Bookings up 57 for Amadeus agencies worldwide

first_imgBookings up 5.7% for Amadeus agencies worldwide Monday, July 31, 2017 Travelweek Group Tags: Amadeus MADRID — Air bookings for Amadeus-connected travel agencies totalled 295.2 million for the first half of 2017, a 5.7% jump that outperformed GDS industry growth of 4.3%, according to Amadeus.“The positive performance of our Distribution segment was supported by growth in travel agency air bookings. These increased across all regions, which contributed to an increase in our travel agency air competitive position of 0.5 percentage points, to 43.6%. Amadeus says that while Latin America and Asia and Pacific continue to be its fastest-growing regions, increasing 14.7% and 10% respectively, out of North America the GDS saw 52.5 million bookings, representing close to 18% of Amadeus’ global market, and a 6.9% rise compared to the first half of 2016.In the first half of 2017 Amadeus signed 21 new contracts or renewals of content agreements, including WestJet Airlines and Korean Air. Subscribers to Amadeus’ inventory can now access 100+ low cost carriers and hybrid carriers’ content worldwide.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in July At the close of June, 130 airlines had signed up to Amadeus Airline Ancillary Services for the indirect channel, including Malaysia Airlines and Middle East Airlines in the second quarter of 2017.Amadeus’ adjusted profit for the first half of 2017 was $842 million, an increase of 16.1% compared to the same period last year. From January to June, Amadeus’ revenue grew 9.5%, to $3,656 million. The number of passengers boarded through Amadeus-enabled bookings increased 19.8% to 753.4 million.“Amadeus’ progression in the first half of the year was positive,” said Amadeus President & CEO Luis Maroto. “Our Distribution segment continued to grow ahead of the industry, which allowed us to improve our competitive position. In IT Solutions, we had important migrations that have contributed to the expansion of our international footprint. In the first half of the year 56.8% of our passengers boarded were generated outside of Europe.”center_img Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Heading to the CHTAs Caribbean Travel Marketplace Heres what you can expect

first_img SAN JUAN — The Caribbean’s recovery post-hurricane season is picking up pace with more than 5 billion impressions for the ‘Caribbean Is Open’ campaign, plus strong registration numbers for the CHTA’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace Jan. 30 – Feb. 1.The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association reports that registration numbers for the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, taking place at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, are just slightly off pace from registrations at this time last year for the 2017 event in The Bahamas. For the upcoming 2018 event, close to 600 delegates have confirmed their attendance including 170+ suppliers and more than 50 buyers.“With six weeks to go, we are on target to equal or surpass last year’s attendance,” says CHTA’s Director General Frank Comito. Next month’s event is shaping up to be “another incredible opportunity to kickstart the region’s marketing efforts for 2018 and beyond,” he adds.Following a meeting with the Host Committee in San Juan last week, Comito disclosed the overall year-over-year registration pace was encouraging, and assured that all systems were in order for the Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 event.Produced by CHTA, Marketplace brings together hotel and destination representatives; online travel agents; tour operators; Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) planners; and members of the media.“We were very encouraged by what we saw in Puerto Rico,” said Comito, who observed the metro area busily preparing for the opening of the winter season. “The strong recovery from Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, is a testament to the spirit of the Puerto Rican people as they get their lives back on track and get ready to welcome tourists to the island. They are ready for us and they are going to be even more ready on Jan. 30.”More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesThe Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) reported last week that more than 100 hotels are open and operating. More than 4,000 restaurants are taking orders and serving up meals. Major tourism attractions island-wide have been cleaned up and restored.“It’s been the continued collaboration with Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s team and tourism industry partners that has resulted in tremendous progress and we’re thrilled to be officially open for tourism,” said José Izquierdo, executive director of the PRTC. “Tourism is a vital contributor to the island’s economy, so reaching these milestones not only will help build a stronger, better Puerto Rico, but showcases the resiliency in our people and destination.”Puerto Rico recently announced that Dec. 20 would be its “official reopening date”. The island was devastated by Hurricane Maria in this year’s wild Atlantic hurricane season.For more information on Caribbean Travel Marketplace see Details about registration can be found at news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesMeanwhile billions of people now know that the Caribbean is open because of the multifaceted, million-dollar campaign by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the trade association representing the mutual interests of the cruise industry and destinations and stakeholders in the Caribbean and Latin America.The Association’s ‘Caribbean Is Open’ campaign generated awareness, along with more than 5 billion impressions, about the majority of Caribbean destinations operating normally, unhindered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.Between Oct. 2 and Dec. 1, 2017, the campaign generated more than 4.26 billion impressions; 11,949 media placements; 22,432 promoted content clicks; promoted content reach of 14,060,068; and 18,269 total shares of news stories.That’s in addition to the 1.23 billion impressions and 9,041 placements through a satellite media tour.The campaign has also featured a landing site,, with destination footage, a Q&A, traveller testimonials and a map of open destinations, as well as a media call with Arnold Donald, CEO, Carnival Corporation, and Chairman, CLIA and Adam Goldstein, President & COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Chairman, FCCA.In all, the focus has been targeting potential travellers to educate about the region’s more than 1 million square miles and 100 ports, the majority of which were unaffected by the hurricanes and ready to welcome visitors. The campaign also showcased the affected destinations’ resiliency and recovery efforts. Monday, December 18, 2017 Share Heading to the CHTA’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace? Here’s what you can expect Travelweek Group center_img Posted by Tags: Caribbean << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Transat honoured with Travelife Certification for sustainability efforts

first_img Friday, October 19, 2018 Share Transat honoured with Travelife Certification for sustainability efforts MONTREAL — It’s official: Transat is now Travelife Certified.This marks the first time that a major international tour operator has been awarded the international certification for its full range of activities.To hold and maintain Travelife Certified status, Transat must comply with more than 200 criteria covering its workplace practices, product range, business partners and customers. Travelife certification is accredited by the UN-supported Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and also complies with the ISO 26000 Corporate Social Responsibility Standard, which puts forward guidelines on environment, human rights and labour relations.“Twelve years ago, we began a structured approach aimed at becoming a model of sustainable tourism,” said Annick Guérard, Chief Operating Officer, Transat. “In the process, we strengthened our environmental management and our social engagement, including toward children, trained our teams on the importance of sustainable development, retooled our operations to better address customers’ concerns, and urged our partners to implement sustainability practices. We are very proud to receive the Travelife Certified attestation, recognizing best practices in responsible tourism across all of our tour operator and travel agency activities, which were painstakingly reviewed to secure certification.”More news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedMélanie Joly, Minister of tourism, Official Language and La Francophonie, added: “The tourism industry is growing in Canada and around the world, and we want to make sure Canadians benefit from that. We applaud Transat’s leadership in sustainable tourism as demonstrated by the company receiving certification that recognizes its commitment to the environment, communities and sustainable tourism development.”Transat has been committed to sustainable development since 2006, with multiple initiatives in environmental stewardship and heritage protection, which are described on It has also established policies recognizing sustainability certifications by its hotelier partners, adopted a code of conduct for tourism service providers, and created volunteering and humanitarian leave programs for its employees.In conjunction with the award, Transat is now following a new Action Plan (2018-2020) aimed at raising awareness among employees and customers of sustainable development and responsible tourism practices. Posted bycenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Transat Travelweek Group last_img read more

