posted by Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Tags: Flight Centre, Sphere Travelweek Group center_img The recently-rebranded Flight Centre Independent host agency division is not just a Canadian focus, but also a global focus for Flight Centre, says Flight Centre Founder Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner. “Flight Centre as a whole are right behind our Independent Agents and they’re going to be a very, very important part of our future,” said Turner.Last month Flight Centre Independent agents were hosted by Air Transat and AMResorts for their annual conference and gala awards. The theme for this year’s conference was ‘Welcome To The Jungle: Discover The Undiscovered’ with FCI agents in attendance exposed to new product, new systems and new information about their businesses and the Flight Centre Independent (formerly Flight Centre Associates) brand as a whole.FCI agents are having fun with the new name, nicknaming themselves ‘Indies’ in recent months, says FCI General Manager Lee Zanello.Flight Centre Independent attendees at FCI’s annual conferenceAs a result, he says, FCI support staff couldn’t help but have some fun of their own when planning this year’s conference and gala awards. “We had already been working with the jungle theme for the last ten months,” says Zanello. “It was a perfect fit to throw in the Indiana Jones references.”Agents donned Indiana Jones fedoras throughout the week and earning ‘Indy Bucks’ and ‘Snake Idols’ for participating in various aspects of conference.The money and idols then factored into a Survivor-style auction at the end of the week where over $10,000 of trips and prizes were given away.“The support we are seeing from the company both nationally and globally is unprecedented,” says Zanello, “and this only means more investment, more resources and more support for our Independent Agents.”FCI says its support-to-agent ratio is 10:1 and with the new introduction of the Regional Leader role at this year’s conference, support is getting stronger at the local level.“Our Regional Leaders are the Independent way to run with Flight Centre’s time-tested philosophy around Family, Village and Tribe groupings,” says Zanello. “Within this structure, support truly is everywhere and our six new Regional Leaders will only add to that.”Over the course of the week agents took in shows, fine dining and had the opportunity to build relationships with many of Flight Centre’s preferred tour partners, an area where many agents were wanting and needing more training, notes Zanello.There was also a lot to celebrate as a mock wedding evening turned into a celebration of an agent’s recent 25-year wedding anniversary with her partner, who was also present, and the week started with one agent receiving (and accepting) a wedding proposal of her own.Top agents from the previous fiscal year were also recognized and agents who contribute positively to the culture of FCI were honoured in the evening’s top awards.Attendees also heard that Flight Centre Independent Agents are now not only eligible for the annual Preferred All-Stars Trip – an all-expenses paid trip for the top agents who support Flight Centre’s Preferred Partner strategy – but several spots are also open to attend Flight Centre’s Global Gathering taking place in Berlin next July. Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Virtuosos Wanderlist uses custom travel portfolios for nextlevel planning

