first_img Posted by LONDON — Cruise Critic, the world’s leading cruise review site and online cruise community, has announced the winners of the inaugural Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards. The awards name the best cruise destinations of the year – across 15 regions around the world – based entirely on reviews posted to the Cruise Critic website.Popular ports include the Caribbean’s St. Maarten, which receives visits from lines including P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises, and Alaska’s Glacier Bay which is visited by a number of cruise lines including Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America Line.For the British Isles and Western Europe awards, Amsterdam, which sees calls from the likes of Regent Seven Seas and Azamara Club Cruises was rated top, while Cork’s Cobh and Glasgow’s Greenock ranked second and third respectively.UK travellers rated Baltic destinations in their top three, with Stockholm first, followed by Tallinn and Copenhagen.Here’s a list of First Place Cruise Destinations:More news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedTop-Rated British Isles and Western Europe Port: AmsterdamTop-Rated Alaska Port: Glacier BayTop-Rated Asia & South Pacific Port: Mystery IslandTop-Rated Australia & New Zealand Port: SydneyTop-Rated Private Islands Port: Castaway CayTop-Rated Baltic & Scandinavia Port: St. PetersburgTop-Rated Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas & Bermuda Port: St. MaartenTop-Rated Southern Caribbean Port: BonaireTop-Rated Western Caribbean & Riviera Maya Port: CozumelTop-Rated Eastern Mediterranean Port: VeniceTop Rated European River Port: ParisTop Rated Western Mediterranean Port: BarcelonaTop-Rated Hawaii Port: KauaiTop-Rated Mexican Riviera & South America Port:  Puerto VallartaTop-Rated US & Canada Port: San FranciscoFor the full list of winners, go to cruisecritic.co.uk/memberreviews/destination-awards/. Wednesday, September 14, 2016 What are the world’s top cruise destinations? Cruise Critic says Amsterdam, St. Maarten & more << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Michael Smith last_img read more

first_img Monday, August 28, 2017 Share TORONTO — VisitBritain has announced the appointment of Gavin Landry as its Executive Vice President for the Americas, with a focus on driving new and repeat visitor growth to Britain from Canada, the U.S. and Brazil.In his new role, effective immediately, Landry’s remit is to drive new and repeat visitor growth to Britain from the Americas, focusing on key segments and top performing regions including Brazil, Canada and the U.S., as well as cities with new routes to build connectivity.His focus is also to convert the inspiration to visit into bookings by getting the right products to the right customers at the right time, developing bookable regional and seasonal products that showcase more of regional Britain working closely with tourism industry partners.With tourism a critical part of the UK Government’s agenda ahead of future trade deals, Landry will also continue to develop and strengthen strategic partnerships across the three regions.“Gavin brings a wealth of market knowledge, industry contacts and public diplomacy experience to the role,” said VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe. “We are delighted to have such an experienced industry professional leading one of our most important global regions as we continue to inspire more visitors from the Americas to put Britain top of their list as the must-go-now destination.”“I am thrilled to be joining VisitBritain at such an exciting time for tourism globally and look forward to working together with our partners across the industry to convert the desire to visit Britain into bookings and drive growth from the Americas,” said Landry.“Tourism is a fiercely competitive global industry and while latest statistics shows strong growth from the Americas we need to be out there promoting the message of welcome, working with partners to make it easier to travel and showcasing the amazing experiences that you can only get in Britain.”The announcement comes on the back of data released last week from the UK’s Office for National Statistics which showed that visits from North America to the UK were up 35% in June this year compared to the same month in 2016. It brings the overall number of visits from North America to the UK for January to June this year to 2.2 million visits, up 25% on the same period last year.Landry joins VisitBritain from New York State where he was Executive Director of Tourism, having led the iconic I LOVE NEW YORK (NY) program, and where he developed and implemented strategies to support growth of the tourism industry. During his tenure at I LOVE NY, Gavin and his team increased visitation to New York State by 40 million and set a program record total economic impact of US$100 billion. [PEOPLE] VisitBritain names Gavin Landry as Executive VP for the Americas Travelweek Group center_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Britain, Peoplelast_img read more

first_imgCunard’s 4th ship: 113,000 tons, 3,000 passengers Share << Previous PostNext Post >> VALENCIA, CA — Cunard is adding a fourth ship to its fleet, with a scheduled delivery date in 2022.Carnival Corporation & plc signed the memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri S.p.A., Italy, to build the new Cunard vessel, as part of the company’s plans for the future of Cunard globally.The as-yet-unnamed ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, marking the first time since 1998 that the luxury cruise brand has had four ships in simultaneous service.Cunard has invested over US$172 million refurbishing the flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.Alongside a lineup of new itineraries featuring new destinations and special event voyages for 2018 and 2019, Cunard has also added new bar and dining signatures, entertainment offerings and brand partners across the fleet.“Cunard continues the legacy of our liners with the commissioning of a magnificent new ship. It’s an especially fitting time with the recent 50th anniversary of the beloved Queen Elizabeth 2 marking the occasion,” says Josh Leibowitz, Senior VP, Cunard, North America. “We are proud to share Cunard’s enduring luxury liner experience with future generations to be enjoyed the world over.”More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureCunard says it will be revealing details about the new ship during the course of 2018 and through to the ship’s launch. To see an animated video of the new ship click here.Cunard has also released a few fast facts about the new build:The new 113,000-ton ship will carry 3,000 guestsThe new cruise ship will be the 249th ship to fly the Cunard flag since the company’s founding in 1839It’s Cunard’s first new ship in 12 years, since the launch of Queen Elizabeth in 2010Travel agents interested looking for more information are asked to call their BDM, visit OneSource or call Cunard at 1-800-528-6273. Monday, September 25, 2017 center_img Posted by Tags: Cunard Travelweek Group last_img read more

