Month: August 2019

APG tapped to represent Oman Air

first_imgTags: People VANCOUVER — Oman Air has appointed APG as its General Service and Sales Agent representative in Canada.APG will be providing full sales and marketing services as well as ticket booking facilities through its call centre and sales offices in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.Founded in 1993 and the flagship carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, Oman Air has seen massive growth and has played a major role in making Muscat an important traffic hub in the Middle East, says APG.Oman Air now operates a network of 35 destinations in 20 countries, with a modern fleet. It took home the ‘Best Airline Staff Service in the Middle East’ award at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2017.“Oman Air is delighted to launch our new cooperation with APG in the Canadian market,” said Mourad El Haj, Manager Offline Sales & Global Contracting of Oman Air. “Together with Air Canada, Oman Air connects the Canadian market with The Sultanate of Oman and other interesting destinations in the Middle East, Africa, the Indian-Subcontinent and the Far East smoothly through Europe. The potential demand for Oman as a destination and Oman Air as a leading carrier in Canada has rapidly increased and enables our new GSA APG to offer our network, award winning product and service and the Omani hospitality to our Canadian guests.”More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthAPG partners with over 200 airline clients through its offices in almost 180 countries. APG’s services include not only airline representation but also interline e-ticketing solutions, fare filing and BSP support services. Posted by Friday, October 6, 2017 Travelweek Group center_img APG tapped to represent Oman Air << Previous PostNext Post >> Sharelast_img read more

Goway tempts travellers to Melbourne with new savings

first_img Share Friday, March 22, 2019 Travelweek Group Goway tempts travellers to Melbourne with new savings Posted bycenter_img Tags: Deals, Goway Travel, Melbourne TORONTO — Goway Travel has new savings to Melbourne, Australia that will tempt travellers to finally book this bucket-list destination.Renowned for its world-class restaurant scene and café culture, the stylish capital of the State of Victoria is home to many of Australia’s most glamourous events and festivals, not to mention 19th-century architecture, incredible shopping and pristine beaches. Other selling points include an abundance of wildlife, rainforests, wineries and the chance to explore unique landscapes via easy day trips to Phillip Island, The Yarra Valley and Great Ocean Road, to name a few.With exclusive deals and record low airfares, there has never been a better time to visit Melbourne, says Goway. Here are some options:Melbourne, Great Ocean Road and Great Barrier Reef ($3,149, savings of $437): While on this 12-day itinerary, clients will start in Melbourne where they’ll explore the city sights and venture along the Great Ocean Road before flying to Cairns to dive at the Great Barrier Reef.Melbourne, Sydney and Great Barrier Reef Explorer ($3,399, savings of $585): This 15-day adventure has it all, from a visit to the Sydney Opera House, to snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, to experiencing Melbourne’s lively nightlife.Melbourne, Great Ocean Road and Tasmania Explorer ($3,269, savings of $604): This 12-day Australia vacation takes clients from Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road to Tasmania, exploring Aussie icons along the way. It includes accommodation, international airfare and escorted touring.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJFor more information go to or request the Downunder brochure at << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Apocalyptic scenes as New York bears brunt of Sandy

