Believe it or not Man sues airline for sitting next to obese

first_img SYDNEY — An Australian man has found himself in the middle of controversy after claiming he suffered injuries from being squished in between two obese passengers on an American Airlines flight.According to NBC News, Michael Anthony Taylor, 67, was onboard a 14-hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles on Dec. 28, 2015, during which he sat next to two overweight seatmates. He told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph that he spent much of the flight “crouching, kneeling, bracing or standing” and that the airline forbid him from changing seats. As a result, Taylor claims his discomfort caused his scoliosis to worsen and caused back injuries and neck bruising.A bit farfetched? Maybe. But Taylor assures that he doesn’t hold any malice towards his seatmates. “They’d paid for a ticket too,” he told the Telegraph. “The airline could have put me in a crew seat or moved people around, but they did nothing.”However, U.S. federal regulations state that passengers are not allowed to sit in seats reserved for crew members. Plus, the flight was full – all seats were occupied.More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksThe suit, which was filed in Australian court, comes on the heels of several PR blunders for U.S. airlines. Earlier this month, an American Airlines employee was suspended after arguing with a passenger over a stroller, shortly before the airline announced it will be reducing legroom on its new 737 jets. And last month, United Airlines found itself in hot water after the now infamous dragging incident of a passenger, which prompted the airline to completely revise its customer service policy. Tuesday, May 9, 2017 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Travelweek Group Believe it or not: Man sues airline for sitting next to obese passengerslast_img read more


San José mayor Libertarian Movement Party leader announce bid for president

first_imgNo related posts. San José Mayor Johnny Araya, who announced his intentions to run for president in 2014, is facing pressure from leaders in his own party for not resigning his position as mayor to show he’s serious about running for president.Rodrigo Arias and Fernando Berrocal, possible presidential candidates for the National Liberation Party, denounced Araya’s candidacy this week, according to Spanish-language station Radio ADN.Arias is the brother of former president Oscar Arias (1986-1990 and 2006-2010). Berrocal previously served as public security minister from 2006-2008 under Oscar Arias.Libertarian Movement Party leader Otto Guevara will also make a run for president in 2014. This will be Guevara’s fourth attempt at the Casa Presidencial, having campaigned in 2002, 2006 and 2010.Guevara’s party remains under investigation for alleged misuse of public campaign funding. The prosecution has not yet made it known if Guevara is tied to the accusations. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Costa Rica signs letter supporting ban on nuclear weapons

first_imgNo related posts. President Laura Chinchilla on Monday signed a letter of support for the global call to ban nuclear weapons.During a ceremony held at Casa Presidencial, Chinchilla received 1,000 paper cranes made by the students of the University for Peace (UPEACE) and representatives of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), as a symbol of support of a world free from nuclear weapons.“Peace cannot be only the subject of prayers for some people, it is the most natural human asset we have,” the president said.“These beautiful cranes made by hands full of the hope of many young people will be able to spread their wings to more countries every day,” she added.UPEACE Rector Victor Valle said the initiative aims to deliver 1,000 paper cranes to every political leader in the world to support the ban on the use and storage of nuclear weapons.In addition to Chinchilla, other top politicians also have signed ICAN’s letter, including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of state of Afghanistan, Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, Slovenia, Spain, France, Greece, Kazakhstan, Marshall Islands, Luxembourg, Mozambique, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia and Vanuatu. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Bullfights punk bands and other happenings around Costa Rica

