Industry knowledge reliability why I joined The Travel Agent Next Door

first_img About Latest Posts Jill WykesJill Wykes is a travel industry veteran who has held a series of senior management portfolios in travel corporations. A former chairman of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario, she is now an independent communications consultant and writer since retiring in 2011. Latest posts by Jill Wykes (see all) Dispelling the myths against going home-based – May 22, 2019 Diversity pays off when agents go home-based: Survey – April 10, 2019 National Travel Agent survey suggests many agents considering going home-based – March 13, 2019 Share Wednesday, October 19, 2016 Tags: Sphere << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img By: Jill Wykes, The Travel Agent Next Door The Travel Agent Next Door asked some of its 280+ travel agents and associate agents what they’ve been able to take off their plate since they joined the fastest-growing agency network in Canada.Agents were also asked them what they would most recommend most about The Travel Agent Next Door to other agents, and why they should join.This column features Jerry Goudreault, AJ Travel the World with Pride, Ottawa.The top 3 things I no longer have to do now that I’m part of The Travel Agent Next Door:Commission splittingBasic accountingBack-office support of new staff, e.g. initial training, initial accounts, password setup, etc.The top 3 reasons I would recommend other agencies join The Travel Agent Next Door:Their professionalismTheir reliability to deliver on what they promiseTheir business and industry knowledge Industry knowledge, reliability: why I joined The Travel Agent Next Doorlast_img read more

Eat your fears NC restaurant serving limitedtime tarantula burgers

first_img Share Friday, April 20, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> I ate a tarantula and I got a t-shirt @BullCityBurger #wral— Kathy Hanrahan (@WRALeighWood) April 12, 2018In an interview with Reuters, restaurant owner Seth Gross said that he only gets 15 farm-raised tarantulas each year. Anyone who wants to sample one has to fill out a lottery ticket; if their name is drawn they have two days to collect – and eat – their prize.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyThe challenge kicked off on April 4, and will continue every day while supplies last, reports USA Today.But be prepared to pay up – the Tarantula Burger, which comes complete with gruyere cheese, spicy chili sauce and a side of ‘Dirty Fries’ will set you back a hefty $30. But the upside? If you eat the whole thing, you’ll receive a limited-edition Tarantula Challenge t-shirt, plus bragging rights for the rest of your life. Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Eat your fears: NC restaurant serving limited-time tarantula burgers DURHAM, NC — Waiter, quick, there’s a tarantula in my burger!But wait, before you ask to speak with the manager, that tarantula is supposed to be sitting atop your patty, looking chargrilled to perfection and frightening as hell.Bull City Burger and Brewery in Durham, North Carolina is causing stomachs to churn with its new ‘Tarantula Burger’, the star dish for its annual ‘Exotic Meat Month’. In past years, the eatery has served up everything from iguana and camel to alligator and creepy-crawly insects.Sounds gross? Maybe, but you’d be surprised by how many people go ga-ga over gross.Martha did it yesterday, Randall did it today, and now it’s David D’s turn to give it a shot!David D. ticket # 907656 give us a call and claim your tarantula burger.— Bull City Burger (@BullCityBurger) April 6, 2018 Tags: WTF This is Martha. Martha successfully ate a burger, topped with a tarantula this evening. Think you could? Sign up for the challenge & if your name is chosen, you’ll have the chance. #BCBBExoticMeats #BCBBExotixMeatMonth** Next up? Randall K., ticket no. 907647 – give us a call— Bull City Burger (@BullCityBurger) April 6, 2018last_img read more

Transats Solo Collection wins backtoback award

first_img Friday, November 2, 2018 Posted by Tags: Awards, Transat Share MONTREAL — Transat has been recognized once again for its Solo Collection, winning the Solo Travel Award in the Vacation Packages category for the second straight year.Organized by the Solo Traveler online resource, this second edition highlighted the accomplishments of eight companies that stand out for their excellent services for those who travel alone.Since 2015, Transat’s Solo Collection has made it possible for solos to enjoy a stay in an all-inclusive resort without having to pay a singles supplement. In addition, several perks are provided to enhance their stay, including a shared table for meals as well as free Wi-Fi and room service where available.The Collection, which started with just 17 resorts at 10 destinations in seven countries, has grown in just three years to now include 39 resorts at 19 destinations in 10 countries.In addition to the Solo Collection, Transat’s Sun packages also include the Luxury, Distinction and Family Collections.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in July“We are delighted to have won this honour once again. This recognition validates our efforts to meet the needs of this growing clientele. It encourages us to move forward and continue to develop programs and products that meet the unique expectations of each type of traveller,” said Annick Guérard, Transat’s Chief Operating Officer.center_img Travelweek Group Transat’s Solo Collection wins back-to-back award << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Keanu Reeves goes on a road trip with strangers after their flight