first_img Monday, June 18, 2018 Share Tags: Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines file for joint venture KAILUA-KONA — Hawaiian Airlines and Japan Airlines have submitted paperwork seeking to join forces to potentially bring hundreds of thousands of more people to Hawaii.The airlines have recently filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Japanese government requesting immunity from antitrust laws to create a joint venture, West Hawaii Today reported Saturday.The partnership would allow the companies to co-ordinate flight schedules and share certain costs and revenues as well as work together on marketing and advertising, the airlines said in the filings.The venture would “dramatically increase seamless service options for the travelling public,” allowing the airlines to link operations in the region, they said.The partnership would open up 34 destinations to Hawaiian Airlines passengers, including service to 28 locations in Japan and six other sites, such as Guam and Hong Kong. Passengers of Japan Airlines would have access to six additional locations in Hawaii.More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agency“Hawaiian, a relatively small carrier, has encountered difficulties trying to break into international markets as a new entrant,” the airline stated in the application. “The Department’s grant of (antitrust immunization) in this proceeding would allow Hawaiian to overcome these obstacles, leading to increased competition and more choices for consumers.”The companies estimate the partnership would bring an additional 162,000 to 350,000 passengers to Hawaii and generate between 1,855 and 4,049 jobs in the U.S. The U.S. economy could see annual contribution of up to $402.3 million, according to the airlines.The airlines are hoping to launch the joint venture next year if they are granted approval this year. By: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

first_img Share MISSISSAUGA — TICO has charged Derrell Caprietta with one count of operating as a travel agent without being registered, contrary to the Travel Industry Act, 2002.Caprietta operated in Toronto. His first court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 4, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. at 60 Queen St., Toronto.TICO administers the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund. It can be contacted at (905) 624-6241 or 1-888-451-TICO, or via email at tico@tico.ca. Wednesday, September 12, 2018 Toronto ‘agent’ charged with operating without registration Tags: OTICF, TICOcenter_img Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more

first_imgTags: Sunwing, Wedding Vacations TORONTO — The latest edition of Sunwing’s popular Wedding Vacations magazine is now available in travel agencies across the country.Providing couples with destination wedding inspiration ideas together with details on all the latest resorts and wedding package options, the magazine also features a number of offers and perks for wedding groups.Couples who book their destination wedding before Dec. 10, 2019 for travel between June 1 and Dec. 10, 2020 will receive a $500 future travel voucher when they book a minimum of ten rooms and a 10% discount on wedding planning services.Additional perks include complimentary access to Plaza Premium airport lounges, located in airports across Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver, as well as free excess baggage allowance and a Wedding Couple Attire Care Program.The wedding couple and their guests can also benefit from instant group savings of up to $400 per couple. Wedding groups that book during this promotion can take advantage of complimentary upgrades to Elite Plus on Sunwing Airlines and private transfers to their selected resort.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaSunwing is offering additional savings at an array of its top-rated resorts. Groups that book their destination wedding at Royalton Suites Cancun, Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica or CHIC Punta Cana before Aug. 31, 2019, can get an exclusive offer where the sixth adult travels free on departures between Nov. 1, 2019 to Nov. 30, 2020.At Hard Rock Hotel, groups can look forward to complimentary travel for the 11 passenger with unlimited concessions when they book their vacation by Aug. 30 for travel between Nov. 1, 2019 and Dec. 22, 2020.With another idea option for wedding groups, RIU Hotels and Resorts, the eighth adult travels free on bookings made by Jan. 21, 2020 for travel between Nov. 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020.See SunwingAgents.ca for more details. Thursday, July 25, 2019 Share Posted bycenter_img Generous group perks as Sunwing launches Wedding Vacations winter edition << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group last_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Libertarian candidate Otto Guevara could become Costa Rica’s next president Meet Costa Rica’s 13 presidential candidates Ban on election propaganda starts today President Laura Chinchilla expresses dismay with low voter turnout in presidential runoff On Feb. 2, Costa Ricans will head to the polls to elect a new president and members of the Legislative Assembly. Though non-citizens can’t vote, Election Day is still an exciting civic event for anyone in the country. Here are a few facts you should know:1. Campaign season only lasts four monthsUnlike the epic years-long campaigns in the U.S. and elsewhere, the Costa Rican campaign season officially kicks off four months before an election. Prior to that date candidates are not allowed to hold public campaign events, distribute paid campaign materials or debate.Three days before the election, the campaign season is over and an electoral ban goes into place. During this time candidates cannot distribute any paid propaganda, but can still disseminate non-paid messages via the Internet. This ban also prohibits any citizen from conducting or publishing public opinion polls related to the election.2. A runoff is always a possibilityTo win the presidency outright, a candidate must receive 40 percent of the total vote. For the 2014 election, 13 presidential candidates are running, four of whom have significant followings. According to recent polls, it is unlikely that any of the candidates will capture 40 percent of the vote in the first round for this election.If this happens, the top two candidates with the most votes will head to a runoff on the first Sunday in April. In the months between the first and second rounds, the electoral ban is lifted and candidates again may campaign and debate.3. For the first time in history, Ticos can vote from abroadBefore this year’s election, Costa Ricans living abroad were unable to cast ballots in national elections. But two years ago the country’s Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) announced they would develop software to allow Ticos abroad to register online and vote. Nearly 13,000 of the 300,000 Costa Rican citizens living abroad are now registered to vote.Polling stations will be set up in Costa Rican embassies and consulates in 42 different countries. Last month, the TSE postponed the use of the