first_imgMerit Travel Group ready for international growth with H.I.S. deal Posted by Tuesday, December 13, 2016 Share Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — Merit Travel Group’s agreement with Japan-based H.I.S. Co. Ltd. will provide “enhanced scale and scope for continued leadership” with Merit founder Michael Merrithew overseeing international acquisition and growth strategy, according to the company. A spokesperson for Merit confirmed that Merit’s founders intend to maintain their ownership share for the long term and operate the business day-to-day.H.I.S. Co. Ltd., based in Japan, is a leading travel company with more than 300 retail locations in Japan and 200 branches in 130 cities around the world. H.I.S. began selling package tours in 1981 and received its general travel agency license in 1986.Under the agreement, H.I.S – Merit Travel will leverage the Merit brand, particularly in North America, to grow its travel business through strategic acquisitions around the world.“Merit has been a leader in the Canadian travel industry for more than 25 years, and in this time has developed a strong portfolio of brands focused on the wholesale and retail specialty leisure travel market, corporate travel management and loyalty program travel services,” said Merrithew. “The agreement with H.I.S. Travel provides our company with the resources required to compete and win in the global travel business, while extending the Merit Travel brand around the world.”More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterLed by founders Michael Merrithew and Louise de Grandpré, the Merit Travel Group team will continue to operate the business while benefitting from the global scale and scope offered by the H.I.S. partnership.Merit began operations in 1991 and grew to become one of the largest independent travel companies in Canada. More than 450 Merit travel professionals advise over 350,000 Canadian travellers every year. Merit Travel Group operates many specialty travel brands including Merit Travel, Travelcuts, MeritBiz, Merit Loyalty and Exclusive Tours. Tags: Merit Travel Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: Carnival Cruise Line, Florida, New Terminal We are ‘Go for Launch’: Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 3 breaks ground Posted by Tuesday, March 19, 2019 Mari Gras, the cruise line’s newest and most innovative ship, will be the first cruise ship in North America to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). It will feature a wealth of amenities and services, including the first roller coaster at sea, 20 passenger decks, six theme zones of fun, the first restaurant at sea created by famed chef Emeril Lagasse and the Ultimate Playground.After a special eight-day cruise to the Caribbean on Oct. 16, 2020, Mardi Gras will commence year-round, seven-day cruises on Oct. 4, 2020, alternating weekly to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Eastern voyages will take Mardi Gras to San Juan, Amber Cove and Grand Turk, while Western sailings will travel to Cozumel, Costa Maya and Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan).center_img PORT CANAVERAL, FL — Outer space met the deep blue sea at a groundbreaking ceremony for Port Canaveral’s new Cruise Terminal 3 complex, slated to be the home of the new Mardi Gras ship beginning in 2020.Port Authority Commissions and Carnival Cruise Line executives gathered at the new terminal – dubbed the Launch Pad – for a ceremonial groundbreaking complete with a space theme and a ‘pre-launch mission’ news conference. The ‘Go for Launch’ event theme was a nod to the Port’s key role with the U.S. space program and the terminal’s futuristic design, which was inspired by nearby Kennedy Space Centre. The US$163 million terminal – the largest in the Port’s 65-year history – is scheduled for completion in May 2020 and will be ready for the arrival to Mardi Gras in October 2020.“We began our operations from Port Canaveral nearly 30 years ago, coincidentally with our original ship of the same name,” said Carnival President Christine Duffy. “We’ve had a great relationship with Port Canaveral during that time and we’re proud, honoured and excited that our newest and most innovative ship, Mardi Gras, will sail from the new Terminal 3. We are pleased to be the port’s number one cruise line and Mardi Gras promises to be a spectacular addition to the Space Coast.”More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterUpon completion, the terminal will feature a high-tech baggage processing facility and a state-of-the-art check-in and security area on the second floor, as well as kiosks and seating for 1,700 guests. The six-storey, 692,000 square-foot parking garage will accommodate 1,800 vehicles. Tweet << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

first_imgPANAMA CITY – Looters ransacked shops and stoned vehicles in Panama City on Friday following protests outside the Congress against a law that permits the sale of public lands in a duty free zone.Dozens of hooded assailants stormed through the streets around the capitol building, attacking congressional guards and smashing store windows and parked vehicles with stones.Local television showed images of looters making off with television sets, stereo equipment, appliances and alcoholic beverages.The eruption of violence followed a protest by members of a construction union against the new law, which President Ricardo Martinelli has promised to rescind.Heavily armed police intervened after a half hour of chaos, making mass arrests to restore order.“We are concerned by the turn that this situation is taking,” Irving Hallman, head of Panama’s Chamber of Commerce, said in a television interview. “There is no justification for vandalism by those who are trying to take advantage of the situation.”Protests have flared since Oct. 19, when Martinelli signed a law allowing the sale of public lands in the free trade area in the city of Colón.Three people were killed in the first eruption of violent protests in Colón immediately after the law was signed, and the city has been paralyzed by strikes since then.Protests also have spread to Panama City and the border area with Costa Rica.Martinelli, who was flying home from a trip to Asia, promised in a Twitter message Friday to introduce a bill repealing the land sale law in its entirety.“The law sought the best for Colón but it had little acceptance. We will proceed with its definitive repeal. We want peace and tranquility for all,” he wrote. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

first_imgThe Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) soon will be launching a new advertising campaign in 1,345 movie theaters across the United States and Canada to promote the country’s most important tourist attractions.The ICT signed a contract with international advertising agency 22 Squared, the ICT said Wednesday at a presentation with local tourism operators.In a press release, ICT said the plan gives continuity to the “Gift of Happiness” campaign that is currently being aired in these two countries. That ad campaign was developed by the same agency.Screenings will continue through early 2014 in theaters in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Palm Beach, Dallas, Houston, and Montreal.The plan also includes the creation of an iPad app called “Go Costa Rica,” and the posting of information on social platforms Pinterest and Instagram.The messages aim to increase visits during the green season, which in Costa Rica runs May-October, and to promote tourist destinations in the capital, San José. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY — GuatemalanNobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú on Friday lamented the impunity that surrounds the massacre of indigenous people by the military in the north of the country 37 years ago during the civil war.