Author: admin

Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine ready to open Nov 1

first_img MIAMI — Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts says its rebranded Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine, the first adults-only hotel under the Grand Bahia Principe brand, is getting ready to welcome guests starting Nov. 1.Back in May 2018 Bahia Principe announced it was making the move to rebrand one of its top properties in Punta Cana, the Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Green, into Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine.As an adults-only resort the 498-suite property will feature rejuvenated day and nighttime entertainment for guests 18 years and older.Lobby at Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine“At Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, we pride ourselves on providing upscale yet approachable hospitality in the Caribbean and we’ve recently taken the initiative to clearly segment and develop each one of our property’s personalities,” saus Lluisa Salord, Senior VP Global Sales, Contracting and Distribution, Grupo Piñero.“With the opening of Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine, we hope to strengthen our adults-only business while ensuring consistent quality across our accommodations, amenities and distinct entertainment program. We experienced a demand for an adults-only Grand property in Punta Cana, and we are confident that Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine will exceed our guests’ expectations.”More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoFrom wine tasting classes to rum mixology lessons, from card and board game tournaments to themed parties with live music and shows, the all-inclusive resort will be a well-rounded entertainment destination within the Bahia Principe Bavaro complex, she added.Rendering of the new bar at Bahia Principe’s Bavaro complexOther events to be hosted at the property include burlesque performances, foam parties and DJ socials at the hotel lobby. For fitness aficionados, new wellness and sports activities will be held throughout Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine, including TRX workouts, CrossFit, Zumba, HIIT training and merengue and salsa dance lessons.Guests of Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine will be allowed unlimited a la carte dinners and access to the three other Grand Bahia Principe hotels of the complex. The complex offers a la carte dining establishments that serve dishes from across the globe, including traditional Dominican fare, Italian specialties and Japanese-Peruvian cuisine.Rendering of the new gym at Bahia Principe’s Bavaro complexFor use by guests of Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine and all Luxury brand properties, Bahia Principe’s Bavaro complex will also receive some upgrades of its own, including a new sports bar and fitness centre exclusively for adults. Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine ready to open Nov. 1 Friday, August 24, 2018 Share Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more

Kensington Tours promotes stopover journeys for multicity travel

first_imgKensington Tours promotes stopover journeys for multi-city travel Tags: Kensington Tours Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group center_img Thursday, July 11, 2019 Posted by TORONTO — Kensington Tours is offering a new collection of customizable, privately-guided itineraries.“As a tour operator entirely focused on designing custom itineraries for our clients, we have seen a very interesting trend lately with respect to stopovers,” says Alison Hickey, President, Kensington Tours. “As new airline routings become available, an increasing number of clients are requesting land experiences designed around their ideal flight paths.”She adds: “Airlines such as EVA Air, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Cathay Pacific and Emirates have expanded their reach throughout Asia, facilitating connections that did not exist previously. In the past, it was quite challenging to access regional destinations like Chiang Mai and Phuket without going through a capital city, like Bangkok, whereas now these locations are serviced by major hubs such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Seoul with multiple daily flights.”Long haul flights can now be broken up to ease travel, such as stopping in Singapore on the way to Southeast Asia. Cruising the Singapore River on an authentic bumboat, discovering the city’s architecture and dining at Michelin Star hawker stands are now experiences that can be added to one’s itinerary, says Hickey.More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerFor clients travelling to Indonesia and Africa, Dubai has become a popular stopover spot. Offerings in Dubai include observing the city’s architecture through privately-guided historical tours and adventures such as 4×4 rides in the dunes and camel rides.“It’s now possible to fly direct from New York to Singapore or Dubai to Bali, which allows us to take a more creative approach to trip planning,” says Hickey. “The best part about these new itineraries is that they apply even if a traveller’s chosen airline doesn’t offer a special stopover program.”For more information, visit kensingtontours.com.last_img read more

Work to resume Thursday on widening of Panama Canal

first_imgRelated posts:Work resumes to expand Panama Canal Strike halts work on Panama Canal expansion Panama Canal claims $737 million in cost overruns Renewal in Panama might be coming at a high cost PANAMA CITY – Work to widen the Panama Canal will resume on Thursday, an official said, two weeks after the huge project was suspended over $1.6 billion in cost overruns.Canal administrator Jorge Quijano told AFP that the consortium involved, Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), will “resume tomorrow morning as we develop an interim agreement.”Work to expand the canal was suspended earlier this month by the GUPC consortium made up of construction companies Sacyr of Spain, Italy’s Salini-Impreglio, Belgium’s Jan de Nul and Constructora Urbana of Panama.The dispute is over $1.6 billion in cost overruns in the project, the main part of which is to equip the canal with a third set of locks.GUPC wants Panama to add that sum to the initial contract fee of $3.2 billion.The century-old waterway handles five percent of global seaborne trade.GUPC claims unforeseen geological difficulties have forced them to spend much more on cement than expected. They say that they based their estimates on data provided by the Canal Authority that were incorrect.The canal expansion is one of the world’s most ambitious civil engineering projects and was due to be completed this year in time for the 100th anniversary of the fabled canal.The original canal, built by the United States, mostly with workers brought in from the Caribbean, was opened in 1914.Following the delay, the deadline for completing the work is now December 2015. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Analysts concerned after Brazil rating downgrade