first_imgNo related posts. Updated Oct. 30 at 02:14 p.m.By Mariano Andrade and Brigitte DusseauNEW YORK – Hurricane Sandy – now downgraded to a “super-storm” – turned New York into a disaster zone on Monday as a record storm surge sent seawater pouring into Manhattan, sweeping cars down streets as the city was plunged into darkness.The Empire State Building remained an eerie beacon of light as 250,000 Manhattan homes were deprived of power. State Governor Andrew Cuomo reported 15 storm-related deaths in New York, and a total of 39 in the United States and Canada.The East River and the Hudson River flooded subway and car tunnels and several feet of seawater swamped into Battery Park at the foot of Lower Manhattan, with waters rising and the rain showing no sign of abating.“Lower Manhattan is being covered by seawater. I am not exaggerating. Seawater is rushing into the Battery Tunnel,” said Howard Glaser, director of operations for the New York state government.The Battery Tunnel is a road tunnel linking the south end of Manhattan, New York’s financial center, to Long Island under the East River.Local energy supplier Con Edison reported that 250,000 customers had lost power in Manhattan alone.In addition to the surging waters of the East and Hudson rivers, the city was by battered by what the National Weather Service called “hurricane-force gusts” of more than 90 miles per hour.As the evening tide hit its height the storm surge was a record 13.7 feet (4.2 meters). Before Hurricane Sandy made landfall, forecasters had warned that any more than 11 feet could cause catastrophic flooding.Cars could be seen afloat in several Manhattan streets, and the facade of a six-story building collapsed.Local broadcaster WNBC said some houses on Staten Island were “flooded up to their attics,” while the New York Police Department sought boats to conduct rescue missions there and on Brooklyn’s Coney Island.Floods swamped cars in Brooklyn, while fierce gusts pushed over a crane on a Manhattan skyscraper – leaving it dangling perilously atop a 90-story luxury apartment.The boom of the crane swayed in the fierce gusts over streets near Central Park that police and fire services evacuated because of the risk that it could fall.Gas and water pipes at street level were closed and city engineers and fire department experts climbed the 1,004-foot building to assess the danger.In another spectacular demonstration of its power, the hurricane pulled off the facade of a three-story building in the Chelsea district. No injuries were reported.Tens of thousands of people ignored appeals by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to leave the districts at risk.“If water is coming into your home, go to the highest area,” Bloomberg advised citizens as he held a hastily arranged press conference amid the worst of the carnage.“It’s still very dangerous and from now until the storm is well passed you just have to shelter in place. You need to stay wherever you are. Let me repeat that. You have to stay wherever you are.”New York authorities earlier had closed the subway train system and nearly all tunnels and bridges that take traffic off Manhattan as the full force of Sandy hit America’s biggest city.With Wall Street closed for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and the city at a near standstill, police went to several districts with loudspeakers and special buses trying to persuade people to move.New York state also called up more than 2,100 National Guard troops on Sunday and Monday to patrol threatened districts.Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation order for 375,000 people at risk from a storm surge predicted to be over 11 feet, but the majority decided to brave it out.As night fell, Bloomberg had warned that it may be too late to get away.On the streets of Manhattan, police cars used to block streets gradually retreated as flood water moved further into the island.Schools and landmark attractions such as the Empire State Building were all closed and were to stay closed Tuesday. Hardly a car ventured onto the streets.President Barack Obama declared a “major disaster” in New York as millions of people along the U.S. East Coast awakened Tuesday to the deadly devastation.At least 16 people were killed in the U.S. and Canada as the storm roared ashore late Monday, pounding several major cities with heavy rain and hurricane-force winds that toppled trees and ripped down power lines.The storm weakened as it moved further inland but forecasters still warned of gale-force winds and flooding along the densely-populated coast, where 7,400 National Guardsmen were mobilized in 11 states to provide emergency relief.Obama declared a “major disaster” had hit both the states of New York and New Jersey, an order that cleared the way for federal grants and loans to help storm victims acquire temporary housing and repair damage.Further south, giant waves crashed over vast swathes of the eastern seaboard, turning coastal cities into ghost towns as the high winds grounded flights and shut down rail links, public transport and government offices.The catastrophe completely overshadowed the U.S. election race, forcing a halt to campaigning a week before Americans were due to go to the polls to choose between Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.Hurricane Sandy had killed 67 people as it tore through the Caribbean, and reports of more deaths began to arrive after it made landfall at 8 p.m. in New Jersey and began to wreak havoc.Authorities had ordered hundreds of thousands of residents in areas from New England to North Carolina to evacuate their homes and seek shelter, but many chose to stay on, to the frustration of police and local officials.Falling trees tore down power cables, plunging what weather experts said were millions of homes into darkness, while storm warnings cut rail links and marooned tens of thousands of travelers at airports across the region.Two nuclear plants – one in New York and one in New Jersey – were shut down in the aftermath of the storm, but operators stressed that neither posed any risk to the public.“The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night,” city transport director Joseph Lhota said early Tuesday.Firefighters meanwhile doused a massive blaze in the Queens borough that destroyed more than 50 homes, with only two minor injuries reported, and in northern New Jersey police in boats pulled residents from second-story windows after a levee broke.Hours earlier, a power sub-station exploded in a burst of light captured by amateur photographers as a massive blackout left much of Manhattan, and some 500,000 homes across New York City, in darkness.The flood waters had begun to recede early Tuesday, but the Con Edison power company said it could take a week to completely restore power.Disaster estimating firm Eqecat forecast that Sandy would affect more than 60 million Americans, a fifth of the population, and cause billions of dollars in damage.Refineries closed and major arteries such New York’s Holland Tunnel were shut to traffic. The operator of two major New Jersey nuclear plants said they might have to be closed, threatening half the state’s power supply.Obama urged Americans to heed local evacuation orders as he stepped off the campaign trail and spent the day in the White House helping to coordinate the response to the disaster.“The election will take care of itself next week,” Obama said. “Right now, our number one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives … and that we respond as quickly as possible to get the economy back on track.”Both the Democratic incumbent and his Republican rival Romney were keen to display resolute leadership in the face of the storm, given the memory of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Romney also canceled some campaign appearances.Former president George W. Bush was widely seen as having bungled the handling of Katrina, which devastated New Orleans. The failure of authorities in the ensuing emergency response tainted the rest of his presidency. 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Study shows honey has same health effects as highfructose corn sweetener

first_imgRelated posts:The gluten-free movement is ruining the world’s love for pasta Agriculture Ministry surveys population’s consumption of fruits, vegetables, seafood Costa Rica ranks healthiest country in Latin America Costa Rican researchers look to beat cancer with blackberries Honey has an aura of purity and naturalness. Fresh air, birdsong, forests and meadows.High-fructose corn sweetener? Not so much.So you might think that honey is better for you. But a study published this month compared the health effects of honey and the processed sweetener and found no significant differences.“The effects were essentially the same,” said Susan K. Raatz, a research nutritionist at the USDA who conducted the study with two colleagues.The belief that corn sweetener may be harmful – linked to obesity or diabetes – has helped sink consumption of it over the last 10 years. Researchers at the USDA decided to put that belief to the test. The honey industry, likely hoping that that honey’s suspected health benefits might be proven, helped fund the effort.The researchers gave subjects daily doses of each of three sweeteners – honey, cane sugar and high-fructose corn sweetener – for two weeks at a time. They then compared measures of blood sugar, insulin, body weight, cholesterol and blood pressure in the 55 subjects.The researchers found that the three sweeteners basically have the same impacts. Most measures were unchanged by the sweeteners. One measure of a key blood fat, a marker for heart disease, rose with all three.“Honey is thought of as more natural whereas white sugar and high fructose corn syrup are processed from the cane or the beet or the corn,” said Raatz, whose paper appears in the Journal of Nutrition. “We wanted to find out if they were different. But chemically, they are very, very similar, and that’s what it seems to break down to.”When it comes to consumer perceptions, the trouble for corn sweetener arises at least in part from its name – “high fructose” may suggest that it contains much more fructose than the other sweeteners, though it doesn’t. Honey, meanwhile, maintains a halo. It is not for nothing that the Kellogg Company renamed Sugar Smacks to Honey Smacks.The marketers “made a big mistake when they called it ‘high-fructose corn syrup,’ ” said Raatz. “A sweetener is a sweetener, no matter the source.”© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Jihadist shot dead attacking police on Charlie Hebdo anniversary