“Today marks 37 years of impunity and oversight by the Guatemalan justice system of the Panzós Massacre, which took place on May 29, 1978,” Menchú said in a press release.During the massacre in Panzós, a town located 275 kilometers north of Guatemala City, 53 people died in the town square when the military stopped a public demonstration by farmers who sought to reclaim their lands.Members of the military stashed the bodies in a truck belonging to the municipality and moved them to a place near the public cemetery, where they used a tractor to dig a mass grave and buried the bodies.“Survivors fled in every direction, some to the mountains, others towards the river, and some starved to death while others drowned as they tried to cross Polochic River in overloaded boats,” added Menchú, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.“We demand that the authorities end impunity for the grave human rights violations perpetrated during the internal armed conflict,” Menchú said.The massacre was one of the first recorded during the war that raged in Guatemala from 1960 to 1996, leading to the death or disappearance of 200,000 people.A report drafted by the United Nations in 1999 declared that the military is responsible for 93 percent of human rights violations committed during the conflict.The report documented 669 massacres during the war, of which 626 were attributed to the military.Related: Guatemala high court paves way for new genocide trial against ex-dictator Ríos Montt  Facebook Comments Related posts:For justice in Guatemala, ‘2 steps forward, 1 step back’ Guatemalan ex-police chief handed 90 years over embassy raid The military powers behind Guatemala’s comedian presidential front-runner Landmark sexual slavery case in Guatemala examines use of rape as weapon of warlast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Let the gas prices climb, but give us electric cars Obama to pledge $3 billion for new UN climate change fund ‘Stop eating Nutella’ urges French environment minister Police seize 20,000 contraband avocados at Panama border The saga of what some have called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history passed a milestone on Thursday. BP, the company in charge of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded a mile above the Gulf of Mexico seafloor five years ago, announced that it has reached a comprehensive agreement with the federal government, as well as the states and the municipalities that were affected by the 3 million barrels of oil that gushed into the water.The amount of BP money that will flow into Gulf Coast restoration over the next two decades is prodigious. Both BP and the government deserve credit for heading off a nasty and prolonged legal battle. What we still don’t know — and may not know for a very long time — is the extent of the damage the spill caused.The multinational oil firm will pay an additional $18.7 billion over the next 18 years to settle various environmental and economic claims stemming from the accident. A rough estimate of BP’s total bill is now available: over $50 billion, according to Bloomberg Business, which is more than the company previously set aside to cover the costs of the accident. Under a law passed after the spill, most of the new money will go to the gulf. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican whose state stands to reap nearly $7 billion, promised on Thursday to fund a program to stop coastal erosion.President Barack Obama determined in 2010 to demand accountability from BP without bankrupting the company. The latter goal served two purposes: maintaining BP’s capability to pay claims and maintaining the United States’ attractiveness to foreign investors, making clear that disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon spill would not be used as pretext to suck them dry. The upside for BP in Thursday’s settlement is that the company has essentially agreed to a payment plan, spreading its financial commitment into predictable and manageable chunks.Though BP’s legal battles are nearly over, the effort to assess and restore the gulf is not. The company claims that the gulf’s ecosystems have been remarkably resilient, and there is truth to this. The region is not in the dire state that anyone watching oil spew into the water five years ago might have anticipated. But environmental groups and the government say it’s too early to tell the full effects. The Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees, who are charged with estimating how much harm occurred, warned this year that it’s “inappropriate as well as premature” to make any firm conclusions. But, they added, “From decades of experience with oil spills, we know that the environmental effects of this spill are likely to last for generations.”From here, the challenge will be ensuring that federal, state and local authorities spend their money well, concentrating on the most pressing environmental problems facing the gulf.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgThe number of hectares burned in wildfires inside protected lands so far this year is the highest since 2014, the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) reported this week.Between Jan. 1 and March 21 a total of 25 wildfires destroyed 317 hectares of forests, pastures or grasslands inside national parks, natural reserves and other protected areas.Environment Ministry (MINAE) records state wildfires in the same period of 2014 destroyed 117 hectares. The figure rose to 134 in 2015 and to 209 last year.The most severe impact occurred at protected areas along the Pacific provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas. The Central Pacific has the worst numbers as five fires in this region consumed 144 hectares, according to SINAC’s report.Protected areas in the Chorotega Region —that comprises Guanacaste and Upala in Alajuela— followed in second place. Eight wildfires in the northwestern region have destroyed 111 hectares.Seven wildfires in the Brunca Region, that includes protected areas in the South Pacific, have burned 62 hectares so far this year, and are third in SINAC’s damage report.Human actionSINAC’s report states “100 percent of the wildfires inside protected areas occurred because of people’s negligent or premeditated actions.”The main causes are fires started to clear farmlands and that went out of control. Also fires started by poachers and bonfires lit by vacationers in open fields.Coordinator of SINAC’s National Commission on Wildfires Luis Diego Román Madriz told The Tico Times that they are concerned about the increase in the number of hectares burned during the current dry season.“We’re still in March and the number of burned hectares usually spike drastically in April and May,” Román said.“Many farmers, for example, burn grasslands in May because rains usually begin that month and that fact usually cause a huge spike in wildfires, that in many cases extends to national parks and other natural reserves” he added.Costa Rica has extensive legislation from MINAE and the Criminal Code stipulating monetary fines and prison time for provoking a wildfire inside a protected area. “Sanctions apply both for arsonists or for those who accidentally start a fire inside protected lands,” Román said.Environment Ministry laws stipulate monetary fines up to ₡3 million ($5,300) for people found guilty of starting a wildfire.They also could face charges under the country’s Forestry Law that provides prison sentences ranging from two months to 3 years for accidentally or intentionally starting a wildfire.In case a fire provokes injure or death of people, suspects will face criminal charges that could result in convictions of up to 20 years in prison. An Environment Ministry report on wildfires states the main causes are fires started to clear farmlands and that went out of control. Also fires started by poachers and bonfires lit by vacationers. (VIA Guanacaste Conservation Area/SINAC)A matter of evidenceThe main issue environmental officials face is that “proving or presenting compelling evidence against the alleged suspect of setting up a wildfire is very difficult,” Román said.Park rangers have legal authority to detain a suspect and file a criminal complaint before a Judicial court. “But they need a strong evidence or witnesses, and that’s not always easy to find,” he said.Yet a conviction not always represent a punishment. Román recalled that a farmer in Southern San José was convicted last year to three years in prison for a wildfire that he started inside his property.