first_imgBRASÍLIA – Brazil must convince markets that it can grow its economy while also slash spending and curtail inflation, analysts said after the country’s credit rating sunk to near junk status.The Central Bank said Brazil would respond “robustly” to global economic challenges after Standard & Poor’s lowered its credit rating to BBB-, the lowest level for investment grade debt.S&P however described Brazil’s overall outlook as stable.The downgrade was “inconsistent” with economic conditions and “does not reflect Brazil’s solid performance and fundamentals,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement late Monday.China’s role in growth Analysts warn that they see hard times ahead for the World Cup and Olympic hosts, with one indicating that strong 2004-2010 growth had been on the coattails of strong demand from China.“Having enjoyed years of ‘easy growth’ in 2004-10, driven by Chinese demand, absorption of surplus labor and credit growth, the government and Congress have not pursued structural reforms to sustain growth,” said Robert Wood, Brazil analyst with Economist Intelligence Unit.Without policy adjustments in 2015, “the outlook will deteriorate further,” Wood said.São Paulo University’s Manuel Enriquez Garcia said that the years of strong growth fueled hopes that Brazil could become a major economic force. Now this hope “has been lost due to poor management of public accounts and a falloff in growth,” he said.Austin Rating’s chief economist Alex Agostini added: “There is no confidence that Brazil will control public spending and manage to bring down inflation in an election year.”Slow growth forecast Growth in Brazil has fallen off after peaking at 7.5 percent in 2010. In this World Cup year the government is forecasting growth of 2.5 percent, though markets are less optimistic.Brazil is also stuttering of late on trade, with a 2013 trade surplus of just $2.56 billion, its lowest in 13 years.The Central Bank said that, in response, it would combine macroeconomic austerity, exchange rate flexibility and use of liquid reserves to keep share price volatility in check.In announcing the downgrade, S&P cited the government’s unclear policy signals as it faces a weaker fiscal situation and slower growth.The agency said the rating cut reflects “slippage” in the government’s fiscal balance, and the prospects that slow growth over the coming years will leave the government less able to strengthen the balance.It said both cyclical and structural factors were behind the growth outlook, pointing to low investment, which was only 18 percent of GDP last year. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Ricans racked up credit card debt on TVs, travel during World Cup Soldiers occupy notorious Rio slum ahead of World Cup Costa Rica hopes La Sele will bring home a trophy, along with more tourists Brazil S&P downgrade forces a fiscal reckoninglast_img read more

Costa Rican govt and Red Cross suspend search for US hiker believed

first_imgRelated posts:Search continues in Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park for missing US hiker Red Cross officials suspect missing hiker may be inside gold mining tunnels Final search underway for US hiker missing in Corcovado National Park Father continues search for Alaska hiker, believed missing in Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park The Red Cross, Public Security Ministry and Environment Ministry pulled back volunteers and personnel on Tuesday from efforts to find missing U.S. hiker Cody Roman Dial in Corcovado National Park, on the Osa Peninsula. The Red Cross and the Costa Rican government have beensearching for the 27-year-old Alaska native since July 23. Dial has been out of contact with his family since July 10, the day of his planned entry into the park.Representatives from the U.S. Embassy are now in Puerto Jiménez, near the park’s eastern entrance, to take over the search, accompanied by Dial’s father, Roman Dial, a National Geographic explorer and well-known adventure sportsman. Based on Dial’s emails with his father and sightings by local residents, officials suspect that Dial was hiking alone in the park in areas off-limits to tourists. In order to search these areas, the new search-and-rescue team will need to negotiate for permits with the Environment Ministry.That team will revisit areas mentioned in Dial’s emails and already searched by Red Cross crews, but conflicting information from local residents who claim to have seen Dial have complicated efforts.“It has gotten really confusing because we have reports from people who believe they’ve seen him on the same day in areas that are kilometers and kilometers apart,” Gilberth Doundi, one of the Red Cross search coordinators, told The Tico Times. “We believe he left and re-entered the park a number of times, but that is really the only thing we are confident about.”The Red Cross turned up no sign of Dial in their searches except for a possible campsite in Piedras Blancas National Park, northeast of Corcovado. The teams searched rivers, mining tunnels and waterfalls, but saw no other signs of the young hiker. According to Doundi, search-and-rescuers believe it is possible that Dial left the park and may be elsewhere in Costa Rica.“We are sending out alerts to beaches and other possible tourist areas, we are monitoring his credit cards in case he makes a purchase, and we have alerted immigration officials to watch for him at the borders,” Doundi said.When The Tico Times contacted Dial’s father for comment, he said he was preparing to enter the park, but he lost a phone signal before he was able to provide more information. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

The undoing of Gary Webb and todays news organizations

first_imgScreengrab from interview by School of Authentic Journalism in Merida, Mexico, 2002.See also: Reviving the messenger: Gary Webb’s tale on filmI haven’t seen “Kill the Messenger,” the movie about the rise and fall of the crusading San José Mercury News reporter Gary Webb, but I did know Gary Webb.Webb, who tried to link the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contra rebels to the crack cocaine epidemic that swept the United States, contacted me when I was working at The Tico Times in the mid-1990s to help him with some legwork in Costa Rica ahead of his visit to further investigate the series that had made him famous overnight. The follow-up on which he was working was never published in the Mercury News after his editors withdrew their support for his story, under the weight of criticism by The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times.After he was demoted, Webb quit the Mercury News, and, unable to find work at another major newspaper, killed himself.When Gary Webb came to Costa Rica to follow up on his Dark Alliance series – this was before his work was “discredited” by the big three newspapers – I met with him to tell him about Contra drug stories that I had reported for The Tico Times.My impression of Webb was that, in addition to being a novice to tumultuous Central American politics, he was dead set on his thesis that the Contras originated the crack cocaine epidemic in the United States. He was absolutely certain that the Contras were the source of the cocaine for Freeway Ricky Ross who, Webb was equally as certain, originated the crack epidemic.“It had to start somewhere,” Webb insisted adamantly.Reading the series, the evidence for this is thin, which is what opened Gary to the withering attacks he endured by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.But recent revelations by former DEA agents might paint a different picture. Last year, former DEA agents Héctor Berrellez and Phil Jordan said that people tied to the Contras imported tons of cocaine into U.S. military bases in the 1980s, among them El Toro Marine Airbase in southern California and Homestead Airbase in Florida. Berrellez said he’s convinced the drugs coming into El Toro found their way to the streets of Los Angeles through the Contra pipeline.“Gary Webb was right,” said Berrellez.The former DEA officials have come forward now because they are convinced that the CIA was complicit in the 1985 murder in Mexico of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, based on the testimony of three witnesses currently in the federal witness protection program who place a Cuban-American CIA operative at the interrogation and torture of Camarena.The CIA “sacrificed” Camarena because he had come across the Contra/drug connection, according to the former agents. The CIA has called the charges “ridiculous” and the Cuban-American operative has threatened Berrellez with a libel suit. A DEA spokeswoman would only say that the agency is satisfied that all the authors of Camarena’s murder have been indicted.The charges were aired last year by the Mexican weekly magazine Proceso, the El Paso Times, the Huffington Post and Fox News after the man convicted in Mexico of Camarena’s murder, drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, was released from a Mexican prison.The drug flights to military bases were something that was the subject of gossip and speculation during the 1980s. But now Robert “Tosh” Plumlee, a pilot who says he worked for the company SETCO – identified in a 1998 CIA Inspector General’s report prompted by Webb’s reporting as a drug trafficking company and the principle company that transported arms and supplies to the Contras – has come forward to confirm that he and other SETCO pilots flew about 40 tons of cocaine into both El Toro and Homestead, among other U.S. military air bases.In addition, former DEA agent Celestino Castillo confirmed that Contra drug flights left El Salvador’s Ilopango Airbase and were flown to Homestead Airbase in Florida, information he got from a source in the Ilopango control tower.Plumlee said he was able to fly into U.S. military airbases because he had codes to transponders that enabled him to land without interference from the military, which were given to him by SETCO along with his flight plans.But Plumlee has made other claims in the past about being privy to famous events that, to some, question his reliability as a source.The colorful pilot claims to have transported a CIA team from Tampa, Florida, to Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963 to thwart the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. He also claims inside information about the delivery of U.S. arms to terrorists who carried out the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.But both Berrellez and Jordan said that Plumlee’s version checks out with what they know and vouch for his credibility. Also, Bill Holden, a one-time legislative aide on national security for former U.S. Senator Gary Hart, who met with Plumlee in 1986, said he has no reason to question the pilot’s veracity. Plumlee has testified before various U.S. Senate committees.But even if Plumlee is the conspiracy theorists’ dream-come-true as some believe, his claims involving the trafficking of drugs for the Contras to U.S. military installations could easily be corroborated by other Contra pilots, former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega’s pilot Floyd Carlton Casares and the Costa Rican pilot Warner Lotz, to name two.Both pilots served time in prison. I don’t know of Carlton Casares’ whereabouts. I recently asked a source in Costa Rica about Lotz and was told he was “keeping a low profile.”The problem is that very little interest exists on the part of news organizations now to follow up the military base angle or anything else that involves Contra/drugs, for that matter. The undoing of Gary Webb saw to that.This story was edited after its original posting to add the 18th paragraph referring to Robert “Tosh” Plumlee’s credibility. Facebook Comments Related posts:Reviving the messenger: Gary Webb’s tale on film Beachcombing along the Caribbean drug trail in Nicaragua After 23 years in prison, top assassin for Pablo Escobar is a ‘reformed’ man Mexico wants to question Sean Penn over meeting with ‘El Chapo’ Guzmánlast_img read more

