Costa Rica’s Environmental Court ordered the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) to stop a local company from causing further damage to Caletas wetlands, located in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.According to the ruling, the farming company Agropecuaria Caletas S.A. built a fence inside a protected area, or Maritime Zone, and is spraying rice fields with toxic chemicals that are damaging the wetlands. The company has rice plantations in several areas along the protected wetlands.Local conservation group PRETOMA reported the damage in 2009, and the Environmental Court has since issued three rulings in favor of protecting the area.The latest ruling forces SINAC to provide bi-monthly reports of actions taken to curb the damage.It also orders Public Security Minister Mario Zamora, Civil Aviation Authority Director Jorge Fernández, Director of the Agriculture Ministry’s Phytosanitary Service Magda González and President of the Commission for the Control and Regulation of Agricultural Aviation Emmanuel Villalobos to take steps to guarantee that no flights are allowed to spray chemicals over Caletas.Officials from the Tempisque Conservation Area already were notified of the court ruling and said they would abide by the court’s decision, and that lawyers and property owners also agreed to stop fumigating.The World Wetland Network in 2010 awarded Caletas wetlands the Gray Award, which is given to wetlands that have suffered environmental damage caused by human activity.The site is of high importance because it includes Caletas beach, an important sea turtle nesting spot since 2002, according to PRETOMA.SINAC said officials would coordinate actions with local police to confiscate agricultural machinery if the company continues to harm the wetlands.They also are conducting a study to determine if the fence is built inside a protected area, which according Costa Rica’s Maritime Zone Law includes all land 50 meters from the high-tide line in coastal areas.On its website PRETOMA claims that in certain areas next to the wetlands “construction exists at only 5 meters from the high tide line.”The Caletas Arío National Wildlife Refuge consists of 313.3 hectares of beaches, mangrove swamps, estuaries and Public Maritime Zone, including 19,486 hectares of Marine Protected Area. Facebook Comments No related posts.
Versatile defender Heiner Mora became the latest casualty on Costa Rica’s World Cup roster.X-rays on Tuesday showed Mora has a micro-fracture in his right heel. Officials for the Costa Rica Football Federation confirmed the news at an afternoon press conference in Santos, Brazil, where the team is preparing for the World Cup. The Ticos play their first match Saturday against Uruguay. The tournament begins Thursday with a game between Brazil and Croatia.Mora started at right-back in the team’s final friendly, a 1-1 tie with Ireland last Friday. He performed admirably against the Irish, although a foul by Mora late in the game led to a penalty for Ireland (which Patrick Pemberton saved to keep the score even). After the match Mora felt discomfort in his right foot, and sat out the team’s practice Sunday in Costa Rica.The Ticos flew to Brazil on Monday, and Mora tried again to practice Tuesday. The pain returned and doctors confirmed the micro-fracture, which will need at least a couple weeks to heal.Mora is capable of playing multiple positions on defense and in the midfield, and he likely would’ve backed-up right-back Cristian Gamboa at the World Cup. However, Mora’s strong play against Ireland did have some supporters calling for the Saprissa defender to start in Brazil.Instead Mora becomes the third Tico in the past five weeks to lose his spot in the World Cup due to injury. Starting left-back Bryan Oviedo was declared out in early May after failing to recover in time from a broken leg injury. Forward Álvaro Saborío, Costa Rica’s top scorer in qualifying, fractured his fifth metatarsal in his right foot in late May and needs three to four months to recovery from the injury.Head coach Jorge Luis Pinto has called up Herediano’s Dave Myrie to take Mora’s roster spot.Defensemen Michael Umaña and Junior Diaz also missed practice time Tuesday due to illness. Both should be fine for tournament as Costa Rica tries to avoid anymore bad news before the games get started. Facebook Comments Related posts:A sigh of relief for Costa Rica as Cristian Gamboa’s knee injury won’t require surgery Costa Rica unveils preliminary 30-man roster for the World Cup Costa Rica completes 23-man roster for World Cup With Saborío out for World Cup, a broken-up Pinto says team must move forward
Costa Rica boasts a good number ofgroundbreaking Ticas, each of whom has shaped the country in myriad ways. Ana Istarú has taken her place among them as the quintessential “Renaissance woman.” In a career spanning three decades, the San José native has become an accomplished poet, playwright, and actress – and she can even deliver a good zinger.On March 11, the National Theater will present short theatrical works by Istarú, partly to celebrate her astonishing oeuvre, and partly to make you laugh. “Theater and Humor with Ana Istarú” is a series of excerpts from her works “Baby Boom en Paraíso” (“Baby Boom in Paradise”) and “Hombres de Escebeche” (“Men in a Pickle”).Istarú is acclaimed for her unflinching interest in difficult topics. In her recent one-woman show, “Virus,” she took on AIDS, cancer, and family secrets, creating a dozen distinct characters. Istarú is known for verse that explores female eroticism, and she co-wrote the screenplay for “Caribe,” an intensely political film about Caribbean farmers and the developers who seek to exploit them.The performance is designed to honor International Women’s Day, and although each excerpt covers the gamut of situations and themes, Istarú complements her comic writing with serious issues, often about gender relationships – sexuality, family, and motherhood.If you have a strong grasp of Spanish or want to improve your skills, Istarú’s work is a great opportunity, as she masterfully mimics different Costa Rican dialects. “Theater and Humor” is also the perfect sampler of local writing, from both an accomplished playwright and an extraordinary mujer.“Teatro y Humor con Ana Istarú” takes place March 11 at the National Museum, downtown San José. 10 a.m. Free. Info: RedCultura. Facebook Comments Related posts:Christmas-themed theater warms hearts this month ‘Shark Smile’ illuminates stage and sea ‘Blood Wedding’: García Lorca tragedy opens at Teatro Espressivo 12 days, 13 plays at National Theater Event