electronic voting stations for this election, and Ticos voting abroad will now cast paper ballots.4. Public funds pay a large portion of campaignsEach party is entitled to a percentage of public money for funding campaigns for presidential and legislative candidates. During this year’s election an amount equal to 0.19 percent of the country’s total gross domestic product ($72,590,680) will be divided among the parties.The amount of public campaign financing each party collects is based on the total percentage of votes the party receives. This means that funds cannot be distributed until after elections have ended. To compensate for costs before the elections, parties often take out bank loans and bonds that they pay back after the TSE distributes funding. Private fundraising also is allowed as long as donations are reported to the TSE, but public financing usually make up a significant portion of a campaign’s funding for major parties. In 2010 the ruling National Liberation Party spent a total of $20.6 million on their campaign, and approximately 83 percent was a product of public campaign financing.5. Costa Ricans also will elect a new Legislative Assembly Consecutive terms are prohibited for lawmakers in Costa Rica. This means that every four years, a completely new group of 57 lawmakers takes over the Legislative Assembly. Each of Costa Rica’s seven provinces is allotted a number of lawmakers based on their population. Costa Rica has a proportional voting system, meaning that rather than voting for specific lawmakers, Ticos select the party of the lawmaker they want to elect. The number of lawmakers allotted to each province based on population. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesThe confusing lawmaker election process in summary:1. Before election time, each party orders lawmaker candidates in a list by priority. The first candidate on the list is the most likely to get elected.2. After voting, the TSE divides the total number of votes per province by its population. The resulting number is the number of votes a party must receive to put one of its lawmakers in office.3. Starting with the first candidate on a party’s list, lawmakers are elected to office each time the party receives the required number of votes.4. The leftover votes are redistributed using three different (and incredibly complicated) formulas to elect the final lawmakers.6. You can now buy alcohol during Costa Rican elections (except for a few unlucky cantons)Costa Rica used to have a dry law that prevented the sale of libations during Election Day and Easter Holy Week. In 2009, the government reformed the Electoral Code and chose not to define regulations about alcohol prohibition. In 2012, lawmakers decided that enforcing the law regulating the sale of alcoholic beverages would be up to individual municipalities. Fortuitously, few do.A dozen municipalities have announced so far that they will enforce the prohibition. But even in San José, where the dry law is supposed to be in effect, police have stated they won’t enforce the measure. But if locals don’t behave themselves, authorities might reevaluate the decision to forgo the law.Other miscellaneous election info:Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.If there is a clear winner, results are usually announced at about 10 p.m. on Sunday.Campaigning outside of polling stations is not allowed, but Ticos often will wave flags and proudly display who they voted for away from the polls. If you haven’t noticed, this year many Ticos have changed their Facebook profiles to represent the party or candidate of their choice.Tico elections are fun. Head out on Election Day and see why Costa Rica is often the envy of other less-democratic nations. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican health officials seek preventive alert for chikungunya virus Costa Rica Health Ministry confirms first case of chikungunya virus Costa Rica registers 2 new cases of chikungunya virus, bringing total number to 47 Double jeopardy: Costa Rica’s Health Ministry reports 2 people were infected with both dengue and chikungunya Employees at 345 hotels across Costa Rica are conducting cleaning campaigns in their communities to eliminate potential breeding sites for mosquitoes that transmit the dengue and chikungunya viruses.The goal of business owners is to assure tourists that Costa Rica is a safe destination by preventing the spread of the viruses in the country.Last month, staff at 20 hotels began identifying and eliminating stagnant water sites.  The effort was then extended to all associate members of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH). Employees at several restaurants also launched cleaning campaigns in their communities, chamber president Gustavo Araya said on Wednesday.To help with the effort, Traffic Police officers and Health Ministry officials began offering training. They also facilitated the fumigation of parking lots at the Public Works and Transport Ministry, where more than 27,000 impounded vehicles could become potential mosquito breeding sites.“Continuing these efforts throughout the year is the only way to succeed in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases,” Health Ministry official Roberto Castro said. “Contributions by the CCH and the Traffic Police are crucial.”The ministry’s latest report, which extends through Sept. 6, shows 16 confirmed cases of chikungunya in Costa Rica. Fifteen of those patients contracted the virus while traveling in the Dominican Republic. One patient contracted chikungunya while in Haiti.The ministry’s dengue report shows positive news, with a total of 7,561 cases across the country. That’s an impressive 79 percent drop in the number of cases from the same period last year.The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a carrier of both dengue and chikungunya. The Aedes albopictus mosquito also spreads chikungunya.Both viruses cause fever, severe muscle and joint pain, headaches, nausea, fatigue and rashes. Chikugunya symptoms are more aggressive than dengue symptoms and can persist for up to 10 months.Recommended: Number of chikungunya cases in El Salvador tops 16,000 Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Economist Intelligence Unit: Costa Rica and Uruguay are the only ‘full’ democracies in Latin America ‘Enough,’ says Guatemala journalist group, citing pre-election threats Former US President Jimmy Carter cuts Guyana trip short after falling ill Guatemala elections marred by tensions as parties herd voters to other constituencies Ever wonder what Costa Rican lawmakers actually accomplish? Here’s a look at the first six months of the current Legislative Assembly, a data analysis project aimed at promoting public access to information, brought to you by Ojo al Voto.Ojo al Voto has published a series of studies, data illustrations and informative articles aimed at educating voters and providing access to public information. Check out their work (in Spanish) here.One of every two bills approved by the current Legislative Assembly is related to municipal permits or local resolutions. The 35 bills approved in second debate in the first six months