Costa Rica court refuses to hear sex reassignment case

first_imgRelated posts:No free dental checkups for self-employed workers who owe the Caja, Sala IV rules Refusing to hire obese man is not discrimination, Costa Rican court finds Costa Rican health minister: Auto accidents are a public health issue Costa Rica welcomes first IVF baby after 16-year ban The Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica’s Supreme Court refused to hear a case asking the country’s public health care system to pay for a sex reassignment surgery abroad, according to a court press release Monday.The chamber, also known as Sala IV, voted 6-1 on June 12 not to hear a transgender woman’s case asking the Costa Rican Social Security System, or Caja, to pay for her sex reassignment surgery in another country since the operation is not available here.The plaintiff verbally requested surgery at Hospital San Juan de Dios in 2014 as part of her transition into a woman. After making several requests for more information about the surgery, the plaintiff was told that the hospital did not have the policies or staff to perform the operation. The daily La Nación reported that the Caja had formed an interdisciplinary commission to discuss the case and the lack of policy on the matter. With no alternative in Costa Rica, the plaintiff asked the Caja to pay for the surgery in another country.But the plaintiff’s petition did not include a statement from a doctor or medical review board that said the sexual reassignment surgery was medically necessary. Without a medical opinion in her favor, the hospital refused to pay for the surgery and the Sala IV agreed.Judges Armijo, Cruz, Castillo, Abdelnour, Salas, and Estrada voted in the majority not to hear the case. Judge Jinesta cast the one dissenting vote. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US expat Ann Patton faces third murder trial in Costa Rica

first_imgAnn Patton was back in a Pérez Zeledón court Monday for her third trial in five years for the 2010 death of her husband, the wealthy U.S. financier John Felix Bender.Patton, a 44-year-old U.S. woman, moved with Bender to Costa Rica in 2000 with the aim of building an animal refuge on a sprawling estate in Florida de Barú, a remote community in southern Costa Rica.After 10 years in the remote jungle, the couple’s opulent lifestyle fell apart when Bender died from a gunshot to the neck. Patton claimed it was a suicide. She said Bender had been depressed and that she tried to pull the gun away from him before he fired.Prosecutors alleged that Patton killed her husband, who was 43 at the time.Three trials later, Patton has never wavered in proclaiming her innocence. This latest trial, she said hopefully on Monday, would finally be the one to absolve her of any wrongdoing.“I did not kill my husband,” Patton told The Tico Times.Triple jeopardyIn her first trial in 2013 Patton was acquitted, but an appellate court ordered a retrial that was held in May 2014. The 2014 trial found Patton guilty and she was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Patton served nine months in El Buen Pastor prison in Desamparados, south of San José, before an appellate court in Cartago threw out the guilty verdict in February and ordered the retrial that started Monday. There is no prohibition against double jeopardy in Costa Rican law.Fabio Oconitrillo, Patton’s lawyer, previously told The Tico Times that his legal team could prove that investigators manipulated evidence to implicate Patton as the shooter instead of her husband. Oconitrillo and Patton both have accused Judicial Investigation Police of perjuring themselves during the second trial.The Tico Times was not able to reach Oconitrillo for comment.Patton has chronic Lyme disease, a condition that has left her frail and walking with a cane. She reportedly weighed just 70 pounds at the time of Bender’s death.Besides Patton’s freedom, the custody of $7 million worth of jewels is also in question. Authorities seized the jewels, claiming that they were contraband and did not have tax records. The Florida de Barú estate is also under dispute. Patton has a lawsuit pending against her former lawyer for control of the 5,000-acre property.Upon her release in February Patton was ordered to surrender her passport and not leave the country. She has been staying with family since then.Prosecutor Edgar Ramírez told The Tico Times on Tuesday that regardless of how the trial ended he foresaw another appeal.“Neither side is going to be satisfied with the result,” Ramírez said, reflecting on the two previous appeals and the right of both sides to continue to appeal the case under Costa Rican law. “There are several outcomes that would result in another appeal.”Patton showed more sangfroid when asked how the trial would end.“I have faith that finally justice will be served,” she said. Facebook Comments Related posts:Ann Patton on her new trial: ‘It is my opportunity to finally, hopefully, get true justice’ Costa Rica court finds US expat Ann Patton not guilty in third murder trial Costa Rica appeal of Patton ‘not guilty’ verdict would have little to stand on, legal experts say CBS to air documentary questioning Costa Rica’s murder conviction of US expat Ann Benderlast_img read more