first_img Posted by Travelweek Group Keanu Reeves goes on a road trip with strangers after their flight makes emergency landing Share << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img BAKERSFIELD — When you’re stuck on a bus in the middle of nowhere, Keanu Reeves is probably your best bet to get you home safely.The actor, known for saving a hijacked bus in the blockbuster movie ‘Speed’, found himself stranded at an airport along with other United Airlines passengers after their flight from San Francisco to Burbank was forced to redirect to Bakersfield due to a mechanical indication.via GIPHYRather than wait for another flight out, Reeves and a small group of passengers decided to board a bus (okay, it was more like an oversized minivan) for the two-hour drive to L.A. – and someone did us all a favour by documenting the whole thing on social media!“That time when your flight out from #GDC almost crashes and you have to emergency land in a remote airport but at least Keanu Reeves is having as bad a day as you are,” Twitter user Amir Blum, a passenger on the flight, posted along with a photo of him and the 54-year-old actor.That time when your flight out from #GDC almost crashes and you have to emergency land in a remote airport but at least Keanu Reeves is having as bad a day as you are.— Amir Blum (Unboxed) (@CheesyJedi) March 24, 2019In other videos taken by passengers, Reeves is seen speaking with airport officials to presumably save the day (once an action hero, always an action hero!), and sharing factoids about Bakersfield with his fellow road-trippers while onboard the van.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise rates“The population is around 380,000, making it the ninth most populous city in California and the 52nd most populous city in the nation,” he reads from a pamphlet.Reeves then hilariously plays some Bakersfield Sound (a genre of country music developed in Bakersfield in the late 1950s) from his phone, and shares the fact that he has a “Gatorade, water and a banana”, presumably to share with his fellow riders.At the end of the journey, Reeves is seen walking away into a Carl’s Jr., because who wouldn’t want to chow down on some burgers after a long road trip?keanu got stranded somewhere in california and had to take a bus instead of a plane and some guy filmed the entire experience and i am BEGGING yall to watch this— ᴄ ᴀ ᴛ (@keanusgf) March 24, 2019The videos prove that Reeves is just a regular guy who isn’t immune to travel mishaps like the rest of us. And if the whole movie star thing doesn’t work out for him, we think he’d be a great spokesman for the Bakersfield Tourism Board! Tags: Bakersfield, Celebrities, Funny Wednesday, March 27, 2019 last_img read more

Tropical Storm Barry threatens a long slow drenching

first_imgTropical Storm Barry threatens a long, slow drenching NEW ORLEANS — Building toward hurricane strength, Tropical Storm Barry began hitting Louisiana with wind and rain Friday as it closed in what could be a long, slow – and epic – drenching that could trigger flooding in and around New Orleans.With the storm expected to blow ashore by early Saturday, National Guard troops and rescue crews were stationed around the state with boats and high-water vehicles, helicopters were on standby, drinking water and blankets were made ready for distribution, utility crews with bucket trucks moved into position, and homeowners sandbagged their property or packed up and left.National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said pockets of Louisiana could get as much as 25 inches (63 centimetres) of rain. Some low-lying roads near the coast were already covered with water Friday morning as the tide rose and the storm pushed water in from the Gulf of Mexico.Graham said that Barry had a “small chance, maybe” of becoming the first hurricane of the Atlantic season as it comes ashore, but added: “That’s not the point here.” The real danger, he said, is not the wind but the rain.New Orleans could get its worst drenching in decades, possibly eclipsing the city’s wettest day on record – 12.24 inches (32 centimetres)- on May 8, 1995, forecasters said. The storm could also shatter Baton Rouge’s one-day record rainfall of 11.99 inches (30 centimetres) from April 14, 1967.The downpours are expected to pose a severe test of the improvements made in New Orleans’ flood defences since the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.The Mississippi River is already running abnormally high because of heavy spring rains and snowmelt upstream, and the ground around New Orleans is soggy because of an 8-inch drenching on Wednesday.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is back“There are three ways that Louisiana can flood: storm surge, high rivers and rain,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “We’re going to have all three.”Edwards said on Thursday that authorities do not expect the river to spill over its levees, but cautioned that a change in the storm’s direction or intensity could alter that.President Donald Trump declared a federal emergency for Louisiana, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to co-ordinate relief efforts.As of Friday morning, Barry was about 95 miles (155 kilometres) southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi, with winds around 50 mph (80 kph), well short of the 74 mph (119 kph) hurricane threshold.Tracking forecasts showed the brunt of the storm blowing into the Louisiana delta west of New Orleans on a path that could continue toward Chicago, swelling the Mississippi River basin with water that must eventually flow south again.About 10,000 people in Plaquemines Parish on Louisiana’s low-lying southeastern tip were ordered evacuated on Thursday.Among the last to leave were 65-year-old Clarence Brocks and his family. The Plaquemines Parish native evacuated many times before and had to rebuild after Katrina wiped out his home. But he said he wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.“I was born and raised here. This is all I know,” the Air Force veteran said. “I’ve been all over the world and guess where I want to be at? Right here.”With lightning flashing in the distance and some streets already covered with water from heavy rains, shoppers at an Albertsons grocery store in Baton Rouge stripped shelves bare of bread. Half the bottled water was gone.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthKaci Douglas and her 15-year-old son, Juan Causey, were among dozens filling sandbags at a fire station in Baton Rouge. She planned to put the bags around the door of her townhouse. “I told my son it’s better to be safe than sorry,” she said.Meanwhile, utility crews who may be needed after the storm filled hotel parking lots along Interstate 59 in southern Mississippi.New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Thursday that the pumping system that drains the city’s streets was working as designed after the rain and flash floods earlier this week but that Barry could dump water faster than the pumps can move it.“We cannot pump our way out of the water levels … that are expected to hit the city of New Orleans,” she warned.However, the city did not plan to order evacuations because Barry was so close and because it was not expected to grow into a major hurricane. Officials instead advised people to keep at least three days of supplies on hand and to keep their neighbourhood storm drains clear so water can move quickly.Hurricane Katrina caused catastrophic flooding in New Orleans 14 years ago and was blamed altogether for more than 1,800 deaths in Louisiana and other states, by some estimates.In its aftermath, the Army Corps of Engineers began a multibillion-dollar hurricane-protection system that isn’t complete. The work included repairs and improvements to some 350 miles (560 kilometres) of levees and more than 70 pump stations that are used to remove floodwaters. By: The Associated Press Share Tags: Louisiana, Tropical Storm Friday, July 12, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Puerto Viejo Rundown