“He, however, was given probation because he didn’t have any criminal records,” he said.The Agriculture and Livestock Ministry grants farmers permits for burning pasturelands, just as long as they comply with a series of measures to prevent the fire from expanding to nearby areas.However a large number of wildfires result of the action of farmers that keep burning their lands without a permit, meaning, without following the appropriate safety measures, Román said.Extended dry seasonSINAC reported that current weather conditions are playing a key factor in the increase in figures of hectares burned by fires.Costa Rica is currently amid the dry season, which usually runs December-May. “Strong winds, high temperatures and low relative humidity are causing a desiccation of the grasslands, and this facilitates conditions for a rapid expansion of blazes,” Román said.Forecasts from the National Meteorological Institute state that the dry season this year could even extend to June in some areas along the Pacific region.“We’re somehow afraid of the possible consequences of those weather previsions in the number of wildfires this year,” he said.SINAC officials are asking the population to avoid lighting bonfires. Also ask farmers to reduce grassland burnings or, at least, take all required provisions of the law. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rican court orders effective protection for Corcovado National Park Wildfire burns more than 1,200 hectares of mountainous areas west of San José Alleged gold miners end protest at Corcovado National Park Municipal project to build cableway to Chirripó’s peak faces oppositionlast_img read more

first_imgReal Madrid’s first foray into the January transfer market will be to snap up Athletic Bilbao’s promising goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Madrid-based sports daily Marca reported on Monday.Arrizabalaga’s contract expires in June, meaning he could leave Bilbao for free at the end of the season.However, Real Madrid plans on beating any competition to the 23-year-old’s signature by paying his 20 million euro ($23.5 million) buyout clause.“When the winter window opens, [Madrid] will pay the 20 million buyout clause to evade the risk that [Arrizabalaga] is punished for not renewing his contract by not playing and loses the chance to go to the World Cup in Russia,” said Marca’s report.Arrizabalaga, 23, is understudy to Manchester United’s David de Gea for Spain and made his senior international debut in November’s 5-0 friendly win over Costa Rica.“We will try everything possible so that Kepa stays here, but shortly there will be a definitive decision,” Athletic president Josu Urrutia told Movistar TV as Arrizabalaga shut out Madrid in a 0-0 draw in Bilbao last weekend.Madrid famously missed out on the signing of De Gea after failing to register their transfer agreement with United in time on the final day of the transfer window in August 2015.De Gea was seen then as the long-term replacement to club legend Iker Casillas, but with Costa Rican keeper Keylor Navas in goal, Madrid has won the Champions League in each of the last two seasons.Navas, though, has missed 10 matches due to injury already this season and neither he, nor second choice ‘keeper Kiko Casilla have convinced in a poor start to the season for Madrid, which trails Barcelona by eight points at the top of La Liga. Facebook Comments Related posts:Uuuuy! Reports: Keylor Navas signs extension with Real Madrid Keylor Navas, Real Madrid clinch La Liga title in Spain Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas, Real Madrid nab third consecutive Champions titlelast_img read more

first_imgI must have driven passed Villa Oro a thousand times before I finally went in. Every time I passed the “Comida Taiwanesa” sign out front,my curiosity grew, until I finally gave it a try. Villa Oro’s owners market the restaurant as a Taiwanese tearoom, but I didn’t have any tea on my visit. I did have some amazing dumplings and rich beef noodle soup though.It’s one of very few of its kind in the country. At least, I haven’t had this kind of Taiwanese food anywhere else in Costa Rica.There was a great selection of different teas too. They would be the perfect accompaniment to one of their famous pineapple cakes, baked in-house, in the traditional Taiwanese style. I tried one and can see why they have earned such a loyal following. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Dessert comes last, right? Be patient, we’ll get to the desserts. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)There’s no print menu at Villa Oro and their offerings are very limited. Mayra, the sole waitress who’s been there since day one, was happy to explain the few options at our table. Although she is Costa Rican, she was able to describe the traditional Taiwanese dishes in great detail and even pronounced the names of dishes such as Niu Lo Mien and Lurou Fan like a real pro. There were five different plates to choose from on my visit, which I understand to be the norm. To start, we ordered the dumplings, which can be steamed or fried, with a filling of either pork or shrimp. We ordered steamed pork and absolutely loved it. It was served with a soy-based dipping sauce, as well as a house made, fermented hot sauce. The hot sauce tasted like it was spicy chilis mixed with some sort of black bean paste. It was different, for sure, but I enjoyed it. The dumplings at VIlla Oro (William Ayre / The Tico Times)The remaining four options are Niu Lo Mien and Lurou Fan, as previously mentioned, plus a chicken curry dish served with rice and a fried rice dish with pork, hard boiled egg and radish. Mayra told me the name of these last two, as well, but it sounded so foreign that I can’t even begin to guess how to write it. If you’re scared of the unpronounceable, maybe eat somewhere else.The owners, an older couple from Taiwan who have spent most of their lives in Costa Rica, are also the ones in the kitchen. As always, this ensures authentic recipes and it almost always means the food is prepared with love. I could taste the love even though I wasn’t personally able to talk with them. I’m not sure if they are shy or if they were busy working, but they seem to prefer staying confined to the kitchen in the back. Fine by me, everything that came out of there was great.My friend and I decided to try the Niu Lou Mien, which is a beef noodle soup that Mayra admits is the most popular of their five offerings. It had a very rich broth with hints of five spice and while the noodles were admittedly not homemade, their texture was damn close to it. The chunks of beef were fall-apart tender, only achieved through a long, slow cooking process. To add balance, a touch of freshness, and a bit of crunch; there was some bok choy and green onion to top it off. I am already craving my next bowl, though I would have preferred a hotter temperature for the broth. The Niu Lou Mien (William Ayre / The Tico Times)Lurou Fan, which I left for my next visit, is another different pork dish served on rice. According to my research, it’s also one of the greatest hits of Taiwanese cuisine.Now it’s time for dessert. The pineapple cake reminded me of shortbread and had a candied pineapple filling. These are famous all over Taiwan and Villa Oro is sharing that tradition with Costa Ricans who otherwise might have never been able to try one. These are sold individually, or can be boxed up nicely as a gift for someone at home. I recommend you do so.I wasn’t able to get the specific prices of each item. There were no menus to review and now that I think about it, I didn’t get a receipt of my purchase. But two bowls of beef noodle soup, an appetizer of pork dumplings to share, and no drinks came out to about 18,000 colones (bout $30). That’s not as cheap as similar restaurants in the center of San José, but it still seems very fair to me considering its location in Escazu. The food quality was great, with delicious flavors and acceptable portions and so, the price is justified.The garden view also helps.Villa Oro is located in what looks to have once been a private residence. Now, the front yard has been opened up to a grassy parking lot and a beautiful garden area.  