first_imgMusic: Christmas ConcertsThe National Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Chorus perform favorite holiday standards in venues from Alajuela to Cartago. This is the perfect chance to see some of Costa Rica’s finest musicians and singers for free.Conciertos Navideños take place Dec. 8-12 in various locations. Free. Info: RedCultura.Music: Placeholder, Monte, Las RobertasMoody Pennsylvanian rockers Placeholder share the stage with Costa Rican groups Monte and Las Robertas at AmonSolar.Concert takes place Dec. 5 at AmonSolar, Barrio Amón. 9 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). Info: AmonSolar website. Related posts:Christmas cheer, oxcart parades, and other happenings around Costa Rica Festival of Light, Egyptian dancers, and other happenings around Costa Rica Flamenco superstars, Soda Stereo tribute, and other happenings around Costa Rica Cowboys, coffee, and other happenings around Costa Rica Chicharrón FairPrepare yourself for pork rinds – and arguably the best in the country. Chicharrón is a favorite Costa Rican food that is made almost everywhere, but the town of Puriscal is especially famous for their cuts of deep-fried pork. Savor this delicacy with thousands of like-minded folks, then enjoy music, games, dancing, a horse parade, and even some good old-fashioned bullfights. Cradled in the hills west of San José, Puriscal is the perfect place to enjoy some campesino living.La Feria del Chicharron Purisceño takes place Feb. 5-14 at the Puriscal fairgrounds. Info: SiCultura.Holiday Shopping: Tropical MarketStock up on holiday gifts at this four-day arts and crafts market in the Antigua Aduana. Stock up on everything from jewelry to gourmet coffee.Mercado Tropical takes place Dec. 11-14 at Antigua Aduana, Barrio Aranjuez. Thu.-Sun., 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Free. Info: Event Facebook page.Dance: “The Nutcracker”See Tchaikovsky’s Christmas masterpiece come alive on the National Theater’s refurbished new stage.“El Cascanueces” will be performed Dec. 5-14 at The National Theater, downtown San José. Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 11 & 5 p.m. ₡16,000-32,000 ($32-64). Info: National Theater website.center_img Film: “Rosado Furia”This disorienting film follows the story of a troubled young Asian woman. Filmed in Singapore and performed in English, Costa Rican director Nicolás Pacheco’s “Rosado” wowed audiences at the Costa Rican International Film Festival, winning this year’s award for Best Film.“Rosado Furia” screens Dec. 5-8 at Cine Magaly, Barrio California. Fri., 3 & 8:40 p.m.; Sat., 3:45 & 7:45 p.m.; Sun., 8:30 p.m.; Mon., 5:10 p.m. Theater: “A Christmas Carol”“Un Cuento de Navidad” receives its annual production at Teatro Espressivo, thanks to a stage adaptation by Paul Stebbings.“Un Cuento de Navidad” continues through Dec. 21 at Teatro Espressivo, Tres Ríos. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 7 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m. ₡7,000-10,000 ($14-20). Info: Teatro Espressivo website. Courtesy David Boddiger & The TheoryMusic: Emma Brott, Matthew Seth Bertucci, David Boddiger & The TheoryIf you love independent singer-songwriters, get ready for a full lineup at Hoxton.Concert takes place Dec. 11 at Hoxton, Los Yoses. 9 p.m. ₡2,000 ($4). Info: Event Facebook page.Theater: “The Abominable Snowman”What do Santa Claus, a magic clock, a monstrous Yeti, and a “Labyrinth of Solitude” have in common? They are all part of “El Ogro de las Nieves,” a whimsical family comedy at Teatro Triciclo.Dec. 7 & 14 at Teatro Triciclo, Avenida Escazú. Sundays, 11 a.m. ₡4,000 ($8). Info: Teatro Triciclo website.Theater: “Three”Little Theater Group presents its English-language premiere of the Juan Carlos Rubio comedy at Triciclo Theater.“Three” continues through Dec. 11 at Triciclo Theater Company, Avenida Escazú. Thursdays, 8 p.m. ₡7,000 ($14). Info: Little Theatre Group Facebook page.Art: “A Chronicle of Interventions”Learn about U.S. incursions in Central America, thanks to this provocative group show co-produced with London’s revered Tate Gallery.“Una Crónica de Intervenciones” displays at TEOR/éTica Gallery, Barrio Amón. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Free. Info: TEOR/éTica website.Art: 75 Years of PhotosBrowse decades of photojournalism at this striking exhibit, thanks to Spain’s Agencia EFE – the fourth-largest wire service in the world.“EFE: 75 Años de Fotos” continues through Dec. 7 at the National Museum, San José. Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ₡1,500 ($3). Info: Museum website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Latin Americas anticorruption crusade