first_imgPARIS — A jihadist wielding a meat cleaver was shot dead as he tried to attack a police station in Paris Thursday claiming to avenge French military action in Syria, a year to the day since the Charlie Hebdo massacre.The youth, who was apparently of Moroccan origin and aged around 20, tried to enter the building in the northern 18th district of the French capital wearing what was at first thought to be an explosives vest, but was later found to be a fake.A source close to the investigation said a piece of paper found on the man’s body “vows allegiance” to the Islamic State group and said he was avenging French “attacks in Syria.”The man’s fingerprints matched those on file for a thief convicted in 2013, a homeless man who self-identified as Sallah Ali of Morocco, born in Casablanca in 1995, the source said earlier.The drama unfolded just after President Francois Hollande concluded a somber speech at police headquarters to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Paris office of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, 2015.Explosives experts were sent to the scene in the largely north African immigrant district of Goutte d’Or, near the tourist hotspot of Montmartre.The attacker was found to have been wearing a pouch under his coat with a wire hanging from it, but the device “contained no explosives,” a source close to the investigation told AFP.Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised the “remarkable work” of the security forces in the incident.“In a country where the level of threat is extremely high, the police, gendarmes, the security forces… are on the frontline,” he said.With France still grieving after the massacre of 130 people by jihadists in Paris in November — also claiming vengeance for France’s role in Syria — Hollande used his speech to call for greater cooperation between the security services to thwart attacks.“Faced with these adversaries, it is essential that every service — police, gendarmerie, intelligence, military — work in perfect harmony, with the greatest transparency, and that they share all the information at their disposal,” the president said.Many of the assailants in both January’s rampage and the attacks in November were known to French security services, having either travelled abroad to fight with jihadists or been blocked from doing so.Hollande said that since the attack on Charlie Hebdo, nearly 200 people in France had been placed under travel restrictions to prevent them joining up with IS in Syria or Iraq.‘Died so we could live’The president said the three police officers killed in January’s attacks “died so that we could live in freedom.”A police bodyguard who was guarding the newspaper’s editor, Charb, was killed alongside him by brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi and they shot dead another policeman, Ahmed Merabet, as he sprawled on the pavement near Charlie Hebdo’s offices.The next day, a policewoman was killed by jihadist Amedy Coulibaly in the southern Paris suburb of Montrouge, apparently as he was heading to attack a Jewish school.Among changes set to be introduced in the wake of the November attacks are new guidelines allowing police to keep their weapons even when off-duty.The president reiterated his pledge to boost the number of police and armed gendarmes by 5,000.Rocker Johnny Hallyday will perform at a concert in Paris on Sunday to mark the day one year ago when 1.6 million people gathered in the capital in support of freedom of expression following the deaths of Charlie Hebdo’s best-known cartoonists.The weekly had been in the jihadists’ sights since it first published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2006.Since the attacks, it has moved to ultra-secure offices in a secret location, and has refused to tone down its provocative satire.On Wednesday it published a special edition featuring a gun-toting God under the headline: “One year on: the killer is still at large.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Islamic State terrorists talked of entering U.S. through Mexico Costa Rica’s President Solís signs condolence book for Charlie Hebdo victims France, allies signal major response after Paris attacks leave at least 127 dead Obama tries to ease anxiety over terror attacks with Oval Office addresslast_img read more