of the current Assembly prioritize discussions about property for communities in the provinces of the Great Metropolitan Area.These conclusions are the product of a study conducted by Ojo al Voto of the first six months of work by the current Legislative Assembly, which took office on May 1, 2014. The information is based on data from the Department of Legislative Services and shows that only 14 of the 35 bills approved through Oct. 13 are related to substantive legislation, which directly impacts the human development of Costa Ricans.Bills such as the “Law to authorize the State to modify the nature of the cemetery located in Tirrases de Curridabat to create a park” dominate the working agenda approved by the Assembly for the Plenary and Full Commissions.Despite this, there are 14 bills that could be considered substantive legislation, including the approval of an amendment to the Development Bank Law and a positive vote in second debate on the use of electronic tracking devices for criminals, among others.The data published by Ojo al Voto use the State of the Nation methodology, which classifies the laws approved by the Legislative Assembly according to their impact on the country. This methodology establishes several categories (including substantive, secondary and others) and was used to conduct the study.This analysis does not include any of the draft bills approved in first debate or suspended for consultation, such as the constitutional amendment to establish the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural character of Costa Rica.Read and peruse the following information. It’s public!Go to OjoAlVoto.com here. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_img Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Timescenter_img Alberto Font/The Tico Times Marijuana advocates marched Saturday in San José to encourage legalization of the drug for medical, industrial, alimentary and recreational purposes. About 70 people marched from San José’s central park to the Plaza de la Democracia where leaders of the movement and pot users gave speeches to the crowd.The groups Movimiento Cannábico Costarricense and Cannabis Medicinal Costa Rica organized the march with the help of other legalization supporters. Gerald Murray, director of Cannabis Medicinal Costa Rica, told The Tico Times that the group supports medical use of the plant with full liberties, including home growing, dispensary sales and use of the plant to treat diseases like stress, depression, AIDS and cancer.“The fact that the board of directors of the Costa Rican Social Security System said recently that cannabis is medicinal is very important because now we can show lawmakers all the scientific proof there is out there,” Murray said.Long-time users of the plant also talked about the benefits they had received from it. Others spoke of its multi-faceted potential.“It’s very important to mention the other uses of the plant, not only its use as a drug but also its use for food and industrial purposes,” said José Trejos, a legalization supporter. Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Medical marijuana proposal in Costa Rica gets Health Ministry review Cost of drug war in Costa Rica too high, says former police officer Canada’s next big move? It may be legalizing pot. Colombia legalizes medical marijuanalast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s telecom regulator sanctions state-owned ICE for unfair competition ICE denounces telecom regulator for hiring lawyers who worked with private competitors Court orders state-run mobile carrier to pay customers for poor coverage Costa Rica mobile carriers improve coverage, but not internet speed The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) is challenging a ₡2.2 billion ($4 million) fine levied by the Telecommunications Superintendency (SUTEL) for unfair competition involving discounted offers for ICE phone service.SUTEL sanctioned ICE alleging the carrier carried out anti-competitive practices in 2011 and 2012 that affected its new competitors Movistar and Claro. The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by Spanish telecom Telefónica, which operates in Costa Rica as the brand Movistar.The regulatory agency alleges that ICE’s unfair practices consisted of rate discounts offered under a promotion called “Chip Extremo” aimed at attracting prepaid mobile phone users. The promotion was conducted twice in two years, first from November to December 2011, and then from October to November 2012.ICE’s appeal calls the SUTEL action illegal, inconsistent and flawed due to a “lack of proof and evidence to justify the sanction.” It also argues that ICE’s promotions did not cause any of its competitors to exit the market or block entry to new competitors.On Wednesday, ICE Telecommunications Manager Jaime Palermo said “SUTEL itself has recognized that the mobile telecommunications’ market is vulnerable to competitive practices from all carriers, as all of them sell below operating costs.” He added that, “even Telefónica has reached the same conclusion.”The appeal also states that Telefónica filed the complaint with SUTEL only 15 days after launching operations in Costa Rica as a measure to prevent ICE from conducting its promotions.“During the investigated period this carrier managed to increase its market share and even conducted more aggressive promotions than those from ICE, and yet only ICE was sanctioned,” Palermo said in a public statement.SUTEL’s council will analyze ICE’s appeal, and in the case that the resolution does not favor the state-owned company, ICE has the right to proceed with a challenge in court.The regulatory agency last month announced that in coming weeks it will conduct a study to determine which markets have the apropriate conditions to be open for competition. Such a resolution would mean that each carrier would be free to set rates.ICE, under its brand name kölbi, leads Costa Rica’s mobile market with a 72 percent share, followed by Mexican carrier Claro with 13.6 percent, Movistar with 13.4 percent, and locals Tuyo Móvil and Full Móvil with less than 1 percent each. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s love-hate relationship with ‘Jurassic Park’ Filmmaker visits Costa Rica, screens bee documentary Perplexing ‘platypus’ dinosaur discovered in Chile US panel forces online radio services like Pandora to pay more to stream songs PARIS,France — Depicted by moviemakers as mean, green, man-eating lizards covered in scales, velociraptors probably looked more like large, toothy turkeys, a study said Thursday.Close study of a newly-discovered cousin dubbed Zhenyuanlong suni, has revealed that velociraptors likely had large wings and feathery coats, according to research published in the journal Scientific Reports.“The real velociraptor was not a green, scaly monster like in Jurassic Park,” study co-author Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh told AFP.