first_imgVirtuoso’s Wanderlist uses custom travel portfolios for next-level planning Share Travelweek Group Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img NEW YORK — Matthew D. Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso, says the new Wanderlist tool offers curated custom travel portfolios and much more: “If a bucket list is what people want to do before they die, a Wanderlist focuses them on how they want to live.”Originally called Virtuoso Orchestrator, the new Wanderlist was formally introduced to agency owners and managers at the 2019 U.S. & Canada Forum in Austin last month.After beta-testing the platform and process with select Virtuoso member agencies over the past year, Virtuoso is now accepting applications for Wanderlist participation from U.S. and Canadian advisors interested in adopting its unique business model.Advisors will complete a training to be certified in the platform before using it with clients, who will pay a fee set by each agency to participate.So what is Wanderlist? According to Virtuoso, it’s a groundbreaking consumer travel planning experience that combines technology with the human touch, encompassing a custom-designed platform and extensive advisor training.Through the curation of custom travel portfolios, Virtuoso Wanderlist “is an industry game-changer that helps the network’s travel advisors strengthen their client relationships by mapping out future travels,” says the company.Using Wanderlist advisors can manage their clients’ future travel proactively based on detailed input from clients themselves, instead of reactively planning one trip at a time, says the luxury retail network.Building on the model of the financial advisor, Wanderlist offers a combination of professional expertise and the latest technology. It encourages the client to have greater input into their future journeys, while positioning the advisor as a travel planning superstar.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portal“We did some exploration into the notion of bucket lists and found that 75% of people’s lists are made up of two things: places they want to go and experiences they want to have,” says Upchurch. “So, we set off to build a system that allowed advisors to create a better framework for their clients’ travel wish lists.”He says Wanderlist will enable advisors and their clients – both individually and with travel companions such as family and friends – to collaborate on organizing their wish lists and planning their dream trips.The fun visual online process to create a personalized travel portfolio further enables advisors to become specialists in their clients, uncovering previously unknown aspirations and building a stronger human connection. It also allows clients “to live in a state of anticipation knowing their life will now wrap around their travel schedule instead of trying to fit their trips into their life”.In Wanderlist’s first step, clients curate their travel interests in an immersive walk around the world, including destinations and trip styles, on their phone, tablet or computer.Next, clients enter a unique customized Netflix-style portal, where through videos, music, stories and other information they can explore more than 160 places and over 1,500 experiences tailored to their specific interests.Finally, the advisor will review results from the client and their travel companions, compare preferences and interests, and map out future possibilities and dates in a portfolio.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthWanderlist modernizes the workflow, too, says Upchurch, by notifying the advisor to start planning the next trip to avoid issues with availability for the best lodging, tours and cruises.It will also apprise advisors of best travel dates by seasonality, value and personal schedules; and facilitate increased communication with clients, including quarterly check-ins to ensure goals are still aligned.Agencies will benefit by being able to forecast their long-term business, capture incremental bookings for trips, lock in lifetime value and gain deeper insights into each client’s travel preferences, therefore optimizing their book of business.The long-range approach facilitated by Wanderlist will save clients time and budget by organizing their future travels instead of booking one trip at a time when availability is lowest and prices are highest, often resulting in as much as a 25% rate premium, he adds.“Leisure time is our most valuable, non-renewable asset because once it’s gone, you can’t make it back,” says Upchurch. “To help travelers increase their Return on Life, we created the industry’s first travel portfolio. Wanderlist, paired with the expertise of a Virtuoso advisor, will organize ideas into plans, and set plans into action, opening the world to clients and ultimately offering them peace of mind that their travel dreams will become a reality.” Friday, February 1, 2019 Tags: Virtuosolast_img read more

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Disney Cruise Line to return to Greece for Summer 2020 season

first_img Share CELEBRATION, FL — Disney Cruise Line is heading back to Greece, among other popular destinations, for its summer 2020 cruise season.Along with its long-awaited return to Greece and the addition of five first-time ports of call in Europe, the cruise line has announced an expanded European season aboard the Disney Magic as well as sailings to Alaska, the Caribbean and Bahamas.Bookings open to the public on March 7, 2019.Here’s an overview of what’s on offer in 2020:EUROPEAfter a five-year hiatus, the Disney Magic will return to Greece as part of three special Mediterranean voyages departing from Rome. During one 12-night and two nine-night cruises, guests will visit Piraeus, Katakolon and the islands of Santorini, Mykonos and Crete. Each of these Med itineraries combines a selection of stops in Greece with visits to other notable cities in the region. Two of the sailings include a new port of call in Messina, Italy, while a third features a return to Dubrovnik, Croatia for the first time in five years.Additional new ports of call in Europe include: Gdynia, Poland; Nordfjordeid, Norway; Plymouth, England; and Zeebrugge, Belgium. This new collection of destinations is part of the Disney Magic’s grand tour of Europe in summer 2020, which begins with sailings through the Mediterranean and Greek Isles before heading to northern Europe for cruises to the Baltic, British Isles and Norwegian fjords.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upALASKAIn 2020, the Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for the summer season with seven-night itineraries departing from Vancouver. Stops include Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Dawes Glacier.CARIBBEAN & BAHAMASIn addition to seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, the Disney Fantasy will embark on a variety of itineraries to the Caribbean and Bahamas throughout the summer of 2020. These include five- and nine-night Caribbean sailings, along with three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises, three of which feature two stops at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.The Disney Dream will provide even more opportunities for guests to visit Castaway Cay in the summer of 2020 with three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises, including a series of sailings with two calls on the private island paradise. << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Thursday, February 28, 2019 GUIDED EXPERIENCESIn summer 2020, Disney Cruise Line guests can enrich their cruise vacation with a variety of add- on packages from Adventures by Disney, a leader in family guided group vacations. Highlights include brand-new ways to experience the Caribbean, a return to Alaska and popular packages in northern Europe and the Mediterranean.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North America PREMIUM CRUISE PACKAGESWith Adventures by Disney, guests can book the ultimate Disney cruise experience on select sailings in Alaska, Europe and—new for 2020—the Caribbean. Throughout the voyage, knowledgeable Adventure Guides will lead guests on specially curated excursions and interactive activities. Onboard the ship, guests enjoy unique experiences and premium amenities exclusive to Adventures by Disney, such as a talkback session with Walt Disney Theatre cast members followed by a behind-the-scenes costume and prop activity. Travelweek Group PRE-CRUISE ESCAPESAdventures by Disney also offers popular pre-cruise vacations in Rome; London; Barcelona, Spain; and Copenhagen, Denmark. These two- to three-night Escapes feature unforgettable experiences in iconic cities, such as a private, after-hours visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in Rome. Disney Cruise Line to return to Greece for Summer 2020 seasonlast_img read more