Coco Capsule

first_imgNo related posts. Coco businesses have not waited for the green season to start expanding and refurbishing. San Carlos Home Center has greatly enlarged its retail floor space by opening up a large room in the rear where all of the tools and smaller items have been better organized and relocated.The revamp has left the main areas focused on home furnishings and lighting. Meanwhile, Vargas Tours ( has opened in the former Banco Nacional building in front of Luperon and Pacifico Realty.The Sixth Annual International Food Festival is set for April 29 on the boardwalk.  Starting at 11 a.m. (note the earlier time) the Lions Club-sponsored event will feature the best from many of the area’s restaurants, and there is always a lot of fun and feasting with friends. It’s free to enter, and vendors determine prices with all proceeds going to benefit the community. For more information contact Sandy Hernandez at 8914-3570 or plan on devoting an entire column on the greatly expanded Hidden Gallery soon, but don’t miss the upcoming show, “focus,” displaying the work of Otto Apuy. The month-long event begins April 21 with a party from 4-7 p.m. and runs through May 21. On display will be paintings, videos and a special installation to be placed outside in a garden setting symbolizing the variety of Guanacaste.Finally, check out El Coco Connect (, a new source  of community information featuring a local online yard sale among other timely and informative content.–Kent Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Silky souvenirs in Guanacastes capital

first_imgFrom the print editionBy Jessica Tyner | Special to The Tico TimesLiberia, the provincial capital of Guanacaste, has more to offer than idyllic beaches – although it is possible to take a piece of paradise home with you. Wendy Tayler, owner of Costa Rica Silks, creates beautifully hand-painted designs on silk scarves, shawls and lounge pants. Inspired by the beauty of the country, each piece is one-of-a-kind and features a landscape, a native plant, or a wild animal like the blue morph butterfly or scarlet macaw. Tayler, an expat from the United States, moved here 20 years ago and inherited the silk-making supplies from a fellow foreigner. A natural-born artist, she fell in love with the process of capturing the world around her in a functional keepsake. She spent two hours in a crowded kitchen learning the ropes in 1999, and the process of watching vibrant colors spread across the silk has kept her mesmerized. Gabe Dinsmoor Special requests are gladly accepted, and Tayler has had some unusual projects in the last two decades. Her most memorable request was a wall hanging depicting 50 years of marriage. The piece now hangs in a couple’s home in Mexico and was a loving anniversary gift from their daughter. Other special creations include baby silks for baptisms and shawls for weddings and the terminally ill. Every piece is infused with Tayler’s passion and spirit, making it impossible for her to choose a favorite. A shawl she made for a groom’s mother featured butterflies that represented each of her children. Each shawl that is created for terminally ill patients is tucked away in her heart. The most personal item is the silk she created for her mother, blossoming with the flora they had seen together over Thanksgiving in Costa Rica. It was gifted shortly after Tayler’s father’s death.Like many artists, she considers the art scene here limited but overflowing with undiscovered talent. Since she is not formally trained, Tayler does not consider herself an artist, though she regularly attends shows and exhibitions frequented by clients from around the world. Efforts have been made to improve the art-scene visibility in Guanacaste and allow talented artists to show their work, but the turnout is usually minimal.Expats or travelers can stop by the studio or order pieces online. Add an exquisite addition to your wardrobe with a scarf that is the perfect accessory for a swimsuit or hat. Every piece can be dry cleaned or washed by hand. Visit Costa Rica Silks at or call 8333-7555. Tayler can also be contacted at Facebook Comments No related posts. One of the painted scarves.last_img read more

Puerto Viejo Voice

first_imgThe local El Puente project, which offers educational assistance, food and microloans mainly to indigenous people in the Talamanca area of the South Caribbean, is looking for volunteers. If you’re interested in helping out or just popping in to see what it’s about, check out the weekly soup kitchen on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. For directions, call Barry at 2750-0524. It costs nothing to volunteer; the time contribution is greatly appreciated.In the Talamanca region, work is being done in Carbon #1 and Hone Creek by the Women Like Us Foundation. They have teamed up with Asociación de Familias Productoras El Yue, a United Nations-funded community center, to provide a space for English and Yoga classes, led by instructor Addison Demaree. Demaree, who spearheads the local effort as the program director, said, “The program serves as an opportunity for the children of the area to come and learn, play and laugh.” So far, the program has supported the local school and community through initiating several projects, including installing both a new ceiling and a new water well, planting trees, purchasing books and supplies, painting walls, refurbishing school furniture, donating uniforms, computers and bicycles, building signs and offering scholarships.For more info, visit or contact Addison at The Women Like Us Foundation is a registered 501c3 nonprofit in the U.S., which means any contributions are tax deductible.In other news, free baseball for youths aged 6-18 is being held Wednesdays at 3 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m. at the plaza in Cocles. Thanks to coaches Raul and Jeremy for offering this opportunity to the South Caribbean kids.The weekly Farmer’s Market this Saturday (and every Saturday) starts 7 a.m. and is located just behind the Centro de Cultura in the heart of town at the Puerto Viejo Flea Market. Find local and organic products and support the artists, farmers and creators of the Talamanca region who come every weekend to sell their wares. Get there early for the best selection!And finally, the South Caribbean would like to extend a special and heartfelt thank you to the Chilean band Gondwana for their special surprise concert on July 10 at Lazy Mon. Opening for this world renowned roots reggae crew was our very own local and beloved Plan B. Together they put on a lively show free for the community. Plan B keys man Claudio Ambroso called it “the event of the year, musically.” Thanks to all for a great time and good vibes.-Kristin Gilbert Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

To our subscribers

first_imgNo related posts. March 15, 2013Dear Subscriber:As many of you know, for the last five months, we’ve been working to find a way to bring to our online-only edition the quality journalism that made The Tico Times’ print edition Central America’s leading English-language newspaper for almost 57 years.We’re happy to report some exciting good news: our new team and new organization are in place, and are charting a path forward that promises an even better English-language news experience online and across multiple digital formats. In the next few months, we’ll be redesigning our site, adding staff and developing the most dynamic and interesting English-language news site in the region.Best of all, we’ll be offering The Tico Times for FREE to our online, tablet and mobile readers.When the transition is complete, you’ll be able to receive fresh content – whether great investigative news stories, vibrant photos or fascinating video pieces – at home, on your laptop, on your mobile or on the go with your tablet.While we’ll be phasing out our pay walls and PDF version of the weekly newspaper in the next couple weeks, we’ll continue to bring you great coverage through our new site, in daily newsletters and through our suggested weekend reads. You’ll still find all of your favorite content from the print edition, plus a lot more.To our current and past subscribers, THANK YOU for helping sustain us through this transition. Without you, The Tico Times would never have survived. We’d also like to invite you to keep reading, and to watch for our new online format in coming months. We promise, you’ll be just as excited about it as we are.As always, your opinions matter to us, and we appreciate your feedback. Is there something you’d like to see us doing? Please share it with us. Is there an unmet need in your community for better information? Let us know what it is.It’s an honor and privilege to serve you. We hope you’ll continue to support The Tico Times and the sponsors and advertisers that enable us to keep you connected.Warm saludos,Dery Dyer, PublisherAnd The Tico Times StaffP.S. We’d love to hear your thoughts! Drop us a line at, subject line: Subscriber Feedback. Or contact circulation manager Diego Herrera at Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rican envoy analyzes Obamas May trip to the region

