Three more days of deals with Sunwings Back to School sale

first_img Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Three more days of deals with Sunwing’s Back to School sale Tags: Promotions, Sunwing Posted by TORONTO — Sunwing Vacations’ ‘Back to School’ promotion continues through Sept. 16, offering passengers who purchase two flights savings worth 50% on the base fare of the second seat. Departure dates are available for travel between Nov. 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017.Sunwing has flights from over 30 different gateways to 34 vacation destinations this winter.One resort available in the sale, Royalton Blue Waters, is set to open this November. The new property will offer specialty dining across 11 restaurants, varied water sports and evening entertainment together with full exchange privileges with sister resort, Royalton White Sands.And opening in early 2017, Hideaway at Royalton Saint Lucia is pegged to be a hit with couples and honeymooners seeking relaxation in a stylish tropical setting. The adults-only beachfront oasis allows guests to take advantage of the luxurious amenities and features within Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa.center_img Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Laptop ban protectionism hang over booming air travel industry

first_img CANCUN, Mexico — Air travel is heading for a bumper year, but global airline leaders meeting in Mexico are concerned about the impact of an escalating row over laptop bans and rising protectionism.Although the industry has overcome previous losses to notch up an eighth successive year of profit, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which groups 275 airlines and meets from June 4-6, is now facing new challenges.The Geneva-based group is at odds with President Donald Trump over efforts to widen a partial U.S. and British security ban on laptops in cabin baggage.It is also worried about what it sees as protectionist rhetoric from Washington and Europe, saying this could temper growth in demand for air travel and freight.“You see that in Europe, you see that in the U.S. … Any barrier to borders, we consider as a threat,” IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac told reporters.IATA said on Thursday that passenger traffic rose 10.7 percent in April, the fastest rate of growth since April 2011.But restrictions on large electronic devices in the cabin, imposed in March on certain flights, were hitting traffic between the Middle East and the United States.Airlines and airports are waiting to see if the United States will extend the restrictions, with the Department of Homeland Security yet to announce a decision.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterIATA has proposed more stringent passenger screening as an alternative and has joined European regulators in citing the fire risks of having many lithium-powered devices in the hold.“We recognize the (security) threat, we have no doubt about that, but we doubt the measure,” de Juniac said, adding the U.S. government now seemed in more of a “listening mode”.The IATA conference could hear concerns from Middle East carriers who believe they are unfairly targeted by the ban, with Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines among the most affected by restrictions on U.S.-bound flights from some Middle East and North African airports.U.S. officials have denied targeting any group of airlines or acting over anything other than pressing security concerns.PROFIT TO FALLUnited Airlines’ widely-criticized removal of a passenger from one of its planes and the British Airways computer meltdown over a holiday weekend, which stranded thousands of passengers, have highlighted other challenges the industry faces.“There are elements here that are specific to BA, but if airlines do not transform their operational systems and learn from this, then we could be seeing more such incidents,” Euromonitor travel project manager Nadejda Popova told Reuters.Such incidents emphasize the fine line between operational success and failure in an industry transporting 10 million people a day on razor-thin margins.More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemIATA will on Monday update forecasts that suggest the industry’s net profits will fall 16 percent to $29.8 billion this year after peaking in 2016, hit by fuel and labor costs.Although traffic is rising, this is partly driven by cheaper fares. But yields – or average revenue per passenger – look set to stabilize this year, IATA chief economist Brian Pearce said.“Strong volumes don’t necessarily equal strong profitability for the air transport industry, but it’s an encouraging start.”ForwardKeys, which analyses booking reservations, says global long-haul air travel bookings for June, July and August are 6.4 percent ahead of where they were last year.A surge in the popularity of low-cost long-haul travel will also weigh on IATA members, most of whom are national carriers and whose share of global traffic has already been eroded by local budget rivals outside the 72-year-old club.Highlighting the threat to traditional carriers, Norwegian Air Shuttle announced expansion plans from Rome and Iceland’s Wow Air said it would offer one-way fares between Europe and the U.S. from as little as $55. << Previous PostNext Post >> (Additional reporting by Alana Wise; editing by Alexander Smith) By: Victoria Bryan and Tim HepherSource: Reuters Tags: IATAcenter_img Friday, June 2, 2017 Share Laptop ban, protectionism hang over booming air travel industrylast_img read more

Best fares availability with Windstars latest incentives

first_imgTags: Agent Incentives, Sales, Windstar Cruises Share Best fares, availability with Windstar’s latest incentives Thursday, January 24, 2019 Posted bycenter_img SEATTLE — Windstar Cruises says its ‘Beyond Ordinary’ promotion combined with its Star Perks bonus offer the best fares and availability of the year on 2019 and 2020 cruises.Windstar also notes that savings worth up to 20% and free laundry service are included on all sailings 14 days and longer in its popular Star Collector series.The savings event also includes an incentive for guests to enjoy while the cruise is underway. Star Perks give cruisers a choice: up to US$1,000 shipboard credit, free WiFi or free gratuities.Available on hundreds of Windstar sailings worldwide, savings and Star Perks both vary by cruise and destination.The Beyond Ordinary savings are offered on hundreds of cruise departures now through December 2020. Sample event pricing on 2019 cruises starts at $2,999 for 11- and 12-day Alaskan Splendors cruises with numerous summer departure dates between Vancouver and Anchorage featuring Windstar’s Signature Expeditions program headlined by biologist, glaciologist, and scientist Expedition Leaders with lectures on board and expedition field trips launching Zodiacs and kayaks direct from the ship.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionRates for seven-day Dreams of Tahiti sailings aboard the 148-passenger Wind Spirit start at $2,599, including an overnight and complimentary beach party on Bora Bora with port calls at six islands total including Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raitea and Taha’a.In Northern Europe Windstar has more than 40 sailings to choose from April through September including an April 26 Star Collector: Iberian Peninsula: A Toast to Beaches, Wine & Castles from Lisbon to Amsterdam starts at $4,499 per person and visits eight countries in 18 days focusing on smaller, less-visited ports such as Agadir, Morocco; Lanzarote, Canary Islands; Porto, Portugal; El Ferrol, Spain for tours to Santiago de Compostela; Cherbourg, France; and Bruges in Belgium.An eight-day Gaelic Explorers voyage on June 20 from Dublin to Edinburgh visits both Ireland and Northern Ireland as well as the remote Isle of Man, Isle of Skye, and Isle of Lewis, wrapping with a chance to spy the elusive Nessie in Loch Ness during a call to Invergordon, Scotland. Prices start at $2,999 per person.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJWindstar’s shipboard credits (SBCs) are good for everything from alcoholic beverages to spa treatments to shore excursions.Cruisers interested in sailing to Alaska and Canada/New England can get up to $1,000 per suite SBC on 2019 voyages. In all other cruise regions guests may select a Star Perk SBC of up to $400. SBC varies based on cabin category:Alaska and Canada/New England: $1,000 SBC per suite ($500 per guest) for Premium Suites (Owner’s, Classic, Bridge Suites); $400 SBC per suite ($200 per guest) for Standard Suites & StateroomsAsia, Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Greek Isles, the Caribbean, Costa Rica/Panama Canal, Mexico, Trans-Atlantics, Tahiti, the South Pacific, U.S. West Coast: $400 SBC per suite ($200 per guest) for Premium Suites (Owner’s Suite and Classic Suite); $200 SBC per suite ($100 per guest) for Standard Suites & Staterooms Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Silver Shadow to undergo refurbishment in 2019