“The real velociraptor looked like Zhenyuanlong: a fluffy feathered killer.”Brusatte and a team made a fossil reconstruction of Zhenyuanlong, one of the velociraptor’s closest relatives, which lived in China’s northeastern Liaoning province some 125 million years ago.Recommended: Costa Rica’s love-hate relationship with ‘Jurassic Park’It is the largest dinosaur with wings discovered to date.Zhenyuanlong was about two meters (6.6 feet) long from snout to tail, weighed about 20 kilos (44 pounds), and was a meat-eater.“Zhenyuanlong is a dinosaur that looks just like a bird,” Brusatte told AFP by email — apart from sharp claws on its wings and a mouth full of teeth.The Chinese fossil is so well preserved that one can clearly see different kinds of feathers, including hair-like plumes on the body and big quill pen feathers on the arms.Zhenyuanlong would have had “dense feathers” on its wings and tail, according to the team’s analysis.“So it is a fairly large dinosaur with short arms bit it still has wings that look just like those of living birds,” Brusatte said.“That raises a really big mystery: why would such an animal have wings?”It was probably not for flying: Zhenyuanlong was too big and its arms too short to allow it to take to the air.The team speculated the wings may have been used for display or for protecting its eggs in the nest.“And maybe that means that wings didn’t even initially evolve for flight, but for another function!” Brusatte said.“A few years ago, I think most paleontologists would have said that big feathers and wings evolved for flight. But now we don’t know anymore.”Scientists had previously observed quill attachment points, or knobs, on the arms velociraptor fossils, but no actual feathers — meaning they did not know what type or size of plumes it would have had, or for what purpose.“We are lucky with Zhenyuanlong. It is found in an area where volcanoes buried dinosaurs, preserving fine details of their feathers,” Brusatte said.“So Zhenyuanlong tells us what the feathers of velociraptor probably would have looked like … . They would have had feathers like Zhenyuanlong and even big wings on the arms,” he said.“They would also have been much smaller than their reconstructed movie counterparts.“A real velociraptor was a little smaller than Zhenyuanlong,” Brusatte added. “It was only about the size of a poodle dog!”Paleontologists believe the first birds appeared 150 million years ago and were descendants of small feathered dinosaurs. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgThe Obama administration failed to protect thousands of Central American children who have flooded across the U.S. border since 2011, leaving them vulnerable to traffickers and other abuses at the hands of government-approved caretakers, a Senate investigation has found.The Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, failed to do proper background checks of adults who claimed the children, allowed sponsors to take custody of multiple unrelated children, and regularly placed children in homes without visiting the locations, according to a 56-page investigative report released Thursday.And once the children left federally funded shelters, the report said, the agency permitted their adult sponsors to prevent caseworkers from providing them post-release services.Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, initiated the six-month investigation after several Guatemalan teens were found in a dilapidated trailer park near Marion, Ohio, where they were being held captive by traffickers and forced to work at a local egg farm. The boys were among more than 125,000 unaccompanied minors who have surged into the United States since 2011, fleeing violence and unrest in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.“It is intolerable that human trafficking – modern-day slavery – could occur in our own backyard,” Portman said in a written statement. “What makes the Marion cases even more alarming is that a U.S. government agency was responsible for delivering some of the victims into the hands of their abusers.”The report concluded that administration “policies and procedures were inadequate to protect the children in the agency’s care.”HHS spokesman Mark Weber said in a statement that the agency would “review the committee’s findings carefully and continue to work to ensure the best care for the children we serve.”The report was released ahead of a hearing Thursday before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which Portman co-chairs with Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. It detailed nearly 30 cases where unaccompanied children had been trafficked after federal officials released them to sponsors or where there were “serious trafficking indicators.”“HHS places children with individuals about whom it knows relatively little and without verifying the limited information provided by sponsors about their alleged relationship with the child,” the report said.The Senate investigation began in July after federal prosecutors indicted six people in connection with the Marion labor-trafficking scheme, which involved at least eight minors and two adults from the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala.One defendant, Aroldo Castillo-Serrano, 33, used associates to file false applications with the government agency tasked with caring for the children, and bring them to Ohio, where he kept them in squalid conditions in a trailer park and forced them to work 12-hour days, at least six days a week, for little pay. Castillo-Serrano has pleaded guilty to labor-trafficking charges and awaits sentencing in the Northern District of Ohio in Toledo.The FBI raided the trailer park in December 2014, rescuing the boys, but the Senate investigation says federal officials could have discovered the scheme far sooner.In August 2014, a child-welfare caseworker attempted to visit one of the children, who had been approved for post-release services because of reported mental-health problems, according to the report.The caseworker went to the address listed for the child, but the person who answered the door said the child didn’t live there, the report added. When the caseworker finally found the child’s sponsor, the sponsor blocked the caseworker from talking to the child.Instead of investigating further, the caseworker closed the child’s case file, the report said, citing “ORR policy which states that the Post Release Services are voluntary and sponsor refused services.”That child was found months later, living 50 miles away from the sponsor’s home and working at the egg farm, according to the report. The child’s sponsor was later indicted.VanSickle is a reporter for the Investigative Reporting Program, a nonprofit news organization at the University of California at Berkeley.