Experts warn of Chagas disease in Costa Rica

first_imgExperts from the National University’s Veterinary and Entomology schools issued a warning this week about the possible spread of Chagas’ disease throughout Costa Rica.A recent investigation by researchers at the university found people infected with Chagas’ disease, which is spread by kissing bugs, in the provinces of San José, Alajuela, Heredia and Guanacaste.The most common symptoms of Chagas’ disease are conjunctivitis, fever, poor appetite and sore throat. During the acute phase of the disease, the first visible signs can be a skin lesion or a purplish swelling of the eyelid, as well as fever, headache, enlarged lymph glands, pallor, muscle pain, difficulty breathing, swelling and abdominal or chest pain.There is no vaccine for Chagas’ disease, but it is curable if treatment is initiated soon after infection.People often disregard symptoms or confuse them with other illnesses. Therefore the disease can go unnoticed until its worst effects appear up to 20 years later, according to the UNA report.Up to 30 percent of people chronically-infected with Chagas’ disease develop cardiac alterations that can lead to sudden death or heart failure caused by progressive destruction of the heart muscle and its nervous system. Up to 10 percent develop digestive, neurological or mixed alterations which may require specific treatment, according to the World Health Organization.The disease is spread by the triatomine bug, commonly known as the kissing bug, or “chinche” in Costa Rica. It can be found mainly in areas up to 1,600 meters above sea level, usually in damp spaces, in woodpiles and near livestock or pets.The insect carries a parasite — Trypanosoma cruzi — that enters the bloodstream when the insect bites a person (often near the mouth, hence the name “kissing bug”) or when a person comes into direct contact with the insect’s feces.Chagas’ disease can also affect dogs, which easily come into contact with infected bugs. Dogs can be asymptomatic and then suffer sudden death.Chagas’ disease cannot be transmitted by another person or animal, according to Gaby Dolz, one of the veterinarians who participated in the study.One of the hotspots for the disease is the community of Getsemaní in Heredia. University investigators inspected 177 houses in Getsemaní and found kissing bugs in 21 of them, representing 11 percent of the total. They also found insect nests in other 14 houses.Experts advise people who find the bug or suspect it might be breeding on their property to request assistance at the closest medical center, and if possible, take one specimen to confirm it is a Chagas’ disease carrier.Community clinics, or EBAIS, also have available information on how to eliminate breeding sites and to prevent the bug’s spread.Triatomine bug in all life stages (Via U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica approves regulations to restart medical research on humans Next up for new ombudswoman Montserrat Solano: Costa Rica’s inaction on in vitro fertilization Mosquito-borne dengue targeted by antibody with hope for vaccine Mandatory prices for medical procedures rankle public, politicianslast_img read more

Day of the Dead celebrations and other happenings around Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Folkloric show, European film fest and other happenings around Costa Rica San Ramón celebrates, International Guitar Festival, and other happenings around Costa Rica Serrat concert, live karaoke, and other happenings around Costa Rica Dance Company performance, La Llorona, and other happenings around Costa Rica Mexican Institute ActivitiesThe Day of the Dead is an important traditional celebration in Mexico, and the Mexican Institute in Costa Rica, located in Los Yoses, is organizing several activities to celebrate:Oct. 30: “Calacas, Traditions and Emotions: the Mexican View of Death” at 7 p.m., and the inauguration of the exhibit “The Travesty of Sight” at 8:30 p.m.Oct. 31 and Nov. 1: Empaxúchitl paper flower-making workshop at 10 a.m., and a workshop on how to prepare an offering for the dead at 2 p.m.Nov. 2: Day of the Dead party, traditional Mexican food and products, and performance of the play “Ofrenda de muertos viva” with live music.For more information on these events, visit the Mexican Institute Facebook page or call 2283-2333.More Day of the Dead CelebrationsCasa Frida will also celebrate the Day of the Dead with Mexican guest artists and the visit of “La Catrina,” the main character of the World of the Dead in Mexican culture. An altar will be available for participants who want to pay respects and remember their deceased family members and friends. Reservation needed.“Día de los muertos” takes place Oct. 30 at Casa Frida, San José. Free. 7 p.m. For more information call 2222-5333.Freak-show Circus + Halloween PartyPace yourself: this event includes a circus featuring the scariest talents, an open-bar pre-party, a party with live music by Los Ajenos, and a post-party with breakfast and prizes. Contests for best overall costume (prize of $300), best woman’s costume ($400), and best group costumes (open bar premium) will cap off the night.“Freakshow Circo + Halloween Party” takes place Oct. 30 at Belle Lounge & Gallery, Paseo Colón, San José. ₡6,000 ($12). 7 p.m. For more information call 8303-7171.HalloweekendFriends Bar will feature two huge Halloween parties. Oct. 30: a haunted house, Halloween pre-party, and open bar. Oct. 31: official Halloween party, open bar, and best costume contest.“Halloweekend” takes place Oct. 30 – 31, 9 p.m., at Friends Bar, El Pueblo, San José. For more information visit the event page.Outdoor Horror FilmThe classic film “Frankenstein” (1931), starring Boris Karloff, will be screened at the Plaza de la Democracia.“Noche de terror” takes place Oct. 31 at the Plaza de la Democracia, San José. Free. 6:30 p.m.Party and BikingA Halloween party at El Lobo Estepario will be preceded and followed by biking around San José.“Bici Blanca + Masa Crítica” takes place Oct. 31 at El Lobo Estepario Bar, San José. Free. 7 p.m. More info at the Event Facebook page.For more suggestions of Halloween parties, concerts and contests, take a look at our 10 can’t-miss Halloween events.Masquerade FestivalNational Masquerade Day will be celebrated in the central park of Heredia, with activities including mask-making workshops, a free yoga workshop, henna tattoos, Costa Rian music concerts, a mini circus, aerial dance, masquerades and cimarrona parades, sports, traditional games, and more.“Festival Ecléctico” takes place Oct. 30 at Heredia’s central park. Free. 3 p.m. More info at the Event Facebook page.Topa Jr ExpressCaptain Topa and his band “Los Rulos” will offer a spectacular show for children. The show will be full of surprises, dance, and games, along with the band’s new songs.“Topa Jr Express” will be performed Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at Palacio de lo Deportes, Heredia. 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. ₡16,000 – 36,000 ($32 – 72). For more information call 2289-0909 or visit the Publitickets Website.Dance: “Dirge: The passage to the afterlife”An interdisciplinary project that features 45 artists, all co-producers, depicting pre-Columbian and colonial funeral rituals.“Canto fúnebre: el paso al más allá” will be performed Oct. 31 – Nov. 1 at the Dance School at the Omar Dengo Campus of the Universidad Nacional, in Heredia, at 7 p.m. Free. More info at the RedCultura Website.Theater: Jarte Jarte Commedia dell’ArteA performance fusing the antique theater technique of Commedia dell’Arte and improvisation. The public will choose the topic and the stories that will be developed.“Jarte Jarte Commedian dell’Arte” will be performed Oct. 30-31 at 8 p.m., Nov. 1 at 6 p.m., Nov. 5-6-7 at 8 p.m., Nov.8 at 6 p.m. At the Teatro Universitario, at the University of Costa Rica, San Pedro. ₡4,000 ($8) general public, ₡3,000 ($6) senior citizens and students. For more information call 2511-6722.Theater: “Puzzle”Seven different stories which, at some point, all intertwine, offer a critique of increasing violence in Costa Rican and the country’s “pecking order.”“Rompecabezas” will be performed Oct. 31 – Nov. 1 at the Óscar Fessler Theatre, inside the National Theater. Sat. at 8 p.m., and Sun. at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. ₡2,000 ($4) for students, ₡4,000 ($8) general public. For more information call 2221-1273. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica wins first World Cup qualifier over Haiti 10