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. – Costa Rican Ambassador to the United States Muni Figueres was recently part of a group of five diplomats from Central America and the Dominican Republic who gathered May 17 to assess U.S. PresidentBarack Obama’s recent visit to Costa Rica. Contrary to what some critics have said, Figueres and her fellow ambassadors concurred the visit was important.“It was substance,” Figueres said. “The meeting recast the issue of security — which is still extremely important to all of our countries — in a much broader context than simply repression. It went perfectly.”Figueres noted that in addition to Obama, the U.S. delegation was composed of other very high-level officials, and that meant Washington considered it important enough to send key decision makers.At the packed Inter-American Dialogue forum in downtown Washington, D.C., Figueres said Obama’s visit to Costa Rica “put the region on the American foreign policy map.”She noted that the May 3-4 trip, which coincided with a meeting of the Central American Integration System (SICA), “recast the issue of security, moving away from repression and towards prevention.”President Obama also visited Mexico to discuss with his counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, many of the same issues that were on the table in San José — including immigration and Mexico’s relations with Central American countries.The fact that they talked about it, said Figueres, shows that “the region south of the border is important and strategic to the United States.”Along with officials from the Dominican Republic, Figueres was joined at the forum by ambassadors from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.Francisco Campbell, Managua’s top official in Washington, observed that the summit in Costa Rica was the first time a U.S. president had participated in a SICA gathering since the U.S. became an observer to the regional group last year.“It shows that the Obama administration is serious about the region and about issues such as the Central American integration process,” he said.Honduran Ambassador Jorge Ramón Hernández said he sensed a feeling of real commitment by Obama to follow up on a variety of contentious issues, particularly immigration reform.Added Dominican Ambassador Aníbal de Castro, “It tells me we have to rely more on the diaspora here in the States and integrate them in an effective way to our dialogue with the United States. Immigration reform is a very important issue for us.”The Inter-American Dialogue noted on its website that the Obama administration has requested an increase in 2014 funding for the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). However, of the roughly $360 million granted through CARSI between 2008 and 2011, only $97 million — or 27 percent — had been committed by January 2013.Rubén Zamora, El Salvador’s newly appointed ambassador in Washington, said that in the past, Central America was considered strategic by the United States, “but not a priority.”This meeting is helping Washington overcome what he calls the mindset of a “unilateralism about the region,” and move more towards “a partnership, not just with the region, but (also) with the individual countries.”Zamora said “it opened a space for a more direct dialogue with the president. It was a very good agenda for going forward with a partnership between the United States and Central America.”All the diplomats concurred that the presidential summit was just the starting point of an expanded agenda of greater cooperation between Central America and the United States and what they consider to be a greater level of respect they now feel from the White House.One area in which both sides will explore further is education, Figueres said.“The president (Obama) considers education to be the best way to achieve prosperity and greater integration (in Central America),” she said. “We all agreed to look at expanding student and teacher exchanges between the United States and Central America and tap the private sector in both regions to finance scholarships on a much greater level than currently.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

US citizen dies in boating accident off Costa Ricas Playa Herradura

first_imgA U.S. tourist was killed in a boating accident last week off Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast.Won Ah, 30, of Atlanta, Georgia, was reportedly swimming during a sport fishing expedition with six other tourists, including his brother, when he got caught in the boat’s propeller, according to the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).The Red Cross responded to the accident and pronounced Ah dead at the scene.The accident happened Aug. 13 at about 4 p.m., some 3 nautical miles out from Los Sueños Marina in Playa Herradura. The 36-foot boat, named Circle Hook, was headed out on a fishing charter. But the captain stopped the boat mid-ocean at the tourists’ request, according to OIJ.However, the captain kept the engine running per protocol, OIJ’s press office said.Some of the tourists reportedly asked if they could swim and jumped in the water, including Ah. Shortly afterwards, the captain heard a loud noise and cut the engines.OIJ said it appeared that Ah’s bathing suit got caught in the boat’s propeller. He died at the scene.Police are still investigating the incident, as is the Public Works and Transport Ministry, which oversees watercraft.A spokesman for the ministry, Juan Carlos González, said the boat was fully permitted.The incident was one of two boating accidents that claimed lives last week in Costa Rica. In the other, a Nicaraguan woman was killed Saturday night after the water taxi she was traveling in collided with a tourist boat in the canals of Tortuguero, on the Caribbean coast. Facebook Comments Related posts:Investigation finds ‘no negligence’ in deadly Costa Rica catamaran accident  US man dies in boating accident in Costa Rica, marking third deadly incident this month 13 Costa Ricans dead in shipwreck off Nicaragua Sport fishing season in the South Pacific could generate up to $331 million, study sayslast_img read more

