Copa del Café gives tennis a rare spotlight in Costa Rica

Copa del Café gives tennis a rare spotlight in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:15-year-old Catherine Bellis pulls off biggest upset of U.S. Open, seven months after winning Costa Rica tournament UPDATE: 2014 Copa del Café champ Catherine ‘CiCi’ Bellis falls in US Open second round Marin Cilic, 2014 U.S. Open champion, played in Costa Rica’s junior tournament 10 years ago Costa Rica’s Copa del Café tennis tournament opens in Escazú A collective gasp from the crowd follows the fuzzy yellow ball that flies up over the stadium in a dramatic, high-reaching parabola. When the ball drifts back towards the hard court at the Costa Rica Country Club in Escazú, it’s followed by the locked-in eyes of the wide-mouthed spectators.It’s match point as second-seeded Ulises Blanch, representing the United States, tries to secure his spot in the semifinals of the Copa del Café international juniors tournament. Though the 17-year-old Blanch’s desperate backhand save eventually made an anti-climatic landing just beyond the sideline, he clinched the quarterfinal match on the next point.Blanch, ranked 16th in the world in the International Tennis Federation’s junior rankings, is one of 14 boys and girls here who rank among the world’s 100 best junior players.“It’s a privilege to have the best young tennis players in the world playing here in the country,” said Copa del Café director Kenneth Thome. “For Costa Rica, it’s important because for the players the set up is like that of a professional tournament.” Italian duo Federica Bilardo and Tatiana Pieri defeated Costa Rica’s Tania Aizenman and Canada’s Katarina Kopcalic in doubles on Wednesday. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesAt the start of the new year, after Costa Rica’s winter football season has concluded and while tournaments in cycling and surfing are at a lull, the country’s main sports attraction comes from an unlikely place.“The Copa del Café has made people talk about tennis here every first week of January for the past 52 years,” Thome said.The history is literally written on the walls, as names of some of the sport’s greatest players are etched into plaques just outside the main stadium. Titans like Björn Borg, Roger Federer, and Ivan Lendl – three of the greatest tennis stars ever – graced the Copa del Café courts when they were juniors. Budding stars like Blanch, who has now participated in the Copa del Café twice, said it’s hard to forget the tournament’s impressive history.“When you walk into the club and you see all the names of the guys who played here, it gives you another kind of feeling,” Blanch said. “Plus with the way the people treat you around here, it feels like you’re playing in a bigger tournament.”The flags streaming above the walls from 59 countries, each representing present or past tournament participants, are a reminder of the competition’s ability to consistently pull in talent from across the globe.“It’s important for the country to have an event like this because it attracts the best in the world,” Thome said. “So sports fans like to see the spectacle of it.” Tania Aizenman made it further than any other Costa Rican in the singles brackets, despite being bounced in the second round Tuesday. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesThome, who was born in San José and played tennis for Rice University in Texas, comes from a family of tennis players. His brother and sister played at the Division 1 level in the U.S. and had brilliant successes on the national stage, including at the Copa del Café.Still, even though it’s their home tournament, Costa Ricans generally don’t fare well here. In the competition’s 52 years, a Tico has never won a singles championship in the girls or boys categories and only two have made the finals: Kenneth’s brother Fred and Juan Antonio Marín, the country’s first and only pro tennis player.This year, the only Costa Rican to make it past the first round in singles was 15-year-old Tania Aizenman, who lost in the second round Tuesday.“The Copa is a very great event that’s one of the best in the world so it’s a beautiful experience to be a part of,” she said.The tournament includes three more days of matches before wrapping up on Saturday.Thome said the annual international event gives tennis a chance to shine in a country where its almost always overlooked.“It’s a week where we’re talking only about tennis and not football, which we always talk about here,” Thome said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Forever and ever amen Costa Rica as a Catholic country