first_imgCelebrate Caribbean cacao with chocolate all weekend in the South Caribbean. It’s the 1st Annual Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival. Starting Friday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m., you can check out the opening events at Stashu’s con Fusion. Meet and speak with local chocolate tour and workshop hosts, sample wine and local chocolates and even locally-brewed chocolate beer.On Saturday, Oct. 27, our weekly Farmer’s Market will take on a new flavor. Chocolate will take center stage. Tours and workshops will be offered. After the market, there will be a meeting at the Casa de Cultura. Be there at noon for a class on cacao and chocolate judging, which will be followed by the judging of local products. All afternoon there will be stands at the cultural center from a variety of indigenous and small local chocolate producers. At 3p.m., Pure Jungle Spa will offer chocolate-based treatments, at 4 p.m. Head over to Bread and Chocolate for more tasting and specialty chocolate product fun. The celebrating continues into the evening.On Sunday, Oct. 28, CariBeans will offer an open house from 3-5 p.m. at their new Chocolate Tasting Lounge at OM in Cocles. For more detailed information on schedules and events, find the festival on Facebook:  Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival. -Kristin Gilbert Ramí Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Tamarindo Talk

first_imgThe Voodoo Lounge is under new ownership and opened for a Halloween party on October 31.It will continue to stay open as a restaurant.Ellen Zoe Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img

Brazil orders Google to hand over Street View data

first_imgNo related posts. BRASÍLIA, Brazil – Brazilian judges have given U.S. Internet search giant Google until Saturday to turn over private data collected through its Street View program, press reports said Thursday.Failure to do so would mean a daily fine of $50,000, up to a maximum of $500,000.Google equips cars with cameras and antennas to take photos of streets and houses, which are later posted to a feature in its maps program called Street View.The photos are pieced together online to create a map that a person on a street would see.According to a complaint from the Brazilian Institute of Computer Policy and Rights (IBDI), the car-borne software also enables Street View to access private Wi-Fi networks and intercept personal data and electronic communications.IBDI pointed to similar occurences in other parts of the world and demanded that Google reveal if it had engaged in such practices.It said Google had admitted collecting data while insisting they were not used “in its products and services. The U.S. search engine stressed that it had now removed the data collection software from its vehicles.The case followed press disclosures, based on documents leaked by U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, of massive U.S. cyberspying in Brazil.Targets included President Dilma Rousseff’s communications, those of state-run energy giant Petrobras and emails and telephone calls of millions of Brazilians.Google has denied any link to the U.S. electronic snooping, mainly conducted by the powerful National Security Agency (NSA).But files obtained from Snowden, who is in exile in Russia and sought by U.S. authorities for violation of espionage laws, indicated that NSA can collect data sent by fiber optic cable between Google and Yahoo data hubs.Google told the court the debate on data collection took place in several countries some time ago and was now closed.It did admit that its software can intercept signals from open Wi-Fi networks.Google also said it had been in contact with authorities of countries where these incidents occurred, but in the case of Brazil there was no relevant legislation nor a regulatory body.Google and other leading tech companies have expressed opposition to the creation of Brazil-based databases of local customer information, as proposed by Brasilia in a bid to combat foreign spying.Google says in principle it backs proposed legislation enshrining an Internet civil rights framework, dubbed Marco Civil de Internet in Brazil.But it has warned that a proposed amendment to Marco Civil requiring Internet firms to store Brazilian user data in Brazil “risks denying Brazilian users access to great services that are provided by U.S. and other international companies.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Honduras nabs alleged drug lord wanted in US