5 questions for Costa Rican tribal dancer Vanessa Messeguer

first_imgRelated posts:5 questions for a Costa Rican belly dancer 5 questions for Costa Rican pole trainer Elena Hütt 5 questions for a Costa Rican designer 5 questions for a Costa Rican painter Facebook Comments Our “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at Vanessa Messeguer, 33, is a dancer with a dizzying array of styles at her command: she practices Tribal Fusion Style, Improvisation Tribal Style, American Tribal Style, belly dance, pole dancing and fire shows, among many others. At the moment, she is the only certified Improvisation Tribal Style teacher in Central America. She teaches tribal dance at Aidah Manaar Academy, and pole dancing and what she describes as sexy style at Glo Studio Academy, soon to expand to Da Corpo Academy as well. She has also given workshops all around the country, and is producer and artistic director of Circo de La Luna.American Tribal Style is a derivation of belly dancing that, instead of being an individual performance, seeks to make it group performance, a tribe of dancers expressing one common voice. At present, Messeguer is part of a group with three other leaders of the Improvisation Fusion Style in Costa Rica (María Campos, Paula Campos, and Pilar Quesada), who are rehearsing at Tierra Fertil Academy and will debut at the Flower Hips Festival in April.The Tico Times visited Tierra Fertil Academy to talk to Messeguer about her career. Excerpts follow.How did you become a dancer?I have been dancing since I was 3 years old: modern dance and ballet. I graduated from Castella High School. At first, I was studying dance, but then I changed to theater, which actually has helped me a lot with my career. After I finished high school, I started working with an independent [modern dance] group called “Metamorfosis” which is where I fell in love with belly dancing.At time there were very few belly-dancing teachers here [in Costa Rica] and I really wanted to learn. When I found my teacher, Ericka Zayas-Bazan, it was like love at first sight between both of us. I told her I practiced juggling with fire, and she told me she was interested in working with me because she worked with fire too and wanted to make a group of dancers performing with fire. She trained me, for free, for many years. And, it was because of her that I found the American Tribal Style. Once, Caro Dumanni, who is the best performers in tribal, organized a tribal dance festival and invited great dancers, there was where I met my current teacher, Amy Sigil. When I saw Amy dancing, I fall in love with her dancing. Vanessa Messeguer performs American Tribal Style. (Courtesy of Vanessa Messeguer)How could you describe your dancing style?My idea has always been to create my own style. I’ve taken Flamenco classes, tap, belly dancing; at some point what I wanted was to get all those dances together and create my own style. There’s when I found tribal, which actually is the dance that opens those doors to create new styles. When I met Amy Sigil, I saw her tribal style, and it’s really different. She mixes it with hip hop and modern dance, with a strong personality on the stage, and I really liked it. So, I started taking classes with her. Anytime she came to Costa Rica I took every single workshop with her.I really like one of the fusion style branches called Gothic Fusion Style. It is darker: the music, the costumes, movements, makeup. I focus more on the sexy style, like a dark sexy style.What made you fall in love with tribal dance?The concept behind it, the philosophy. A women’s empowerment philosophy. Between women we support each other, we are together, we are sisters, and go along with each other. Besides, the fact that most of the girls have tattoos, dress in black, like all dark, when I saw that I thought, “This is my place.” And, that aspect, women’s empowerment and the power of girls, that made fall in love with it.Dancing has a lot of benefits, any kind of dancing. It helps with coordination, which is amazing, also helps you improve your cardio, blood circulation, lose weight. Belly dancing, specifically, helps you a lot with your femininity. As you move your hips a lot and all the chakras located in that area, it helps improve digestion, femininity, self-esteem, menstrual pain, empowerment. This dance really helps to empower women and make them stronger. That’s what I love and what I always try to transmit with my classes. Nowadays, women are still lagging behind, but, this dance actually empowers us, besides all the other physical benefits. Also, it really helps girls who had been raped. It helps them get over those issues.What does it mean to be a successful dancer? To me, it means to love what you do and that when you express it to people, they can appreciate it. It’s different to be a successful dancer than to be a successful teacher.I’m the only Improvisation Tribal Style teacher in Central America. The only person who can certify a teacher is the inventor of this style, who is Amy Sigil. To apply you have to take the teacher training in the United States, and then present your exam online. She tells you what you need to improve, so you can present your exam again, or if you do it perfectly on the first try then she can certify you. I did the teacher training in May 2015, and got my certification in October.But as a successful dancer, [the main thing is to] really love to be onstage and transmit it. The most important thing is to love the dance. The passion, the devotion, the practice. Because not only the passion will make a good dancer, you have to work hard, train hard. The passion goes hand-in-hand with hard training to really be successful. Vanessa Messeguer at a fire show. (Courtesy of Vanessa Messeguer)How does your circus work?The Circus started in 2007 [with three women]. We started working with fire, belly dancing, aerial silks. When I was part of the group Metamorphosis, people called me to perform at shows, but they also used to ask me to take another artist with me for a different type of performance. So I thought I had to do something because they were [suggesting that I function as] a producer. I thought it would be a good idea for the future, because I won’t be able to dance for the rest of my life, to earn money as a performer.So, that’s why I got more into the production [with the Circus]. I have already worked for really good brands, have worked for many clubs too. I was the director of Dolce Agency, so that opened many doors. I work for Club Vertigo; I do a lot of performances there and create productions for them. I also work for Jogo Production, with Noe Chavarría, Circo Vivo, Rodrigo Piedra.At the beginning I did auditions and had a group of approximately 20 people. I chose people who were good but weren’t professionals; it was really nice group we did amazing projects. Now, most of them are professionals. I do not say it’s all my merit, because it’s not… but I brought them into that world, to start with their performances.I also worked with many street artists, but it didn’t work out. We couldn’t agree on many things, so I stopped having groups and started working with professionals whom I call only when I need them.last_img read more

Moderate earthquake strikes off Solomon Islands

first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Top Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Top holiday drink recipes Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – A moderate earthquake has struck in waters off the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, but there are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-5.2 quake struck Saturday morning about 281 kilometers (175 miles) west of the Solomon Islands’ capital, Honiara, at a depth of just 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories The Solomon Islands is a country of nearly 1,000 islands that lie on the “Ring of Fire” _ an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

5 Gbagbo loyalists sentenced in Ivory Coast

first_imgIvory Coast’s civilian court system has charged him with a range of other crimes stemming from the violence, including genocide.Despite evidence that both pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara fighters committed grave crimes during the conflict, only Gbagbo supporters have been charged by both national and international courts, sparking allegations of victor’s justice. More than 100 Gbagbo loyalists have been detained throughout Ivory Coast and are awaiting trial.In November 2011, Gbagbo became the first former head of state to be transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he will be tried on charges of crimes against humanity.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) – Ivory Coast’s military tribunal on Thursday handed down the first verdict related to last year’s post-election conflict, finding five men guilty in the kidnapping and murder of a colonel who died at the height of the violence in March 2011.The most high-profile suspect in the case – Gen. Bruno Dogbo Ble, the feared former head of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo’s Republican Guard – received a 15-year sentence, said Kady Fofana, communications chief for the tribunal. Four other men received sentences of five to 15 years, she said. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How do cataracts affect your vision? The difference between men and women when it comes to pain 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 Day Sponsored Stories The violence erupted after Gbagbo refused to cede office despite losing the November 2010 presidential runoff vote to now-President Alassane Ouattara.Col. Adama Dosso was detained in late March 2011 while leaving Abidjan’s Golf Hotel, where Ouattara had based his headquarters during the standoff with Gbagbo.During the trial, Jean Noel Leo Lago, a soldier who also was sentenced to 15 years, testified he killed the colonel, saying Ble had ordered the operation. Ble denied the claim.Mathurin Djirabou, a lawyer for Ble, said Thursday night that he believed the verdict was flawed. “It’s an accusation which is only based on the declaration of a soldier,” Djirabou said. “And this soldier has had contradictions several times in his testimony.”Ble’s chief of staff, Cmdr. Yagba Kipre, received a 15-year sentence; Sgt. Ferdinand Toh received a 12-year sentence and Sgt. Noel Toualy received a five-year sentence for their roles in the operation.Ble was one of 13 leaders implicated by Human Rights Watch in grave crimes committed during the post-election violence, which claimed at least 3,000 lives. The rights group’s report on the violence said he had committed abuses that “likely constitute crimes against humanity,” including enforced disappearances and the persecution of West African immigrants. Comments   Share   Top Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Syria war puts antiUS alliance on the defensive