first_img Posted by MIAMI — Silver Shadow is set to undergo an extensive refurbishment in November 2019, part of Project Invictus, with a new look inspired by the design of Silversea’s Silver Muse.“We are committed to maintaining the impeccable standards of the Silversea experience, and this major refurbishment of Silver Shadow represents a significant investment for the benefit of our guests,” said Roberto Martinoli, Silversea’s CEO. “Whether relaxing in the new Atrium or sipping a cognac in the expanded Connoisseur’s Corner, our guests will notice not only a revitalized look but also greater choices and flexibility as a result of this project’s enhancements.”The upgrades to Silver Shadow will include:SUITESThe ship’s guest suites and corridors will undergo a floor-to-ceiling renovation, inspired by the design and colour palette of Silver Muse. Bathrooms will also be upgraded with new sinks and Silestone material. Silver Shadow’s Medallion, Silver, Grand, and Royal suites will be upgraded with a new color scheme and new materials, as per Silver Muse, while bathrooms will also undergo refurbishments. The ship’s Owner’s Suite will be entirely renovated too, with a full refurbishment of the bathroom.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTNEW ATRIUM & ARTS CAFÉThe space currently occupied by the Lobby, Boutique and Casino will be redesigned as a new atrium. A social hub featuring an updated interactive guest reception area, as well as a space where guests can enjoy coffees, pastries, sandwiches, and other delicacies during the day, or cocktails during evening hours.LA DAMEThe restaurant will be refurbished and enlarged to accommodate 40 diners to ensure every guest has the opportunity to dine.CONNOISSEUR’S CORNERThe Connoisseur will be moved to Deck 8, where its new refurbishment will include the addition of a new outdoor smoking area with comfortable seating.CASINOThe Casino will also be moved to deck 8, adjacent to Connoisseur’s Corner. The new setting for its 11 slot machines and two gaming tables will be highlighted by the updated décor.OBSERVATION LIBRARYFormerly the Observation lounge, this space is set at the fore of the ship on deck 10. Guests get access to a carefully curated collection of books with panoramic views of the ocean.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”ZAGARA BEAUTY SPA & FITNESS CENTREThis renovation will encompass new steam and sauna rooms, fully refurbished treatment rooms, new furniture and flooring, updated state-of-the-art fitness equipment and more.REFRESHED PUBLIC SPACESThe Restaurant, La Terrazza, Panorama Lounge, The Bar, The Show Lounge, and Card/Conference rooms are also scheduled for renovation. The pool area will boast new outdoor furniture, refurbished teak flooring, a new canvas awning with inserted lighting, and new outdoor heaters, while the jogging track will benefit from new teak resin.The first voyage of Silver Shadow following its transformation will be departing from Fort Lauderdale for San Juan on Dec. 3, 2019. Tags: Silversea Cruises Silver Shadow to undergo refurbishment in 2019 Sharecenter_img Travelweek Group Tuesday, May 14, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Labor Minister Sandra Piszk to resign move to Italy

first_imgNo related posts. Labor Minister Sandra Piszk announced she will leave her position to go to Italy with her husband, the future Italian ambassador, Radio Reloj reported.The Costa Rican government named dentist Jaime Feinzaig, Piszk’s husband, to the position. He will take over the post at the beginning of October. Piszk did not mention a date for when she will leave the Labor Ministry, saying she still needed to speak with President Laura Chinchilla.Nevertheless, Piszk’s upcoming exit serves as another setback for Chinchilla’s administration. Already in 2012, a half-dozen ministers have left or been forced to resign from the president’s Cabinet.According to Radio Reloj, Chinchilla had lobbied for Piszk to maintain her role in spite of her husband’s nomination. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US denies it is meddling in Venezuela transition

first_imgWASHINGTON –  The United States on Thursday denied that it is meddling in a possible transition process in Venezuela amid growing demands for news about the health of cancer-stricken President Hugo Chávez.Washington was in contact with “Venezuelans from across the political spectrum,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland acknowledged, asked about reports that US officials had had talks with Venezuelan leaders.But she insisted: “Any political transition that takes place in Venezuela has to be product of decisions that are made by Venezuelans.”“There’s no ‘made-in-America’ solution here. This has to be something that Venezuelans have to do,” Nuland stressed, without specifying who US officials were in contact with in the South American nation.Top Venezuelan officials have been gathering in Cuba where Chávez underwent a long and complicated surgery 23 days ago for a recurrence of cancer, with Venezuelan officials admitting his recovery has been difficult.Chávez, a fiery leftist who has been fiercely critical of the United States was re-elected on October 7 despite his long battle with cancer, is supposed to take office in a week for another six-year term.But it was still unclear whether he would be fit to be sworn in as planned on January 10.“The message that we are giving to Venezuelans of all stripes, that we want to see any transition be democratic, be constitutional, be open, be transparent, be legal within Venezuela, and that it has to be decided by Venezuelans,” Nuland said.She said the US administration had seen reports of growing Venezuelan concern that the government in Caracas was “not being transparent” about the true state of the president’s health. On Wednesday, Bolivian President Evo Morales, a close Chávez friend and ally, said he had spoken to his family and his condition was “very worrying.”“Let’s hope our prayers will be effective in saving the life of brother President Chávez,” Morales said of Chávez, the longtime leader of OPEC member Venezuela, which has the world’s largest proven oil reserves. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Sweden riots put faces to jobless statistics as Stockholm burns