first_imgMEXICO CITY – Even as much of Latin America engages in almost hyperbolic celebrations over the renewed diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States, the continent is facing two major challenges. The first – declining economic growth, to less than 1 percent, on average, across the region – has been discussed at length, with the prevailing explanation being that China’s slowing economic growth has suppressed commodity prices and, thus, Latin America’s export revenues. But it is the second – the resurgence of corruption – that is proving most interesting.Latin America has been plagued by corruption for centuries, ever since it emerged from what the Mexican poet Octavio Paz called the “patrimonialist” nature of Spanish and Portuguese colonial rule. What is different today is the response to it, with societies and institutions refusing to remain complicit in corruption, or resigning themselves to its inevitability.This attitude is exemplified in the proliferation of trials, investigations, demonstrations, convictions, and resignations relating to corruption, particularly in Brazil and Venezuela, and to a lesser extent Mexico and Guatemala. In all four countries, major scandals have erupted, with high-level government officials and business leaders being denounced by the media, the justice system, foreign governments, and/or the local opposition. Though none of the governments implicated in the scandals will collapse – at least not exclusively because of corruption – the sheer scale of the social and political protest, not to mention legal action, is astonishing.The most shocking story has unfolded in Brazil. Late last year – at a time when discontent was already widespread, with protests against excesses and abuses in the preparations for last year’s World Cup having erupted in 2013 – the so-called petrolâo scandal hit. Huge sums of money, it was revealed, had been transferred directly, or via immense construction companies, from Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras to President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers’ Party.Whistle-blowers and protected witnesses provided details of the graft to Brazilian judges, who pursued Petrobras officials, politicians, and the CEOs of the corporations under investigation. Both Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, have been accused of graft and influence-peddling. Though Rousseff managed to hold onto power in the December election, which she won by a small margin, there is no denying that political crisis has engulfed Brazil, plunging the country into a deep recession.See: Rousseff’s horror movie may only get worse in 2nd halfIn Venezuela, accusations leaked by the United States government suggested that many of the country’s leaders – including Diosdado Cabello, the head of Congress and President Nicolás Maduro’s closest aid – had not only enriched themselves, but did so partly through links with Colombian drug cartels. With Venezuela’s economy deteriorating sharply, and violence and human-rights violations proliferating, Maduro has been forced to call elections for this coming December. Polls indicate that, despite a rigged electoral system, his party will suffer serious setbacks. He may even lose his majority in Congress. As of May 13, 29,000 people had signed up online to join a May 16, 2015 protest in Guatemala City to demand an end to government corruption. (Via Facebook)Guatemala’s situation is not as dramatic, economically speaking, but there is enormous pressure on President Otto Pérez Molina to resign, as corruption accusations fuel mass street demonstrations. Indeed, although Pérez Molina survived an impeachment motion this June, he may well not end up serving out his term, which ends next year. He has already been forced to accept the resignation of his vice president, Roxana Baldetti, and several Cabinet ministers.Mexico’s situation is more complex. The country has long had an unparalleled reputation for corruption. But, since the late 1990s – and especially after 2000, when the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had ruled for 70 years, was swept from power – Mexico has made significant inroads in combating the practice, at least at the federal level.While some feared that, when PRI returned to power in 2012, they would bring their corrupt old ways, others believed that President Enrique Peña Nieto was different. And, in some ways, the optimists were right; over the last three years, Peña Nieto has undertaken important, path-breaking reforms. But, when it came to corruption, they turned out to be very wrong – a fact that became apparent last year, when local and international media uncovered a raft of corrupt activities, from awarding contracts to friends to purchasing houses from the same friends at below market prices.In the wake of the revelations, Peña Nieto’s popularity plummeted. Though his party managed to hold onto its majority in the lower house of congress, it received only 29 percent of the vote, its lowest share ever. Calls for the president’s resignation have foundered, but the near-unanimous conclusion is that this government is Mexico’s most corrupt since the late 1980s.Many other Latin American countries are in similar situations. In Chile, Michelle Bachelet is facing the most important political crisis of her presidency, and perhaps since the return of democracy in 1989. It began with accusations of influence-peddling against Bachelet’s son and daughter-in-law, and continued with the emergence of other scandals, possibly involving Cabinet ministers and other aides. Bachelet tried to show voters she was taking the issue seriously, requesting the resignation of the entire government (though several key aides were either re-appointed or shuffled into new posts). In any case, her popularity ratings have dropped to remarkably low levels. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, right, attends the 2015 Copa América football championship final with Argentina vs. Chile, in Santiago, Chile, on July 4, 2015. Juan Mabromata/AFPAs Argentina’s presidential campaign heats up, charges – well-founded or not – will be leveled against outgoing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, whose net wealth surged over the 13 years she and her late husband ruled the country. Similarly, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s proposal to build an inter-oceanic canal in his country (with a shady Chinese businessman supposedly footing the massive bill, which could amount to anywhere between $55 billion and $100 billion) is largely believed – though without proof – to be a money-making scheme for his family.Clearly, Latin America’s immense strides in consolidating democracy over the last 30 years have done little to eradicate one of its longest-standing scourges. But it now has a renewed source of hope: its burgeoning middle classes, the product of 15 years of impressive economic and social progress. These new middle classes are demanding better governance, and they will not rest until they get it.Jorge G. Castañeda, former Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs, is Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University.© 2015, Project Syndicate  www.project-syndicate.org Facebook Comments Related posts:In Guatemala, anti-establishment presidential candidate benefits from corruption scandals In a hideaway for Brazil’s rich and famous, a new scandal emerges Lula’s bridge to nowhere hints at global reach of Brazil graft Corruption scandal stokes anger in bitterly divided Brazillast_img read more


Agriculture Ministry surveys populations consumption of fruits vegetables seafood

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican diet includes too much salt, processed food, experts say Costa Rica ranks healthiest country in Latin America Number of obese Ticos has almost quadrupled in four decades Costa Rica health officials confirm 2 new cases of H1N1 flu virus Costa Rica’s Agriculture and Livestock Ministry wants to know what’s filling Ticos’ bellies these days. The ministry launched a survey across the country this week to collect information on the population’s consumption of fruits, vegetables, fish and seafood.Staff from the ministry’s Agricultural Comprehensive Marketing Program (PIMA) are asking people what kinds of products they eat and how often in order to update the last “Consumer Trends Survey” conducted in 2013.PIMA officials estimate data collection and analysis will take three months. Results will be announced next year.The agency conducts the survey every two years and information is collected from adults and children. Surveys are conducted in homes and schools.Information collected in the study will be distributed to agencies in the education, health and business sectors.According to the last PIMA survey in 2013, preferred fruits among Costa Rica’s population were bananas, papaya, pineapple, oranges, apples and watermelons. The most consumed vegetables were tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, carrots and lettuce.Results showed that each Tico consumed an average of 156 kilograms of fruit per year, up from 136 kg recorded in 2009. Vegetable consumption also rose between 2009 and 2013, from 100.5 kg to 117 kg.As for fish and seafood, results in 2013 also showed an increase in consumption. The average Costa Rican ate 7.1 kg of fish that year, while in 2009 the figure was 5.3 kg. Each Tico on average ate 3.1 kg of seafood in 2013, up from the 2.1 kg recorded in 2009.Results from the new survey should reveal whether the trend towards eating more fresh food continues, or falls off, as some experts fear.Recent studies from both the University of Costa Rica’s (UCR) School of Nutrition and the Costa Rican Nutrition and Health Research Institute (INCIENSA) found that Ticos are increasingly choosing industrially-processed foods and drinks and fast food over healthier options.According to the Pan American Health Organization, Costa Rica this year ranks fifth in Latin America among countries with the highest consumption of processed food, behind Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.Public Health Ministry research last year also found that obesity is increasingly common in Costa Rica. Obesity affects 21 percent of children between ages 5 and 12, 15 percent of teenagers and more than 54 percent of adults. Figures for diabetes and other chronic diseases linked to poor eating habits are also high among Ticos.UCR professor Raquel Arreola told The Tico Times last month that investigations in recent years show that cookies, candy and other processed snacks are more frequently found in school lunches than fruit or other healthier options.Recommended: Costa Rican diet includes too much salt, processed food, experts say Facebook Commentslast_img read more


