Virtuoso says goodbye to cofounder and visionary leader Jesse Upchurch

first_img FORT WORTH — Former Virtuoso chairman Jesse Upchurch has passed away at the age of 93, leaving behind a legacy that includes a 50-year career in travel.The visionary leader passed away on Feb. 26, reports Virtuoso, who hailed Upchurch for “changing the way many experience destinations from Mexico to Africa to India”. Upchurch co-founded Virtuoso in 1986 with his son, current Chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch.“My father was a pioneer in this business, and I am forever grateful that he introduced me to the world and this industry at such an early age,” said Matthew. “He had a nose for knowing what the luxury traveller wanted, and it wasn’t necessarily the traditional refinement found in five-star hotels or transatlantic cruise liners. He knew the world offered more than that. His insatiable curiosity about the unknown, his passion for other people and their cultures, and his tendency to question conventional wisdom with a simple ‘why not?’ opened the door for others to experience countries that were not considered tourism-friendly yet. He left his mark on this industry that he loved so much.”The elder Upchurch’s career in travel began when he invested in Vagabond Cruises, a yacht-chartering company in the Caribbean’s West Indies islands. After realizing a market existed for both adventure and luxury travel, he built the first timeshare resort in Acapulco and purchased Turismo Antonio Perez and Hotels S.A. de S.V., a travel company and international hotel representation group.With the purchase of Percival Tours in 1962, Upchurch expanded operations into more exotic locales like the south Pacific and Asia. As chairman and CEO of Percival Tours, he successfully opened up tourism in markets previously considered only for the most adventurous traveller, such as Africa and India. He’s also credited with being the first to introduce air-conditioned motorcoaches for upscale guests.Upchurch was also heavily involved in conservation efforts as a founding member of world Wildlife Fund’s 1001 Club. In addition, he was a co-founder of the U.S. Tour Operators Association where he served as chairman, CEO and president.In 2000, Upchurch was named CEO of Virtuoso and he assumed the role of chairman in 2010.The family will honor Jesse Upchurch’s memory privately, and celebrations of his life in various communities will take place in the months ahead. Details for in-memoriam gifts will follow soon. << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: People, Virtuoso Thursday, March 1, 2018 center_img Virtuoso says goodbye to co-founder and “visionary leader” Jesse Upchurch Travelweek Group Sharelast_img read more

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Unique Vacations Canada adds two new members to sales team

first_img Share Unique Vacations Canada adds two new members to sales team Posted by Tuesday, August 28, 2018 Tags: New Hires, Sandals, Unique Vacationscenter_img TORONTO — Maureen Barnes-Smith, Director of Sales & Marketing, Unique Vacations Canada has announced the appointment of two new members to her Outside Sales team.  Both new team members will be based in Western Canada to work closely with travel agents, tour operators and tourist board partners in their respective regions.“I am extremely excited about the newest additions to our Canadian sales team, as they round out our full complement of Business Development Managers right across the country,” says Barnes-Smith.  “Western Canada has long been an important market for Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts and our commitment to the west has never wavered.” First up, Evan Chicheluk is joining the team as Business Development Manager, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario & Nunavut. Chicheluk joins Unique Vacations Canada with an extensive business and product management background in a variety of sectors. Based in Winnipeg, agents can contact him at 1-800-545-8283, ext. 4957 or (204) 914-1455, or email echicheluk@uvisandals.ca.      Also coming onboard is Donné Nixon as Business Development Manager, Alberta and NWT. She brings a wealth of sales and customer service experience in the insurance and automotive industries to her new position with Unique Vacations Canada, says Barnes-Smith. Nixon will be based in Calgary and can be reached at 1-800-545-8283, ext. 4951 or (587) 336-1841, or email: dnixon@uvisandals.ca. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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These adventurous cats probably travel more than you do

first_img Travelweek Group Share These adventurous cats probably travel more than you do Tags: Animals, Instagram TOKYO — Cats are known for their independent streak, which often affords them the luxury of staying home alone or venturing on walks by themselves. But two gutsy felines have taken their independence up a notch by becoming a fearless travelling duo in the Far East.Daikichi and Fuku-Chan, two rescue cats in Japan, have become the latest Internet sensation for their incredible love of travel. As the travelling companions of their human, Daisuke Nagasawa, the faithful felines have visited all of Japan’s 47 prefectures over the course of eight years.The idea to take his cats along on his travels came to Nagasawa in 2011, when he first started travelling for work. He missed them so much (and vice versa) that he vowed to start bringing them along as his trusty sidekicks.Since then, the wanderlust trio has gained a huge following on Instagram, where Nagasawa documents their travels with adorable snaps. Daikichi and Fuku-Chan can be seen posing in front of cherry blossoms, visiting Mt. Fuji, being lugged around in backpacks, checking out waterfalls and seeing the sights in baby strollers.We can’t wait to see where their travels take them next!center_img Posted by Friday, May 3, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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United Airlines extends cancellation of Boeing Max flights

