<< Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — To tip or not to tip, that is the question. But to answer that age-old question once and for all for travellers, there’s a brand new interactive map that tells you just how much of a token you should leave behind in destinations around the world.Cheekily called ‘Tip Advisor’, the new online tool was created by Go Compare travel insurance, which evaluated data from 49 countries. With just one click on the map, travellers can learn what is considered customary tipping at restaurants and restaurants in countries as near as the United States to as far as Vietnam.In Canada, for example, the map says it’s customary to tip 15-20% at restaurants, and 5-10% if service is below par. In contrast, in South Korea, tipping is neither required nor expected at restaurants.Check out the map here: gocompare.com/travel-insurance/how-much-should-you-tip Friday, May 26, 2017 Posted by Share This map tells you how much to tip around the world Travelweek Group
MIAMI — We’ve heard of computer bugs, but computer snakes?According to the Miami Herald, a live python was discovered inside an external hard drive at Miami International Airport on Sunday. The live snake had been stuffed in a bag inside the computer hard drive, which was then hidden inside a checked piece of luggage bound for Barbados.TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz told the Miami Herald that upon discovering the organic mass on screen, a TSO bomb expert was called into the baggage screening room to investigate the hard drive. That was when the snake was discovered. World’s scariest computer virus? TSA discovers python inside external hard drive Thursday, July 12, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services were then called and took possession of the python. The passenger who tried to sneak in the slithering reptile was fined.More news: GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsNeither the passenger nor her snake made it to sunny Barbados.In other related news, the prequel to ‘Snakes On A Plane’ – ‘Snakes ALMOST on A Plane’ – is currently in pre-production (just kidding). Posted by Share Tags: Animals, Miami International Airport, TSA Travelweek Group
Travelweek Group Tags: Accorhotels, Acquisitions, Air France, Statistics Accor backs out of plans to buy stake in Air France-KLM Thursday, July 26, 2018 PARIS — Accor SA, which operates Raffles, Sofitel and Mercure Hotels, has withdrawn its plans to acquire a minority stake in Air France-KLM.The hotel giant announced back in June that it was considering a strategic alliance with the airline group as a way to expand its range of travel services and better compete against online giants like Expedia and Booking.com. These plans included partnering with French and European investors to buy a 14.3% holding in Air France-KLM.However, due to the fact that required conditions for the acquisition haven’t been met, Accor has decided not to further pursue its plans.“AccorHotels remains convinced of the strong potential for value creation of strengthened ties between hoteliers and airlines. However, the group considers that conditions for taking a minority stake in Air France-KLM have not been met at this stage and has thus decided not to pursue further this opportunity,” the company said in a statement.The airline group has been searching for a new CEO ever since Jean-Marc Janaillac’s sudden departure in May, reports Reuters. In an internal memo seen by Reuters, Anne-Marie Couderc, interim chairman of Air France-KLM, accuses AccorHotels for complicating the search for a new chief executive.More news: Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckAccor announced its withdrawal amid news of a 4.2% increase in first-half operating profit. It forecasts a further rise in profits for the remainder of the year. Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >>
Monday, February 11, 2019 Posted by Share Travelweek Group Save on 20,000 Sun packages with Transat before Feb. 18 Tags: Savings, Transat MONTREAL — Transat is inviting winter-weary Canadians to save big on 20,000 Sun packages currently on sale.The offer applies to South, Florida, Europe and Cruise packages booked by Feb. 18, 2019 for travel until April 30, 2019.Departures are available from several Canadian gateways, including Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, London, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec, Toronto and Victoria.From Montreal, for example, Hotel Pelicano in Cayo Largo, Cuba is priced at $929, taxes and fees included for seven days, departing March 15, while from Ottawa, seven days at Casa Marina Reef Resort in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic is going for $1,169, departing March 29.Cruise packages to Southern Caribbean with Costa Cruises and Pullmantur Cruises are also on sale, with prices from Montreal or Quebec City starting at $1,399, taxes and fees included.And for those wishing to soak up some rays in Europe, Transat is also discounting Europe packages to Albufeira, Portugal and Benalmadena, Spain, with prices from Toronto starting at $1,649, departing April 2 for 15 days. Departures from Montreal are also available.More news: Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksFor more information go to https://www.transat.com/en-ca/promotion. << Previous PostNext Post >>
Thursday, May 2, 2019 Strong exterior lights showcase the hidden colors of the deep as well as details of wrecks and other underwater sightsMultiple safety features are incorporated at every stage and include features such as automatically resurfacing in the unlikely event of a power outageMore news: Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & Mexico“Guests will embark on an awe-inspiring adventure to the underwater world. Volcanic pinnacles, sheer walls, majestic wrecks, a wide diversity of marine life and beautiful reefs lie waiting to be discovered,” said Scenic Neptune pilot Remy Izendoreen.The first sailing of Scenic Eclipse will be Aug. 15, 2019, an Iceland & Atlantic Canada sailing from Reykjavik to Quebec, followed by sailings down the eastern seaboard of North America. Scenic Neptune activities depend upon the conditions, incur additional costs, and are subject to availability. BOSTON & VANCOUVER — Scenic Eclipse has revealed never-before-seen images of the interior design and technology developed for its Scenic Neptune submarine.The Scenic Neptune is a U-Boat Worx Cruise Submarine custom-built for optimal sightseeing and capable of diving a depth of 300 metres with seating for up to six guests. Some of the key designs and features are:Up to eight dives per day at a speed of up to three knotsInternal climate control and a surround sound music system with a guest-focused structure to facilitate the ease of boarding and disembarkingControls designed for ease of management with the standard UIS (U-Boat Worx Information System) and display all pertinent information to the pilot via a large touchscreen monitorSeats mounted on platforms that swivel 280 degrees to allow near panoramic viewing without the need to turn the submarine Here are the first interior images of Scenic Eclipse’s submarine Travelweek Group Tags: Scenic Eclipse, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Submarine Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>
