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EastJet WSs ultralowcost airline could be based outside of Calgary

first_img Share EastJet? WS’s ultra-low-cost airline could be based outside of Calgary Posted by Tuesday, August 8, 2017 The Canadian Press center_img CALGARY — A spokeswoman for WestJet says its new, low-cost airline may not be based in Calgary.Lauren Stewart says WestJet is considering locations that would allow it to take advantage of lower-cost markets.The airline has said the announcement of its new airline will be delayed until next summer.Stewart says WestJet is still working on elements related to the launch – namely the organizational structure, routes, schedules, services and branding. Tags: Canada, Low-Cost Carriers, WestJet << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Le Blanc Spa Los Cabos debuts Royale Residence featuring the ultimate wish

first_img Posted by Share Le Blanc Spa Los Cabos debuts Royale Residence featuring the ultimate wish list in luxury Tags: Le Blanc, Los Cabos Tuesday, July 2, 2019 center_img MIAMI — A private yoga instructor and an expansive infinity pool are among the ultra-lavish amenities available in the just-opened Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos’ Royale Residence.Not previously available to the public, this exclusive two-level residence is located within Le Blanc Spa Resort spans an impressive 18,428 square feet and can accommodate up to 12 adults comfortably across four oceanfront bedrooms with king beds and two additional rooms featuring two double beds. All four bedrooms feature a private bathroom with a pedestal tub and rain shower, Ferragamo bath amenities, plush bathrobes and slippers.Designed by master architect Roberto Elias, the residence also boasts its own private fitness centre, a movie theatre for up to eight guests, a home office and a living room that leads to an outdoor terrace overlooking the Sea of Cortez. In the living room, guests will find a smart TV and Apple TV, iHome Dock with Bluetooth connection and wireless Internet, while the spacious dining room is where they can enjoy meals with up to 16 guests.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backOutdoors, the luxury details continue with a 14,000 square-foot infinity pool, a sun deck featuring incredible 360-degree views, and a dining table where guests can enjoy a meal prepared by a private chef.For guests looking to unwind, there’s a pool table on the second floor plus a private spa treatment room where they can take advantage of complimentary massages and facials. A private vehicle is also available for those wishing to explore Los Cabos.Guests are treated like royalty the moment they arrive, with welcome bottles of tequila. They can also tour a wine cellar that houses an incredible selection of wines and an upgraded liquor dispenser with a premium selection of rum, whiskey and vodka. There’s also an amazing minibar filled with sodas, bottled water, juices and domestic and imported beers that’s restocked daily, as well as a selection of in-room snacks, including nightly Petit Fours.Le Blanc Spa Resort, part of the Palace Resorts family of brands, is an award-winning, adults-only hotel brand with locations in Cancun and Los Cabos. The Royale Residence is now available to book. For more information go to https://www.leblancsparesorts.com/los-cabos/en/accommodations. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Spanish Etymologist 3 Poison for elephants

first_imgKate Galante From the print editionHere are some more to add to your list: Desayuno (breakfast) is formed from des, indicating negation or withdrawal, and ayuno, meaning “fast” in the sense of going without food, which comes from the Latin ieiunum (emptiness). Thus, it means “to stop fasting.”Dios (God) comes from the Latin word for God, deus, which, as logical as it may seem, does not come from the Greek “Zeus.” Rather, both words come from the Indo-European root dyeu/dyu, meaning “daylight” (the sun) from which then evolved the idea of “being of light,” and from there, “God.”Esclavo (slave). We tend to think of slaves as dark-skinned, but the surprise here is that the word came from eslavo (Slav), originally from the Greek word sklabos. As it turns out, it was the light-skinned northerners who were slaves to the dark-skinned southerners in ancient times. The first word the Romans used for slaves was servus, but, for a variety of historical factors, the word in use became sclavus. By the Middle Ages, even the popes had slaves of Slavic origin, and the word had stuck.Jamás (never) comes from the Latin iam magis or jam magis, which means “forever.” Literally, it is ya más (already more), and is another word that came to mean the opposite of its original meaning.Joder may mean “to bother” in Costa Rica, but its official word of origin, future, means, “to copulate.” This, in turn, comes from either the Indo-European word bhaut (to beat) or the Celtic word bactuere (to penetrate). Though none of these resemble joder, this theory is supported by the similar use of the word foutre in French, fuder in Brazilian Portuguese, fotere in Italian, a fute in Romanian and fotre in Catalan, not to mention the lewd “f” word in English. There is, however, a competing theory: In late medieval times, the third person singular of the Hebrew verb yadah (“to know” in the Biblical sense) was yodeh, very similar to joder. Well, if nothing else, you now know a naughty word in five other languages.Mulato. The mule (mula) is half horse and half donkey, that is, a half-breed. Thence, regrettably, the word mulato.Murciélago (bat, the animal). The first part of the word comes from the Latin mus and muris (mouse). In the Middle Ages, mur was often used in Spanish to say “mouse.” The second part of the word comes from the Spanish ciego (blind). Thus, a bat is a blind mouse.Naranja (orange, the fruit) comes from Sanskrit narangah, which is related to “poison for elephants” because, in a Sanskrit legend, an elephant dies of gluttony eating oranges. From there it went through transformations in Persian and Arabic, and moved to naranja in Spanish, with naranjo denominating the tree. Originally, this name referred only to the sour or bitter orange. Later, when various sweet citrus fruits were introduced, the name naranja was applied to them, with the exception of mandarín (because they came from China, like our “tangerine” because they come from Tangiers).Ojalá (would to God …). The common belief is that ojalá comes from the Arabic in sha’a Allah (if Allah wishes it) or, as is often said in Spanish si Dios quiere (if God wishes it). In fact, it probably grew out of law sha’a Allah (if Allah should want), which, because of the conditional verb and the subjunctive that follows it in Spanish, can be better translated as a desire that at the moment is not real. Thus, the sentence “¡Ojalá fuera verdad!” can be translated as “Would to God it were true.” And please note that even in English we use a subjunctive here.Piraña comes from the Guaraní pirá (fish) and aña (devil or bad).Precario (as an adjective, “precarious”; as a noun, “slum”). Costa Ricans refer to those spontaneous, usually squatter developments made of tin and junk wood as precarios precisely because they are precarious. The word comes from the Latin precarius, meaning “that which is obtained through pleas and supplication.” From this also comes plegaria (prayer). Taking it even further back, from the Indo-European prek comes the archaic Latin procus, a suitor who begged and pleaded a woman for her favors.Pulpería (small corner store where shopping is done over a counter). This is another one of those words about which much has been written and debated. In a previous column, I suggested the word comes from the word pulpa, which can mean “boneless meat” (TT, Jan. 23, 2009). Thus, it could mean “place where meat is sold.” Or that, given the Central American tradition of drinking fruit juices and batidos (smoothies), and before people had blenders, it was more likely it referred to fruit pulp. Hence, it was a “place where fruit pulp is sold.” I also mentioned that some say the word comes from pulpo, or “octopus,” meaning that a pulpería is an “octopus store.” I suggested this was absurd. Now I see I was looking at it in the wrong way. Because these small stores in isolated communities had to stock everything – tools, clothing, medicine, food and more – the owner had to have his hands everywhere, like an octopus, and was thus nicknamed a pulpero (octopus man?), and, from there, the store a pulpería. Well, it’s as good as any other theory. Facebook Commentscenter_img No related posts.last_img read more