After Central America slog Cubans can expect US welcome

first_imgThe first 180 Cuban migrants, of nearly 8,000 stranded in Costa Rica, were set to fly Tuesday to El Salvador to continue an arduous journey through Central America and Mexico to new lives in the United States.The Cubans are part of a big wave of migrants leaving their Communist-ruled island over the past year for America, in the wake of a diplomatic thaw between Washington and Havana.Many say promised reforms and prosperity have failed to materialize and they are fleeing economic misery.Are the Cubans ‘illegal immigrants’ in the U.S.?No. Although they don’t have American entry visas, under a special U.S. law passed during the Cold War, the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, arriving Cubans can ask for permission — called a “parole” — which allows them to stay for a year, after which they can apply for U.S. permanent residency.Processing at a U.S. border post typically takes only a couple of hours and then they are free to enter, with many then joining the big Cuban community in Miami. They are given access to months of U.S. benefits and English lessons. Once U.S. residency is approved, they are allowed to work.How did they get stranded in Central America?Nicaragua — a Cuban ally — blocked their entry and posted soldiers on the border in mid-November. That resulted in a bottleneck that saw 7,800 Cubans get stuck in Costa Rica. Then Costa Rica in mid-December also refused to allow any more in, leading to 2,000 more Cubans also becoming stranded in Panama.The border closures — and the decision by Ecuador, their usual starting point in Latin America, to reimpose visa requirements for Cubans — means the overland route through Central America has become much tougher. But under America’s policy of intercepting and sending back any Cubans trying to cross to Florida by boat, many still see it as their best chance.Why are some countries being so difficult?Some Central American nations are nettled by the easy access Cubans get to the U.S. when many of their own citizens have to enter and stay in America clandestinely. That issue has become even more pronounced with a new U.S. operation started this month to raid homes looking for Central American migrants with deportation orders against them to send them home.Some countries, the more prosperous ones, also fear that the Cubans might end up living on their territory and not go to the U.S., putting a strain on their societies.Why are so many Cubans migrating?More than 43,000 Cubans entered the U.S. between October 2014 and the end of September 2015, according to data from the Customs and Border Protection agency obtained by the Pew Research Center. That was a dramatic 78 percent jump over the corresponding previous year.Many Cubans fear that the U.S.-Cuba thaw will see Washington scrapping its open-arms policy to them, though U.S. officials say no change is foreseen.Others, however, simply say that conditions under the government of Cuban President Raul Castro have deteriorated further, with no sign of hoped-for improvements. The state’s monthly salary of just $20 is insufficient to live on, they say.Some two million Cubans live in the United States.Read more of The Tico Times’ coverage of the Cuban migrant crisis‘Dusty-foot’ Cubans forgo rafts, choose land route through Costa RicaEcuador requires Cubans get visas to dissuade them from using country as springboard to USCentral American countries agree to safe passage for Cuban migrants marooned in Costa RicaReforms by Castro, Obama set stage for Cuban migration spike Facebook Comments Related posts:Desperate Cubans mass at Nicaragua’s closed border Cubans bound for US inch closer, arrive in Guatemala Cuban migrants storm Costa Rica-Panama border demanding to pass What the US can learn from its ‘Cuban immigration policy’last_img read more


Few cantons will enforce Costa Ricas dry law during the municipal elections

first_imgRelated posts:Former San José mayor Johnny Araya confident he will win his job back in Sunday’s election Costa Rica ‘victim’ of US-Cuban immigration laws, says President Solís Most Costa Ricans don’t vote in municipal elections. Will this year be different? Why are Costa Ricans voting? Because they can Of a total of 81 cantons in Costa Rica, only six will enforce a ban on alcohol sales during upcoming municipal elections on Sunday, according to the National Union of Local Governments (UNGL). That’s just over 7 percent.Three of the cantons are located in the capital: Acosta, Alajuelita and Montes de Oca. In the rest of the country, the dry cantons are Belén (Heredia), Atenas (Alajuela) and Cañas (Guanacaste).Costa Rica’s Liquor Law, updated in 2012, allows municipalities to choose whether or not to enforce a ban on liquor sales during public events such as elections, Easter Holy Week and Independence Day, among others. If municipal councils do not decide, the law defaults to allowing liquor sales.Prior to 2012, the dry law was mandatory. It was amended following complaints from several business owners and chambers, particularly in cantons where the tourism industry is the main economic activity. Owners argued that the dry law was bad for business, particularly for those that depend on foreign tourists. But few Ticos complained when the law was changed to allow liquor sales.UNGL Executive Director Karen Porras said the recent change to the law “reinforces the autonomy of local governments, allowing them to decide on what’s best for their communities” based on the priorities and traditions of each canton.The law allows municipalities to ban consumption of alcohol on public roads and in specific areas of the canton. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Costa Rica top outperformer in 2016 Social Progress Index

