Cathay Pacific posts first annual loss in almost a decade

first_imgCathay Pacific posts first annual loss in almost a decade Source: The Associated Press Tags: Cathay Pacific, Trend Watch Share HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways has posted its first annual loss in almost a decade, blaming it on tough competition from rival airlines, slowing Chinese economic growth and a stronger currency.The airline said Wednesday that it lost 575 million Hong Kong dollars (Cdn$99.54 million) in 2016 compared with a HK$6 billion (Cdn$1.04 billion) profit the year before.The last time Cathay, Hong Kong’s biggest airline, had an unprofitable year was in 2008, when it lost HK$8.6 billion (Cdn$1.49 billion).Revenue fell 9.4% to HK$92.7 billion (Cdn$16.05 billion).The company said “intense and increasing competition with other airlines was the most important factor” affecting its financial results.It also was buffeted by economic factors including China’s slowdown, fewer tourists visiting Hong Kong and a stronger Hong Kong dollar, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar. The airline said a stronger dollar makes the city more costly for visitors and reduces profits earned in other currencies when they are converted back.More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the team“We expect the operating environment in 2017 to remain challenging,” Chairman John Slosar said in a statement.The airline benefited from lower crude oil prices, which reduced fuel costs, its single biggest expense, by 15%.Revenue at its cargo business shrank 13.2%, with demand particularly weak on routes to Europe. Wednesday, March 15, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

These companies comprise 70 of Delta KLM Air France Alitalias Canadian sales

first_img Posted by Wednesday, November 29, 2017 Michael Smith Share Tags: Air France, Alitalia, Delta Air Lines, KLMcenter_img These companies comprise 70% of Delta, KLM, Air France & Alitalia’s Canadian sales TORONTO — Delta Air Lines, KLM, Air France and Alitalia celebrated their second annual Agency Elite award show in Toronto last night.The event has become a yearly affair for the joint venture to thank their trade partners in Canada.“I calculated it and the people in this room represent 60% of our revenue and 70% of our passengers [in Canada]”, said Robert LeBel, Managing Director, Canada & Speciality Sales. “If it wasn’t for you, we truly wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.”Award recipients were:Airline Ticket Centre Ltd.LoyaltyOne (AirMiles)Amex GBTBCD TravelCarlson Wagonlit TravelFlight Centre Travel GroupHRG North AmericaHuntington TravelIntair Transit (TravelBrands)Le Groupe Voyages Vision 2000 Inc.Maritime TravelMerit Travel Group Inc.Royal Scenic HolidaysSky Bird Travel and Tours of Canada Inc.Skylink TravelSkylink Voyages Inc.Tour East HolidaysTian Bao Travel Ltd (Compass Holidays)Voyages a la CarteMore news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from Ottawa Steven Larkin, Delta’s Director – Sales, Canada hosts the 19 recipients of the joint venture’s Elite Agency awards.LeBell highlighted two notable events this year for the airline group: a Bombardier event at the start of 2017, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gracing the cover of inflight magazine Sky.“Getting Canada on the front cover of the magazine is hard enough, let alone a Prime Minister,” added LeBel before thanking Steven Larkin, Delta’s Director – Sales, Canada and the rest of the Canadian team for making it possible.The group was also excited to welcome a closer relationship with WestJet, following the recent announcement of its expanded frequent flyer program with KLM, Air France and Delta Air Lines.LeBell said that due to the combination of Canada’a improving dollar, a good GDP and job creation, they are feeling “bullish” about 2018. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Get 500 towards an independent fam with Tourism New Zealand

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Share Posted on March 12, 2018 VANCOUVER — Starting today Tourism New Zealand is incentivizing travel agents with a US$500 trip credit available to the first 50 agents to book an independent fam with Tourism New Zealand’s Explore PLUS program.Participating airlines include American Airlines, Fiji Airways and, new to the program, Hawaiian Airlines, which now offers travel agents a $500 return airfare.The independent fam must be booked by Aug. 12 to qualify for the trip credit, and travel must take place between Sept. 1 – Nov. 11.“We recognize agents have limited time and so we developed a program that lets them travel when they want, the way they want, and with whom they want,” says Michelle Rosenberg, Tourism New Zealand’s Senior Manager of Trade Partnerships, North America. “The program is very flexible and allows agents to design their very own New Zealand experience.”Agents must sign up for the 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist Program to take part. Last September the program introduced Explore PLUS, a heavily discounted independent fam benefit designed to help travel professionals build in-depth destination knowledge first-hand.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthTo apply for the Explore PLUS program, travel agents must complete the 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist Program at the Bronze or Silver levels. Agents will earn Gold level status by completing their fam.The number of Canadians holidaying in New Zealand from February 2017 – January 2018 was 41,152, a 20.8% increase over the previous year.Four out of five Canadian visitors include other destinations as part of their itinerary to New Zealand, with Australia being the most popular country en route. Canadians tend to stay in New Zealand longer than their American neighbours and they generally spend more during their stay.More two-thirds (67.4%) of Canadian visitors to New Zealand travel beyond the main tourist centres to the regions.And more than half (53%) of Canadian arrivals are holiday visitors, and over half are 45 years of age or older.Two-thirds are first-time visitors to New Zealand. Ontario and particularly Toronto is Canada’s leading source region for visitors to New Zealand, followed by B.C.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaThe cruise market is picking up too. Arrivals currently sit at around 10,000 per annum, but have grown rapidly. This has helped contribute to the overall aging of the Canadian visitor, with youth arrivals largely unchanged in the past five years, says Tourism New Zealand. Get $500 towards an independent fam with Tourism New Zealand Tags: New Zealandlast_img read more

Silversea makes it easier to book with Canadian pricing

first_imgTags: Promotions, Silversea Cruises Share << Previous PostNext Post >> MIAMI — Silversea Cruises is prioritizing the Canadian market with new Canadian dollar pricing on every Silversea sailing.Canadian residents can now reserve any Silversea voyage in Canadian dollars, according to a new announcement from the cruise line. Proof of residency is required at the time of booking.“Our new policy gives our Canadian guests the peace of mind in knowing they won’t be adversely affected by currency fluctuations or foreign currency credit card fees,” said Mark Conroy, Silversea’s managing director for the Americas.“They can be sure the fare they book is the fare they will pay, with no surprises with currency conversion on final payments.”Several exclusive offers including Early Booking Bonus incentives and Last-Minute Savings opportunities make this the ideal time for Canadians to finalize their travel plans, he adds. Posted bycenter_img Travelweek Group Silversea makes it easier to book with Canadian pricing Wednesday, March 14, 2018 last_img read more

Industry veteran Thorne joins Travel Edge

first_img About Latest Posts Zara Martinez Latest posts by Zara Martinez (see all) New Years Mastermind on AMA Waterways River Cruise – June 6, 2019 Attendance at TPI’s Summit events at an all-time high – April 24, 2019 The 2019 Travel & Vacation Show – June 22, 2018 Share Friday, May 11, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Industry veteran Thorne joins Travel Edge Posted by Zara Martinez Tags: People, Travel Edge TORONTO — Travel Edge has named David Thorne as Vice President of Business Development.Thorne brings more than 25 years of experience to the post with companies including Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Navigant, and TRAVELSAVERS.Prior to joining the Travel Edge team, he was Vice President / General Manager for Forte Business Travel Solutions providing business travel services for TRAVELSAVERS 2,500 agency members.Thorne’s understanding of new program development, franchise and business travel sales, operations, and account management, provides him with the background necessary to successfully share the ADX and Travel Edge story with the global travel marketplace, says Cheryl Nicholson, EVP of Leisure at Travel Edge.“Adding this new role to the Travel Edge team is the next step as we continue to achieve our aggressive growth targets for 2018,” says Nicholson. “We’re excited that David will expand our message to travel advisors and agency owners looking for a strategic partnership to support their profitability goals.”last_img read more