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Two earthquakes felt in Guanacaste on Sunday

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica earthquake could’ve been worse Magnitude-6.6 earthquake rocks Costa Rica on Tuesday night In three days, two earthquakes with magnitude 5-plus shake Costa Rica Costa Rican government: $50 million estimated for repairs after Nicoya earthquake Two moderate tremors Sunday jolted the northwestern province of Guanacaste. No casualties or injuries were reported.The first quake of magnitude-4.7 was registered at 8:38 a.m. with an epicenter located within 13 kilometers west of Sámara Beach, at a depth of 19.4 kilometers according to the National Seismological Network (RSN) of the University of Costa Rica. At 3:35 p.m. a second earthquake, reported as magnitude-4.5, registered 65 kilometers southwest from Tamarindo Beach with a depth of 9.5 kilometers, according to RSN experts.More than 2,000 aftershocks have been registered since a magnitude-7.6 earthquake hit the Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste, on Sept. 5, causing damages in 20 cantons in 4 provinces (Guanacaste, Puntarenas, Alajuela and Heredia) and estimated losses of more than $44 million. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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US company to hire 200 bilingual employees for Costa Rica operations

first_imgFlorida-based The Results Companies is recruiting bilingual staff to fill 200 jobs at its call center in the province of Heredia.The company, which launched operations in Costa Rica in January, is looking for high school graduates with an English proficiency of at least 80 percent and who are willing to work different shifts.Human resources staff will be interviewing candidates at their facilities in the America Free Zone in Heredia for posts in sales and customer service.Those interested can request an appointment by phone from Monday to Friday at: 2239-0585. Applicants also can send résumés in English to recruitmentcr@resultstel.com or visit the company’s website, http://www.theresultscompanies.com.Costa Rica’s director of operations, Christopher Fernández, said the company has over 20 years experience in the global market and stressed that they offer growth opportunities.“Currently 75 percent of management posts in our company are filled with people who started as call center agents and grew with us,” he said.The Results Companies currently has over 7,500 employees in 15 locations in the United States, the Philippines and Latin America. Facebook Comments Related posts:Bank of America, Intel announce thousands of layoffs in Costa Rica President Solís announces goal to create 217,000 jobs during his term Convergys to hire 700 bilingual employees for Costa Rica operations Accenture announces 300 new jobs in Costa Ricalast_img read more

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New Saturday afternoon organic market to open in Zapote

first_img Facebook Comments Love organic produce, but don’t love getting up at the crack of dawn every weekend to go to the market? San José organic food lovers can add a new afternoon produce fair to their activities list starting in September, as the Feria Orgánica El Trueque expands into the southeastern San José neighborhood of Zapote.“From the very beginning we have wanted to expand to other markets,” said Fidel de Rooy, head of merchandising for the Association of of Organic Producers and Consumers of Costa Rica, the fair’s organizer. “We will be able to reach a completely different group of people with this new location.”The Feria Orgánica El Trueque got its start in 1999 in Moravia, in northern San José, as the first market exclusively dedicated to organic products. In 2004, the market moved to the south of the city in Paso Ancho, where it is held every other Saturday. The market now sells products at 25 different booths from 12 different families committed to producing organic food.Starting on Sept. 13, the market will close up at 12 p.m. so that vendors can move to the new Zapote location at 1 p.m. The Zapote market will be located at the plaza in front of the CEMACO home goods store in Zapote.Vegetables, fruits, dairy, herbs and corn products will all be available at the fair as well as handmade art and organic cooking products. Everything sold at the market is certified organic either from Costa Rica’s Eco-Lógica company, BCS Óko-Garantie from Germany or PrimusLabs from California. Related posts:An arugula-growing farmer feeds a culinary revolution in Cuba Meet the farmers at this year’s Onion Festival Cultivating pura vida: Cartago launches festival to promote organic agriculture Costa Rican Embassy opens to public for Washington’s annual ‘Passport DC’ festivitieslast_img read more

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Costa Rica among top 3 most competitive economies in Latin America says

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica ranks 83rd in the world for doing business Live Stream: 2015 Latin American Cities Conference San José World Bank: Doing business in Costa Rica has never been easier Costa Rica should expect 4.3 percent GDP growth, World Bank says Costa Rica was among the top three most “competitive” economies in Latin America last year, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, released on Wednesday. Costa Rica, ranked 51st worldwide, came in behind Panama (48) and Chile (33).Costa Rica has enjoyed a steady rise on the index during the last several years, jumping three spots this year, up from 54. The country scored especially well on metrics for health and education, technology readiness, and innovation potential.The Dominican Republic (101), El Salvador (84), Guatemala (78), Honduras (100), and Nicaragua (99) all trailed Costa Rica. Venezuela (131) and Haiti (137) scored at the bottom of the annual survey for Latin America and the Caribbean.The report observed that poor transport infrastructure, difficulties accessing finance, concerns about its macroeconomic performance and high budget deficit continue to hold back the country’s economic potential. Transportation infrastructure was one of Costa Rica’s greatest weaknesses with the quality of its ports and roads ranked at 115th and 119th, respectively, out of the 144 countries surveyed. The country also scored poorly in female participation in the workforce, coming in at 117.President Luis Guillermo Solís has named many of these weaknesses as priorities for his administration. Vice President and Finance Minister Helio Fallas listed increases in infrastructure and education spending in the president’s budget proposal at the Legislative Assembly on Monday. Solís also made specific mention about improving access to finance for small businesses and working mothers as part of his employment strategy that aims to create 217,000 jobs in the next four years. One area that the government has yet to seriously address is the country’s gaping deficit, which Fallas projected would rise to 6.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2015.Globally, the report said that countries need to shift their recovery strategies for the financial crisis away from monetary policy and focus more on improving productivity through structural reforms. The WEF report also highlighted investment in skills and innovation, as well as public-private partnerships as keys to long-term economic growth. The report opined that Latin American and Caribbean nations need to implement structural reforms and increase investment in infrastructure, skills development and innovation if it wanted to see the boom of the last decade continue.The most competitive countries were Switzerland, Singapore and the United States.The Global Competitiveness Report ranks national economies based on institutions, infrastructure, health and education, labor market efficiency, technological readiness, innovation and business sophistication, among other metrics. The report defines competitiveness as “the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country.”View the full report here. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Trump tangles with Latino newsman launches fresh attacks on GOP rivals