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica outscores US in 2014 Social Inclusion Index Medical marijuana in Costa Rica? The time has come, says La Nación Costa Rica marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women with calls for action World Bank: Zika will cost Latin America $3.5 billion in 2016 Costa Rica continues to prove that a country with a relatively low GDP can still offer its people a high quality of life, according to a recent study.The 2016 Social Progress Index, which tracks more than a dozen non-economic indicators in countries around the world, found that Costa Rica’s social progress is on par with most of Western Europe, despite having a per capita GDP closer to developing economies like Thailand, the Dominican Republic and China.The social progress score is divided into three general categories: basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing and opportunity. A higher per capita GDP generally correlates with a higher quality of life. But researchers found that Costa Rica outperforms countries like the United Arab Emirates, which has a per capita GDP of $64,563 compared to Costa Rica’s $14,232, on social progress indicators. Costa Rica overachieved relative to its per capita GDP more than any other country surveyed.Finland topped the social progress list, followed by Canada and Denmark. Costa Rica ranked 28th globally and second in Latin America and the Caribbean, just a few spots below Chile at 25th. The United States came in 19th place.Costa Rica scored well on nutrition, basic medical care, access to basic knowledge and personal rights. The report recommended improvements in personal safety, access to higher education, and health and wellness, especially obesity.Michael Green, the executive director of the Washington-based, nonprofit Social Progress Imperative, which releases the report, stressed that the social progress index is not a happiness index.“There’s been a lot of interest lately in these happiness indices, but what do you do with that information?” Green asked. “Eat more bacon? Watch more Borgen? We’re looking to tease apart what makes a society good to build a better one.”This is where a country like Costa Rica could offer lessons for other countries. Costa Rica stands out for going beyond meeting basic needs to guaranteeing more delicate, intangible goods like political rights, tolerance and personal freedoms.Costa Rica’s historical commitment to education and health care, and its abolition of the military are things that other countries in Costa Rica’s income group, including Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, South Africa and Thailand, could learn from, Green said.Improving social progress in these areas would require longterm political commitment from a country’s leaders. “This stuff takes time to build up,” he said.Almost one-third of the countries that performed significantly better on social progress than other similar-income countries were in Latin America and the Caribbean: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Jamaica, Chile and Brazil. Green said that the region’s commitment to social issues during the last 30 years has positioned it ahead of East Asia and Africa.Green said the social progress index is meant to compliment traditional indicators like GDP, not replace them. In the wake of the financial crisis, Green said it was clear that economic indicators were not sufficient tools to measure the quality of life in a country.He said the social progress index was designed as a tool to help policymakers identify priorities and track progress. Since its launch in 2014, the social progress index has been adopted by the European Commission and several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, to track social progress on a national or municipal level.The results of Costa Rica’s 2016 canton-wide social progress index will be presented on July 5.“Costa Rica has so much to teach the world,” Green said. “Let’s hope that more countries turn out more like Costa Rica.”last_img read more


Antonio Álvarez Desanti and the memory of bygone bipartisanship

first_imgNew poll in Costa Rica shows huge surge for evangelical pastor Facebook Comments Costa Rica has 13 candidates for the presidency; the elections are just days away, on Feb. 4, and the polls show a fairly wide-open field. This week, new contributor Carlos Andrés Madrigal take a look at the man who through much of 2017 was projected as the front-runner, but now faces a drastically changed field.Times have changed in Costa Rica. No longer do two political parties have a monopoly on governance. New groups have begun positioning themselves advantageously in various polls amid widespread rejection of traditional parties. In this context, Antonio Álvarez Desanti had shouldered the pressure of leading one of the most powerful political groups in the country, while attempting to make a new kind of electorate fall in love.During a challenging campaign slog, Alvarez has sought opportunities to return prestige to his National Liberation Party (PLN), one of the two protagonists of the country’s bipartisan past. All the while, he has faced harsh criticism from members of his party and outsiders alike.“I still don’t understand which Toño I must believe in,” said former Costa Rican president, PLN heavyweight and 2018 pre-candidate José María Figueres, while a crowd applauded on national television during the internal PLN primaries. “You’re an opportunist, Toño. You’ve been so all your life and will continue being so”Figueres pointed directly at Alvarez as he said those words, not knowing that months later, it would be the man across from him, “Toño” Alvarez Desanti, who would be their party’s candidate for the presidency.How to retrieve the PLN’s old glory? That’s what many liberacionistas ask, referring to the old days in which they were almost secure – the days when they were the party to beat.Saving what he once criticizedLife has its twists and turns. It wasn’t so long ago that Antonio Álvarez had harsh criticism of his own for the PLN, saying he wouldn’t tolerate its corruption any further. He publicly questioned the ex-president Oscar Arias and turned his back on the party he had represented as a Cabinet minister and legislator, all in order to run against Arias for the presidency in 2006.In 2017, he took on the task of uniting the party he had once refuted and accepted the support of the man he had criticized, Oscar Arias. The controversial pamphlet handed out by Antonio Álvarez Desanti describes his opposition against the gender ideology, same-sex marriage, abortion, and supports the MEP’s sexual education programs, church on Sundays and the family values. Via Antonio Álvarez Desanti’s FacebookFamiliar faces and questionings It was never going to be easy to unite the party and gain support in a sea of candidates. However, the challenges were only beginning to appear. Foremost among those was a face from Alvarez’s past and, today, one of his primary obstacles to the presidency: the lawyer and candidate for the National Integration Party (PIN), Juan Diego Castro.A long rivalry between the two men has played out on the campaign trail this year, with Castro gaining the upper hand as 2017 turned into 2018. How Juan Diego Castro is turning Costa Rica upside downcenter_img However, Castro wouldn’t be the only challenge. Alvarez also faced questions for a variety of positions and past activities.He has been questioned about his businesses, for apparent labor and environmental rights violations, about a controversy involving purchasing indigenous lands in Panama in an allegedly irregular manner, and for his opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, even in instances of rape.A complicated seasonAlvarez Desanti’s platform includes generating 150,000 jobs, creating a modern public transportation system and dealing the challenges of the country’s economy. However, one of his biggest aspirations has certainly been to refresh the image of his party, which today finds itself divided.On Sunday, he will join his counterparts in attempting to win the presidency in a Costa Rica in an electoral climate that has changed not only for Alvarez, but for all of the candidates – a Costa Rica in which bipartisanship has been left far behind. Related posts:Same-sex marriage issue shifts presidential elections in Costa Rica The heart of Fabricio Alvarado, part III: Evangelical growth ‘There’s a bigger family: the Costa Rican family’ PHOTOS: Final pre-election activities for Costa Rica’s candidateslast_img read more