first_imgThe journey for a World Cup bid begins in the right direction for Costa Rica football, which beat Haiti 1-0 Friday night in the opening qualifying game at National Stadium in San José.“La Sele” played its most complete game under Óscar Ramírez, who is now 3-2 as head coach, dominating the CONCACAF rival from the start. Haiti had little space to work with on offense and struggled to win possession away from Costa Rica, which was constantly forcing the ball downfield.In the 28th minute, Cristian Gamboa scored off a rebound when Haiti’s goalkeeper Johnny Placide deflected a shot from Johan Venegas back into the box. The goal seemed inevitable after Costa Rica set up camp in Haitian territory during the opening minutes.With the win, La Sele earns three points in Group B of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament, and is currently tied for the group lead with its next opponent, Panama.The Ticos never missed a beat against Haiti, even without their best player, goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Navas’ replacement, Patrick Pemberton, was almost never challenged until the closing minutes of the first half. When Haiti began threatening, the 33-year-old answered with a pair of clutch saves, including a diving deflection of a near-goal while Costa Rica was down to 10 men with midfielder Celso Borges nursing a foot injury on the sidelines.Borges, one of Costa Rica’s most important pieces in its quest for a World Cup berth, was carted off the field before halftime, reportedly in tears on his way to the hospital. Spanish-language media said after the game that Borges suffered a fracture in his foot. If that’s the case, it means Borges will almost certainly miss Costa Rica’s game against Panama, leaving La Sele without its best midfielder against one of the better teams in the region.Though Costa Rica passed its first test with relative ease, a win over a low-tier CONCACAF team doesn’t mean La Sele is suddenly a lock to make the field of 32 in Russia. On numerous opportunities in the first half, La Sele attackers looked timid and panicked when given open field, fumbling the ball away instead of making quick decisions. Ramírez gestured to his players to calm down after one especially egregious turnover where a promising breakaway collapsed after a poor pass from Ronald Matarrita.“We weren’t as fluid as I would have liked to be during the game,” Ramírez said at a news conference after the game. “We had some chances to go up 2-0 but Haiti didn’t give too many opportunities.”Panama, which beat Jamaica 2-0 Friday in the other Group B World Cup qualifier for CONCACAF, presents a far tougher challenge for La Sele than the outmanned Haitians. In the last meeting between the two teams – a March 31st friendly in Panama City – the Panamanians beat Costa Rica 2-1, led by a pair of early goals.“It’s always a classic when we play Panama now,” Ramírez said. “They enjoy playing us and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”Costa Rica v. Panama kicks off at 8:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday in the second leg of the World Cup qualifiers. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica football kicks off World Cup qualifying with Haiti Costa Rica topples rival Panama 2-1 in wet World Cup qualifier Costa Rican Men’s National Team hopes to make history again in Mexico Costa Rica’s La Sele stays on World Cup track with 1-1 tie against Honduraslast_img read more