first_imgDUBUQUE, Iowa — To anyone who thought Donald Trump might soften his tone after a new round of criticism of his presidential campaign, the Republican front-runner proved here Tuesday night that he will not be tamed.Trump booted the nation’s top Latino newsman out of his news conference, but moments later he let Univision’s Jorge Ramos reclaim his seat in the front row, and the two men sparred passionately about illegal immigration.Next, Trump added to his enemies list. He refused to apologize to Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, whom he ridiculed anew on Twitter on Monday night. He launched fresh attacks on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, two GOP presidential rivals. And he sprinkled spicy slams against former Florida governor Jeb Bush, another Republican contender, throughout his speech at a rollicking rally.To top it off, Trump went after the entire political class in Trumpian fashion, saying he wants to outlaw teleprompters (one of his best applause lines of the night) and asserting that as soon as politicians get to Washington, they become “impotent.”“They look at these beautiful buildings, these beautiful halls, and all of a sudden they become impotent,” Trump said, as the crowd laughed. “Is that an appropriate word? I think so.”Trump’s lively visit to Dubuque, where he rallied an estimated 3,500 supporters inside a convention hall on the banks of the Mississippi River, comes as he expands his campaign in Iowa and other key states.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrdjM6qtkrsTrump appeared onstage with Sam Clovis, a prominent Iowa conservative activist who had been former Texas governor Rick Perry’s state chairman but abruptly defected from Perry’s camp because of fundraising troubles. Trump poached Clovis and named him a national campaign co-chairman and policy adviser. Trump’s top Iowa strategist, veteran organizer Chuck Laudner, is a friend of Clovis and had been courting him for weeks.Trump also announced five additional staffers in several early-voting states, including Charles Muñoz as his Nevada state director. In South Carolina, Nancy Mace, the first female graduate of the Citadel, is now Trump’s state coalitions director, while James Epley is his upstate regional director. He announced hires in New Hampshire as well.Trump, who is leading GOP polls nationally, said in an interview that he is determined to expand his campaign in the coming weeks, moving from a small circle of aides to a national grass-roots operation that he hopes will sustain the momentum he has built this summer with raucous speeches and seemingly nonstop appearances on television talk shows.“They said I wouldn’t run. They said I would not file the papers. They said I didn’t have a campaign,” Trump said, with a hint of exasperation. “Well, I did — and I do.”Two minutes into Trump’s news conference here Tuesday, the candidate had a tense exchange with Ramos, one of the country’s most recognizable Mexican-Americans.Ramos stood up in the front row of journalists to ask Trump about his plan to combat illegal immigration. But Trump did not want to answer.“Excuse me,” he said. “Sit down. You weren’t called. Sit down.”Ramos, holding a piece of paper, calmly said: “I’m a reporter, an immigrant, a senior citizen. I have the right to ask a question.”Trump interrupted him. “Go back to Univision,” he said. Then Trump motioned to one of his bodyguards, who walked over and physically removed Ramos from the room.The ejection lit up social media. Reporters asked Trump why he removed Ramos. At first, he accused Ramos of violating his news conference protocol. “He stood up and started screaming,” Trump said. “He’s obviously a very emotional person.”But moments later, Ramos returned to his seat in the front row — and Trump called on him. For five minutes, they tangled over immigration policy, an issue on which both men have passionately different views.“Here’s the problem with your immigration plan,” Ramos said. “It’s full of empty promises.”He said it would be unconstitutional to deny citizenship to what Trump calls “anchor babies,” children born in the United States to undocumented immigrants. The candidate disagreed, saying that it could be done as an act of Congress and that some legal scholars argue that the 14th Amendment should be changed.“A woman’s getting ready to have a baby,” Trump said. “She crosses the border for one day, has the baby — all of a sudden for the next 80 years, we have to take care of” the child.Recommended: Donald Trump wants to buy a football club in ColombiaThe next question from Ramos: How do you build a 1,900-mile wall across the U.S. border with Mexico?“It’s very easy,” Trump said. “I’m a builder. . . . What’s more complicated is building a building that’s 95 stories tall.”The questioning continued. At one point, Trump said, “I can’t deal with this.” A Trump aide interrupted and asked Ramos, “Is there one question — one question?”Yet Trump let the questioning continue, seemingly determined to prove his case. “I have a bigger heart than you do,” he told Ramos. “We’re going to do [deportations] in a very humane fashion.”He went on to assert that gang members in Baltimore, St. Louis and other cities are illegal immigrants.“Listen, we have tremendous crime,” he told Ramos. “We have some very bad ones. Do you mind if I send them back to Mexico?”Ramos replied, “No human being is illegal, Mr. Trump.”The candidate’s response: “Well, when they cross the border, from a legal standpoint, they’re illegal immigrants when they don’t have their papers.”When Ramos pressed Trump on polls showing his unpopularity among Latinos, Trump would not accept the premise and turned the question on him: “How much am I suing Univision for right now? Do you know the number? I know you’re part of the lawsuit.”“I’m a reporter,” Ramos said.“Five hundred million dollars,” Trump replied. “And they’re very concerned about it, by the way. I’m very good at this.”– – – –Costa reported from Washington.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Tico brewer avenges Trump comments on immigrants Univision breaks with Donald Trump over immigration comments Macy’s is latest company to dump defiant Trump Costa Rica also tells Donald Trump: ‘You’re fired’last_img read more