first_img United Airlines is cancelling another month’s worth of flights with Boeing 737 Max planes that were grounded after two deadly accidents.United said Friday it has removed the Max from its schedule through Aug. 3 and will cancel about 2,400 flights in June and July as a result. It had previously cancelled all Max flights through early July.Southwest and American have already dropped the Max from their schedules into August.Boeing is making changes to flight-control software that investigators believe played a role in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people. The company is expected to soon formally submit its changes and a proposal for additional pilot training to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval.Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell said that his agency is conducting a wide-ranging review of the crashes that will guide its analysis of Boeing’s changes to the Max and additional training for pilots.“We are looking at everything,” Elwell said, adding that the list included pilot procedures, training and aircraft maintenance.Elwell said no final decision has been made on pilot training, and he declined to give a timetable for the agency’s review, saying only that the FAA won’t allow the Max to return to the skies until it is convinced the plane is safe.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesThe Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed government officials, reported Friday that the decision to review emergency procedures used by pilots on previous models of the Boeing 737 could contribute to delays in approving the Max’s return to flying. Those procedures include how pilots should respond when onboard computers push the plane’s nose down, the newspaper said.In a statement, Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers said, “We are working with the FAA to review all procedures.” He said the safety of the previous version of the 737, called the NG, “is not in question” after more than 200 million flight hours in over 20 years.The FAA held a meeting Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, with nearly 60 officials from more than 30 countries to explain its process for analyzing Boeing’s changes to the Max.In a setback to FAA’s prestige, other regulators around the world grounded the plane in March after the second crash without waiting for the FAA to do so. The FAA hopes that this time, other regulators _ some of whom are doing their own separate reviews _ will approve Boeing’s changes at the same time or soon after FAA does.“Our review of the Max design changes, the software upgrade, is already underway,” said Nicolas Robinson, the head of civil aviation for Transport Canada, that country’s counterpart to FAA.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backRobinson said, however, that it’s “difficult to put a time limit on that” because the length of the review will depend on how quickly Canada gets answers to questions it has about Boeing’s work.Robinson said that at Thursday’s FAA meeting in Fort Worth, some attendees put timelines on the review process but the consensus _ and the view of FAA _ was that “this is not about meeting a deadline, it’s about getting safety done properly. It will be done when we feel comfortable.”United’s decision to cancel more Max flights puts the carrier more closely in line with Southwest and American, the other two U.S. airlines with Max jets, which had already dropped the Max from their schedules into August.United is using other planes to cover some flights that had been scheduled with its 14 Max jets. However, the airline said that because of the Max’s grounding it will cancel about 1,120 flights in June and about 1,290 in July. By: The Associated Press Tags: Boeing 737 MAX, United Airlines Share Monday, May 27, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >> United Airlines extends cancellation of Boeing Max flightslast_img read more

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Cocos Island to have new hydroelectric plant

first_imgNo related posts. The Olivier River at Cocos Island will generate electricity for the area under an agreement signed Tuesday by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute and the National Power and Light Company.The river, which flows into the Chatham Bay, will be transported by 480 feet of tubes to a power plant near the coast. This is the second hydroelectric project on the island. The first has operated since 2003 in the Genius River.The project will cost ₡145 million ($287,000), to be provided by these three institutionsCocos Island has retained more than 98 percent of its original animal species, and is one of the four most biodiverse regions in Costa Rica. It has a total of 1,600 species, 216 of which are native, according to the United Nations Program for Development. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Would you like to franchise your small or mediumsized Tico business

first_imgRelated posts:Johnny Rockets opens third location in Costa Rica Local franchises look for investors at open house in San José Crate & Barrel to invest $4 million in its first Costa Rica store IHOP looking for investors to open in Costa Rica Ten Costa Rican small- and medium-sized businesses will have the opportunity to become national and international franchises if selected for a program hosted by the National Franchise Center (CENAF), part of Costa Rica’s Chamber of Commerce.The aid program was facilitated by an agreement between the Chamber of Commerce and the state-owned Bank of Costa Rica, responsible for managing funds for a national program called Banking for Development System.“The program aims to build 10 Costa Rican franchises by granting them funds of up to ₡12.5 million ($23,000) and expert advice for their businesses,” CENAF Director Karol Fallas said.The program is intended only for small- and medium-sized Costa Rican businesses that are able to demonstrate financial stability. Businesses must provide at least $5,000 for the franchising process.“They also must demonstrate they have standardized production or service processes,” Fallas added.Other requirements include demonstrating that companies fully comply with the country’s legal system, and brands must be legally registrated with the National Registry. Participants also must provide documentation of current legal and tax statuses, Chamber of Commerce President Francisco Llobet said.Business owners interested in registering their companies for the selection process must contact CENAF before March 28 by phone at 2221-0005 or by email at: schaves@camara-comercio.com or kfallas@camara-comercio.com. English-speaking staff is available.The 10 selected businesses will be announced at the end of April, Fallas said.“We hope to have new franchises ready for promotion at EXPOFRANQUICIA 2014, a regional fair to be held in Panama in September,” Fallas said.According to the Chamber of Commerce, Costa Rica’s franchise sector currently counts 233 brands, of which 44 are national and 189 are from other countries, mostly from the U.S. The sector in 2013 grew by 5.4 percent compared to 2012 figures. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Costa Rica prepares for night with Sir Paul McCartney

first_imgBeatles legend Paul McCartney performs during the opening concert of his “Out There” tour on April 19, 2014 in Montevideo, Uruguay. McCartney performs tonight in San José’s National Stadium. Doors open at 6 p.m., and show starts at 7 p.m., although Sir Paul likely will hit the stage much later. Findmore concert information here. Facebook Comments Related posts:Hard day’s night! McCartney rocks Costa Rica’s National Stadium Paul McCartney: All you need is love Costa Rican band 424 caps off year with new single, video and concert Nrmal Festival readies for takeofflast_img read more