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Ensemble veteran appointed to newly created CEO post

first_img Travelweek Group Posted by Friday, March 15, 2019 Share << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img NEW YORK — Ensemble Travel Group’s board of directors has named David Harris as CEO.The newly-created position comes on the heels of a record year for Ensemble’s travel advisor member shareholders.Ensemble’s Co-Presidents Lindsay Pearlman and Libbie Rice will continue in their roles, reporting to Harris.“Our recent 50 year anniversary and our success in 2018 has given us the opportunity to reflect and to draw upon what we have learned to strategize for 2019 and beyond,” says Terri Jo Lennox, Board Chair – Ensemble Travel Group. “David’s knowledge of the industry, as well as his longstanding relationship with Ensemble and its membership, put him in a great position to lead our executive team and help us bring a broader global vision to the organization.”Harris served as Chair and Vice Chair of Ensemble’s North American board for four years and was previously on the Canadian advisory board from 2008 to 2013.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionHe also led and participated as an active Director on several committees of the board including Finance, Australia, Executive, Acquisitions and Compensation & Review. He was first elected to the Canadian Advisory Board for Ensemble in 2008 and was then nominated and elected as a Director to the North American Board for Ensemble in 2013.Lennox says Harris has a proven record of driving strategic and member-centric initiatives to the next level.Working in the travel industry for his entire professional career, Harris’s parents opened a travel agency franchise in August 1982 and, when they retired in 1995, David purchased the agency and has steadily grown the business.He previously served as the President and sole owner of M. Ross Harris Travel Limited, which operates three consumer facing travel brands: Orion Travelinx, Voyageur Travel and Charrisma Travel Group.  He plans to draw upon his experience and successes to provide a unique perspective to the ETG team.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJHarris will be based in Toronto, and will travel to New York City offices on a regular basis.“I am extremely excited to have been asked to take on this role for Ensemble. As a passionate, solution-focused Director for many years, I look forward to working with such a world class team of dedicated employees,” said Harris. “It is our responsibility to bring not only value but efficiencies, excitement and clarity to travel sales in this complex industry.“We feel the opportunities are almost immeasurable, and I look forward to collaborating and ensuring this is accomplished in alignment with our strategic objectives.” Tags: Ensemble Travel Group, New Hires Ensemble veteran appointed to newly created CEO postlast_img read more

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Womens murder rate skyrocketing in Honduras

first_imgNo related posts. TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Women are being murdered in Honduras – already deemed the world’s deadliest country by the United Nations — at a skyrocketing rate, according to figures released Sunday.More than 3,000 women were killed in the last decade – but more than 40 percent of those murders happened in just the last two years, the national commission for human rights said.In 2010, about 36 women were killed each month. In the first half of this year, that figure rose to 46, or about three women every two days.The head of the rights commission, Ramon Custodio, called “femicide” – the murder of women – one of Honduras’ most serious human rights issues.He added that the victims come from all walks of life, including university professionals, housewives, students, textile workers, venders, and even girls just months old.Sunday’s report noted that “more than 90 percent of the cases have never been investigated.”In March, the UN announced Honduras had the world’s highest murder rate, at 82.1 deaths per 100,000 people.The impoverished Central American country, along neighbors Guatemala and El Salvador, has seen violent gang crime intensify in recent years with incursions from Mexican drug cartels.Around 90 percent of the cocaine which arrives in the United States passes through Central America and Mexico. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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First Hispanic US ambassador Raymond Telles dies at 97