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Economists close in on spotting future recessions

first_imgOne thing you hear repeated over and over in the economics press is that economists can’t predict recessions.This is true. The best forecasting models that economists have in their toolkit can only predict the economy about one quarter in advance. That’s not very useful — by the time a recession is only three months away, it’s too late to prevent it.But another thing you see a lot in the econ media is the idea that excessive debt leads to economic crashes. When debt is high relative to gross domestic product, we are told, the risk of a financial crisis and a recession increases. For example, many people tout China’s rising debt — now at almost 300 percent of GDP — as cause for alarm. Many hearken back to the theories of economist Hyman Minsky, who said that debt markets naturally cause booms and busts.That sounds reasonable. And in fact, there are prominent economic theories that predict that leverage creates its own cycle, generating booms and recessions. The problem is, if debt so clearly led to booms and busts, you could use the level of debt — or its rate of increase, or its rate of acceleration — to forecast recessions years in advance, rather than months. Unfortunately, that has proven devilishly hard to do.Consider the long-term debt-to-GDP ratio for the U.S.: There was a sharp rise in debt in the mid-1980s. But this rise wasn’t followed by a crash, economic or financial. Instead, debt levels paused for a few years and resumed their upward climb. If you believed that a sharp acceleration in debt was a harbinger of doom, you might have missed the boom of the 1990s.More recently, the long rise in debt levels during the 1990s and early 2000s eventually came to an end in 2008. That seemed to vindicate the people who warned about debt levels. But the boom lasted for 15 years, and even after the crisis, deleveraging was small in size and short in duration. Debt levels have started to climb again as the economy recovers. Then there is the case of Australia, where debt levels skyrocketed before the crisis but continued to increase afterward with very little economic fallout, thanks in large part to Chinese demand for natural resources.But perhaps there is a better way to use leverage to forecast recessions. Instead of looking at the amount of credit, maybe we should look at the price and the quality of credit.Economists have long used credit spreads and other asset prices as leading indicators of economic activity. But new research by economists David Lopez-Salido, Jeremy Stein, and Egon Zakrajsek of the Federal Reserve shows that credit market indicators might allow us to predict recessions as much as two years in advance.Lopez-Salido et al. base their idea on a 2013 paper by financial economists Robin Greenwood and Samuel Hanson. Greenwood and Hanson hypothesized that spreads between corporate bonds and Treasuries and the share of junk bonds in total corporate credit might be indicators of credit market sentiment.Behavioral finance has long held that changes in sentiment drive excess volatility in financial markets, causing prices to swing around more wildly than fundamentals. In stock markets, this means that price-to-earnings ratios can predict long-term stock returns to a small degree. In debt markets, credit spreads and credit quality take the place of P/E ratios as measures of the fear and greed of the markets.Lopez-Salido et al. add a third variable — term spreads between long-term and short-term Treasuries. Together, they find that the three sentiment indicators do a reasonably good job of forecasting economic activity years in advance. And they do so through exactly the channel predicted by both mainstream economic theory and by Minsky — easy credit is invariably followed by a reduction in credit supply, as lenders realize they were too greedy or optimistic and sentiment reverses. When lending dries up, the economy slows.The authors also confirm that debt levels aren’t very helpful as an additional predictive variable. It’s the price of credit, and its quality, that can predict those Minsky moments.So where do these predictors stand today? Credit spreads are somewhat high, but no higher than in 2012 — which was followed by three years of fairly robust growth.Term spreads also are not particularly high. High-yield lending increased in the last few years, especially to oil companies, but this junk lending binge has already reversed itself.So to the best of our admittedly limited knowledge, there are few recessionary clouds on the horizon — at least in the U.S.Noah Smith is an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University and a freelance writer for finance and business publications. For more columns from Bloomberg View, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/view© 2016, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:US economy revives in 2nd quarter US Fed officials emphasize gradual tightening This will be the biggest question when the Fed starts raising rates China’s journey from new normal to stock market crisis epicenterlast_img read more

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Desamparados 1984 and Prince A Tribute

first_imgIt has been just over a month since the sudden, shocking death of Prince Rogers Nelson, who I believe was one of the greatest musicians of all time. I have been surprised at how deeply grief has set in. Even now, it is hard to wrap my head around such a loss. I have been writing this piece in my mind for weeks, trying to find the words to honor a man who had such a profound impact on my life – though it was so subtle that I only realized it once he was gone.Indulge me if you will: I want to tell a story of how Prince, Costa Rica and my coming-of-age merged together into a perfect mix of joy that forever bonded me to this place that I now call home.The year was 1984. I was on the way to being 15 and in the middle of a Madonna crush. Deep inside all the pangs of teenage life, I was overjoyed to attend my cousin’s 8th grade graduation in Chicago in June of that year. Dressed in my plastic slip-on shoes, hot pink Lee Jeans, “Boy Toy” crop top, lace gloves and fluorescent bangles, I emerged on the scene, ready to strut my Brooklyn stuff amongst my cousin and her friends.It was the first summer when my parents gave my sister and me a little room to explore outside of the confines of our New York City life. I was full of myself, happy and loud, and music was my everything. As a child of the 1970s, I could sing a Duran Duran song in the same breath as Menudo’s “Señora Mía.” My Limonese abuelita would say that I was “smelling myself.”The best parts of that summer were the release of Prince’s “Purple Rain” album and our trip to Costa Rica, the first for my sister, cousin and me without parents! My abuelita was brave. She attended my cousin’s graduation in Chicago and accompanied the three of us back to Costa Rica. What she did not know was that we had our mix tapes packed safely in our suitcases. The world felt like a grand place. We were the cool girls, ready to smile and flirt and sing our hearts out to all the tunes we knew by the first note on the radio.My initiation as a Prince lover did not come from the south side of Chicago but from San Rafael Abajo, Desamparados, Costa Rica. There was something liberating about being almost 15 and in my abuelita’s house where we could whisper dreams and read the latest teen magazines (anyone remember Bop?) while listening to the sound of the oxcart in the morning, filled to the brim with fresh coffee outside the front door.We quickly learned the names of the cute boys in the barrio. We were a little shocked by their devotion to Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osborne, but friendships were formed nonetheless. We spent hours sitting in the front doorway during the rains, playing with Mitzy, the family’s golden retriever, and eating mango con sal y limón.  Even today, the tartness in the first bite of a green mango brings me a rush of memories from that time in my abuelita’s house. It was my place of beginning: of testing the road towards adulthood within a wide, loving embrace.I remember one day my abuelita needed to go to the pulpería. She did not have us accompany her that day, but she left behind her many warnings to stay inside the gate and to make sure the music was not loud. We took turns peeking out the front door to see when she turned the corner, and within seconds of her disappearance, we ran inside the house and cranked up “Purple Rain” so loud that the walls vibrated. And we sang, with all the feeling and depth of a teenager: aching with angst, passion and freedom.That moment taught me the entire possibility of youth, lyric after lyric by Prince. I sang those words as I looked up to the mountains, tinged with mist, and I fell in love with Costa Rica. My heart was full with its beauty. I finally had space to spread my arms and twirl.What was it that Prince understood that he could relate to my 14-year-old heart in Desamparados, miles away from my Brooklyn streets? He gave me the right to honor my true self: a brown girl mashed up with Brooklyn, Limón, Colón, Jamaica, Catholic school and Culture Club. Prince gave me permission to simply BE. His music, style and actions did not fit into a box, and this message came across loud and clear. I do not know which planets aligned on that day in my abuelita’s house, but my love affair with Costa Rica began and it has been calling me home ever since.Of course, the story has an ending.  Since these were not the days of cellphones, my abuelita was not pre-warned by a neighbor that we were wreaking havoc with the barrio’s sound waves at lunchtime, so she must have been drawn home by thundering electric guitar as “Purple Rain” was on its fourth rotation in the tape deck. It was only when we looked up in the doorway, hips still sashaying, arms playing air guitar, that we saw her. Her horror at our brazen American-ness decorated her face.Instantly, the tape deck was clicked off and we offered apologies, still breathless from whichever verse of Purple Rain lingered in the air. But abuelita was kind. We only got a stern warning which did not ruin the moment in our heads and hearts.I am sure my sister and cousin have different versions of that day, or it may have even slipped away in their memories. For me, it was a moment of pause; a door, a beginning. I honor the life work of Prince Rogers Nelson for his ability to celebrate the essence of living in his music. He was a man who never compromised his art, and I am so grateful that I was able to experience him in my lifetime. May he rest in power and peace.Read more of Natasha Gordon-Chipembere’s columns here.Natasha Gordon-Chipembere, a writer, professor and founder of the Tengo Sed Writers Retreats, moved to Heredia, Costa Rica with her family from New York in June 2014.  She is now accepting applications for Tengo Sed IV Writers and Yoga Retreat in Jan 2017. She may be reached at indisunflower@gmail.com. Her column “Musings from an Afro-Costa Rican” is published monthly. Facebook Comments Related posts:The Black side of the story: Afro-Costa Rican MC Huba Watson VIDEO: Holalola captures Costa Rican life with wit and whimsy 5 questions for blues musician Steve Arvey Cities filled with art: A visit to the 10th Central American Bienniallast_img read more