Air Canada updates flight schedule to cover 98 of planned flying through

first_imgMontreal (YUL) to San Francisco (SFO)Second daily flight cancelled, now operates with one daily Airbus A320 Vancouver (YVR) to Kahului, Hawaii (OGG)Second daily flight cancelled, now operates once daily with larger Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER Toronto (YYZ) to Saint Maarten (SXM)Two weekly flights continue to operate, now with larger Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER Montreal (YUL) to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe (PTP)Three weekly flights continue to operate, now with Air Canada Rouge Airbus A319 Toronto (YYZ) to New York-LaGuardia (LGA)Most flights now operating with Embraer E190 Toronto (YYZ) to London-Heathrow (LHR)Morning departure from Toronto re-timed to evening departure with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Montreal (YUL) to Vancouver (YVR)One daily flight operated by Air Transat aircraft March 20-31; in April, two daily flights consolidated onto one larger Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, for a new total of four daily flights Vancouver (YVR) to Cancun, Mexico (CUN)Four weekly flights continue to operate, now with larger Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER Calgary (YYC) to Kahului, Hawaii (OGG)Four weekly flights continue to operate, now with larger Boeing 767-300ER Montreal (YUL) to Cancun, Mexico (CUN)Operated by Air Transat aircraft April 1-30 Tuesday, March 19, 2019 Vancouver (YVR) to Ixtapa, Mexico (ZIH)Two weekly flights continue to operate, now with larger Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER Calgary (YYC) to Cancun, Mexico (CUN)Three weekly flights continue to operate, now with larger Boeing 767-300ER Toronto (YYZ) to Seattle (SEA)Morning flight from Seattle re-timed to depart late evening St. John’s (YYT) to London-Heathrow (LHR)Temporary route suspension until April 30 Air Canada updates flight schedule to cover 98% of planned flying through April 30 Halifax (YHZ) to London-Heathrow (LHR)Temporary route suspension until April 30 Travelweek Group center_img Montreal (YUL) to Edmonton (YEG)Two daily flights continue to operate, now with Airbus A319/320, with one daily flight between April 16 and 30 re-timed to depart early morning << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by MONTREAL — With the 737 Max 8’s return date still unknown, Air Canada has announced it intends to remove 737 Max flying from its schedule until at least July 1 and has issued an outline of its plans for all impacted routes effective until the end of April.The airline says it has adjusted its schedule through to April 30 to cover 98% of its planned flying. Air Canada was expecting six new aircraft in March and April.Air Canada says it is now updating its April and May schedule to further optimize its fleet and re-accommodate customers.In compliance with Transport Canada’s safety notice closing Canadian airspace to Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operations, on March 13 Air Canada grounded its 24 737 Max aircraft.Air Canada’s cancellation and rebooking policies are in place with full fee waiver for affected customers.Scroll to the bottom of this story to see the list of schedule changes.“The Boeing 737 MAX accounted for 6% of Air Canada’s total flying, but there is a domino effect from removing the 737s from our fleet that impacts the schedule and ultimately will impact some customers. We have been working very hard to minimize that impact,” said Lucie Guillemette, Air Canada’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.She adds: “To bring certainty to our schedule for our customers when booking and travelling, we are revising our schedule until July and we have taken several steps to continue delivering substantially all of our planned capacity through our global network.“Customers who have travel plans between now and July can be reassured that we will keep them informed every step of the way as we revise our schedule. We have a deep global network and many partner airlines to provide solutions so serving our customers and minimizing any disruption is our first priority.“We remain committed to delivering the same safe, reliable transportation customers expect from Air Canada. Customers can continue to book and travel on Air Canada with full confidence.”To mitigate the impact of the 737 Max’s grounding Air Canada has been substituting different aircraft on the aircraft’s routes, including flying routes with similar-sized or larger aircraft.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesTo help provide this replacement flying, the carrier has extended leases for aircraft which were scheduled to exit the fleet.Air Canada is also accelerating the in-take of recently acquired A321 aircraft from WOW Airlines into its fleet and has hired other carriers to provide immediate extra capacity. Air Transat has been chartered on a temporary basis to operate one daily frequency between Vancouver and Montreal beginning March 20 until March 31.Air Canada has also leased an aircraft from Air Transat from April 1 to April 30 in order to operate the Montreal to Cancun route.Other strategies include schedule changes and, in a small number of cases, route suspensions.Route suspensions include flights from Halifax and St. John’s to London Heathrow. Passengers on these routes are being re-accommodated through Toronto and Montreal and Air Canada says it “remains committed to these routes and will resume service as soon as possible”.Other suspensions include seasonal flights from Vancouver to Kona, Lihue and Calgary-Palm Springs, with passengers re-accommodated on other routings.Here’s a detailed look at impacted routes: Vancouver (YVR) to Calgary (YYC)One daily flight cancelled, one daily flight now operated with Bombardier CRJ-900, for a new total of ten to eleven daily flights Calgary (YYC) to Palm Springs (PSP)Seasonal flights ending early – flights on April 2, 3 & 22 continue to operate with Airbus A319 Toronto (YYZ) to Edmonton (YEG)One daily flight cancelled with larger Airbus A330 operating one flight, and most remaining flights on Airbus A319/A320 aircraft, for a total of six to seven daily flights Montreal (YUL) to Fort-de-France, Martinique (FDF)Three weekly flights continue to operate, now with Air Canada Rouge Airbus A319 Vancouver (YVR) to Lihue, Hawaii (LIH)Seasonal flight ended early in March Montreal (YUL) to Los Angeles (LAX)Two daily flights continue to operate with Airbus A320, with morning flight from Los Angeles re-timed to a late evening departure. Toronto (YYZ) to Vancouver (YVR)Three daily flights consolidated onto one larger Boeing 777-300ER, for a new total of nine to ten daily flights Tags: Air Canada, boeing, Feature Story, New Routes Share RouteRoute Changes Toronto (YYZ) to San Francisco (SFO)Fourth daily flight cancelled with larger Airbus A321 operating one of three remaining daily flights Vancouver (YVR) to Honolulu (HNL)Second daily flight cancelled, now operates once daily with larger Boeing 787-8 Dreamlinerlast_img read more

Air Canada anticipating a normal day after IT outage

first_imgTags: Air Canada, Toronto Pearson Airport Air Canada ‘anticipating a normal day’ after IT outage By: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, May 29, 2019 Share Air Canada says it’s expecting a “normal day” after a system-wide outage affected flights across the country on Tuesday, but a spokesman for the airline urges passengers to check their flight’s status before heading to the airport.Peter Fitzpatrick says the technical issue that affected airport systems, check-in and call centres on Tuesday has been resolved and “most functions have returned to normal” as of Wednesday morning.1/2 We can confirm airport systems, check-in and customer call centres are beginning to come back online. We’re still expecting some flight delays and cancellations, but we are working hard to move as many customers as possible this evening and we are putting on additional…— Air Canada (@AirCanada) May 29, 2019He says some Wednesday flights have been cancelled due to planes being out of position after cancellations Tuesday, but the company plans to operate its full schedule.Five additional flights have also been scheduled and several others have been “upgauged,” meaning they will be assigned larger than normal aircraft, to accommodate passengers who were affected by the outage.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureFitzpatrick says despite the issue, Air Canada managed to operate more than 95 per cent of its schedule on Tuesday.2/2 capacity to transport customers affected tonight on flights tomorrow. Customers should check their flight’s status before going to the airport. We thank our customers for their patience and apologize for the inconvenience.— Air Canada (@AirCanada) May 29, 2019At the peak of the system-wide outage, the website for Toronto Pearson International Airport showed delays of more than two dozen Air Canada flights.last_img read more