I grabbed one of the two tables on the front patio and was able to enjoy looking out over the greenery, breathing fresh air while I enjoyed my meal. With summer weather just around the corner, I can see this becoming one of my spots to grab lunch and enjoy being outside while stuffing my face with exotic foods.Looking to getaway? Win a trip for 2 to Peru & Bolivia, Japan, Tanzania, or Mexico with Tourradar.There are more tables inside, but on my visit, none were occupied. Actually, when I first walked in, there was nobody at all, not even staff. It didn’t take long to get Mayra’s attention though. I imagine it could get hectic if they get busy, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern for them.Located along Ruta 105, one of Escazu’s main roads, Villa Oro can be found just north of Avenida 28, on the east side of the road.Villa Oro is open every day except for Mondays, from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Reservations are not required. Cash and major credit cards are accepted. Private parking is available. Vegetarian options are not. Beer is the only type of alcohol being served. Search “Villa Oro” in Waze or Uber to arrive conveniently.William Ayre is a Canadian born chef and restaurateur who has spent the last half of his life doing business in Costa Rica, where he now considers to be home. Inspired by Anthony Bourdain, Ayre’s passion of experiencing different cultures through food has taken him to 35 different countries over five continents. Whether it’s a 20-course meal at a fine dining restaurant in Toronto, or cantina hopping in search for the best chifrijo here in San José, he fits in just fine.Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Off the eaten path: Soda Lima Off the eaten path: Bar La Selegna Off the eaten path: Pad Thai Off the eaten path: Al Masri Cocina Egipcialast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s Corcovado Foundation a finalist for international funding Resisting climate change feather by feather in Monteverde Earth Hour in Costa Rica saved more electricity than in 2016 This week in the Peace Corps: A volunteer’s time in Talamanca Facebook Comments The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica’s South Pacific is a corner of paradise, named the most biologically intense place on Earth due to its striking natural setting.This highly endemic region houses 2.5% of the planet’s biodiversity. However, it has not been thoroughly studied, and many of the species that inhabit it remain to be discovered. Córdoba in the field. Photo via Insectopedia.Insect populations account for 85% of all animals that live in the Osa Peninsula. In spite of this, insects — which are the largest group in this region, and play a crucial ecological role in supporting the Osa Peninsula’s biodiversity — are unknown creatures by many.In response to this lack of information was born Insectopia Insect Museum, an organization dedicated to strengthening research, preservation and education of insects in the Osa Peninsula. Insectopia is located in Puerto Jimenez, Puntarenas, and is the first and largest entomological scientific collection in the South Pacific region.The collection aims to be an information bank that provides long-term data on the current state and importance of the region’s insects.This insect inventory is a valuable reference for ecology, genetics, conservation and, above all, for monitoring environmental changes in the Osa Peninsula that are caused by global warming, climate change, pollution, fragmentation of forests and others.By studying population behavior, more can be done to preserve the Osa Peninsula’s biodiversity.The Tico Times recently spoke with entomologist Jim Córdoba, the president and founder of Insectopia Insect Museum to learn more about his initiative.“We have the responsibility to carry out concrete actions for the conservation of biodiversity in the Osa Peninsula,” Córdoba said. “We need to first understand each species and its functions to study the complex network of relationships in the ecosystems. We also understand that a vast number of species highly depend on the ecological role insects play in their ecosystems.”Insects’ ecological role in Costa RicaCórdoba said insects strengthen and support biodiversity while delivering value through the provision of food and water — something called ecosystem services.In Costa Rica, for example, agriculture plays a large role in the local economy, and many crops depend to a certain extent on insects. Bees, wasps, butterflies, ants, beetles and others protect vegetation and plants through pollination and pest control, influencing the country’s global contributions.A large percentage of terrestrial plants depend on insects for pollination, Córdoba said, and animal pollinators’ assistance is key in flowering plant reproduction and in the production of most fruits and vegetables.However, Córdoba estimated that even though insect population in the rainforest is very important, only 20 percent of it has been the subject of scientific research.“Insects are excellent bioindicators. They are able to unveil many of nature’s secrets. In my opinion, they are beautiful, mysterious and interesting,” Córdoba said.“Insects have been on Earth for almost 480 million years. They are known as the engine of the ecosystems because of their vital ecological role that consists of interconnecting the various trophic chains that exist.” Hooded Praying Mantis (Choeradodis sp). Photo via Jim Córdoba.Scientific research challenged by the region’s remotenessCórdoba said the Osa Peninsula’s inaccessibility limited scientific research in the region, and that even until today many taxonomic groups or species are not known.“The Osa Peninsula was an inaccessible area,” Córdoba said. “In the 1950s-70s, essential commodities like food supply – rice, beans – were transported by a motorboat which landed each month in Puerto Jimenez, where locals traded gold for these food staples. At the time, this was the region’s main livelihood.”It took until the late 1980s for the road infrastructure to develop to allow for better research.Threats to insects in the Osa PeninsulaCórdoba said insects have been threatened by monoculture plantations, which cause a loss of habitat and also introduce harmful chemical pesticides.The fig tree, for example, is considered a keystone species in the Osa Peninsula. It’s a species on which others in the ecosystem depend. Without keystone species, an ecosystem would be dramatically different or could cease to exist.Fig trees count on the pollination role of a microscopic wasp (Blastophaga psenes) to produce fruits. Without this tiny wasp — which is threatened by pesticides — the fig trees would produce smaller fruits, which would have a negative effect on spider monkeys, the tapir (known in Costa Rica as the danta) and others. Córdoba with a large beetle (Macrodontia batesi). Photo via Insectopedia Insect Museum.Córdoba said that another threat to Osa Peninsula insects is the interchange of species or gene exchange by interbreeding.He cited unregulated butterfly parks that he believes lack appropriate supervision by an accredited biologist or expert. The butterfly parks introduce new butterfly species to the South Pacific region, which alters the composition of the gene pool of endemic butterflies unique to the Osa Peninsula.