first_imgSTOCKHOLM — A week of riots in Stockholm has torn a hole in Sweden’s image as a beacon of social harmony.In Husby, a suburb north of the capital where 60 percent of residents were born outside Sweden and unemployment is twice the national average, youths torched cars, schools and other buildings in a show of anger that has unsettled one of Europe’s richest nations.“Exclusion, poverty and unemployment” are the main causes of the riots, Yves Zenou, a professor at Stockholm University who has done research on urban economics and migration issues, said in an interview on Friday. “They feel excluded from Swedish society. Many are not in employment, many because of discrimination, and many have low education levels.”The unrest has shocked Sweden, where the economic policies of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt helped the AAA rated nation emerge as a haven from the debt crisis raging across southern Europe. Yet Sweden’s aggregate wealth has hidden rifts in the economy as policies have failed to catch a demographic now taking to the streets to show its desperation.Young people need “jobs as well as something to do in their spare time,” Iqra Siddiqui, a 16-year-old living in Hallunda, a suburb in south Stockholm, said yesterday in an interview outside the Skaerholmen subway station. “Another problem is that parents don’t know what their kids are up to.”Sweden’s youth unemployment rate was 23.6 percent last year — about three times the national average — according to the statistics office. A report this month by the Public Employment Services showed that about 77,000 people between 16 and 29 years haven’t studied or worked over the past three years, suggesting even larger hidden unemployment. By comparison, youth unemployment was about 153,000 last year, according to the agency.Police, who as of Friday had detained 29 people since the riots started on May 19, say most of those involved are about 20 years old. Their plight underscores how Europe’s economic pain is hitting young people hardest. According to Luxembourg-based Eurostat, youth unemployment in the 27-nation European Union reached 23.5 percent in March, versus 16.2 percent in the U.S.Scenes outside Stockholm this week replayed images of youth unrest across Europe since the global economic crisis started. In 2011, riots that started in north London also spread to Manchester and the Midlands, in the worst youth unrest in the U.K. since the 1980s. Paris has seen similar violence.Reinfeldt, who gained power in 2006 on promises of bringing more people into the labor market, has struggled to carry that pledge over to immigrants and young adults. In Husby, an area dotted by concrete high rises, the number of people relying on state assistance is more than triple the average for Stockholm.Sweden has suffered similar episodes of violence before, including in the southern city of Malmoe in 2008 as well as Gothenburg.Megafonen, a Husby advocacy group, traces the outbreak of Stockholm’s riots to the police shooting of a local 69-year-old man originally from Portugal. Police brutality and racist slurs have exacerbated tensions, the group says.Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, has questioned those claims, as a columnist asked for specific examples of brutality and proof of racial insensitivity. The newspaper reported on Friday that about half the people arrested on suspicion of rioting in Husby came from outside the neighborhood, and half of them had criminal records.In response, the advocacy group posted witness accounts of police brutality and racism on its website.“Megafonen doesn’t start fires, we don’t believe this is the right method for long-term change,” said the group. “But we know that it’s a reaction to deficiencies in society. Unemployment, inadequate schools and structural racism are reasons behind what we are seeing today.”The largest immigrant group in Sweden is from Finland, followed by Iraq and Poland. In Husby, of residents with a foreign background, those who were born abroad or have two non- Swedish parents, 80 percent have heritage from either Asia or Africa, according to city statistics.Residents are quick to point out that the violence is being carried out by a small group that doesn’t speak for most people living there. Community groups have taken to the streets to help ease tensions and restore calm, which was successful over the weekend.Locals are “extremely angry and sad,” Adam Khoder, a member of Reinfeldt’s Moderate Party for the Rinkeby-Kista council, which is a part of Stockholm’s local government, said last week. The acts of violence that have plagued outer Stockholm this week are “not normal,” he said.Khoder said a lack of education and jobs was probably to blame. “It’s important to mention that many of them did not come from Husby and that this is about a few criminal youths, not entire neighborhoods.”Reinfeldt has come under attack for his failure to create jobs since taking over from the Social Democrats in 2006. The 47-year-old premier leads a four-party coalition that has focused on tax cuts and reducing jobless benefits, to spur more jobs, while targeting a balanced budget.Inequality has increased in Sweden in recent years and the nation has dropped from first in 1995 to 10th place in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s member ranking of income distribution. Relative poverty, as measured by the share of people with less than half the national median income, more than doubled to 9.1 percent in 2010 from 3.7 percent in 1995, according to an OECD study released this month.Sweden, which also topped rankings to boast the lowest relative poverty level among OECD countries in 1995, fell to 14th place in 2010, behind other Nordic countries, France, Germany and the Czech Republic.Swedish unions say the main issue is a lack of education. In Husby, at least 25 percent of residents have no high school degree even though tuition is free, according to city statistics from 2011.“The big problem is those who haven’t finished high school or even have a basic education,” said Eva Oscarsson, a labor market specialist at the skilled-labor union Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations. “They have really big problems to ever establish themselves in the labor market.”The structure of the Swedish labor market has also been questioned, with employment protection laws forcing companies to fire their newest employees first when jobs cuts are needed.Finance Minister Anders Borg said on Thursday he wasn’t prepared to change that law, which also encourages companies to offer temporary jobs that don’t offer the same employee protection as full-time positions.The government instead wants to cut youth unemployment by subsidizing companies that hire and educate young people if unions accept lower wages, Borg said. Sweden has already cut payroll taxes for small companies that operate and hire in areas with the lowest employment and education rates.According to Zenou at Stockholm University — a French Swede — there are two ways to fix the nation’s failed integration: you can either move the jobs to the people, or move the people to other areas, he said.“Employment is one way to integrate people,” said Zenou. “People in these areas seldom meet Swedes. They watch TV in their own languages and are isolated.”The government is trailing in the polls ahead of elections next year to a Social Democratic-led opposition. While Reinfeldt won re-election in 2010, that vote also saw the rise of an anti- immigration party, the Sweden Democrats. A poll by Demoskop for newspaper Expressen, released this month, showed the government is backed by 40.8 percent, compared with a combined 47.4 percent for the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Left Party. The Sweden Democrats got 9.9 percent.Sweden also has the EU’s smallest number of low-wage earners, at 2.5 percent in 2010, according to the European statistics office. That compares with an EU average of 17 percent. In Germany and the U.K., the figures are 22.2 percent and 22.1 percent, respectively.Yet more low paying jobs will do little to solve the issues, according to Oscarsson.“The problem is that young people don’t have the competency that they need,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how much we lower salaries.”© 2013, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Sexual rebellion and murder among the bees

