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Summer and fall deals in Hawaii

Summer and fall deals in Hawaii

first_imgSummer and fall deals in Hawaii Aston Islander on the Beach.For long stays at the Aston Islander on the Beach, on Kauai, (and other participating Aston properties) guests can enjoy discounted rates with the Linger Longer and Save More package. Stay at least seven consecutive nights and enjoy special rates or stay 14 nights or more and enjoy special discounted long-term rates. This offer is valid for travel from now until Dec. 31, 2017 for bookings made until Dec. 31, 2017. Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa.It’s the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa’s 115th birthday this year, and in celebration the iconic Oahu hotel is offering a 115th Anniversary Room Package. For stays of four nights or more, the last night room stay is $115. In addition, guests who book this package will also received a $115 resort credit applicable towards dining or spa services, as well as a welcome basket with a Moana Surfrider historical book. The package is available through Dec. 25, 2016. Visit Moana-Surfrider.com. Travelweek Group Share On Oahu, guests can enjoy a 15% discount off the best available rate with rates starting at US$185 per night at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club. This 112-room hotel offers an insider’s view of authentic Honolulu, with rooms inspired by North Shore surf bungalows of vintage Oahu and featuring a curated collection of local design elements. Home to local chef Ed Kenney’s latest restaurant concept, Mahina & Sun’s, and centered in the property’s Swim Club, guests can look forward to creative dining, high-end cocktails and nightly, local entertainment. This offer is valid for bookings made until Aug. 28 for travel dates from Aug. 29 – Dec. 5. Use promo code WYMH. For more visit Surfjack.com. Posted bycenter_img Tags: Hawaii, Promotions The Royal Lahaina Resort on Maui.The Royal Lahaina Resort on Maui is offering a special on Partial Ocean View rooms, with rates starting at $185 per night. Clients who book by Sept. 30, for stays of six nights or longer will receive a reduced rate in a Lahaina Kai Tower Partial Ocean View room (valid for travel from now until Dec. 24). With Royal Lahaina Resort’s Book Early and Save promotion, clients can save on various room categories, for travel from now until March 31. Garden Cottage Room or Tower Standard Room rates begin at $189. Visit royallahaina.com for more details. << Previous PostNext Post >> Monday, August 22, 2016 Mauna Kea Resort.On Hawaii Island, Mauna Kea Resort offers guests a plethora of saving options including its Ocean Escapes special, for bookings and stays made by Nov. 17, guests will enjoy the resort’s best yearly value rates. For bookings and travel from Oct. 1 to Dec. 17, guests who book any four consecutive nights will enjoy a fifth night free and complimentary breakfast buffet for two, with Mauna Kea Resort’s Fall into Winter package. For bookings and travel from now until Dec. 18, guests can take advantage of the Suite Deals Resort Credit & Daily Breakfast package when they book a suite on a five-night minimum stay and receive complimentary daily breakfast and up to a $5,000 resort credit. Visit princeresortshawaii.com/mauna-kea-beach-hotel for more information.last_img read more

Hawaii Mermaid Adventures offers an undersea voyage like no other

Hawaii Mermaid Adventures offers an undersea voyage like no other

first_img Posted by Tags: Hawaii, Maui For travellers to Maui who are truly looking for an out-of-the-box experience like no other, Hawaii Mermaid Adventures may be just the thing. This new ocean adventure company on Maui is putting its own spin on eco-tourism, transforming ‘Under the Sea’ dreamers of all ages into real-life mermaids for a day.“We are thrilled to offer this incredibly memorable experience, especially to anyone who has dreamt of becoming a mermaid,” said Timothy Lara, owner, Hawaii Mermaid Adventures. “With Hawaii Mermaid Adventures, guests can explore the ocean, coral reefs and underwater wildlife in a fun and unique way.”Safety is at the forefront of Hawaii Mermaid Adventures, and all mermaid instructors are CPR, lifeguard and marine naturalist certified. The company is part of Hawaiian Paddle Sports, also owned by Lara.After practicing getting in and out of mermaid tails on land, guests practice ocean swimming as mermaids, ultimately transforming into these other-worldly sea creatures. Guests learn ocean mysteries and global myths about mermaids, from sailor’s tales to mermaid names.Becoming a mermaid is a first step in becoming a lifelong ocean steward. Before entering the water, guides demonstrate proper water etiquette, how to identify native fish species and highlight important conservations issues. Guides also conduct mini-beach clean ups before each lesson.Hawaii Mermaid Adventures recommends their adventures for families (especially mothers and daughters), girlfriend getaways, bridal parties and more. Mermaid tails are unisex, so mermen are not left out. The 1.5 hour excursions are exclusive to one party, and groups are not combined. Hawaii Mermaid Adventures provides complimentary beach and underwater digital photography with every swimming lesson.Should guests wish to continue their undersea adventures at home, Hawaii Mermaid Adventures offers mermaid tails for purchase.For more information about Hawaii Mermaid Adventures or for reservations, visit hawaiimermaidadventures.com. Travelweek Group Hawaii Mermaid Adventures offers an undersea voyage like no other Tuesday, October 25, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Feel like the King of the world Chinese building fullsized Titanic replica

Feel like the King of the world Chinese building fullsized Titanic replica

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: China Friday, December 2, 2016 BEIJING — Construction on the world’s first full-sized Titanic replica has started in China, a country with a well-documented fascination with the tale of the ill-fated ocean liner.The 300-meter (984-foot) vessel being built by the Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Co. is scheduled for completion by the end of 2018 and will remain permanently docked as a tourist attraction in landlocked Sichuan province. Wuchang executives told a provincial newspaper that its liner will faithfully replicate the original Titanic, with a dining hall, theatre, luxury first-class cabins and swimming pool.The vessel, however, won’t be able to sail away from the reservoir near the hilly Sichuan village where it’ll be docked – although guests onboard will be able to dine and stay overnight.The original Titanic sank in 1912 after striking an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people.The 1997 film by James Cameron was one of the first foreign films to enter modern China and became such a massive hit that then-president Jiang Zemin reportedly recommended that the entire Communist Party Politburo see it .More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksThe 2012 3D-remake broke box office records in China and to this day, a significant portion of Chinese of a certain generation can sing “My Heart Will Go On,” the Celine Dion theme song.“Titanic” is a story of a poor young man and a rich girl, which more accords with Chinese audiences’ taste. This kind of plot has a long history in the popular culture of China,“ opined People’s Daily in 2012. The Communist Party’s official mouthpiece also urged China’s budding film industry to copy Cameron’s ”professional spirit.“To film his 1997 title, Cameron built – and sank – a replica constructed at a scale of 90 per cent.Wuchang’s ship could be the first full-scale replica after recent reports emerged that Australian tycoon Clive Palmer’s plans to build a working replica, the Titanic II, have been delayed.Wuchang, the shipbuilder, is owned by China’s central government and builds nuclear submarines, China Daily quoted an executive involved in the project as saying. Source: The Associated Press Share Feel like the ‘King of the world’: Chinese building full-sized Titanic replicalast_img read more