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Victims issues come to the fore in Colombia peace talks

first_imgBOGOTÁ, Colombia – Farmer Elver Montano has a long tale of pain and uprooting to tell as Colombia’s peace talks turns to the 5.3 million victims of Latin America’s longest armed conflict.His eyes well with tears as he recalls the day, March 22, 2007, when a military operation forced him to abandon all his belongings in the town of El Charco.“There were 8,500 of us who just had to run for it, during a clash between the army and the FARC,” he said.Montano’s fate, and those of other civilian victims of the conflict, will finally get a hearing when negotiators sit down in Havana August 12 to begin discussions of how they should be compensated for their loss.What next for peace?It is the latest chapter in peace talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government that have been underway since November 2012.The conflict has claimed the lives of more than 220,000 people since 1958, according to the National Center for Historical Record, which estimates than more than 80 percent have been civilians.The attempt to close the book on the conflict has already reached consensus on aspects like the reintegration of the guerrillas to political life, rural development policies, and drug trafficking, which has helped fuel the conflict.Now negotiators are turning to the thorny issue of reparations for the victims, which aim to make amends for past abuses and settle old grievances.In Colombia, 5.3 million people have been “internally displaced” by the war, according to the U.N. High Commission on Refugees.Representatives of various victims groups have been chosen with an eye to “balance and pluralism” to directly participate in this phase of the peace talks, beginning August 16.“The FARC isn’t out there shooting against itself; they are at war with the state. But the ones who get hurt all the time are the civilians,” says Montano, a 60-year-old Afro-Colombian who now leads a group of displaced people from his region.His hands calloused and voice weary, Montano ekes out a living in Guapí, a dusty town in Cauca where more than 80 percent of locals have been displaced by the war. A woman holds pictures of relatives disappeared during the armed conflict in a ceremony commemorating the 15 years of the Mothers of the Candelaria, an association of relatives of people who were disappeared by armed groups, during the “White Night” march, as part of the week against Enforced Disappearance, in Medellín, Colombia, on May 30, 2014. Raúl Arboleda/AFPReparations for whom, when?More than 15,000 people — mostly Afro-Colombians and indigenous people — were sent fleeing for their lives in the 2007 military clash in El Charco alone.Reparations for victims like Montano are expected to be for deaths, abductions presumed to have resulted in death, rape and loss of land among other crimes.Montano is clear about what he wants. “No more people killed, and no more people gone missing who never come back,” he stressed.Truth and reconciliation Liliana Bustos’ patience ran out a long time ago.Not knowing what happened to her father, whom the FARC kidnapped in March 2000 in Villeta when he was on his way to pay a ransom for her kidnapped brother, continues to eat away at her.“We need to be told where they have buried our loved ones, so we can grieve once and for all,” she told AFP.For peace to last, you have to address victims’ rights, said Christian Voelkel, a Colombia analyst with International Crisis Group.“Reconciliation is only going to be possible if top-level parties responsible for the most serious crimes are held accountable, cooperate with a truth commission, and if victims receive some reparation,” he told AFP.Recommended: Q&A: Behind the Colombia-FARC talks Facebook Comments Related posts:Q&A: Behind the Colombia-FARC talks Colombia suspends peace talks with FARC after general kidnapped Colombia and FARC rebels announce major breakthrough in peace talks Colombia’s ‘discriminatory’ military draft under discussion as peace deal comes closerlast_img read more

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Tamarindo Art Wave Edition 2017 Enlight

first_imgRelated posts:Government interfering in Uber taxi services now? Welcome to The Tico Times’ all-day election coverage in Costa Rica PHOTOS: The annual Oxcart Parade in Atenas, Alajuela Jacob Babchuk Gallery launches exhibit at Juan Santamaría Airport Visit Tamarindo beach for En-light. It will take place on the Tamarindo Art Wave’s Blue Line, in Playa Tamarindo. Tamarindo is a famous beach community in Northern Guanacaste, also known for its breathtaking beauty and vibrant restaurant scene.Tamarindo is a truly exotic paradise that offers all the amenities of a Costa Rican beach town: surf, sand, good food, music and nice people all over. In Tamarindo, you will also find a three and a half kilometer stretch of white sand and warm blue water.NOVEMBER 29TH – DECEMBER 3RD 2017Some of the activities the organization would like to create for Tamarindo Art Wave 2017, as they have done in 2016:The Master PieceAn Artist will create a gigantic art piece, which will embellish and enrich the Tamarindo identity, using only found objects and scrap building materials such as cables, wood, roofing materials and glass.The Swell StageThe beachfront Swell Stage will highlight art through rhythm with live musical performances by Debi Nova, Manuel Obregón and many others. There will be contemporary and folkloric dances and a breathtaking aerial silk production blending light.Virtual NightVirtual 3D Sculptures will be created simultaneously in several cities throughout the world drawing attention from the worldwide art community.Artist ExchangeThe Artist Exchange will be an opportunity for visitors to connect with the participating artist in local restaurants, hotels, shops and private homes hosting special events specifically for one or more of the festival artists.Find out more on their website http://tamarindoartwave.com/edition-2017/ Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Comandante Macha the young woman with cancer fighting from the barricades in