first_imgNo related posts. Raymond Telles, the United States’ first Hispanic ambassador, died on March 8. He was 97.Telles was born to Mexican parents on Sept. 5, 1915, in El Paso, Texas, the daily La Nación reported, citing news agencies.On Nov. 3, 1957, he was elected mayor of El Paso, becoming the first Hispanic mayor of a major U.S. city. He served four years.In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Telles ambassador to Costa Rica, making him the first Hispanic U.S. ambassador.Telles studied at Texas Western College, now the University of Texas, El Paso. Later, he joined the U.S. Justice Department.He achieved the rank of colonel in the U.S. Air Force, serving in World War II. He was a military adviser to both presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. He also fought in the Korean War.As ambassador to Costa Rica, Telles sought to improve relations between the United States and Costa Rica by often visiting several communities throughout the country. He attended Kennedy’s official state visit to Costa Rica on March 18, 1963, months before Kennedy – beloved by Costa Ricans – was assassinated.In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Telles chairman of the U.S.-Mexican Border Commission.“Our father dedicated his life to public service. He will always be remembered for his efforts to pave the way for future generations of Hispanics and for the social and political progress that his work achieved,” his daughter, Cynthia Telles, said, La Nación reported. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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TRAVEL ALERT Rainy season showers wash out roads across Costa Rica

first_imgHeavy rains this year in September and October have done a number one the country’s roadways, closing several major highways. As drivers navigate congestion and detours, some Ticos have taken their complaints to social media.Thursday, the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) reported that a flash flood caused by heavy rains washed away a bridge at kilometer 80 of route 32, near Parismina. The bridge over the Parismina River will be closed for at least two days, and possibly as many as five days, as crews work to erect a temporary bridge known as a Bailey bridge by Sunday.MOPT directed drivers to use route 10 between Turrialba and Siquirres as a San José-Limón detour.CONAVI reported that rains and landslides have closed four major routes across the country, including a landslide at km 58 of Route 142, between Tilarán and La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano. Drivers can use route 4 toward Upala, exit on to route 6 and continue to Cañas over the Corobicí River.A bridge is out on Route 926 over the Cataratas River, between San Carlos and La Fortuna de San Carlos, Alajuela.Another bridge remains closed along route 150 between Nicoya and Sámara.   Facebook Comments #ElHuecoCRDriver frustration has reached a peak over collapsed roads this season, especially the closure of one section of Route 39, also known as Circunvalación, along the south side of San José. The washed-out highway has become known locally simply as “the Hole,” el hueco.Irritated commuters posted a clock that ticks away the time the major highway, which normally serves 60,000 drivers every day, remains under repair as a way to hold the MOPT and CONAVI accountable. Twitterati have coined the hashtag #ElHuecoCR to share news and gripe about the downed bridge, sporting the slogan, “We’ll see if it’s true.”There has been some respite lately though. The bridge connecting many tourists to La Paz Waterfall some five kilometers from Vara Blanca, Alajuela, was reopened with a Bailey bridge on Sept. 30, reported the daily La Nación. On Sept. 16, a flash flood wiped out the erstwhile temporary bridge that had been there for nearly a decade.Beach goers should take note that the Puntarenas-Paquera ferry is operating on a temporary schedule during the month of October for maintenance. The boats ferry tourists from the mainland to the southern Nicoya Peninsula where the beach towns of Malpaís, Santa Teresa, and Montezuma are located.  During the month of October 2013, the Puntarenas-Paquera ferry, connecting the mainland with the southern Nicoya Peninsula, will observe a temporary maintenance schedule. Photo courtesy MOPT No related posts.last_img read more

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Eighth worker killed during Brazils World Cup preparations

first_imgRelated posts:ESPN announcer prepares for the World Cup by doing play-by-play of an awkward first date World Cup couch potatoes hurting retail sales US soccer legend Landon Donovan left off World Cup roster FIFA partner executive flees ticket sales arrest in Brazil RIO DE JANEIRO — A worker died Thursday at a World Cup stadium in Brazil after he was electrocuted. His death marked the eighth fatality during chaotic preparations for the tournament.The 32-year-old father of two was installing lighting in a corridor at the new Pantanal Arena in Cuiaba when he suffered the electric shock. He died despite attempts to save him by emergency services at the scene.A spokesman for the regional World Cup secretariat told AFP that work to finish the 43,000-capacity venue in central-western Brazil would continue, with the World Cup five weeks away.The stadium, which has been running behind schedule but is due to be inaugurated on May 18, will host four matches, starting with Chile versus Australia on June 13.Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said in a statement he was saddened at the death of Mohamed Ali Maciel Afonso and sent condolences to the family.A series of fatal accidents have marred preparations for the tournament, which takes place 12 cities across Brazil.Three workers died in the Arena Amazonia in the city of Manaus, and three other fatalities occurred at Sao Paulo’s much-delayed Corinthians Arena, which hosts the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.There was a another death at the new stadium in the capital Brasilia in 2012.Brazil has been racing against the clock to complete preparations, not only at stadiums but also in terms of transport links and aging airports.Half of the 12 stadiums missed a December 31 deadline set by FIFA to be ready. Stadiums in Cuiaba, Sao Paulo, Curitiba and Porto Alegre remain incomplete.FIFA, world football’s governing body, has repeatedly decried the hosts’ “last-minute” approach but says the stadiums will be ready by the time the action starts. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Golfito fishermen caught with 2 tons of cocaine show up for appeal