Yoga goes beyond the mat in Montezuma

first_img Hannah J. Ryan From the print editionThree beach-bronzed women flow through vinyasa, a continuous series of yoga postures. They balance on river boulders and in sandy, fresh water pools. The yoga instructor, a petite, muscled woman with the figure and movements of a dancer, leads her pupils with a lilting voice. The trio looks like Amazonians as they glide into powerful poses appropriately named Warrior, Tree and Scorpion. Outside of their Zen, they are New York City professionals, escaping for a week to Costa Rica. But at the moment, they are jungle creatures.Earlier this year, Ireni Stamou, a Greek Canadian, combined her love of dance, yoga, bodywork and nature into a holistic retreat program she calls Yoga Rica. Based in and around Montezuma at the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in northwestern Costa Rica, the protected forests, rivers and coast make up Yoga Rica’s outdoor studio. Stamou takes people on river treks and power walks on the beach that include yoga sessions in the elements. These hikes explore meditation, tree climbing and dance. Most practices are timed by the moonrise or other patterns in nature. Stamou also teaches yoga classes on the mat at Ylang Ylang Beach resort studio and offers unique classes with bamboo staves.“These retreat gatherings are to bring like-minded people together into nature,” she said. “It’s not that you just come and do yoga with us but rather we experience yoga together in the rivers and ocean as well as in the studio.”Stamou first came to Costa Rica to study somatic bodywork. Somatics is a field that employs holistic, body-centered approaches to assist people in integrating and transforming the self through movement and awareness practice. Her career as a professional dancer led her to seek other healing methods. “This opens our awareness to the anatomy of ourselves on many levels,” she said, “such as skeletal, muscular, cellular, organs and breathing vessels. The body as a whole is the most important home we live in.”Not long after her first trip, Stamou packed up her infant son and moved to the tropics permanently. After 12 years of research and practice, she has established Yoga Rica with her husband, Harold Hernández. Hernández also offers Thai massage, personal training and all-day hikes to a private nature reserve.“A lot of the time people take better care of their cars than they do their bodies,” Stamou said. “The unique, tailored programs we design really put your entire yoga being into practice to maintain your body-engine.”Vacationing from her desk in a New York City hedge fund, Victoria Schwartz found her way into Stamou’s yoga class from a sign on the beach at the Ylang Ylang Resort. Schwartz and her travel friend, Cassie Fireman, had planned to travel around Costa Rica, but after nearly a week in Montezuma doing yoga and hiking with Stamou, they had yet to travel on.“Ireni’s yoga practices blend the traditional with spiritual awakening,” Schwartz said. “She combines nature in the practices by using ocean waves, rivers and trees as tools in meditation. This helped me get deeper into my practice and self.” Schwartz said she’s taken a lot of yoga class in the past seven years, and she hasn’t experienced anything like Stamou’s methods. “The things she tells you while sitting in the river or in the sand you can take with you into other aspects of life,” Schwartz said. “You take her yoga beyond the mat. It’s transformative.”Stamou and her students are seated in a clear pool in the river. The sights, sounds and smells of a jungle-filtered river envelop the senses. These student and others agree that the river yoga practice Stamou leads is especially powerful.“Being able to release my voice into a waterfall and allow boulders to hold me as I climbed through a river was a freeing experience,” Cassie Fireman said. “The combination of yoga, body work and nature is incredibly healing. I can’t put it into words well but I’m extremely grateful to Ireni for guiding me through these practices.”In addition, Stamou invites her students to explore dance. Whether on the beach or in the river, alone or with others, we twirled and cartwheeled, leaped and swayed to whatever music was in our minds. Perhaps we looked silly, especially when practicing balance by walking with bamboo sticks on our heads, but it felt good and we had a wonderful time. Shouldn’t health be that way?“It’s important that we never give up on our bodies,” Stamou said, speaking as a yogi, a mother, an acclaimed dancer, a choreographer and an incredibly fit 49-year-old. “With Yoga Rica, it’s like a return to our source. Here we can learn to be more aware of our environment, culture and living within our means.”Going thereFrom San José, take a direct bus to Puntarenas and get off the bus to board the ferry across the Nicoya Gulf. When the ferry arrives at port, re-board the bus to Cóbano, then switch buses and head to Montezuma, where Stamou will be waiting. The cost is approximately ₡7,000 ($14) total. For more information and reservations, visit retreatsWhere Dance and Yoga Meet, Where the River and Ocean Meet: Nov. 27-Dec. 3. “Dancers face major challenges and stressful lives and too often burn themselves out,” Stamou said. “The locations in this retreat are where the river and ocean meet making them powerful metaphors for connecting with the obstacles in our lives to flow into the faith of our work and purpose as artists and yogis.”Redefining the Mid-life Adventure, a retreat for those 45 and older, Dec. 9-16. Includes yoga, meditation, scuba and horseback riding. “This retreat is about embracing aging by tuning in to the yoga practice and activities to sustain and maintain a healthy body,” Stamous said. Facebook Comments Cassie Fireman embraces herself. No related posts.last_img read more

Atenas Advisor

first_imgNo related posts. Atenas’ popular expat hangout, Kay’s Gringo Postres, will celebrate its 7th anniversary on Saturday, with a special southern-style chicken fried steak lunch, with sides of mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans. Reservations not necessary, unless you’re coming with a large group.Speaking of the café, proprietors Kay and Tom Costello were recently interviewed by reporter Jason Holland for the September edition of the well-known online publication for retirees – International Living. The September cover story features Atenas and two other Costa Rica Central Valley towns, Grecia and San Ramón.The Atenas community welcomes new residents, recent retirees and sisters, Judy Timson and Roxi Dixon. In addition to both having a background in business, in 1999 they were co-founders of Life Possibilities, a grassroots effort to raise funds to eradicate breast cancer. Together with a team of women in both Seattle and Portland, Roxi and Judy raised more than $400,000 and secured an additional grant of more than $9 million from the National Institute of Health to support further research. Roxi and Judy will be lending their expertise to the steering committee for the Atenas Annual Charity Chili Cook-off, scheduled for February.-Howard Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Guatemalas 68 Palopó makes Buzzfeeds global list for restaurants with incredible views