5 questions for US photographer David Flynn

first_imgRelated posts:5 questions for a U.S. painter and writer in Costa Rica 5 questions for an English painter in Costa Rica 5 questions for Costa Rican dancer Gustavo Hernández 5 questions for a U.S. writer in Costa Rica A love of photography has always been a constant for David Flynn, whose passion is using vibrant colors to capturing ephemeral moments and showcase human dignity. However, it wasn’t until a few years ago that he decided to dedicate himself completely to it.Flynn’s father was from New York, his mother from Spain. They met in Cuba and then moved to Chile, were Flynn was born. Flynn, now 62, is a U.S. citizen who has lived in Latin American countries for most of his life, including Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica. He says this has helped him grasp a different perspective of life in each nation.Flynn studied Latin American History and Journalism at the University of New Mexico. He worked for 25 years in advertising for the Hispanic market in the United States in TV, radio, and newspaper. He has also worked as an editor and photojournalist, which helped him developed his skills of observation.“What I like more now is the way you just have to slow down to take good pictures. You have to anticipate human behavior or the light or patterns, and then sit there and wait till something happens,” Flynn told The Tico Times.Flynn has focused his photography on Central America in recent years. For three months he lived in the town of León, Nicaragua, where he captured images of people’s daily lives He now lives in Costa Rica, experiencing and enjoying life as a retiree photographer.On a rainy afternoon with the smell of coffee and Bob Marley music in the background, The Tico Times sat down and spoke with Flynn about his life and work at Talentum Gallery in Barrio Amón, San José, where his photographs are on display this month. Excerpts follow.How do you use observation as a tool to do a good composition in your photographs?People go to a city like León, which is very colonial and very old. They take what I call postcard shots. You know, they get centered with the cathedral and they take a beautiful shot of the cathedral with a blue sky. I don’t like to do that. I like to see what’s below the obvious of the cathedral. Who is walking around? What vendors are there? And because I was on a long-term project, I got to know who’s going to be there, what time.One time I was sitting in a restaurant outside and I just started seeing that all these people were in a hurry going into the cathedral. I thought: wow, something’s going to happen here. I waited about an hour; it was a funeral for a diputado [legislator] who had died a few days before. There were all these soldiers and there were all these kids from schools waving the flag of the party, the Sandinista party.In that case I didn’t get a good photograph, but it was fun to anticipate it.How did studying journalism and advertising help you as a photographer?Advertising, not so much, because I was in media. I wasn’t creative. I did media plans, but as a reporter I went to political conventions when politicians would win the party’s nomination and all of the big guys were there: ABC, NBC, The New York Times. You have to try to either observe what they’re doing, because they know what they’re doing, or get a totally different angle.I noticed that there were people behind the stage, all of a sudden gathering in one spot. Well, maybe that’s the candidate that’ll come out. I went there. I was 20 or 19, so I wanted to do something totally cool. I wanted to show everyone I was better. You know, you get more inventive and that taught me also to be a little more aggressive in getting a photograph. I had to be. One of Flynn’s favorite photographs: a child at a cockfight in León, Nicaragua. (Courtesy of David Flynn)How do you choose the color palette for your photos?Well, the photos do that. The people do that. All I can do is emphasize certain things. Francisco de Goya emphasized primary colors in popular scenes… meaning there are a lot of people there. A typical scene. I kind of drew on Goya a little bit through blues, reds, yellows. I don’t change the colors… I may manipulate the intensity, [or] sometimes I take all the color out.Do you conduct research before you take photographs?Sometimes. In León I spent about two weeks just meeting people and talking to them and just getting a feel for how people were there, because in some places you can’t take pictures of people on the streets. They get annoyed. In San José, it is hard to take pictures of people on the streets.So, I walked around and I just told people: hi. I want to take a picture. I got a feel for the city and I scouted some locations, certain churches, went to stand at certain times a day. There are only a couple places in León that are more than one story high, so I had to figure out how to take pictures without getting the advantage of being on the third or fourth floor because there aren’t any buildings.So, I did a little [research]. Some people do a lot more than I do. Men pushing a boat up the beach. (Courtesy of David Flynn)When you meet people, what do you talk about?In León I was telling people that I was a photographer, that I was living in León, that I was taking pictures of just León. All of those things appealed to them. Wow. There’s a gringo who lives here and he’s taking pictures here.I think people really appreciated it because I’m not the tourist who’s going to be here two days and gone. I’m here and they see me every day. It’s a very small place. León is like half the size of San José. There are no traffic lights. Everybody knows everybody. That experience I was new to me.There were just some people who either knew me as don David the photographer, or they knew about me or had heard about me. After three months it was easy for me. People invited me into their homes and I’d get fabulous pictures in their homes that I didn’t use in this show because I thought it was too personal. Those pictures are just for me.David Flynn is exhibiting his work until the end of the month at Talentum Gallery in Barrio Amón, San José. 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 kstanley@ticotimes.net. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Bus companies to hold protest on San Josés west side

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Government condemns graffiti on church walls in Costa Rica Costa Rican students, journalist denounce police aggression after protest Costa Rican government seeks agreement with unions to end strike PHOTOS: Workers march against tax reform in Costa Rica Costa Rica’s regulatory agency will not block Ubercenter_img Representatives of bus companies and chambers, including the Public Transportation for Everyone Movement, plan to protest today starting at 9:30 am in the areas surrounding La Sabana and west on Route 27 to Guachipelín de Escazú.According to a joint statement from several bus chambers, the protest will end at the Public  Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) offices, where they will present a number of petitions and complaints related to the current bus fare struture.“We are convinced that ARESEP needs to understand and improve this situation… a fare structure with this many structures will lead to more problems for the user,” movement spokesman Carlos López said.One group of protesters will head from Sabana Park to the ARESEP headquarters in Escazú, a second will stay outside that building, and a third will move around the surrounding roadways until a resolution is reached, the statement said.last_img read more

Parents padlock schools in Costa Rica to protest sex ed programs

first_imgGay marriageCosta Rica, like the rest of Central America, has maintained traditionally conservative views on social issues that other parts of Latin America have become more relaxed about.Gay marriage has become a hot-button issue following a statement by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights last month that such unions should be recognized as legal.That exhortation of the court – which is based in Costa Rica – is meant to be binding on Latin American countries that have adopted the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights, but there is no mechanism for enforcement.Costa Rica’s outgoing government has indicated that it is open to abiding by the court’s statement, but has run up against opposition from traditionalist notaries who oversee marriages, and from Christian groups now rallying to support Fabricio Alvarado. Facebook Comments Related posts:With flags and cheers, Costa Rica faces an uncertain future on Election Eve And they’re off! Costa Rica’s children voted, too A night of surprises Parents padlocked the gates of public schools in northern Costa Rica on Thursday to protest optional sex education classes for teens that some believe promotes homosexuality.The actions took place in at least four schools on the first day of the new school year, according to the Ministry of Public Education.Other parents elsewhere in the country loudly protested the country’s sex ed curriculum, making their complaints known to local media and in social media posts. By Ministry policy, parents can opt out of the programs if they prefer that their children not have access to sex ed.The protests took place against the backdrop of heightened religious and social conservatism in the country energized by presidential elections, which, on Sunday, propelled an evangelical preacher who vehemently opposes gay marriage into first place.The preacher, Fabricio Alvarado, is the candidate of the National Restoration Party, a right-wing Christian group.He emerged as the front-runner in the first round of elections last weekend; on April, 1 he faces a runoff against the ruling party candidate, Carlos Alvarado (no relation). Inter-American Court endorses same-sex marriage; Costa Rica reacts Live blog: Costa Rica’s 2018 election results ‘False information’A video circulating online featured an unidentified man explaining his opposition to the sex education program at the Puerto Escondido school in Pital, in the northern district of San Carlos, where he said his child was enrolled.“We are not going to allow this sexual guide to be implanted in our children,” he said. “We are putting on chains and padlocks to say no to this program.”Some parents interviewed by Costa Rican media said they believed the sex education guide promotes homosexuality, something the government denies.Education Minister Sonia Marta Mora asked parents who had doubts about the program – which has been in place since 2012 for students in their penultimate year of high school, usually aged around 16 – to contact the schools to get information about its content.Last year Mora sent a memo to high schools telling them sex education was not compulsory, and that parents could exempt their children from the class.“It’s very serious that they are claiming that the program promotes homosexuality. It is unacceptable that such false information is circulating,” Mora said.Her predecessor, Leonardo Garnier, also criticized the bigotry that he said has surrounded the sex education initiative.“We have now entered a new phase of intolerance. Now schools are being closed to oppose education about sex and intimacy. This is an attack on the right of all to education,” he wrote on his social media accounts.Garnier shared a video from San Carlos media organization Flecha TV in which one protester says, “He who commits these [homosexual] acts deserves to die… Educate yourselves with the Bible.”last_img read more