A Star Wars resort for Hollywood Studios Disney wont confirm or deny

A Star Wars resort for Hollywood Studios Disney wont confirm or deny

first_img ORLANDO — Walt Disney World Resort is reportedly looking at adding a Star Wars-themed hotel to its Star Wars-themed land opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019. And why not? With the movie franchise’s rabid fan base the hotel would no doubt be booked in advance for years on end.According to Florida media a survey was sent out gauging fan interest in a two night “immersive Star Wars experience”. The survey included renderings of the resort – resembling a spacecraft, naturally. All meals would be covered and hotel guests would also get exclusive access to the new Star Wars-themed land.Addressing the rumours, a Disney spokesperson gave this statement: “We know our guests love all things in the world of Star Wars and we’re continually exploring new ideas and gathering guest feedback as we develop plans to bring Star Wars to life at Disneyland Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Some of these ideas come to fruition, while many do not.”More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoEarlier this year Disney Cruise Line announced it was adding more of its extremely popular ‘Star Wars Day at Sea’ events to 15 special Disney Fantasy sailings to the Caribbean from January through April 2018. The special day-long celebration “transports guests to a galaxy far, far away to celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga with Jedi, Wookiees, droids, Stormtroopers and more.”The 14-acre Star Wars-themed land attractions were announced in 2015 and are under construction at both the California and Orlando parks. Disney says the lands will include attractions and entertainment alongside aliens and droids. The attractions represent the parks’ largest single themed land expansion ever. Travelweek Group Monday, April 24, 2017 A Star Wars resort for Hollywood Studios? Disney won’t confirm (or deny) Sharecenter_img Tags: Disney, Theme Parks & Attractions Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Amalfi Coast Croatia sailing trips up to 40 off with Intrepid

Amalfi Coast Croatia sailing trips up to 40 off with Intrepid

first_imgAmalfi Coast, Croatia sailing trips up to 40% off with Intrepid Posted by Travelweek Group Share Thursday, April 27, 2017 center_img TORONTO — Intrepid Travel is offering up to 40% off select sailing itineraries for bookings through May 31.The four-day ‘Sail Italy – Amalfi to Procida’, originally US$840 per person, now starts at $548. Travellers can cast adrift along the Amalfi Coast and travel to Amalfi, Capri, and Procida. With its pastel buildings and tranquil marina, the town of Procida “provides the best of both worlds”, says Intrepid – relaxing at sea or exploring by foot. Visitors can hike along historic trails past olive groves, vineyards, lemon orchards and villages, dive into the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean and sample Italian regional cuisine including some of the freshest seafood in the world, fished from the coast every morning.Another option, the eight-day ‘Croatia Sailing Adventure – Dubrovnik to Split’, is now priced at  $972 for eight days, down from $1,435. Travellers can wander the length of car-free Lopud in the idyllic Elafiti Islands, visit Odysseus Cave where, according to legend, the king of Ithaca once found refuge after surviving a shipwreck and cross the water from the island of Vis to Cave Bisevo’s blue grotto. See intrepidtravel.com. Tags: Adventure Travel, Croatia, Intrepid Travel, Italy, Promotions << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Joan Haines of Coastal International announces retirement

Joan Haines of Coastal International announces retirement

first_img Monday, May 29, 2017 TORONTO — Joan Haines, Principal of Coastal International, Toronto who handled PR for Sandals Resorts for over 25 years, has announced her retirement and the closure of her business, effective June 1.Haines began her relationship with Sandals Resorts following the opening of Sandals Antigua, even prior to the establishment of Unique Vacations’ Canadian office. At that time, the all-inclusive product was still relatively new in Canada, as was the ‘couples only’ concept.Throughout the years, working with the full support of Gary C. Sadler and Maureen Barnes-Smith and their teams, Haines played a significant role in building the Sandals brand through public relations, promotions, local advertising, and marketing communications programs, from development through to implementation.She referred to her work with Sandals as the “highlight of a long career in travel, tourism and hospitality”, saying that Sandals has given her the opportunity to do her best and most rewarding work.Sandals Resorts International public relations efforts in Canada will continue with Tracy McCann at the reins. As of June 1, McCann can be reached at tracy.mccann@pembrokepr.ca and at (416) 949-9716. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: People, Sandals Resortscenter_img Posted by Share Joan Haines of Coastal International announces retirementlast_img read more