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Malnourished kids sue Guatemalan state and win, but not much has changed Guatemala’s treasured Lake Atitlán is dying Guatemala’s Rigoberta Menchú laments impunity for massacre perpetrated 37 years ago In Guatemala’s capital, little enthusiasm for country’s next president SOLOLÁ, Guatemala – Forget the list of restaurants with the most Michelin stars, the best chef or the one that boasts the best wine. The list to be featured this year has restaurants with the best views, at least according to Buzzfeed.The social news website that turns cats and puppies into Internet sensations has come up with a list of 32 restaurants with the most spectacular views in the world. And Guatemala’s 6.8 Palopó made the cut.Perched above Lake Atitlán, 147 kilometers west of the capital, and with a view of Tolimán, Atitlán and the San Pedro Volcano, 6.8 Palopó is part of Casa Palopó, a five-star luxury boutique hotel. It is one of only two restaurants to appear on Buzzfeed’s “South America” list. (When are Gringos going to learn that we don’t live in South America, we live in Central America?) The other is Peru’s Sanctuary Lodge, which overlooks Machu Picchu. Perched above Lake Atitlán, with a view of Tolimán, Atitlán and San Pedro Volcano, 6.8 Palopó is part of Casa Palopó, a five-star luxury boutique hotel in the Guatemalan highlands, 147 km west of the capital. (Courtesy of Jasmine Phillips)“I feel very proud to share a little piece of our beautiful country with the world, and hope many have the opportunity to come see it with their own eyes, because the energy you feel in person is another story,” says Claudia Bosch, who originally checked into the hotel as a guest and left as its new owner.While there is no doubt that 6.8 Palopó deserves its place at No. 7, it’s perhaps a less adventurous choice than some of the other restaurants highlighted by Buzzfeed.The Rock Restaurant in Zanzibar is quite literally just that: a restaurant on a rock in the Indian Ocean, where you have to earn those precious views by first swimming out to the secluded eatery before placing your order. Equally as entertaining is Thailand’s Soneva Kiri restaurant in Koh Kood, where customers are hoisted up in bamboo dining pods to admire the ancient rain forest while waiters deliver food to them on a zip-line.Check out Buzzfeed’s full list of restaurants here.last_img read more

Costa Rica could use a great weather app but IMNs new release

first_imgRelated posts:Light rains in many areas of Costa Rica prompt concerns for next year Strong winds, waves likely cause of Costa Rica catamaran accident Smartphone taxi service hits Costa Rica Startup wants to make navigating Costa Rica’s public transportation an easy ride A sunny day in San José. But for how long? Courtesy National Metereological InstituteThere are two opposing ways to look at Costa Rican weather. On the one hand, the weather here is very predictable. During the dry season, the skies will be sunny and azure all day. During the rainy season, the skies will be sunny in the morning, overcast at noon, and rainy by 3 p.m. Easy.On the other hand, Costa Rican weather is a patchwork of microclimates, and if you’re a stickler for exact temperatures and hourly precipitation, the slightest shift in geography could drive you insane. Weather patterns on the country’s Caribbean coast are often completely different from those in the rest of the country, for example – but you don’t have to travel that far to find drastic differences. Lightning storms in Cartago may never reach Tres Ríos, a town only 14 kilometers away. Drivers in San José during a downpour often find that just a few blocks along, the streets and sidewalks are dry as a bone.To help us prepare for the day, Costa Rica’s National Metereological Institute (IMN) recently released its own app. The app (simply called “IMN”)  is available for iPhone and Android. (We tested it on an iPhone.) The program is a valiant effort to interpret the local troposphere for everyday people. Unfortunately, it has too many flaws and bugs to make it a worthy alternative to even the basic weather app that comes with an iPhone.In short, the app is a total dud. You might as well use Weather Underground, as most web-savvy locals do, to estimate when to pack an umbrella. (Hint: always.) But the smartphone set may enjoy tinkering with the app, which is just quirky enough to keep you entertained throughout the day. You can use the handy map of Costa Rica to pinpoint your location (by province), although you might find yourself jabbing at the map with increasing ferocity as you try to specify your city. The app clearly hoped to appeal to tourists by offering an English-language option. However, the translation often is amusingly poor (ex. “partly cloudy” was written in Spanglish as “clouds parcial”).What makes the app interesting is its globally minded extras, such as the “carbon footprint calculator,” which is an enjoyable diversion, if a little vague. (Do you enter your electric bill in dollars or colones? And when you enter it, why does the app suddenly crash? So many questions.) You can also play three different games: “Triviac” is a trivia game about the environment, and the more questions you answer correctly, the more your tree thrives.  The questions aren’t easy, so if you’re not keen on Costa Rican climatology, the screen will read, “The tree grows withered.” Believe me, you do not want to see the withered tree, unless you love sadness. The touch-based games, such as “The Weather’s Administrator,” can be much more frustrating and are barely playable on your phone.The nerdiest weather zealot will find pleasure in the final section, “Costa Rica’s Weather History,” which catalogues meteorological records for various locations, such as the precipitation in Turrialba for the past 12 months. Disappointingly, it’s almost impossible to read and navigate unless  you have a fetish for charts with tiny fonts.In summary, the IMN app is much like the forecasters on local TV: It’s hard to understand why they’re so enthusiastic about high pressure systems in the southeast, or what would compel them to stand in front of greens screens and pantomime before a superimposed digital map for a living, but they are also strangely compelling.The IMN app has noble intentions: not only to predict atmospheric movement, but also to educate about the environment. But the crashes are too frequent and the overall product is too clunky. The app did send out an update Wednesday, but the changes didn’t demonstrate much of an improvement. It’s unfortunate that the IMN chose to launch — and promote! — the app when it is clearly not ready for prime time. Here’s hoping that updates keep coming quickly, and that Costa Rica and its peculiar weather patterns finally gets the app the country deserves. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies at 79

