Sunwings new Cancun flights out of Kelowna start Nov 6

first_imgTags: New Routes, Sunwing Share Tuesday, August 30, 2016 Posted by TORONTO — Sunwing Vacations has added a second weekly sun flight out of Kelowna, B.C., offering service to Cancun on Sundays from Nov. 6 to April 9. Sunwing is also bringing back its Varadero flight out of Kelowna for the 2016/17 season.“Our sunshine flights have been departing from Kelowna since 2010, and we’re delighted to be offering our customers direct access to two of our most popular vacation destinations for the first time this coming winter,” said Sunwing Vacations’ President, Tour Operations, Andrew Dawson.Properties on offer include Relax Resorts, SplashWorld Resorts (with free access to an onsite or nearby waterpark) and SMILE Resorts with their Kids Stay, Play and Eat Free deals, complimentary kids clubs, teen pricing and no supplement for single parents.One of the tour operator’s exclusive Sunwing Selection resorts, Sensatori Azul Riviera Cancun, offers meet and greets with Nickelodeon cartoon favourites including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants. An onsite spa, varied activity program and range of land and water sports are also available.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionA week at Sensatori Azul Riviera Cancun is available from $1,275 plus $415 taxes per person based on two people sharing a Luxury Jacuzzi Ocean View Suite on an all-inclusive basis and departing from Kelowna on Nov. 6.center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Sunwing’s new Cancun flights out of Kelowna start Nov. 6 Travelweek Group last_img read more

Sacred Rides Global Events convicted and fined

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Tags: TICO, Travel Industry Act Share Sacred Rides, Global Events convicted and finedcenter_img Wednesday, November 23, 2016 TORONTO – Miro Brcic and Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays Inc. (Sacred Rides) have pled guilty and each was convicted of one count of operating as a travel agent without registration, confirms TICO.Brcic is an owner and director of Sacred Rides, which operated in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario. Brcic was sentenced to a fine of $3,500 plus Victim Surcharge Fine, for a total of $4,375. Sacred Rides was sentenced to a fine of $1,000 plus Victim Surcharge Fine, for a total of $1,250.Sacred Rides has applied and is now registered as a travel agent under the Travel Industry Act, 2002.In other news, in September 2016, the Ontario Court of Justice, Provincial Offences Court acquitted Global Events Management Group Inc. (Global Events) and Maher Jaber of one count each of operating as a travel agent without registration.TICO appealed to the Ontario Court of Justice, Criminal Division. The appeal was granted and the defendants were convicted of operating as a travel agent without registration. Jaber and Global Events were sentenced to a fine of $2,500 each, plus Victim Surcharge and Court Fees for a total of $6,250.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaJaber and Global Events operated in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario. Posted bylast_img read more

Globus thanks agency partners You make a difference for us every day

first_imgGlobus thanks agency partners: “You make a difference for us every day” Tags: Globus Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — Airlines, tourist boards and travel agency groups were out in full force at the recent partner appreciation luncheon hosted by the Globus family of brands.An annual event that draws a big crowd, the lunch was led by Managing Director Stephanie Bishop, who thanked the company’s partners for their steadfast support. “You make such a difference for us every day,” said Bishop. “We appreciate all that you do for us.”The Globus family of brands has close to 70 people working with agents and suppliers across the country. “We really do try to always come to you with win-win solutions,” she said. “We really believe in partnership and in a two-way street.”Bishop thanked the company’s partners “from the bottom of our hearts” and said the company is looking forward to a productive 2017. Monday, January 23, 2017 last_img read more

Remembering Patrick Doherty beloved industry veteran

first_img Travelweek Group Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, April 6, 2017 Remembering Patrick Doherty, beloved industry veteran Share TORONTO — When referring to the dates on his tombstone, with the date of his birth on one end followed by a final date on the other, Patrick Joseph Doherty said what mattered most of all was “the dash between those years.”Wise words from the larger-than-life travel industry veteran who passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on March 27 at The Villages Regional Hospital near Ocala, Florida.Known by friends and colleagues as the “Redman”, Doherty was born in 1940 in Dublin, Ireland where he eventually worked as a young man in local shipping yards. Guided by his entrepreneurial spirit, he immigrated to Canada in 1968 and co-founded Alltour Marketing Support Services Ltd., the distribution partner of the Canadian travel industry. In the last quarter of his illustrious career, he joined Baxter Publishing where he established a multitude of partnerships that lasted well into his retirement.In his obituary, Doherty’s family spoke of his love of life, golf, travel and piano bars, and said no one was too insignificant for him to reach out with a friendly smile and say, “My pleasure to meet you!” He loved people of all ethnic backgrounds, ages, professions and interests.More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaDoherty was a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, mentor, friend and business partner. He is pre-deceased by his wife of 40 years, Catherine (Dolly), and is survived by his sister, Mary O’Sullivan, and brother, Harry Doherty in Dublin, daughters Elizabeth, Martina and Sarah, sons-in-law Peter and Tony, grandchildren Nicole, Patrick, Celene, Reilly, Aidan, Ryan, Caleb and Gabriel, and great-grandchild Connor.A visitation will be held on April 9 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Glendale Memorial Gardens, 1810 Albion Road, Etobicoke, Ont. Funeral mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on April 10 at Saint Peter’s Church, 100 Bainbridge Avenue, Vaughan, Ont. Cremation has already taken place. Arrangements in care of Glendale Memorial Gardens (416) 697-1803.In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.last_img read more