© 2016, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:On patrol with the Costa Rican Border Police Central American child migrant crisis ‘one of the greatest tragedies,’ says Costa Rica’s Solís US nation-building efforts should be in Central America, not Iraq and Afghanistan Fox’s ‘Bordertown’ is a ripped-from-the-headlines satirelast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Fleeing Nicaragua: Joining forces against the government Fleeing Nicaragua: The escape President Solís: ‘If you want to get through a border, you’ll be able to sooner or later’ Costa Rican government applauds U.S. decision to stop ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy on Cuban migrants La Cruz, Guanacaste — The message from Nicaraguan refugees to Costa Rica is a uniform one: thank you.Not all Ticos have greeted the asylum-seekers kindly. In mid-August, hundreds of people protested at La Merced park in downtown San José against the influx of Nicaraguans. More than 40 people were arrested when some demonstrators became violent.The Costa Rican government has repeatedly denounced xenophobia and has urged citizens not to fall victims to provocations or calls to hate.In La Cruz, Mondragón expressed his gratitude for the continued hospitality at the shelter. He feared Costa Rica might have turned him away and allowed his extradition to a country where he felt his life was in danger.“First, I want to say thank you, because you give us support, and as refugees, you give us food to eat,” he said. “I say, ‘Thank you for not sending us back,’ because if they sent us back, we’d fall in the wrong hands, and they’d kill me.”Some refugees have messages for Ortega, too.“I’m doing this publicly because I am not afraid,” Mayorga said. “I’ll say this again to Daniel Ortega: ‘I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of you, you dog, and I will never be afraid of you. And if they gave me a gun to go and kill you, I would do it.’”Overwhelmingly, the refugees said they hope to return to Nicaragua someday. If they are given guns, they say, they will fight for freedom: For their friends, for their families, for their children.“My goal wasn’t to come to a refugee camp,” Mondragón said. “If someone supports us, gives us guns, I’ll leave to go defend my country.”Part 1: The escapePart 2: Joining forces against the government Stories like these are made possible thanks to contributions from readers like you. Please donate to support our reporting and keep it independent. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Our 2018-2019 High Season Print Edition is here! Our Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it Our latest print edition is here, and a World Cup/Fourth of July special is on the way! Announcing The Tico Times’ next Deep Dive: Costa Rica’s Southern Zone Here’s where to find The Tico Times in printcenter_img Let freedom (and a new Tico Times print edition) ring!The Tico Times is celebrating this Fourth of July with the release of our 2019 Green Season print edition, which is now being distributed nationwide.Pick up a copy to read our deep dive to the Southern Zone; tourist tips and tricks; Costa Rica classifieds; and messages from our sponsors. Check out our list of distributors here; we recommend contacting your favorite pickup point before making a trip since distribution is now underway.Stay tuned for daily coverage from The Tico Times here at TicoTimes.net. Have story suggestions or a Photo of the Day submission? Contact us at alejandro@ticotimes.net.last_img read more

first_img The vital role family plays in society Check your body, save your life Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Mahlangu was found guilty for beating Terreblanche, 69, to death with an iron in April 2010. Mahlangu said he feels he did no wrong by ridding the world of a man some called a monster.The judge had rejected a defense argument that Mahlangu had been sodomized by Terreblanche and acted in self-defense. Mahlangu also claimed that Terreblanche infected him with HIV.Zola Majavu, Mahlangu’s lawyer, said on Wednesday that they are planning to appeal both the court’s findings and the sentence.On Wednesday, Mahlangu said he has converted to Islam while in prison.A second man, Patrick Ndlovu, who was a teenager at the time of the killing two years ago, was sentenced to a two-year prison sentence which means he goes free. Ndlovu was acquitted of murder but found guilty of breaking and entering with intent to steal. Initially, he was not named because of his age. He turned 18 during the trial.After the sentencing, the Young Communist League of South Africa released a statement calling the judgment racially biased.“Eugene Terreblanche was a white supremacist who made no qualms about his lack of love and respect for the black Africans and still believed in white supremacy and black oppression. How is it that the issue of self-defense is not taken serious?” said the statement. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressJOHANNESBURG (AP) – A black farmworker was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the brutal murder of South African white supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche in a case that has been a source of racial tension in the city of Ventersdorp.About 100 protesters sang anti-white songs outside the courtroom in the city just west of Johannesburg to support 30-year-old Chris Mahlangu, who had pleaded guilty but argued that he acted in self-defense in what the judge found was a violent dispute over wages. They were opposed by 20 white protesters who carried the dummy of a black man with a rope around his neck and a sign that said: “Hang Mahlangu.” As Mahlangu was leaving the court, the protesters tied the effigy to a pick-up truck and drove around the black crowd. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Terreblanche co-founded the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, known by its Afrikaans initials as the AWB, to seek an all-white republic within South Africa.In 1997, Terreblanche was sentenced to six years in prison for the attempted murder of a black security guard and assaulting a black gas station worker. Terreblache’s influence in the white supremacist movement had waned by the time he died.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories last_img read more

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Owners of tourist lodging are fiercely opposed due to environmental reasons while prospective miners claim the project will create thousands of jobs at an economically difficult time.Opponents, abetted by leftist activists, succeeded a decade ago in canceling a multimillion-dollar gold mining project in a nearby area.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) – Hundreds of protesters have battled riot police for hours over plans for a gold mine in northern Greece’s Halkidiki peninsula.Police say protesters threw firebombs at them, setting ablaze a forested area on the site. The fire has been put out.Protesters claim a tear gas grenade thrown by police injured Radical Left Coalition member of parliament Vangelis Diamantopoulos.This is not the first clash over the gold mine, which has pitted inhabitants of the area against one another. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