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Honduran brothers charged in cocaine-trafficking case US general sees anti-drug effort faltering in Latin America as funding declines Dutch seize huge cocaine shipment hidden in cassava roots from Costa Rica Honduran football and banking magnates indicted on money laundering charges in US A suspected Honduran drug lord wanted by the United States has been arrested while shopping in a bakery, an official said Thursday.Carlos Arnaldo Lobo, also known as “Negro Lobo,” or black wolf, was picked up in the city of San Pedro Sula, some 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of the capital Tegucigalpa, said Carlos Vallecillo, spokesman for the police anti-drug agency.Last May, prosecutors seized bank accounts and property owned by Lobo worth an estimated 2.7 million dollars. The charges against him were drug trafficking and money laundering.Central America is a key transit point for cocaine being shipped from South America to the United States.It has led to an epidemic of violence in the region’s poor countries like Honduras, which now has the world’s highest murder rate as gangs fight over drug trafficking routes.A judge will now decide on whether to extradite Lobo.In 2012, the Honduran Congress approved a constitutional reform allowing the extradition of Honduran suspects for drug trafficking and terrorism. Until then, this was possible only for foreigners.last_img read more

Nicaragua prostitutes study law to help others in trouble

first_imgRelated posts:Nicaraguan man found guilty of raping, killing US missionary Costa Rica defenseman Óscar Duarte delivers autographed jersey to Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega 35 years after Somoza’s overthrow, not much for Nicaragua to celebrate Nicaragua’s only billionaire says luxury resort can lift economy MATAGALPA, Nicaragua — Cony’s usual work clothes are tight-fitting outfits that show off her curves as she waits for clients at the bar.But today she has put on a modest flower-print dress to attend her first law class, one of 60 sex workers who are training to become volunteer “facilitators” in the Nicaraguan justice system.Cony — short for Concepcion Jarquín — learned early on to survive in a hostile world, and now hopes to use her street sense to help others defend themselves.Raped by a neighbor at age six, she dropped out of school in shame and left home to escape the rebukes of her mother, who blamed her for what happened.Forty years and countless humiliations later, this lively, smiling woman is studying part-time in a conference room at the Supreme Court to learn the basics of the Nicaraguan civil and criminal codes.She will then be sworn in to act as a liaison between residents of her impoverished neighborhood and an often inaccessible justice system.The free, year-long course, which meets once every two months, was organized by the Sunflowers Sex Workers’ Association, a group set up three years ago to help prostitutes get medical care and professional training.It is part of a broader initiative that has trained 4,300 facilitators across Nicaragua in the past 17 years to mediate in neighborhood conflicts — arguments between neighbors, disputes over money, etc. — or get help from support groups or the police in more serious cases.The program has been so successful at reducing the caseload of the overburdened court system that eight other Latin American countries have adopted it.But this is the first time sex workers are taking part.Maria Davila, the head of the Sunflowers association, said prostitutes are ideal for the job.“We are fighters who know how to overcome and find bread to feed our families,” she said at the inauguration of the program.“We are women with rights and abilities…capable of helping our sisters and their families.”Helping others escape abuse For Cony, it is a chance to serve her community and regain some of the dignity lost doing her other job.“Seeing a stranger on top of you is horrible. It’s not a dignified job. It’s disgusting. But that’s how we feed our children,” she told AFP at the small shack made of scrap wood and plastic where she lives in the city of Matagalpa.Cony, who has light brown skin and delicate features, turned to prostitution to raise her two children, and continues working to support her three grandchildren.She has slept with men of nearly every kind imaginable, she said: “Farmers, office workers, college graduates, pastors, priests, politicians….”Nicaragua, a country of six million people, has some 14,000 prostitutes.Often they are abused by clients, targeted for rapes and muggings, have no health care and face discrimination by the police.Another woman taking part in the course, Alondra — her name has been changed at her request — described the horrors sex workers can face.“I was raped twice. Once by a gang of 10 people in Managua. I nearly lost my mind,” she said.The 36-year-old, who does not earn enough to make ends meet in her day job as a housekeeper, said she hopes to help others escape the abuse she has faced.“I’m going to enrich myself more, empower myself more and use what I learn to help people,” she said.There is no shortage of conflicts to resolve in these women’s neighborhoods.In Cony’s, for example — a slum called Sor Maria — neighbors live practically on top of each other in tiny shacks made of plastic and scrap metal. The only source of water is a truck that passes every two days selling it in jugs.Disputes, fights and domestic violence are a daily reality.Yesenia Alston, a 35-year-old participant in the program, said she is “proud to be a sex worker” but also looking forward to doing more in her community.The course “is an opportunity to help our families and our fellow sex workers, to use the knowledge we’re acquiring to defend our rights,” she said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Guatemalas Pérez Molina could face impeachment