first_imgUnited States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the intellectual cornerstone of the court’s modern conservative wing, whose elegant and acidic opinions inspired a movement of legal thinkers and ignited liberal critics, died Feb. 13 on a ranch near San Antonio. He was 79.The cause of death was not immediately known.“Justice Antonin Scalia was a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement, the first official notice of Scalia’s death. “His fierce loyalty to the Constitution set an unmatched example, not just for judges and lawyers, but for all Americans. We mourn his passing, and we pray that his successor on the Supreme Court will take his place as a champion for the written Constitution and the Rule of Law.”Scalia, the first Italian American to serve on the court, was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and quickly became the kind of champion to the conservative legal world that his benefactor was in the political realm.An outspoken opponent of abortion, affirmative action and what he termed the “so-called homosexual agenda,” Scalia’s intellectual rigor, flamboyant style and eagerness to debate his detractors energized conservative law students, professors and intellectuals who felt outnumbered by liberals in their chosen professions.“He has by the force and clarity of his opinions become a defining figure in American constitutional law,” Northwestern University law professor Steven Calabresi said at a Federalist Society dinner honoring Scalia at the 20-year mark of his service on the Supreme Court. He took his seat Sept. 26, 1986.Scalia was the most prominent advocate of a manner of constitutional interpretation called “originalism,” the idea that judges should look to the meaning of the words of the Constitution at the time they were written.He mocked the notion of a “living” Constitution, one that evolved with changing times, as simply an excuse for judges to impose their own ideological views.Critics countered that the same could be said for originalism – and that the legal conclusions Scalia said were dictated by that approach meshed neatly with the justice’s views on the death penalty, gay rights and abortion.It is hard to overstate Scalia’s impact on the modern court. Upon his arrival, staid oral arguments before the justices became jousting matches, with Scalia aggressively questioning counsel with whom he disagreed, challenging his colleagues and often dominating the sessions.He asked so many questions in his first sitting as a justice that Justice Lewis Powell whispered to Justice Thurgood Marshall: “Do you think he knows the rest of us are here?”Scalia was just as ready for combat outside the court. He relished debating his critics at law schools and in public appearances, although he sometimes displayed a thin skin.He tired of questions about his prominent role in the court’s 2000 decision in Bush v. Gore, which halted a recount of the presidential vote in Florida and effectively decided the presidency for Republican George W. Bush. His response to those who raised questions years later: “Get over it.”Despite his impact on the legal world, Scalia’s views were too far to the right for him to play the pivotal roles on the court that his fellow Reagan nominees – Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy – eventually assumed. Justice Antonin Scalia answers a question while Justice Stephen Breyer looks on during a conversation on the relevance of Foreign Law for American Constitutional Adjudication at American University’s Washington College of Law in January 2005. Washington Post photo by Lucian PerkinsScalia was far better known for fiery dissents than landmark majority opinions. One exception was the court’s groundbreaking 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.An avid hunter and a member of his high school rifle team, Scalia wrote the court’s 5-to-4 ruling that held for the first time that the Second Amendment afforded a right to gun ownership unrelated to military service.“His views on textualism and originalism, his views on the role of judges in our society, on the practice of judging, have really transformed the terms of legal debate in this country,” Elena Kagan said about Scalia when she was dean of Harvard Law School, alma mater to both. “He is the justice who has had the most important impact over the years on how we think and talk about law.”After Kagan was nominated to the court by President Barack Obama, she and Scalia became friends and hunting buddies – despite their distinct ideological differences and the fact that Kagan had never shot a gun. They went to Wyoming together in 2012 in hopes of Kagan bagging a big-game trophy like the elk, nicknamed Leroy, whose mounted head dominated Justice Scalia’s Supreme Court chambers.But she shot only a white-tailed deer, which Justice Scalia later laughingly said “she could have done in my driveway” at his suburban Virginia home.‘You’re not everybody else’Antonin Gregory Scalia – “Nino” to family, friends and colleagues – was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on March 11, 1936, and grew up in the New York City borough of Queens. His father, Salvatore, came through Ellis Island at 17; he learned English and became a professor of romance languages at Brooklyn College.Scalia’s mother, the former Catherine Panaro, was a second-generation Italian American and an elementary school teacher. Not only was Nino their only child, he was the only child of his generation on either side of the family.The whole extended clan doted on him, biographer Joan Biskupic reported in her biography “American Original,” and expected achievement. “You’re not everybody else,” Catherine would say, according to Biskupic. “Your family has standards, and it doesn’t matter what the standards of [others] are.”In 1953, he graduated first in his class at St. Francis Xavier, a military prep school in Manhattan, and won a naval ROTC scholarship but was turned down by his first choice of college, Princeton.A devout Catholic, he attended his second choice, Georgetown University, where he was the valedictorian of the class of 1957. In his graduation speech, he exhorted his fellow students: “If we will not be leaders of a real, a true, a Catholic intellectual life, no one will!”Scalia then entered Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the law review and graduated magna cum laude in 1960. That same year, he married Maureen McCarthy, a Radcliffe student he’d met on a blind date.She, too, came from a small family, but they made up for it, with five sons and four daughters and literally dozens of grandchildren.“We didn’t set out to have nine children,” Justice Scalia told Lesley Stahl on the CBS show “60 Minutes.” “We’re just old-fashioned Catholics, playing what used to be known as ‘Vatican Roulette.’ ”He added that the other four sons were relieved when their brother Paul decided to “take one for the team” and become a priest.The Scalias moved around. After traveling across Europe for a year while he was a Harvard Sheldon Fellow, the newlyweds moved to Cleveland, where Scalia joined the Jones Day firm in 1961.On the cusp of becoming partner, he left private practice in 1967 to become a law professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.In 1971, he became general counsel to the new Office of Telecommunications Policy in the Nixon administration; the agency spurred development of the nascent cable industry. From 1972 to 1974, he was chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, followed by three years as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel.After Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, won election to the White House, Scalia returned to academia as a professor at the University of Chicago law school.Then Reagan came into office in 1981 and the next year nominated Scalia to the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. His name quickly appeared on short lists of potential Supreme Court nominees.Reagan in 1981 made good on a campaign promise to appoint the court’s first woman with his choice of O’Connor, then an Arizona state judge and former legislator. His next chance to leave an imprint came five years later, when Chief Justice Warren Burger announced that he was stepping down.The president decided to elevate Justice William Rehnquist to the chief’s job, and Scalia and fellow D.C. Circuit Judge Robert Bork became the finalists for the opening. Bork was the more experienced jurist and a conservative icon, but the 50-year-old Scalia was almost a decade younger and brought the added political benefit of being Italian American.Scalia got the nomination. After a testy Senate battle over Rehnquist’s elevation, Scalia sailed through his confirmation hearings and was approved 98 to 0.Future vice president Joseph Biden, then a Democratic senator from Delaware and a stalwart of the Judiciary Committee, later said that his vote for Scalia was the one he most regretted – “because he was so effective.”Textualism and originalismScalia set out immediately to make his views known – and became exactly the conservatives had hoped for.He had been an influential early supporter of the Federalist Society, a group that political scientist Steven Teles called “the most vigorous, durable and well-ordered organization to emerge from [the] rethinking of modern conservatism’s political strategy.”Reliance on legislative history as a key element of interpreting statutes was once commonplace. But Scalia railed against the practice, saying that only the words of the statutes matter – a view known as textualism. He likened judges’ use of secondary sources such as committee reports or statements made by members of Congress during floor debates to “looking over the faces of the crowd at a large cocktail party and picking out your friends.”Even though most justices continued to think legislative history was valuable in interpreting statutes, lawyers arguing before the court learned that they would be upbraided by Scalia for mentioning it. He refused to join opinions that cited legislative history, even in a footnote.Similarly, Scalia redefined and popularized originalism. His approach to understanding the Constitution focused not on the framers’ intent but on the meaning of the words to ordinary citizens in 1787. He rejected the notion that the framers wanted the Constitution to be a “living” document designed to accommodate changing circumstances and social values.