What to do in Costa Rica concerts culture and love around the

first_imgRelated posts:After vibrant first weekend, International Arts Fest continues through April 15 What to do in Costa Rica in May and June 13’30 Restaurant hosts exhibit by Guatemalan artist Herssonoe Ballet performance raises funds for low-income patients and families With Valentine’s Day just behind us, it’s time to celebrate love in all of its expressions, as well as Costa Rica’s sunniest season, with a varied selection of events throughout February and March. Here’s a partial guide to upcoming events in Costa Rica.Feb. 14 – Feb 25, Hacienda Espinal, Alajuela: Cirque du Soleil will present its show Sép7imo Día, No Descansaré based on the music of Argentinian band Soda Stereo.Feb. 18, Barrio Escalante, San José: The Gastronomic Festival La Luz in Barrio Escalante, now in its sixth edition, serves up great music, food and a family-friendly environment.Feb. 22, Anfiteatro Coca Cola, La Guácima, Alajuela: The renowned Italian musician and singer Andrea Bocelli has planned a phenomenal concert alongside Costa Rica’s National Symphony Orchestra.Feb. 9 – March 9, Los Yoses, San José: If you’re looking for a lovely evening with friends, family or a date, the Cine al Aire in Los Yoses is your perfect choice. Enjoy independent films al fresco.March 2 – 11, Escazú, San José: The Little Theatre Group will present “True Reflections,” directed by Ann Antkiw, March 2-4 and 9-11. Friday performances are at 7:30 pm, while Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2:30 pm.March 7, Estadio Nacional, La Sabana, San José: Spanish singer Joaquín Sabina returns to Costa Rica for his Lo Niego Todo (I Deny Everything) Tour.March 15, Anfiteatro Coca Cola, La Guácima, Alajuela: The renowned U.S. band The Killers will be stopping by in Costa Rica for its Wonderful, Wonderful Tour. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Rights group investigate Palestinian police abuse

first_imgJERUSALEM (AP) – An American rights group is calling on the Palestinian Authority to investigate incidents where police beat protesters in the West Bank.The New York-based Human Rights Watch said in two incidents, Palestinian police beat Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Ramallah in June and July. The group said six people were hospitalized.The group said Palestinian officials conducted four inquiries but did not prosecute any of the police involved. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   center_img Palestinian security spokesman Adnan Damiri said Monday that some police were punished by their superiors but declined to say how many or how they were punished. He said none of the protesters filed complaints.Activists charge that beatings and torture by Palestinian security agencies are common.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more