Turrialba Volcano spews ash for fourth consecutive day

first_imgRelated posts:Juan Santamaría airport reopens for flights after volcanic eruptions Turrialba Volcano registers increase in activity Turrialba Volcano spews ash, vapor Wind takes ash from Turrialba Volcano to Caribbean communities The National Meteorological Institute reported that wind is currently carrying ash mainly towards the northern areas of the Central Valley.On Thursday, RSN received reports on its social media profiles of persistent ashfall in communities in the northern parts of Cartago, San José, Heredia and Alajuela provinces.The National University’s Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) also noted that some people are reporting ashfall in various areas of the Caribbean province of Limón, mostly in Guápiles.In addition to ashfall, people said they smelled sulfur in the air north and east of the capital, in Coronado, Moravia, Tibás, Zapote, Curridabat and Montes de Oca, and also in Cartago and Heredia provinces. The National University’s Lab of Chemistry of the Atmosphere on Sept. 29 reported ash from Turrialba reached areas in the provinces of Cartago, San José, Alajuela, Heredia and even Limón. (Via LAQAT-UNA)Ashfall to continueThe RSN’s Mora said that an increase in the size of the main crater at Turrialba, in both depth and breadth, is the reason for the high amount of materials being expelled by Turrialba in recent days.“This is part of the normal evolution from one eruptive cycle to another,” he said.Instruments at the volcano also recorded incandescent materials coming out of the crater and falling in areas close to the crater. Despite rumors to the contrary, experts said the material would not reach populated areas of the Central Valley.Volcanologist Guillermo Alvarado said it is possible that Turrialba continues to spew ash for an extended period of time, just as Irazú Volcano did between 1963 and 1965.Flight delaysPersistent ashfall so far this week has not prompted the closure of airports as it did last weekSome airlines, however, decided to delay flights in order to wait for improvements in weather conditions.Aeris Holding Costa Rica, the company that operates the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), the country’s largest international terminal, said Thursday that the airport is operating normally.AERIS spokeswoman Silvia Chávez said only two airlines, Copa and Delta, opted to delay flights on Thursday morning at SJO. Facebook Comments Turrialba Volcano continued spewing ash and gases on Thursday in what the University of Costa Rica’s National Seismological Network (RSN) volcanologist Mauricio Mora called one of its longest eruptive events this year.The ash spewing at Turrialba, located some 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of the capital San José in Cartago province, began shortly after noon on Monday. Ash and vapor formed a column that varies in height from 500 meters to 2,000 meters (1,640 feet to 6,560 feet) above the crater, RSN reported.Eruptions at Turrialba last week caused the Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela, outside of San José, to close for nearly 24 hours. The airport has remained open this week although some flights were delayed Thursday morning.last_img read more

Oh baby Costa Rican population hits 5 million

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica’s elections 2018: a primer Christiana Figueres: ‘Costa Rica is in danger of losing what it’s gained’ Presidential candidate Fabricio Alvarado pulls out of UCR debate The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Jan. 14, 2019 Costa Rica’s population officially hit the 5,000,000 mark last night, although the exact identify of the baby who brought the country over this milestone won’t be known for a month or so as the National Census Institute (INEC) tallies its data.The daily La Nación chose Eithan Jesús, born at 9:27 pm at the St Vicent de Paul Hospital in Heredia, as its poster child for the five million mark.Three other babies were born around the same time (9:26, 9:27 and 9:29) in the Northern Zone city of San Carlos; Liberia, Guanacaste; and St Vicent de Paul, the daily reported.last_img read more

Bangladesh court Why werent Buddhists protected

first_img Patients with chronic pain give advice Religious Affairs Minister Mohammad Shahjahan Mian visited the area on Wednesday and hosted a “peace meeting” with representatives from all religions and local leaders.“I urge you to maintain communal harmony as you have maintained it decades after decades,” he told the meeting, attended by about 500 people. “The government is committed to protect minority groups.”He said authorities would rebuild the damaged temples and stand by the Buddhists who have lost their homes.Buddhists make up less than 1 percent of Muslim-majority Bangladesh, and followers of the two religions usually coexist peacefully.In the 1990s, about 250,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh to escape alleged persecution by Myanmar’s military junta.Myanmar later took most of them back, leaving some 28,000 in two camps run by Bangladesh’s government and the United Nations.Bangladesh has been unsuccessfully negotiating with Myanmar for years to send them back. In the meantime, tens of thousands of others have entered Bangladesh illegally.Only about 300,000 Bangladeshis, or about 0.2 percent of the country’s 150 million people, are Facebook users.___Ahmed reported from Cox’s Bazar. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Associated PressDHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) – Bangladesh’s High Court asked the government on Wednesday to explain why local officials failed to provide security to minority Buddhists whose homes, temples and businesses were attacked over a picture of a burned Quran posted on Facebook.A two-judge panel asked top bureaucrats of the Home Ministry and local administrators to reply within a week and ordered authorities to ensure safety in troubled areas of southern Bangladesh. Top Stories center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories The judges ruled after a lawyer presented several newspaper reports on last weekend’s attacks. At least 10 temples and 40 homes were torched, looted or vandalized in the coastal district of Cox’s Bazar.The court also asked a government-formed investigative committee to submit its findings to it by Oct. 17.The government has already removed a local police chief for failing to thwart the attacks.A 25-year-old Buddhist man has been blamed for the Facebook posting but local media quoted him as saying he was not responsible.No new violence has been reported since the government deployed military troops, paramilitary border guards and police at Ramu in Cox’s Bazar district. Authorities have also increased security around two camps of Rohingya Muslims in the district. Many villagers have blamed them for the violence, although there is no clear evidence of their involvement.Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir has blamed radical groups, citing initial reports, but said authorities are still investigating the attacks.On Wednesday, about 500 Buddhists who lost their homes were staying in makeshift tents installed by authorities in Ramu.The government has provided rice and other dry food to the displaced Buddhists, local official Jasim Uddin said. Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Amnesty Int Ivory Coast torturing detainees