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AP PHOTOS Shopping getting IDs on election eve

first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Colorful posters for both Chavez and his challenger, former state governor Henrique Capriles, festoon Caracas’ streets. Some have been defaced.Shoppers, many wearing the red T-shirts of “Chavistas,” filled a government market to buy food at subsidized prices.At a park in the city, people sat on benches in a long line awaiting last-minute pickups of their national identification cards.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Four benefits of having a wireless security system CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuelans crowded grocery stores and markets on Saturday to stock up on food or lined and collected the national ID cards they need for voting.Sunday’s ballot is expected to be the tightest presidential election faced by Chavez during nearly 14 years in office. Members of militias he has formed were out in the streets searching vehicles for weapons.Tensions between both political camps have been high, given the expectations of a close election. Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Top Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

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Hague war crimes court investigating own staffer

first_img Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The ICC, the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal, came into being in 2002 and the treaty that created it has been ratified by 121 nations. Prosecutors have so far indicted suspects in seven different countries, all of them in Africa, including Congo, Sudan, Kenya, Libya and Ivory Coast.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project AMSTERDAM (AP) – The International Criminal Court in The Hague has opened a formal investigation into allegations by four people who say they were subjected to sexual abuse by a court staff member working in the Democratic Republic of Congo.The war crimes court said Friday it is “profoundly concerned by these grave allegations” and had taken steps to protect the alleged victims. It said the investigation was aimed at “establishing the facts underlying the allegations and fairly determining any possible responsibilities.” Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Patients with chronic pain give advice Check your body, save your life It is not clear whether the allegations will lead to a prosecution, and if so, where it would take place. The court said it would turn the inquiry’s findings over to ICC “judges and relevant parties to the proceedings concerned” _ presumably meaning legal authorities in Congo.The Coalition for the ICC, an umbrella organization of civil society and human rights groups that support the court, said in a reaction that members had been “deeply shocked and concerned” to hear of the allegations.“The Coalition expects the court to carry out a credible and impartial investigation into the allegations and, should they prove true, ensure that all those responsible be held to account, including, if relevant, those responsible for managerial oversight of the personnel accused,” it said in a statement.The charges come at a war crimes court that has made a priority of prosecuting rape and sexual conscription in conflict zones. Sexual abuse is rife in the volatile east of Congo, and several ongoing cases stem from the region.Warlord Bosco Ntaganda faces charges of rape and sexual enslavement and militia leader Germain Katanga is on trial for charges including rape and sexual enslavement. Top Stories Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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Mexico arrests 12 in womens slayings on border