first_imgWith a homemade mortar on her shoulder, a blue-and-white flag as a cape, and a gas mask to protect her from tear gas, Nahomy Urbina, 21, fights for a free Nicaragua. She does it from the San José school barricade in Jinotepe, Carazo. She spent days there, sleeping, eating, making friends.Nahomy could just be another protester, but something sets her apart: aside from fighting for her country, she’s fighting cancer. Doctors diagnosed her with lymphoma last December, but that hasn’t stopped her from taking to the streets since April 19, demanding that Daniel Ortega step down.She’s known as “Comandante Macha” or “La Macha.” They call her that because she has more male friends than female friends. She’s also one of the few women staying in the barricades.Last year, when doctors told her she had cancer, she felt her world fall apart, that everything was over. But that’s changed, she said, there are days when she doesn’t even feel sick or feel any pain.“A lot of people say, poor thing, you’re going to die, but I don’t like when they say that because I detest pity,” Urbina said.Mortars and chemotherapyNahomy is currently undergoing treatment. After surgery, she has to get 12 sessions of chemotherapy. She only had four to go as of June 22.“It’s been really hard and I want to thank everyone who’s been sending me nice messages. They lift my spirits because you get depressed after the [chemotherapy] sessions and those messages of encouragement help keep me here in the barricades,” Urbina said. There are days when she’s more tired, but she doesn’t give up the fight.“Comandante Macha” is already a known face. She’s from Diriamba, but everyone in Carazo knows who she is and now they know her throughout the country. Her story and pictures have done the rounds on social media. People have even made T-shirts with her likeness, carrying a homemade mortar. Aside from shooting mortars, something she learned how to do at protests in Managua, she leads demonstrations while shouting slogans into a megaphone. After surgery, Urbina has to undergo 12 sessions of chemotherapy. Mynor Garcia / La PrensaLosing fearUrbina says the killings on behalf of the government made her lose all fear. In the beginning, she just participated in protests. Then she started going to the barricades. She went in the afternoons and would go home at midnight. But as the attacks on protesters by paramilitary forces and riot police grew, she felt she had to support the cause more and sleep there, in the barricades.That’s what she did for more than a dozen days.In the beginning, her parents didn’t agree with what she was doing, but they support her now.“I understand that my parents worry about me, they even tried to punish me to protect me, but I rebelled and went back on the streets,” Urbina said.She’s received death threats on social media, but she says they don’t scare her because they just want her to give up the fight out of fear.“I don’t fear for myself, but I fear for my family and the guys, because they’re just kids, I call them my little puppies,” Urbina said.Like the thousands of protesters in Nicaragua, Nahomy is convinced that Ortega needs to go.“His ambition for power corrupted him and turned him into a murderer,” Urbina said. Until he leaves power, she says she won’t leave the barricades. Read the original story in Spanish at La Prensa, first published on June 22.This story was translated into English and republished in The Tico Times as part of a partnership with La Prensa to help bring their coverage of the Nicaraguan crisis to an English-speaking audience. Facebook Comments It’s been 100 days since Nicaragua’s heroic uprising startedcenter_img Related posts:US warns Nicaragua as more killed in unrest The Tico Times partners with La Prensa to bring more coverage from Nicaragua Three brothers jailed in Jinotepe for supporting protests with music Álvaro Conrado, the young martyr of Nicaragua’s protestslast_img read more

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Sudans Trench marks new border as rains approach