Forever and ever amen Costa Rica as a Catholic country

first_imgRelated posts:Political renewal is needed – but it can’t be forced Hurricane Otto: Two myths swept aside in a single night The conversation Costa Rica should be having this election year Cars, cars and more cars: Costa Rica’s worsening love affair I am one of those baptized Catholics who had their years of intense faith despite the usual sermons and sometimes absurd traditions of the Catholic Church, that institution given a privileged position by the Costa Rican Political Constitution to the point of imposing the religion on our State – that is, on all of us.I thought about my status as an apathetic Catholic when I reviewed the results of the most recent survey by the Center for Research and Political Studies (CIEP), which showed that 70 percent of Costa Ricans are – were? – Catholics, and that a similar percentage affirms that religion is very important in their lives. (Those who say religion is important aren’t necessarily all the same ones who said they are Catholic.)Up to that point: no surprises. In my day-to-day life my ears are full of “blessings upon you,” “thank God,” “Diosguardísimo,” “whatever God wants,” and “God knows why we do things,” no matter the age, ideology or economic status of the speaker. Whether because of faith or oral tradition, Costa Rican language is aligned with our status as a confessional state.The statistic that surprised me came a little further down: 55 percent of Costa Ricans approved the anachronism of maintaining an official religion for a diverse and changing collective. In the 21st Century, the majority of Costa Ricans feel comfortable with a decision made in 1847, when Costa Rica wasn’t even called a Republic. The majority supports a confessional status that only Costa Rica, in our entire continent, continues to maintain. What’s more, seven percent more would support if some changes were made, referring, I suppose, to giving Constitutional status to other Christian religions.This is not a minor issue in Costa Rican public life. Christianity is in our public institutions’ chapels, in the debates of our Judicial Branch magistrates, in the little speeches of the evangelical legislators and other lawmakers who believe that their faith should be reflected in every bill or every discussion of human rights. Let’s be honest: traditional administrations and parties, supposedly lay in nature, have capitalized on and promoted the leadership of Justo Orozco and his confessional-party minions.Christian churches played a role in the election of Johnny Araya for mayor of San José, and I received information – that I could not confirm – about the role they also played in the Liberation Party convention that resulted in the election of Antonio Álvarez Desanti as the Liberation candidate for 2018. It will not surprise me if his positions on human rights accommodate themselves in order to attract the population for which religion is a high priority and who think it should influence public life. It will not be very difficult for him to adjust his opinions to the needs of the moment, either.So the question is: How long will we be a Catholic country by constitutional mandate? For a long time, it seems. Proposals to reform Article 75 of the Constitution aren’t a big priority for anyone. The plan for a “concordato” between Costa Rica and the Vatican included the possibility of giving lay status to our state in exchange for other privileged positions for the Catholic Church, but the administration of President Luis Guillermo Solís didn’t follow up on it. (Although it’s hard to believe it, the Vatican prefers lay states even though local bishops push for a confessional state. We are más papistas que el Papa, more papist than the Pope, you could say.)There was also a bill put in play by a majority lawmaker, but the Legislative Assembly is barren ground for the adoption of any reforms that leave the Christian realm. Let’s not be surprised if the 2018 elections give more power to conservative groups, whether these are Christian parties, religious lawmakers or opportunistic politicians who read the same survey I did and aren’t ready to put their interests at risk in exchange for a little modernity.Turn up the volume on those psalms. Let the mass continue.This piece was written before the Legislative Assembly internal election on May 1, 2017. Read more about the election of an evangelical pastor to the Assembly presidency here.Read more “No Sugar, Please” columns here.Álvaro Murillo is an experienced journalist who specializes in political coverage and has written for La Nación, Semanario Universidad and El País. In “No Sugar, Please,” his twice-monthly column, he explores politics in its broadest terms, from the halls of government to community life. Connect with him on Twitter. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