Hot off the press Air Canada Vacations 20172018 Sun Brochure

Hot off the press Air Canada Vacations 20172018 Sun Brochure

first_img MONTREAL — Bigger is always better, at least when it comes to brochures. Air Canada Vacations’ brand new Sun Brochure, 2017/2018 Collection is jam-packed with exciting new additions, including a bigger Spotlight Collection, the new CareFree Plan and an upgraded Play More program.Inside its pages, travellers will find flexible getaways ranging from 3 to 29 nights, 40 destinations and more than 700 resorts, 60 of which are new to ACV’s lineup. They’ll also find 19 resorts exclusive to the tour operator, 30 semi-exclusive resorts and 26 resorts with exclusive categories, sections and meal plans.“We are so thrilled about the launch of this new Sun brochure,” says Nino Montagnese, Managing Director at Air Canada Vacations. “It is filled with excellent products, exciting inclusions and great perks. For our travel agents, we believe it will be an amazing tool: comprehensive, clear, easy to use and fun to look at!”Travellers who plan early can benefit from substantial savings on their 2017/2018 holidays to Mexico & the Caribbean with the Early Booking Bonus. Reservations made by Aug. 31 represent savings of $800 per family ($250 per adult and $150 per child ages 2 to 12), while bookings made between Sept. 1-30 represent $600 in savings. If these dates don’t work for clients, they can still benefit from $500 in savings when booking between Oct. 1-31.To give its customers even more peace of mind, Air Canada Vacations has introduced a new CareFree Plan with four inclusions. For $79 per person, travellers can avail of seat selection, year-round Price Drop Guarantee, StormGuard and a $50 waiver on administrative change fees.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesReturning this year, the Price Drop Guarantee allows couples who book participating resorts by Oct. 31 to get up to $800 cash back, if the price of their winter package drops. StormGuard, meanwhile, lets travellers reschedule their holiday if the U.S. National Hurricane Center declares a tropical storm warning for their destination within 72 hours of departure, for $49 per adult and $35 per child.The Spotlight Collection, which was introduced last year, features some of ACV’s most popular resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean. The Collection keeps growing with even more resorts and inclusions. Perks range from à la carte dinners and spa discounts, to preferred room location, superior in-room amenities and more. All spotlight Collection resorts give guests 4,000 bonus Aeroplan Miles per couple, in addition to the Miles already received with their package.New for groups this year, ACV is offering bonus savings of $800 or more for group bookings made at one of its Top Picks resorts. The offer is valid for reservations made by Aug. 31 and valid for departures between Nov. 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2018. For incentive groups, there’s a new $500 hotel excursion credit to use at destination, two free upgrades to Business class or Premium Rouge, free seat selection and much more.For families, the Play program is an extension of the Family collection. This winter, families can upgrade to the new Play More, which allows the whole family to select their seat (a value of $160 for a family of four), as well as a $10 voucher for an in-flight meal per family member, per segment. The upgrade is available for only $39 per adult and $19 per child.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesAlso new this winter is a $0 deposit on flights when the air and cruise are booked up to 30 days before departure. All flights are 100% refundable up to 30 days prior to travel. Other advantages include one name change permitted up to 30 days prior to travel, a best price guarantee, and flight guarantee and even the ability to earn Aeroplan Miles.Air Canada Vacations’ third annual Dream Makers product launch returns this fall. Travel agents are invited to join Air Canada Vacations on tour nationwide to celebrate the new Sun Brochure, 2017/2018 Collection. “We’re looking forward to another great Dream Maker to present our exciting new Sun Brochure and all it has to offer to our valued industry partners, travel agents and their customers,” said George Platanitis, VP of Sales. “We can only succeed in making travel dreams come true if we work hand in hand with the travel community; this is our thank you to them”.Dream Makers dates are as follows:September 6, 2017: VancouverSeptember 7, 2017: CalgarySeptember 8, 2017: HalifaxSeptember 11, 2017: MontrealSeptember 13, 2017: TorontoAll #ACVDreamMakers events will take place from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Guests can look forward to an exciting evening of cocktails, fabulous prizes, and live entertainment, and a presentation from Air Canada Vacations’ senior executives regarding the 2017/2018 Collection. Further details and registration to follow. Hot off the press: Air Canada Vacations’ 2017/2018 Sun Brochure Share Friday, July 28, 2017 Tags: Air Canada Vacations, Brochures, Sun Destinationscenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Travelweek Group last_img read more

Delta acquires 10 stake in Air FranceKLM

Delta acquires 10 stake in Air FranceKLM

first_img Travelweek Group Posted by ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines is deepening its longstanding partnership with Air France-KLM Group with a €375 million investment to acquire 10% equity in the joint venture partner and a seat on the Air France-KLM Group Board of Directors.Additionally, Delta, Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic will launch a combined long-term joint venture, supported by a 31% investment by Air France-KLM in Virgin Atlantic, to offer customers the most comprehensive trans-Atlantic route network. China Eastern will also take a 10% stake.“A dynamic global landscape means it’s more important than ever for Delta to deepen ties with our global partners to provide opportunities for mutual growth,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “Bringing together the strengths of Delta, Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic into a combined joint venture will create the trans-Atlantic partnership of choice for customers.”Delta, Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic will launch a combined long-term joint venture.The expanded joint venture, including Alitalia, will offer nearly 300 daily nonstop trans-Atlantic flights and convenient flight schedules. Customers also will benefit from the ability to earn and redeem miles across all carriers, co-location of facilities at key airports to improve connectivity and access to each carrier’s airport lounges for premium customers.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaThe investment aligns with others Delta has made in recent years as it grows its international footprint through partnerships with key airlines in regions around the world. The demand created by Delta and Air France-KLM’s combined customer base and hub airports has enabled new trans-Atlantic routes to give Delta customers expanded choice in destinations and flight frequencies.“During the past decade, Delta’s global partnerships have fuelled significant international growth,” said Steve Sear, President – International & EVP – Global Sales. “As we further develop these partnerships, our ability to align network, sales and other commercial and operational initiatives will provide even greater benefits for our customers and employees.”All transactions are subject to execution of definitive agreements and receipt of final shareholder, board and regulatory approvals.The Atlanta-based airline’s existing joint venture with Air France-KLM dates to 2009, with the addition of Alitalia in 2010. In 2012 Delta launched a joint venture with Virgin Australia followed in 2013 by both a 49% investment in, and joint venture with, Virgin Atlantic. In 2015, Delta entered into an enhanced marketing arrangement with, and acquired a 3.5% stake in, its SkyTeam partner China Eastern. In 2017, Delta launched its joint cooperation agreement with Aeromexico and increased its equity stake in the carrier to 49%. Also in 2017, Delta announced a joint venture with Korean Air Lines. Delta also holds a 9.5% equity interest in Brazil-based airline GOL. << Previous PostNext Post >> Delta acquires 10% stake in Air France-KLM Friday, July 28, 2017 Tags: Air France, Delta Air Lines, KLM, Virgin Grouplast_img read more

HotelsPro names Theresa McLarney as Director of Sales for North America

HotelsPro names Theresa McLarney as Director of Sales for North America

first_img Travelweek Group Tuesday, January 29, 2019 HotelsPro names Theresa McLarney as Director of Sales for North America Posted by Tags: HotelsPro, New Hirescenter_img TORONTO — HotelsPro has appointed Theresa McLarney as its new Director of Sales – North America.  McLarney will be responsible for the leadership of the team, developing sales strategy, implementing and managing the business activities and generating further growth for the region.With over 25 years of experience McLarney has served in various capacities including new business development, product procurement, project management and operational improvement across a number of travel industry segments.  She has also held senior leadership roles with both TravelBound and Bedsonline, where she was instrumental in the growth of their retail business.HotelsPro adds that her strong winning attitude and personality are assets “that will complement and enhance HotelsPro’s ability to meet the needs of its customers as it strives to provide quality, innovative solutions to the marketplace.”For more information contact northamericasales@hotelspro.com  or visit hotelspro.com. Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Tourism Ireland reveals the quirkiest Greenings for St Patricks Day 2019