No related posts. Although the average Internet connection speed has tripled in Costa Rica in the last three years, it is still slower than the average speeds of other Latin American countries.According to a study by cloud platform provider Akamai, the average Internet connection speed in Costa Rica in the last quarter of 2009 was 0.7 megabytes per second (Mbps), compared to 2.1 Mbps last year, which is barely above the 2 Mbps target for minimum download speeds.The average peak connection speed in 2009 was 3.3 Mbps, which increased to 11.7 in 2012, a large leap.While those numbers are somewhat good news for the country, the bad news is they aren’t positive enough to rank well among the region’s other countries. Costa Rica ranks lower in average connection speed than Guatemala (3.1 Mbps), Chile (3.8 Mbps), Mexico (2.8 Mbps) and Colombia (2.7 Mbps). On average peak connection speed, Costa Rica ranks 74th globally.But the numbers are showing improvement. Average Internet speed has increased 11 percent quarterly and 43 percent annually, making Costa Rica one of the fastest growing countries in the region in terms of average Internet speed. If that pace keeps up, Costa Rica could jump from one of the slowest countries to one of the fastest.“You have to look at where you’re at, but also where you’ve come from. The year-over-year increases in Costa Rica have been really significant,” said Craig Adams, site leader at Akamai Costa Rica.SPONSORED LINK FROM AMERICAN DATA NETWORKS Fast Internet access is crucial for economic and social development, Adams said.“Akamai strongly believes that the Internet is a strategic asset for countries. Everything to do with enabling education, commerce, new business and jobs actually has a correlation to quality of life,” he added.Akamai opened an operations center in Costa Rica last November to help boost that development.“Costa Rica has a vibrant technical community, it has a highly educated workforce in technology, there are lots of languages spoken here, and it is a country that is receptive to foreign investment,” Adams said, describing the company’s decision to open a center here.Quicker AccessAccording to Costa Rica’s National Broadband Strategy, published by the Science, Technology and Telecommunications Ministry, improving broadband access can help boost productivity – especially in the export sector – and quicken the delivery of public services. It also leads to improvements in education, health care services and social inclusion, particularly in rural areas.In 2010, only 6.2 percent of Costa Ricans had access to broadband, compared to better numbers in Chile (10.5 percent), Mexico (10 percent) and Argentina (9.6 percent).Costa Rica has set a goal of 10 percent access and a minimum speed of 2 Mbps by 2014, increasing to 16 percent by 2016. If that goal is achieved, the country will be well positioned as a leader in the region.The goal includes not only improving broadband access in homes and businesses, but also in schools and health care centers across the country. Officials hope to reach 100 percent territorial coverage in the next three years.Gap Between Men and WomenAcross the globe, there is a gap between the number of men and women who have Internet access, especially in developing countries. A recent study by microchip maker Intel, the United Nations and the U.S. State Department noted that for every 10 men who log on, only seven women do. The study recommends doubling the number of women with access to the Internet in developing countries to 1.2 billion in the next three years.“Intel has been working for decades to improve education around the world, and Costa Rica has been no exception. If we can provide better tools for women and girls, the resources and opportunities that they need to achieve success, we can help transform their lives, their communities, the country and the world,” Intel Costa Rica’s Corporate Affairs Director Karla Blanco said.Providing access to an additional 600 million women by 2016 could help boost the annual per capita GDP in 144 developing countries to up to $18,000, the study noted. Facebook Comments
No related posts. Want to root for Costa Rica’s national team during its march to Brazil? Read this handy guide to learn what you need to know about tonight’s match against Jamaica (or just skip to number 6 for a funny video). The game starts at 6 p.m. local time.1. Costa Rican can qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Tuesday nightDespite leading the region, the Ticos need some help tonight if they’re going to clinch their first World Cup berth since 2006. In fact, La Sele’s best hope rides on the squad it just vanquished: the United States.Here are the scenarios:-If Costa Rica wins in Kingston, and the United States ties or defeats Mexico then the Ticos are going to Brazil.-If Costa Rica ties Jamaica, and the United States defeats Mexico and Honduras ties or defeats Panama then the Ticos are going to Brazil.-The Costa Rican squad also can book its ticket to Brazil if La Sele wins in Jamaica and Panama triumphs in Honduras.The United States plays reeling Mexico in Columbus, Ohio at the same time as the Costa Rican match. Panama takes on Honduras in Tegucigalpa an hour later. If Costa Rica fails to qualify today, the Ticos almost definitely will seize a World Cup berth during one of its final two qualifiers in October.2. Costa Rica has never qualified for the World Cup with a victory on the roadThe rule of thumb in Concacaf qualifying is that if win your home games and tie on the road, then you’ll make the World Cup. Not surprisingly, the three times Costa Rica has reached the World Cup (1990, 2002, 2006), the national team sealed up its spot in the tournament while playing in San José.It’s not easy to clinch a World Cup bid away from home, but La Sele certainly has a good shot to do so in Kingston.3. Costa Rica dominates teams from the CaribbeanOne reason Costa Rica crushes teams from the Caribbean is because Caribbean nations are not very good at soccer. Jamaica, being a Caribbean nation, has a history of playing soccer poorly.La Sele actually hasn’t lost to a Caribbean team in a World Cup Qualifying match since 2000, when Costa Rica endured 2-1 loss to Barbados. The team’s only defeat to the Reggae Boyz occurred in 1997. Jamaica qualified that year for the 1998 World