first_imgDrug trafficking suspects Quirós Vásquez, Miranda Vásquez and Quirós Ledezma, during a May 13, 2014 appeal hearing in Golfito, southern Costa Rica. The Tico TimesLast week, we reported on a curious story of three Costa Rican fishermen who were nabbed with almost two tons of cocaine near the southern Pacific port city of Golfito. Then-Public Security Minister Mario Zamora called the arrest “the most important [drug] seizure in years.” But 24 hours later, a Golfito judge had released the three suspects on their own recognizance, setting off a firestorm of criticism on social media networks.Today, the three men, aged 26, 29 and 38 and with the last names Quirós Vásquez, Miranda Vásquez and Quirós Ledezma, showed up in court for an appeal filed by the Golfito Prosecutor’s Office over Judge Jeffrey Mora Sánchez’s previous decision to release them. This time, however, an appeals court handed down six months of preventive detention for all three suspects, citing the severity of the crime – which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence – and the fact that the men are a flight risk, living just 40 minutes from the Panama border.An attorney representing the three men did not allow The Tico Times to speak with them at the hearing. We really wanted to ask them only one question: “Why didn’t you run?” Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica’s 3-pronged strategy scores high against drug trafficking, says Coast Guard chief Airport police arrest Tico with more than a kilo of cocaine Costa Rica takes custody of 3 suspected cocaine smugglers nabbed by US Costa Rica takes down more suspects in cocaine trafficking network run by Italian mafialast_img read more

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Central American nations to sign trade deal with South Korea

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican importers decry black market avocados 1 year after ban Costa Rica enters into free-trade agreement with South Korea Russia OKs imports of Costa Rican beef, milk powder US ambassador to Costa Rica talks marijuana legalization, trade Five Central American nations are to sign a free trade deal with South Korea on Wednesday after more than two years of talks to ease tariffs and barriers on a range of products, El Salvador’s government announced.Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama will seal the pact with the Asian country, sending their economy ministers to the signing ceremony.Six Central American countries had been involved in the negotiations, but one of them – Guatemala – is staying outside the deal at this stage.Guatemala said it had yet to finalize trade discussions with South Korea. Belize was not involved.Talks on the pact started in June 2015 and covered 21 chapters addressing market access, rules of origin, trade facilitation, health and phytosanitary measures, trade defense, investment and technical obstacles to trade.The agreement “is an example of how an adequate balance can be found between opening new market opportunities for products and, at the same time, respect the sensitivities of productive sectors,” the Salvadoran economy ministry said in a statement.After the signing, the accord is due to be submitted for ratification to the participating countries’ legislatures.In 2016, Central America imported $1.08 billion from South Korea and exported $143 million to the country. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Daniel Ortega willing to talk to Donald Trump

first_img Facebook Comments In Nicaragua 2018, living is resisting During the 80s, the revolutionary Sandinista government that came to power after toppling Anastasio Somoza’s dictatorship had to face the Contras, a right-wing guerrilla group financed by the United States. The Contras were initially trained and supported by the Argentine military dictatorship.Now “there are armed groups […] trained by the United States,” Ortega insisted.Protests against Ortega started in mid-April and spread throughout the country in response to government repression. Protests started over social security reforms but evolved into demands that Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, step down.More than 320 people have been killed and over 2,000 have been injured. Thousands of Nicaraguans have also fled to Costa Rica out of fear of being arrested. Related posts:As Nicaragua elections approach, banned opposition decries Ortega’s budding dictatorship Madelaine Caracas: the fierce Nicaraguan artist who stood up to Daniel Ortega Two dead in Nicaragua protest violence as Ortega calls for ‘peace’ Nicaraguan student leaders meet with former President Oscar Ariascenter_img Fleeing violence, Nicaraguans seek safety in Costa Rica Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said he’s willing to talk to U.S. President Donald Trump to address the crisis in Nicaragua, even though he condemns a US “military intervention.”“I’ve said I’m willing to talk to him,” Daniel Ortega said in an interview with the French news network France 24.“The beginning of the exchange, of a dialogue with a power like the United States […] is something necessary and indispensable,” Ortega said.Ortega added that he’d like to go to the United Nations General Assembly at the end of September.The Nicaraguan president nonetheless accused the United States of being behind the protests opposing his government that started in April.“Basically we’re under threat,” from the United States Ortega said. “You can’t put anything past the United States, even military intervention.”last_img read more