first_img Facebook Comments Recommended: In Guatemala, anti-establishment presidential candidate benefits from corruption scandalsPresident Otto Pérez Molina’s future is in the hands of five congressmen after the Supreme Court gave the legislature the green light to decide whether he should be stripped of his prosecutorial immunity so that he can be tried for corruption charges.The court’s verdict was announced Thursday after Congressman Amílcar Pop Ac, of the indigenous Winaq party, filed a complaint arguing that there are sufficient grounds to prosecute Pérez Molina for corruption charges. Since doing so, Congressman Pop claims he has been subjected to death threats.Pérez Molina is accused of involvement in two major corruption scandals: a massive customs fraud network known as “La Línea” that involved a number of top government officials, and corruption charges involving a $14.5 million dialysis contract granted by the Guatemalan Social Security Institute (IGSS).One of the most potentially incriminating pieces of evidence are telephone conversations recorded by the International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) as part of the investigation into the La Línea case that contain references to “the president.”More damaging evidence could emerge as Francisco Javier Ortiz Arriaga, known as “Teniente Jerez,” one of the ringleaders of La Línea, is seeking to be included in a witness protection program in exchange for providing detailed information of how the customs fraud structure operated and exactly who was involved.Vice President Roxana Baldetti, who was forced to resign on May 8, has been banned from leaving the country. Her U.S. visa has been revoked, her bank accounts and those of her husband have been frozen and her properties have been searched by police as part of the ongoing investigation. A number of telephone recordings contain references to “La Dos” (“No. 2”), “La R,” and “La Señora.”Despite the fact that he faces intense pressure from civil society to step down, Pérez Molina is adamant that he will not resign. “I will remain in my position; I was constitutionally appointed and I will face this [CICIG’s investigation into the case],” he said Thursday in a press conference.In Congress’ handsAn extraordinary congressional hearing was held Friday in order to elect a five-member commission to analyze Congressman Pop’s arguments. Following the procedure established under Guatemalan law, each member of the house was assigned a number, and two members of Congress were asked to draw five random numbers from a raffle.The five selected members are: Baudilio Hichos López, Hugo Fernando García Gudiel and Juan Armando Chuy Chanchavac from the LIDER party, independent Congressman Mario Santiago Linares, and Hugo Morán Tobar, from the CREO party.Several of these congressmen have a tainted track record, which could hinder the credibility of the commission.Throughout his two decades in Congress, Hichos López, who presides the newly appointed commission, has switched from the Nationalist Change Union (UCN) party, to the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) and then to LIDER, a practice known as transfuguismo in Spanish. During his brief period as vice minister of agriculture under the administration of Alfonso Portillo (2000-2004), he was accused of trafficking protected plant species, and more recently, he was accused of nepotism and profitting from state contracts in the eastern department of Chiquimula.García Gudiel recently defected from the Patriot Party (PP), and according to investigations published by El Periódico newspaper, owns at least three mansions in Guatemala City, a Monterrico beach resort and Atitlán. One of these properties has been valued in $2.5 million, a sum that far exceeds his income as a member of Congress.Linares also abandoned the PP in late 2014. Morán Tobar, 30, who switched from the PAN party to CREO is part of a cohort of young members of Congress known as dipukids. They were voted into office in 2011, but hopes that their arrival would bring a breath of fresh air into a legislature dominated by a culture of graft soon floundered as they failed to bring about any significant change.Once the commission has reached a verdict, Congress will vote on whether or not to accept its recommendation. If Congress decides to strip Pérez Molina of his immunity he could face a process similar to impeachment. His party, the PP, currently holds 35 of the 158 seats in the legislature.See also: Resignation rumors of Guatemala’s Pérez Molina grow after fourth week of protests Jumping shipIn the wake of the recent corruption scandals, many PP congressmen switched their party allegiance to Lider, which now has 62 of the 158 seats in Congress and is leading the polls.The legislature faces intense pressure from voters to allow Pérez Molina to be tried for corruption – demonstrators gathered outside Congress on Friday and thousands of protesters held another peaceful march on Saturday calling for Pérez Molina’s ouster. Nevertheless, the PP is expected to seek an agreement with Lider to secure a favorable outcome for the president. Riot police stand guard as indigenous people protest for the release of other protesters being held inside a bus by the National Civil Police after they participated in demonstrations to demand the resignation of Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina in Guatemala City late on June 13. Johan Ordónez / AFPIt is also unclear whether pressures from the U.S. Embassy could influence the commission’s decision. Although pressure from the U.S. Embassy was unofficially mentioned as one of the key reasons that forced former Vice President Roxana Baldetti to step down on May 8, the Obama administration in the U.S. is perceived as being supportive of allowing Pérez Molina to finish his term in office, as not doing so could jeopardize governance and stability.On June 1, U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Todd Robinson announced that his government would support Guatemala’s fight against corruption by subjecting officials from the internal revenue service to polygraph tests. The photographs of Robinson speaking from Pérez Molina’s lectern while the president stood beside him with his head bowed, drew widespread criticism and accusations of U.S. interference in domestic affairs.However, on Friday, Robinson denied the claims and said the Obama administration “would be willing to work with whoever is in charge.”“The commission will face pressure from different quarters, including civil society and Uncle Sam. It won’t be surprising if the PP and LIDER try to bribe the members of the commission in order to influence their final verdict,” constitutional lawyer Gabriel Orellana told The Tico Times.Adding a dramatic touch to the course of events, Hichos López and other members of the newly appointed commission claim anonymous sources have threatened to kill them and their family members if they don’t recommend stripping Pérez Molina of his immunity.Should Congress ultimately decide there are sufficient reasons to allow Pérez Molina to be impeached, a criminal court must then decide whether or not he is unfit for office and should face trial. If that were to happen, newly appointed Vice President Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre would automatically become president until the elections are held on Sept. 8 and a new president takes office in January 2016.“If Congress decides to create a mantle of impunity to protect the president, that will deal a serious blow to the fight against corruption and will allow the structures of impunity that exist in our country to flourish”, Congressman Pop told The Tico Times. Related posts:Resignation rumors of Guatemala’s Pérez Molina grow after fourth week of protests In Costa Rica visit, Guatemala president-elect Jimmy Morales reaffirms opposition to drug decriminalization Guatemala swears in comedian Morales on Thursday Guatemala president faces mounting pressure in scandallast_img read more