“The starting point, in any case, is the text of the document and what it meant to the society that adopted it,”Scalia said at his confirmation hearing. He added that this approach guarded “against the passions of the moment that may cause individual liberties to be disregarded.”Liberals, he said, should like such an approach, because it constrained conservatives such as him from turning their personal opinions into public policy. To illustrate, he often said that the Constitution doesn’t provide a right for a woman to have an abortion, but it also does not forbid states from making the procedure legal and accessible.He cited his vote on flag-burning – he agreed with the court’s majority that the guarantee of free speech allows the practice – as one instance when his allegiance to the Constitution outweighed his personal views. “If it was up to me, if I were king,” he said, “I would take scruffy, bearded, sandal-wearing idiots who burn the flag, and I would put them in jail.”But he did not note many other examples of originalism dictating views that contradicted his personal beliefs.Even when he wasn’t writing for the majority, his opinions provided an influential template for conservative lawyers and politicians. His writing style was certain and clever:“Frequently an issue of this sort will come before the Court clad, so to speak, in sheep’s clothing,” Scalia wrote in his lone dissent in Morrison v. Olson. ” … But this wolf comes as a wolf.”But he could also be acerbic and dismissive of his opponents.“No justice in Supreme Court history has consistently written with the sarcasm of Scalia,” Erwin Chemerinsky, now dean of the University of California at Irvine law school, wrote in a widely noted law review article.“No doubt, this makes his opinions among the most entertaining to read. … But I think that this sends exactly the wrong message to law students and attorneys about what type of discourse is appropriate in a formal legal setting and how it is acceptable to speak to one another.”New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot thought that Scalia’s writing made him a rock star, especially among young conservatives. Of all the justices, she wrote, “Scalia is most likely to offer the jurisprudential equivalent of smashing a guitar onstage.”Scalia’s blunt critiques may have cost him in finding common ground with some of his colleagues. Students of the court believe that his sharp-tongued put-downs of O’Connor – he once said her reasoning in a case could “not be taken seriously” – affected their relationship.He could also be a provocateur outside the courtroom. A reporter once asked him as he was leaving church if he caught flak for his Roman Catholic beliefs, and Scalia responded by flicking his fingers under his chin, a Sicilian insult.Unlike his colleagues, Scalia eagerly discussed constitutional issues and his personal opinions in public. On several occasions, his out-of-court activities prompted critics to question his impartiality.He once went duck hunting with Vice President Richard Cheney, who at the time was the subject of a lawsuit by the Sierra Club seeking the names of people who participated in the vice president’s energy task force. Scalia refused to recuse himself from the case, which the Supreme Court had agreed to hear.In 2006, he spoke against giving alleged terrorists jury trials – right before the court was set to hear a case on detainee rights, prompting a group of retired generals and admirals to file a friend-of-the-court brief asking him to recuse himself from hearing the appeal filed by Osama bin Laden’s alleged driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan.He participated in that case but had to sit out one that challenged the use of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. In remarks to a Knights of Columbus rally before the case arrived at the Supreme Court, he suggested that an appeals court had erred in agreeing with the challenger.That said, Scalia often played the role of charming rogue. In less-partisan times, he was a fixture at Georgetown parties; he loved opera and led carol-singing at the court’s annual Christmas parties. Every year when Boston University law professor Jay Wexler compiled the number of times the notation “laughter” appeared in transcripts of the court’s oral arguments, Scalia was the leading instigator.Nothing illustrated the dynamic so well as his close friendship with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with whom he was in frequent disagreement. The two served together on the D.C. Circuit and respected each other’s intellect. Scalia and his wife, and Ginsburg and her husband, Martin, celebrated most New Year’s Eves together.Ginsburg said no one made her laugh as much as Scalia did. “I love him. But sometimes I’d like to strangle him,” she once said.Outspoken about faithScalia once wrote in a law review article that legal views are “inevitably affected by moral and theological perceptions.”After donning his black robe, he would insist that his religious faith and personal views did not determine the outcome of cases because his textualist, originalist approach insulated him from bias. He believed that judges should defer to elected officials on matters of social policy.But Scalia’s faith was integral to his identity. He objected to Vatican II and drove out of his way to find churches that celebrated Mass in Latin.He was the court’s most outspoken member on the subject of religion. He urged fellow intellectuals to proudly be “fools for Christ” and used an interview in 2013 to underscore his belief in the existence of the Devil, whose latest maneuver, he said, was “getting people not to believe in him or in God.”Scalia wanted to lower the wall of separation between church and state, endorsing school prayer, nativity displays on public property and public money for religious schools.But he insisted that there was no such thing as a “Catholic ,” and said his views were shaped by an understanding of the Constitution and a belief that a judge’s role is limited.“Don’t paint me as anti-gay or antiabortion or anything else,” Scalia said at an appearance in 2015. “All I’m doing on the Supreme Court is opining about who should decide: Is it a matter left to the people, or is it a matter of my responsibility as a of the Supreme Court?”Scalia narrowly read individual rights and disdained policies designed to remedy discrimination against women and minorities. He was the lone dissent in a case challenging the state-run Virginia Military Institute’s right to exclude female applicants.Scalia believed that discrimination should be judged on an individual basis rather than by treating minorities as an aggrieved group; in his view, policies meant to address discrimination against a group in effect discriminated against individuals. “I owe no man anything, nor he me, because of the blood that flows through our veins,” he wrote in a 1979 essay.He was part of majorities that made it harder for workers to bring discrimination claims.He and O’Connor clashed when the court said the University of Michigan Law School could consider race as part of a comprehensive review of an applicant because of the benefits a racially diverse class would bring.In dissent, he wrote: “This is not, of course, an ‘educational benefit’ on which students will be graded on their Law School transcripts (Works and Plays Well with Others: B+) or tested by the bar examiners (Q: Describe in 500 words or less your cross-racial understanding.)”Notable wins, losing battlesFor much of the public, the perception of Scalia was formed in the polarized court’s ruling in Bush v. Gore. Scalia wrote for himself when the court issued an emergency stay to stop the vote-counting in Florida in the 2000 presidential election. “The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm to (Bush), and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election,” the wrote.To Gore supporters, that sounded like an attempt not to find out which candidate got the most votes but to protect the integrity of Bush’s win. Moreover, the five-member majority based its ultimate ruling on an expansive reading of the equal protection clause, which in previous cases involving gays, blacks and women Scalia had preferred to read narrowly. The case was also a departure from his reluctance to endorse federal intrusion in state and local affairs.On gay rights, Scalia fought a losing battle. He warned in his 2003 dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down a state sodomy law, that the court was paving the way for same-sex marriage. He was not any happier to see his prediction come true.When the court ruled 5 to 4 in 2015 that the Constitution forbade state laws that prohibited same-sex marriage, Scalia said the court had taken its most drastic step in overruling decisions made by the public.“A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy,” he wrote in dissent.His great triumph on the court came in writing the majority decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Second Amendment case.Most lower courts had long interpreted a 1939 Supreme Court case, United States v. Miller, to mean that the Second Amendment guaranteed the right to bear arms only to members of state militias like the National Guard.Scalia’s opinion made it unmistakable that the Constitution requires more than that. The Second Amendment, he said, “surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.”More than just a victory for gun rights, the case was significant for being fought on the originalist grounds that Scalia had long championed. He wrote 64 pages on why the authors of the Second Amendment meant to imply an individual right; Justice John Paul Stevens countered with 46 pages of history arguing only for the militia right.Another victory for Scalia on the court might seem surprising for a conservative who was such a full-throated defender of the death penalty.Crawford v. Washington marked a revolutionary change in criminal law. Writing for the majority in 2004, Scalia spelled out a bright-line rule that said “testimonial” statements by unavailable witnesses couldn’t be used as evidence in court unless the defendant had a prior opportunity for cross examination. Previously such statements were admissible if deemed sufficiently reliable by a judge.The decision was a great win for criminal defense lawyers and one in which the Supreme Court majority blurred its usual conservative-liberal dividing lines.Near the end of his tenure on the court, as Scalia was on the losing side in landmark decisions on issues such as gay rights, he condemned what he called “the practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine.”In his dissent to the court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges recognizing a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry, Scalia summed up his objections.“Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall,” he wrote. “. . . With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them – with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the ‘reasoned judgment’ of a bare majority of this Court – we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.”Gail Sullivan contributed to this report.© 2016, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Justice Scalia spent his last hours with members of this secretive society of elite hunters Obama: ‘Don’t despair’ over US Supreme Court intervention in carbon emissions case US expats in Costa Rica can vote in person for presidential primary Obama’s brutal assessment of the rise of Donald Trumplast_img read more