first_imgRelated posts:Expansion of monoculture farming could mean extinction for some tropical birds Costa Rican students turn larvae, crickets into nutritious meals to fight hunger Costa Rican students’ insect-based foods take top spots at international competition Researchers find specimen of Costa Rican frog believed to be extinct PARIS — Scientists revealed Wednesday the trigger that can plunge a colony of obedient and sterile worker bees dutifully serving their queen into a chaotic swarm of sexual rebellion and regicide.It’s in the beeswax, according to a study published in the British journal Royal Society Open Science.Biologists have long puzzled at what, exactly, tips the ordered world of many social insects — rigidly divided by caste, function and hierarchy — into murderous mayhem of sometimes Shakespearean dimensions.In this case, the actor subject to observation and experimentation was Bombus terrestris, more commonly known as the bumblebee.In its steady-state “social phase,” a bumblebee colony is a paragon of efficiency that would make Amazon’s Jeff Bezos green with envy.“Workers and the queen usually just attend to their tasks peacefully,” explained Anne-Marie Rottler-Hoermann, a researcher at the Institute of Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Genomics in Ulm, Germany, and lead author of the study.The workers — always female — focus selflessly on foraging, taking care of the brood, nest-keeping and maintaining defences against potential aggressors.The queen does what queens do: allows herself to be pampered and fed by her offspring, while she lays eggs to produce more workers and the occasional male that may later mate with a virgin queen, known as a gyne.The final actMales are otherwise pretty useless. They play no role in the life of the colony, which they abandon shortly after emerging.Born in the late summer, when most of the nectar-rich flowers are gone, these wandering Lotharios usually die within a few days.This clear division of labor and absence of sexual conflict “can be considered the main reason for the great evolutionary and ecological success of social insects,” Rottler-Hoermann said.With bumblebees, a typical colony — which has a life-cycle of less than a year — will grow to accomodate 150 workers and one queen.But at a certain point something snaps, and the clockwork cooperation comes to an end.The transition to the “competition phase” is quick — and sometimes brutal.“It is a total behavioral change in the whole bumblebee colony from one day to the next,” Rottler-Hoermann told AFP.Suddenly agitated, the bees run around attacking each other, sometimes ripping open egg cells to kill the eggs inside.“Aggression is so pronounced that it can even lead to the death of the queen,” she added.Experiments have shown that the presence of a queen enforces sterility among workers. But as the colony matures these rank-and-file bees, in an act of defiance, lay eggs anyhow.Unfertilized, they yield only males with a single set of chromosomes.The queen, who mated before founding her colony, has stored sperm from that union, allowing her to produce both female and male offspring.Earlier research has pointed to the size of the colony as the trigger for the violent undoing of the social order.But the new study, in a set of clever experiments, showed it was subtle changes in the chemical composition of wax in the nest that unleashed aggression.When exposed to wax from a colony in the end-game phase, workers from a newly established nest “start to compete for reproduction,” the study showed by way of proof.Even when a fertile and active queen came into the picture, the wax still trumped her influence, it found. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

I feel like they cut me down to the roots A Salvadoran

first_imgJonathan knew something bad was about to happen but the punch to the head took him by surprise. The blow, landed by one of four members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang who had surrounded him, knocked him to the ground. Then came the kicks.They told Jonathan, who was then 27, he had to leave his home or “wake up dead.”Jonathan says there has always been “conflict” in the neighborhood where he lived in Santa Ana, El Salvador’s second largest city. But he tried to keep his head down: he worked at a hardware store, went to church and minded his own business.In his mid-20s, he started to study currency trading and investment. He had big plans.But that was before his cousin Kenneth came to live with him.Jonathan, whose full name and that of others have been withheld because he has family still living in El Salvador, is one of more than 800 Salvadorans who have requested asylum in Costa Rica so far this year, according to figures from the Immigration Administration.The number of new asylum applications from Salvadorans fleeing violence in their homeland has increased dramatically in recent years. Salvadorans are poised to replace Colombians as the largest nationality applying for asylum in Costa Rica.The following is Jonathan’s personal account of what drove him from his home. Most details could not be independently verified by The Tico Times.Jonathan’s cousin Kenneth had been living in Atlanta, Georgia before he was deported and moved in with Jonathan, his mother and little sister in Santa Ana.Kenneth returned from Atlanta with tattoos on his arm: a spider web on his elbow and a Playboy bunny. The tattoos might have been harmless back in Atlanta but they were deadly in El Salvador.The neighborhood in Santa Ana where Jonathan’s family lives is controlled by the Mara Salvatrucha, a notoriously violent criminal organization with roots in Los Angeles, California. Years before, the Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, wiped out its rival, Barrio 18, in Jonathan’s neighborhood. The tattoos on Kenneth’s arm were symbols associated with Barrio 18.People took notice. Gang members would approach Kenneth on the street and try to intimidate him, asking what the tattoos meant. Jonathan says Kenneth didn’t take the threats seriously. Eventually, the threats became more direct: if you stay here, we’ll kill you.It was July 2008 and there were parties all over the city in honor of Santa Ana’s patron saint. Jonathan was out with his father, and his mother had taken his younger sister to a birthday party. When they returned home they found Kenneth dead. Jonathan says three different types of bullets were found in his cousin’s body.“If I had been there that night, it would’ve been me, too,” Jonathan says.In the weeks after Kenneth’s death, local gang members shifted their attention to Jonathan. He was walking home one day when two MS-13 members called him over.“You can’t run, you can’t ignore them,” Jonathan says. “A wrong word and they’ll kill you.”One of the men told him: “We haven’t seen you here before.” Jonathan had lived in the neighborhood his whole life.One of the two grabbed Jonathan’s arms and held them behind his back. The other lifted his shirt to see if he had tattoos. Jonathan had none.Jonathan did not want to risk falling to the same fate as his cousin. In August 2008, Jonathan left his neighborhood to stay with his grandmother, who lived in another part of Santa Ana.Two years later, police raided his old neighborhood and rounded up several MS-13 gang members, including a leader known as Pantera and two others allegedly connected to the killing of Kenneth.Jonathan moved back home and the next five years passed without incident. He was working at the hardware store and studying business. He dreamed of becoming a currency trader and making enough money to take care of his mom and younger sister.Then, in April 2015, Jonathan was walking down the street when he rounded a corner and saw Pantera. He had been released from prison. The intimidation started again.Another MS-13 member, Coco, focused in on Jonathan.Jonathan says he felt like he saw Coco every time he left the house. “I don’t know if death was looking for me or if I was looking for it,” he says.Jonathan says Coco would seek him out to harass him in the street or intimidate him. The only time Coco would let him be was if Jonathan’s grandmother was there — a strange chivalry.One night Jonathan was walking his bike across a bridge when a white car rolled by. The car stopped and then backed up until Jonathan could see in the windows: he saw Coco and three more MS-13 gang members.Jonathan got on his bike and tried his best to pedal away without looking like he was running for his life. The car followed. The driver pulled alongside Jonathan and repeatedly swerved into his bike as if to knock him over. On one swerve, Jonathan’s handlebar scratched the car. It was the excuse Coco had been looking for.He and the others got out of the car and surrounded Jonathan. They accused him of being a member of the police or military. One of the four punched him in his head and Jonathan went down. Next came a blur of kicks.“It was so unfair,” Jonathan says. “You can’t defend yourself.”Coco told him he had leave or “wake up dead.”So Jonathan left. He went to his grandmother’s home again and stayed indoors for three days.Jonathan remembered a neighbor who had also had trouble with the gangs who stayed inside “pacing like a lion,” until one day he couldn’t take it anymore and left the house. No one ever saw him again.Jonathan knew he couldn’t stay indoors forever. He steeled himself and left to find another place to live.But Coco was everywhere. MS-13 moves freely around most of the city, regardless of neighborhood boundaries.In a totally different part of Santa Ana, Jonathan again crossed paths with Coco. Jonathan sat outside a police station and pretended to read a book as Coco and his clique waited across the street in an idling car. Finally they left.Going inside the police station was not an option. Jonathan says many police work for the maras. Even if he could trust the police, ratting out gang members could mean a death sentence for his mother and sister.Jonathan decided his only option was to leave the country.The distant relative of Jonathan had family in Costa Rica and said it was safe there. No maras. He bought a one-way bus ticket and was gone.Jonathan arrived in Costa Rica without a plan. It wasn’t until he was eating lunch at a soda that he struck up a conversation with someone who asked if he was planning to apply for refugee status. It was the first time Jonathan had considered he might qualify for asylum.Since he arrived in May, Jonathan says he’s started to recover from the trauma of the last several months. He and his family struggled with constant anxiety, fearing that someone could come through the door at anytime and do what they did to Kenneth.So far, Jonathan says Costa Rica seems like a “wonder.”Despite the risks, there are times he thinks about going back to El Salvador. His mother and sister still live there. The family has already started discussing sending his sister, who’s on the cusp of adolescence, to live with relatives in the U.S. to keep her from ending up the “girlfriend” of a gangster.Fleeing his home ruined Jonathan’s plans of going into business for himself. “I feel like they cut me down to the roots,” Jonathan says.He misses Salvadoran food. Jonathan smiles remembering pupusas and a list of other comfort foods back home. He says sheepishly he regrets not learning how to cook.Jonathan says he’s lucky. He knows others who have fled similar situations and are here with less than he has. Jonathan has family in Canada who has been keeping him afloat as he waits for refugee status or a work permit.He doesn’t like to be idle. He’s been spending his days studying, brushing up on the business books he read before the maras derailed his plans.“Providing for my family is what motivates me,” Jonathan says. “That and making something of myself.”His first appointment with the Immigration Administration is Tuesday, Aug. 16. Facebook Comments Related posts:Refugee program for Central Americans ‘still on the drawing board’: US official Nearly 150,000 Central Americans expected to seek asylum this year El Salvador moves 400 jailed gang members as part of plan to curb violence FARC cease-fire could change Costa Rica’s refugee populationlast_img read more