Maduro says he escaped drone assassination attempt blames Colombia

first_imgRelated posts:Venezuela’s Maduro calls Donald Trump a ‘thief’ Venezuela opposition drops deputies to break deadlock Venezuela’s oil-based economy is about to flatline. Then what? Venezuelan protests seek Maduro’s ouster Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Saturday he escaped an “assassination” attempt using an explosive-laden drone, after a live broadcast showed him looking confused when a bang went off during a Caracas military parade and dozens of soldiers scuttling for safety.His government said seven soldiers were wounded in the incident.“It was an attack to kill me. They tried to assassinate me today,” Maduro said in a later state broadcast, speaking of a “flying object [that] exploded in front of me.”He said some of those involved were arrested and an investigation underway.Maduro accused neighboring Colombia and unidentified “financiers” in the United States, while some of his officials blamed Venezuela’s opposition.Mi solidaridad con los efectivos de nuestra @GNBoficial que resultaron heridos, me comprometo en hacer justicia ¡caiga quien caiga! ante el atentado criminal ordenado desde Bogotá. pic.twitter.com/tY4siwzgqR— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) August 5, 2018Colombia denied any involvement. A senior Colombian official speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity said Maduro’s accusation was “baseless.”Venezuelan state television images showed Maduro looking up in a disconcerted way in the middle of a speech Saturday after a bang was heard, then uniformed members of the country’s National Guard lined up in the parade suddenly broke ranks and scattered.No drones could be seen in the television broadcast, which showed bodyguards jumping in front of Maduro to protect him with flexible ballistic shields. The broadcast was quickly cut.“This is an attack against President Nicolas Maduro,” Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said.Another angle of the failed “drone bomb attack” on Nicolás Maduro this evening shows soft armour looking shields being hurriedly brought in front of Maduro for protection. pic.twitter.com/5ICfU5LYKR— Jake Hanrahan (@Jake_Hanrahan) August 5, 2018Rodriguez said there was “an explosive charge… detonated close to the presidential podium” and in several other spots along the parade held in central Caracas.Maduro “came out of it completely unharmed,” he said.The government pointed the finger at “the ultra-right wing” – its term for the opposition.But Maduro said: “I have no doubt that the name [Colombian President] Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack.”He added that initial investigations “indicate that various of those financing it live in the United States, in the state of Florida. I hope that President Donald Trump is ready to fight these terrorist groups.” AFP Photo / Juan BarretoIron-fisted ruleThe parade Maduro attended was to mark the one-year anniversary of the Constitutional Assembly, a legislative body packed with Maduro loyalists that arrogated powers from the opposition-ruled National Assembly.The head of the assembly, Diosdado Cabello, tweeted that Maduro and the assembled military chiefs had survived a “terrorist attack” he blamed on the opposition.“The right insists on violence to take areas it can’t through votes,” he wrote.Maduro has remained in power over Venezuela, a major oil exporting nation, despite a collapsing economy and a long-running political crisis that has seen his country isolated internationally.Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have fled the country, where food and medicine are in very short supply, and where inflation this year could reach as high as one million percent according to the International Monetary Fund. A woman confronts riot police during a protest against the shortage of food, amid Fuerzas Armadas avenue in Caracas on December 28, 2017. AFP Photo / Federico ParraMaduro, a 55-year-old Socialist leader who took over from his late mentor Hugo Chavez in 2013, has effectively sidelined the fractured opposition through control of the courts and the electoral body — and support from the military, which holds key posts in his government.Maduro often accuses the opposition and the United States of working together to foment a “coup” to topple him.He says the economic malaise gripping Venezuela is an “economic war” and any unrest is plotted by foreign powers.Boycotted electionA year ago, four months of street protests flared against his authority that were put down by robust action from the army, the National Guard, and police, resulting in 125 people killed.One of the key reasons for the protests was the creation of the Constitutional Assembly, which aimed to short-circuit the National Assembly in which the opposition won a supermajority in 2015 elections.Last year, the president said the new body replaced the elected legislature.The Supreme Court declared the National Assembly dissolved. Although it continues to operate, its decisions are routinely annulled.The United States and other countries have expressed alarm at the loyalist structure propping up Maduro, saying Venezuelan democracy was being undermined.Maduro this year brought forward to May presidential elections that – after they were boycotted by the opposition and key opposition figures were declared ineligible – handed him a new six-year term. A man holds a newspaper referring to the victory of re-elected President Nicolas Maduro in the Venezuelan presidential election in Caracas, on May 21, 2018. AFP Photo / Luis Robayo Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Kim Dotcom in court as US appeals evidence ruling

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top holiday drink recipescenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is back in court as the United States appeals against releasing millions of emails in its case against him.The founder of the file-sharing website watched Thursday from the public benches of New Zealand’s appeals court. U.S. authorities accuse Dotcom of racketeering and money laundering by facilitating massive copyright piracy on his website. They are seeking his extradition. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Dotcom’s legal team won an earlier ruling in which a lower court concluded the U.S. needed to release a wide range of its evidence. Appealing the ruling, the U.S. argued it should be compelled to disclose only limited evidence because the extradition hearing doesn’t amount to a full trial. The US says its evidence includes millions of emails.The court will likely rule in the coming weeks.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