From New York to Costa Rica Costa Rica changed my entire life

From New York to Costa Rica Costa Rica changed my entire life

first_imgFrom Russia to Costa Rica: ‘This is a blessed country’ Facebook Comments A one-time Costa Rican vacation. That was the initial idea of Andrea X, better known as Satya X – but her reaction to the country was love at first sight, a love that then transformed into the idea of leaving her busy life in Brooklyn, New York behind to begin a new life project in Costa Rica.In 2014, Satya X left Brooklyn, where she worked as a healthcare facilitator, to begin a new life in Puerto Viejo, Limón. Little did she know that she’d soon become an entrepreneur with her own business, Women of Color Healing Retreats (WOHCR). The healing retreat center offers a place for women of color from the United States to heal from systemic racism through yoga, meditation, and vegan food.She says that Costa Rica helped her find her true self by leading a new and more spiritual life, and beginning healthier habits in her day-to-day life.“When I got to Costa Rica, I unlearned a lot of things about how to live a more healthy life. It changed my life. It’s a big thing,” Satya X told The Tico Times in a recent interview. “I used to be a vegetarian, but in Costa Rica I became a fruitarian and vegan because… I learned in Costa Rica that wellness really saves your life.”As a result, she began a journey to transmit this knowledge to other women, hoping to benefit the community of Puerto Viejo as well as low-income communities in the United States. At her retreat center, Satya X began a project to plant gardens with fruits, vegetables, and herbs at local schools, and she hires local people to help with the business.To make sure her retreat programs reach underserved communities in the United States, she is including free summer camps for single mothers in her center’s offerings, and travels back to the U.S. to offer children’s wellness programs in low-income communities.Women of Color Healing Retreats has now become widely known globally after it made the headlines of a controversial VICE News video entitled “What It’s Like to Take a Vacation Away From White People.” The video went viral and resulted in coverage for the retreat center in other media such as the Daily Mail, Fox News, Bustle, Latina and many others.The Tico Times sat down with Satya X at Neshuma restaurant in San Pedro, east of San José, to discuss her life in Costa Rica, her projects, and why she feels some of the attention she’s received has misrepresented her intentions. Excerpts follow.When did you realize you had to change your lifestyle – and why Costa Rica?I was already in a place where I knew that I wanted to leave. I always used to say as a young girl: “I’m not staying in the United States.” I didn’t know how it was going to happen. I think that everything that needed to happen, happened so that I could be here.When I got off the plane when I first got to Costa Rica, I didn’t know why I was here, but I knew that there was something here that I needed to be doing. For me it became these retreats.These retreats have saved a lot of women’s lives. It’s allowed us to help so many people eat who can’t eat. It’s allowed us to give people tools to cope with stress from everyday life. Meditating at the Women of Color Healing Retreats. Courtesy of Satya XHow did you find out about Costa Rica?My closest friend from here was in New York. We met in New York and then he would always talk about Costa Rica. He made me a little curious about it, planted that seed in my head. When I said I was coming here, he said: Oh, you should could. I stayed with him for a month, him and his grandma in Barrio Escalante.I ended up leaving and traveling around the country. That’s when I was like: this country’s amazing.Tell me more about those first impressions. When I first got here, since I was in San José, I was open to whatever it had. It was all beautiful to me because it was all new. Costa Rica never stops being beautiful… It was different. You know it was a warm place. Everybody was super friendly.Anytime I leave, even when I feel like “Ugh, I don’t want to be here” – we all have those feelings wherever we are and wherever we’re from, but I always end up wanting to come back. Warrior pose during one of the yoga classes. Courtesy of Satya XWhat have you been able to take from Costa Rica in order to give back?What I received in Costa Rica is an opportunity to assist in healing for communities that get overlooked. What I give back will be what I always do, the kids’ programs or whatever I can do. The more my retreats grow, the more we will give back to Costa Rica.What Costa Rica has done for me is connecting me to nature in a way I never knew could be possible. It made me realize we are nature. I know that people might come here for the people, some people might come here for some tourism, but I really like Costa Rica for the nature.I have never seen oceans like these, jungles like these. The colors of the flowers are so vibrant. I feel that when you get connected back to nature, it allows you to connect back to yourself and it connects to God, basically, because you are God. It’s just deep. At Women of Color Healing Retreats, the attendees get companionship and friends during their 10 day stay at Puerto Viejo, Limón. Courtesy of Satya XHow did Costa Rica increase your spirituality?I was definitely very spiritual before I came here, but Costa Rica heightened it and allowed me to be in tune with it. Costa Rica did a lot for me. It was the fact that I could be at peace here.When you live in the United States, you’re constantly bombarded by politics… things in your everyday life there that don’t allow you to get back to yourself. In Costa Rica I found a time and space where I could really just sit and be, and hear what I thought. Meditating in the beautiful natural environment in Puerto Viejo, Limón. Courtesy of Satya XCan you tell me about the retreats and the social impact of Women of Color Healing Retreat?For me it’s my life journey to just help other people. That’s all I really want to do. Right now, we’re working on a project where we’re going to have a free summer camp for single mothers that cannot afford to do much. They’ll be able to come to Costa Rica for free, do gardening and learn about yoga. They’re going to have vegan food… We’re trying to work on things to also help communities in the United States that just don’t have that access.We also teach women about holistic healing because these are the things that we don’t learn in the United States, but fortunately Costa Rica is such a beautiful country and we can have all these things here.In the United States we do a kids program, which is a wellness program that serves kids who aren’t able to afford wellness… We go into low-income communities, provide free yoga classes and free food every summer.Here in Costa Rica, we’re going around doing a plant-and-grow project, where we are planting gardens at the schools here because some of them need fruit, vegetables and herbs. We decided to create a project where we bring people to go into the schools to assist in growing gardens. It’s important if you’re going to come into another country to give back to that country. Giving each other some love as part of the healing process. Courtesy of Satya XWatch this video of women’s experiences at WOCHR: Related posts:From France to Costa Rica: ‘Costa Rica is so privileged’ Lama Thubten Wangchen: ‘You are so lucky to be Costa Ricans’ A letter to our readers The world in Tamarindo: an eclectic mix on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast Your retreats are based on the idea of ‘healing from systemic racism.’ What does that require?Systemic racism basically talks about finances and how racism can exist in every aspect… we are trying to heal from systemic racism by creating the kids’ programs, the movements and organizations, but the thing with systemic racism is that if you look at the stats, we don’t have the finances. We’re trying to raise money so that we can have more programs for the kids in Costa Rica, more programs for the kids in New York…We also need stuff just to run the space because we as black people don’t acquire generational wealth. Most black people don’t have that, if you look at the stats. That’s why we’re saying that we’re healing people of systemic racism. It’s deep because it runs everywhere you go. Comfortably stretching out. Courtesy of Satya XSome of the other coverage you received over the past few months focused on what Fox News, to name one example, called your “ban on white people.” How did you feel about the way your retreats were portrayed?It’s inclusive. I don’t know about the angle that they chose, but it’s inclusive… Each group looks different. That just happened to be the group that came. We just want you to show up and that’s it.The politics in Costa Rica are very different [from U.S. politics]. If we were in the United States, I wouldn’t even really have to break it down because it’s so different… [we] need to be very different and sensitive around this topic with Costa Rican people because this has nothing to do with the people of Costa Rica.We have our own struggle in the United States and so we’re trying to heal from that. I think we deserve to have a space for that, and I think that people need to stop getting caught up in the race thing. Let us just do our own thing. Surfing lessons are also part of the ten day healing retreat for the attendees. Courtesy of Satya XWomen of Color Healing Retreats was created in 2016 by Satya X. It is located in the  Caribbean beach town of Puerto Viejo, Limón. For more information visit their webpage or Instagram page.Would you like to share your or your family’s coming-to-Costa Rica story in our “World in Costa Rica” series? Contact us at kstanley@ticotimes.net or share a post or video with the hashtag #SoyMigranteCR.last_img read more

Officials 3 killed in Baghdad house bombing

Officials 3 killed in Baghdad house bombing

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? Officials at Yarmouk hospital confirmed the deaths. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.Though violence has dropped across Iraq, government employees and security forces are still regularly targeted by insurgents.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Associated PressBAGHDAD (AP) – Police say the house of an Iraqi government official has been bombed and his wife and two daughters have been killed.Authorities believe the early Thursday attack targeted the home of Ali Abdul-Amir, a Shiite who is a senior official in Baghdad’s local government. Abdul-Amir and his two sons were wounded in the strike on their home in western Baghdad’s Sunni-dominated neighborhood of Ghazaliyah.center_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   Four benefits of having a wireless security system 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debateslast_img read more