Arrests made in case of murdered Dutch couple and laborer

first_imgOfficials from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) arrested four people Wednesday morning in connection with a triple murder in Sardinal, Puntarenas that happened nearly a year ago.After a series of early morning raids throughout Puntarenas province, investigators said they’ve been able to link those arrested to the January murder of Johannes “Hans” Snelders of Holland, his wife Sita Dhawtal of Suriname, and Rivar Avenec Montalbán of Nicaragua, who worked at Snelder’s expansive farm called Finca La Flecha in Sardinal.The three bodies were found at the ranch in Sardinal on Jan. 4, 2016.Authorities said Wednesday that the four men arrested were all suspected of committing seven similar break-ins after the brutal triple murder. These additional crimes took place between May and October of this year in different parts of Puntarenas and one in Orotina, Alajuela. A fifth suspect believed to be involved is already in preventive prison on accusations of similar crimes, the OIJ release said.In one of the 11 raids Wednesday morning in the district of El Roble, officers were met with gunfire. One of the arrested men ended up with a bullet wound to his leg.According to an OIJ report, investigators found pistols, jewelry, cell phones, and other articles that were reported stolen from recent break-ins.Snelders and Dhawtal had a timber business focused on growing trees and selling wood from their 400-hectare plantation. Snelders created a corporation for the Sardinal property in 2007 and had been a temporary resident of Costa Rica since 2013, according to authorities.When the bodies were found, their hands were tied and the corpses were in a state of decomposition, which made it complicated to determine the cause of death. OIJ reported at the time that Snelders appeared to have been struck on the head. Facebook Comments Related posts:On eve of historic sex tourism trial, Cuba Dave is optimistic he’ll be acquitted Costa Rica suffered through most violent year on record in 2016 Slaughter of five students in Liberia was likely done by one suspect, says OIJ director UPDATED: Police capture suspect in Liberia murders of five students, find key evidence in raidslast_img read more

Accused serial killer Wild Bill Holbert asks forgiveness for murders of US

first_imgPANAMA CITY, Panama – Accused U.S. serial killer William “Wild Bill” Holbert asked for forgiveness Monday for the crimes attributed to him in Panama and said that he never killed anyone from the Central American country.The 37-year-old Holbert, a one-time Costa Rican resident who has admitted to the murders of five expats on his Panamanian property, pleaded to local officials ahead of his trial to be lenient in sentencing since he has never been accused of killing anyone from Panama.“I ask the people of Panama to remember I have never in my life harmed a Panamanian citizen,” Holbert said in a written communication that he read aloud to local news outlets. “I never killed a Panamanian. My crimes were… only among the expat community.”In addition to the five people he admitted to killing in Panama, Holbert has also been accused in Costa Rica of murdering a U.S. traveler in the Caribbean beach town of Puerto Viejo in 2007.After being arrested in Nicaragua in 2010 with his wife and purported accomplice Laura Michelle Reese while they were on the run from authorities in Costa Rica, the couple was charged with the murder and robbery of five U.S. citizens.The two were deported to Panama where they have been imprisoned ever since.“I am completely sorry and I accept my guilt for my selfish actions,” Holbert added in his statement. He was set to begin trial Monday in Panama but the start was postponed by his lawyer for medical reasons.According to the accusations against Holbert, the North Carolina native would establish friendships with wealthy U.S. expats and travelers. After gaining their trust, he would murder them and steal their property. Panamanian authorities found the bodies of five U.S. victims buried in the garden of Holbert’s Villa Cortez hotel on the Bocas del Toro islands.“I have confessed and supported prosecutors 100 percent during this whole process and I have participated in the social programs that the prison system has offered me,” Holbert said.Holbert has expressed deep admiration for Adolf Hitler, as well as a desire to start a church for drunks where he would be the main priest, sources close to the case told AFP. Facebook Comments Related posts:Arrests made in case of murdered Dutch couple and laborer Former U.S. convict Dan Fowlie speaks out against being barred entry to Costa Rica again Salvadoran man deported from United States suspected in murder at San José hotel Foreigner caught stealing hours after being detained for threatening neighbors with machetelast_img read more