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Convicted bank robber arrested in Puerto Rico

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation The vital role family plays in society 0 Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Abdulla was first arrested in Los Angeles in January 2000. In 2002, he was convicted in Illinois for a 1995 bank robbery and sentenced to 97 months in prison.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Sponsored Stories SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Federal authorities in Puerto Rico have arrested a convicted bank robber once featured on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted.”A Tuesday statement from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection says Walid Hassan Abdulla was arrested at Puerto Rico’s international airport Saturday night after arriving on a flight from Venezuela.The agency says Abdulla will soon be extradited to Illinois, where he is wanted on charges of violating probation. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Top Stories last_img read more

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Rights report Chavez govt intimidates critics

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates In the interim, “the human rights situation in Venezuela has become even more precarious,” the new report says.Venezuelan officials did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment on the report.Its release comes as Chavez, after 13 years in power promoting a socialist agenda that has included expropriation of private businesses, faces re-election on Oct. 7 against an opponent who accuses him of unfairly using state resources and monopolizing broadcast airwaves to his advantage.“With conditions of a very solid consolidation of power, it is a real challenge,” the Americas director for Human Rights Watch, Jose Miguel Vivanco, said of the situation confronting opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles.Vivanco said he was especially worried what would occur if the election’s outcome were contested in court, saying Venezuela’s judiciary has shown itself “to be completely subordinated to the wishes and the needs, strategies and goals of the government.”Chavez, 57, began campaigning this month after undergoing treatment in Cuba over the past year for an unspecified cancer in his pelvic area, declaring last week that he is “cancer-free” but limiting appearances outside the capital to two days a week. The latest poll gives Chavez a 15-point lead over Capriles, though it also found 23 percent of voters undecided. The Datanalisis poll released Monday had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.The 40-year-old Capriles, a centrist governor who Chavez labels a “mama’s boy” and a bourgeois tool of “Yankee imperialists,” has refrained from personal attacks on the incumbent and focused his campaign on promises to combat rampant crime and government corruption.Capriles is doing so in a climate in which “the Chavez government (has secured) free rein to intimidate, censor, and prosecute Venezuelans who criticize the president or thwart his political agenda,” the Human Rights Watch report says.In the past four years, a Chavez-dominated Congress has passed laws expanding the government’s powers to limit free speech and punish its critics while the Supreme Court, re-packed with Chavez supporters, “has explicitly rejected the principle that the judiciary should serve as a check on presidential power,” it says.Other key complaints lodged by the rights group:_ The Chavez government “has enacted rules that dramatically reduce the public’s right to obtain information held by the government.”center_img Comments   Share   ___Frank Bajak on Twitter: http://twitter.com/fbajak Associated PressCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – The concentration of power in the executive by President Hugo Chavez’s government and its removal of human rights safeguards have given Venezuelan officials free rein to intimidate, censor and prosecute critics and challengers, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.The independent advocacy group’s 134-page report, “Tightening the Grip: Concentration and Abuse of Power in Chavez’s Venezuela,” comes four years after its regional director and his deputy were forcibly expelled from Venezuela after presenting a report that reached a similar conclusion. Sponsored Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too Top Stories _ The administration’s constant attacks on local rights defenders, whom authorities portray as enemies of the people, has helped make them “more vulnerable to acts of intimidation by low-level officials and threats and acts of violence” by Chavez supporters._ The government’s deeds have sent a clear message to judges, journalists, broadcasters and rights defenders in particular that “the president and his followers are willing and able to punish people who challenge or obstruct their political aims.”Although many Venezuelans continue to criticize the government, the fear of reprisal has had a chilling effect on the media and “undercut the ability of judges to adjudicate politically sensitive cases,” the report says.Human Rights Watch said its report, which details well-publicized and less-known cases of what it calls arbitrary government abuses, is based on extensive research and four visits from May 2010 to March 2012.During those visits, its investigators “intentionally avoided establishing contact with government officials or drawing public attention,” the group said.The group said it had submitted written requests for information to high-level Venezuelan officials but received no responses.last_img read more