S African baby with brain outside his head dies

S African baby with brain outside his head dies

first_img How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation JOHANNESBURG (AP) – A South African doctor says a baby born with his brain outside his head has died after being alive for three weeks.A doctor on duty when the baby died said Monday that Sibusiso Mokoena’s condition, known as anencephaly, was the cause of his death. Dr. Ntumda Mutondo told The Associated Press that she performed CPR on the infant, but couldn’t revive him. Mutondo said the infant died Wednesday. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories center_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sibusiso, known in South Africa as Baby Mokoena, was born on July 4.Babies born with anencephaly do not usually survive long. Doctors say some of the main causes of the condition are vitamin and folic acid deficiencies during pregnancy.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finisheslast_img read more

Nigerian farmers sue Shell in Dutch court

Nigerian farmers sue Shell in Dutch court

first_img Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – Nigerian farmers are suing Shell in a Dutch court, asking judges to order the oil multinational to clean up environmental damage the farmers say is caused by leaking pipes.Thursday’s case in The Hague Civil Court is a legal landmark in the Netherlands as it marks the first time a Dutch company has been sued for alleged environmental mismanagement caused by an overseas subsidiary. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Sponsored Stories center_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Royal Dutch Shell long argued that the case should be heard in Nigeria.Villagers say the June 2005 leak fouled fish ponds, farmland and forests in Oruma, in the Niger Delta. They claim Shell took 12 days to seal the leaking pipe.Villagers blame the leak on corrosion of the pressurized underground pipe. Shell claims it was caused by sabotage.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Australia Philippines to augment military drills

Australia Philippines to augment military drills

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Australia and the Philippines will discuss greater security cooperation and visits by Australian forces for exercises with Filipino troops under a newly approved pact, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Sunday.The Status of Visiting Forces Agreement, ratified by the Philippine Senate in July, allows Australian troops to hold combat exercises with Filipino forces in the Philippines. It had been pending for four years but received backing this year from previously reluctant senators alarmed by recent territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Top Stories Australia earlier approved the agreement, which both sides signed in 2007.Gazmin said Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith plans to visit early next year to discuss joint field exercises that would include training in natural disasters, terrorism and other threats.The Philippines has a similar 1999 pact with the United States, which is also a treaty ally. American and Philippine forces hold large-scale combat exercises every year. Hundreds of American counterterrorism troops have been allowed to stay in the south since 2002 to train Filipino soldiers battling al-Qaida-linked militants.“It would be good if Australia will also become a strategic partner,” Gazmin said.The presence of foreign troops is a sensitive issue in the Philippines, a former American colony. The Philippine Constitution forbids foreign troops from being permanently based in the country and the Senate must ratify agreements governing temporary visits by outside forces.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Assange EU must investigate WikiLeaks block

Assange EU must investigate WikiLeaks block

first_imgBRUSSELS (AP) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has urged the European Union to reverse its decision not to launch an anti-trust probe of U.S. credit card companies after they blocked donations to the secret-spilling website.Visa and MasterCard were among half a dozen U.S. payment firms to start the financial blockade just after the group published some 250,000 secret State Department cables in December 2010.Assange says they imposed the blockade at the instigation of “right-wing extremists” in the U.S. Congress. He was speaking via videoconference form Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has been living since June to avoid being extradited to Sweden over sexual misconduct allegations. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology The EU last week issued an opinion that the block did not appear to have violated anti-trust rules. WikiLeaks is appealing the preliminary finding.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories center_img New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Check your body, save your life Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

South Africa rhino toll topped 1000 in 2013

South Africa rhino toll topped 1000 in 2013

first_imgJOHANNESBURG (AP) – The South African government says the number of rhinos killed for their horns topped a record 1,000 in 2013, and that three dozen have been poached so far this year.The department of environmental affairs said in a statement Friday that about 60 percent of the 1,004 rhinos killed last year were poached in Kruger National Park, South Africa’s flagship game reserve. It says 668 rhinos were poached in 2012. Comments   Share   South African officials say 343 people were arrested for offenses related to rhino poaching in 2013, a 30 percent increase over the previous year.Rhino horn is seen in parts of Asia as a status symbol and a healing agent. There is no evidence that rhino horn, made from the same material as fingernails, is an effective medicine.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Quick workouts for men Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Check your body, save your lifelast_img read more