Tourism Ireland reveals the quirkiest Greenings for St Patricks Day 2019

first_img Posted by Two of Australia’s famous ‘Big Things’: The Big Banana and The Big KangarooA carp statue, called ‘Fridolin’, in the town of Höchstadt an der Aisch, in Bavaria.The Wawa Goose: An 8.5 metre, metal goose statue, which stands along the TransCanada Highway outside the small town of Wawa in northern Ontario. Tags: Ireland, Tourism Ireland TORONTO — What do a leopard statue in Kenya, Finland’s crazy version of Dragons’ Den, a DC-3 airplane in Hong Kong, a giant moose statue in Saskatchewan and a street-skating event in Paris have in common?They’re just some of the more unusual participants in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day 2019.Tourism Ireland’s annual Global Greening initiative got its start back in 2010, when just the Sydney Opera House and the Sky Tower in Auckland went green.Now, says Tourism Ireland, 2019 will be the biggest Global Greening to date, with some 420 sites in 53 different countries signed up to take part this year. From Rome to Rio and from London to Las Vegas, a host of famous buildings and sites around the world will be turning a shade of green over the coming days.In total Canada will contribute 15 greenings this year, including Toronto’s Casa Loma and Canada Place in Vancouver.Canada PlaceAs well as the Polar Bear Pitching, other quirky ‘Greenings’ for 2019 include:Pari Roller in Paris: One of the biggest street-skating events in the world, which will see hundreds of roller-skaters gliding through the streets of the French capital. They’ll stop at the Palais de Chaillot, where they’ll carry bright green glow sticks.St Patrick’s Bike Parade in Amsterdam: A festive green procession of bicycles, with the bike wheels illuminated with green LED lights. The parade will bring together two cultures: the bike (iconic for Amsterdam) and St Patrick’s Day (known for parades and turning the world green).‘Niki’ Cathay Pacific DC-3 airplane in Hong Kong: A replica of Cathay Pacific’s second airplane, located in Cathay City, the headquarters of Cathay Pacific.A leopard statue called ‘Chiu’ in Kenya: a statue in Karura Forest in Nairobi, made by a local artist from re-cycled scrap metal.‘Mac the Moose’ in Moose Jaw, SK: A steel and concrete sculpture of a moose, standing 32 feet tall.More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamPerlan in Reykjavík: a futuristic, revolving glass-domed restaurant on the top of Öskjuhlíð hill in the Icelandic capital.The world’s largest Muskoka chair in Gravenhurst: At 21 feet high, this distinctive, outdoor chair made of wood is in Gravenhurst, ON.The Big Fiddle of the Ceilidh: The world’s largest fiddle, on Cape Breton Island. Travelweek Group Friday, March 15, 2019 center_img Share “This is the 10th year of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative and it’s bigger and better than ever this year,” says Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland. “St. Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us. Our aim is to bring a smile to the faces of people around the world and to convey the message that Ireland offers the warmest of welcomes and great fun, as well as wonderful scenery and heritage.”More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaNew buildings and sites taking part in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening this year include Victoria Falls, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Lord’s Cricket Pavilion in London, the Guinness Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House in Baltimore and the Absolut Home in Sweden. Tourism Ireland reveals the quirkiest ‘Greenings’ for St. Patrick’s Day 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Vision Travel and Direct Travel enhance booking capabilities through Zeno

Vision Travel and Direct Travel enhance booking capabilities through Zeno

first_img Friday, March 22, 2019 TORONTO — Travel management company Direct Travel, Inc. has expanded its agreement with Serko Ltd. for Zeno, Serko’s travel booking and expense management solution, into North America.The agreement now allows clients of Direct Travel and Vision Travel (a Direct Travel company) in Canada and the U.S. to book and manage trips online through the tool. Zeno is also included in the Direct ATPI Global Travel offering for multinational companies.Through Zeno’s self-service portal for SME implementation, smaller corporate customers enjoy simple and seamless deployment of the solution. The tool also offers a pioneering user interface for desktop and mobile, and provides insights from bookings to travel bookers and category managers drive cost savings and improve their travel programs.Travellers benefit from the tool’s consumer-grade, end-to-end travel booking capabilities and artificial intelligence (AI), used to recommend itineraries based on individual traveller preferences.Zeno’s multi-source content engine and approach to airline ancillaries will also provide travellers with a full range of choice via NDC, GDS and direct connect content.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaTravellers average a 95%+ acceptance rate of the AI-driven shortlisted itineraries with Zeno, dramatically reducing the booking time and contributing to greater adoption, increased travel program compliance, lower costs and greater visibility and control.“Serko has shown that their Zeno platform is a great solution for what we see customers are now demanding of the user interface for online booking technology,” said John Coffman, Direct Travel CFO, U.S. “We are excited to be a key strategic partner of Serko and providing a different experience to our customers.”Effective immediately, Direct Travel and Vision Travel clients in Canada and the U.S. have the option to utilize Zeno as their travel booking and expense solution of choice. Zeno is also available to Direct ATPI Global Travel multinational mid-market clients. Travelweek Group Vision Travel and Direct Travel enhance booking capabilities through Zeno << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Direct Travel, Serko, Vision Travel Posted bylast_img read more

FlamingoPotrero News

FlamingoPotrero News

first_imgNo related posts. Hot Topics for the Village Community Center Workshop start with “Nutrition for Healthy Lifestyles” by Marcela Martínez on Friday, April 20, from 1-2:30 p.m. at the salon. On April 25, another speaker, Heather Allenby, will be lecturing on preventing teenage substance abuse from 9-10:30 a.m. at the yoga studio.Prior to these dates, Monica Riascos will lecture on April 18 on learning styles, which aims to help the audience understand individual learning potential. For more information, please contact Pam at info@conchalvillage.com or call 8355-9993.Thank you, Dr. Andrea Messenguer of Playa Grande, who in a recent medical emergency assisted a local community friend, Ellen Duggan. Ellen required emergency evacuation and subsequent hospitalization in San José due to a cardiac problem. Because of Dr. Andrea’s quick response and assistance, Ellen received immediate treatment and did very well. She has since been released from the hospital to return home to the U.S. A fun night of Latin dancing including merengue, salsa and cumbia is being offered at the Bahia Del Sol’s Palapa’s Bar on the Potrero Bay in Surfside. It starts at 6 p.m. for a fee of $5 per person. For more information regarding upcoming events, please contact Roxana Arrieta, event coordinator, at 2654-4671.Mar y Sol Restaurant will be starting its green-season promotions as of Tuesday, April 10, with a new daily happy hour from 4-5 p.m. in the lounge. House cocktails and wine by the glass will sell for half price, every day. Jean-Luc will be adding new menu items and additional promotions at Mar y Sol, so watch for the announcements. Also, Jean-Luc has opened a new beach-side restaurant and bar for lunch on the south end of the Flamingo Beach on the beach road called Coco Loco. More information is forthcoming, so stay tuned.–Babe Hopkinstbabehopkins@gmail.com Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Report Modern agricultural methods unsustainable