Israels Barak hopes to extend political career

first_imgAssociated PressJERUSALEM (AP) – He’s been Israel’s prime minister, military chief, the country’s most decorated soldier and, for the past five years, its defense minister and moderate face to the West.Now Ehud Barak’s long and distinguished career might be coming to an end. He is unpopular with the public, and polls predict his Independence Party will barely make it into parliament in the Jan. 22 election, if at all. Most commentators predict his days in politics are numbered, but others say it may be too early to count the wily general out. Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist “There are many who have eulogized Ehud Barak, and most aren’t in politics anymore,” said Einat Wilf, a lawmaker in Barak’s party. “He’s the first who will tell you there are people who don’t like him. But we don’t have many leaders of his caliber, and people will consider that when they vote.”Barak, who did not respond to multiple interview requests, hopes to cling to the Defense Ministry whatever happens.If he doesn’t make it into parliament, he could still hang on to his job. Under Israeli law, Cabinet ministers besides the premier do not have to be elected lawmakers, and such appointments have been made in the past.“With so few potential leaders in the ring, he can still fill a role,” said Yossi Beilin, Barak’s former justice minister. “Therefore it is no surprise that Barak is still a great hope.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) He was crushed by hard-liner Ariel Sharon in a 2001 election, leaving behind a legacy of failed peacemaking with the Palestinians and Syria, despite unprecedented offers of sweeping territorial concessions, and a contentious decision to abruptly end Israel’s 18-year military occupation of south Lebanon. The overnight unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon created a vacuum that was quickly filled by the anti-Israel Hezbollah guerrilla group.Despite the dramatic collapse, Barak credited his wide-reaching offer to withdraw from nearly all of the West Bank and Gaza with exposing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s essential rejection of the peace offer _ a view endorsed by President Bill Clinton.Barak easily recaptured the leadership of Labor in 2007, replacing civilian Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who led a botched war in Lebanon the previous summer. But he remained personally unpopular and his party, which had led Israel to independence and governed it for its first three decades, had lost its public appeal.After leading Labor to an all-time low of 13 of 120 parliamentary seats in the 2009 election, Barak enraged his dovish base by joining a coalition government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who takes a hard line toward the Palestinians. Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosteronecenter_img “Barak is all alone now. He just has too many enemies,” said political analyst Hanan Kristal. “So why is he running? Is that how he wants to end his career? The only explanation is that he is a fighter, and a fighter doesn’t give up.”The 70-year-old Barak earned his reputation as a warrior through a military career that included commanding some of Israel’s most daring hostage release operations and raids.As commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, Barak led the 1972 raid on a hijacked Sabena airliner on the ground in Israel with the commandos disguised as airline technicians. A photograph of Barak standing on the wing in white overalls as the freed hostages were disembarking has become part of Israeli lore.The following year, he led a commando operation in Beirut, sneaking into the city disguised as a woman.A war hero hailed as a brilliant military strategist, he was once seen as a worthy heir to his mentor, the assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. But in politics, Barak rose and fell quickly.In 1999, just four years after retiring from the military, Barak became prime minister. Political allies and foes alike considered him aloof and imperious, resenting the go-it-alone style that served him in the military. His term lasted less than two years _ the shortest ever for an elected Israeli premier _ his government crumbling with the outbreak of a Palestinian uprising that followed an unsuccessful summit with the Palestinian leader and U.S. president. This strategy does not seem to be working. A new poll published Monday in the Maariv daily predicted Barak’s Independence Party would not receive enough votes to win even a single seat in parliament. The survey, conducted by the TNS/Teleseker agency, questioned 500 people and had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.Similar polls in recent days had forecast Barak would win a maximum of three seats. Under Israel’s system of proportional representation, the number of votes a party receives determines how many seats it controls in parliament.Last week, Netanyahu announced plans for an alliance with a party led by his hard-line foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, creating a superbloc that appears positioned to coast to victory.That partnership has fueled speculation that centrist and dovish parties may also join forces. But even that does not bode well for Barak, who has rocky relations with all the major candidates and whose party would likely lose its already small base of supporters to a larger bloc.Leaders of that potential bloc, however, are new political faces generally considered not experienced enough for the top job.Barak’s party is hoping that his experience will be his salvation at a time when the region is churning with popular dissent, civil war and, perhaps, war with Iran. His party’s election ads depict him gazing sternly above the slogan: “Ehud Barak _ because we need a responsible adult here.” Israeli hard-liners didn’t like him any better, accusing him of undercutting the West Bank settlement movement by withholding construction approvals, clearing squatters from West Bank homes and encouraging Netanyahu to support a now-expired, U.S.-initiated slowdown in settlement construction.Barak eventually broke away from Labor to form his new party, Independence, with a few junior allies. The party never resonated with the public, but Barak himself retained his clout in the Netanyahu government, acting as the prime minister’s point man to the United States. There, he was welcomed as a moderating influence on Netanyahu’s hard line toward the Arab world and Iran’s nuclear program.Yet even that alliance _ dating back to the 1970s, when Barak was Netanyahu’s commander in the commando unit _ seems to have suffered with reports that the two are at odds over whether to defer to the U.S. on any attack against Iranian nuclear facilities. Barak’s detractors in Netanyahu’s Likud Party want him replaced and have begun criticizing him openly.Ahead of elections, Barak is trying to carve out his electoral place in the center, by staking out more dovish positions on Iran and separating religion and state. Comments   Share   The vital role family plays in society Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img read more


Official No more preaching on Jamaican buses

first_imgKINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – Jamaica’s state-owned bus company is putting the brakes on lay ministers preaching to weary commuters.Transit company director Hardley Lewin has told his drivers to politely ask religious people to stop evangelizing to captive audiences on buses.He says customers have complained that they feel harassed by preachers who sometimes loudly evangelize on buses in the overwhelmingly Christian island of about 2.8 million people. Comments   Share   How men can have a healthy 2019 Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Parents, stop beating yourself up Prominent evangelical pastor Bishop Herro Blair says lay ministers should have first sought the company’s permission to preach on buses.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Sponsored Stories last_img read more


Quake kills 2 climbers injures 11 others on Malaysian peak

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments   Share   Sabah police chief Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman confirmed two fatalities but couldn’t give further details.Sabah Parks director Jamili Nais said several injured climbers had been brought down the mountain. Most of the 137 stranded people were cautiously trying to descend with the help of park rangers and guides, and some were expected to reach the base camp by early Saturday, he said.Some were foreigners, but it wasn’t clear how many.The climbing route was apparently blocked or made dangerous by rocks and boulders loosened by the quake and small aftershocks, Jamili said.Helicopters were unable to land because of bad weather and the high altitude, he said.The quake damaged roads and buildings, including schools and a hospital on Sabah’s west coast.State Tourism Minister Masidi Manjun tweeted that it also broke one of the twin rock formations on the mountain known as the “Donkey’s Ears.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck near Southeast Asia’s highest mountain on Friday, killing two climbers, injuring 11 others, and stranding more than a hundred people on the peak, Malaysian officials said.The quake was centered northwest of Ranau district in Sabah state on Borneo at a depth of 54 kilometers (34 miles), Malaysia’s meteorological department said.Local media said rescuers recovered two bodies from 4,095-meter Mount Kinabalu believed to be of a local guide and a 12-year-old female Singaporean student.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories The vital role family plays in society Sponsored Stories last_img read more