Cup, its only appearance in the international tournament.Overall, the Ticos are 7-1-1 all-time against Jamaica in qualifiers. Costa Rica already shut out the Reggae Boyz, 2-0, in the Estadio Nacional last March. A upset at the hands of Jamaica — currently last in the Concacaf region — would be a huge disappointment.4. Jamaicans don’t really care about the World CupThe former British colony prefers more cultivated sports like cricket. Ho-hum. Or Jamaicans would rather watch the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt shoot by his competition. But soccer? Well, it’s hard to get Jamaicans excited about the Reggae Boyz.So far Jamaica has failed to sell out Tuesday’s match, even with tickets going as cheap as $15. Meanwhile Costa Rica will have a substantial presence at Kingston’s Estadio Nacional. Apparently, 1,500 Ticos are flying in to watch the match.5. Costa Rica will be without two of its biggest stars in KingstonDespite the apathy in Jamaica, the Reggae Boyz have talented squad and La Sele will be dealing with some problems of its own. Goalie Keylor Navas made some spectacular saves against the U.S. to help his team pull out the win. But he picked up his second yellow card of the qualifying round during a take down of U.S. player Fabian Johnson. That means Navas earned a one-match suspension. Patrick Pemberton will start in goal for La Sele.Forward Alvaro Saborío did not travel with the team to Jamaica, after he suffered an injury to his right left. The Real Salt Lake pro is one of the top scorers in Major League Soccer, but a torn calf muscle will keep him off the pitch for a couple weeks.Midfielder Christian Bolaños also will miss the match due to yellow card accumulation.6. Costa Rica’s best actor (and maybe best player) will be on the fieldRising star Joel Campbell earned some notoriety this weekend after the US national team highlighted a ludicrous flop. The winger leisurely strolled behind U.S. defender Matt Besler before suddenly falling to the ground and writhing in pain. Besler, who never touched Campbell, received a yellow card and will miss the Mexico match (ironically it’s a game that Costa Rica prefers the United States would win; see #2). See the Oscar-worthy flop here:The speedster showed that his skills extend beyond dramaturgy when he outraced two U.S. players to score the final goal in Friday’s match. Campbell perhaps has the most potential of any player on the Costa Rican squad.For what it’s worth, Costa Rica’s biggest star Bryan Ruiz soon will receive his own lessons in award-winning acting. At the recommendation of teammate Celso Borges, Ruiz has started watching the hit TV show Breaking Bad. Yes, he’s just beginning now. Please no spoilers.7. After missing out twice before, Costa Rica’s coach finally thinks he’s going to the World Cup“This time I will go,” announced coach Jorge Luis Pinto on Monday. It would take a massive collapse for Costa Rica to not qualify for the World Cup in one of its three remaining games. And you have to feel good for Pinto, who on two occasions has come oh-so-close to coaching a World Cup squad.In 2005, the Colombian was sacked in favor of Alexandre Guimarães (father of Celso Borges) before the 2006 tournament in Germany. In 2007, while coaching the Colombian squad, his team did suffer a massive collapse and missed out on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.Pinto isn’t partying just yet. But by 8 p.m. it might be time to break out the bubbly as Costa Rica celebrates its return to the World Cup.Tuesday’s Fixtures:At KingstonJamaica v Costa Rica 8 p.m.At Columbus, OhioUnited States v Mexico 8 p.m.At TegucigalpaHonduras v Panama 9 p.m.Concacaf Standings (W-L-D; 3 matches remain)Costa Rica 4-1-2 14 pointsUnited States 4-2-1 13 pointsHonduras 3-3-1 10 pointsMexico 1-1-5 8 pointsPanama 1-2-4 7 pointsJamaica 0-4-3 3 points(Top 3 teams advance to World Cup; 4th team plays New Zealand for berth) Facebook Comments
Related posts:Transport Ministry says Cañas-Liberia highway expansion will help local businesses, but residents are wary PHOTOS: American Colony celebrates US Independence Day at annual picnic Here’s why you shouldn’t miss Costa Rica’s International Book Fair Road to Monteverde closed starting next week Pamela Moffet Ferris was about to fly from the United States to Daniel Oduber Airport in Liberia, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, when suddenly she remembered: She would have to hire a taxi to her rented home on Lake Arenal. After all, there is no public bus that goes directly from Liberia to Arenal, and she would be arriving late. But when she ran an Internet search fortaxistas in the region, she struggled to find a single listing, or even a phone number.“I thought, ‘This is ridiculous,’” Ferris remembers. “There are at least four cab drivers in town, and none of them are online. And that’s where the idea came from.”Ferris and her husband Ron made a plan: They would create a website that listed local businesses in the Arenal area, which would help visitors to the region find them. The result is Lake Arenal Businesses, a simple site that aggregates numbers and addresses for local companies. The directory includes a wide variety of organizations and services, from hotels and pharmacies to construction and veterinarians.The Ferrises’ project addresses a common problem in Costa Rica, especially outside the Central Valley: Small businesses are often hard for foreigners to find online, even businesses geared toward tourists and travelers. While an enormous number of companies have a presence on Facebook, such listings are often hard to find on a regular search engine like Google or Bing. Phone numbers are often outdated, and in a country that generally lacks street addresses, precise physical directions can be a headache.Pamela Ferris works as a freelance copywriter and Ron works in the aerospace industry. After nine years in San Diego, California, the couple experienced some professional hiccups and wanted to try somewhere new. They sold their house and moved to Ecuador for three months. After they ultimately decided it wasn’t the ideal setting for the expat life they wanted, they moved to Costa Rica, making their home in the Lake Arenal region and meeting a variety of local people. “We really tried to immerse ourselves,” says Ferris. “We wanted to help. We thought, ‘How can we help them get online, so that the rest of us can find them?’”The task proved to be more challenging than they expected. In many cases, owners simply logged into the site, submitted their listing, and waited for manual approval from either Pamela or Ron. But in order to make the site comprehensive, the Ferrises decided to reach out to the community as well. They visited businesses on foot, carrying a GPS-equipped tablet with them in order to trace exact coordinates. Together they have indexed 54 businesses so far, covering a large swath of land from Nuevo Arenal on the north side of the lake to the western town of Tilarán. The Ferrises pose for a photo at Rio Celeste. Courtesy Pamela Moffet FerrisTheir project is young, and success has been modest. Pamela says the site has attracted between 200 and 350 page views per month, with virtual visitors from Costa Rica, the United States, and even Chile and Russia.The irony of their venture is that the Ferrises needed to rebuild their finances and recently moved back to San Diego to earn money. They continue to monitor the site from afar, as they hope to return to Arenal in fall of 2015.“We’re too young to retire, so we call it pre-tiring,” quips Pamela with a laugh. “We seriously thought, if [the site] takes off, we could add a page for different parts [of Costa Rica]. I think it would be an amazing service for the local communities.”“I absolutely love Costa Rica,” she added. “We’ll definitely be back.” Facebook Comments