Report Modern agricultural methods unsustainable

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionA new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said the world must protect the ecological foundations that support food production to ensure a sustainable food supply for a population expected to grow beyond 9 billion by 2050.The report, “Avoiding Future Famines: Strengthening the Ecological Basis of Food Security through Sustainable Food Systems,” warns that modern agricultural techniques and unsustainable diets in developed countries, among other things, are chipping away the planet’s ability to produce food. It was presented Wednesday, the first day of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this week.“The era of seemingly everlasting production based upon maximizing inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides, mining supplies of freshwater and fertile arable land and advancements linked to mechanization are hitting their limits, if indeed they have not already hit them,” said U.N. Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “The world needs a green revolution but with a capital ‘G’: one that better understands how food is actually grown and produced in terms of the nature-based inputs provided by forests, freshwaters and biodiversity.”The report focused on agricultural production and fisheries management. Of the world’s marine fisheries, according to 2008 estimates by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, 53 percent is fully exploited, 28 percent is over-exploited, 3 percent is depleted and 1 percent is recovering from depletion. Overfishing, loss of coastal habitat, consequences of global climate change, destructive fishing practices like trawling and the degradation of coastal waters from inshore pollutants like agro-chemicals are the major threats to marine fisheries, according to the report.Inshore fisheries are threatened by dam projects, agricultural runoff and pollution from other development activities.Agricultural food production, according to the report, is threatened by its own activities including the uses of agrochemicals and pesticides, deforestation to make new farmland and competition for water.“The environment has been more of an afterthought in the debate about food security,” said UNEP’s top scientist, Joseph Alcamo. “This is the first time that the scientific community has given up a complete picture of how the ecological basis of the food system is not only shaky but being really undermined.”Besides threats to food production, the report also pointed out that approximately 1.3 billion tons of food produced for human consumption are lost or wasted each year due to inefficiencies in the global food-distribution system.“The solutions are to be found along the whole food value chain, from the farms that need to grow food more sustainably, through the large companies that need to certify that their products are from sustainable fisheries and farms, up to the consumer who needs to think seriously about switching to a sustainable diet,” Alcamo said.Besides promoting more sustainable diets (less meat-heavy diets, particularly for urban residents), the report makes other specific suggestions for protecting the ecological bases of world food production. In agricultural terms the report suggests the construction of centralized food storage facilities to help small-scale farmers prevent spoilage and food loss.  Increasing the sustainability of small-scale and national-level farming operations through soil management, integrated nutrient management and efficient water use would help protect the world’s food-production base, the report said.Ending government subsidies of fishing that promote over-exploitation of resources is a major step to ensuring sustainable fisheries harvests, the report said. Each year global fishing fleets are subsidized to the tune of $30 billion. The report recommends other financial measures including reigning in over-harvesting of fish stocks worldwide as well as the development of protected marine areas and the reduction of terrestrial sources of pollution that can affect fish populations.Famines and food shortages are likely to occur in the future, the report notes, but taking action now to strengthen the world’s food production base could help reduce the damage when food starts to be scarce.The researchers admitted making changes won’t be easy.“Of course we have to deal first and foremost with all the socio-economic issues having to do with food security, questions of access and affordability of food and so on,” Alcamo said. “But ultimately we won’t have enough food to distribute unless we find out a way to produce it sustainably without destroying its ecological foundation.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Ricans are drinking less bottled water more soft drinks

Costa Ricans are drinking less bottled water more soft drinks

first_imgNo related posts. Aloe drinks and teas are consumer favorites in Costa Rica, and they have begun to outpace bottled water as healthy beverages of choice, according to a study released this week by market research company Euromonitor International.The “Top Five Beverage Trends by Country” report concluded that given the upward trend in health and wellness in the country, Ticos are looking for more health benefits and nutrients in their beverages.The local market offers a wide variety of both domestic and imported aloe drinks brands, but in addition to aloe beverages, “functional” teas are gaining momentum. Functional beverages are those that help people achieve a goal, such as recovering electrolytes or losing weight. “Increased demand for functional drinks and more natural ingredients is driving … innovation and new product launches across the region,” the document states.Varieties of green tea mixed with different flavors also are becoming very popular, thanks to their fat-burning properties.Bottled water consumption is steadily declining in Costa Rica, as consumers increasingly opt for products with more added-value benefits. Also, the supply of public water tends to be of high quality, especially compared to the wider region, the study noted.Besides aloe and teas, super-food juices, coffee and carbonated drinks also are among Ticos’ non-alcoholic beverage choices.Coffee is a highly popular drink in Costa Rica, despite an apparent plateau in interest among younger consumers, who have started to switch to tea and infusion options, the study noted. Coffee companies have apparently taken note, and are jockeying for premium positioning within the country.The Euromonitor International investigation was conducted to identify the top five non-alcoholic drink trends in 15 countries throughout the Americas. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

The journey of cacao from bean to bar in photos

The journey of cacao from bean to bar in photos

first_img Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Booone/The Tico Times See our full story about the growth of the chocolate industry in Costa Rica. Facebook Commentscenter_img Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Crush Boone/The Tico Times Related posts:Costa Rica’s chocolate comeback Puerto Viejo to host third annual chocolate festival San José’s Feria de Chocolate highlights growth in Costa Rican chocolate industry 6 tropical foods you thought you knewlast_img read more