first_imgUnited Nations officials have said that more than 200 people have been detained on suspicion of involvement in the attacks, and that torture has been documented at multiple detention facilities.Gaetan Mootoo, West Africa researcher for Amnesty, said an investigation team received reports of a range of abuses during a recent month-long visit.“We were able to meet dozens of detainees who told us how they have been tortured by electricity or had molten plastic poured on their bodies,” Mootoo said. “Two of them have been sexually abused. Some have been held for many months denied contact with their families and access to lawyers.”Army spokesman Cherif Moussa denied the torture allegations Friday. “Our camps are not concentration camps,” he said.However, he acknowledged the possibility that individual soldiers may occasionally “go beyond what they are allowed to do” when dealing with inmates.He added that the government tried to ensure that inmates’ rights were respected. “We want to prove that we are not abusing people’s rights,” he said. “We’re working for the state’s security. We’re working for the people’s security.” Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Earlier this month, the Associated Press interviewed former detainees at a military camp in the southwestern port town of San Pedro who described widespread beatings as well as the use of electric shocks. A guard at the camp corroborated most of the claims, though camp commanders denied them.In its statement Friday, Amnesty described how one detainee, a police officer, had died as a result of the torture he endured at the San Pedro camp.“Serge Herve Kribie was arrested in San Pedro on August 21 by the national army and interrogated about recent attacks,” Amnesty said. “He was stripped naked, tied to a pole, had water poured on his body, and was then subjected to electric shocks. He died a few hours later.”Amnesty said that some detainees were only released after ransoms were paid. One detainee told the rights group: “My parents first paid 50,000 CFA (a little under US $100) and then after my release, my jailers went at my house and demanded a higher sum. I told them that I couldn’t pay such an amount and they agreed to receive 20,000 CFA more (about US$40).”The government has blamed the attacks on allies of former President Laurent Gbagbo, who was arrested in April 2011. Gbagbo’s refusal to cede office after losing the November 2010 election to now-President Alassane Ouattara sparked six months of violence in which at least 3,000 were killed. Amnesty researchers also met with some of the more than 100 Gbagbo allies – including his wife, Simone – who are being detained on charges stemming from the post-election violence.“Some of them told us that despite the fact that they have been held since April 2011, they only saw an investigating judge twice for less than a few hours,” Mootoo said.Despite widespread evidence that forces loyal to Ouattara also committed atrocities during the violence, none have been arrested or credibly investigated, sparking allegations of victor’s justice.Also Friday, in Amsterdam, judges at the International Criminal Court rejected a request for release by former president Gbagbo, who is being detained on suspicion of crimes against humanity.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) – Ivory Coast security officials are torturing dozens of detainees by administering electric shocks and other forms of abuse, Amnesty International alleged Friday.The victims include people charged with endangering state security in the wake of a recent spate of attacks targeting military installations. Since early August, unknown gunmen have carried out roughly 10 attacks at checkpoints, military bases and other installations throughout the country, including in the commercial capital of Abidjan. Top Stories last_img read more

German aid for refugee clinics may be in jeopardy

first_imgAssociated PressBERLIN (AP) – A restructuring of German aid policies could jeopardize medical assistance for tens of thousands of Somali refugees in a camp in Kenya, diplomats warned in a memo obtained by The Associated Press Tuesday.Germany’s GIZ aid agency currently runs six health centers jointly with the U.N.’s refugee agency in the sprawling Dadaab camp that houses some 600,000 refugees near the Somali border. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Comments   Share   Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img In a memorandum from the German Embassy in Nairobi, diplomats warn that a possible closure of those centers starting next year could mean that “about 150,000 refugees, among them thousands of malnourished children under 5 years old, suddenly receive little or no medical assistance.”The support for the project apparently ended after Germany’s government reshuffled parts of the funds for humanitarian assistance from the development aid to the foreign ministry earlier this year, according to the note that was circulated among lawmakers in Berlin.Germany’s Foreign Ministry said funding to the U.N. refugee agency for Dadaab remains unchanged at (EURO)3.2 million ($4.1 million) in 2013, but it declined to comment on the future of the health centers.UNHCR spokesman Stefan Teloeken in Berlin confirmed that the health project looks set to end this year, but stressed the agency will try to continue operating the centers.Germany’s GIZ agency said in a statement “it is now up to the UNHCR to find a similarly qualified” partner organization to operate the health centers.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