Related posts:US Secretary of State Kerry presses Haitian president on long-delayed elections Haiti opposition cautiously welcomes PM’s resignation US urges Haiti leaders to hold elections soon Haiti postpones presidential runoff vote PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haitians voted for a new president Sunday as the poorest country in the Americas seeks to shed chronic political instability and get back on its feet.Though voting unfolded in a climate of uncertainty, there was a large turnout without major incidents as Haitians cast their ballots to choose a new president, lawmakers and local officials.In Port-au-Prince, people stood in long lines outside polling stations, a sight unseen in Haiti in more than a decade.This marked a major change compared to the last voting day, when two people were killed in sporadic violence in August.Authorities took precautions as a result, with police deploying some 10,000 officers, backed by 5,000 from the U.N. peacekeeping force MINUSTAH in a bid to keep matters under control.“On August 9, I had left home to go vote, but I saw people pushing each other around, people causing mayhem and throwing things. So I turned around because I didn’t want to have bottles thrown at me,” said Franzty Jeudi.“Today, it’s going really well. I came to vote with my parents and we are at ease,” said the smiling 26-year-old.Despite delays caused by logistical challenges, voters waited calmly under sunny skies to cast their ballots.Some expressed hope that the polls — the only one of several recent Haiti elections to take place on schedule — could bring change. Results, however, are not expected before early November.At the large Canape-Vert market, in the heart of the capital, Electoral Council workers checked voters’ identification cards.“The police had a good strategy. I’m satisfied. They corrected a lot of things since August,” said Willy Saint-Fort after casting his vote in one of the four ballot boxes placed set up in a stall where fruits and vegetables are usually sold.“Enough with provisional governments and violence,” added Saint-Fort, 43. Haitian President Michel Martelly receives his ballot to vote at a polling station in the Lycee National de Petionville, in Port-au-Prince, on Oct. 25, 2015. Hector Retamal/AFP‘Great success’At a small public school near the Champ de Mars, housing the presidential palace, voters expressed the same confidence.“This election took place without any irregularities,” said Frantz Philemon. “We expressed our wishes as citizens for difference in our country. It was a great success.”By midday, 73 arrests had been made, with those taken into custody in possession of multiple voting cards or fake proxy papers, according to police.“The police are in control of the situation,” police spokesman Frantz Lerebours told AFP. “There were several attempts to disrupt voting but the officers immediately stopped those attempts.”The elections come nearly five years after President Michel Martelly came to power in a country that has failed to find democratic stability since the end of the 30-year Duvalier dictatorship in 1986.The pop singer and political novice assumed office in 2011, the year after a catastrophic earthquake killed more than 200,000, flattened most buildings in the capital and left hundreds of thousands living on the streets.Five years on, more than 85,000 people still live in makeshift camps, according to Amnesty International.And a nagging conflict between the executive branch and the opposition since Martelly came to power delayed the staging of legislative polls for years. Election officials count ballots at a polling station in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Oct. 25, 2015 during the general elections. Though voting unfolded in a climate of uncertainty, there was a large turnout without major incidents. Hector Retamal/AFPDozens of contendersFifty-four candidates are running for Haiti’s highest office and a chance to lift the destitute nation out of its systemic poverty. But that abundance of hopefuls is not a sign of democratic health. Most are unknown to the general public, and only a handful have released policy platforms.“The debates were shallow. The candidates only spoke in generalities. None of them showed that they are in a position to manage the situation well,” said Haitian economist Kesner Pharel.One of the few candidates to emerge from the crowded field is Jude Celestin, of the LAPEH party, who was eliminated from the second round in the controversial 2010 vote following an OAS recount and is considered the frontrunner this time.“We are headed straight for a victory at the first round,” Celestin told AFP as he voted at the school in Petionville Sunday morning, urging supporters to keep turning out, and to do so peacefully.But there is also a groundswell of support in some areas for Maryse Narcisse, a physician and longtime activist of the Fanmi Lavalas party.Narcisse has the powerful and very public backing of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide — and for some Haitians, that is enough. Aristide, a divisive figure who returned from exile in 2011, is revered among the many poor in the capital.Whoever takes over from Martelly on Feb. 7 will face huge challenges and a humanitarian emergency.Six million of Haiti’s 10 million people live in extreme poverty, getting by on less than $2.50 a day. Facebook Comments
The job market in Costa Rica is off to a good start with announcements from companies that will launch or expand operations and others that will be actively hiring during the 12th edition of the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) Job fair. The fair takes place Feb. 19-21 at the Antigua Aduana, east of downtown San José.The fair will bring together recruiters from 64 companies representing 35 sectors, who will be looking to hire 3,000 employees with good command of two or more languages as well as technical or professional degrees.According to CINDE, the companies will be looking for workers in the areas of business, finance, manufacturing, engineering, software development, computer programming, graphic design, sales and translation.The two main requirements for prospective employees are a good command of a second language, mainly English, Portuguese, Italian, German and French, and completion of a pre-registration form online at the fair’s website.Online registration will guide users step by step, requesting basic information such as personal data, completed studies, work experience and current availability, among others.At the end of the process the system will generate a QR code that will be the only method for fair attendants to share personal information with recruiters.Registered users also are required to test English-language proficiency using an online Business English Level Test, or BELT, which measures language skills based on standards from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). A Portuguese proficiency test also is available at the website.Registration and entrance to the fair are free, but only those who completed the online registration will be allowed, CINDE stated.The job fair takes place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.More jobs: German company opens business centerEvonik Industries, a chemical products manufacturer based in Essen, Germany, this week announced it will open a financial services center in Costa Rica to assist the company’s operations across the Americas.The company in coming