Boston bomber Tsarnaev sentenced to death

Boston bomber Tsarnaev sentenced to death

first_imgBOSTON, United States — A U.S. jury on Friday unanimously sentenced Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for perpetrating one of the bloodiest assaults in America since the September 11, 2001 attacks.It took the jury more than 14 hours to choose death on six of the 17 capital counts over life imprisonment for the 21-year-old Muslim former university student of Chechen descent who came to the United States as a child.The same 12-member panel convicted him on April 8 on all 30 counts relating to the April 15, 2013 bombings, the murder of a police officer, a car jacking and a shootout while on the run. Three people were killed and 264 others wounded, including 17 who lost limbs, in the twin blasts near the finish line at the northeastern city’s popular marathon.Tsarnaev went on the run and was arrested four days later, hiding and injured in a grounded boat on which he had scrawled a bloody message apparently defending the attacks as a means to avenge the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.Two years later, he stood in a dark blazer with his hands clasped before him, showing no emotion as the court clerk read from the death penalty.The court was silent during the verdict reading.Government prosecutors called Tsarnaev a remorseless terrorist who deserves to die for inflicting carnage. The defense said he was a “lost kid,” manipulated into the “heinous crime” by his radical older brother.Death penalty oppositionProminent survivors had opposed the death penalty for Tsarnaev, a teenager at the time, fearing that lengthy appeals would dredge up their agony.The federal sentence comes despite widespread opposition to the death penalty in the state of Massachusetts, where no one has been executed since 1947.Survivors, including the parents of the youngest victim eight-year-old Martin Richard, crammed into the gallery to hear the verdict.Since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, only 79 people have been sentenced to die and only three have been executed, says the Death Penalty Information Center. Three other death verdicts were turned into life sentences after new trials were granted.The decision caps a harrowing, more than two-month trial that saw the court relive the horror of the attacks day after day through grisly videos and heartbreaking testimony from those who lost limbs and loved ones.The attacks shocked the relatively small northeastern city of Boston and revived fears of terrorism in the United States after the September 11, 2001 strikes on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.Tsarnaev’s lawyers admitted his guilt but said he was manipulated into taking part by his more radical elder brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan who was shot dead by police on the run. They deployed dozens of witnesses during a three-week sentencing phase in an attempt to save him from the death penalty.Cannot balance the scales“Jahar would never have done this but for Tamerlan. The tragedy would never have occurred but for Tamerlan,” said lawyer Judy Clarke, who has saved some of America’s most notorious convicts from death.She appealed on the jury to consider Tsarnaev’s young age, his brother’s domineering influence, his parents’ return to Russia in 2012, the affection of his friends and teachers, and his apparent remorse.“With either option…Tsarnaev dies in prison. The question is when and how,” she said. “There’s no punishment, not even a death sentence that can balance the scales.”She portrayed an impressionable youth fed Al-Qaeda magazines and lectures by Tamerlan, the true mastermind of the attacks, the ignored younger son of a mentally ill father and an “intimidating,” radicalized mother.Since then, she said, Tsarnaev had expressed genuine remorse during prison visits by a Roman Catholic nun.But government prosecutors said Tsarnaev is a callous terrorist living a double life as a pot-smoker enrolled at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. They said he self-radicalized as early as high school and was captivated by the teachings of U.S.-Yemen cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in 2011, and pointed to his note justifying the attacks.“No remorse, no apology. Those are the words of a terrorist convinced he has done the right thing,” U.S. assistant attorney Steven Mellin said.The jury was required to fill out a 24-page, eight-part verdict form that forced them to weigh a multitude of aggravating and mitigating factors before pronouncing the final verdict. Facebook Comments Related posts:Parliament shooting rocks Canada My client, a CIA torture victim US issues global travel alert due to ‘increased terrorist threats’ Australian politician calls for US travel warning after California shootinglast_img read more

Carnival will cruise to Cuba

Carnival will cruise to Cuba

first_imgMIAMI, United States – The world’s top cruise liner, Carnival, announced Tuesday that the U.S. government had authorized it to begin operating cruises to Cuba in May 2016.One-week cruises leaving from Miami, Florida still need authorization from Cuban authorities, Carnival said in a statement.The announcement comes just a few days after both nations announced they would reestablish diplomatic relations and reopen their respective embassies. The unprecedented warming of relations between Cuba and the U.S. began in December after half a century of animosity.If Carnival is allowed to dock in Cuba it would be the first time a cruise ship travels between the two countries since they broke off diplomatic relations in 1961.Read the latest Cuba coverage from The Tico TimesCarnival President Arnold Donald said the company was excited to have received U.S. approval to carry passengers to Cuba within the 12 existing categories under which U.S. citizens are allowed to visit the communist island. Under current U.S. laws and the country’s economic embargo against Cuba, general tourism is still prohibited for U.S. citizens, but there are exceptions for family visits, and academic, cultural, sporting and religious trips.Carnival said it received permission to travel to Cuba from the Treasury and Commerce departments.Half a dozen Florida companies got permission in May to establish ferry service between Cuba and the U.S. The firms hope ferry service could begin before the end of the year, though they still need to fulfill various prerequisites and get permits from Havana.Carnival will operate its cruises to Cuba under its newly-created company, Fathom, which caters toward travelers interested in cultural and educational tourism. Fathom will operate its first cruise in April 2016 to Dominican Republic.Some 100,000 U.S. citizens visited Cuba in 2014 and Cuban authorities expect that number to increase. Last year tourism generated $2 billion for the island. Facebook Comments Related posts:White House travel exemptions to Cuba do not cover tourism Wonkblog: What the new U.S.-Cuba travel rules mean for US citizens hoping to visit Cuba As talks with US begin, Cubans anticipate changes in their lives In Cuba, a forgotten symbol of pre-revolutionary relations with USlast_img read more