Hezbollah captures Syrian village from Islamic militants

Hezbollah captures Syrian village from Islamic militants

first_img Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Hezbollah fighters entered Hasina after Nusra Front members withdrew. Abdurrahman said the fighting is concentrating near the jihadi-held Moussa Hill, a strategic mountain overlooking wide areas of Qalamoun.The Observatory said Tuesday’s fighting killed four Hezbollah fighters.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility BEIRUT (AP) — Hezbollah fighters captured a Syrian village Tuesday near the border with Lebanon after intense fighting with Islamic militants, the group’s television station said, while an activist said battles are concentrating near a strategic Syrian hill.The battles come amid reports in Lebanon that Hezbollah and the Syrian army are expected to launch an offensive against members of the Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, and the Islamic State group in Qalamoun. Comments   Share   Hezbollah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, said in a televised speech late Tuesday that his group will attack militants in Qalamoun, adding that “time will tell” when the battle will become full blown. He added that there will be no formal announcement before the widely anticipated battle begins.Nasrallah vowed that his group will continue fighting in Syria along with President Bashar Assad’s forces, saying recent defeats of the Syrian army in the northwestern province of Idlib do not mean the president’s opponents have won the war.“I tell our dear people in Syria that we were with you and will continue to be by your side — no matter what the developments are,” Nasrallah said. “We will be where we are supposed to be.“This is not the battle of the Syrian people alone,” Nasrallah said. Hezbollah has sent hundreds of fighters into Syria to aid Assad’s forces.Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television station said earlier in the day that members of the group captured the village of Hasina on the Syrian side of the border. The station said fighting in the border areas near the Lebanese villages of Brital and Tufeil killed 12 jihadi fighters and destroyed several of their vehicles. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Bodies of 6 US Marines 2 Nepalese in crash identified

Bodies of 6 US Marines 2 Nepalese in crash identified

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like The U.S. Marines who were killed were Capt. Dustin R. Lukasiewicz, from Nebraska, Capt. Christopher L. Norgren, from Kansas, Sgt. Ward M. Johnson IV, from Florida, Sgt. Eric M. Seaman, from California, Cpl. Sara A. Medina, from Illinois, and Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Hug, from Arizona, according to a statement from the U.S. military joint task force in Okinawa, Japan.Nepal’s army identified its soldiers as Tapendra Rawal and Basanta Titara, and said all eight bodies have been flown to Kathmandu.The U.S. relief mission was deployed after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, killing more than 8,200 people. A magnitude-7.3 quake struck the country on Tuesday, killing at least 117 people and injuring about 2,800.The helicopter went missing Tuesday while delivering rice and tarps in Charikot, the area worst hit by that day’s quake. It had dropped off supplies in one location and was en route to a second site when contact was lost.The cause of the crash has not been determined. U.S. military officials have said that an Indian helicopter in the air nearby heard radio chatter from the Huey aircraft about a possible fuel problem.___Associated Press writer Ken Moritsugu in Tokyo contributed to this report. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility FILE – In this Friday, May 15, 2015, file photo, Nepalese army soldiers prepare to leave for a rescue mission to the site where the suspected wreckage of a U.S. Marine helicopter, that disappeared earlier this week while on a relief mission in the earthquake-hit Himalayan nation, was spotted, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Nepalese rescuers on Friday found three bodies near the wreckage of the chopper that was carrying six Marines and two Nepalese army soldiers. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File) Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The bodies of six U.S. Marines and two Nepalese soldiers who were aboard a Marine helicopter that crashed during a relief mission in earthquake-hit Nepal have been identified, officials said Sunday.The wreckage of the UH-1 “Huey” was found Friday following days of intense searching in the mountains northeast of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. The first three charred bodies were retrieved Friday by Nepalese and U.S. military teams, and the rest were found Saturday. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Romanian exmayor sentenced to prison for real estate deals

Romanian exmayor sentenced to prison for real estate deals

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 0 Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A Romanian court has sentenced a former Bucharest district mayor to eight years in prison for illegally selling the city’s real estate at a price far below its market value.The Bucharest Court of Appeal announced the sentence Friday against Cristian Poteras and four town hall employees, who were imprisoned between 3 Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Patients with chronic pain give advice Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