first_imgAlso, the Sunni countries, along with Turkey, support the Sunni-dominated opposition waging the civil war against Assad’s rule in Syria.The axis had been gaining power over the decade before the Syrian uprising began in March 2011 and formed a powerful front against Israel and the key U.S. allies in the Middle East such as the oil-rich Gulf states. Iran has long supported Hezbollah and Hamas as proxies in its battle against Israel. And Tehran also troubled the west with its dogged pursuit of uranium enrichment, a program the U.S. and its allies suspect is aimed at producing nuclear weapons but which Iran says is for peaceful purposes.Syria has long boasted about being one of the few protectors of militant groups fighting Israel. It is the main transit point of weapons brought from Iran to Hezbollah and a collapse of Assad’s regime would make it difficult for arms to reach the militant group that has been exchanging threats with the Jewish state and fought a 2006 war with Israel.The axis also spread its influence to Shiite majority Iraq, where the fall of Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-dominated regime gave way to a government controlled by Shiites.Only few years ago, the coalition was becoming so powerful that King Abdullah of Jordan warned of a “Shiite crescent,” meaning countries from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Men’s health affects baby’s health too This about-turn also caused new tensions with the Palestinian movement’s main financial backer, Iran. Tehran demanded that Hamas step up and support Assad publicly. Hamas refused to do so, but didn’t break ties entirely with Tehran, for lack of an alternative source of funds.However, another benefactor may now be stepping forward.Last week, the emir of Qatar, a vociferous critic of Assad, became the first foreign leader to visit the Gaza Strip. In a way, it formally sealed the break by Hamas from the “Axis of Resistance.”The trip offering the internationally isolated Hamas leadership there an unprecedented stamp of approval and Qatar promised more than $400 million in development projects for the impoverished territory.The Qatari leader’s generosity will likely give him some leverage over Hamas’ decision-making at a time of growing debate within the movement over whether to stay in the orbit of Iran and other radical groups or move closer to the more moderate Gulf Arab camp.Syria’s president has painted the uprising against him as a universal attack designed to destroy the entire “Axis of Resistance.” Last month, Assad told Iran’s visiting foreign minister that the fight against his government “targets resistance as a whole, not only Syria.” Associated PressBEIRUT (AP) – When the Hamas rulers of Gaza recently gave a hero’s welcome to the ruler of Qatar, an arch foe of the Syrian regime, it sent a strong message reverberating across the capitals in Tehran, Damascus and Beirut.The powerful, anti-American alliance of Iran, Syria and militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas, once dubbed the “Axis of Resistance,” is fraying.Iran’s economy is showing signs of distress from nuclear sanctions, Syria’s president is fighting for his survival and Hezbollah in Lebanon is under fire by opponents who blame it for the assassination of an anti-Syrian intelligence official. Hamas _ the Palestinian arm _ has bolted. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Israel has threatened to carry out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division, warned that Iran will target U.S. bases in the region in the event of war with Israel.“The question is not whether it (the alliance) will survive or not. The question is will it have the capacity to act offensively,” said Gerges. It is on the defensive.”___Associated Press writers Karin Laub and Zeina Karam contributed to this report.___Bassem Mroue can be reached on twitter at 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project “There will have to be serious adjustments in the axis should Assad go and preparations in Tehran for the day after are, I assume, already underway,” Saab said.Hezbollah, which supported revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain, backed Assad in the crackdown. That support turned much of the Middle East’s Sunni population against the group they once looked up to.The group came under renewed pressure and criticism earlier this month when a car bomb in Beirut on Oct. 19 killed one of the country’s top intelligence officials, an anti-Syrian figure. Hezbollah’s opponents at home immediately pointed fingers at the group, calling for the resignation of the government Hezbollah now dominates.Iran, the wealthiest and most powerful member of the alliance, has reportedly sent billions of dollars to Assad to help suppress the uprising, according to a recent report by Times of London. Tehran has given Hezbollah billions since the group was created in 1982.But now Iran is struggling to cope with Western sanctions that have ravaged its economy. The sanctions aim at thwarting its nuclear program.The distress was all too apparent in the freefall of Iran’s currency the rial, which lost more than a third of its value in a week. The decline is widely tied to the effects of sanctions. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement A new boldness was seen in 2010 when Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah emerged from hiding for a rare public trip to Damascus, where he attended a meeting with his powerful regional allies, Assad and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The leaders smiled confidently and appeared relaxed in footage of their meetings, a show of force meant to deter and demonstrate the unshakable power of the “Axis of Resistance.”The uprising against Assad that erupted 19 months ago, amid tumultuous changes sweeping the Arab world, shook a major pillar of the alliance.“The fate of the alliance rests on the future of the Assad regime. If Assad goes, Iran and Hezbollah will suffer and find it much more difficult to plan, coordinate, and communicate,” said Bilal Saab, a Middle East expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.The brutal crackdown by Assad’s regime on the Sunni-dominated uprising was an embarrassment to Hamas, the main Palestinian arm of the coalition. Hamas leaders in exile, who had been based in Damascus since the late 1990s, left for Egypt, Qatar and other countries.Hamas officials say they could not be seen supporting a regime that was brutally suppressing a popular rebellion, particularly since most of those rising up against Assad are fellow Sunni Muslims. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix “We’re seeing basically the resistance axis becoming much more vulnerable and under duress. So even if it survives, it’s really under tremendous pressure,” said Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics.“The Hamas shift to the Saudi-Qatari-Turkish orbit represents a major nail in the coffin of the resistance axis,” he said. “Now you are talking about Iran and Syria and to a lesser extent Iraq and this undermines the social element because Hamas added the very important Sunni dimension.”The axis is one of two powerful camps that divide the Middle East into spheres of competing influence. It faces off against the wealthy, powerful monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar allied loosely with most of the other Arab countries and neighboring Turkey, which like Iran is Muslim but not Arab.The fault line is sharply sectarian _ Iran and Hezbollah are Shiite and Assad’s regime is dominated by the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Hamas, which is Sunni, had been the exception before it strayed. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim-led Arab countries in the Gulf have been trying to stem the regional influence of Iran. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Sponsored Stories last_img read more

AntiPutin protester gets 4 12 years in jail

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The May protest was part of a series of anti-Putin rallies that erupted across Russia after fraud-plagued parliamentary elections. The demonstrations drew tens of thousands of people in the largest show of discontent in the country since the 1991 Soviet collapse.In Zamoskvoretsky district court in Moscow, 36-year-old gym owner Maxim Luzyanin pleaded guilty on Friday to assaulting police and pelting them with pieces of asphalt when scuffles broke out during the May opposition rally in central Moscow. He was given a 4 1/2 year sentence.None of the 18 other defendants charged with participating in the protest violence have pleaded guilty.Opposition leaders said police provoked the violence and called Luzyanin’s sentencing part of a Kremlin-orchestrated persecution of government critics.“They’ll give the others eight (years) now,” Alexei Navalny, a charismatic anti-corruption activist and the protest movement’s semi-official leader, tweeted.During Luzyanin’s trial, prosecutors had asked for 6 1/2 years of the maximum sentence of 8 years.Judge Andrei Fedin said the court decided to give Luzyanin a shorter sentence for several reasons: his guilty plea, his testimony to investigators against other defendants, and his 15-year-old son and dependent mother. Men’s health affects baby’s health too 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Lawyers and opposition leaders had expected Luzyanin _ who was already under a suspended sentence for extortion _ to get a shorter sentence after cooperating with prosecutors.Luzyanin had requested an expedited trial, which meant he could receive no more than two-thirds of the maximum sentence and could not challenge evidence.But afterward his lawyer, Sergei Shushpanov, said his client would appeal his sentence.Pavel Chikov of the Agora human rights lawyer association, which represents several of the 18 other defendants, said Luzyanin’s sentence showed prosecutors “definitely want everyone in prison for a long time in order to frighten the rest of the activists.”Chikov said, “This sends a clear message: Protesters will believe they will get a long sentence just for protesting Putin.”Luzyanin’s admission to participating in riots could make it easier to convict the others, whose lawyers have insisted the rioting was spontaneous, not preplanned.Those defendants also could be held responsible for damage to asphalt in a square where the violence took place, which the court has estimated at $900,000.Previous anti-Putin rallies had been peaceful. Crowds carefully kept to agreed-upon meeting-places and routes, even making a point of thanking police who stood guard in vast numbers, but did not interfere.center_img Comments   Share   Associated PressMOSCOW (AP) – The first of 19 defendants being tried for participating in a massive rally against President Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin that turned violent pleaded guilty on Friday and was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison.The cases are seen as litmus test about whether the government plans to continue a crackdown on dissent.None of the other defendants have pleaded guilty and they could receive longer prison terms if convicted. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories Scuffles broke out at the May protest after police blocked demonstrators from proceeding along the agreed route, creating a bottleneck. Some frustrated protesters attempted to break out from the “kettle” and made for the Kremlin.Club-wielding officers wearing helmets seized demonstrators and hauled them to police vehicles, dragging some by the hair, others by the neck. Several protesters were injured, including people with blood streaming down their faces and bruises from police truncheons across their backs.The trials of the remaining 18 defendants are scheduled to start in March, when the ongoing investigation is scheduled to end. Hundreds of investigators have interviewed thousands of witnesses, Russian media reported.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Dueling elections a look at Israeli UK electoral systems