days will begin construction of its offices in San José and the hiring of its first 50 employees. Posts are primarily open to accounting, finance and human resources professionals.Evonik also confirmed it hopes to expand operations in 2017 by bringing its payroll to 100 employees by the end of that year.Those interested in applying for a post can send résumés by e-mail to: email@example.com.According to CINDE, the German company “will join more than 120 multinational companies that currently have service centers in Costa Rica.”Intel also hiringChip manufacturer Intel on Thursday reported that it has openings at its Global Services Center in Heredia province.Intel’s manager of government affairs, Timothy Scott, said this week the firm opened some 60 positions for professionals in various areas and with a strong command of English. On Thursday afternoon the number of available posts was 49 in the areas of app development, systems analysis, network engineering, information technology auditing, tax analysis and call center support, among others.Those interested in applying can find the full list of available jobs at Intel.com/jobs. Facebook Comments Related posts:Bilingual employment fair to offer 3,800 jobs Job fairs seeking 1,300 employees Foreign firms announce more than 2,000 new job openings in Costa Rica Companies to offer 2,700 posts for bilingual staff at job fair
Related posts:UPDATE: Guatemala’s former Vice President Baldetti arrested in ongoing corruption probe; President also likely involved, investigators say In Guatemala, Pérez Molina claims US conspiracy behind corruption prosecution Guatemala top prosecutor Thelma Aldana speaks out against corruption and impunity No immunity for corruption-plagued Guatemala president Facebook Comments #LagoDeAmatitlán Mario Baldetti Elías hermano d exvicepresidenta, fue trasladado a juzgado d V. Nueva @evelynndeleon pic.twitter.com/nE3MYyV1vB— Soy 502 (@soy_502) February 23, 2016 Así fue capturado Mario Alejandro Baldetti Elías, hermano de la exvicepresidenta: https://t.co/WSI37vnwz5 pic.twitter.com/qrGbhGnx5j— Soy 502 (@soy_502) February 23, 2016 GUATEMALA CITY – The brother of Guatemala’s former Vice President Roxana Baldetti and 12 others were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of fraud involving contracting an Israeli company to clean up a polluted lake, police said.Mario Baldetti and the others – several of whom were former government workers – were accused of wrongdoing by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a United Nations-backed body whose investigations into Guatemala corruption helped bring down the country’s previous government last year. Three girls walk along the shores of Lake Amatitlán, 35 km south of Guatemala City. Johan Ordóñez/AFPRoxana Baldetti and former President Otto Pérez Molina are in jail pending a possible trial on charges they were involved in a ring in which senior officials accepted bribes in return for cutting import duties for several companies.The CICIG arrested Mario Baldetti and the 12 others for involvement in awarding an $18 million contract to an Israeli company to pour a cleaning chemical into Lake Amatitlán, south of the capital, to clean it up.Environmentalists have questioned the efficacy of the chemical and claimed there were abnormalities in the tender process.Prosecutors said they would also seek testimony from the former vice president, given that she was a driving force behind the clean-up project.
Related posts:Four arrested over murder of Honduras activist Berta Cáceres Daughters of slain Honduran activist want int’l commission to investigate mother’s death Environmental leader killed in Honduras Another activist killed in Honduras Updated at 7:30 p.m.TEGUCIGALPA — Honduran indigenous activist Berta Cáceres, an award-winning environmentalist, was killed in her home Thursday, her family said, labeling her death an assassination.Cáceres’ mother, Berta Flores, said police had indicated her daughter was killed in a robbery, “but we all know it was because of her struggle.”The 43-year-old activist, who had received death threats for her work, was shot dead in the early hours of Thursday at her home in the western town of La Esperanza, Flores told TV network Globo.Cáceres won the 2015 Goldman Prize, considered the world’s top award for grass-roots environmental activism, for leading the indigenous Lenca people in a struggle against a massive hydroelectric dam project that would flood large areas of native lands and cut off water supplies to hundreds.In awarding her the prize, the organization commended her for carrying on her campaign despite the threats, writing: “Her murder would not surprise her colleagues, who keep a eulogy — but hope to never have to use it. Despite these risks, she maintains a public presence in order to continue her work.”Recommended: Honduran indigenous leader wins prestigious environmental prizePresident Juan Orlando Hernandez called the killing “a crime against Honduras” and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice, while the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, condemned the crime as “horrific.”U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson tweeted, “Deeply disturbed by murder of #BertaCáceres in #Honduras– thorough, professional investigation is vital.”Honduras, which has seen an explosion of gang violence in recent years, has one of the highest murder rates in the world.Security Minister Julián Pacheco said police arrested one person, a security guard at the complex where Cáceres lived, and that another person was wounded, but did not give further details on the investigation.He said police had measures in place to protect Cáceres, who recently won a ruling by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granting her special security measures.Police formerly provided her an around-the-clock guard, but switched to an occasional security detail at the activist’s own request, he added.‘Deficient’ securityBut the Center for Justice and International Law, a rights group, denied Cáceres had turned down bodyguards and accused the government of providing her “deficient” security.The security minister said Cáceres had spent the night away from the home that was registered with the authorities. Fellow activists said she had moved to a safe house fearing for her life.Labor leader Carlos Reyes joined Cáceres’ mother in insisting that she was not just another victim of violent crime.Flores said her daughter had recently had a “very big altercation” with soldiers and representatives of a hydroelectric company during a visit to the Gualcarque river, where the company is at work on a dam project.Cáceres co-founded the Civic Council of Indigenous and People’s Organizations (Copinh) in 1993 with her then-husband Salvador Zúñiga, gaining fame for her fearless fight against environmental destruction by hydroelectric and mining companies.A diminutive woman with a round face, glowing eyes and bursts of curly black hair, she was active in a range of political and social causes.But she was best known for her battle to save the Gualcarque river, which earned her the Goldman Prize last year — dubbed by some the “Green Nobel.”On accepting the prize, Cáceres linked her environmentalism to her indigenous roots.“In our cosmic vision we are beings born of the Earth, the water and the maize plant. We are the ancestral custodians of the rivers,” she said. Facebook Comments