Related posts:Strong earthquake on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific is felt across country Photos and videos from last night’s earthquake in Costa Rica UPDATED: Three die from heart attacks following Costa Rica’s Central Pacific earthquake UPDATED: Tropical storm causes deaths, flooding in Costa Rica and region Mi santa madre durante el #TemblorCR… pic.twitter.com/khf08NEu6o— Esteban Mora (@esteban1972) November 13, 2017 #TemblorCR Yo – bueno, me iré a dormirLa tierra – pic.twitter.com/fPjWxOwkuW— Stefan Maxwell (@xamnafets) November 13, 2017 Facebook Comments Much has been made for years – including in a recentNational Geographic cover story – of Costa Rica’s position at our near the top of various international happiness rankings. The methodology of those rankings is a discussion all its own, but I know one thing for sure: there’s nowhere else I’d rather be at the end of the world than Costa Rica.Why? Because I’ve yet to discover anything that this country can’t make a joke about, and am certain that as the zombie apocalypse sweeps the globe, the mushroom cloud appears and Preppers retreat into their bunkers, Costa Ricans would receive the disaster with as much calm and good humor as anyone possibly could, complete with something or other on the grill and some cold beers.What we might call “gallows humor” in English is a fine art in Costa Rica, and this tendency has been accelerated in this age of Tweets, memes and gifs. Earthquakes tend to put all of this on display, as many Twitter users acknowledged sheepishly last night after a large quake shook the Central Pacific coast and much of the rest of the country.Even as the country caught its collective breath, mourned two deaths, and relived many earthquake traumas that are certainly no laughing matter, many turned to humor as a form of release. From the #Cementazo to Johnny Depp to one TV reporter’s unfortunately chosen sweater, no one was immune.Repretel sportscaster Joseph Fernández (@Josephfv12) summed it up best. “Chronology of an earthquake a lo tico: Earthquake. Worried messages. Audio. Meme. Responses to the worried messages. Audio. Meme. Audio. Audio. Audio. Audio. Audio. Meme… Costa Rica in its fullest expression.”Here are a few more sights from around Twitter last night and this morning. Videos include some ripe language not appropriate for kiddoes.1. “My sainted mother during the #TemblorCR.” hola hice una recopilación de tipos de personas en un temblor porque no tengo nada mejor que hacer #TemblorCR pic.twitter.com/TNc7FFDhqw— Keisha Bianchini (@keibianchini) November 13, 2017 no les voy a mentir…#TemblorCR pic.twitter.com/lPjWrLe0el— Ran Barbossa (@Princeboy_Ran) November 13, 2017 2. “Me: Okay, I’m going to sleep. Earth: …” 5. And it’s not a real meme fest until Barack Obama turns up. Here, he’s the “after” portion of a before/after split screen labeled, “Me, during the earthquake. Me, now, with the audios and memes.” 6. We’ll wrap things up with some Costa Rican earthquake humor history: no earthquake or temblor can come and go these days without someone, or more likely dozens, posting this video of U.S.-Costa Rican TV personality Jill Paer reacting to a quake during a 2009 television interview. Then as now, a chance to poke fun at others, or ourselves, after a true scare, are an integral part of the Costa Rican temblor experience. 4. Brown pants figured prominently among the meme-iverse. “I’m not going to lie to you…” 3. User @keibianchini made a summary of how different people react to an earthquake, including “my mother yelling at me from downstairs,” “Facebook guy,” “Twitter girl” and navigation app Waze:
Every Sept. 15 since 1963, Rigoberto Vega Alvarado climbs to the top of Cerro de la Carpintera to plant a giant Costa Rican flag. Here’s the story of how one man started an Independence Day tradition in Cartago. Related posts:ICYMI: Costa Rica’s colorful long weekend PHOTOS: Good Friday Procession in La Unión, Costa Rica VIDEO: Check out the epicenter of Costa Rica’s annual Romería Independence torch travels through a fractured Central America Facebook Comments
Four benefits of having a wireless security system How men can have a healthy 2019 Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements JUBA, South Sudan (AP) – A U.N. body says one of its drivers has been shot dead by assailants in the South Kordofan state of Sudan.The World Food Program said in a statement released Sunday that driver Jamal Al Fadil Farag Allah, a Sudanese national, was killed in an attack by two assailants on Saturday. It said he was driving a fellow staff member who survived the attack near Hilat Yatu, about 80 kilometers (49.71 miles) north of Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan. Comments Share New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin condemned the attack saying it is unacceptable for humanitarian workers to face attacks while they are working on the front lines of hunger.Sudanese troops are fighting rebels, who were once aligned with what is now South Sudan, in Kordofan near the countries’ shared border. The U.N. refugee agency says hundreds of thousands of people have fled the conflict(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) – Brazil’s government has hiked import tariffs on 100 products to help protect domestic industry from foreign competitors.The move has increased worries the globe’s No. 6 economy will increase trade protectionism as its economy sputters amid the continued global slowdown.But Trade Minister Fernando Pimentel says hiking tariffs on most of the products to 25 percent is within Brazil’s rights as defined by the World Trade Organization. He says tariffs compensate for price differences on the products caused by continued doldrums amid the world’s top economies. Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments Share Parents, stop beating yourself up Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The list of products targeted ranges from potatoes to kitchenware to various industrial metal parts.Former Finance Minister Rubens Ricupero tells the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper that the measure taken late Tuesday is protectionist and will do little to support local industry.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top holiday drink recipes