first_img Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories The 10 men and two women face charges of human trafficking and homicide. Six were already in local jails for other offenses, and six other were detained early Tuesday.Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, was the scene of a series of killings of more than 100 women beginning in 1993. Those possible serial or copy-cat killings, with similar victim profiles and killing methods, appeared to taper off by late 2004 or early 2005. In those cases, the victims were usually young, slender women, often factory workers, who were abducted, often sexually abused and strangled before their bodies were dumped in the desert.Few of those cases were ever properly investigated, but activists and mothers of the latest victims said Wednesday that they had pressured investigators and provided information that led to the suspects.One of the suspects ran a modeling agency, another a clothing store, a third a small grocery.“These businesses were used by the gang as a `hook’ to offer young women jobs. Once they obtained the information they needed from the women’s job applications, they used different techniques and other people to kidnap them or pressure them into forced prostitution, and the consumption and or sale of drugs,” the state attorney general’s office said. The difference from the earlier cases is that victims in Mexico are now much more empowered than in the 1990s, and prosecutors are more willing to listen. Moreover, with more than 24,000 people reported missing over the last six years in Mexico, a strong tradition has emerged of relatives taking it on themselves to carry out basic investigation tasks that police can’t or won’t do.“This was done with the creation of the investigative agency, our presence and the efforts of the mothers, who were the ones who provided leads from the beginning,” said Norma Ledesma, leader of the advocacy group Justice for Our Daughters. “They (the mothers) carried out their own investigation.”“Mothers today know their rights,” Ledesma said.A dozen sets of bones were found in January and February 2012 in fields in the Juarez Valley, a largely agricultural area. Little but bones were found, and the remains were in such bad condition that experts had trouble establishing ages, identities, causes of death and number of victims. But among those identified, there was a similarity in ages: two were 15, one was 16, two were 17 and one 19.According to prosecutors, after recruiting the women “with lies or threats,” or abducting them between 2009 and 2010, the suspects held them in forced servitude at a local hotel. There, an adult prostitute, one of those arrested, would keep an eye on them, bring them customers and report any escape attempts to another gang member who was in charge of punishing the captives. “Once the women were no longer useful for their illegal activities, they decided to kill them and abandon their bodies” in the Juarez Valley, just east of Ciudad Juarez, it said.Maria Garcia Reynosa, the mother of Jessica Leticia Pena Garcia, who was 15 when she disappeared in 2010, said she obtained video showing her daughter entering one of the suspects’ businesses, a boot shop, looking for work.Garcia Reynosa said that she had to do much of the investigative work herself, but that prosecutors finally listened to her and followed up the leads she provided on a hotel where she believed her daughter had been held. Unfortunately, it was too late by then; Jessica Leticia had been killed months earlier.“I gave them everything on a silver platter, and these dogs didn’t do anything,” she said of the original investigators. She said she had to battle to get key evidence introduced, and deal with detectives who didn’t take her leads seriously.“I’m in this for all of us,” she said of the victims’ mothers. “I feel that she (Jessica) is with me, helping me.”Finally this year, the state created a small team of investigators devoted to focusing on the murders. Garcia Andrade is convinced that drug cartels allowed, or had a hand in, the women’s disappearances and killings.“The organized crime gangs from Juarez operate in the Juarez Valley,” she said, “and nobody is dumping bodies in the Juarez Valley without their knowledge.”(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonacenter_img Some were forced to sell drugs, and killed if they didn’t turn in enough money.While Ledesma expressed satisfaction with the charges brought in the recent killings, she said it can’t end there.“We are not going to be convinced that it was just this small gang that was taking them away. There are higher-ups involved,” Ledesma said. “We are not going to be content with the capture of just the underlings if the leaders are still free.”Malu Garcia Andrade, who heads the activist group Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa, said she believes many of an estimate 80 other women who have gone missing in Ciudad Juarez in recent years may have fallen victim to the same or similar trafficking gangs.“We have a lot of cases of girls who disappeared in Ciudad Juarez, whose profile is the same, whose appearance is the same,” said Garcia Andrade, who brought a half-dozen victims’ relatives to Mexico City to demand action Wednesday. “The all had gone out to apply for jobs and then they disappeared.”Ciudad Juarez has long been a manufacturing hub, drawing workers from other parts of Mexico to its assembly plants. But the years from 2008 to 2011 were marked by an upsurge in drug cartel violence and an economic downturn in the area. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) – Mexican prosecutors have arrested 12 people in connection with the slayings of 11 young women whose skeletal remains were found near the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez early last year.The suspects include alleged drug dealers, pimps and small store owners. They allegedly belonged to a gang that forced young women into prostitution and drug dealing and then killed them when they were “no longer of use,” the prosecutors’ office for the northern state of Chihuahua said in a statement late Tuesday. Comments   Share   New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img
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Russia steps up propaganda push with online Kremlin trolls

first_imgSoshnikov, a reporter at the weekly Moi Rayon, or My Region, said there has been a new push in recent months to hire more English-speaking trolls as part of an effort to sway public opinion in the United States.“All of a sudden, (they) switch on Russia Today and realize that this is a holy land, Obama is a bloody dictator and true freedom of speech exists only in Russia.”In Serbia, trolls are recruited through several small right-wing parties that are both financially and politically supported by Russia, media analysts say.When Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was killed in Moscow in late February, the Serbian trolls were quick to react. “Who is to gain from this assassination but America? It must have been CIA,” was the dominant mantra that took hold in discussions on Serbian news sites. “Likes” went into the hundreds, while comments such as “Putin is responsible” received widespread ridicule.Serbs receive most of their information about Russia from Moscow-backed media, and the trolls reinforce the Kremlin line. The result is a widespread view in Serbia that the Kiev regime is neo-Nazi and that Putin was right to annex Crimea. Comments   Share   The Kremlin has always dabbled in propaganda, but in the past year its troll campaign has gone into overdrive, adding hundreds of online operatives to help counter Western pressure over its role in the pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine. The program is drawing Serbia away from its proclaimed EU membership path and closer to the Russian orbit, and is targeting Germany, the United States and other Western powers. The operation has worried the European Union enough to prompt it to draw up a blueprint for fighting Russia’s disinformation campaign, although details have not yet been released.Lyuda Savchuk, a single mother with two children, worked in the St. Petersburg “troll factory” until mid-March. The 34-year-old journalist said she had some idea of the Orwellian universe she was entering when she took the job, but underestimated its intensity and scope.“I knew it was something bad, but of course I never suspected that it was this horrible and this large-scale,” she said in an interview in her apartment, which has colorful drawings on the walls for her two preschool-age children.She described how the trolls manage several social media accounts under different nicknames, such as koka-kola23, green_margo and Funornotfun. Those in her department had to bash out 160 blog posts during a 12-hour shift. Trolls in other departments flooded the Internet with doctored images and pro-Putin commentary on news stories that crop up on Russian and Western news portals. Top Stories 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 “One of the consequences is the fact that popular support for the EU integration has dropped below 50 percent for the first time since democratic change in Serbia in 2000,” said Jelena Milic, a political analyst at the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies, in Belgrade. “It is going to be very hard to recover this public support.”In Germany, the foreign ministry has tried to counter the propaganda by issuing a memo to its diplomats on how to debunk some of the standard Russian arguments about the Ukraine conflict.For instance, the memo answers the statement that “fascists are in power in Kiev” by noting that radical and far-right groups made up only a small proportion of the demonstrators who ousted the Russia-friendly president, and that far-right parties did very poorly in subsequent parliamentary and presidential elections._____Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Sponsored Stories center_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona In this picture taken on Sunday, April 19, 2015, a women enters the four-story building known as the “troll factory” in St. Petersburg, Russia. The “troll factory” is where hundreds of young Russians work around the clock writing blogs and posting comments on the Internet staunchly supporting President Vladimir Putin and attacking the West. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies In some departments, she said, the trolls receive daily talking points on what to write and what emotions to evoke. “It seems to me that they don’t know what they are doing,” Savchuk said. “They simply repeat what they are told.”She said most of the trolls are young and are attracted by relatively high monthly salaries of 40,000 to 50,000 rubles ($800 to $1,000).Her descriptions of the work coincide with those of other former trolls who have spoken publicly, although Savchuk is one of the few willing to have her full name published. She quit after a little more than two months, after finding she couldn’t stand being part of a propaganda machine.The trolls are employed by Internet Research, which Russian news reports say is financed by a holding company headed by Putin’s friend and personal chef. Those who have worked there say they have little doubt that the operation is run from the Kremlin.St. Petersburg journalist Andrei Soshnikov, who was one of the first to report on the “troll factory,” said about 400 people work in the building. A video he posted on YouTube this spring gave a rare glimpse inside the building; in one room trolls were shown sitting shoulder-to-shoulder at their computers. The operation moved into the building when it expanded in March 2014, the month Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine and provoked the first round of Western economic sanctions. ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Deep inside a four-story marble building in St. Petersburg, hundreds of workers tap away at computers on the front lines of an information war, say those who have been inside. Known as “Kremlin trolls,” the men and women work 12-hour shifts around the clock, flooding the Internet with propaganda aimed at stamping President Vladimir Putin’s world vision on Russia, and the world. 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Mexican soccer star Blanco apparent winner of mayoral race