The president-elect of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, said he wants to revise free-trade agreements with the United States and Central America and that he will bring respect to a country whose image has been stained by tax evasion.Cortizo (Democratic Revolutionary Party, PRD) defeated the right-wing Rómulo Roux by a narrow margin on Sunday. It marked the sixth general elections after the 1989 US invasion, which put an end to the dictatorship of Manuel Antonio Noriega (1983-1989).Analysts doubt that Cortizo, who will succeed current president Juan Carlos Varela, will make major changes to international policies, and they are uncertain of what he could do to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.Cortizo resigned in 2006 as Minister of Agricultural Development for arguing that Panama should not accept the relaxation of the sanitary norms that, in his judgment, the FTA imposed.Cortizo said Sunday that “like it or not, it is a treaty that we Panamanians have to respect”, although “there are clauses in the treaty that allow us to make that request” for a review.“Obviously with the United States we have to be very cautious when we request to revise treaties […] because they are our main trade partner,” Cortizo said.But some analysts believe it is unlikely that the future president will revise the trade pact with the United States.“I do not think there will be a revision of the FTA, but perhaps adjustments that are included in the protocol of the Treaties. The relationship between Panama and the United States, especially with the PRD governments, has always been good and intense,” James Aparicio, director of the newspaper Metro Libre, told AFP.– Will he dare? –The United States is the main commercial partner of Panama and the first user of its Canal, with which it transported 174 million tons of cargo last year.In addition, the countries operate joint security programs in the fight against drug trafficking, organized crime, money laundering and illegal immigration.Carlos Guevara-Mann, a professor of International Relations at Florida State University in Panama, believes Cortizo will follow “the orbit of influence of the United States,” so he will “avoid taking actions that irritate” the Donald Trump government.“I doubt they dare to propose reforms to the FTA,” he said.Cortizo, a businessman and rancher, has also been in favor of reviewing trade agreements with Central American countries, which in his opinion are detrimental to Panamanian producers who complain about the imports that displace their products.“I do know that there are other treaties in Central America that we are going to request a review, like Costa Rica and Nicaragua,” Cortizo said on Sunday, though he did not provide further details.– ‘Rescue the image’ –The president-elect also stressed that he will enforce the interests of Panama, a phrase he has repeated to accuse the Varela government of not fighting enough change the country’s reputation as a tax haven.One of his plans is to create a group of experts to develop a strategy to “rescue” the name of the country, three years after it was exposed as a sanctuary of tax evasion of the rich, famous and powerful in the so-called “Panama Papers.”“Of the 125 commitments we have in the action plan, the number one talks about rescuing the name of Panama,” Cortizo said.Panama has made legal reforms to adapt to the international fight against money laundering and tax evasion.“It is up to the new government to continue along these lines,” said Rita Vásquez, director of the newspaper La Prensa.However, local sectors consider that these reforms threaten the country’s sovereignty and damage the competitiveness of its financial system.“Cortizo really, like the government of Varela, has among its close associates people who are directly involved with the business related to the creation of offshore companies,” said the vice president of the Center for Democratic Initiatives (CIDEM), Claire Nevache.“Obviously it is an important factor, but there is little room for movement, so I think there is a little show for the electorate [in Cortizo’s statements],” Nevache added.“These are demagogic statements; the best way to rescue the name of Panama is to fight the corruption that suffocates the country,” said Guevara-Mann. Facebook Comments Related posts:Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega dies at 83 Panama and ‘Panama Papers’ law firm under the media’s lenses Iceland premier resigns in Panama Papers scandal Plastic bottles recycled into eco-village in the jungle of Bocas del Toro
5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes The April 13 launch failed. But it aroused international concern because it was viewed as a pretext by the North to test its missile technology, despite Security Council resolutions demanding it stop doing so.Both statements urged Pyongyang to honor nonproliferation commitments and Security Council demands and dismantle its nuclear-weapons and missile programs. The North has tested nuclear arms twice.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments Share VIENNA (AP) – The United States and the European Union have condemned North Korea’s satellite launch and are urging it to honor its nonproliferation commitments.Alluding to the North’s mid-April launch, U.S. envoy Robert Wood has told the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency that it represents a “show of bad faith and provocation.” An EU statement at the same meeting strongly condemns the launch and says it is “serious violation” Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family
Top Stories 0 Comments Share More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Feather headdresses floated past dreadlocks and activists in cow costumes mingled with others in business suits Thursday as more than 200 non-governmental groups joined in a People’s Summit to seek alternative responses to the planet’s environmental degradation.The nine-day convention was being held as a side event to a U.N. sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro, where more than 100 world leaders were trying to forge a path to international development while protecting the environment. Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean The alternative event, funded by the Brazilian government, drew about 15,000 people a day, according to organizers. It focused the frustration of indigenous groups, environmental activists, unions, land rights groups and others over the alleged timidity of proposals coming out of the official convention, and over international failure to act on commitments made 20 years ago at the first Earth Summit.While the official convention center is far from downtown Rio and requires a credential to enter, the People’s Summit was open to all, offering discussions on topics such as the link between women’s reproductive rights and the planet’s health, and recycling efforts run by former trash pickers.Performance art included indigenous chants with participants in traditional garb and modern dance by youth in minimal clothing and body paint.The movement spawned two marches on Wednesday that drew tens of thousands each. One protested the removal of the community of Vila Autodromo to make way for projects connected to the 2016 Olympics. The other opposed alleged capitalist appropriation of the official Earth Summit.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosterone How men can have a healthy 2019 Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates
Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The Romanian leu fell by 0.8 percent against the euro, the largest drop in a month, minutes after Ponta declared that he would not step down.The 42-year-old premier had met earlier with the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office and then told reporters he was suspected of making false statements, money laundering, conflict of interest and being an accomplice to tax evasion while serving in Parliament. He had not previously been identified as a suspect in the anti-corruption drive which scored more than a thousand convictions last year.In a posting on his Facebook page, Ponta vowed to fight.“I cannot accept that the anti-corruption prosecutor is above Parliament, the government and the citizens of this country!” he wrote. “That would mean a dictatorship and 25 years after the 1989 (revolution) would be a grave error for all of us!”A few hundred people protested later Friday outside the government offices, calling for Ponta’s resignation. Iohannis reiterated his call for the prime minister to resign in an interview late Friday with TVR, the state broadcaster, saying the allegations against the prime minister were damaging Romania’s image abroad. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Sponsored Stories Prosecutors say that between 2007 and 2008, Ponta, a former prosecutor, entered a contract with the law firm of political aide Dan Sova. Ponta allegedly made 17 expense claims worth 181,000 lei (41,000 euros, $45,000), accepted payments toward two luxury apartments and had the use of an SUV vehicle — all approved by Sova’s firm but not related to legal work.The contract expired when Ponta was appointed a government minister in 2008, and he took over lease payments for the vehicle the following year, prosecutors said.After he became prime minister in 2012, Ponta appointed Sova minister for parliamentary relations.Ponta, chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party, ran for president in November 2014 but lost to Iohannis, who headed the rival Liberal Party.The prosecutors have asked Parliament to prosecute Ponta, whose party counts on the support of smaller parties for a slim majority in Parliament.Members of Parliament are immune from prosecution unless there is a vote to lift their immunity. Sova has beaten two attempts to lift his immunity. On Friday, anti-corruption prosecutors banned Sova from leaving Romania without permission and of communicating with people who are suspected of wrongdoing in cases involving him. Ponta is the most prominent suspect to be identified as Romania’s anti-corruption drive has intensified in recent months.In 2014, the anti-corruption office secured a record 1,051 convictions, including a former prime minister, seven former ministers, a former deputy prime minister, four lawmakers, one member of the European Parliament, 39 mayors, 25 magistrates and two tycoons.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s president on Friday urged Prime Minister Victor Ponta to resign over corruption allegations including tax evasion and money laundering. Ponta refused, saying that only Parliament could dismiss him.President Klaus Iohannis said after meeting Ponta that it was “an impossible situation for Romania for the prime minister to be accused of criminal acts.” Iohannis warned that Romania could be embroiled in a political crisis if he did not resign. Comments Share Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help
5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Campaigners from the Robin Hood Tax organization dressed as bankers, including one wearing a mask representing British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, hold placards as they pose for the media outside Mansion House, backdropped by the Bank of England at left, in London, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. The group say their idea for a Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax on the financial sector that could generate billions of pounds annually to fight poverty and climate change. The stunt was held by the group to coincide with Osborne’s annual economic speech due to be held at Mansion House on Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) “It’s the right thing to do for British businesses and British taxpayers,” Osborne said in prepared remarks. “Yes, we may get a lower price than Labour paid for it. But the longer we wait, the higher the price the whole economy will pay. And when you take the banks in total, we’re making sure taxpayers get back billions more than they were forced to put in.”The Treasury injected 45.5 billion pounds ($70.6 billion) into RBS in 2008 and 2009 to keep the bank solvent as the value of risky investments plunged and bad loans soared during the global financial crisis. RBS has paid the government about 4.3 billion pounds in dividends and fees since that investment. The government’s stake is currently valued at 32.7 billion pounds.N M Rothschild & Sons Ltd., which provides financial advice to governments worldwide, says that a partial sale now would boost the stock price, and might ultimately result in a profit. Even if it doesn’t, gains on the sale of the government stakes in other banks mean that taxpayers will make a profit on the government’s total investment in all the banks.“The returns on the government’s interventions in RBS will be determined by the success of the whole of the selling program, rather than the terms achieved on the first few disposals,” Rothschild said. “Accordingly, as a precursor to a long-term program, we believe that it is now in the interest of taxpayers for the government to set in train an initial small disposal of RBS shares.” Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments Share Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The Bank of England’s Governor Mark Carney also offered support for the sale, saying that public ownership has largely served its purpose by preventing financial contagion at a time when the system was fragile.