first_imgSouth Sudan’s oil fields _ which provide 98 percent of the country’s budget _ are now eerily quiet. The Indian and Chinese engineers who ran the south’s fields left weeks ago. Powerless high-tension lines run beside a dusty road, past mud and straw huts that provide precious shade from the scorching sun in the almost treeless, stark landscape.Somewhere to the north is the foundation stone, southern leaders insist, though even if the existence of the marker is proven it is unlikely to convince Sudan to give up its territorial claims.“The stone is somewhere in Kansana. We were in Kansana until late 2007. We didn’t know Khartoum was going to claim that place to be the north’s,” said Michael Chianjiek, the deputy governor of Unity State.In an attempt to show that Heglig is the south’s, Manyieuu Dak, the security adviser for Unity State, said that in his previous position as state health minister his workers carried out vaccinations in the Heglig region as recently as 2000.A former local politician said that when the south’s forces captured Heglig, they “didn’t burn the oil because it’s our place.”At the headquarters of the 4th Infantry Division outside Bentiu, Gatluak told a reporter on a recent day that all was quiet along the border. He noted that tanks can’t cross the ditch at Tachuien, which was dug by Sudanese forces. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean How do cataracts affect your vision? In recent weeks, Gatluak’s men have shot down two Sudanese aircraft _ a MiG fighter jet and a baby-blue unmanned spy plane that Gatluak said appeared to have been from Iran.When South Sudan broke away and became an independent nation last July, it took with it roughly 75 percent of Sudan’s oil industry. Last month, SPLA forces moved into the oil town of Heglig, site of Sudan’s last remaining large oil installation. Southern leaders say Heglig belongs to them even though a 2009 arbitration court ruling produced a map that showed Heglig remaining in Sudan, helping the country to cement its claim.But the south says a foundation stone laid by the British colonial government in 1956 proves Heglig is South Sudan’s. Since the stone _ if it exists _ lies in territory controlled by the Sudan Armed Forces, the claim is difficult to prove.Sudanese forces advanced on Heglig after the south captured it, and the southern forces fled 10 days after taking it. The new frontline has now been pushed to the south, to Tachuien, a bare spot on a bare dirt road.About 60 kilometers (40 miles) to the southeast is Bentiu, the capital of Unity State. Bentiu has a single paved road. Large streetlights hang overhead but they haven’t been lit since South Sudan shut down its oil production after it accused Sudan of stealing its oil. He sat under a tree outside his office. A baboon wandered by and troops reached out and petted it. It was a tranquil scene, but Gatluak does not think it will last.Even if the situation quiets with the coming of the rains, they will end after a few months. The ground will dry up. Tanks and troop transport trucks will be able to move again.One year from now, Gatluak predicted, the war will be bigger and more intense.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Brig. Gen. Abraham Jongroon Deng thinks the six-month rains will cool tensions.“They relax and we relax. We wait until December. It will stop the war,” Deng told an Associated Press team that visited the front lines.Lingering disputes over borders, oil and other issues led to heavy battles last month that threaten to re-ignite a decades-long war that ended when a fragile peace was forged in 2005.Even the rains are unlikely to bring hostilities to a complete halt. Political leaders and some commanders in the southern military _ the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA _ note that troops can still march over the soggy ground and Sudan can still deploy bombers, which have been carrying out periodic air strikes.A military patch on Maj. Gen. James Gatduel Gatluak’s sleeve shows the symbol of the 4th Infantry Division, and the reason the stakes here are so high: an oil well spouting black crude. The division is known as the SPLA Petrol Division.“I expect more attacks from Sudan. Even if they don’t come themselves they can send militias or attack from the air. The rain, it can stop the fighting, but not always,” said Gatluak whose face is a mask of tribal dots that is a tradition among the Nuer tribe. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familycenter_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Associated PressTACHUIEN, South Sudan (AP) – A trench dug across a red dirt road marks part of the shifting border this week between Sudan and South Sudan, old enemies whose forces have clashed in recent weeks. Truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns and 107mm rocket launchers lurk underneath the trees. New foxholes have been dug.America and other nations are trying to stop all-out war from breaking out between Sudan and the world’s newest country, but the weather might do more to dampen hostilities. The sky is a low-hanging gray, portending seasonal rains which will turn the earth into mud, impassable to tanks and trucks. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Life appears normal in Bentiu, even though its lone bridge _ a strategic military crossing point _ was targeted by Sudanese bombs last month that barely missed their target. Girls with baby-blue UNICEF backpacks walk the streets as U.N. vehicles rumble past. Trash _ plastic bottles, mostly _ is strewn everywhere. Six busted-up deep freezers are piled atop one another at one intersection.A handful of fighters from Sudan dart around in camouflage trucks. Chianjiek said they may be a part of an alliance of rebels known as the Sudan Revolutionary Front. Sudan has demanded that South Sudan stop assisting northern rebels. Their presence in Bentiu underscores how both sides support shadowy groups of militants to carry out fighting by proxy.The United Nations Security Council has told Sudan and South Sudan to stop fighting and return to talks or risk economic sanctions, something neither side can afford now that their respective oil industries have been crippled by the south’s January shutdown. South Sudan can no longer sell oil, while Sudan is losing the transit fees it charged the south for moving oil through the northern pipelines.Both sides have indicated willingness to follow an African Union plan backed by the U.N. that demands a cessation to fighting and a renewal of talks, said AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Comments   Share   last_img read more

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Former Elf CEO appears in Togo court

first_img 0 Comments   Share   Le Floch-Prigent was accompanied by his Togo Lawyer Rastico Lawson- Banku.The French businessman looked tired and refused to talk to the press as he was escorted into the judge’s chambers.The purported scam against Abass Al Youssef was for $48 million. Earlier, the businessman lodged a complaint against Togolese businessman Bertin Sow Agba in the case. Sow Agba is a cousin of former Togolese Interior Minister Pascal Bodjona, who was also arrested after the Emirati businessman implicated him in the scam.The case has rocked this small West African nation. In early September, hundreds of Bodjona’s supporters besieged police headquarters and were dispersed by police firing tear gas. Bodjona has been charged with being an accomplice in the financial scam and has pleaded not guilty.Le Floch-Prigent, who was convicted in France in several cases relating to his 1989-1993 tenure at Elf and handling of its finances, was extradited on Saturday from Ivory Coast. His court appearance in Togo was expected to happen on Monday or Tuesday.In the older cases of wrongdoing, an investigation in the 1990s revealed a system of bribes and kickbacks in Elf’s international business dealings. Elf later merged with another French company, and the new entity was renamed Total. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Associated PressLOME, Togo (AP) – Loik Le Floch-Prigent, the former chief executive officer of the French oil corporation Elf, appeared in a Togo court late Monday for a preliminary hearing on charges that he abetted efforts to defraud an Emirati businessman.Le Floch-Prigent was extradited to Togo from Ivory Coast over the weekend and has been held in custody.He arrived at the Palais de Justice in the capital, Lome, at 18:00 hours GMT where he heard to appear an Instruction Judge read the charges of financial fraud leveled against him and two other suspects by Emirati businessman, Abass Al Youssel. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Men’s health affects baby’s health too Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Quick workouts for men Parents, stop beating yourself up Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

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Fistfights tear gas sobs as Kiev tallies vote