“The last, but most important factor, is climate change, which has threatened the Osa Peninsula’s cloud forest,” Córdoba said. ‘This has resulted in the migration of species from the Osa Peninsula to move upward to the Talamanca mountains in Limón. At the same time, it could put in danger species that are only able to survive in this cloud forest.”Promoting environmental education in Costa Rica“We believe that conservation is the management of the human behavior – it’s about instilling values that will strengthen environmental protection efforts,” Córdoba said. “Environmental education is key, and it is also important to know in a tangible way what biodiversity really means.“For many people, ‘2.5% of the world’s biodiversity’ can be an abstract figure. It is hard to imagine the vast range of life forms that encompasses that number. That’s why you need to perceptibly understand the hidden wonders you can find in the Osa Peninsula.“Through this insect collection, what we seek is to get entomologists, researchers and students from Costa Rica and from other countries around the world to understand, in some way, the Osa Peninsula’s vast biodiversity.“Every time I conduct field work, I keep discovering new species. There is still too much to learn.”To learn more about their work, visit Insectopia Insect Museum’s Facebook page.This article was sponsored by the Costa Rica USA Foundation (CRUSA). The Tico Times Costa Rica Changemakers section is a sponsored partnership between The Tico Times and CRUSA.last_img read more

first_imgCosta Rica on Tuesday inaugurated Palais II, a geothermal plant in Curubandé de Liberia, Guanacaste that “places the country at the forefront” of sustainable energy infrastructure.A news release from Casa Presidencial called Palais II “the most modern plant of its kind” in Central America. It is the seventh plant in Costa Rica that creates useable energy from volcanic steam.Palais II has an installed capacity of 55 megawatts and a projected annual generation of 410 gigawatt hours.Construction on the plant started in April 2013, and it finished over-budget and behind schedule, according to the daily La Nación. Still, President Carlos Alvarado called the project a success and said Costa Ricans should be proud of the country’s sustainability efforts.“Anyone who has doubt of what Costa Rica is capable of should come to Pailas II in Guanacaste and see what we are capable of accomplishing,” said President Alvarado.Costa Rica now boasts 262 megawatts of installed geothermal capacity from Las Pailas II and its other geothermal plants — Miravalles I, Miravalles II, Miravalles III, Miravalles V, Boca de Pozo and Las Pailas I. That is the third-largest geothermal capacity in the Americas, according to Casa Presidencial.“Today, we see the most recent fruit of four decades of experience, which have made Costa Rica a world power in the sustainable use of geothermal energy,” said Irene Cañas, the executive president of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE).Over the past several years, Costa Rica has generated the vast majority of its electricity from renewable sources, including geothermal power.In mid-2018, ICE detailed that about 75% of renewable energy in Costa Rica comes from hydroelectric plants using river water, 12% is geothermal, 11% comes from wind power, and less than 1% comes from biomass and solar power. Facebook Comments Related posts:Regulator approves decrease in electricity rates for next quarter Costa Rica prepared for this season’s harsh weather, energy officials say Costa Rica to end year with mostly renewable electricity sources Costa Rica detains Somalian on terrorist alertlast_img read more

first_imgSo far, the Israeli lobbying has yielded mixed results. China has helped pass four sets of economic sanctions against Iran, but has tried to dilute the language.“We would like to see them taking more concrete steps because they have clout over Iran,” the diplomat said. “We explain that if the issue is not resolved, it might affect stability in the Middle East.”___Bodeen reported from Beijing. Alexa Olesen in Beijing also contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements These ties suffered a blow in 2000 when the U.S. pressured Israel to cancel the sale of a sophisticated radar system to China, fearing it could alter the balance of power with Taiwan. The cancellation infuriated China, cost Israel hundreds of millions of dollars, and frayed ties.Then, in 2005, the U.S. persuaded Israel not to service spare parts for unmanned aircraft drones already sold to China, concerned that it would upgrade China’s airborne anti-radar capability. Israel officials say that Israel has since halted weapons sales to China.But in recent months, relations have begun to improve. In June 2011, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak traveled to China. Chen, the Chinese military chief, visited Israel in August, and in December, Israel’s paramilitary Border Police unit hosted a delegation from the People’s Armed Police.During the monthlong course, “cadets were taught a variety of information, with an emphasis on fighting terror, dealing with disturbances, self defense, open field combat and more,” according to an Israeli police statement. It was the first such exercise, police said.This newfound cooperation has raised concerns among human rights advocates. Israel’s Border Police serve on the front lines of anti-Israel demonstrations in the West Bank and have been accused of using excessive force dispersing crowds. It denies the allegations. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Associated PressJERUSALEM (AP) – After a prolonged chill, security ties between Israel and China are warming up.With Israel offering much-needed technical expertise and China representing a huge new market and influential voice in the international debate over Iran’s nuclear program, the two nations have stepped up military cooperation as they patch up a rift caused by a pair of failed arms deals scuttled by the U.S. The improved ties have been highlighted by this week’s visit to Beijing by Israel’s military chief and a training mission to Israel by the Chinese paramilitary force that, among other things, polices the restive Tibetan and Muslim Uighur regions. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to travel to China in the coming weeks.After their meeting Monday, both China’s chief of staff, Gen. Chen Bingde, and his Israeli counterpart, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, hailed the growing ties and held out the possibility of even closer military cooperation.Chen told the official China Daily that China “attaches importance to the ties with the Israeli military and is willing to make concerted efforts with the Israeli side to deepen pragmatic cooperation.”In a statement released by the Israeli military, Gantz mentioned a commitment to developing the relationship, including “joint courses that are scheduled to take place.” It did not elaborate.Such comments are a remarkable turnaround from just a few years ago, when ties deteriorated after the failed arms deals.Israel and China established diplomatic relations in 1992, and the two countries traded military technology for nearly a decade. Some military analysts believe that Israel helped China develop its J-10 fighter plane during the 1990s, a claim that both countries have denied. Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments   Share   He said the Israeli training “must include a human rights component, such as the principle of proportionate use of force.”Israeli officials rejected any notion of wrongdoing, saying that all cooperation was “transparent” and done with the full knowledge of the U.S. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a sensitive diplomatic issue.The Chinese Embassy in Tel Aviv did not respond to a request for comment.According to Israeli diplomats and analysts, the interests on both sides are clear. Israel has a strong interest in getting closer to a rising world power, while China is interested in Israeli military and technological know-how.“I’m sure Israel does whatever it can to let the Chinese know that despite limitations on military transfers, Israel still has a strong will to attain good relations,” said Yoram Evron, a China expert at Haifa University and the Institute for National Security Studies, a Tel Aviv think tank.He said he believes the warming ties were initiated by the Chinese, who were caught off guard by the Arab Spring protests convulsing the region in the past year and a half.“Due to the Arab Spring, China may have the impression, a stronger impression than before, that Israel is relatively stable compared with other players in the region,” he said. The People’s Armed Police, or PAP, has also been accused of using excessive force, particularly in Tibet, a western region where the indigenous Buddhist population has pushed for independence.Policing Tibet is a small part of a challenging mission. Believed to have as many as 1 million members, the PAP is responsible for asserting government control over a rapidly changing society beset by soaring numbers of protests, strikes and ethnic unrest by Tibetans and Muslim Uighurs on China’s Central Asian frontier.Set up in the early 1980s to take over domestic security from the armed forces, the PAP has been derided for much of its history as undisciplined. The units proved unfit to handle the Tiananmen Square democracy demonstrations in 1989, forcing the Communist Party to call in the People’s Liberation Army.In the past decade, the government has launched a full-force upgrade. It now has rapid-response, counterterrorism, anti-hijacking and other specialized units.Nicholas Bequelin, a China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said PAP units engaged in “widespread abuses” in putting down a mass Tibetan uprising in 2008, using live ammunition against unarmed protesters, disappearances and other acts of disproportionate brutality. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories An Israeli diplomat involved in Asian affairs said the security ties are part of a larger blossoming of relations. China is now Israel’s third-largest trade partner, after the European Union and United States. Bilateral trade exceeded $8 billion last year, roughly 20 percent higher than the previous year.While those figures are minuscule for China, the diplomat noted that China is very interested in some key industries in which Israel has expertise. He cited Israeli water technologies in agriculture, desalination and wastewater management.He said Israel has signed number of trade agreements with China in recent years, including a new scholarship program to bring 250 Chinese university students to Israel annually. It also has expanded its diplomatic presence in China with a new consulate in the city of Guangzhou, and another one set to open in Chengdu next year.Israeli officials acknowledged their motives go beyond trade. They said they routinely raise concerns about Iran’s nuclear program with China, which is both a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and which relies on Iran for roughly 10 percent of its oil supply.Israel, like the West, believes Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, and has hinted it will attack Iran if it concludes that international diplomatic efforts to stop Iran have failed. An Israeli attack could disrupt the flow of oil and send global energy prices skyrocketing, a nightmare scenario for China. Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Check your body, save your lifelast_img read more

first_imgAssociated PressOSLO, Norway (AP) – Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel Peace Prize speech explored her views on the ideals of peace, the seeds of war, the bonds of our common humanity, and the rare power of kindness. Here are the highlights.POWER OF THE PEACE PRIZE“Often during my days of house arrest it felt as though I were no longer a part of the real world.” Winning the Nobel Peace Prize “made me real once again. It had drawn me back into the wider human community. And what was more important, the Nobel Prize had drawn the attention of the world to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. We were not going to be forgotten.” Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Comments   Share   Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family IGNORING OTHERS’ SUFFERING FUELS WAR“The First World War represented a terrifying waste of youth and potential, a cruel squandering of the positive forces of our planet. … And for what? Nearly a century on, we have yet to find a satisfactory answer. Are we not still guilty, if to a less violent degree, of recklessness, of improvidence with regard to our future and our humanity? War is not the only arena where peace is done to death. Wherever suffering is ignored, there will be the seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages.WE LIVE IN AN ENLIGHTENED AGE“We are fortunate to be living in an age when social welfare and humanitarian assistance are recognized not only as desirable but necessary. I am fortunate to be living in an age when the fate of prisoners of conscience anywhere has become the concern of peoples everywhere, an age when democracy and human rights are widely, if not universally, accepted as the birthright of all.”PERFECT PEACE MUST BE OUR GOAL“Absolute peace in our world is an unattainable goal. But it is one towards which we must continue to journey, our eyes fixed on it as a traveler in a desert fixes his eyes on the one guiding star that will lead him to salvation. Even if we do not achieve perfect peace on earth, because perfect peace is not of this earth, common endeavors to gain peace will unite individuals and nations in trust and friendship and help to make our human community safer and kinder.” Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories THE PEACEMAKING POWER OF KINDNESS“Of the sweets of adversity, and let me say that they are not numerous, I have found the sweetest, the most precious of all, is the lesson I learnt on the value of kindness. Every kindness I received, small or big, convinced me that there could never be enough of it in our world. To be kind is to respond with sensitivity and human warmth to the hopes and needs of others. Even the briefest touch of kindness can lighten a heavy heart. Kindness can change the lives of people.”IMAGINING A WORLD WITHOUT REFUGEES“Ultimately our aim should be to create a world free from the displaced, the homeless and the hopeless, a world of which each and every corner is a true sanctuary where the inhabitants will have the freedom and the capacity to live in peace. Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace. Each and every one of us is capable of making such a contribution. Let us join hands to try to create a peaceful world where we can sleep in security and wake in happiness.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Parents, stop beating yourself up New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