first_img Quick workouts for men Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   There have been successes, adding vitamins and making some more drought-resistant. Scientists even bred a cassava plant whose inner tissue is yellow, a color favored by Nigerians who enjoy it with a splash of palm oil, which makes the food spoil quicker when stored.Experiments continue at a kitchen at the institute, where chefs bake using a combination of regular flour and 40 percent of “cassava flour.” Loaves of white bread baked with cassava taste like wheat bread, while the sweet taste of the more exotic “ginger orange raisin muffin” masks the flavor.Every week, the kitchen bakes a batch of cassava bread that is taken to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and put on the tables of Aso Rock, the nation’s presidential villa. There, President Goodluck Jonathan made a stir last year when he held up a loaf and promised to eat only cassava bread while in office. He also ate some on national television and handed it out to his ministers, some of whom looked warily at it.“For us as a nation, for us to move forward, we must also tame our exotic tastes,” Jonathan said at the time. “Some of the things from outside are not even as good as the things we have inside.” The vital role family plays in society Associated PressIBADAN, Nigeria (AP) – From this field nestled among the lush rolling hills of Nigeria’s southwest, the small plants rising out the hard red dirt appear fragile, easily crushed by weather or chance.Looks, however, are deceiving.These cassava plants will grow into a dense thicket of hard, bamboo-like shoots within a year, with roots so massive a single planted hectare can provide three tons of food. The plants survive fires, droughts and pestilence, while offering a vital food source for more than 500 million people living across sub-Saharan Africa. Critics on social media and elsewhere flayed Jonathan, likening his cassava bread endorsement as Nigeria faced strikes and unrest to Marie Antoinette’s out-of-touch musings about cake prior to the French Revolution. Jonathan’s push for cassava flour could benefit the country, but it comes after a similar and failed attempt by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to do them same.But cassava can be used beyond the kitchen. Scraps of cassava feed farm animals in Nigeria, while Thailand produces chips and feed from whole cassava roots for animals. In industrial settings, cassava can be used to make starch, sweeteners and medical glucose for diabetics.Those other uses for cassava give scientists at the institute hope that their improved cassava plants will be able to help people both feed themselves and make a profit in Nigeria where most earn less than $2 a day. However, they say that the feeding those living in the country must remain the first priority.“Because it’s eaten in such large quantities, any big change that we can bring about in the nutritional quality is a big” gain, Asiedu said. “You need to diversify your diet _ have meat and fish and all _ but we know these are expensive. So for the average person, any mineral or nutritional element we can put in cassava is big improvement.” 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistcenter_img Top Stories Cassava also can be ground into flour. In other parts of Africa, people consider the leaves of a cassava plant as a delicacy, eating it in a soup or frying it.Nigeria is the world’s top cassava producer, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, with Brazil and Thailand behind it. The plant thrives in this West African nation, often without needing too much help from farmers, which makes it valuable in a country where most still do agriculture by hand, rather than with machines.While the plant flourishes now, changing weather patterns across Africa make it important to have a stronger cassava available for farmers, said Robert Asiedu, the director for West Africa at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture.“Although cassava has helped us so many years, we can no longer take it for granted,” Asiedu said. “We need to make it even more hardy as the dry periods are getting longer and the soil fertility is declining.“If we really damage the environment to the extent that cassava can’t grow … you can forget about” other plants, he said.With that in mind, scientists continue to study the plant at the institute, located on a preserve just north of the city of Ibadan. Its laboratories contain varieties of cassava growing in test tubes. Giant freezers there hold seeds dating back more than three decades, though most scientists work with cuttings of the cassava, as seeds can have different genetic attributes. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) ___Online:The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture: www.iita.org___Jon Gambrell can be reached at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP. It is in these lowly tubers, scientists at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture say, that the continent will find a way to feed itself no matter what.“Come war, come anything, the farmer who has cassava has food,” said Richardson Okechukwu, the institute’s coordinator for cassava research.In Nigeria, a nation where dinner tables often see a pounded cassava product called eba eaten by hand with soups and dishes, the plant remains a vital food in the country. Recently, it has even become a political prop by the nation’s president. Scientists at the institute and others fighting hunger hope that efforts to make cassava heartier and more nutritious will help feed a continent where famine and scarcity still plague nations.To the uninitiated, the cassava looks more like a misshapen log or tree branch. The plants themselves are not indigenous to Africa, instead brought over from South America in the 1600s by the Portuguese. Those preparing it cut the skin off, then squeeze out the water within the root before frying it to make garri. Most Nigerians eat it by peeling the starchy soft material from a ball and dipping it into different sauces that accompany fish or meat. Sponsored Stories last_img read more

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? Mike Duncan, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which lobbies for the coal industry, said he hoped that following Monday’s ruling, the EPA would withdraw its pending greenhouse gas rules out of recognition of the limits of its own authority.“If they don’t, I’m sure we’ll be seeing them in court again very soon,” Duncan said.The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the EPA failed to account properly for the costs to industry when it first decided to regulate mercury and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired plants. The decision sends the case back to a lower court while leaving the rules in place, but industry advocates say it’s largely too late. That’s because many power plants shuttered while others installed costly upgrades in order to comply with the rule, which took effect in April.Yet the mercury rules, while an important part of Obama’s environmental legacy, pale in comparison to the unprecedented carbon dioxide limits for power plants that the White House is expected to finalize in August. Obama is counting on drastic emissions reductions from those rules to meet the U.S. commitment to a major global climate treaty that Obama has been championing. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Such a move would indefinitely delay Obama’s carbon dioxide limits, a key element of his legacy and his biggest selling point as he urged other world leaders to commit their countries to reduce greenhouse gases as part of the climate treaty to be finalized this year in Paris. Already, Obama is on a short timeline; if the rules aren’t firmly in place by the time Obama leaves office in 2017, his successor could do away with them much more easily.___Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAPCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Comments   Share   Top Stories Sponsored Stories In developing the carbon dioxide rules, the EPA did take into account the anticipated cost to industry — $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion, to be exact. EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison said the agency has long considered cost when writing rules based on the section of the Clean Air Act that’s being used to curb carbon dioxide emissions.“There is no reason that this court ruling should have any impact on the ability of the administration to develop and implement the Clean Power Plan,” added White House press secretary Josh Earnest, using the administration’s nickname for the carbon rules.Still, those rules face a bevy of other legal challenges, including claims that the technology needed for power plants to comply isn’t yet commercially available or affordable. Opponents in Congress and the energy industry argue the administration has failed to prove that such technology has been “adequately demonstrated” and therefore can’t require its use.Previously, the White House had enjoyed a string of victories defending its environmental rules before the Supreme Court, including decisions allowing the government to regulate pollution that crosses state lines and affirming that the EPA can use the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gases. Monday’s ruling on mercury, which followed Obama victories before the court last week on health care and gay marriage, offered hope to Obama’s opponents that the court was finally willing to block the EPA from exceeding its authority. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies WASHINGTON (AP) — Sweeping pollution limits at the center of President Barack Obama’s climate change plan are facing increased scrutiny in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that showed that the justices aren’t afraid to thwart perceived overreach by Obama or his Environmental Protection Agency.The high court’s ruling undermined Obama administration regulations targeting mercury and other hazardous air pollutants — a different set of regulations from the greenhouse gas limits that Obama is counting on to slow the effects of global warming. Still, the court’s willingness to rein in the EPA emboldened opponents of Obama’s climate change agenda, who said the court had finally woken up to what they call the haphazard and costly nature of the environmental regulations that Obama has put forth. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall “This case signals that you’ve got at least five justices on the Supreme Court that are not going to just go along with anything the EPA wants to do,” said Jeffrey Holmstead, the EPA’s former air and radiation chief under President George W. Bush. “They’re not going to be bashful in striking down EPA rules.”That affirmation from the court provided fodder for Republicans in Congress who have encouraged states to simply ignore Obama’s climate change rules. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of the coal-heavy state of Kentucky, said the mercury ruling was a “critical reminder” for governors that Obama’s regulations would inflict pain on the middle class. McConnell’s office said he had conveyed to the governors that there would be no consequences to waiting to see whether the regulations even survive in the courts.Another factor: Since the mercury rules had already gone into effect before the Supreme Court ruled against them on Monday, industry groups said the damage had already been done. Going forward, Holmstead said, the court may be more likely to put a temporary block — known as a “stay” — on the carbon dioxide rules out of recognition that they may eventually be overturned.last_img read more

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Nikkei’s chairman Tsuneo Kita said he wasn’t that familiar with the FT because his English isn’t fluent.“I don’t have the skill to read it but I do gaze upon it,” he said.The Nikkei newspaper dominates business coverage in Japan, with 3.16-million paid subscribers, of which 430,000 are online. The company also runs the Nikkei 225 index, a barometer for Japanese stocks similar to America’s Dow Jones Industrial Average.“Nikkei wanted to go global but they never succeeded in the way they wanted to succeed,” said Yoshikazu Mikami, a professor of media studies at Mejiro University in Tokyo. “If you want to be a global player you have to have global reach. The only option is to buy something that is global already.”The Japanese newspaper’s full name is the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, which means Japan Economic Newspaper, but it is almost universally called by its abbreviated name, just as the Financial Times is known as the FT.___AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama contributed to this story.___Online: http://asia.nikkei.com/Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home TOKYO (AP) — Nikkei Inc., the Japanese buyer of the Financial Times, pledged Friday to respect the culture of the London-based business daily, while also tapping its digital expertise and global reach.“The FT will remain the FT. Nikkei is Nikkei,” said Naotoshi Okada, the president and CEO of Nikkei Inc., which publishes a namesake newspaper that’s the top business daily in Japan. “The editorial cultures of each will be respected. If there are any problems, we will talk them out.” 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Like many Japanese companies, Nikkei is looking overseas for growth in the face of a stagnant economy and shrinking population at home, a move accelerated for the 139-year-old business newspaper by the globalization of media and competitive pressures as readers shift online.The surprise announcement Thursday that Tokyo-based Nikkei would buy the Financial Times for $1.3 billion from Pearson PLC could jump-start Nikkei’s overseas push, if it is able to realize synergies between two of the world’s leading financial publications.Okada said the purchase fits in with Nikkei’s strategy of beefing up its overseas coverage, especially in Asia.Nikkei launched a new English-language website and weekly magazine in late 2013 in a bid to become a purveyor of Asian news for business readers globally. It also opened an editorial headquarters in Bangkok to boost its coverage of Southeast Asia.“Up to now we have focused on relaying Japanese news for Japanese readers,” Okada said at a news conference at a Tokyo hotel. With Japanese companies expanding in Asia, “we cannot respond to readers’ demands with only coverage of Japan.”He also said the Financial Times has a more advanced digital infrastructure than Nikkei, which is trying to grow its online presence. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more