El Niño in Costa Rica We havent seen the worst of it

El Niño in Costa Rica We havent seen the worst of it

first_imgThe National Meteorological Institute recently announced that additional severe weather is in store for Costa Rica in coming months, caused by the ongoing effects ofEl Niño, which has yet to reach its peak in the country.IMN meteorologist Luis Fernando Alvarado said that despite doubts expressed by some observers, extensive evidence shows that changes in rainfall patterns and spikes in temperatures are indeed linked to El Niño, which is responsible for extreme weather conditions that cause both floods and drought.“Some people doubt news reports about floods or droughts that are attributed to El Niño,” Alvarado said. “They think those changes are the result of climate change, but the fact is that the effects of El Niño usually overlap with those of climate change, and that is the reason some people believe it is all the same.”Variations in temperatures caused by climate change are part of an ongoing process and produce slight changes of less than 1 degree Celsius per year, he said. The effects of El Niño are not permanent, but rather cyclical, and occur every 3-5 years with variations in temperatures reaching up to 3 degrees each time.“Sometimes the effects of both events coincide and cause higher temperatures across most of the planet. Historical temperature measurements of the atmosphere and ocean currents indicate that both climate change and El Niño are real and are independent of each other. At times when they coincide they obviously produce higher temperatures in general,” Alvarado added.El Niño originates from the interaction of temperatures of sea surface waters and the atmosphere in the tropical Pacific. Unusually warm temperatures are indicative of El Niño, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For reasons still not well understood, every 2-5 years the tropical Pacific warms for six to 18 months.El Niño has been identified as the main cause of droughts in South America, Indonesia and Australia, heavy flooding in Peru and Ecuador, harsh winters in Europe, unusual monsoons in East Asia and hurricanes in the Caribbean.What about Costa Rica?Alvarado said climatologists in the last 50 years have noticed that local temperatures during every El Niño event are higher than those recorded during the previous one.The current El Niño is still growing, and its effects on temperatures in Costa Rica will peak in December. Temperatures then will gradually begin to decline through approximately mid-2016, according to IMN forecasts.Higher temperatures during the next dry season (2015-2016) likely will cause a shorter rainy season, which in Costa Rica usually runs from May to November.IMN projections show temperatures during the next dry season are expected to reach – and even surpass – record highs recorded in 2010.“Currently some areas in the Northern Hemisphere already are experiencing the effects of higher than usual temperatures, mostly because they are in the summer season. But temperatures in Costa Rica have not yet reached the expected highs,” Alvarado said.El Niño also will affect rainfall levels in the country. The northwestern province of Guanacaste already has registered the highest deficit in rainfall since the IMN began keeping records in 1937. The ongoing drought has surpassed the highest deficit in rains registered in 1977, also an El Niño year, Alvarado said.“We have noticed that every time we register a peak in drought conditions, just like the current one, low rainfall levels not only affect Guanacaste but also areas of the Central and South Pacific. We recently received reports of completely dry rivers and springs in areas such as Quepos, and these situations usually do not occur during milder El Niño events,” he added.Public agencies on alertSeveral government and emergency response agencies already are implementing measures following IMN’s forecast of a longer than usual dry season.The Environment Ministry’s National Commission on Forest Fires (CONIFOR) currently is in contact with IMN experts to outline a plan to step up precautionary measures and prepare media campaigns ahead of a possible spike in wildfires.A CONIFOR report in May stated that from Jan. 1 to May 13, firefighters responded to a total of 83 wildfires that destroyed over 2,800 hectares. During the same period in 2014, the agency reported 58 wildfires and just over 1,500 hectares destroyed.Agriculture and Livestock Minister Luis Felipe Arauz in June said he expected the effects of both drought and excessive rainfall in coming months to be similar to those seen last year.Low rainfall levels in 2014 caused ₡14 billion ($25 million) in losses for the agricultural sector and affected about 5,000 families, according to the National Emergency Commission.“The outlook for the sector in general is not positive for this year, either,” Arauz said. “Agricultural export figures likely will decrease.”Agriculture and Livestock Ministry officials last Saturday announced they will move forward with a project known as Piedras reservoir, in Bagaces, Guanacaste. The project includes the flooding of 900 hectares of land with 500 million cubic meters of water a year, diverted from both Arenal Lake and the Tempisque River.Alvarado believes that the Agriculture Ministry’s measures are logical, but officials might be forced also to recommend farmers in Guanacaste to change their projected times for growing and harvesting, particularly for rice crops.He noted that rains registered in recent weeks that led to flooding in the Caribbean and Northern regions were caused by the effects of at least three tropical waves affecting rainfall patterns in those areas.“These recent showers are not a guarantee that there will be enough rainfall to supply drinking water for the next dry season,” he said.The IMN also forecasts that El Niño will affect rain levels in the Caribbean region. Rainfall levels will begin to decrease starting in August, and are expected to increase again in November and December. Rains are expected to come at normal levels during September and October, usually the months of greater precipitation.“We are not anticipating any unusual increase in rainfall due to the effects of El Niño in the Caribbean, although it will cause scattered showers that will alternate with several consecutive dry days. People should not interpret that to mean the El Niño effects are gone when showers return following several dry days,” Alvarado said.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identified Costa Rica as one of the hotspots where weather conditions will change the country’s current landscape in the next 50 years.According to IMN projections, temperatures by 2070 will increase 3-6 degrees Celsius compared to average temperatures recorded here between 1961-1990. Average temperatures, according to four dynamic models, would increase from 22 C in 2014 to 28 C in 2050 and 29 C in 2070. Facebook Comments Related posts:El Niño heat expected to last through May El Niño intensifying, could rival strongest in recorded history International study finds last year among hottest on record It’s official: 2015 ‘smashed’ 2014’s global temperature record. It wasn’t even closelast_img read more