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement In the past, proportional representation might have helped Labour, which traditionally seemed to enjoy a natural fit with the Lib Dems. But the Lib Dems allied with the Conservatives in 2010, complicating that picture as well.Under proportional representation the SNP would be guaranteed up to some 5%. Nationalists like UKIP would be a fixture as well. Greens would get in and smaller parties would arise. And Labour and the Conservatives would probably start to contemplate a “unity government” for the purposes of changing the electoral system.Such a thing, at least, is what many foresee for Israel.___Dan Perry is AP’s Middle East editor leading text coverage in the region, and is a former Europe-Africa editor. Follow him on Twitter at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The difference between men and women when it comes to pain But absent manipulation, such systems tend to eliminate minority representation except in cases where the minority is concentrated enough to win some districts. So Israel’s cannabis-lovers and pensioners would be wiped out — but the Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox, who tend to live in their own areas, would probably get districts they would win. Still, they would probably get fewer seats than today, because an “overconcentration” in which a group has almost all the vote in some districts in effect wastes the extra votes which in proportional representation would be more meaningful.The mainstream left and right parties, Labor and Likud, have a roughly similar distribution of support — so a slight lead, just like in Britain of the past, would be inflated into a majority.It all boils down to this: Under the British system, someone in Israel might occasionally win an election.AND WHAT IF BRITAIN HAD PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION?Under proportional representation, Britain — where Labour and the Conservatives generally seem to hover between 30-40 percent — would probably always have a “hung parliament” and require coalitions.This would have once been seen as a major affront to the British way. But oddly, it is also where the country seems headed anyway, because each of the large parties has recently lost votes to groups concentrated enough to win some seats. Some think this relates to a fundamental fracturing of affiliations and loyalties that will not soon go away.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day THE SYSTEMSIsrael has proportional representation, in which any party that gets above a certain percentage of the vote nationwide gets a corresponding number of seats in the parliament. As a result, among the groups that got in this time are three different parties representing religious Jews and others representing Arabs, Russian immigrants, middle-class urbanites and leftist intellectuals. Pensioners once got in as well, and cannabis proponents always hope.No party has ever won a majority. Parliaments tend to be interesting and short-lived. So in the past 20 years, Israel has held eight elections — while in Britain Thursday’s is the fifth.In all but the last British vote, in 2010, one party won a majority. The country is divided into 650 districts, and whoever gets the most votes in each wins the seat. So if a party’s support is at all evenly distributed, a slight lead will tend to translate into a huge national majority: grim business for the loser, but a recipe for stable government.WHAT IF ISRAEL HAD A DISTRICT SYSTEM?Much depends on how the districts are delineated. With district-based systems — including with U.S. elections for the House of Representatives — gerrymandering is always a concern. Chelsea Pensioners smile as they see the media after voting at a polling station in London, Thursday, May 7, 2015. Voting opened in Britain’s national General Election Thursday, with opinion polls widely predicting an inconclusive outcome. Britain’s election appears headed to a “hung parliament” with no party holding an absolute majority, meaning a new leader may not be sorted out by last call at the pubs. In navigating such a messy outcome, Britain can look to Israel _ a former colony where fractured politics and post-election horse-trading are the norm. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) In Britain, no obvious coalition may assert itself. The Conservatives do not want to partner with the nationalist United Kingdom Independence Party; Labour would prefer to avoid dependence on the Scottish National Party; and no one seems to know where the Liberal Democrats belong.That could leave the outcome uncertain in a pivotal vote that could decide whether Scotland stays in the United Kingdom and whether the United Kingdom stays in the European Union. It’s an unusually dramatic situation for modern Britain, which has lately been mostly stable and at peace. But high stakes are the norm in Israel, which still lacks permanent borders and agonizes over religion and even the definition of a Jew.Perhaps, like Israel, the British will find that it is oddly easier to never quite decide.Meanwhile they can study Netanyahu’s strategy for dealing with messy election results: his coalition includes parties that detest each other and, with only 61 seats out of 120 in parliament, could collapse at any moment. Many Israelis consider the whole thing a calamity. But Netanyahu is nonetheless on track to eclipse David Ben-Gurion as Israel’s longest serving prime minister.Both countries are wrestling with the imperfections of their electoral systems — how to make democracy not just the least bad system, but one that most people think works well. Here’s a comparison of the two systems, and what might happen if they switched: JERUSALEM (AP) — If the polls are to be believed, Thursday’s British election may produce a “hung parliament,” where no political party holds an absolute majority. That’s cause for angst in a place where tradition, fair play and a system that inflates majorities have generally sorted out who is the next prime minister by last call at the pub.To help navigate the awkwardness, Britons need look no further than to Israel, a former colony where fractured politics, post-election horse-trading and permanent campaigning have become the norm, and where a similar conundrum was just resolved. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exhausted the full six weeks allotted by law in forming a majority coalition that was announced around midnight, as Britons were themselves preparing to go to the polls. Top Stories last_img read more

CAS clears violinist VanessaMae in Olympic ski fixing case

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Pop violinist Vanessa-Mae was cleared by sport’s highest court Friday of allegations she helped fix Alpine skiing races so she could qualify for the Sochi Olympics.The Court of Arbitration for Sport, however, upheld the ruling that Vanessa-Mae should have been ineligible for the 2014 Games because the qualifying events in Slovenia were “so defective.”The court lifted the four-year ban imposed on the celebrity athlete by the International Ski Federation, meaning she can try to qualify for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The CAS judging panel said “a number of irregularities had occurred in the organization and management of the four races” in January 2014 which helped Vanessa-Mae accumulate the points needed to qualify for the Sochi Games.The rigging included inventing times for skiers who did not race and faking times for skiers who did finish.However, the court said there was no direct evidence to implicate Vanessa-Mae in fixing.She had denied wrongdoing and called the sanctions “nonsensical.”“(The panel) could not find, to its comfortable satisfaction, evidence of any manipulation by Vanessa Vanakorn herself that justified the guilty finding,” the court said in a statement, using her family name.Vanessa-Mae competed in Sochi for her father’s native Thailand, finishing last of 67 racers in the two-run giant slalom. She was more than 50 seconds behind gold medalist Tina Maze of Slovenia.The scam, revealed five months after the Winter Games, tarnished one of the feel-good stories of the Olympics.Without the cheating orchestrated by her managers, Vanessa-Mae “would not have achieved the necessary FIS point performance level to be eligible to participate in the Olympic Winter Games,” the governing body said in its ruling last year. “A previously retired competitor with the best FIS points in the competition took part for the sole purpose of lowering the penalty to the benefit the participants in the races,” FIS said.Race officials also broke rules by not changing the course design between the first and second runs, and allowing skiers to continue in poor weather which should have forced abandonment.FIS also banned five race officials from Slovenia and Italy for between one and two years for their role in the scandal.IOC President Thomas Bach was photographed with Vanessa-Mae in Sochi and later appointed her to a working group helping shape future policy for the Olympic movement.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img Sponsored Stories FILE – In this Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 file photo, violinist Vanessa Mae, skiing under her father’s name as Vanessa Vanakorn for Thailand, smiles after finishing the second run of the women’s giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. The Court of Arbitration for Sport has cleared pop violinist Vanessa Mae on Friday, June 19, 2015 of helping fix Alpine skiing races so she could qualify for the Sochi Olympics. Still, the court confirms she should have been ineligible for the 2014 Games because the qualifying events in Slovenia were “so defective.” (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, file) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous oflast_img read more