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories The standoff at No. 223 began soon after polls closed Sunday when election monitors reported that district election officials had inflated votes in favor of Pylypyshyn. Central Elections Commission officials intervened and corrected some of the results. But district officials then started throwing out opposition votes over various technicalities.The deputy head of the district election commission, Anastasia Prymak, acknowledged that her commission initially reported incorrect figures, but claimed a computer malfunction was the cause. “It was a purely technical mistake. I don’t understand how that happened,” the distraught Prymak told The Associated Press on Friday.Prymak said she had slept on her office floor since the vote-count began and hasn’t bathed in three days. On Thursday, Prymak sobbed uncontrollably after she got into a melee between opposition and pro-government supporters as she tried to leave a vote-counting session.Olha Haharina, a member of Prymak’s commission, confirmed that her colleagues have tended to accept most votes in favor of Pylypyshyn and invalidate those of opposition candidate Yuri Levchenko, a 28-year-old British-educated economist. Haharina voted against those decisions, but was defeated by Pylypyshyn loyalists on the commission. Opposition leaders are threatening to take to the streets if the alleged vote-rigging isn’t stopped _ a potentially serious move in a country where massive demonstrations in 2004 forced the rerun of a fraud-ridden presidential election.Western observers have denounced Sunday’s election as unfair. They said the imprisonment of President Viktor Yanukovych’s arch-foe, Yulia Tymoshenko, and non-transparent vote tallying were a step back from democracy.With counting completed for most of parliament’s 450 seats, Yanukovych’s party and its allies appeared sure to have enough seats for a majority. But the opposition is intent on denying Yanukovych the two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution and is fighting for every seat in the legislature.The opposition claims its candidate in Kiev’s district commission No. 223 defeated the pro-government candidate, but that election officials are trying to inflate the winner’s tally and undercount opposition votes.The stakes are high for the government-aligned candidate Viktor Pylypyshyn, 51, a former Kiev district head who faces charges of abuse of office that prosecutors say cost the city nearly $2 million. Fearing imprisonment, Pylypysyhyn is desperate to get the immunity granted to Ukrainian lawmakers. Associated PressKIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Nearly a week after Ukraine’s parliamentary election, officials on Friday were still counting votes in eight key districts across the country, in what the opposition says was a clear example of widespread vote-rigging by the ruling party.The disorderly count has touched off Ukraine’s penchant for violent political passions. As the count dragged on at one election commission in the capital, fistfights broke out, tear gas was fired and an election official broke down in sobs. At another election commission in Kiev, police pushed the opposition candidate when he tried to approach a table where ballots were located and he broke a rib and finger when he fell. “Never in my life, have I seen such an outrage,” said Demchuk. “Even in the Soviet times, it never got this bad.”When vote-tallying finally began, emotions ran high.“You are engaged in direct falsification,” shouted Levchenko, the young opposition candidate. “You are all simply bandits!”“You are going to end up in jail, we guarantee you that!” yelled a Levchenko supporter, dressed in a traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt. “Your neighbors will come for you. You won’t be able to live in this country anymore!”“I cannot take this anymore, these threats, these insults,” yelled back a commission member.Central Election Commission officials said they hope to tally all votes by Saturday night, but one commission member suggested the contested individual races may have to be decided with a new vote.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   “Sometimes everything is done according to the law, but is still unfair,” Haharina said. “The dose of adrenaline I received during these elections is too high.”Volodymyr Serhiyenko, whose local election commission reports to No. 223, has been trying to register results from his polling station, which show Levchenko winning, since Wednesday night, but Prymak and her colleagues have refused to accept them without any explanation, he said.Chaos reigned in the small room at the district election commission where the 18-member body was tallying votes amid piles of brown cardboard boxes where election protocols were kept. One election monitor slept on the floor, next to a pile of sweets, and rolls of pink toilet paper brought by volunteers, using clothes as a pillow. Others dozed off on narrow wooden chairs.Most opposition activists and monitors looked visibly exhausted, having occupied the room for days in a bid to guard the ballot boxes. Outside, amid a heavy drizzle, opposition activists handed out pastry, candy bars and cups of hot tea, while police in full riot gear protected the building from a group of menacing-looking men.Rostislav Demchuk, an election observer affiliated with the opposition, said beefy young men from Pylypyshyn’s campaign once tried to steal a backpack where opposition activists were keeping photocopies of election protocols, leading to a brawl. On Wednesday someone fired tear gas during another melee between the two camps. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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Canada investigates bin Laden joke video

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Associated Press WriterTORONTO (AP) – Canada’s military is investigating the circumstances surrounding a video played during a formal dinner that featured an unidentified member of the Canadian Forces pretending to be Osama bin Laden’s brother, the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force said.Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Thursday that he was recently informed of complaints that the video was inappropriate and culturally insensitive. He said those involved may face administrative, disciplinary or corrective action. He said that while members of the Canadian forces are heroes, “like all of us, they are not infallible.”The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations said it is tragic that days before Canada is set to celebrate its military history on Remembrance Day “an ignorant prank threatens to cast a shadow on our heritage.”Ihsaan Gardee, the executive director of the council, said the organization is heartened by Blondin’s decision to launch an investigation.“We have full confidence that a thorough investigation will hold those responsible to account and send a strong signal that xenophobia and Islamophobia will not be tolerated,” Gardee said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The man playing bin Laden’s brother wears brown makeup, a turban, and speaks with a thick accent in a four-minute excerpt of the video obtained by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. A woman playing the role of a news anchor interviews the character, who jokes that his brother always gets all the credit for their work. He refuses to reveal where bin Laden is hiding.The video was shown at a mess dinner at 14 Wing Greenwood base in Nova Scotia in 2010. At the time, Canada was still involved in a combat mission in Afghanistan, which ended last year. About 950 Canadian soldiers remain in Afghanistan in a training, noncombat role.Blondin offered an apology to anyone who might have been offended and said the military has “zero tolerance for acts that do not reflect our Canadian values, especially the respect we owe to other cultures and religions.”Defense Minister Peter MacKay said he was awaiting the results of the investigation.“Religious and cultural tolerance are important and necessary components of any national and professional institution, including the Canadian Forces, and I know the contents of this video do not represent the wider military community and its leadership,” said MacKay. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