LONDON (AP) – A cash-strapped authority in east London says it’s selling a valuable Henry Moore statue over the objections of leading British arts figures including director Danny Boyle.London’s Tower Hamlets Council said late Wednesday that “Draped Seated Woman,” which stood for years on a public housing complex in the city’s East End, would be sold “due to the massive government cuts we are facing.” 0 Comments Share Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Four benefits of having a wireless security system Moore, who died in 1986, was one of Britain’s best-known 20th-century artists; he sold the sculpture to the council’s predecessor in 1960 for a token price in order to enrich the lives of the area’s poorer residents.The statue’s estimated value ranges from 5 million pounds to 20 million pounds ($8 million to $32 million).(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean
Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 0 Comments Share Karim al-Nouri, a spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Units, said the name wasn’t sectarian.“This name has no sectarian dimension (or meaning) because all Iraqis, regardless of their sect or religion, love Imam Hussein,” al-Nouri said.A spokesman for Iraq’s Shiite militias said the operation would “not last for a long time,” and that Iraqi forces have surrounded Ramadi on three sides.New weapons are being used in the battle “that will surprise the enemy,” said Ahmed al-Assadi, who is also a member of parliament. He told reporters that another operation was underway north of the nearby province of Salahuddin.Plans called for the forces in Salahuddin to move against Ramadi from its northeastern side, al-Assadi added.The Anbar operation aims to cut off supply routes and recapture the outskirts of Ramadi first — not the city itself, according to provincial councilman Faleh al-Issawi and tribesman Rafie al-Fahdawi.They told The Associated Press there was ongoing fighting and airstrikes west and south of Ramadi on Tuesday, adding that more Sunni fighters will be armed starting Wednesday to fight the Islamic State.The sandstorm complicated efforts to retake the city, al-Issawi said. “There is zero visibility on the front lines and our men are highly concerned that they might come under attack by Daesh in such bad weather,” he said.Security forces and Sunni militiamen who had been battling the extremists in Ramadi for months collapsed as IS fighters overran the city.The militants gained not only new territory 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, but also large stocks of weapons abandoned by government forces as they fled.Carter said Sunday that Iraqi forces had “vastly outnumbered” the IS militants in Ramadi but “showed no will to fight.”Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said Carter’s remarks surprised the government and that he “was likely given incorrect information.”White House spokesman Josh Earnest defended Carter’s remarks, saying the Iraqi government acknowledged that the setback in Ramadi was the result of a breakdown in command and planning. Earnest added that the Iraqi forces in Ramadi had not benefited from U.S. or allied training.He praised Iraq’s announcement it had launched a major military operation to drive Islamic State from Anbar, adding: “I think that is a clear indication of the will of the Iraqi security forces to fight. And the United States and our coalition partners will stand with them as they do so.” New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The launch of the operation in Anbar came only days after U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Ash Carter, criticized Iraq’s forces, saying its troops fled the IS advance on Ramadi without fighting back, leaving behind weapons and vehicles for the extremists.Baghdad defended its troops and said preparations were underway for the large-scale counteroffensive in Anbar, involving Iranian-backed Shiite militias known as Popular Mobilization Units. That possibility sparked fears of potential sectarian violence in the Sunni-dominated province, long the site of protests and criticism of the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.The Shiite militias chose a religious name for their campaign, deepening those worries and drawing criticism from the Pentagon. The Popular Mobilization Units have named it “Labaik Ya Hussein,” which is Arabic for “I am here, Hussein” — referring to a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and one of the most revered figures of Shiite Islam.Warren called the title “unhelpful,” adding: “We’ve long said … the key to expelling ISIL from Iraq is a unified Iraq that separates itself from sectarian divides.” Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of the elite Quds forces in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard who has taken on an advisory role with the Shiite militias, lashed out Monday at U.S. efforts. The Iranian daily newspaper Javan, seen as close to the Revolutionary Guard, quoted Soleimani as saying the U.S. didn’t do a “damn thing” to stop the advance on Ramadi.“Does it mean anything else than being an accomplice in the plot?” he reportedly asked, later saying the U.S. showed “no will” in fighting IS.Al-Abadi had urged the Shiite militias to help retake Anbar province. The militiamen have played a key role in clawing back territory from IS elsewhere in Iraq, although rights groups and Sunni residents have accused them of looting, destroying property and carrying out revenge attacks — especially after government forces recaptured Tikrit last month. Militia leaders deny the allegations.The participation of the Shiite militias in the Anbar operation risks exacerbating tensions that arose amid retaliatory sectarian killings that roiled Iraq in 2006 and 2007. Distrust of the Shiite-led government runs deep in Anbar, where U.S. troops fought some of their bloodiest battles since Vietnam and only succeeded in rolling back militants when Sunni tribesmen and former insurgents rallied to their side as part of the Sahwa, or Awakening, movement in 2006. After the U.S. troop withdrawal, Sunni anger at Baghdad has grown steadily. ErrorOK ErrorOKBut as a sandstorm descended across the region, there was no sign of any major engagement against the extremists, who have been gaining ground in the province west of Baghdad despite U.S.