Tears and sniffles in courtroom as gay marriage ruling read

first_imgElaine Cleary, of Chicago, who goes to college in Ohio, reacts as she hears the news outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, that the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean WASHINGTON (AP) — When Justice Anthony Kennedy took the bench Friday at the Supreme Court, some were thinking about his past decisions and other June 26ths.A dozen years ago, on June 26, 2003, Kennedy announced the court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state laws that made engaging in gay sex a crime. On June 26, 2013, Kennedy read the decision in United States v. Windsor, the decision that gave federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   On Friday, the 78-year-old justice began reading another much-anticipated ruling.“Since the dawn of history, marriage has transformed strangers into relatives,” he told a courtroom dotted with plaintiffs from the case, lawyers who have pushed for gay rights and others touched by the decision.Kennedy glanced up at his audience, including retired justice John Paul Stevens, as he read. Though he began by tracing the history of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, it quickly became clear that his decision would extend the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples.“The past alone does not rule the present,” he said. And of the 2003 Lawrence decision, he said: “Outlaw to outcast may be a step forward, but it does not achieve the full promise of liberty.”By five minutes in, when he got to the phrase the “right of same-sex couples to marry” some in the audience were trying to hold back tears, their faces contorting. Others cried silently and wiped away tears. Low sniffles could be heard, and some grabbed seatmates’ hands.“No union is more profound than marriage,” Kennedy said near the end of his almost 10-minute reading. But he wouldn’t have the last word. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall “Don’t go away,” Scalia deadpanned.The audience laughed.___Follow Jessica Gresko at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Four benefits of having a wireless security system Chief Justice John Roberts, sitting next to Kennedy, sat forward to read a dissent aloud for the first time in his nearly 10 years on the court.Just a day earlier, it was Roberts and the liberal justices on the court who were on the receiving end of an angry oral dissent from Justice Antonin Scalia, who accused the majority of doing somersaults to make the words of President Barack Obama’s health care law work.But on Friday it was Roberts with harsh words for his colleagues. With his wife of almost 19 years sitting in the audience, along with the wives of Justices Stephen Breyer and Clarence Thomas, Roberts said his colleagues, “five lawyers,” had substituted their judgment for the judgment of voters.“Just who do we think we are?” he said near the beginning of his 10-minute reading. “I have no choice but to dissent.”Roberts criticized the ruling as neither “cautious” nor “restrained.” He said the most serious problem with the majority’s opinion was its disrespect for the democratic process.His fireworks over, Roberts announced that Scalia, too, had an opinion to read, in a separate case about repeat violent offenders. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

70 years on Japanese firm to apologize to US WWII veterans

first_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Some 12,000 American prisoners were shipped to Japan and forced to work at more than 50 sites to support imperial Japan’s war effort, and about 10 percent died, according to Kinue Tokudome, director of the U.S.-Japan Dialogue on POWs, who has spearheaded the lobbying effort for companies to apologize.Japan’s government recently acknowledged that tens of thousands of South Koreans, Chinese and World War II POWs were conscripted to fill labor shortages at factories, mines and other sites as part of its successful attempt to win U.N. world heritage status for 23 historical Japanese industrial sites.Tokudome said Mitsubishi Materials will be apologizing for its use of forced labor by some 900 American troops at four locations operated by its predecessor company, Mitsubishi Mining Co. Only two living survivors of that ordeal could be located to accept the apology, and of them, only Murphy is fit enough to make the trip to Los Angeles.Speaking by phone from Santa Maria, California, Murphy recounted how he was shipped to Japan as a POW, two-and-a-half years following his capture in the Philippines where he was serving as a radio operator for the U.S. Army Air Corps. He had survived the notorious Bataan Death March, when thousands of Americans and Filipinos are believed to have perished as they were made to trudge 65 miles to prison camps after their defeat by Japanese forces. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — A major Japanese corporation will offer a landmark apology this weekend for using U.S. prisoners of war for forced labor during World War II, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that is hosting the event.A senior executive of Mitsubishi Materials Corp. will apologize to 94-year-old James Murphy, of Santa Maria, California, and relatives of other former POWs who toiled at plants its predecessor company operated in Japan during the conflict. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the center — an organization that primarily educates about the Holocaust — called it an important gesture, coming as it does ahead of the 70th anniversary in August of the end of the war that has heightened scrutiny of Japan’s attitude to its past abuses.“As far as I know, this is a piece of history,” said Cooper, who is helping moderate the closed-door meeting Sunday at the center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. “It’s the first time a major Japanese company has ever made such a gesture. We hope this will spur other companies to join in and do the same.”A press release from the Wiesenthal Center said the apology will be made by Hikaru Kimura, senior executive officer for Mitsubishi Materials Corp. The company did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment late Monday. Mitsubishi Materials U.S.A. Corp. said Tuesday it had no information about it.Masato Otaka, spokesman for the Japanese Embassy in Washington, said to the extent of his knowledge, it was an initiative of Mitsubishi Materials. He said the Japanese government has no involvement.Japan’s government issued a formal apology to American POWs in 2009 and again in 2010, but until now, the dwindling ranks of veterans have gained little traction in their demand that Japanese corporations that used them as slaves at mines and industrial plants under often brutal conditions do the same. Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Murphy spent one year at a copper mine near Hanawa with about 500 other POWs, an experience he described as “a complete horror.”“It was slavery in every way: no food, no medicine, no clothing, no sanitation,” Murphy said, adding that it was all the more painful knowing that Mitsubishi built fighter aircraft used against American forces.He said he forgave his captors after the war, but has hankered for an apology for 70 years. He participated in a class action lawsuit attempting to sue the Japanese government for the year he spent in the copper mine, which failed. No money is being offered by the corporation, but Murphy said he considered the upcoming apology “a big deal.”Murphy said if other companies followed suit, it would help provide closure for surviving POWs and build a better relationship between Japan and the United States, already close allies.Another former POW, Lester Tenney, 94, who met briefly with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a high-profile visit to Washington in April, reserved comment on the planned apology until he hears it, but added, “At least it is a step in the right direction after all these years.” Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Tenney was forced to work for coal mine near the town of Omuta run by Mitsui Mining Company during the war. He will also attend Sunday’s event.A delegation from Mitsubishi Materials will then travel Tuesday to a small museum in Wellsburg, West Virginia, which commemorates American POWs who survived the Bataan Death March. A statement from the museum says the delegation will announce a donation to support educational programming at the museum, and Edward Jackfert, a former POW, will thank Mitsubishi Materials “for being the first Japanese company to come forth and publicly apologize.”___AP video journalist Kaori Hitomi in Tokyo contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Grievances persist despite start of new era in USCuba ties