Costa Rica launches quest to replace most singleuse plastic by 2021

first_imgCosta Rica seeks to be free of single-use plastic, and top officials including President Luis Guillermo Solís disclosed the details of a national strategy to achieve that goal during a public event to celebrate the World Environment Day on Monday.Officials from the Environment Ministry (MINAE), the Public Health Ministry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) outlined the strategy to replace the consumption of plastic products with those manufactured with renewable and compostable materials.The main objective is that, by 2021, at least 80 percent of the country’s public agencies, municipalities and businesses replace their disposable plastic packaging with materials that have a lower environmental impact. MINAE announced at the event that it has already ordered all its departments to purchase only products made from renewable, compostable and biodegradable materials.Health Minister María Esther Anchía said that Costa Rica generates 4,000 tons of waste every day. Of these, 11 percent correspond to plastics that end up in rivers that carry them to the sea.“Plastic bottles, for example: Ticos discard 1.5 million bottles every day,” Anchía said.Non-governmental organizations including the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation and MarViva, as well as the National Chamber of Retailers, have already joined the plan and are publicly supporting its actions.One use, lasting impactEnvironment Vice Minister Fernando Mora said at the event that the strategy does not represent an attack to any private-sector market.“What [the plan] does is to promote better disposal of solid waste under a national recycling strategy and to offer our citizens alternative packaging materials,” he said.The strategy focuses on the consumption of single-use plastic, which takes hundreds of years to break down. This includes plastic bags from retail stores or supermarkets, straws, coffee stirrers, bottles and other containers.Mora said that this kind of waste represents a threat to modern societies, and that the lack of adequate disposal and management of these materials is endangering marine resources.“Recent studies from international agencies estimate that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea,” the Vice Minister said.The initiative calls on Costa Ricans to replace single-use plastics with non-petroleum renewable, marine biodegradable and compostable materials.This means that products should biodegrade within six months — even in a marine environment — and transform into compost, the first stage in the biodegradation of all organic matter.For more information, visit the campaign website,  www.zonalibredeplastico.org, which includes a database of companies in Costa Rica offering renewable and compostable products. It also allows individuals or companies to register their own products or companies for the campaign.See a UNDP video of the campaign (in Spanish only): Related posts:Messages along San José’s streets ask people to stop littering Costa Rican court orders effective protection for Corcovado National Park Alleged gold miners end protest at Corcovado National Park Meet Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Gangweary Salvadorans elect Nayib Bukele as new president

first_imgSalvadorans on Sunday elected Nayib Bukele, the popular former mayor of San Salvador, as the Central American country’s new president — a result that ends the near 30-year grip on power of its two largest parties.The country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) awarded him 53.78 percent of votes with 87.67 percent counted — a lead it considered “irreversible.”The 37-year-old president-elect, of the conservative Grand Alliance for National Unity (GANA) party, wore jeans and a leather jacket as he celebrated with supporters — thousands chanting his name and waving flags in the capital’s central Plaza Morazan.“It’s a victory for the Salvadoran people, today we won in the first round and we have made history,” said Bukele, who despite being a firm favorite was expected to face a second round of voting.He has promised to increase investment in education and fight corruption — but his main task will be to confront insecurity in a country ravaged by gang violence.He will also have to form an alliance with the rightwing opposition, which dominates congress, and govern with them until at least 2021 when the next legislative elections are held.Bukele’s opponents — Carlos Calleja of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), and Hugo Martinez of the leftist Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMLN) — quickly recognized the win. For nearly three decades, their parties have had a firm hold on Salvadoran politics.“We recognize the results of these elections. We are going to call the president-elect to wish him luck in facing the challenges in this country,” said Calleja, the runner-up with 31.62 percent of votes. The FMLN’s Martinez took third place with 13.77 percent.Meanwhile, Organization of American States (OAS) secretary general Luis Almagro congratulated Bukele on Twitter.“We congratulate @nayibbukele for his historic victory in the first round. We celebrate his proposal for a new chapter for El Salvador. And we salute the political matuirty of the contending candidates in accepting his victory,” Almagro said.– Long lines –Some 5.2 million people participated in the election, according to the elections authority chief Julio Olivo.Voters formed long lines outside polling stations in parts of San Salvador, where gang violence and insecurity are endemic. El Salvador is among the world’s most violent countries with a murder rate of 51 per 100,000 citizens.“It’s honestly scary to go out alone in the street, you never know what can happen you,” first-time voter Gabriela Solorzano, 19, said at a polling station in the gang stronghold of Mejicanos in the capital’s north, her brother holding her hand.In nearby streets, where graffiti on the walls testify to the presence of criminal gangs, many voters arrived aboard buses laid on by the political parties.But outgoing President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, of the FMLN, said voting proceeded “very calmly and very normally.”Some 23,000 police officers and 15,000 soldiers were deployed to protect the sixth presidential election since democracy was restored in 1992 — after 12 years of bloody civil war between state security forces and leftist guerrillas.– ‘Daring security solutions’ –For analyst Roberto Canas, Salvadorans “buried” the bipartisanship that “could not read the needs of the people, such as the insecurity experienced daily on the streets.”Confronting insecurity will certainly be a key challenge for Bukele, who Canas said “personified the population’s tiredness.”According to authorities, gang violence was the source of most of last year’s 3,340 reported murders — and gangs are said to have 70,000 members, with 17,000 behind bars.“The new president must offer daring security solutions,” Carlos Carcach, an analyst and professor at the Higher School of Economy and Business in El Salvador, told AFP.In the past, rightwing governments opted for repression or secret negotiations with gangs. Meanwhile under the FMLN’s Mauricio Funes (2009- 2014), there was a truce between the country’s two main gangs which temporarily reduced homicides.Another task will be to reduce illegal immigration to the United States — as President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off aid if the flow of Central American migrants is not stemmed.During the last few months of 2018, more than 3,000 Salvadorans joined caravans marching towards the United States, fleeing gangs and a lack of jobs.The other main worry for Salvadorans is the economy. Although it grew by 2.6 percent in 2018, its biggest rise in five years, that is considered insufficient to cover the demand for new employment.Bukele will have to juggle the need to raise taxes to cover an external debt of more than $9.5 billion while trying to maintain social programs in a country where the minimum wage of $300 a month is barely enough to buy food.Just over 30 percent of El Salvador’s 6.6 million inhabitants live below the poverty line.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:El Salvador court freezes ex-president’s bank accounts US puts heads of El Salvador MS-13 gang on sanctions list Strong earthquake off El Salvador felt in Costa Rica El Salvador acquits woman charged with murder over premature birthlast_img read more