-led airstrikes.A Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, said Iraqi forces have begun “shaping operations” and “security zone interactions,” which he described as probing and reconnaissance actions that would precede any major combat in or around Ramadi.The Iraqis have begun moving forward from their base at Habbaniyah, and IS fighters likewise are probing in the direction of Habbaniyah, Warren said. He added that he could not confirm that the Iraqi forces have surrounded Ramadi.The Islamic State — also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, and Daesh in Arabic — seized large parts of Anbar in early 2014 and captured Ramadi earlier in May. Iraqi forces, which had been making steady progress against the extremists in recent months with the help of the air campaign, scored a major victory in recapturing Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit last month.Elsewhere in Anbar province, the Islamic State group last week captured the Iraqi side of the key al-Walid border crossing with Syria. Those gains followed the IS seizure of the ancient town of Palmyra in Syria. Top Stories ___Associated Press writers Sameer N. Yacoub in Baghdad and Robert Burns and Jim Kuhnhenn in Washington contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top holiday drink recipes Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Patients with chronic pain give advice Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The vital role family plays in society BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq vowed Tuesday to retake Anbar province — now mostly held by the Islamic State — by launching a large-scale military operation less than two weeks after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of the extremists in the provincial capital of Ramadi.The operation, which Iraqi state TV said was backed by Shiite militias and Sunni pro-government fighters, is deemed critical in regaining momentum in the fight.
Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Comments Share Sponsored Stories Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Yet Yellen has left little doubt that the Fed is preparing to raise short-term rates by year’s end from the near-zero lows it set at the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. With the U.S. economy and job market now steadily rising, the need for ultra-low rates to stimulate growth is fading.“Our economy is in a much better state,” Yellen told Congress earlier this month. “We’re close to where we want to be, and we now think the economy can not only tolerate but needs higher rates.”The economy still faces an array of threats, from subpar U.S. manufacturing and business investment to troubles in Europe and Asia, which have roiled financial markets. Inflation also remains below the Fed’s target rate. And while the unemployment rate, at 5.3 percent, is nearly normal, other gauges of the job market remain less than healthy. Pay growth remains generally sluggish, for example, and many people are working part time because they can’t find full-time jobs.Yellen has stressed that when the Fed begins to raise rates, it will do so only gradually. The idea is to avoid weakening an economy that’s still benefiting from low borrowing rates resulting from the Fed’s policies. She has suggested that raising rates in small increments, followed by pauses, will let the Fed assess the effects of slightly higher rates. Economists who think the Fed will act in September point not only to low unemployment but also to signs of strength in such areas as housing and consumer spending.“The economy has a lot of momentum, and if you don’t start raising rates off zero, then it will be hard to curtail that momentum and inflation will become a problem down the road,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.There’s also some concern that prolonged ultra-low rates may have begun to inflate dangerous bubbles in stocks, bonds or other assets.Concern about igniting an overreaction in financial markets is a key reason economists think the Fed will show extreme caution in raising rates. Stocks and bonds suffered sharp declines in 2013 after the Fed initially mishandled its communications about when it would begin slowing a bond purchase program that was intended to keep long-term rates low.“The situation could be volatile,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial. “I believe the Fed is going to raise rates once, most likely in September, and then wait for some time before raising them again to judge market reaction.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. FILE – In this July 16, 2015, file photo, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen prepares to testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Federal Reserve policymakers meet Wednesday, July 29, 2015, to set interest rates and release a statement. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)n WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is moving toward raising interest rates from record lows — just not likely yet.On Wednesday, when it ends its latest policy meeting, Fed officials will issue a statement that will be parsed for clues to just when the first rate increase since 2006 might occur. The meeting will end with a policy statement but no news conference by Chair Janet Yellen.Though many economists foresee the first hike coming in September, they don’t expect this week’s policy statement to clearly signal the timing. Yellen has stressed that the decision will be driven by the latest economic data. The Fed still wants to keep its options open. Although the September meeting, when Yellen is set to hold a news conference, is seen as the most likely time for a rate increase, some analysts think the Fed might wait until December.“The recent volatility in the global economy and financial markets has given the Fed pause,” said Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at the Martin Smith School of Business at California State University, Channel Islands. “I think the probability of a rate hike in September has diminished because the Fed is going to need more time to evaluate how the U.S. economy is doing. December looks like a good possibility.”During Yellen’s testimony to Congress this month, some Democrats urged her to consider delaying a rate hike given that inflation remains below the Fed’s 2 percent target. The Fed has typically raised rates when it perceives a need to prevent inflation from getting out of control.Part of the slowdown in inflation, though, reflects a plunge in oil prices over the past year, which will reverse itself once energy prices rebound.The Fed is closer to achieving its other main goal: Maximizing employment. The unemployment rate is at a seven-year low, and over the past three months, U.S. hiring has averaged a robust 221,000 a month.