Guatemala detains 13 retired military officers for war crimes

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — Security forces in Guatemala arrested 13 retired military officers on Wednesday, all charged with committing forced disappearance and other human rights crimes during the country’s civil war, the Prosecutor’s Office announced.Spokeswoman Julia Barrera said the arrests took place in the departments (provinces) of Guatemala and in Alta Verapaz, in the country’s north.Among those detained were former army chief of staff Benedicto Lucas García, who served during his brother Romeo Lucas García’s presidency (1978-82). Lucas Garcia’s time in office is among the bloodiest of the 36-year conflict.“According to the investigation … these people were involved in the forced disappearance of men, women and children during the armed conflict, Barrera said.The detentions came shortly before the Jan. 11 start of a special tribunal to try ex dictator Efraín Ríos Montt for genocide — the latest of several trials against him. Ríos Montt will be represented in court by his lawyers as he suffers from dementia and other medical problems.If convicted, the former dictator would likely be confined to a hospital or put under house arrest because of his deteriorated health.Guatemala’s civil war left more than 200,000 people killed or disappeared, according to a United Nations truth commission. The U.N. found that state security forces were responsible for 93 percent of war crimes. Most of the massacres registered during the war were committed in the country’s western highlands, an area with a high indigenous population. Facebook Comments Related posts:For justice in Guatemala, ‘2 steps forward, 1 step back’ Guatemala high court paves way for new genocide trial against ex-dictator Ríos Montt Guatemala retrial of ex-dictator Ríos Montt suspended Former Guatemalan police chief to stand trial for 1980 Spanish Embassy fire that killed 37last_img read more

Halloween is not over yet

first_imgRelated posts:Another culinary trip around the world Fighting for women’s issues with art Slothy Sunday Three days of mountain biking through Costa Rica Missed all Halloween parties last weekend but still in the spirit? Don’t worry, there’s still time. We have some suggestions for you, including events coming up this weekend.Check out the following article to see where you can still party Halloween-style the first weekend of November: Facebook Commentscenter_img Halloween in San José: Where to drink, dance and flaunt your last-minute costumelast_img read more

Mauritius Murder trial of Irish woman to begin

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements A jury of six men and three women were selected Monday to hear the murder case against Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea.The case is one of the most prominent murder trials in the recent past for the Indian Ocean island.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familycenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (AP) – Court officials in Mauritius say the trial of two men charged with murdering a honeymooning Irish woman is set to begin Tuesday.Michaela Harte’s body was discovered by her husband in January 2011 at the four-star Legends Hotel, where the couple was staying. The 27-year-old bride was the daughter of a prominent manager in Gaelic football, Mickey Harte. She married Gaelic footballer John McAreavey only days before her death. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Sponsored Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

26 indicted in Puerto Rico federal drug case

first_img The vital role family plays in society 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Men’s health affects baby’s health too Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – A federal grand jury has indicted 26 people accused of running one of the largest drug trafficking rings in western Puerto Rico.U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said Tuesday that the suspects began operating in a public housing complex in the town of Anasco in 2010. The organization is suspected of generating a total of some $10 million.The suspects were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, crack, cocaine and marijuana. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Brazils top court strikes down restrictive biography law

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Top Stories The law cast a pall over Brazil’s publishing industry, with many publishers simply declining to put out a book without the subject’s explicit endorsement.Critics called it possibly the most extreme law regulating privacy and intellectual property in any democratic nation, with many equating the measure with outright censorship.A national publisher’s association, Anel, helped bring the case examining the constitutionality of the law to the Supreme Court.A group of famous singers drew strong criticism in late 2013 after they came out publicly in favor of the law in a series of combative interviews and newspaper opinion pieces. Those defending the law included Caetano Veloso, one of the founders of the counter-cultural Tropicalia movement, who spent years in exile under Brazil’s 1964-85 military dictatorship. Another staunch supporter was Roberto Carlos, a romantic singer who succeeded in having an unauthorized biography about him pulled from the shelves in 2007 on grounds that it invaded his right to privacy.The singers have since remained quiet on the matter and were largely quiet in the run-up to Wednesday’s Supreme Court vote.While the works most affected by the law have tended to be biographies of stars like Carlos or former FIFA boss Joao Havelange, legal experts have said the law opened the door for much wider impact. By restricting the “publication, exposition and use of the image of a person,” it could also have encompassed newspaper and magazine articles and TV news accounts, legal experts have said. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Sponsored Stories 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 Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s Supreme Court voted unanimously Wednesday to strike down a sweeping 2003 law that empowered the subjects of unauthorized biographies to quash works they disapproved of.Under the wide-ranging and controversial law, Brazilians were able to block publication of or have removed from store shelves any book about their lives that was created without their consent. It has mainly been used by celebrities.last_img read more