Young critics of Venezuela government put hope in elections

first_imgOpposition candidate Jose Guerra, center, prepares his mobile for a selfie with supporters during a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. According to Venezuela’s constitution, elections for the National Assembly must be held by year’s end. Although no date has been set, polls show the opposition would coast to victory if the vote were held today. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) Rico is working to persuade voters to turn out on Sunday, but like many in the opposition, he doubts the upcoming elections will be fair and fears Maduro will curtail the National Assembly’s power if the ruling party loses its majority. If he can’t achieve the change he wants through the ballot box, he knows what he’ll do.“We have to show our discontent in elections. And if they don’t respect the vote, we’ll be in the street again,” he said.___AP Writer Fabiola Sanchez contributed to this report.___Follow Hannah Dreier on Twitter: 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 Sponsored Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies This year’s opposition primaries are actually slightly more open than usual. In 2010, coalition leaders pre-selected candidates for all but 22 congressional seats. Just 10 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots in those primaries. Turnout this time is expected to be even lower because of a lack of publicity.By contrast, the socialist party will hold primaries for nearly 100 seats this June, and has mandated that half of candidates be younger than 30, capitalizing on the power of the youth vote in a country where four out of 10 registered voters are younger than 35.Opposition legislator Enrique Marquez said the opposition is too broke to hold more primary contests. The coalition already is asking each candidate to contribute 150,000 bolivars, about $500 at the widely used black market exchange rate, to cover election costs.The opposition has also been battered by a steady government crackdown on its leaders and the closure or sale of combative media outlets. Some candidates in Sunday’s primaries are still jailed on charges related to last year’s protests, including Daniel Ceballos, the former mayor of the restive city of San Cristobal. In a quirk of Venezuelan law, a win could be a get-out-of-jail card for the 31-year-old politician because legislators receive immunity from prosecution during their terms. But positive polls don’t guarantee an electoral victory. The opposition mostly has benefited from discontent with the ruling party, and has not won its advantage through its own campaigning, said Luis Vicente Leon, director of local pollster Datanalisis.“The opposition’s opportunity is potential energy, and its challenge is to make it kinetic energy,” Leon wrote in a newspaper column this week, warning that the coalition won’t see results unless it works hard.The opposition might have fielded many more young candidates if it hadn’t decided to forgo primaries in most districts, a choice that upset emerging leaders like Rico who now must fight their way to the general election.The coalition is made up of dozens often disagreeing parties, and insiders hand-picked 125 candidates from their own political cliques to run against the socialist party in the general election, leaving just 42 slots up for grabs for the 109 candidates competing in Sunday’s primary.It’s another example of the discord that has hobbled the country’s opposition for years.“They could have said, ‘We’re going to go to full primaries across the country, we want to bring in students who were fighting for democracy last year,’ but they didn’t do that,” said David Smilde, a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America. “It’s because they have a lot of politicians there who have a sense of entitlement. There are a couple dozen parties in the coalition, and they all have leaders and some want to be candidates.” 5 treatments for adult scoliosiscenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Last year, Rafael Rico was covering his baby face with a vinegar-soaked rag and dodging tear gas canisters as he clashed with Venezuelan riot police.This week, the 23-year-old engineering student is canvassing on the resort island of Margarita as he campaigns to represent the South American country’s opposition coalition in upcoming legislative elections.Rico is the youngest of a crop of new candidates who raged in the streets against Venezuela’s socialist administration last spring, but now are putting their faith in the ballot box as the best way to force President Nicolas Maduro from power. More than a third of the candidates running in the opposition coalition’s primary elections on Sunday are younger than 40. Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   “You have to protest, but you also have to vote,” Rico said, borrowing from his stump speech. “The repression and human rights violations that we saw in 2014 showed that just going into the streets without also winning elections doesn’t give you the results you need.”Last year’s sometimes bloody demonstrations against the country’s mounting economic chaos petered out after a government crackdown. But the problems young people protested — including severe shortages and the world’s highest inflation — have only worsened amid a plunge in oil prices. Oil revenues fund almost all of Venezuela’s government spending.The country’s opposition coalition, which holds a third of the legislature, now has a shot at dominating an election for the first time since the late President Hugo Chavez launched his socialist revolution 16 years ago. If the coalition wins, it’s expected to use its legislative power to mount a recall referendum against Maduro.Elections for the National Assembly are scheduled every five years and must be held by the year’s end. The head of elections said last week that this year’s contest will be in late November or early December. Polls show the opposition coalition would win if the vote were held today. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Bus falls off cliff in northern China killing 35 people

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober BEIJING (AP) — A bus fell from a cliff in north-central China on Friday, killing 35 people on board, authorities said.Twenty-five people were killed instantly in Shaanxi province and 10 died in a hospital, the propaganda office of Chunhua county said in a statement. There was no word on the cause of the accident, and authorities said they were investigating.The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the bus was carrying 46 passengers and that it fell into a ravine more than 30 meters (yards) deep near a forest park on Friday afternoon. Sponsored Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health toocenter_img Another 11 passengers were being treated, with five in critical condition.Bus accidents are common on China’s windy mountain roads, where drivers often ignore safety rules by speeding or carrying too many passengers.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Check your body, save your life Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

East Timor drops UN court case against Australia

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 treatments for adult scoliosis New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — East Timor has dropped litigation against its powerful neighbor Australia related to a spying scandal, the United Nations’ highest court announced Friday.The move came after Australia returned documents its agents seized from a lawyer working for the tiny former Indonesian island.The International Court of Justice said that Australia and East Timor wrote to judges last month confirming that “Australia had returned the documents and data” seized in a December 2013 raid. Comments   Share   The raid followed claims by a former Australian spy that his country bugged the East Timorese government ahead of negotiations on the Timor Sea Treaty that carves up revenue from oil and gas under the sea between the two countries.East Timor wants to renegotiate the treaty which is worth billions of dollars, arguing that it is invalid because of the alleged bugging.In March last year, the world court banned Australia from using the documents.In a letter to the court earlier this month, East Timor said the return of the documents and data amounted to “implicit recognition by Australia that its actions were in violation of Timor-Leste’s sovereign rights.”Australia responded in a subsequent letter to the court that returning the material underscored the country’s “commitment to the peaceful settlement of the dispute” and added that “no other implication should be drawn from Australia’s actions.”Copyright © 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 Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more