first_img Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Four benefits of having a wireless security system Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Obama has sought engagement with Cuba since he first took office and has progressively loosened restrictions on travel and remittances to the island.His efforts were frustrated for years by Cuba’s imprisonment of U.S. Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross on espionage charges. But months of secret negotiations led in December to Gross’ release, along with a number of political prisoners in Cuba and the remaining members of a Cuban spy ring jailed in the United States. On Dec. 17, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced they would resume full diplomatic relations.The U.S. removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism in late May. On July 1, issues of American diplomats’ access to ordinary Cubans were resolved and the July 20 date was set for the restoration of full relations.“This is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement about Monday’s events.___AP Writers Peter Orsi and Anne-Marie Garcia contributed to this report from Havana.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WASHINGTON (AP) — The Cuban national flag fluttered in the Washington sun Monday as the U.S. and Cuba formally ended more than a half-century of estrangement, formally re-establishing relations severed at the height of the Cold War. But the symbolism of an embassy ceremony could not conceal deep, lingering conflicts between the nations.In the sweltering July heat and humidity of America’s capital, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez presided over the flag-raising ceremony just hours after an agreement to restore diplomatic ties broken in 1961 took effect at the stroke of midnight. He later met with Secretary of State John Kerry, becoming the first Cuban foreign minister to set foot in the State Department since 1958. FILE – In this June 10, 2015 file photo, members of the media cover workers from Eastern Shores Flagpoles raising a flagpole at the Cuban Interest Section in Washington in preparation for re-opening of embassies in Havana and Washington. Cuba’s blue, red and white-starred flag is set to fly Monday, July 20 outside the country’s diplomatic mission in the United States for the first time since the countries severed ties in 1961. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) Comments   Share   Rodriguez noted that there are “profound differences” between the U.S. and Cuban governments but stressed that “we strongly believe that we can both cooperate and coexist in a civilized way based on due respect for these differences.”Kerry, speaking briefly in Spanish, said America wants to work with Cuba to improve conditions there. But he also acknowledged persistent differences over human rights, democracy and reparations and flatly rejected the suggestion that Guantanamo would be returned to Cuba anytime soon.“We celebrate this day — July 20 — as a time to start repairing what has been broken and opening what for too long has been closed,” Kerry said.He added, though: “This milestone does not signify an end to the many differences that still separate our governments. But it does reflect the reality that the Cold War ended long ago and that the interests of both countries are better served by engagement than by estrangement.”Kerry compared the conflicting sentiments with the normalization of U.S. ties with Vietnam 20 years ago. In both cases, he said, “passions ran deep and run deep to this day.”Some U.S. lawmakers, including several prominent Republican presidential candidates, have vowed not to repeal the embargo and have pledged to roll back Obama’s moves on Cuba. New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democratic opponent, said, “There may be a flag raising over the embassy of a dictatorship, but the real goal is a flag raising where the Cuban people are free, have their human rights respected and where we do not accept dictatorial conditions on our embassy and its people.”At embassy, several hundred people gathered on the street outside, cheering as the Cuban national anthem was played and three Cuban soldiers in dress uniforms raised the flag.At his remarks inside the embassy, Rodriguez cited Cuban independence leader Jose Marti, who he noted had paid tribute to America’s values but also warned of its “excess craving for domination.” Cuba was able to survive the past 50 years only because of the “wise leadership of Fidel Castro, the historic leader of the Cuban revolution whose ideas we’ll always revere,” Rodriguez said.In Havana, meanwhile, a carnival atmosphere reigned around the new U.S. Embassy overlooking Havana’s Malecon seaside promenade. By midmorning, the Cuban government had pulled back several of the eight or so security guards who had stood watch.A pair of officers stood on each corner around the building, smiling and wishing “buenos dias” to passers-by instead of casting stony glares. Curious Cubans clustered around the forest of flagpoles at the front of the embassy, snapping photos as U.S. tourists posed for selfies in front of the building.center_img Top Stories Kerry announced that he would make a reciprocal visit to Cuba to dedicate the U.S. Embassy in Havana on Aug. 14. He spoke of a need to move beyond the enmity that was spawned as President John F. Kennedy grappled with Fidel Castro’s revolution and Soviet expansionism and that hardened over the 54 years that followed.Despite pledges of goodwill and mutual respect, ghosts of past animosity hung over the events.At the reopening of the Cuban embassy and again at a joint news conference with Kerry, Rodriguez repeated demands for the U.S. to end its 53-year embargo, return the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, stop efforts to change or reform Cuba’s communist government and pay compensation for damage done to the island and its people over the past five decades.“I emphasized that the total lifting of the blockade, the return of illegally occupied territory of Guantanamo as well as full respect for Cuban sovereignty and compensation to our people for human and economic damages are crucial to be able to move toward the normalization of relations,” Rodriguez said as Kerry stood beside him.On a more conciliatory note, Rodriguez thanked President Barack Obama for his conclusion that U.S. policy toward Cuba was faulty, his steps to ease sanctions thus far and his calls for Congress to repeal the embargo. 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Want to meet your perfect match Try Newark Airport

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X While awards for the best airports in the world are given out all the time, recently Lonely Planet and Unilever partnered to create a list of the best airports in which to “make a connection” – and not of the aviation kind.Compiling a list from the world’s 33 busiest airports, the cheeky study looks at which airports are the best for meeting that someone special, and interestingly of the top five airports all are in the United States with Newark Liberty International in New Jersey coming out on top.The first international airport comes in at number seven and unsurprisingly it goes to the French with the naming of Charles de Gaulle in Paris.“Making connections while travelling isn’t difficult, you just have to know what rules to follow,” says Robert Reid, Lonely Planet U.S. Travel Editor. “Sitting in an airport lounge or bar isn’t exactly the same as bumping into someone at a neighbourhood pub,” he continues.  “There is tons of on-hand material for small talk: flight delays, funny people-watching, how bad the bagels are – all which could lead to a deeper conversation.”John F. Kennedy International in New York, Philadelphia International, Fort Worth International in Dallas, and St. Paul International in Minneapolis round out the top five best airports to “make a connection”.In the study, one factor which contributed to an airport moving up the list was delays, the more delays the more time for interaction says the study.  Also complaining about delays could be a conversation starter.Other considerations of the report commissioned by Unilever were the amenities within the airport, such as coffee shops, restaurants or bars that encourage interaction.Top ten airports to “Make a Connection”:Liberty International (Newark, N.J.)John F. Kennedy International (New York)Philadelphia InternationalDallas/Ft. Worth InternationalMinneapolis – St. Paul InternationalSan Francisco InternationalCharles de Gaulle (Paris, France)O’Hare International (Chicago)London Heathrow AirportRome Fiumicino Airport <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more