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican soccer star Cuauhtemoc Blanco has apparently been elected mayor of Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City.Preliminary counts published Monday show the former star forward won 25.7 percent of the votes cast in Sunday’s election, well ahead of his nearest rival, who had 21.2 percent.Blanco ran on the ticket of the tiny Social Democrat Party.The 42-year-old former national team star jumped into the campaign after retiring on April 21. He had played limited minutes off the bench for the first-division Puebla team this year, and was earlier with the Chicago Fire in the MLS. His lack of political experience had raised doubts among some.Known for his pugilistic playing style, Blanco was equally combative at a victory news conference.“Now I’ve screwed them,” he said of his rivals.Another soccer figure also got involved in Mexico’s midterm elections on Sunday.National team coach Miguel Herrera, best known for his emotional sideline celebrations in the last World Cup, drew criticism for tweeting slogans supporting the Green Party.Herrera on Sunday tweeted “don’t forget to vote, let’s go with the Greens,” and “The Greens fulfill” their promises.Green was traditionally the Mexican national team’s color, but the “The Greens Fulfill” was a party campaign slogan.Electoral law forbids campaigning by parties on election day, but Green Party officials say they had nothing to do with Herrera’s tweets.Herrera was prickly and defensive about the tweets at a news conference Sunday, after the national team lost 2-0 in a friendly match with Brazil.“I’m a human being, I’m a normal Mexican citizen, with statements that I can make in social media,” Herrera said. “It’s simply a personal situation.” Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top Stories How men can have a healthy 2019 Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Mexican soccer star Cuauhtemoc Blanco, left, gives the thumbs up sign during a news conference with Eduardo Bordonave, Morelos state president of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), in Cuernavaca, Mexico during election day Sunday, June 7, 2015. Blanco has apparently been elected mayor of Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City. Known for his pugilistic playing style, Blanco was equally combative at a victory news conference. “Now I’ve screwed them,” he said of his rivals. (AP Photo/Tony Rivera) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

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Vanuatu villagers wait for eternal life from Prince Philip

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober YAKEL, Vanuatu (AP) — Standing under his sacred banyan tree, Albi Nagia sings as he cracks open a coconut with a few deft strikes from his bush machete. He chews the meat inside and spits it out in a shower, to the delight of the gathering chickens.He is praying to Prince Philip. Yes, that Prince Philip: the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, who celebrates his 94th birthday on Wednesday.In England, the former naval officer is known as a sports enthusiast who’s a bit cantankerous at times and prone to saying the wrong thing. To several hundred people living in a handful of remote villages on Tanna island in the tropical Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu, he’s much more. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Lamont Lindstrom, an anthropology professor at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, said people on Tanna traditionally talk to a variety of spirits and can increase their stature in society through storytelling and prophecy.“The people believe in everything and nothing,” he says.Lindstrom said that while the Prince Philip movement might have begun organically enough, it may have been encouraged by British officials stationed in Vanuatu who saw it as a counterpoint to the John Frum movement, which drew inspiration from France and the United States.In recent years, the Prince Philip movement may again have been bolstered by the west. Nagia and Joseph were among five locals who in 2007 were flown to England by the British reality show “Meet the Natives.” The five met Philip privately at Windsor Castle.“Meeting him was just wonderful,” says Joseph. “It’s just like being in a spiritual world.”He said the village chiefs wanted the five to ask Philip a specific question in the form of an allegory, but they ended up asking the wrong one. They asked: Was the pawpaw ripe? Joseph says Philip responded: It’s too cold in England.Joseph says only the chiefs can decipher what the allegory about the tropical fruit, also called a papaya, really means. But if he was to guess, he says, it’s that it was not yet time for Philip to visit Tanna. Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies A trickle of curious outsiders continues to visit these remote villages, which may be helping to sustain the movement and to encourage the ancient way of living. One such outsider is Jerzy Grebosz, a Polish computer scientist and nuclear physicist who often spends his vacation time living in Yakel, wearing nothing but slip-on shoes and a nambas.“For me, travel in space is obvious, I’m from Europe. But travel in time — I’m just like going back 2,000 years with this experience,” he says. “Meeting these people, talking to them, sharing their problems, helping them sometimes. You really touch the culture, inside. So I’m very happy that they considered me as a friend.”However, the one Westerner many here really want to see has never come.“Philip, your father lived there,” says Nagia, pointing to the mountain. “We came to England to visit you. You must come. We love you.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes “Here in Tanna, we believe that Prince Philip is the son of our God, our ancestral God who lives up in the mountain,” says Nako Nikien, who prefers to go by the name Jimmy Joseph.Joseph said it’s become a tradition to talk, or pray, to Philip each evening, when villagers from Yaohnanen and Yakel gather in their meeting places and share an intoxicating brew made from kava plants.“We ask him to increase the production of our crops in the garden, or to give us the sun, or rain,” Joseph says, pausing. “And it happens.”Those prayers became more pressing after Cyclone Pam ripped through Tanna in March, killing at least five on the island of 30,000 and destroying homes and crops.Both Nagia and Joseph are members of the Prince Philip movement, an unusual cult that developed in a place where people still choose to live as they have for centuries, in simple thatch huts and wearing nothing but grass skirts or a penis shield called a nambas.Known as kastom, it’s a traditional way of life that’s under threat from the spread of Western civilization. Down a winding, rutted dirt track far from anywhere, people feel free to live this way, but when they make the trek to the island’s main town to sell the coffee beans they grow or buy rice, they usually put on clothes. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Joseph says he believes that the spirit of Philip, who was born in Greece, comes from Tanna and that one day he will return. On that day, he says, the fish will leap from the sea and life will become eternal. He says he’s not worried that Philip is aging and may soon die.“The movement will always continue,” he says. “And, from my opinion, or from what we believe, the spirit in Prince Philip won’t die.”It’s unclear how the movement began. It appears to have grown in the 1960s as an offshoot or rival to another unusual island movement, the John Frum cargo cult. That cult began around the 1930s and got a boost when U.S. servicemen were posted to Vanuatu during World War II.Followers believe the mysterious John Frum will one day return from afar and bring spiritual and material wealth. They have adopted symbols like the American flag and once a year they march, drill-style, while carrying imitation rifles fashioned from bamboo sticks.Joseph said the John Frum movement grew at a difficult time, as elders tried to cling to traditional beliefs and prophecies but were mocked and imprisoned for them as Christianity took hold.The Prince Philip movement got a boost when Philip and the queen visited Vanuatu in 1974 on the royal yacht Britannia, although the prince never set foot on Tanna island. Elders later sent Philip a club from Tanna, and he sent them back a photograph showing him holding it, which the elders took as a further sign that he was The One. Comments   Share   4 must play golf courses in Arizona In this Sunday, May 31, 2015 photo, Albi Nagia poses with photographs of Prince Philip in Yakel, Tanna island, Vanuatu. Nagia is part of a movement which worships the prince as the son of their ancestral God. (AP Photo/Nick Perry)last_img read more