Union sues feds over hack says agency had ample warning

first_img Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Hackers suspected of working for the Chinese government are believed to have stolen records for as many as 18 million current and former federal employees and contractors last year. Detailed background investigations for security clearances of military and intelligence agency employees were among the documents taken.OPM acknowledged the hack earlier this month, and has come under withering criticism from lawmakers and outside experts ever since. The agency’s inspector general told Congress he had been warning for years that the agency’s information security was inadequate but those warnings went largely unheeded.The lawsuit alleges that OPM was negligent when it failed to improve its security and safeguard employee information despite the warnings. The suit says an earlier hack of Keypoint systems allowed the attackers to obtain credentials that led to the later breaches.“Since 2007, officials at OPM have been alerted to their lackluster data security policies and protocols and failed to take appropriate steps to safeguard the information,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. and other union officials said in a joint statement. “Although they were forewarned about the potential catastrophe that government employees faced, OPM’s data security got worse rather than better.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img But, he added, the federal government will still be able to hire, and in some cases grant clearances on an interim basis.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WASHINGTON (AP) — The largest federal employee union filed a class action lawsuit Monday against the federal personnel office, its leaders and one of its contractors, arguing that negligence contributed to what government officials are calling one of the most damaging cyberthefts in U.S. history.The suit by the American Federation of Government Employees names the Office of Personnel Management, its director, Katherine Archuleta, and its chief information officer, Donna Seymour. It also names Keypoint Government Solutions, an OPM contractor. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Sponsored Stories The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages and calls for more extensive credit monitoring for employees who had their personal information stolen, saying the 18 months of monitoring offered by OPM is inadequate.“We want the OPM and other responsible parties to take responsibility, do everything feasible to remedy the problem and ensure that our clients do not suffer any further harm as a result of their information being compromised,” said Daniel Gerard, the lawyer representing the union.OPM and Keypoint did not immediately respond to requests for comment.The suit came on the same day that OPM said it has shut down a massive database used to update and store background investigation records after discovering a new flaw that left the system vulnerable to additional breaches.The database is known as e-QIP, short for Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing.There is no evidence the vulnerability has been exploited by hackers, agency spokesman Samuel Schumach said in a statement, adding that OPM took the step protectively after analyzing its networks for security flaws. He said the system could be shut down for four to six weeks.The shutdown is expected to hamper agencies’ ability to initiate investigations for new employees and contractors, as well as renewal investigations for security clearances, Schumach said. Comments   Share   last_img read more

Mt Ruapehu confirmed as one of the best places to work in

first_imgIt’s true – Mt Ruapehu is one of New Zealand’s best playgrounds, and now it’s been confirmed as one of the best places to work in the country.Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL), a finalist in the JRA Best Places to Work Survey, last night won the Most Improved Award in the Large Workplace category (400+ staff).RAL says this is a huge achievement as this is only the second year it has taken part in the survey.“This result has completely exceeded our expectations, we had a five-year plan for this survey to build on our average result from 2008 – but to win this award in our second year is fantastic,” says Jane McGechan, RAL HR manager. “It’s satisfying knowing that what we put in place to improve our staff morale paid off, and our people are happy in their workplace.Ms McGechan says key for her was knowing that 85 percent of the 800 full and part-time staff took the time to complete the survey, an increase of 25 percent in participation on last year. This increase in participation, and a clear improvement in employee satisfaction were the key drivers behind the organisation’s win.“At least 90 percent of our staff don’t have ready access to a computer so we had facilities set up on the mountain, and in Ohakune to make it easy for them to fill in the survey. 85.4 percent of staff said RAL was a fun place to work which to is key for us as our mission is ‘to create maximum vertical fun – Mt Ruapehu, Your Mountain’, and this is supposed to encompass staff and customers alike.“We took part in the JRA survey last year for the first time and found out that our staff were not having as much fun as we had previously thought. We knew we had to change our focus, so targeted communication throughout the company as an area to improve, and put a plan in place to achieve this.“The results are certainly a credit to our management team as they fully supported our new strategy from inception to implementation; and helped make the changes happen in order to manage the challenges we all face working the winter seasons on a mountain such as Mt Ruapehu.”Challenges include weather conditions that can close or delay the opening of the mountain, impacting both pay packets and staff morale. Living and working on a mountain in a remote region is another challenge so, to keep up staff morale, RAL implemented several activities over and above the norm that were either free or cheap for staff to partake in.“The winter season is intense. Many of our team on the Whakapapa side live and work on the mountain so they are quite isolated compared to those who live at Ohakune. Many don’t have ready access to transport, and as well as working together they live in close quarters to each other, eat with each other, drink with each other and generally live in each others’ pockets. Things have the potential to go downhill pretty rapidly.“To ensure our people had an opportunity to take a break we organised events such as shopping trips to the bigger towns, bus trips to big sports games such as the All Blacks in Hamilton. We’ve had BBQs, sports games including classic games of dodgeball and Tug of War.”“A large contingent of our seasonal staff are also from around the globe so we feel a responsibility to provide them with opportunities to explore and experience the local region to keep them motivated and excited about working in one of New Zealand’s best playgrounds,” says Ms McGechan. Ms McGechan says they’ve set themselves further targets for next season to keep improving on this year’s results. “We want to ensure RAL stays as one of New Zealand’s best places to work. We have a fantastic team of full time staff, and we are able to supplement them with great seasonal staff during the busy months, and we want to build on this.”The JRA Best Workplaces Survey is the largest employment engagement survey in New Zealand where employees rate their organisation from 60 questions across a range of measures. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = Mt Ruapehulast_img read more