S African gets life sentence in honeymoon slaying

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona The vital role family plays in society “The story of my innocent daughter Anni who lost her life here in Cape Town on her honeymoon still remains incomplete. The full picture will only emerge when Shrien comes down to Cape Town and faces the trial,” said Vinod Hindocha, Anni Dewani’s father. “Me and my wife have not slept a full night since Anni left us. And Shrien holds the key to that.”Judge Robert Henney, who found Mngeni guilty in November, did not hold back his contempt while sentencing the 25-year-old on Wednesday for the killing. Henney said that the shooter showed no remorse and his longtime illnesses could not weigh against receiving the harshest penalty available by law.Mngeni, who had surgery in June 2011 to remove a brain tumor, has suffered seizures and black outs and has troubles remembering things, his lawyer has said.“The interest of society, as well as the serious nature of the crimes that the accused has committed, doesn’t allow my conscience _ even though I have pity for the accused _ to impose any other sentence than life imprisonment on the accused for the callous, calculated and brutal manner in which he ended the life of Anni Dewani,” Henney said. Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The judge added: “It is difficult to imagine the absolute terror and horror she must have endured as she stared down the barrel of the gun, which was pointed at her the moment before she was killed.”Mngeni showed no emotion during the sentencing Wednesday, putting his head down on a bannister in the courtroom and glancing over at Anni Dewani’s family at one point. He gave a brief thumbs-up to his family as he left the court and his lawyer quickly left without speaking to journalists.In August, Mngeni’s alleged accomplice Mziwamadoda Qwabe pleaded guilty to charges over the killing, receiving a 25-year prison sentence. Zola Tongo, the taxi driver that police say husband Shrien Dewani asked to plot the killing, earlier received an 18-year prison sentence. Both Tongo and Qwabe have said Dewani wanted it to look like he wasn’t involved his wife’s slaying and they planned to have the attack look like a carjacking in Cape Town’s impoverished Gugulethu township.The men were paid 15,000 rand (about $2,100) for the killing, Qwabe and prosecutors have said.In a statement provided as part of his plea deal, Qwabe said that after he and Mngeni staged a fake carjacking, he drove the car as Mngeni kept a 7.62 mm pistol pointed at Anni Dewani in the backseat and then pulled the trigger, the fatal shot going through her neck. Panicked, Qwabe said he stopped the car and got out, helping Mngeni find the spent bullet casing. He threw the casing into a sewer as they ran away into the night.center_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Associated PressCAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) – A South African judge sentenced the triggerman in the 2010 honeymoon slaying of a Swedish bride to life in prison Wednesday, calling the shooter “a merciless and evil person” who deserved the maximum punishment for his crime.The sentencing of Xolile Mngeni for the killing of 28-year-old Anni Dewani comes as prosecutors still await word whether the newlywed’s British husband, who they say orchestrated the November 2010 killing, will be extradited to South Africa to stand trial. The bride’s family, who attended the sentencing with a picture of her smiling pinned to their chests, said justice would only be done once husband Shrien Dewani stands before a South African court. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Officials at first thought the crime was robbery. The rate of violent crime is high in South Africa but attacks on foreign tourists are rare.Shrien Dewani has denied he hired anyone to kill his wife and was allowed by authorities to leave South Africa for the United Kingdom, where he was later arrested. In March, a U.K. High Court ruled that it would be “unjust and oppressive” to extradite Dewani to South Africa, as his mental condition had worsened since his arrest there.In the time since, Dewani, 32, has been held at a secure mental health institution in Bristol. At a court hearing earlier in the week in London, officials said Dewani spent his time playing computer games in an old van at the facility, according to the Press Association. Dewani’s mental condition will be reviewed in April, with a full extradition hearing set for July.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Nigerian president to visit Chad Niger on 1st official trip

first_img Sponsored Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s new president will visit Chad and Niger, making the countries whose troops help fight Boko Haram a priority on his first official travels outside the country, an official said Monday.President Muhammadu Buhari will fly to Niger on Wednesday and Chad on Thursday, spokesman Garba Shehu said.Chad leads a multinational force of troops, including soldiers from Cameroon, in an offensive that this year has driven Nigeria’s home-grown Islamic extremists from towns and villages where it had established “an Islamic caliphate.” Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Both Chad and Niger have complained of a lack of cooperation from Nigeria, which has strained relations with all its neighbors. Battle-hardened Chadian troops have had to retake some towns from Boko Haram several times because Nigerian troops haven’t arrived to secure them.Buhari was a major general in the army in the 1980s when he drove invading Chadian troops out of Nigeria in an unresolved dispute over an oil-rich border area.Presidents Idriss Deby of Chad and Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger were both at Buhari’s inauguration on Friday.Buhari has said that having foreign troops on Nigerian soil is a “national disgrace” and he is expected to want Nigeria to lead the multinational force approved by the African Union.The force still awaits a U.N. Security Council resolution on which international funding depends. The previous Nigerian administration had argued that the U.N. intervention shouldn’t be based on Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which can require military enforcement, but instead on Chapter 8, which recognizes the role of regional organizations in promoting peace and security.Buhari, a former military dictator, has promised better cooperation with his neighbors and to crush Boko Haram. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Nigeria’s military has said the offensive has cut Boko Haram’s supply lines across borders and that the militants’ main fighting force is hemmed into a northeastern forest stronghold.Boko Haram fighters have returned to their old hit-and-run attacks with suicide bombings and occasionally cross-border raids continuing.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories last_img read more

Russian lawmakers approve early parliamentary vote in 2016

first_imgThe bill envisages moving the 2016 parliamentary election from December to September. It would likely result in a lower public interest in the campaign, as many Russians go on vacation in the summer, paying less attention to politics.Some observers saw the parliament move as a trial balloon for possible early presidential vote, a move that would allow Putin to win another term before his popularity sinks amid Russia’s economic woes.Russia’s economy, hit by Western sanctions and its own dependence on oil prices, has entered a recession, dropping 2.2 percent in the first quarter of the year. Prominent economists have warned that unless Russia makes drastic reforms, it is doomed for stagnationOn Thursday, ex-Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Putin, whose term ends in 2018, also could order an early presidential vote to win a mandate for much-needed economic reforms.Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov shrugged off the suggestion.“Putin is carrying out structural reforms already, in an evolutionary rather than revolutionary way,” Peskov said in an interview with The Associated Press. “If he wants to carry out reforms faster in the way Kudrin is suggesting, he does not need to call early elections to ask for a mandate. With a popularity rating of 90 percent, he already has a mandate.” New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Men’s health affects baby’s health too Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility MOSCOW (AP) — Lawmakers in Russia’s Kremlin-controlled parliament on Friday gave tentative approval to a bill that would move up next year’s parliamentary election by three months, a tactic seen by critics as an attempt to weaken the opposition.The lower house voted 339-101 with one abstention Friday to approve the bill in the first of three readings. It would also need to be approved by the equally-docile upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more