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Small Chinese investors flying blind in latest market boom

first_img Top Stories BEIJING (AP) — Li Haitao, a 24-year-old employee at a steel trading company, did no research last June before he joined a stampede of novice investors into China’s surging stock market.He paid for his risk-taking.“I went in blind,” said Li, who works in the southern province of Hunan. “I already have suffered some losses, but luckily not much.”Many new investors piling into China’s stock market, which has more than doubled in less than a year, are like Li: Rookies with little information whose enthusiasm for risky speculative trading is fueling rising concern they might be hurt when the boom cools. New investors are often encouraged by stories of stock market-driven wealth gains for China’s elite.Boosted by surging asset prices, China created a new billionaire almost every week in the first quarter of this year, according to a survey by Swiss bank UBS.Huang said she has doubled her money since late 2014 but acknowledged that after the 2007 bubble burst, she lost 70 percent of her investment.“I didn’t have much experience and knowledge about investment,” she said.Regulators have taken steps to try to insulate the state-owned financial industry from a possible downturn. In April, brokerages were told to rein in lending to investors to buy stocks in an apparent move to limit losses if speculators go bust.The People’s Daily commentary May 4 noted that few investors made money in past booms — an acknowledgement that the profits go to state-owned brokerages and other big traders. It called on the public to “invest rationally.”But those warnings are so mild that new investors are still piling into the markets.Investors opened a record 4.428 million new trading accounts in the week ended May 29, according to the China Securities Depository and Clearing Co. That is several times the peak for new accounts during the 2007 boom. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy “It’s unnecessary to learn too much about stocks,” said Huang.Why? Huang echoes a common sentiment in a heavily regulated economy in which stock prices are driven more by policy changes than by economic fundamentals: “The stock market in China is obviously manipulated by government, so if you are to make losses, it is fated and has nothing to with whether you know more or not.”The latest boom began after the state press said last summer stocks were cheap. Investors took that to mean Beijing wanted prices to rise — and might prop up markets if needed.The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has soared 150 percent over the past year, though it has suffered stomach-churning drops along the way, most recently a 6.5 percent plunge May 28.The ruling Communist Party wants to develop China’s stock markets as a tool to help make the state-dominated economy more efficient but its leaders appear to be getting uneasy the latest boom might run out of control.State media have gradually begun to urge caution. But that comes after months of cheerleading for higher prices and encouraging the public to buy.The party newspaper People’s Daily in a May 4 commentary declared the latest boom a “profitable golden era.” TV stations in Shanghai and other cities broadcast as many as three programs a day with commentators talking about the latest market moves. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “I’m ready to invest in the stock market, mostly inspired by my friends,” said a 60-year-old woman who was visiting a brokerage in Beijing and would give only her surname, Zhang.“I have no plans or the energy to learn all the ABCs of investment,” said Zhang as she watched share prices change on a wall-size monitor. “So, basically, I’ll just look around and see whether this blind cat can catch a mouse.”___AP researchers Fu Ting in Shanghai and Dong Tongjian in Beijing contributed.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. “It’s very common that investors do not even know what the companies in which they invest do. They do not care,” said Zhang Chi, a securities analyst in Shanghai and former financial columnist for several newspapers. “I am worried about them.”In contrast to the United States, Europe or Japan, where many people invest through mutual funds, most Chinese investors buy stocks directly, sometimes in companies whose names they cannot remember.Financial literacy is limited in a society where the mainland’s first communist-era stock exchange opened in Shanghai only in 1990. Brokerages offer classes in trading but a culture of commentators who preach the gospel of low-risk, long-term investing has yet to develop. Many small investors rely on rumors or tips from friends in a market rife with complaints of insider trading and fraud. Reports say the China Household Finance Survey, which is conducted by Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, found nearly 6 percent of new investors were illiterate, a quarter finished only elementary school and more than third left the education system at junior high school level.“I bought shares almost without basis, blindly,” said a 54-year-old woman who would give only her surname, Huang, and was sitting at a desk in a room set aside by a Beijing brokerage for frequent traders. She said she has been investing since 2000 and is up 20 to 30 percent in the latest boom. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona In this photo taken May 28, 2015, Chinese stock investors react as prices fall at a brokerage house in Fuyang in central China’s Anhui province. China’s latest stock market boom began after the state press said last summer stocks were cheap. Investors took that to mean Beijing wanted prices to rise – and might prop up markets if needed. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has soared 140 percent over the past six months, though it has suffered stomach-churning drops along the way, most recently a 6.5 percent plunge May 28.(Chinatopix Via AP) CHINA OUT “I believe all I need to do is watch news and commentary on TV, discuss it with my friends, look at the history of China’s stock market and try to get a better idea of what the general landscape of China’s economy is,” said Huang Jingru, who at 80 is a 12-year veteran of the markets.Each morning, armed with the day’s financial newspapers and a mason jar of tea, she sits in a Beijing brokerage and hunts the latest stock tip.“Today’s paper highlighted heavy and military industries, so I’ll pay more attention to stocks in these industries,” said Huang.Many of the new investors were born in the 1990s. That might make them too young to remember China’s last market boom in 2007. It was followed by a price collapse that saw the benchmark index nose dive 70 percent over the following year.In 2010, the state-owned China Securities Investor Protection Funds, which insures against possible losses due to fraud or a broker going bankrupt, produced an educational 40-episode TV series, “Uncle Niu’s Story in the Stock Market.” The story follows Uncle Niu, Chinese for “Bull,” a play on the bull market, as he makes and loses money, highlighting principles of sensible investing. Sponsored Stories How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