Obama Stepped up strategy against IS not yet ready

first_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories The fight against the Islamic State was among the issues discussed during Obama’s two days of meetings with world leaders at the Group of Seven summit in Germany. Earlier, Obama met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility ELMAU, Germany (AP) — President Barack Obama says the Pentagon is still working on a plan to accelerate the fight against Islamic State fighters in Iraq.Obama says “we do not yet have a complete strategy.” He adds that’s because the plan requires commitments from the Iraqis.Obama says one problem is a lack of Iraqi recruits in some areas where the U.S.-led campaign is ready to train fighters. He says another key is getting Sunni tribes to do more to counter the Islamic State. Obama says those tribes have had successes but not quickly enough. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more


Hungarys Orban says illegal immigration threatens Europe

first_img Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Speaking at a cultural festival in Baile Tusnad, Romania, Orban accused the European Union of failing to defend its citizens from the “masses of illegal immigrants,” who he said threatened the cultural identity of European countries and contributed to increased terrorism, unemployment and criminality.“For us, today Europe is at stake,” Orban said. “The survival, disappearance or, more precisely, the transformation beyond recognition of the European citizen’s lifestyle, European values and the European nations.”“The question now is not only what kind of Europe we Hungarians would like to live in,” Orban said. “Rather, will all that we now call Europe exist at all?”“It is clear that we can’t filter out the hostile terrorists in the huge crowds,” Orban said, adding that there had been a “drastic increase” in crime where illegal migrants lived.“We would like for Europe to keep belonging to the Europeans,” Orban said. “We want to preserve the Hungarian Hungary.”Most refugees who request asylum in Hungary quickly leave for other destinations in the EU like Germany or Sweden before their cases are settled. Orban has repeatedly said that Hungary does not want any migrants from outside Europe and has been granting asylum to just a few hundred annually in the past several years. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 0 Comments   Share   Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Quick workouts for mencenter_img “The really serious threats are arriving not from the war zones … but from the depths of Africa,” Orban said. “Northern Africa today can no longer defend Europe from the immense masses of people.”Orban spoke to mostly young supporters at the same cultural festival where a year ago he outlined plans to convert Hungary into an “illiberal state” such as Russia, China and Singapore. That idea, as well as his accusations that civic groups critical of his government were working for foreign interests, drew widespread criticism, including from President Barack Obama.This time, Orban lashed out mainly against the EU leadership in Brussels and left-wing ideology, accusing them of willfully supporting immigration to weaken Europe’s nations and their unique cultures.“The European left sees the problem of immigration not as a source of danger but as an opportunity,” Orban said. “They believe … that the escalation of immigration can extremely weaken or even eliminate the national structures.”Orban is in his third term as prime minister. He first led Hungary between 1998 and 2002, returning with a landslide majority in 2010 after Socialist-led governments were unable to solve the country’s growing economic problems. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Illegal immigration is a threat to Hungary and all of Europe, with the biggest risk coming from hundreds of millions of people from the “depths of Africa” looking to escape poverty, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Saturday.Over 90,000 migrants and refugees have reached Hungary so far this year and it is building a 4-meter (13-foot) high fence on its border with Serbia to stem the flow. While the government had set a Nov. 30 deadline, Orban said the fence would be completed by Aug. 31. Top Stories Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more


Lone Australian sailor welcomes call from QM2

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/27f70/” 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: C.F Lone Australian sailor, Jessica Watson welcomed a call from Queen Mary 2 Captain Nick Bates last week. Aged just 16 when she set out from Sydney last October, Jessica is on the homeward leg of her journey to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. Nick Bates called the young sailor when the Queen Mary 2 sailed about 600 miles to the South of her yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady, in the Indian Ocean. “We had a good connection and a bit of a chat and I was able to play it back over our PA system to all of our guests at my regular noon broadcast,” Captain Bates said. “It went down a storm with our guests, especially the Australians.” Jessica clearly enjoyed making contact with the Queen Mary 2, as she recorded her conversation with ‘Captain Nick’ in her blog. “I talked to ‘Captain Nick’ of the Queen Mary 2 over the satellite phone today as they passed well to the north of Ella’s Pink Lady,” Jessica reported. “They were headed from Perth to Mauritius and Nick passed on the best wishes of all the Aussie passengers and left me thinking a little longingly of all the luxuries on board the QM2.” At 10.23 metres long, Ella’s Pink Lady could comfortably fit on the back pool deck of the 345 metre long Queen Mary 2.last_img read more


British Airways faces another legal hurdle

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/23bdc/” 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> As if British Airways didn’t have enough problems already, a group of disgruntled customers in Canada have filed a class action lawsuit against the carrier, alleging it pocketed ‘tax’ money.According to the examiner.com, the plaintiff filed the legal action at the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver, claiming BA violated the Business Practices & Consumer Protection Act.It alleges the carrier disguised its “fuel surcharge” as a tax on the ticket, subsequently charging passengers up to US$450 per ticket in “taxes”. But instead of forwarding the collected money to the government, BA retained and converted the money for its own use.The lawsuit requests that the Court place a permanent injunction against the allegedly misleading and unlawful practice and force BA to refund all of the charges to consumers. If the Court certifies the class and passes a judgement, it may see BA refund all fuel surcharges to consumers who have purchased tickets in the past six years.center_img Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.Llast_img read more