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165 million rand security upgrade for South African Airports

first_imgAirports Company South Africa has spent 165 million rand upgrading security across the country’s international airports in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup. The new security measures, which include electronic baggage scanners, have been put to the test this week as 300,000 World Cup fans begin arriving in South Africa. Tebogo Mekgoe, the assistant general manager at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, said the security upgrade would help South Africa’s airports lose their notorious reputation for baggage theft.”Three years ago, we used to have about 40 cases of theft reported per day.”  He also acknowledged the fact that international travellers are often warned of baggage handlers’ sticky fingers. The US embassy website has described theft at OR Tambo as a “serious problem” and encourages travellers to use locks on their luggage, while Britain’s embassy recommends vacuum-wrapping checked bags in plastic. Despite these recommendations, Mekgoe said the airport authority has been able to reduce luggage theft to “almost nothing.” According to Mekgoe, they have achieved this by hiring all new baggage handlers, creating a “baggage reaction team” and switching to electronic scanners that track bags from check-in to loading on the plane.”This new technology has remarkably reduced cases of pilferage,” Mekgoe told reporters. He said OR Tambo had not received a single baggage theft complaint during the 2009 Confederations Cup, which was seen as a warm-up tournament for the World Cup. However, the problem has not been completely resolved. South African Airways, the country’s largest carrier, reports theft from two out of every 1,000 bags, a problem the airline has blamed on organised crime. But the airport authority insisted its security measures are solid.”The technology we use is world-class and our security staff undergo regular, highly specialised training. As a result, well over 700 prohibited items are detected on a daily basis at our airports countrywide,” spokesman Solomon Makgale said.”The reported breach is therefore a rare occurrence,” he added. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/292ce/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

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14 killed in blazing Venezuelan plane crash

first_imgAt least 14 people were killed when a domestic passenger plane carrying 47 passengers and four crew crashed Monday in southeastern Venezuela.Thirty-three people miraculously survived the plane crash, en route to the resort city of Isla Margarita, the AFP reported. The plane burst into flames and almost split in half as it crash landed in the state of Bolivar.”A total of 33 people are being cared for at different clinics,” Bolivar governor Francisco Rangel Gomez said.”We have 14 bodies that are being identified and we are searching for four people [in the wreckage].” The scene was quickly tended to by rescuers, with medical helicopters on hand to transport the wounded to nearby hospitals on alert. A burns unit was also present to treat victims of the wreckage.”Unfortunately we do have deaths but… given the condition of the plane, I think that we were lucky,” Transport and Communications Minister Francisco Garces said. The Conviasa Airlines ATR-42-300 plane went down about six miles (10 kilometres) from Puerto Ordaz. The cause of the crash was not immediately apparent, the report said. A spokesperson for ATR, the aircraft manufacturer, said the firm was investigating the accident. Preliminary investigations suggest that the pilot “lost control” of the plane, having radioed into a control tower to warn of technical difficulties onboard, the governor said. According to satellite data from AccuWeather.com, a thunderstorm was in the vicinity of the airport at takeoff, with lightning data yet to be made available. Venezuela last encountered an air disaster in February 2008, also involving an ATR-42-300, which crashed in the Andes and killed 46 people. In 2005, human error on a Venezuelan plane crash killed 160 people in what was one of the world’s deadliest. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Clast_img read more

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Tourism Qld postpones campaign launch

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Tourism Queensland has decided to postpone its major marketing campaign for the year, saying it would wait for the “dust to settle” following the spate of natural disasters which ravaged the State recently.An additional $10 million has been pumped into the tourism body by State and Federal Governments, to be used in both domestic and international marketing campaigns to lure visitors back to the State.Speaking at AIME, Tourism Queensland CEO, Anthony Hayes launched a five year strategy for its incentive market, which will promote the state to the world as a top destination for business travellers. “Tourism Queensland is partnering with Queensland’s convention bureaus on a collaborative global incentive strategy which aims to position Queensland as the region’s leading incentive travel destination,” Mr Hayes said.“The campaign aims to increase the understanding from incentive houses and companies about Queensland’s unique destinations and diverse, quality experiences.”The campaign will include a new trade website, www.queenslandincentives.com which will feature information on key destinations including Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, The Whitsundays, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns. “Tourism Queensland has now taken the initiative to create this collaborative strategy which will enhance the great work already undertaken by the convention bureaus and industry to promote Queensland,” Mr Hayes said.“The primary goal of the strategy is to further raise consumer, trade and industry awareness of Queensland’s multitude of quality incentive offerings in Tourism Queensland’s key international markets and in emerging incentive markets.“By engaging with key influencers and those who organise incentive travel programs, Tourism Queensland will aim to trigger broad levels of awareness and, in turn, generate sales leads.”With direct engagement with both consumer and trade, the strategy according to Mr Hayes is to pass on leads generated by the campaign and its tools onto the convention bureaus.”We really need to get into this space as aggressive as we can,” he said.Representing between $300 to $400 million for the State in trackable business, Mr Hayes said the incentives market was both lucrative and more reliable than the leisure market.last_img read more

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