Romanian premier takes a month off citing health problems

first_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Ponta, who had a knee operation abroad last week, said doctors had recommended he remain under medical supervision.Prosecutors said on June 5 that Ponta is suspected of conflict of interest, forgery and tax evasion for work he did as a lawyer from 2007-2008 while he was also a lawmaker. Ponta, who has political immunity for some of the charges, denies wrongdoing.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s prime minister, who is under investigation for alleged corruption, says he will hand over his duties to a deputy for a month due to health problems.Prime Minister Victor Ponta wrote to President Klaus Iohannis Sunday asking him to allow the deputy prime minister to carry out his responsibilities from Monday. Ponta indicated he could resume his activities within a month. Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The vital role family plays in society Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   last_img read more

Spain proposes big fines for alleged Antarctic fish poachers

first_imgMADRID (AP) — Authorities in Spain have accused a company there of running a lucrative international operation that illegally captured vast amounts of an Antarctic fish prized in top restaurants.The Spanish government proposes fining the company as much as 11.4 million euros ($12.9 million) for alleged poaching of the Antarctic toothfish, a delicacy marketed in North America as Chilean sea bass.A government statement said the operation was concealed behind a labyrinthine system of foreign front companies, with fishing boats flying the flags of African and Asian countries to mask ownership. Spain did not name the companies, but New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully told The Associated Press in an interview they were all linked to Vidal Armadores SA, which was fined 150,000 euros in 2010 for illegal fishing near Antarctica.The Spanish government declined comment when asked why it did not name Vidal or the front companies it allegedly used.Efforts to reach Vidal for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful. The company has no listed telephone numbers, and a former spokesman said owners have changed their numbers and he could not get new contact information. The company’s longtime lawyer, Carlos Perez Bouzadas, declined to comment.In 2010, Vidal’s legal team argued that boats flying flags of countries that have not signed accords limiting Antarctic fishing in international waters are not doing anything illegal while fishing in those areas.McCully, the New Zealand minister, said his country provided Spain with some of the evidence it needed to take action against Vidal and described the proposed fines as “a giant step forward” in the fight against Antarctic poaching.Vidal, a family-run business operating out of Ribeira, a town of fewer than 28,000 people on Spain’s northwestern Galicia coast, does not face criminal charges. The Vidal-linked companies accused by Spain can either pay the fines or challenge them in court. Comments   Share   3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Spanish authorities broadened investigations into companies suspected of illegal fishing after a new law in January gave them the power to prosecute Spanish citizens or Spanish companies found to be catching fish illegally, no matter where in the world they were doing it or under what flag.Authorities are still investigating how the fish got into the legal commercial circuit and ultimately into restaurants. Spanish officials said the vessels were run by several front companies based in Panama, Uruguay, Belize and Switzerland.___Perry reported from Wellington, New Zealand.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 facility 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Fifty Spanish sailors accused by Spain of having worked on the fishing boats and participated in illegal fishing could be disqualified from fishing activities, Spain said in the statement about the proposed fines.The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, the international body that oversees Antarctic fishing, each year allows companies from around the globe to legally catch only 26,000 metric tons of toothfish, more than half of which is sent to the United States. Industry experts estimate that some 1,000 metric tons of Antarctic toothfish worth about $20 million are caught illegally each year.“We’re anxious to remove all illegal, unreported and unregulated vessels,” said Andrew Wright, the commission’s executive secretary. “They completely undermine our efforts to make fishing there sustainable.”The Spanish ministry said in its statement it believes the targeted companies contravened international fishing agreements.The boats engaged in illegal Antarctic fishing did not fly the Spanish flag but used those of countries that have not signed international fishing conservation or high sea resource management agreements, such as Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea and Indonesia, authorities said. Sponsored Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd says it confronted some of the Vidal-linked toothfish boats in the waters near Antarctica over the Southern Hemisphere summer fishing season that lasts from December through March.Sid Chakravarty, captain of the Sea Shepherd boat the Sam Simon, said he tracked down two Vidal-related boats in early February, after the New Zealand navy had spotted them earlier.He said when he approached the vessels he noticed the numbers and names on them had been freshly painted over and that one had used a piece of cardboard to fashion the flag of Equatorial Guinea.“They didn’t even have an actual flag,” he said.Chakravarty said both vessels had fishing gear on the decks ready to be deployed. He said he got no response when he hailed them, with the vessels splitting up and speeding away. He said he decided to follow one, a chase that lasted for about eight days through heavy sea ice.Environmental campaigners cheered the Spanish government’s announcement. Maria Jose Cornax, Fisheries Campaign Manager at Oceana, a U.S.-based sea protection group, said the sanction against Vidal was the first of its kind in the European Union.Environmental and industry groups say they hope the proposed Spanish sanctions, along with the recent impounding of boats suspected of illegal toothfishing by authorities in Africa and Asia, will mark an end to the illegal industry around Antarctica. But McCully said that though the developments were welcome, it was “premature to declare a total victory.”last_img read more