US Myanmar should share responsibility for Rohingya crisis

US Myanmar should share responsibility for Rohingya crisis

first_img“We are ready to cooperate with other governments to resolve the ongoing problems through constructive engagement and on humanitarian grounds,” Zaw Htay said.The United States, which initially insisted it was a regional problem, has in recent days also become involved.It is preparing to send “maritime aviation patrols throughout the region,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeffrey Pool said Thursday, adding that the Department of Defense “is responding to this crisis and taking this seriously.”Washington has been urging governments in the region to cooperate on search and rescue operations and sheltering the migrants.___Gecker reported from Bangkok. Associated Press writers Aye Aye Win in Yangon, Myanmar, Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta, Indonesia, Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Martha Mendoza in Santa Cruz, California, and Matthew Pennington in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Zaw Htay, director of the presidential office, said the men were identified as Bangladeshi and would be sent to the neighboring country.Rohingya, numbering at around 1.3 million, have been identified by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.After Myanmar moved from dictatorship toward democracy in 2011, newfound freedoms of expression gave voice to Buddhist extremists who spewed hatred against the religious minority and said Muslims were taking over the country. Attacks that followed left up to 280 people dead. Another 140,000 Rohingya were driven from their homes and are now living under apartheid-like conditions in crowded displacement camps.The government refuses to recognize them, regarding them as illegal migrants from Bangladesh, even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.It has expressed skepticism that those fleeing are actually from Myanmar and insists it is not to blame for the current crisis.After initially saying it might boycott a meeting next week in Thailand to address the problem, it agreed to attend, saying the invitation letter did not use the term Rohingya and did not say that Myanmar was solely to blame.Those were the conditions the government had set. They have been denied citizenship and chased off their land in the latest bout of ethnic violence that left them with little access to education, medical care or freedom to move around.The persecution has sent them fleeing to neighboring Southeast Asian countries, but recently, the exodus has erupted into a humanitarian crisis. Because of arrests after a crackdown on human trafficking networks in the region, captains earlier this month started abandoning boats that were packed with Rohingya Muslims as well as Bangladeshis escaping poverty.More than 3,600 migrants have washed ashore in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand since May 10, and thousands more are believed to be trapped at sea. The United Nations has warned that time is running out to save them.“The root of the problem for those leaving Myanmar is the political and social situation on the ground,” Blinken told reporters at a news conference in Yangon.He said Rohingya Muslims “should have a path to citizenship,” adding: “The uncertainty that comes from not having any status is one of the things that may drive people to leave.”He said he made that point when he met with President Thein Sein, the army commander-in-chief and other top officials. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Men’s health affects baby’s health too Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   A migrant woman reads the Koran at a temporary shelter in Lhoksukon, Aceh province, Indonesia, Thursday, May 21, 2015. In the past three weeks some thousands of people, mainly Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar and Bangladeshis trying to escape poverty, have landed in overcrowded boats on the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. After initially pushing many boats back, Malaysia and Indonesia announced on Wednesday that they will offer temporary shelter to incoming migrants. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana) Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous ofcenter_img Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Navy ships were scouring Southeast Asian waters for boats believed to be carrying thousands of migrants with little food or water, and a top U.S. diplomat said Myanmar needs to shoulder some responsibility for the crisis. That’s something it has been reluctant to do.U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Friday that Rohingya Muslims fleeing the predominantly Buddhist nation were risking perilous journeys and putting their lives in the hands of human traffickers because “they are in despair and don’t see a future” at home. Top Stories At first, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were reluctant to help, worried that accepting even a few refugees would open the floodgates for more. But on Wednesday, Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to shelter new arrivals as long as the international community promised to help resettle them to third countries within a year.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday also called for addressing the crisis that causes the flight of the migrants.“At the same time, it’s important to save human lives,” he said on a visit to Hanoi, Vietnam. Ban said he has been in discussion with regional leaders in Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand, among others, to urge them to provide search and rescue operations and options for resettlement and reintegration.Ban said it was important “not to send them back to a dangerous circumstance or situation.”In the first official rescue operation, four Malaysian navy ships started searching for boats Friday, said navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar. He said three helicopters and three other ships were on standby.Myanmar’s navy found two fishing trawlers filled with 208 men during a patrol off Rakhine state, the main point of departure for fleeing Rohingya. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

German politician casts doubt on UK timetable for EU change

German politician casts doubt on UK timetable for EU change

first_img Four benefits of having a wireless security system Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement British Prime Minister David Cameron briefs the media during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Friday, May 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) Sponsored Stories He says “I can’t see treaty change as a realistic option within the course of two years.”Roettgen says keeping Britain in the EU is worth fighting for and preserving EU unity is crucial.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober LONDON (AP) — A prominent German lawmaker has cast doubt on British Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to fundamentally change the European Union, arguing that a two-year timetable is too short to resolve the legal issues needed for a treaty change.Norbert Roettgen, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, says creativity would be needed to address Britain’s problems with the EU before a UK referendum planned by the end of 2017. But treaty change is a huge political venture — and Roettgen says he doesn’t “see the atmosphere for treaty change among the 27 other EU states.” 0 Comments   Share   Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

Macedonia crisis talks end in stalemate in Brussels

Macedonia crisis talks end in stalemate in Brussels

first_img Sponsored Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Top Stories “The talks were open and detailed, but did not lead to a final agreement yet,” the EU’s executive Commission said in a statement.The crisis, one of the deepest Macedonia has faced since gaining independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, stems from opposition claims that the government illegally wire-tapped 20,000 people. Zaev claims Gruevski is behind the wiretapping; Gruevski accuses Zaev of plotting a coup.Tiny Macedonia is a candidate for EU membership but its accession talks have been held up by a dispute with Greece over the country’s name. The delay has caused deep frustration in Macedonia, which also wants to join NATO, but the crisis is further damaging its chances of starting membership negotiations.The Commission urged the parties to implement promised reforms and “to find a lasting political compromise without any delay and come forward with concrete proposals to this end.”It said that it “will now consider how to best contribute to the political process in the country and remains ready to facilitate discussions.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. People protest in front of a police cordon set at the approach of the Interior Ministry in Skopje, Macedonia, on Saturday, June 6, 2015. Hundreds of people protested peacefully in Skopje on the fourth anniversary of the death of a 22-year-old Martin Neskovski, who was beaten by police during post-election celebrations, demanding resignation of the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and his cabinet. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) BRUSSELS (AP) — Talks between Macedonia’s feuding political parties ended late Wednesday without any breakthrough to resolve a deep political crisis that has paralyzed the Balkan country for months.Main opposition leader Zoran Zaev and conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, along with two ethnic Albanian political leaders, were holding talks in Brussels with the European Union’s top enlargement official, Johannes Hahn, and EU lawmaker Ivo Vajgl, in a bid to hammer out a deal that will include holding early elections by April 2016. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