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Official Smartphone usage by Iran authorities to be banned

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Iran considers itself to have been the target of a complicated cyber war since 2010, when a virus known as Stuxnet disrupted controls on some of its nuclear centrifuges.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   center_img Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A senior Iranian official says authorities with access to classified information will be banned from using smartphones.Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali, who heads an Iranian military unit in charge of combatting sabotage, is quoted by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying Saturday that instructions for the ban have already been drawn up and await ratification.Jalali argued that the main danger is the possibility that smartphone manufacturers — all of whom are based in Western countries — could have access to data stored on the phones.last_img read more

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HRG scoops titles at Eurostar Sales Awards 2010

first_imgSource = Hogg Robinson Group HRG UK, the world class corporate travel services company, has won two of the eight awards at the prestigious Eurostar Sales Awards 2010.HRG employee, Peter Wilkins, Supplier Relations Manager, won the title of Outstanding Performance at Management Level for his work with Eurostar over the last twelve months. The coveted award for the Travel Management Team of the Year went to the HSBC and HRG team.Ian Windsor, Managing Director of HRG UK said: ““This is a fantastic achievement for HRG. I am very proud of our employees and thank them all for their continued dedication and commitment to relationship building which has resulted in these latest awards. I welcome the opportunity to be able to celebrate shared success as a result of a transparent and collaborative approach we enjoy with Eurostar and our clients.”He continued: “I would like to congratulate the other winners. And to extend thanks to Eurostar for their ongoing vision in recognising the people who help to shape their success. It is very satisfying to see HRG’s commitment to forging strong partnerships with our suppliers being recognised through these awards.  Good working relationships are vital as we strive to always deliver excellence to our clients.”last_img read more

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Surfs up for Japanese in Hawaii

first_imgEncouraging numbers of Japanese travellers flocked to the U.S. island state of Hawaii last year.Preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) showed a spike in Japanese arrivals in November 2012, up 21.6 percent year-on-year to 122,084 visitors, according to The Moodie Report.Japanese tourists’ daily spending was up 2.7 percent to US$329 per person. The increase resulted in a 23.7 percent jump in Japanese expenditure, listed at US$227.3 million.Scheduled seats out of Japan rose by 15.3 percent year-on-year for the month of November, owing to new services from Fukuoka and Sapporo and increased service from Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo Narita.For the first 11 months of 2012, Japanese arrivals increased by 16.4 percent, overshadowing 2011’s poor performance.The HTA and the Japan Association of Travel Agents are committed to returning visitor arrivals from Japan to Hawaii to two million per year by 2016.“Reaching the new Japan arrivals goal would pump an estimated US$4 billion in annual expenditures and US$440 million in state tax revenue into Hawaii’s economy,” HTA president and chief executive Mike McCartney said.“It would also further diversify Hawaii’s visitor economy and bolster important ties.” Japanese arrivals to Hawaii flourished last year. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

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