PHOTOS The final days of Costa Ricas International Arts Festival

first_imgFor the past 10 days, San José played host once more to the International Arts Festival (FIA), which brought a varied selection of dance, theater and musical acts to locations around the capital.Performances took place at theaters including the Melico Salazar, National, La Aduana, La Danza and 1887, as well as the Máximo Fernández Plaza in San Pedro and the Plaza de la Cultura. Take a look at one of the popular performances from the last days of the event. Crowds at the FIA. Ezequiel Becerra / AFP Ezequiel Becerra / AFP Ezequiel Becerra / AFP Artists from “Flip Fabrique.” Ezequiel Becerra / AFP Facebook Comments Related posts:After vibrant first weekend, International Arts Fest continues through April 15 What to do in Costa Rica: concerts, culture and love around the country 13’30 Restaurant hosts exhibit by Guatemalan artist Herssonoe Ballet performance raises funds for low-income patients and familieslast_img read more

AlQaida No 2 condemned US army war ethics

first_imgAl-Libi was reported killed on June 4 in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan.In the video, al-Libi says U.S. officials have apologized to “cover up these atrocities” but that “their statements are cold and apologies twisted.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments   Share   Top Stories CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – Before he was killed in a U.S. drone strike earlier this month, al-Qaida’s second-in-command condemned what he described as “unethical” actions of U.S. soldiers in war.The message came in a 17-minute video of Abu Yahya al-Libi that was posted on militant websites Friday. There were no details about when al-Libi spoke.In the video, he lashes out against American troops, citing incidents earlier this year of civilians killed and the burnings of the Quran in Afghanistan, as well as the case of U.S. soldiers shown urinating on dead militants. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories center_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

Argentine judge embargoes Chevron assets on spill

first_img“The plaintiffs’ lawyers have no legal right to embargo subsidiary assets in Argentina and should not be allowed to disrupt Argentina’s pursuit of its important energy resources,” said James Craig, a Chevron spokesman for Latin America and Africa. “The Ecuador judgment is a product of bribery, fraud, and it is illegitimate.”Chevron has refused to pay the sum stemming from waste water pollution and oil industry waste, saying that fraud marked the trial and that Texaco Petroleum Co. mitigated the environmental damage long before 2001, when it became a Chevron subsidiary.Ecuador’s highest court has upheld the ruling, while the plaintiffs have accused Chevron of dirty tricks designed to subvert the lower-court ruling.The plaintiffs say Texaco, and now Chevron, remain responsible for environmental contamination and illnesses resulting from the operations of an oil consortium from 1972 to 1990 in Ecuador’s rainforest.“We’re really pleased with the start of the embargo on Chevron’s assets in a country outside of Ecuador,” said Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer for the Ecuadorean plaintiffs in the case told the Associated Press. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The order states that all the cash flows from sales and bank deposits be frozen until the $19 billion is collected, Bruchou said. The order applies to 100 percent of Chevron’s capital stock in Argentina, 100 percent of its dividends and its entire minority stake in Oleoductos del Valle. It also includes 40 percent of any current or future money that Chevron Argentina holds as well as 40 percent of all its crude sales.Bruchou said the decision in the largest environmental suit in the world should send a strong message to foreign investors that they must apply the same environmental standards wherever they do business. Similar lawsuits have been filed this year in Canada and Brazil.“We’re making history in the preservation of the environment,” Bruchou said.“This is a ruling that sets an example. What we’re telling the world is that in Latin America we want to demand that whoever comes to exploit does it following the same health an environmental standards as they do in their countries of origin,” he said.Chevron officials said the company knew of neither a filing by the plaintiffs nor an order from a court in Argentina. They also said Chevron’s operations in Argentina had nothing to do with the case in Ecuador. 0 Comments   Share   “The fact that an Argentine judge has decided to accept the embargo order shows that the ruling by the Ecuadorean court can be enforced and today Chevron is forced to pay up to the last cent its debt owed to the Amazon.”The plaintiffs will begin a suit in Colombia in the coming days and are also preparing legal actions in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, Fajardo said.“Environmental crime will not go without punishment and we’re going to chase them anywhere in the world,” he said.Chevron argues that a 1998 agreement Texaco signed with Ecuador after a $40 million cleanup absolves it of liability and that Ecuador’s state-run oil company is responsible for much of the pollution in the oil patch Texaco quit more than two decades ago.Chevron is a major player in Argentina producing about 26,000 barrels of crude and 4 million cubic feet of natural gas daily, the plaintiffs have said.The company is also key for the South American country’s future energy needs, especially after it agreed to work with the state-run YPF energy company to develop shale reserves that could be the third-largest in the world.___Associated Press writers Gonzalo Solano in Quito, Ecuador, and Luis Andres Henao in Santiago, Chile, contributed to this report. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – An Argentine judge embargoed Chevron Corp.’s assets in Argentina to carry out an Ecuadorean court order that awarded $19 billion to plaintiffs in an environmental damage lawsuit in the Amazon, a lawyer said Wednesday.Judge Adrian Elcuj Miranda ordered the freezing of Chevron’s assets in Argentina as plaintiffs try to collect the judgment won in Ecuador last year, Argentine lawyer Enrique Bruchou told reporters in a conference call. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Men’s health affects baby’s health too The vital role family plays in society 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

Luxury Travel Network Virtuoso® Announce Their Top Cruise Producer Win

first_imgThe Seabourn award was accepted by David Brandon on behalf of Travel Concept’s Cruise Centre who received a plaque and a gift of $5000 towards a Seabourn marketing campaign from Virtuoso and Seabourn. L to R: David Brandon (Travel Concept’s Cruise Centre), Erroll Wilson (Virtuoso Australia) and Patrice Willoughby (Virtuoso VP International Sales) The Regent Seven Seas Award was accepted by Adelina Arancibia on behalf of St Ives Travel who also received a plaque and a gift of $5,000 towards a Regent Seven Seas marketing campaign from Virtuoso and Regent Seven Seas. L to R: Adelina Arancibia (St Ives Travel), Erroll Wilson (Virtuoso Australia) and Patrice Willoughby (Virtuoso Head Office) L to R:  Phil Hoffman (Phil Hoffman Travel), Erroll Wilson (Virtuoso Australia) and Patrice Willoughby (Virtuoso VP International Sales) L to R: David Brandon (Travel Concept’s Cruise Centre), Karen Christensen (Silversea Cruises) Patrice Willoughby, VP International Sales Virtuoso) center_img Source = Virtuoso Pictured below is David Brandon on behalf of Travel Concept’s Cruise Centre,  accepting the prize of a 10 night Silversea Cruise for two from Karen Christensen of Silversea. Phil Hoffman accepted the Crystal award on behalf of Phil Hoffman Travel and received a plaque and a gift of $5000 towards a Crystal marketing campaign from Virtuoso and Crystal Cruises. Luxury travel network Virtuoso® has announced their Top Cruise Producer winners at the opening event of this year’s annual Virtuoso® Australian Road Show in Melbourne. Virtuoso has brought 25 international luxury travel suppliers to participate in workshops in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane/Gold Coast for almost 250 Virtuoso accredited travel advisors.Virtuoso’s top selling cruise lines in 2011 were1.         Silversea Cruises2.         Seabourn3.         Regent, Seven Seas Cruises4.         Crystal Cruises5.         Sea Dream Yacht Club6.         Paul Gauguin CruisesFor the first time this year, the top four cruise lines; Silversea Cruises, Seabourn, Regent Seven Sea and Crystal, have also given special awards to their top selling agencies and travel advisors.last_img read more