Bill Clinton visits Vietnam to mark 20th anniversary of ties

Bill Clinton visits Vietnam to mark 20th anniversary of ties

first_img HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — For Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama’s announcement this week of plans to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba must have stirred memories. It was 20 years ago this month that Clinton pulled off a similar diplomatic and political success, normalizing relations with Vietnam.Not that Clinton needed a reminder — he was in Vietnam on Thursday to commemorate his largely forgotten breakthrough. He spoke as guest of honor at a reception hosted by the U.S. Embassy to celebrate American Independence Day. Parents, stop beating yourself up The former president, in a speech reviewing U.S.-Vietnam cooperation, described normalization of relations as “one of the most important achievements of my presidency,” and said it helped lift the burden that had been weighing down the American spirit since the Vietnam War.He said it helped “heal the wounds of war, build bonds of genuine friendship and to provide proof in an increasingly divided world that cooperation was far better than conflict.”Clinton has good reason to be fond of Vietnam. A November 2000 visit to the country was the swan song of his tumultuous presidency, and he received a rock star’s welcome in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as he worked the crowds.This visit is his fifth to the country, with his efforts largely in support of his Clinton Foundation’s work in fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.Clinton was the first U.S. president to visit Vietnam since Richard Nixon in 1969 visited South Vietnam, then at war with Communist North Vietnam. American troops withdrew from the South in 1973, and two years later North Vietnam defeated southern forces and unified the country. Between 2 million and 3 million Vietnamese civilians and soldiers died in the conflict, along with 58,000 U.S. soldiers. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Clinton singled out for thanks four distinguished Vietnam War veterans who as U.S. senators helped shepherd normalization.Charles Robb, Max Cleland, John Kerry and John McCain “were the wind beneath the wings of this movement,” he said. “They made what I was able to do as president possible.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall America’s pride was another victim of the war. Washington imposed a trade embargo on Vietnam after the Communist victory, even blocking aid from multilateral agencies such as the World Bank.It was the politically volatile issue of resolving the cases of more than 2,000 Americans missing in action in the war that provided the opening for a new diplomatic approach. Vietnam, for its part, saw U.S. trade and investment as a way to help restore its battered and limping economy — an opportunity that the U.S. business community also warmed to.Step by step, Clinton went down the path to restoring relations, first lifting Washington’s veto on multilateral aid, then ending the U.S. trade embargo, and finally on July 11, 1995, announcing normalization of relations.Clinton on Thursday was philosophical about the move to reconcile former enemies. He called the day he announced normalization “a different form of independence day.”“Vietnam had captured our imagination and taken up so much space in our spirit,” he told a crowd of Vietnamese VIPs and members of the foreign community in Vietnam.“There were people who were wounded … no American my age didn’t know someone who was killed there. There were raging debates at home, people on both sides thought the others were crazy. And somehow, when our Vietnamese friends finally said they would accept us, and we said we would accept them, we were set free.” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, right, toasts with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, who is also a Deputy Prime Minister during an event celebrating 239th anniversary of the U.S. independence and 20th anniversary of normalization of relations between the U.S. and Vietnam in Hanoi, Vietnam on Thursday July 2, 2015. Clinton lifted the trade embargo against Vietnam in 1994 and normalized relations with the communist country a year later. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh.) Patients with chronic pain give advice New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Djokovic Williams show at Wimbledon theyre clear No 1s

Djokovic Williams show at Wimbledon theyre clear No 1s

first_img Top Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Barring an injury or some other unforeseeable event, each will go to the U.S. Open in late August as a big favorite.Williams, of course, heads to Flushing Meadows seeking to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam, having added a championship on the grass of Wimbledon to those on the hard courts of the Australian Open in January and the red clay of the French Open in June. Only three women and two men in the century-plus of major tennis tournaments have won all four majors in a single season; the last to do it was Steffi Graf in 1988.Djokovic came oh-so-close to joining her in pursuit of that rare feat. He, too, won the Australian Open and Wimbledon, but in between, he made it to the final at the French Open before losing in four sets to Stan Wawrinka, a setback that left the 28-year-old Serb “disappointed and heartbroken.”“But if there is one thing that I learned in the sport,” Djokovic said, “(it) is to recover fast and to leave things behind me and move on.”He is up to nine major titles, one more than such greats of the game as Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl. And he’s more than halfway to Federer’s 17.Over the past 20 Grand Slam tournaments, Djokovic has reached 15 finals, winning eight. Williams, meanwhile, has won eight of the past 13 majors to get her total to 21. “Staying injury-free now for him is crucial,” Federer said about Djokovic. “Clearly he’s going to be one of the top guys — where, we’ll still have to wait and see. I’m sure he still has many more great years ahead of him.”Here are other things we learned at Wimbledon:FEDERER STILL CAPABLESo many have been so ready to write him off, over and over, but Federer showed the past two weeks that he is still capable of terrific play, particularly on grass. He held serve in 89 of 90 games until the final, when Djokovic earned four breaks. “I’m right there,” declared Federer, who turns 34 on Aug. 8. “My game is good.”NADAL IN A RUTIs he done winning Grand Slam tournaments? Or will he rebound in New York? After losing to Djokovic at the French Open — no shame in that, even for a nine-time champion at Roland Garros — Nadal exited in the second round at Wimbledon, losing there to a man ranked No. 100 or worse for the fourth year in a row.WHO CAN CHALLENGE WILLIAMS?Williams has won 28 consecutive Grand Slam matches. She’s also 39-1 this season overall. Who stands a chance right now? Against the other women ranked in the top 10 entering Wimbledon, Williams is 70-8 for her career, an .897 winning percentage. The player in that group with the most victories over Williams is Sharapova, who is 2-18 against her. Comments   Share   LONDON (AP) — It’s more obvious than ever that Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams have really distanced themselves from the rest of the elite in tennis.Not just because they were the ones who got to dress up and attend the Wimbledon champions’ dinner Sunday night.And not just because their leads at No. 1 in the rankings will remain large Monday.Both Djokovic, who won his third trophy at the All England Club by beating Roger Federer 7-6 (1), 6-7 (10), 6-4, 6-3 in the final, and Williams, who won her sixth, are demonstrating that they’re capable of taking home the title each and every time they enter a Grand Slam tournament. Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses the trophy after winning the men’s singles final against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Sunday July 12, 2015. Djokovic won the match 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) MUGURUZA EMERGEDHere’s someone who is not intimidated by Williams and appears to have a big-hitting style to hang with her: Garbine Muguruza, the 21-year-old from Spain who lost 6-4, 6-4 in the Wimbledon final. It was Muguruza’s debut in a Grand Slam title match and she didn’t shrink. “She came out there to win; she wasn’t out there just to play a final,” Williams said. “That says a lot about her and her future.”___Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrichCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