An amateur in lead at British Open another not far behind

first_img Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Mesa family survives lightning strike to home How men can have a healthy 2019 Ireland’s Paul Dunne gestures after a birdie on the 15th during the third round at the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Sunday, July 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Jon Super) Top Stories Comments   Share   ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Irish amateur Paul Dunne knows he is good enough to post low scores on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Had this been an amateur tournament, he would not at all be surprised to be leading after three rounds.But it’s not an amateur event. It’s the British Open.“It’s just lucky that it happens to be the biggest event in the world,” Dunne said Sunday after a 6-under 66 to share the 54-hole lead with Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day.center_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Equally surprising is that the 22-year-old Dunne has company.Jordan Niebrugge, a 21-year-old who will be a senior at Oklahoma State next month, birdied the last hole for a 67 and was only three shots out of the lead.This is rare territory for the British Open, not to mention the other majors.An amateur hasn’t won the claret jug since Bobby Jones rallied from one shot behind in the final round to win in 1930. The last amateur to win any major was Johnny Goodman in the 1933 U.S. Open.Even having a chance to win doesn’t happen very often.It has been 44 years since an amateur had at least a share of the lead in a major. That was Jim Simons in the 1971 U.S. Open at Merion. He shot 76 in the final round and finished three shots behind Lee Trevino.Perhaps the most famous bid was by Ken Venturi in the 1956 Masters until he shot 80 in the final round to finish one shot behind Jack Burke Jr.Amateurs have been out in force this year.A year ago, only four amateurs qualified for the British Open and none made the cut. This year, nine amateurs qualified and five made the cut. Last month in the U.S. Open, six amateurs made the cut at Chambers Bay.Masters and U.S. Open Jordan Spieth — who at 21 is younger than both amateurs in the hunt — is not surprised to see them contending. Spieth had an outside chance to win his hometown Byron Nelson Championship when he was 16. Still, this is a major. “I think there will be amateur that wins a PGA event or something like that, possibly even a major, at some point in the next decade or so,” Spieth said. “Just because the game in amateur golf across the world now I think is getting more diverse and more intense, and I think it’s awesome for guys to step up and do this.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

PATA Micronesia chairman presents prestigious award of excellence at t

first_imgMembers of PATA Micronesia display the prestigious “Award of Excellence” presented at the organization’s tri-annual meeting in Saipan. From left to right, back row, Mason Fritz of Chuuk Visitors Bureau; Cynthia McDowell of Advance Management Inc., Guam PATA member; Regina Nedlic of Guam Visitors Bureau; Lourdes Sanchez of Continental Airlines; Judy Torres of Marianas Visitors Authority; Sam Scott of Sam’s Tours, Palau PATA member; Jae Medina of Guam Publications, Guam PATA member; Dolores deBrum-Kattil of Marshall Islands Visitors Authority. Second row, from left, Monty McDowell of Advance Management Inc., Guam PATA Member; Don Evans of Yap Visitors Bureau; Pilar Laguaña of Guam Visitors Bureau; Jim Pinson of JMI Wholesalers, PATA Member; Grant Ismael of Kosrae Visitors Bureau; Steven Joseph, chairman of Pohnpei Visitors Bureau Board of Directors. Front row, from left, Darin De Leon of Palau Visitors Authority, PATA Micronesia Chapter Chairman; and Edgar Santos of Pohnpei Visitors Bureau. Source = Guam Visitors Bureau Members of the Micronesia Chapter of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) were presented the prestigious “Award of Excellence” from PATA International at their tri-annual meeting in Saipan on June 14-16, 2010.Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) joined representatives from the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) for a presentation of the award by PATA Micronesia Chairman Darin De Leon.The meeting marked the first time De Leon, who accepted the award on behalf of the chapter in April at the PATA International annual gala in Kuching, Sarawak, was able to share the honor with members.“It was a privilege for our chapter to be recognized with this award, and for the chairman to share it with everyone for the first time at our tri-annual meeting,” said GVB Marketing Manager Pilar Laguaña. “Each island played an integral role in the use of social media and creative marketing through initiatives including e-guides for each destination and the Magnificent Micronesia website that led to the award. It was fitting that everyone was there when we received it.”In other business at the meeting, members discussed the launch of a Micronesia branding initiative expected to begin in 2010, regional promotions and programs including a PATA membership drive, and the organization’s upcoming elections.PATA Micronesia is one of more than 39 chapters internationally of travel and hospitality management companies. The organization was formed in 1983 after many years operating as the Micronesian Regional Tourism Council. Members throughout Micronesia meet tri-annually to share marketing strategies in promoting the Micronesia region as a destination for visitors worldwide.PATA is a membership association acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry. In partnership with private and public sector members, PATA enhances the sustainable growth, value and quality of travel and tourism to, from and within the region.Since its formative years as the Guam Tourism Commission under the auspices of the Department of Commerce, GVB has been an active PATA member. In 2008, GVB General Manager Gerald S.A. Perez was elected to the 11-member PATA Board Executive Committee. last_img read more