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Pope finishes Jesus trilogy with infancy narrative

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology The difference between men and women when it comes to pain New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like 0 Comments   Share   It’s a theme Benedict has insisted on throughout his pontificate: that in today’s increasingly secular world, more and more people think they can live without God. Benedict has focused much of his teaching on trying to reverse that trend, trying to revive Christianity in parts of the world where it no longer takes center stage or where it has been damaged by scandal.In his previous Jesus books, Benedict made some sweeping proclamations, for example exonerating the Jews as a people for Christ’s death in “Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection,” which was published in 2011.There are no such headline-grabbing declarations in the slim, 127-page volume, which Benedict wrote this summer during his vacation at the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo, while the Vatican was convulsed with the scandal over his leaked documents.But he makes a few key points, many of them concerning the importance of Mary in the whole of Christianity, particularly her obedience in accepting to bear Jesus as a virgin.Benedict insists on the uniqueness of Mary’s “virgin birth” of Jesus, dismissing similar Egyptian and pagan Greco-Roman myths as paltry in comparison to the “profound” reality of Mary willingly accepting the word of an angel that she would bear the son of God. Sponsored Stories Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The first two books, which topped the bestseller lists in Italy, dealt with Jesus’ public ministry and his death, leaving just Jesus’ birth to complete the series. More than 1 million copies are planned for the initial print run, just in time for Christmas.In the book, which the Vatican presented Tuesday, Benedict blends history, theology, linguistics and even astronomy to interpret the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which describe the months just before and after Jesus’ birth.Benedict’s findings: Jesus was indeed conceived immaculately to Mary and was born poor, in a stable in Bethlehem. Yet he was revered by even his first visitors who brought him gifts befitting a king _ the first visitors of what would become billions of followers.Benedict laments that despite all the evidence pointing to Jesus as the savior of mankind, he remains a contradiction today _ a contradiction that in the end is directed at God.“God himself is constantly regarded as a limitation placed on our freedom, that must be set aside if man is ever to be completely himself,” Benedict writes. But he insists: “God, with his truth, stands in opposition to man’s manifold lies, his self-seeking and his pride. God is love.” Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “Perhaps one could say that humanity’s silent and confused dreams of a new beginning came true in this event _ in a reality such that only God could create,” Benedict wrote.Benedict notes the poverty into which Jesus was born, forced to come into the world in a stable because there was no room for his parents at an inn. Benedict says that alone should cause Christians to reflect, as it points to a “reversal of values” found in Jesus’ figure.“From the moment of his birth, he belongs outside the realm of what is important and powerful in worldly terms,” he wrote.Yet Jesus’ first visitors were three wise men who brought him gifts for a divine king, as if they knew ahead of time the importance of this birth. Aside from the significance of their gifts, Benedict writes that the three represent the first followers who were drawn to Christ.“Not only do they represent the people who have found the way to Christ: they represent the inner aspiration of the human spirit, the dynamism of religions and human reason toward him.”___Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfield Associated PressVATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI completed his trilogy on the life of Jesus Christ with a new book on Jesus’ birth, insisting on its significance for Christians today and lamenting that God is still considered by many an obstacle to their freedom.“Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives,” hits bookstores in 50 countries on Wednesday, the third and final installment of a project the 85-year-old Benedict conceived a decade ago and began writing soon after he became pope in 2005.last_img read more

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Germans the biggest spenders when travelling

first_imgIt seems the Germans really love to travel, with a new report finding that they are the country which last year spent the most on travel products, forking out US$90 billion in total.Second were the Americans who as a nation spent US$79.9 billion, 4.4% higher than the 2008 figure, while the British came in third spending US$ 68.5 billion, also 4.4% higher, says online flight comparison site Skyscanner.“It will be very interesting to see how tourist spending changes since the downturn,” said Barry Smith, Skyscanner Co-founder and Business Director.“So far, the latest figures show that only the Japanese spent less on international tourism than the previous year… Meanwhile, it’s the Germans who remain the world’s biggest spending tourists, and there would have to be significant change for anyone else to catch up with them.”Amongst the top spenders China is growing the fastest, coming in at 5th and spending US$36.2 billion, the nation managed to jump 21.4% when compared to 2008 figures.Top ten spenders (compared to last year):1. Germany – $91.0 billion (+2%)2. USA – $79.7 billion (+4.4%)3. UK – $68.5 billion (+4.4%)4. France – $43.1 billion (+9.6%)5. China – $36.2 billion (+21.4%)6. Italy – $30.8 billion (+4.9%)7. Japan – $27.9 billion (-7.9%)8. Canada – $26.9 billion (+8.4%)9. Russia – $24.9 billion (+11.8%)10. Netherlands – $21.7 billion (+9.2%) <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1f504/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=132&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a238f441″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.Xlast_img read more