Aussie icon to slip into something greener

Aussie icon to slip into something greener

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1a3e7/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L The Sydney Opera House will turn green at sunset today in honour of St. Patrick’s Day.  The ‘greening’ will coincide with Tourism Ireland’s launch of a nationwide St. Patrick Mates Rate Campaign.The campaign will provide consumers with special offers from the travel industry for travel to and around Ireland via a specially developed interactive microsite. “Over seventy million people around the world claim links with the island of Ireland and St Patrick’s Day is a truly unique opportunity to showcase our wonderful tourism product to a huge audience across the globe, as people instantly identify St Patrick’s Day with Ireland” said CEO of Tourism Ireland Niall Gibbons.”The agreement to allow us to “green” such iconic buildings and attractions must be a first for any destination and clearly illustrates the goodwill that the Ireland brand generates across the world.  “We will use every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile to showcase the uniqueness of a holiday on the island – the diversity of our culture and heritage and the friendliness of our people.”Iconic buildings and attractions worldwide, such as the London Eye, the Empire State Building and the CN Tower in Toronto will also turn green today.last_img read more

Gecko canoeing takes out major ecotourism award

Gecko canoeing takes out major ecotourism award

first_imgMick Jerram Source = Geotourism Marketing and Media Gecko Canoeing has taken out the Ecotourism category in the annual Ecotourism Australia Gecko Awards. Presented at the Global Eco Gala Dinner in Noosa last night, the awards are in recognition of the “best of the best” in Australian eco accredited product.“There are four categories in the annual awards,” said Ecotourism Australia CEO Ms Kym Cheatham.  “The ecotourism category is a particularly competitive category which recognises ecologically sustainable tourism product with a primary focus on experiencing Australia’s natural areas while fostering environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation. Gecko Canoeing is an outstanding example of excellence in its field”. “Gecko Canoeing first started in the early 1990’s as a genuine Eco-experience with an emphasis on guest experience and quality adventures in remote areas”, said owner of Gecko Canoeing Mick Jerram. “Our main focus continues to be on the Tropical Savannah River Systems, beginning with the magnificent and accessible Katherine/Flora/Daly System.  We are one of the longest existing Ecotourism Australia accredited products and we continue to provide one of the truly authentic products in this region”. Gecko Canoeing also offers guided bushwalks on the famous Jatbula Trail from Nitmiluk Gorge to Edith Falls, the Dreaming Place Trek from the Manyallaluk Aboriginal Community through the Eva Valley to Nitmiluk Gorge, as well the Kakadu walk from Koolpin Gorge to Twin Falls. Gecko Canoeing also has access to other remote Aboriginal areas, and caters for bushwalking & 4 wheel driving tours with the ability to link with other Savannah Guide Operators.last_img read more

Voyager of the Seas makes history

Voyager of the Seas makes history

first_imgRCI’s Voyager of the Seas made the history books on Friday as the first cruise ship to sail into Historic Falmouth, Jamaica. The first-ever thematic cruise port, Historic Falmouth is located between Ochos Rios and Montego Bay and offers tourists an array of cultural and historical experiences. “We are delighted to see Voyager of the Seas make the first-ever ship call at Historic Falmouth,” said Craig Milan, senior vice president of Land Operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “By partnering with the Port Authority of Jamaica, we are working to deliver our shared vision of Falmouth’s rebirth. Together, we are bringing the town’s historic sites to life and integrating the culture and authenticity of this destination into a superior guest experience.” Several RCI ships will be calling into the port over the coming months, including Freedom of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas whose maiden call on 22 March will inaugurate the grand opening celebrations. A wide variety of shore excursions and experiences are being offered to passengers disembarking at the port such as making and sampling rum at Appleton Estate, swimming with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove or riding on a 30-foot bamboo raft down Martha Brae. Founded in 1790, the Jamaican port will offer tourists a glimpse into its colonial history with many prominent houses, shops and public buildings constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries still standing. “Falmouth has an important place in the cultural history of Jamaica. It is especially rewarding for us to use that history as an entrée for a new generation of guests,” said Hon Mike Henry, Jamaica’s Minister of Transport & Works. “Our sights have always been set on being the preeminent cruise destination, and with the best-in-class berthing facilities at the Historic Falmouth port, we’ll now easily welcome the world’s largest ships.”The first phase of revitalization of Historic Falmouth is nearing completion including a two-berth pier which will incorporate retail outlets, restaurants and a transportation centre. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Alast_img read more