first_img Sponsored Stories “The men want to sing and do not go to colleges, some are dreadlocked. Let us not go there,” Mugabe told the crowd at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare. His comments in a mixture of both English and the Shona language were corroborated by The Associated Press after speaking to several reporters who attended the gathering.Over the years, Mugabe has repeatedly made disparaging remarks about dreadlocked Rastafarians, whom he once described as having “moths and mud” in their hair. Rastafarianism, best known for its ritual use of marijuana and the dreadlock hair style worn by followers, emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s out of anger over the oppression of blacks. A small minority of Jamaicans are adherents.Reggae singer Cocoa Tea, a Rastafarian who performed in Zimbabwe last October, told The Jamaica Star tabloid that Mugabe’s comments were “not a true reflection of us as people.”“Jamaicans are way better than that and we are leaders, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” Cocoa Tea said.Glen Harris, a laborer and father of two children, said he felt irritated when he heard about the Zimbabwean president’s chiding remarks on a local radio program. Like the large majority of Jamaica’s population, Harris is black. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Associated PressKINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – Comments by an African leader portraying the men of Jamaica as chronic drunkards and unambitious pot smokers have become the talk of towns across this Caribbean island. People are debating the matter on street corners, in letters to the editor and on radio talk shows.In unscripted asides during a roughly three-hour speech last week at a research exposition, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Jamaican “men are always drunk,” have no interest in higher education, and people freely smoke marijuana. Comments   Share   Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Parents, stop beating yourself up Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help “This is an African leader talking like this? Black man should stick up for each other. We’re all Africans,” he said on a Kingston street of low-slung concrete buildings and sheet metal fences.Although some foreigners have an image of Jamaica as a laid-back, sun-soaked slice of paradise where unhurried people smoke marijuana without a care, marijuana use is illegal and many islanders are socially conservative churchgoers who quietly endure stereotypes of their country.Still, a few Jamaicans aren’t aggrieved with Mugabe, who received a top government honor during a 1996 visit. They note that their island is the largest producer of marijuana in the Caribbean and that far more women graduate from university than men, and say Mugabe may have a point, even if he was being overly broad by disparaging Jamaican men.“Is President Robert Mugabe really on to something? Certainly, his observation that our `universities are full of women’ while our `men want to sing and do not go to colleges’ is a truism, which none can deny,” Northern Caribbean University administrator Vincent Peterkin wrote in a letter to the editor of The Jamaica Gleaner newspaper. The government’s political opposition has also waded into the debate, urging Jamaica to demand an apology from Mugabe.“If true, it is startling that someone who has himself claimed that his country is a victim of imperceptions fed by the international media should be using these misconceptions of Jamaican society to describe our people,” said Olivia Grange, spokeswoman for the Jamaica Labor Party.Jamaican Information Minister Sandrea Falconer said Wednesday that the foreign affairs ministry, led by A.J. Nicholson, was still trying to confirm if Mugabe made the remarks.“I know his ministry is still trying to authenticate the source, and after we will respond,” Falconer said in a brief phone interview.In a written statement, Nicholson stressed that “Jamaican men and women from all walks of life have made valuable contributions to national development and have made their mark on the world stage.”___Associated Press writer Gillian Gotora in Harare, Zimbabwe, contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Patients with chronic pain give advicelast_img

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Black’s empire once included the Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Telegraph of London, The Jerusalem Post and papers across the U.S. and Canada. He returned to Canada in May after a 42-month U.S. prison sentence. Black remains a member of the British House of Lords.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 treatments for adult scoliosis TORONTO (AP) – A federal court has ruled that former media mogul Conrad Black won’t be heard by an advisory panel that is deciding whether to strip him of Canada’s highest civilian honor.Black, convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice in the United States, had wanted to appear in person before the Order of Canada advisory panel to make his case to keep the honor. The panel refused.The Federal Court said Thursday it won’t interfere, saying Black can make his arguments in writing. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Top Stories Check your body, save your life Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

first_img“Their journey is as life-threatening as the war they escaped,” Fleming said.The latest ship sank in open seas, 65 miles south of Lampedusa in Malta’s search-and-rescue area.Malta’s armed forces said there were no plans for divers to be dispatched due to the depth of more than 80 meters (260 feet) _ unlike another shipwreck eight days earlier in view of Lampedusa where divers have recovered 365 bodies, mostly of Eritreans who fled repression.Only 155 people survived that tragedy.____Barry contributed from Milan.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “The boat took on water, and people started coming up from below, which could have contributed to the capsizing, according to witness testimony,” Fleming said. She added that the four wounded were treated by doctors among the refugees on board.UNHCR has asked Libya for an explanation based on the survivor accounts and the fact that people with bullet wounds have been among the more than 200 people rescued and taken to Malta and Italy.The bodies of 34 people have been recovered, but survivors have told the U.N. that 400 to 500 people were on board, meaning more than 200 could still be missing.Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan denied the allegations in a press conference Sunday during a visit by Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to discuss the wave of refugees arriving by boat from Libya in Malta and Italy. He pledged an investigation.UNHCR has expressed concern that Syrians escaping civil war are facing a perilous sea journey to reach safety in Europe.Two million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, according to the U.N. refugee agency, and many are continuing the journey through northern Africa to ports where smugglers offer passage to Europe. Hundreds more Syrians have arrived by boat in Italy over the weekend, following a string of recent tragedies. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement VALLETTA, Malta (AP) – Syrian survivors of the latest shipwreck involving migrants in the Mediterranean Sea claim Libya’s coast guard fired on their boat after reaching it a couple of hours out of port, the U.N. refugee agency said Monday.The survivors of last Friday’s shipwreck have told UNHCR that the Libyans opened fire after ordering the boat to stop, damaging the hull and wounding four people, the U.N. agency’s spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said from Geneva. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Chirovsky said Ukrainians around the world are praying for a peaceful end to the on-going conflict, including those in Arizona.“We’re praying that open hostilities — a shooting war — not erupt,” said Chirovsky, who leads the St. Michael Ukrainian-Catholic Church in Tuscon.Despite possible conflict, Chirovsky said he and his congregation are proud of their native country.“We’re very proud of what’s going on in Ukraine,” he said.” The Ukrainian government has exercised unbelievable restraint in the face of an armed invasion.” Top Stories Quick workouts for men New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   PHOENIX — A Tucson priest said he is praying pressure exerted by western countries will help calm the possible spark of another world war in the Crimea region of Ukraine.“What’s going on right now is very similar to what happened when Hitler began invading and annexing various countries right before World War II,” the Rev. Andre Chirovsky said. “At first, the west did not react very quickly.” Check your body, save your lifelast_img read more