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Travel agents thoughts revealed in China Airlines Online Survey

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/27ad8/” 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 With respect to which airlines clients would prefer to fly with to the three aforementioned destinations, China Airlines ranked fourth for both Europe and Asia and third for North America. center_img Formosa Travel & Holidays (FT&H) and China Airlines have conducted an online survey, which reveals what Australian Travel agents really think about the major airlines.Running from February 10 -22, the ‘China Airlines Online Survey’ attracted almost 230 responses from travel agents across the country. All survey respondents went into the draw to win a return ticket to London flying with China Airlines – The prize was won by Shane Caffyn of Discovery Travel Centre last week. The respondents were asked which carriers their clients prefer to travel with to the respective destinations of Europe, Asia and North America. The results revealed an overall preference of passengers to travel with Singapore Airlines to both Asia and Europe, garnering 58 and 39 per cent of respectively. When asked for what reason clients would choose a particular carrier, 30 per cent considered the most significant factor was the brand image of the airline flying to Europe. 38 per cent thought flight schedule and flexibility were the most significant factors for airlines flying to Asia, this was followed by price at 28 per cent.Qantas garnered 50 per cent of the votes for clients travelling to North America, followed by V Australia at 28 per cent, with 40 per cent of respondents believing price is the biggest factor determining clients’ choice. With respect to all destinations, respondents said the airlines their clients preferred the least were Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Etihad.China Airlines fared surprisingly well against the larger, more established airlines given the airlines size, brand awareness and limited marketing capabilities.  When asked which airline respondents would recommend their clients to fly to London with, 36 per cent said they would recommend China Airlines, while 25 per cent voted Singapore Airlines and 20 per cent said Emirates.last_img read more

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Armed thieves rob Celebrity cruise tourists

first_imgPassengers from the ocean liner Celebrity Mercury were robbed at gunpoint en route to a famed tourist spot on the Caribbean island of St Kitts on Sunday (GMT-4).16 adults and one child were passengers on board a bus on the ship-sponsored outing, ‘Essential St Kitts’, and were on the way to Brimstone Hill Fortress when the bus stopped due to a tree blocking the road, Cruise Critic reported.As the bus driver exited the vehicle to move the tree, two armed men entered the bus and robbed the tourists of their wallets, cameras and jewellery.Celebrity Cruises assured that none of the passengers were harmed physically and that all seventeen passengers have since returned to the ship where they are receiving support. While Celebrity will still dock at St Kitts, the cruise line confirmed that the excursion ‘Essential St Kitts’ has been cancelled indefinitely, “pending the outcome of an investigation”. “We will work closely with law enforcement and government officials, which are taking steps to ensure the safety of everyone in St Kitts, including visitors,” Celebrity reportedly said in a statement. Local police are investigating the matter, but said in a statement that with over 500,000 cruise passengers safely disembarking in St Kitts last year, they are “committed to root out and expose the persons responsible”.”We deeply regret any type of incident that might tarnish our visitors’ experience.” According to the news source, as a direct result of the incident, the 17 November port call for the Grand Princess has been cancelled and replaced with St John’s, Antigua. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.Alast_img read more

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Tiger courthearing pushed back

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Tiger has dismissed reports that the carrier will return to the skies from 5 August, describing it as “speculation”.In a statement from the grounded-carrier, the carrier also informed that its day in court has received another adjournment, with proceedings expected to take place today pushed back to the 3 August. This is the second adjournment since the carrier’s original hearing with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia (CASA) was pushed back from the 28 July to the 1 August.“Tiger Airways Australia and CASA are currently in ongoing discussions regarding the suspension and see no utility in having a hearing today whilst these discussions continue,” a statement from the carrier read.“Tiger  Airways  Australia  flights  will,  by  virtue  of  the  adjournment,  remain  suspended  until  at  least  3 August 2011.”last_img read more

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Actions speak louder than words QTIC

first_imgThe Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) warns the Federal Government needs to back up their word with action to the state’s struggling employment sector and tourism industry.QTIC chief executive Daniel Gschwind said whilst the government has shown support to the manufacturing industry to prevent further job losses, nothing is being done to protect thousands of jobs in Cairns.“Tourism is one of Queensland’s top industries, yet we are seeing no action,” Mr Gschwind said.Mr Gschwind reported that figures show in 2008-2009 tourism provided for 220,000 jobs or ten per cent of the total employment in Queensland.On the back of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s acknowledgment last week that the government needs to ‘strongly engage’ with the tourism industry, Mr Gschwind said that this is “just the first step” in restoring Queensland’s struggling tourism industry.“Saying it needs to ‘strongly engage’ with the tourism industry is just not enough, the federal government needs to put real initiatives in place to ensure our industry is supported as much as other industries, such as manufacturing,” Mr Gschwind said.He said tourism operators have been forced to close their doors, as the industry continues to compete with the high Australian dollar which is driving domestic travellers to book overseas destinations instead of local holidays.“The boom in the resource sector is obviously the focus at the moment but we run the risk of further long-term damage to our economy and our regional communities if the government fails to recognise the significance of our tourism industry.” High Aussie dollar has encouraged travellers to look overseas for their holidays Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

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