Mauritania extradites Gadhafis spy chief to Libya

first_img(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 The airplane bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland killed 270 people.France also lobbied to get custody of al-Senoussi. He was one of six Libyans convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison in France for the 1989 bombing of a passenger jet over Niger that killed all 170 people on board, including 54 French people.In Mauritania, the ministry official said that a delegation arrived from Libya Monday night, and included the country’s minister of finance and justice minister. They overnighted in Mauritania. He said the government officially handed over Senoussi to the Libyan minister of justice on the tarmac of the Mauritanian airport. A Libyan jet had been sent to extradite the ex-spy chief.Al-Senoussi had spent his five-month-long incarceration in Mauritania in a private villa, the official said. He was allowed to exercise, watch TV, read the international press and receive visits from his nephew, said the official.A baggage handler at the airport who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter said that al-Senoussi was not handcuffed when he was brought out. He said he looked healthy and in good spirits as he walked up the ramp to the plane.Al-Senoussi is known as Gadhafi’s “black box,” because of his closeness to the ex-leader and his knowledge of the regime’s alleged abuses. Associated PressNOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) – The man accused of having helped orchestrate some of the worst crimes committed by the regime of ex-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been extradited back to Libya, according to a Mauritanian government statement.The communique carried by national radio and on Mauritania’s official news agency said Abdullah al-Senoussi, who ran Gadhafi’s feared intelligence service, was sent back to Libya, giving no further details. An official in the ministry of foreign affairs, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said that al-Senoussi boarded a special flight at 9 a.m. local time (0900 GMT) and was headed to Tripoli.center_img Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Libya, the International Criminal Court as well as France had all asked to try the former intelligence chief, who is known as Gadhafi’s “black box.” He is accused of complicity in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, as well as the Abu Salim prison massacre of more than 1,200 prisoners by Gadhafi’s regime in 1996.Al-Senoussi was arrested at Mauritania’s international airport in March, where he showed up disguised as a Tuareg chieftain, wearing flowing robes and a turban. He was traveling on a fake passport. For months, Mauritania resisted calls to hand him over, insisting that their laws had been violated and that he should be tried on Mauritanian soil.Oriane Maillet, a spokeswoman for the international tribunal in The Hague, said the court has received no information yet from Libyan authorities on the transfer of al-Senoussi, but stressed that an international arrest warrant has been issued for him based on ICC charges.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who led a delegation to the region, told reporters in Tripoli earlier this year that the U.S. had a “particular interest (in seeing him arrested) because of his role with the Lockerbie bombing.” Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

China ship sails to Atlantic and back via Arctic

first_img Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home 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 Check your body, save your life BEIJING (AP) – A Chinese icebreaker docked Thursday at Shanghai after becoming the first vessel from China to cross the Arctic Ocean, a landmark trip that is part of Beijing’s efforts to expand its presence in the Arctic.With melting icecaps accelerating the opening of new shipping routes and the exploration of oil, gas and mineral deposits in the Arctic, China has been eager to gain a foothold in the region.center_img Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The icebreaker Snow Dragon returned to Shanghai after wrapping up a three-month mission that took it from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic via the Arctic, the Shanghai-based Polar Research Institute of China said in a statement. The vessel’s 119 crew members completed an oceanic survey in waters around Iceland with their Icelandic counterparts.Though it has no territorial claims in the Arctic, China has been lobbying for permanent observer status on the eight-member Arctic Council in a bid to gain influence.During summer months when they are passable, Arctic shipping routes between China and Europe are 40 percent faster than traveling through the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea.The institute’s statement said Snow Dragon gained “first-hand information about navigation in Arctic sea lanes as well as the oceanic environment, and carried out useful exploration and practice for our nation’s ships that use Arctic passages in the future.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health toolast_img read more

Honduras Threats to kill 2 Cabinet ministers

first_imgTEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) – The Honduran government has confirmed it has evidence of plots to kill two Cabinet ministers.Presidential communications director Bladimir Baca says the plots appear to target the ministers of agriculture and human rights. Security measures for the two ministers have been increased.On Monday, land rights activist Rafael Alegria said he also had been informed of plans to kill him. Alegria has also increased his personal security. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishescenter_img Alegria has been involved in a land conflict in the Bajo Aguan valley, a fertile farming area plagued by violent fights between agrarian organizations and land owners.The three alleged plots follow the Sept. 23 killing of prominent Honduran human rights lawyer Antonio Trejo Cabrera. He representad three peasant cooperatives in Bajo Aguan.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Moscow reclaims Europes tallest building

first_imgMercury City’s reign is likely to be almost as short. It’s next-door to the under-construction Federation Tower, which is to reach 506 meters (1,660 feet) when it’s completed next year.Both are in a sprawling development called Moscow City that also holds two other buildings that once were Europe’s tallest.The complex is an eye-catching demonstration of Moscow’s transformation from drab shabbiness to swaggering prosperity, driven largely by oil and natural gas revenues.Mercury City “distinctly shows the activity of Russian business … it demonstrates that all of Russia is on a level with countries of the eurozone, continuing its planned development and moving forward,” Igor Kesayev, director of the Mercury company, was quoted as saying by the news agency Interfax.But competing with European countries for tallest building is playing in the minor leagues. There are nearly 60 buildings in North America, Asia and the Middle East that are taller, topped by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa _ about 2.5 times taller than Mercury city at 828 meters (2,717 feet).(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day MOSCOW (AP) – Moscow is reclaiming bragging rights for having Europe’s tallest building after losing the distinction for a few months to London.The mixed office and residential tower called Mercury City has topped out at 338 meters (1,109 feet), officials of its development company said Thursday.The tower, sheathed in copper-colored glass, actually became Europe’s tallest in September, while still under construction, when it exceeded London’s 310-meter (1,017-foot) Shard, according to the construction information company Emporis. Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Keeping up a routine aboard the USS Underwood