“Continued public ownership without a foreseeable end point runs risks including limiting RBS’ future strategic options, and continuing the perception that taxpayers bear responsibility for RBS losses.” Carney wrote in a letter to Osborne. “In these regards, there could be considerable net costs to taxpayers of further delaying the start of a sale.”Osborne also used his speech to set out the government’s priorities with the upcoming talks on whether Britain would remain in the European Union. He said it is in Britain’s interests to have a strong, successful euro, the currency used by only 19 of the EU’s 28 countries, but not Britain. Osborne said Britain was prepared to support the currency union as it integrates further.But he said the country wants a settlement that protects the EU-wide single market.“We need a settlement that recognizes that while the single currency is not for all, the single market and the European Union as a whole must work for all,” the excerpts said. “So among the principles we seek to establish in this re-negotiation are these simple ones: fairness between the euro-ins and the euro-outs enshrined, and the integrity of the single market preserved.” Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility LONDON (AP) — The U.K.’s Treasury chief announced Wednesday that the government will start selling its stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland in coming months, the first step in the country’s attempt to recover money from its costliest bank rescue operation ever.George Osborne outlined the plan during his Mansion House speech, an annual event attended by some of Britain’s most prominent business leaders. He said the Treasury would sell part of its 80 percent stake in the coming months, even though RBS’s shares are trading for less than the government paid for them during the global financial crisis. Selling a small stake now will make it easier and more profitable for the government to sell the rest of its holding in the future, he said. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy
In this Tuesday, June 23, 2015 photo, Takeshi Akuzawa, assistant headmaster of Keio Senior High School, walks underground tunnels that Japan’s Imperial Navy once used as secret headquarters underneath of Hiyoshi Campus of Keio University in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. Today, the concrete tunnels sit quietly underneath the high school and university campus, largely untouched and unknown, occasionally visited by guided tours for the students. The school opened them to the media for the first time this week to raise public awareness of the site and the tragic history it represents, in the 70th anniversary year of the end of World War II. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Hisanao Oshima, who was there from February to May 1945 as a communications crew monitoring Morse code, still cannot forget the moments when he lost signals from kamikaze fighters. “The sound stops, and that means he crashed. I just cannot get that out of my head,” he said in an interview with public broadcaster NHK.This site must be preserved “so that we can say it’s the proof why we should not wage war ever again,” Oshima said.Japan also built the Matsushiro Imperial Underground Headquarters in central Japan for then-Emperor Hirohito and Imperial Army and key government officials, as they prepared for a possible ground war with the Americans, though that one was never used.Hundreds of hangers, tunnels and other wartime remains still exist in Japan, but many have been abandoned as interest has waned. A growing sentiment among some conservatives favors the removal of such remains if they are seen portraying the negative history.Sections of the navy tunnels at Keio were damaged in a development project a few years ago, prompting experts and volunteers to call for more support from the city to preserve the site.Akuzawa said what struck him the most as a teacher was the fact that the university was used as a war command center to send students to the battlefield. A Keio University graduate himself, he did not know about the tunnels until he started teaching at the high school. Sponsored Stories Keio’s Hiyoshi campus, south of Tokyo in Yokohama, was chosen apparently because of its relative proximity to both Yokosuka naval base and command headquarters in Tokyo. The hilltop campus also was suitable for an underground facility.Construction of the underground tunnels began in July 1944, mobilizing troops and Korean forced laborers. A room for the chief commander, Adm. Soemu Toyota, and key departments were up and running in a few months.Only in the chief commander’s room, cement on the walls was smoothed out, the floor was covered with tatami mats and there was a door. He climbed up and down 126 stairs between the two command centers — above and below ground. His room was slightly elevated so that the floor remained dry, and there was even a flush toilet.The tunnel command center also had ventilation ducts, a battery room, food storage with ample stock of sake, in addition to deciphering and cable and communications departments. Marks on the ceiling remain from where overhead lights hung. The tunnels housing the command center and its facilities under the campus are 30 meters (100 feet) underground and stretch about 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles) in length.The conditions for those leading the war contrasted with those of ordinary people, who hid in small mud shelters as firebombs rained down from the sky, Akuzawa said. Comments Share YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — On a hillside overlooking an athletic field where high school students play volleyball, an inconspicuous entrance leads down a dusty, slippery slope — and seemingly back in time — to Japan’s secret Imperial Navy headquarters in the final months of World War II.Here, leaders of Japan’s combined fleet command made plans for the fiercest battles, including those of Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima and Okinawa from late 1944 to the war’s end in August 1945. They knew when kamikaze pilots crashed to their deaths when signals from their planes stopped. They cried when they monitored cables from officers aboard the famed battleship Yamato as it came under heavy U.S. fire and sank off southern Japan. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Today, the barren, concrete tunnels sit quietly underneath a high school and university campus, largely untouched and unknown, occasionally visited by guided tours for the students. The school opened them to the media for the first time this week to raise public awareness of the site and the tragic history it represents, in the 70th anniversary year of the end of World War II.“It’s a negative heritage that humans made. It’s the perpetrators’ legacy,” said Takeshi Akuzawa, assistant headmaster of Keio Senior High School, who escorted the media tour on Tuesday. “Just imagine the massive number of people who had to die in the final year of the war because of their operations.”The inverted U-shaped tunnels are a silent reminder of a time when students and many others were sent to war, many to their deaths, under orders that emanated from this bunker under a school.Experts say the significance of such war remains is increasing, especially as that era fades from memory, and amid a growing reluctance among some Japanese to look at the negative side of the history.One of the top Japanese universities, Keio, leased the site to the navy in 1944 under an Education Ministry order, after thousands of teachers, staff and students were drafted and sent to the battlefield, leaving the campus virtually empty. Above ground, the navy commanded from a dormitory, rushing to the underground command center whenever U.S. B-29 bombers flew over. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The vital role family plays in society Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober “I feel emotionally shaken when I think of those students sent to war were just like these boys,” he said.___Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at twitter.com/mariyamaguchiCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone
How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Then Obama sang.As Obama neared the close of his 40-minute remarks, he unexpectedly sang out the opening words of the hymn “Amazing Grace.” The crowd of 5,500 leapt to its feet to join the president in song.It was a stirring emotional moment for a president who can often seem detached and distant.The president has been in this position before, called upon to ease the pain of a community grieving after gun violence. Before Charleston, there were Newtown, Conn., Tucson, Ariz., Fort Hood, Texas, Aurora, Colo., Washington.After each incident, the nation’s eyes are sporadically open, Obama said. He challenged the nation to keep itself from slipping back “into a comfortable silence,” saying that doing so would be “a betrayal of everything Rev. Pinckney stood for.”Following the service, Obama met privately with families of the victims. The president got to know Pinckney during the 2008 presidential campaign, when he was an early supporter of Obama.Aides said Obama wrote much of the eulogy himself. He was still working on the speech Friday morning when his senior adviser Valerie Jarrett called to tell him the Supreme Court had given same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Pallbearers carry the casket of Sen. Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine killed in last week’s shooting, into Emanuel AME Church for his wake, Thursday, June 25, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. The first funerals of some of those slain began Thursday at nearby churches with a viewing for Pinckney inside Emanuel on Thursday evening. President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy at Pinckney’s funeral Friday at a nearby college arena. (AP Photo/David Goldman) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The court ruling and memorial service capped an extraordinary week for a president seeking to stave off lame-duck status deep in his second term. With the help of Republican lawmakers, he secured a victory on legislation to speed up passage of an Asia-Pacific trade deal, one of his top foreign policy priorities. On Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld a key provision of his signature health care law, all but guaranteeing the law will survive beyond his presidency.It’s unknown how those victories and Obama’s pledge to bring his presidency to a fearless finish will shape the closing months of his tenure. But the president summed up the feelings of a weary White House when Jarrett called.“It’s been a good week,” Obama declared.___Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDCCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories 0 Comments Share At first, the president had planned to largely focus his remarks on remembering Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the slain pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the eight other victims.But that’s not what happened. Maybe Obama was buoyed by a week that brought about the validation of his sweeping health care law, a win on trade and the Supreme Court’s affirmation of gay marriage across the country. Maybe he was driven by the fearlessness he says he now feels as he heads down the final stretch of his presidency.As Obama took the stage to address the crowd of more than 5,500 packed into a basketball arena, he did speak movingly about Pinckney, a state lawmaker and popular pastor. Then the president issued a challenge, calling on the nation to not shy away from the “uncomfortable truths” about the racial prejudice that plagues the country.He revived his push for gun control legislation, despite staunch opposition in Washington. He called for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the grounds of South Carolina’s statehouse, a move that would represent “one step in an honest accounting of America’s history.”He taunted the alleged killer of the Charleston churchgoers. While the gunman wanted to incite fear and deepen divisions, Obama noted the unity Charleston has shown in the past week and said: “God works in mysterious ways. God had different ideas.” Quick workouts for men CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — After a string of triumphs, President Barack Obama’s eulogy for those killed in a South Carolina church massacre was supposed to bring an extraordinary week to a somber close.But something changed.Between legislative and legal victories, Obama had spent hours privately grappling with the tragedy in this southern city, where nine people attending Bible study were killed in a racially motivated attack. Their deaths sparked vexing questions about racial divisions, gun violence and the way America grapples with its own difficult history. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like
His former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela held a lunch for elderly, needy women at the Mandela family restaurant near the family home in Soweto, calling it a chance to recommit to his values of “bettering the lives of our people.”Dozens of elderly women wrapped in coats and scarves against the crisp winter weather filled a tent set up on the road.“It makes me happy but it reminds me of the past, of the apartheid years,” said Elizabeth Khoba, 77, who had just received a fleecy purple blanket. She lived near the late statesman and remembered him “as a very tall chap” who would chide misbehaving children in the neighborhood.Retired archbishop Desmond Tutu, who once lived a few doors away from Mandela, described his fellow Nobel laureate’s work as “a lifetime of selflessness . an example of humanity for the ages.”At the University of Johannesburg, Mandela’s widow Graca Machel gave out food parcels and blankets knitted specifically for the occasion.