Charlie Minn, the director of the documentary, said film will explore the effects that the mass abduction had on both U.S. and Mexican governments.“This film effects both countries,” he said. “The issues in the U.S. and Mexico (are) causing a lot of the murders in Mexico.”Mexican officials said the men were traveling to Iguala to hold a protest when they were stopped by police, leading to an ensuing confrontation. An official investigation concluded the students were arrested, handed over to a local mobster organization and presumably killed.Officials believe the abduction was staged by both the Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez and his wife, who were arrested a month after the mass kidnapping.Two students were confirmed dead in November 2014 after several plastic bags containing human remains were found by a river in Mexico. So far, 80 suspects have been arrested in connection to the case, 44 of which were police officers. Your browser does not support the audio element. LISTEN: ’43’ documentary debuts in Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility PHOENIX — A documentary exploring last year’s disappearance of 43 college students in Mexico will debut in two Arizona movie theaters on Friday.“43” will explore the circumstances surrounding the September 2014 disappearance of 43 male students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in Mexico.Starting on Friday, the documentary will play for a week at two Harkins Theatres locations: Valley Art in Tempe and Spectrum 18 in Tucson. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Comments Share Top Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice Sponsored Stories In this March 26, 2015 file photo, drawings of some of 43 missing rural college students are surrounded by flower petals, forming the shape of a heart, during a protest marking the six-month anniversary of their disappearance, in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File) Check your body, save your life
Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has revealed an ambitious 5-year plan to expand its portfolio across Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Middle East from 12 to 50 properties.The Anantara group currently operates 12 resorts in Thailand, the Maldives, Bali and Middle East.Last year, the group debuted the Anantara Baan Rajprasong in Bangkok (April), the Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara in the Liwa Desert, Abu Dhabi (October) and the Anantara Lawana in Koh Samui, Thailand (November).Marion Walsh-Hédouin, Group Director of Public Relations for Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas told e-Travel Blackboard that the group expects to launch seven new resorts by the end of 2011.Scheduled to open in January 2011, the Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives will feature 78 spacious over-water and beach suites and an underwater dining experience showcasing the idyllic location of the Indian Ocean.Next year will also herald the launch of the Anantara brand in China with the opening of Anantara Sanya Resort & Spa and Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa. Also opening in 2011 will be the Anantara Uluwatu Resort & Spa in Bali, Anantara Al Madina A’Zarqa Resort & Spa in Oman, Al Barari by Anantara, Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and Al Yamm by Anantara, Sir Bani Yas Island.Ms. Walsh-Hédouin also revealed the hotels openings which are in the pipeline for 2012 these incude: the Anantara Mahabalipuram in Chenai, India, Anantara Emei Mountain, Anantara Marrakech in Morocco and Anantara Mogador, Morocco. Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives
Source = Shoal Bay Resort & Spa Shoal Bay Resort & Spa wins double gold and a bronze award marking 2011 as the most successful year in the history of the Resort at the NSW Tourism Awards. The annual NSW Tourism Awards were held on Thursday night at The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour where the Shoal Bay Country Club Hotel, the cornerstone of the award winning Shoal Bay Resort & Spa, was announced as the Gold Award Winner for the Best Tourist Pub in New South Wales for the second year in a row. Shoal Bay Resort & Spa was also announced as Gold Award Winner in the category of Meetings & Business Tourism and Bronze Award winner for Deluxe Accommodation.The 2011 NSW Tourism Awards marks the second year that the category of ‘Tourist Pubs’ has been judged. The category was open to pubs that significantly contribute to the tourism experience within their region. The focus of the award is that both the facilities and services enhance the tourism experience for domestic and international visitors. With a history spanning more than 77 years the Shoal Bay Country Club Hotel, located on the white sands of Shoal Bay by the entrance to Port Stephens, is a pioneer when it comes to the Port Stephens tourism industry. The Country Club Hotel is a treasure trove of history surviving war and fire to become the corner stone of today’s award winning Shoal Bay Resort & Spa.Steeped in history, the Country Club Hotel remains the entertainment capital of Port Stephens and one of the most popular places for socialising on the East Coast of Australia. The Gold Award win at the 2011 and 2010 NSW Tourism Awards recognises the Country Club Hotel’s contribution to the Port Stephens and NSW Tourism Industry, as well as its involvement in history shaping events that contribute to the authentic pub experience that guests from near and far enjoy year after year. Gary Bourke, Country Club Hotel Manager is delighted with the recognition; “I am so proud to receive this