first_img 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Life at sea is the only thing many sailors have known for years.They receive three hot meals a day _ Wednesdays mean hamburgers, Saturdays mean chicken wings and pizza. The crew can watch a baseball or football match on the armed forces network or catch a movie. They work out and even jog on the top deck, with the water and clouds stretching into the horizon.There’s a lot of time to think, about wives and children left behind in places such as Mayport, Florida, the Underwood’s port.Some seamen, such as Peruvian Navy 1st Lt. Paolo Camogliano, have left loved ones even farther away. The crew tried to make him feel at home one day by baking him a cake in the shape of Peru’s red and white flag, in honor of Peruvian Navy Day.One crew member, 3rd class petty officer Brian Stankowitz, had joined the Navy intending to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.Leaning on the ship’s railing as the Caribbean’s waters rushed by, the tall, thin New Jersey native said he was doing his part to make the world safer.“The Navy is a global force for good,” he said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   Endless duties and drills fill the day, as the crew trains for everything from a terrorist attack to a riot at port. At night, sailors sleep in tiny cubicles so cramped that many can’t turn onto their sides.A highlight of the six-month deployment is a special certification that requires getting shot in the face with pepper spray.“This is very similar to being a small-time cop. Days or even weeks of nothing,” said the ship’s captain, Peter T. Mirisola, after a workout in the ship’s makeshift gym.Then, without warning, something happens. The crew sights a fast boat in nearby waters, and the frigate gives chase. Sometimes, the ship catches smugglers carrying drugs worth as much as $25 million on the street.In October, the 30-year-old vessel was patrolling the Caribbean waters off Panama, as part of a multinational effort to hit illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus.Since it set sail with a crew of 260 in April 2012, it’s visited ports in Panama, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Netherland Antilles and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The Underwood is the oldest surface combatant ship in the U.S. Navy but no longer carries guided missiles. In fact, the recent deployment was the Underwood’s last voyage, with 10 other U.S. Navy ships scheduled to be decommissioned early next year. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Associated PressABOARD THE USS UNDERWOOD (AP) – The crew of the USS Underwood is waiting.Somewhere amid the endless expanse of water that surrounds the U.S. Navy frigate, drug traffickers are speeding millions of dollars of contraband from Latin American shores to the U.S. The ship’s mission is to stop at least some of that traffic, which from day to day means spending long hours searching the Western Hemisphere’s coasts while preparing for action. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Mexico Bird flu outbreak hits 582000 chickens

first_imgBut the department said Friday that the current outbreak has not affected the supply of chicken products.It said tests were continuing to determine the exact strain of virus involved in the outbreak, but said it did not affect humans.Mexico’s nationwide flock amounts to 137 million birds.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico’s animal health agency says a bird flu outbreak at seven farms in central Mexico has affected as many as 582,000 chickens.The Agriculture Department says more than a half million birds were exposed, but the number that will have to be slaughtered has yet to be determined.An outbreak of the H7N3 bird flu virus in western Mexico in 2012 led to the slaughter of more than 22 million hens and caused price increases in chicken and egg products.center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

Survivors stunned by loss in Colombian town hit by flood

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Authorities asked heartbroken Colombians to refrain from sending physical donations and instead contribute to a fund to help families rebuild. For its part, the government promised about $6,500 in economic assistance to each of those who suffered damage.Colombia’s rugged topography, in a seismically active area at the northern edge of the Andes, combined with shoddy construction, has made the country one of Latin America’s most disaster-prone. More than 150 disasters have struck the country the past 40 years, claiming more than 32,000 lives and affecting more than 12 million people, the Inter-American Development Bank says.The tragedy in Salgar appeared to be the single deadliest event since a 1999 earthquake in the city of Armenia that killed hundreds. A wave of flooding during the 2011 rainy season left more than 100 dead over several weeks.Authorities said they had no idea the town was at risk of a tragedy of such proportions. While flooding in the mountainous area is not uncommon, the heavy rains this time were dozens of miles (kilometers) uphill from the town, in a forested, sparsely populated area.“It’s something you could never imagine,” Henao said, waiting to return home to salvage whatever possessions remain untouched by the flood. “When I heard the loud bang it seemed like the end of the world.” Residents rescue belongings from houses damaged during an avalanche in Salgar, in Colombia’s northwestern state of Antioquia, Monday, May 18, 2015. At least 49 people were killed when a mudslide triggered by heavy rains swept away homes before dawn. (AP Photo/Luis Benavides) Top Stories ___Associated Press writers Joshua Goodman, Libardo Cardona and Cesar Garcia in Bogota contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img Uruena said 37 people were being treated for injuries and 330 were homeless.Many of the lost were believed buried in the gray moonscape along with dozens of homes, bridges and even a school that locals said is where former President Alvaro Uribe studied as a child growing up in his mother’s hometown.President Juan Manuel Santos, who traveled to Salgar to oversee relief efforts, said several children lost their parents and the bodies of those killed needed to be transported to Medellin, a three-hour drive, for identification. He vowed to rebuild the lost homes and provide shelter and assistance for the estimated 500 people affected by the calamity.“Nobody can bring back the dead … but we have to handle this disaster as best we can to move forward,” Santos said.Soldiers handed out food and blankets to the homeless civil defense authorities armed with little more than shovels probed the shaky ground looking for bodies. Farmers like Henao were ordered to refrain from returning to their homes because of a risk of more landslides.Sergio Fajardo, governor of Antioquia province, said several bodies had been deformed and dismembered, complicating the process of identification. The force of the flood carried one body some 60 miles (100 kilometers) downriver, he said. Check your body, save your life When the earth rumbled before dawn on Monday, his 20-year-old son and 2-month-old granddaughter were asleep at another house directly in the flash flood’s path. Both died along with several neighbors, many of whose bodies Henao said were still trapped in the mud.“I wish I had been the one killed, but God willed it this way,” said Henao, who survived along with his wife by forcing open a door against a raging current and fleeing to the jungled mountain rising directly from their home.As the small mountain town of Salgar began digging out, tales of human tragedy multiplied. Survivors recalled being stirred from their beds by a loud rumble and neighbors’ shouts, barely having enough time to gather their loved ones.The toll of confirmed dead was put at 78 late Tuesday, up from 65 earlier in the day, and there were fears the number could grow because an undetermined number of people, perhaps as many as 100, remained unaccounted for. Authorities said they were too busy searching for bodies and assisting survivors at makeshift shelters to give a precise estimate of how many were missing.Cesar Uruena, national relief chief for the Colombian Red Cross, said workers were trying to compile an accurate list. “We are doing a sweep and going house to house to verify precisely the number of missing people,” he said. Sponsored Stories SALGAR, Colombia (AP) — Hector Raul Henao wept as he surveyed the barren landscape of mud and uprooted trees that had been a vibrant community of small coffee farmers. In the distance, across the still-raging La Libordiana ravine, he pointed to the zinc-roofed house he fled — one of just two left standing in an area devastated by a mudslide that killed at least 78 people.“I lost half my life,” he said Tuesday amid tears. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more