first_img Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Rivlin’s office and the ceremony’s sponsors could not agree on how the ceremony would be conducted, and now each is blaming the other for the eventual cancellation.In a letter sent to Rivlin this month, Israeli and American leaders of the Conservative Judaism movement wrote that, “The sole reason for this denial is the contempt of Israel’s leaders for the sponsors of this program.”The letter added that denying the boys their bar mitzvah was “an act of cruelty.”The dispute highlights the long-simmering conflict between the Orthodox mainstream in Israel and the Reform and Conservative Judaism movements, which make up the majority of the American Jewish population but are marginal in Israel.The Orthodox establishment rules many aspects of life inside Israel, such as marriage, divorce, conversions and burials. Liberal groups have struggled to make inroads inside the Jewish state and the Orthodox rabbinate has refused to recognize their rulings as religiously valid.Rivlin’s largely ceremonial office is meant to act as a moral compass for the country. A former lawmaker, Rivlin has championed civil liberties and promoted pluralism and tolerance. But in the past, he has derided Reform Judaism. FILE – In this Nov. 3, 2014 file photo, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, attends a meeting at the President’s residence in Jerusalem. A canceled bar mitzvah ceremony for boys with disabilities is highlighting a rift between Israel’s Orthodox majority and its more marginal streams of Judaism. President Reuven Rivlin had agreed to hold the ceremony at his residence but later suggested a non-religious event. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File) 0 Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 4 must play golf courses in Arizonacenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 treatments for adult scoliosis JERUSALEM (AP) — Liberal Jews in Israel are accusing the country’s president of discriminating against them by calling off a bar mitzvah ceremony at his residence.At the heart of the dispute is a proposed bar mitzvah for boys with disabilities scheduled to be held at the residence of President Reuven Rivlin. The ceremony was sponsored by the Conservative Judaism movement, which — despite its name– is more liberal than the Orthodox movement which dominates in Israel. Rabbi Gilad Kariv, who heads Israel’s Reform Jewish movement, said he was unfamiliar with the details of the bar mitzvah dispute but commended the conservatives for their important initiative. He added that despite Rivlin’s past statements, the president has been respectful to all streams of Judaism since taking office.Naomi Toledano-Kandel, Rivlin’s spokeswoman, said it wasn’t the role of the president’s office to intervene in such a contentious political topic.“We are not the place that will decide the religious war,” she said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

first_imgPODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Montenegro will have to beef up its public support for NATO and strengthen the rule of law before it can become a member, the alliance’s secretary-general said Thursday.The tiny Balkan state is deeply split between its traditional ties with Russia and those wanting to join the Western military alliance. Polls say public support for NATO has never exceeded 40 percent.Russian officials have warned Montenegro against joining NATO, saying the Kremlin would regard that as a provocation. Montenegro, which has had strong economic and cultural ties with Russia, has joined Western sanctions against Moscow for its policies in Ukraine. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Quick workouts for men Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Podgorica that Montenegro’s membership bid is in “the crucial phase” and that it will be discussed at NATO’s ministerial meeting scheduled for December.“We count on Montenegro to continue to strengthen the rule of law and we encourage you to further build public support for membership,” Stoltenberg said after meeting Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic whose long-standing government has often been accused of corruption and mismanagement.“It is important that Montenegro does what needs to be done and that it demonstrates that it is ready to become a valuable member of the Alliance,” Stoltenberg said. “Joining the Euro-Atlantic family is a win-win for Montenegro and for NATO.”Djukanovic said that it is in Montenegro’s national interest to get the green light for membership by the end of 2015.“I really expect that we have an additional improvement of public support in the next few months, which would qualify us for the positive outcome at the end of this year,” Djukanovic said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

first_img Quick workouts for men VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been indicted on charges he sexually abused young boys in the Caribbean country and had child pornography on his computer and will stand trial next month in a Vatican court.The Holy See said Monday that Jozef Wesolowski will have his first hearing July 11, the first time such a high-ranking Vatican official will stand trial for sex abuse. Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall How do cataracts affect your vision? Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to pain The Holy See recalled Wesolowski in 2013 after rumors surfaced in Santo Domingo that he allegedly paid shoeshine boys to masturbate. Wesolowski has since been defrocked and placed under modified house arrest inside Vatican City pending a decision by the Vatican criminal court on whether to indict him.That decision came June 6, when the Vatican prosecutor asked the head of the Vatican City State tribunal to indict him — a decision that was announced Monday.The case has been highly sensitive, given that the Polish-born Wesolowski was an ambassador of the Holy See — a direct representative of the pope and not just one of the world’s 440,000 priests — and had been ordained both a priest and a bishop by St. John Paul II.Last year, a Holy See tribunal found him guilty under canon law of abusing young boys and defrocked him, the harshest sentence under church law that can be meted out. Now, the case goes to the Vatican’s criminal courts, which can impose jail time if he is found guilty.As a papal diplomat and citizen of the Vatican City State, Wesolowski is also subject to the jurisdiction of the Vatican City State, which in 2013 updated its laws to specifically criminalize possession of child pornography.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The Vatican said Wesolowski is accused of having porn while he was in Rome from August 2013, when he was recalled, until his arrest Sept. 22, 2014, meaning that the new law can apply.The 2013 legislation also specifically criminalized sexual abuse of children, but the accusations against Wesolowski stem from before the law was passed, meaning the old law would presumably have to apply.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility FILE – This March 15, 2013 file photo shows Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, papal nuncio for the Dominican Republic, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been charged with sexually abusing young boys in the Caribbean country and having child pornography on his computer and will stand trial next month in a Vatican court. In a statement, the Holy See said Jozef Wesolowski will have his first hearing July 11. (AP Photo/Manuel Diaz, File) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories last_img read more