“Knowing my man as I know, wherever he is up there, he is with a bright bright smile blessing you all, blessing our nation,” said Machel.Mandela died in December 2013. JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africans honored the 67 years of former president Nelson Mandela’s service to the country with 67 minutes of charity and community action around the country on his birthday Saturday.Established in 2009, the day is meant to encourage South Africans to emulate Mandela’s humanitarian legacy and recognize the decades he spent fighting apartheid.All over the country, volunteers handed out blankets and books, distributed toys at orphanages, and cleaned up public areas, before reporting their activities on social media. A woman paints a shack with white fire retardant paint as a contribution to International Nelson Mandela day celebrating former South African president Mandela birth day in the township of Nomzamo, South Africa, Saturday, July 18, 2015. Thousands of South Africans celebrating former South African president Nelson Mandela birth day by giving 67 minutes of their time to help other people. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam) Sponsored Stories To mark the day, the United Nations announced the first Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize to be awarded every five years to a man and woman who have furthered his legacy, which embodied “the highest values of the United Nations,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments Share How do cataracts affect your vision? Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Sydney continue to reign as the most popular local destinations for Aussie travellers to spend their upcoming Christmas holidays.According to the first annual HotelClub Hotel Index highlighting the top ten domestic and international destinations for Australians to travel over the festive season, Adelaide jumped up from six to fourth most popular, while Brisbane fell one place from fourth to fifth.Port Douglas is also picking up as a Chrissy hot spot jumping more than six spots to sixth place while Hobart, Cairns and Perth also remained high on the Aussie destination list.Internationally, Australians are choosing to spend their Christmas holidays in Bali and Phuket while New York picked up three spots this year jumping from sixth last year to third most popular.Auckland also climbed the charts to fourth place as natural disasters in Japan earlier this year saw Tokyo fall out of the top ten international cities list this year. “Unfortunately Tokyo has dropped out of the top 10 international cities due to the lack of consumer confidence in travelling to Japan following a year of terrible natural disasters,” HotelClub president Jeremy Bellinghausen explained. “However, the strong Australian dollar has seen US cities soar in popularity and we’re seeing American hotels respond to this with better value pricing. Meanwhile, Las Vegas fell from fifth to eight most popular destination for Aussie travelers this year, while Hawaii and Bangkok picked up to sixth and seventh most booked this year.New York or the Gold Coast, what’s your city of choice this Christmas?
Laura Sage – Young Achiever of the Year 2012 Soul Mystique – Entertainer of the Year finalist 2012 Source = Australian Event Awards The Australian Event Awards is the top national industry awards program, and is about to open for entries. In one week’s time the Australian Event Awards will officially open for entries from across the country. The Awards aim to recognise the achievements of Australians in the events industry who have demonstrated significant accomplishments in their field.With categories ranging from Best Tourism Event and Best Venue, to Best Achievement in Sustainability & Young Achiever of the Year – the Australian Event Awards is the only national program that encompasses each industry sector. However, that doesn’t equate to more winners, “The awards are a real honour reserved for the best of the best in each category. Our signature trophies are awarded to a select few Australians who deserve to be extremely proud of their achievements. It’s easy to enter, but hard to win!” said Event Awards Project Manager, Chris Twyman.For previous winners Opera Australia, entering the awards was well worth it. “It has given our team great pride in such a massive event”, Associate Producer of Handa Opera, Kylie McOmish stated, adding “Enter, you never know if you don’t enter.”The Australian Event Awards will open entries on the 9th of July, at the same time announcing their new home for the next three years. After an overwhelming response with bids pouring in from destinations around the country, organisers are extremely pleased with the both the quality and quantity of choices.“With a range of exciting announcements to come, those interested in updates regarding entering, sponsorship or related news should subscribe to our e-newsletter” said Twyman. Up-coming events include Focus, a series of cocktail evenings to be presented by the Event Awards in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth & Melbourne in late July, featuring industry guest speakers, and information on entering the awards in 2013. Opera Australia – Australian Event of the Year2012 – Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour,photo by Lisa Tomasetti
A selection of 20 Queensland tourism operators have touched down in Los Angeles today ahead of the second annual Australian Marketplace.The Australian Marketplace is a tourism trade event connecting Australian operators with North American wholesalers and is a joint initiative of Australian states and territories together with Tourism Australia.Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) chief executive officer Leanne Coddington, said Queensland would field the largest group of tourism operators of any Australian state.“North America is an important visitor market for Queensland, with the State welcoming 217,000 visitors in the year to September 2014, an increase of seven per cent compared with the year prior,” Ms Coddington said.“The Australian Marketplace presents an opportunity to profile Queensland’s tourism products to influential North American travel representatives.”Ms Coddington said a number of operators would also participate in an inaugural ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’ roadshow travelling to Toronto, New York, Chicago and Houston following the Australian Marketplace.“The roadshow will bring Queensland products to the fore-front for many retail travel agents and deliver experiences and packages that appeal to North American travellers.”Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman
Hapi days indeed for MTA – Mobile Travel Agents’ Melissa Pointon who scored the major prize on offer at the Solomon Islands product update at the Mercure Kooindah Central Coast Wyong (NSW) last week.Her prize includes return airfares flying Solomon Airlines to the ‘Hapi Islands’ where she will stay at the King Solomon Hotel in Honiara and also the fabulous Fatboys Resort in Gizo.A beaming and obviously thrilled Melissa is photographed receiving her prize from the airline’s Honiara-based marketing officer Edmund Devisi while members of the Hageulu Panpipe Group from the Solomon Islands’ Isabel Province look on.Source = MTA – Mike Parker-Brown