Australians loving Switzerland

first_imgSource = ETB News: P.T. Switzerland Tourism held a high tea in Sydney this week, detailing tourism developments in the Lake Geneva region, Titlis Rotair and the country’s growing popularity with Australians. “Titlis is a vast, elevated resort that attracts guests from all around the world… offering varying meetings packages, encompassing an entire mountain experience, with fully dedicated facilities,” Titlis Rotair regional sales director Rayomand Choksi. The Lavaux vineyards, situated on steep-sloped terraces on the north east of the lake, have been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2007, protected from progressive urbanisation. Tourism forecasts anticipate a 20 percent rise in Australian arrivals to Switzerland in 2014. “Switzerland is high on the agenda for Australian travellers of all ages, providing a range of accommodation and tour options to suit every budget… from backpackers to baby boomers.” The country’s meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) market has also witnessed rapid developments, especially in the Lake Geneva region and at Mount Titlis resort. “Switzerland is home to some incredible wines and vintages that we’ve been hiding for far too long… the rest of the world is beginning to catch on,” Mr Michel said. Left to Right: Lake Geneva Region Tourist Office vice president and marketing director François Michel, Switzerland Tourism director Australia and New Zealand Evelyn Lafone and Titlis Rotair regional sales director Rayomand Choksi. Switzerland Tourism Australia recently celebrated Swiss National Day on 1 August 2013 in Sydney. Lake Geneva Region Tourist Office vice president and marketing director François Michel said that the popularity of the lakes region with Australians, especially wine lovers, was always evolving. The centrally-located landlocked European nation’s positive reputation with Australian visitors has been steadily growing in recent times, according to national tourism bureau representatives. “Europe is still growing, with more and more Australian’s travelling to the continent in the last few years,” Switzerland Tourism director Australia and NZ Evelyn Lafone said.last_img read more

Vietjet opens two routes from Ho Chi Minh City to Phuket

first_imgVietjet opens two routes from Ho Chi Minh City to PhuketVietjet opens two routes from Ho Chi Minh City to PhuketVietjet today launches ticket sales for two new routes from Ho Chi Minh City to Phuket and to Chiang Mai serving the travel and trade demands between these well-known tourist destinations in Vietnam, Thailand and Hong Kong through connecting flights.To celebrate the new route launches, Vietjet offers 180,000 promotional tickets priced from only USD0 (*) from now to Oct 27 during the golden hours from 13:00 to 15:00. Promotional tickets will be applied for all Vietjet international routes, including Hong Kong – Ho Chi Minh City and the new routes from Ho Chi Minh City to Phuket and Chiang Mai. Other international routes from Vietnam to Bangkok (Thailand)/ Seoul, Busan (South Korea)/ Hong Kong/ Singapore/ Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)/ Yangon (Myanmar)/ Siem Reap, Phnom Penh (Cambodia) are also applied.The promotion’s travel period is from November 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018, excluding public holidays. Travel period for Ho Chi Minh City – Chiang Mai new route runs from December 12, and Ho Chi Minh City – Phuket new route from December 15, 2017.The Ho Chi Minh City – Phuket route will operate a return flight every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday from December 15, 2017 with around two hours per leg. The flight will depart Ho Chi Minh City at 10:15 and arrive in Phuket at 12:10 (local time). The return flight takes off at 13:05 (local time) in Phuket and lands in Ho Chi Minh City at 15:10.The Ho Chi Minh City – Chiang Mai route will operate a return flight every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday from December 12, 2017 with around two hours per leg. The flight will depart Ho Chi Minh City at 11:35 and arrive in Chiang Mai at 13:30 (local time). The return flight takes off at 14:20 (local time) in Chiang Mai and lands in Ho Chi Minh City at 16:25.With the opening of the two new routes, Vietjet now operates 6 routes to the “Land of Smiles” Thailand. Together with Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai are considered to be the travel “paradises” attracting many international tourists; giving them a different and new experience with the beautiful natural sceneries, diverse cuisines and unique local culture.Promotional tickets can be booked within the “golden hours” from 13:00 to 15:00 at or at Payment can be easily made with debit and credit cards of Visa/ Master/ AMEX/ JCB/ KCP.With high-quality services, diverse ticket classes, special low-fare tickets, Vietjet offers its passengers flying experiences on new aircrafts, comfy seats, delicious hot meals, beautiful and friendly flight attendants and other interesting added-on services.(*) excluding taxes and fees(**) excluding national holidaysSource = Vietjetlast_img read more

China promotes Guangxi landscapes in India

first_imgIndia Tourism Cooperation Presentation was successfully held recently in the presence of Chen Wu, Governor of the People’s Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China, Yao Jing, Charge d’ Affaires of Chinese Embassy in India, and Rajiv Rai, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India and Arun Srivastava, Director of North Region, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Over 100 delegates and guests from Guangxi region of China and Indian tourism sector (​mainly ​Delhi NCR) enjoyed this presentation, and they exchanged their views on further strengthening Sino-India tourism cooperation.It is said that this presentation was part of Chinese Action Plan towards Visit India Year in China 2015 and Visit China Year in India 2016.A group of Indian travel businessmen also successfully took part in the China-AESAN Expo Tourism Exhibition in Guilin and familiarisation trip in Guangxi Region. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, located in the southern border of China, relying on south-east Asia, and bordering upon Vietnam, is a fascinating destination boasting beautiful landscapes, enchanting sub-tropical beach scenery, simple and unsophisticated ethnic customs, as well as the mysterious border scene for sight-seeing and vacationing in four seasons. Its capital is Nanning, and its most famous tourist city is Guilin.Guangxi is promoting seven characteristic tours: Tour of the Golden Tourist Belt along the Guihai (Guilin—Beihai) Expressway, Tour of Guilin Scenery and Folklore, Tour of Folkways of the Southern Border, Tour of Coastal and Border Area around the Beibu Gulf, Tour of Eco-environment, Landscapes and folklore in West Guangxi, Tour of Famous Historical, Cultural and Religious Sites in East Guangxi, and Tour of Zhuang Folklore in the Hometown of Liu Sanjie (the Third Sister Liu)​, informed ​Li Qianguo, Director of China National Tourist Office in New Delhi.last_img read more

TTF Bengaluru gives new impetus to the travel milieu in 2016

first_imgTTF – India’s biggest travel show, beginning in Bengaluru, provides a unique opportunity to take a break and shop around for your next destination. The travel and tourism industry from all over India and a few participants from abroad have assembled in the city to showcase their destination.TTF Bengaluru presents more than 125 exhibitors to showcase new destinations and the latest in travel, at Elaan Convention Centre, J P Nagar (Phase VII) from January 15 – 17, Friday to Sunday.The three-day exhibition will showcase destinations and packages from about 20 States and six countries.Bouncing back in the travel market with “Nepal – Back on top of the world” caption, Partner Country, Nepal Tourism will be there to woo the travellers to their Himalayan State.New Zealand, a land and people rich with stories, is the Feature Country, showcasing its unique mix of Maori and European cultures.Visitors will also get a taste of Bhutan, Malaysia, Singapore and Turkey through the private tour operators selling these hot-spots.Partner States – Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh along with the Feature States – Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana are competing to get a share of the high potential South India travel market. Assam, Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are being represented through their tour operators/hoteliers.The Host State, Karnataka will be showcasing the hidden wonders of the State through its colourful presentation and the presence of its private tour operators and hoteliers.Some of the other important participants include Travstarz Holidays,, IRCTC, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts, Bodoland Tourism, Southern Travels, etc.Entry to the event is reserved for the travel trade fraternity, till Saturday pre-lunch, after which it will provide opportunities of travel shopping to all.The show has CRS Technologies India as its Technology Partner and as the Travel Products Partner.Travel News Digest is the official trade publication. TTF Bengaluru is being organised by Fairfest Media, a pioneer in the field of travel shows for over two decades.The organiser of TTF, Fairfest Media, is a member of PATA, TAAI and is supported by Incredible India, OTOAI, ATOAI, ADTOI, IATO and IAAI.last_img read more