award again on behalf of the fantastic team at the Country Club Hotel. In such a highly competitive industry and tough market environment it is a great honour to receive this recognition from Tourism NSW. We have a unique offering which has proven itself over the years and are focused on continually improving our guest’s experience. Their repeat patronage and strong word of mouth promotion of the Hotel is the secret to our success.”Rebecca Smith, Marketing Manager for Shoal Bay Resort & Spa was thrilled to receive the Gold Award for the Meetings & Business Category on behalf of the Resort. “This cements the Resorts position as a market leading Meetings and Conference Venue in NSW. The extensive facilities and services offered by Shoal Bay Resort & Spa and spectacular beachfront destination allow the Resort to cater to the needs of Conference Groups and Business Travellers all in one place. We are incredibly proud to be part of such a beautiful part of the Mid North Coast and the Hunter and to represent this region at such a distinguished level. The success at the 2011 NSW Tourism awards is a testament to the Country Club and Resort’s longstanding history. Our continued commitment to promoting Port Stephens and the Resort as the ideal holiday destination and most versatile Meetings & Conference facility in this region is rewarded by this recognition. Being successful at the NSW Tourism Awards encourages us to raise our expectations and services even further and to strive for bigger and better things to come. With our recently refurbished rooms as well as upgrades being undertaken throughout the Resort in 2012 we look forward to continued success”.This outstanding recognition for the Resort marks the culmination of the most successful year on record after winning multiple tourism awards at a local, regional and now state level.Presented by Tourism NSW, in conjunction with the Tourism Industry Council NSW, the Awards ceremony and Gala Dinner is the largest and most prestigious event on the NSW Tourism calendar. Award finalists were selected after a three day judging process by a panel of NSW tourism industry experts and Awards sponsors.
Chef Jusman Seared Tuna …… Dava, the lotus-shaped fine dining restaurant at AYANA Resort and Spa Bali, has been awarded a place in the 2013 Miele Guide, the prestigious selection of Asia’s best chefs and restaurants. The Miele Guide was created in 2008 to better recognize and celebrate Asia’s best chefs and restaurants. The annual publication evaluates restaurants across the region based on four rounds of judging to ensure credible, transparent results that accurately reflect the opinions of the dining public and the region’s most respected restaurant critics. Results are based on several criteria including quality of the food served, ambience of the restaurant, and level of service. Chef de Cuisine Jusman So thanked the dining public who voted for Dava. “It is such an honor to see Dava voted into the Miele Guide. I am grateful to Dava’s guests for their support and loyalty, the fact that they return time and again is so rewarding especially given that Bali has an established fine dining scene with world-class chefs and restaurants.”He said the Dava experience is not just about the cuisine. “I am blessed to have the best team of chefs backed by excellent service professionals at Dava and the Martini Bar. Dava is about much more than the food, it is also about how it is served and the whole ambience and philosophy here is a hive of creativity and genuine passion. This environment gives me as a chef the freedom to create my own masterpiece, a platform to do what I really enjoy doing in terms of creativity and providing a unique dining experience for guests.” AYANA’s Executive Chef Giordano Faggioli congratulated the Dava team: “This is a testament to Jusman So’s leadership and ability to inspire his team to new heights in modern European cuisine, with the highest level of service to ensure a unique experience for every guest.”Jusman is one of Singapore’s most critically-acclaimed chefs, most notably voted as Rising Chef of the Year at the 2008 World Gourmet Summit and as founder-chef of the city-state’s much-lauded Sage restaurant (Miele Guide 2011). Before Sage, Jusman was at the Harbour Grill & Oyster Bar at the Hilton Hotel Singapore. His style is grounded in classic French technique and delicate balance of flavors, resulting in food that is distinctly European, yet light and refreshing to suit Bali’s tropical climate. As Chef de Cuisine at Dava, he has hosted some of Asia’s top chefs including Justin Quek from The Sky on 57 and chef-restauranteur Willin Low of Wild Rocket; launched unique experiences like the Surprise Menu; and hosted VIP events such as a black-tie La Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner (for which he and his colleagues received a Certificate of Excellence for outstanding cuisine from the La Chaine des Rotisseurs organization). His next initiative is relaunching the nightly Degustation Menu to feature 100% locally-sourced ingredients, organic wherever possible, to promote sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption. “My aim is to reduce our carbon footprint by using local ingredients and energy-saving cooking methods, without compromising on quality,” Jusman said. The a la carte menu continues to use both imported and local ingredients, while this 100% local Degustation Menu is a small but significant part of the resort’s Eco Hotel commitment, and reflects the next stage in the evolution of Dava’s culinary team who embrace new concepts to challenge creative limits.Team DAVA chefs Source = AYANA Resort and Spa Bali