Pope Francis in Cuba Mass before a packed Revolution Square

Pope Francis in Cuba Mass before a packed Revolution Square

first_imgUPDATE, Sunday, Sept. 20, 11:32 a.m.Pope Francis met with Fidel Castro for around half an hour on Sunday at the 89-year-old Cuban Revolution leader’s home in Havana, said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.The two chatted in “a very informal and friendly environment” along with Castro’s wife, Dalia Soto del Valle, Lombardi said.Lombardi said the conversation touched on various topics, including the environment, and was “very informal and friendly.”Francis gave the former Cuban leader four books, including two on theology.Castro reciprocated with a dedicated copy of Brazilian priest Frei Betto’s book of interviews with him, “Fidel and Religion,” which he signed: “With admiration and respect from the Cuban people.”Original post continues here:HAVANA, Cuba – Pope Francis delivered mass Sunday before hundreds of thousands of people on Havana’s iconic Revolution Square, calling Cubans to serve the downtrodden and warning them that “service is never ideological.”The pope’s homily did not directly address Cuba’s political situation or the nascent rapprochement he helped broker between the communist island and the United States, the next international stop on his most high-profile trip to date.But he warned against both ideology and an every-man-for-himself mentality, at a time when Cuba faces a delicate period of economic and political transition.“Christians are constantly called to set aside their own wishes and desires, their pursuit of power, and to look instead to those who are most vulnerable,” he told the crowd, speaking beneath a towering sculpture of his fellow Argentine Che Guevara’s iconic silhouette.“We need to be careful not to be tempted by another kind of service, a ‘service’ which is ‘self-serving,’” he said. “Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people.”Related: For Pope Francis, an unfinished mission in CubaHe paid tribute to Cubans as “a people with a taste for parties, for friendship, for beauty,” and praised their resilience.Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega called to heal the sometimes deeply personal wounds left by Washington and Havana’s Cold War standoff.The pope’s call to peace “must reach the people of both nations and especially our Cuban people living both here and the United States, to achieve the long-sought reconciliation among all Cubans,” said Ortega, the archbishop of Havana, at the end of the mass. A view of Havana’s Revolution Square taken as Pope Francis gives the first mass of his visit to Cuba, on Sept. 20, 2015. Juan López/AFPThe pope’s eight-day tour, which will take him on his first-ever visit to the United States, follows the announcement of the U.S.-Cuban rapprochement, which paved the way for the estranged neighbors to renew diplomatic relations in July.Francis helped facilitate that moment in secret negotiations.Just ahead of the pope’s trip, the United States announced a further loosening of restrictions on business and travel with Cuba — a move Cardinal Ortega said he believed was inspired by Francis’s visit. A Cuban dissident is prevented by security personnel from approaching the “Popemobile” as Pope Francis arrives at Revolution Square in Havana on Sept. 20, 2015. The protesters were arrested by plainclothes security officers. Jorge Beltran/AFPDissidents arrestedThree Cuban dissidents opposed to the communist regime were arrested as they approached the pope shouting “Freedom!” when he arrived for the mass.An AFP photographer said the activists — two men and a woman — yelled anti-government slogans and resisted by falling to the ground as plainclothes agents detained them when they tried to get near the white “Popemobile” carrying Francis.The pope, who was busy grasping the outstretched hands of well-wishers on the other side of his vehicle, did not appear to notice the incident. A woman waits for the start of mass officiated by Pope Francis at Revolution Square in Havana, on Sep.t 20, 2015. Filippo Monteforte/AFPThe protesters were from the Cuban Patriotic Union and “went to the square to condemn repression,” said José Daniel Ferrer, the leader of the dissident group, which is mainly active in eastern Cuba, the other side of the island.Cuba bans opposition groups and routinely arrests dissidents who try to protest — typically releasing them after a few hours, at least in recent years.Several leading dissidents have criticized the pope for not accepting their requests to meet with him during his visit.But the mood was otherwise jubilant on the packed square, where hundreds of excited Cubans and foreign visitors camped out overnight to see the first Latin American pope.Francis’s lone explicit political appeal was aimed at a Latin American audience: the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas, who have been holding peace negotiations in Havana for nearly three years.The pope urged them to achieve “definitive reconciliation” and end a conflict that has burned for more than half a century.See: Cuban Americans make pilgrimages to see Pope Francis in their native land A soldier stands guard as people gather at Revolution Square for Pope Francis’ mass on Sept. 20, 2015. Filippo Monteforte/AFPFidel photo op?Cuban President Raúl Castro and Argentine President Cristina Kirchner were among those in attendance.The pope will meet with Castro later Sunday, then preside over vespers at Havana Cathedral before holding an unscripted exchange with young Cubans — a demographic feeling the pain of the communist island’s difficult economic transition.Francis may also meet Castro’s older brother and predecessor Fidel, the 89-year-old father of Cuba’s 1959 revolution. Cuban President Raúl Castro and Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner wave before the arrival of Pope Francis at Revolution Square in Havana on Sept. 20, 2015. Filippo Monteforte/AFPPope Benedict XVI met Fidel when he visited the island in 2012, six years after the longtime leader handed power to Raúl amid a health crisis.While the pope shares the Castro brothers’ radical critique of global capitalism, he has not been shy about prodding the regime toward change, including more space for the Church on an island that was an atheist state for more than three decades.The pope will travel Monday and Tuesday to the Cuban cities of Holguín and Santiago, before heading off to give landmark addresses to the U.S. Congress and U.N. General Assembly.Watch a video of Pope Francis in Cuba. Video starts at minute 8:11: Related posts:Cuban Americans make pilgrimages to see Pope Francis in their native land Pope Francis meets the Castros after mass on iconic Havana square In Castros’ home region, Pope Francis praises Church ‘sacrifices’ When Pope Francis visits Cuba, he’ll find many priests aren’t Cuban Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica high court admits challenge to IVF decree

Costa Rica high court admits challenge to IVF decree

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica responds to human rights court on IVF suspension Costa Rica’s IVF ban: Why does Supreme Court have jurisdiction over president’s recent decree? Shunned by lawmakers, plaintiffs seeking Costa Rica IVF legalization turn to President Solís for help IVF Watch: Inter-American Court of Human Rights demands answers from noncompliant Costa Rica Costa Rica’s high court threw a wrench in President Luis Guillermo Solís’ attempt to legalize in vitro fertilization and comply with an international court order. On Wednesday, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court or, Sala IV, admitted a complaint challenging the constitutionality of anexecutive decree signed by Solís on Sept. 11 that would regulate IVF in Costa Rica.A majority of Sala IV justices agreed to temporarily suspend the process to reinstate IVF procedures pending their final ruling. Justices do not have a deadline to issue a ruling on the complaint.Lawmakers Luis Vásquez of the Social Christian Unity Party, Mario Redondo from the Christian Democratic Alliance, Gonzalo Ramírez from the Costa Rican Renovation Party and Fabricio Alvarado from the National Restoration Party filed the complaint on Sept. 21.Redondo said Wednesday night: “The most important thing here is that we can save lives, because every day that we delay IVF means more embryos are being saved.”This was the legislators’ second attempt to block the IVF decree. The group had previously filed an appeal, on Sept. 15, alleging that President Solís failed to follow proper procedures when passing the executive decree.Redondo said at the time that the legislators believed IVF procedures must be regulated by law and not executive decree, that the decree infringes upon the autonomy of the Social Security System, or Caja, and that it violates both the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the constitutional principle of the inviolability of human life.Presidency Minister Sergio Salas Alfaro said Wednesday in a news release that the legislators’ latest challenge is part of the country’s normal democratic debate and that the executive branch is respectful of all proceedings before the Constitutional Chamber.“We strongly believe that this executive decree is constitutional and we will stand by it before the Sala IV in our response to the complaint,” Alfaro said.President Solís’ decree establishes a six month deadline for the Health Ministry to outline all technical rules and protocols for transferring eggs. It also orders the Caja to restart assisted fertilization procedures within the next two years.Sala IV’s president Justice Gilbert Armijo voted against admitting the complaint, saying that the Chamber should not issue any decisions on the government’s decree since it is currently under discussion in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR). The San José-based human rights court is assessing whether the decree meets the requirements of their Nov. 28, 2012 ruling that called for Costa Rica to legalize in vitro fertilization. Sala IV banned the fertility procedure in 2000. Facebook Commentslast_img read more