Webjet to progressively roll out epricing

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Webjet will progressively introduce e-pricing covering international flights as of next week.Webjet’s Managing Director David Clarke commented on the e-pricing launch, which will continue to be rolled out progressively next month. “E-pricing has been developed international by Travelport Galileo over the last year or so and has now in conjunction with Galileo been tailored for online application for Webjet’s Australian online market.”The new e-pricing system will allow Webjet’s Australian customers to have deeper access and wider choice on international fares. This will allow customers to take advantage of some cheaper fare structures which may require a route with an additional stopover.Effectively, this could mean a trade off between price and itinerary duration but e-pricing could provide substantial savings in the leisure market.The company provided an example of these potential savings in a statement on the ASX, “A simple example would be Brisbane to Los Angeles via Auckland where savings may be in the order of $140 or more on a fare of approximately $1400.”“Naturally all of the duration optimized itinerary will continue to be available unchanged so the effect will be a wider choice, and is some cases, additional substantial savings.”  <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

JAL shifts focus to domestic assistance

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Japan Airlines released plans to temporarily suspend 74 international flights, as it increases its attention on domestic services to assist victims as well as Japan’s recovery post-quake. In response to recent natural disasters the airline said it will decrease flight frequency on 11 international routes between 6 April and 27 April but had extended its daily operations between Yamagata and Osaka and Sapporo until early April. Service between Narita and Honolulu, Shanghai and Seoul (Gimpo) will be cut from 21 to 14 as Narita to Beijing, Seoul (Incheon), Pusan and Taipei will be cut in half from 14 to 7.Meanwhile, the carrier said it will temporarily hold services between Narita and Hong Kong during the period. last_img

Bon Bastille Day for UTracks

first_imgA toast to agents!  UTracks popped the ‘good stuff’ at theiroffice in Sydney this morning to celebrate Bastille Day. Laura Cremins, UTracks Reservations Consultant, PhilipWyndham, UTracks Industry Sales Manager, Erin Williams,UTracks Reservations Consultant, Kate Baker, UTracksGeneral Manager and Jaclyn Lofts Utracks Sales Manager. UTracks are offering an additional 20 per cent discount on their entire range today only to celebrate their most popular destination, France, on the country’s national day. France represents 60 per cent of UTracks’ business which increased 25 per cent for the 2010-11 financial year, 30 per cent of which was directly driven by travel agent bookings, according to General Manager, Kate Baker. A division of World Expeditions, the company offers self-guided and assisted guidance walking and cycling tours throughout Europe and are planning on expanding its current 140 itineraries by 22 in 2011 and a further 20 in 2012, which will also incorporate Morocco for the first time. “There will be a lot to choose from, all the small pockets of Europe which is why France is so popular as it offers a diverse range of regions and is perfect for a self-guided concept,” Ms Baker told e-Travel Blackboard during an exclusive interview at the company’s headquarters this morning. Citing repeat business and word of mouth attesting the high quality product on offer, Ms Baker said support from the trade and a stronger Australian dollar to the weaker Euro attributed to a $300 discount on itineraries amounting to increased sales last financial year. Ms Baker said their family itineraries showed most improvement, and is expecting continued growth with the introduction of new electric bicycles to selected itineraries.For more information, visit Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.Mlast_img read more

Naughty naughty Aussie travellers

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Australian travellers like to get their ‘nasty’ on in hotel rooms, with up to 40 percent of Aussies confessing to flicking to the adult channels during their stay.According to a ZUJI Australia survey, one in three respondents admitted to hiding something in the hotel room if they break it, while another 23 percent confessed to lying about swiping items from the mini-bar.The ‘Hotel Confessional’ revealed that almost 20 percent of Aussies have pinched bathrobes, pillows and towels from the hotel while more than 65 percent admitted to taking toiletries as souvenirs. The company’s managing director James Gaskell added that while Aussies choose to live on the wild side during their hotel stays, they are also generous with tips.Up to 86 percent of Australians said they would always tip hotel staff once they have received service that deserves it.”We’re occasionally prone to getting in touch with our inner-rock star, but we’re more inclined to make sure we acknowledge and respect hotel staff,” Mr Gaskell said. last_img read more

JQ receives boarding violation fine

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J A Christchurch court is said to have handed Jetstar Airways a $6,500 fine after a Melbourne check-in clerk changed a passenger’s nationality, allowing the person to enter New Zealand without a visa.Earlier this week the Christchurch District Court heard that a Chinese woman was travelling from Melbourne to New Zealand on 27 January 2011, The Press reported.Because she was citizen of China she required a visa but because she had not applied for one the computer flashed a notification to the Jetstar check-in staff member to contact Immigration New Zealand.The passenger’s nationality was then altered from China to Switzerland which allowed her to board the aircraft and enter New Zealand without proper documentation. The carrier explained that check-in staff had “received the directive but through she had entered the incorrect country code, so she amended the country code to CH [China]”.Although the woman boarded the flight without notice she was eventually granted a visa to enter the country.The court’s Judge David Saunders said the fine was a message “to be careful with the processing of passengers at overseas airports” and noted that it was the carrier’s first conviction in New Zealand. last_img read more