An agents survival guide for Black Friday sales strategies and opportunities

first_img Wednesday, November 22, 2017 Tags: Feature Story Kathryn Folliott << Previous PostNext Post >> Share This is a feature story from the November 23rd, 2017 issue of Travelweek magazine. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here. TORONTO — Heading into high season for winter getaways, and with spring and summer vacations on the horizon, Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions are well-timed for the travel industry. But do Black Friday and Cyber Monday keep travel agents in the loop?As the industry gears up for this year’s edition of Black Friday (Nov. 24) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 27) madness, a $16 billion phenomenon, we spoke to several suppliers including tour operators, hoteliers and cruise lines about their late November sales strategies, and how agents can best take advantage of all the deals out there – and minimize the chances of their clients booking the big discounts direct.In the space of just a few years, consumer awareness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the Canadian marketplace has gone from non-existent, to “it’s a U.S. thing”, to bona fide bookings motivator.And while Cyber Monday started out as the online bookend to the bricks-and-mortar retail frenzy known as Black Friday, most companies are now fully onboard both bandwagons, whether they’re storefronts or web-based.Patrice Geske, Marketing Manager/Canada for the Globus family of brands including Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways, says the company ran a sale on a limited range of product to test the waters last year and was pleasantly surprised to see how good the uptake was. The company plans to expand its Black Friday and Cyber Monday product range this year with an even more meaningful offer.Geske suggests that agents send a ‘teaser’ email to their client list with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals that catch their eye. “Alert them to the fact that there will definitely be some tempting offers out there, but very time limited in nature,” says Geske.The timing of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is perfect for agents, adds Jeff Element, President, The Travel Corporation (TTC) Canada. “November is an ideal month to get clients thinking about booking their summer 2018 Europe trips, while there is more availability for departures compared to after the New Year, where space starts gets more limited,” says Element.Black Friday/Cyber Monday is also “a massive sales opportunity for agents to surpass their 2017 sales target”, and earn some extra commission just in time for the holiday season, he adds.Not surprisingly, the most popular trips with preferred summer departures dates are the first to fly off the shelves. Last year TTC found that offering a shorter Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotional offer was more effective, since clients were looking for deals specifically from Friday to Monday and were most inclined to make their travel decisions and book their vacations during the four-day window. This year, however, TTC is extending its offer. “We found that clients are shopping around more since there is an increasing amount of travel deals in the Canadian marketplace … so this year our Black Friday/Cyber Monday [offer] will be a few days longer to give clients every opportunity to finalize their vacation plans and book their holidays.”More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesBoth Contiki and Trafalgar had Black Friday promotions last year and received a significant number of bookings, with bookings up by double-digits, says Element.Back when Black Friday was truly a one-day event, when bricks-and-mortar stores opened their doors in the wee hours of the morning to a stampede of shoppers intent on nabbing a $99 flatscreen TV, the spur-of-the-moment buying window was part of the fun.That’s still true for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But now that retailers selling truly big-ticket items, like vacations, are getting in on the game, the buying window is slowly but surely getting longer.Karisma Hotels & Resorts is now marketing ‘Cyber Week’ specials. “Last year we hosted a Mystery Deal that ran for an entire week. It exceeded all expectations and set us on an incredible track for solid bookings throughout 2017,” said Kelly Poling, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Karisma Hotels & Resorts.Poling says Karisma is using the same week-long format this year, “knowing that consumers are excited by both the competitive price point and surprise and delight element.”Whether it’s for a day or a week, not only can the ‘buy, buy, buy’ frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday put clients in the mood to book, it can also motivate clients to splurge on their travel plans.Pamela Lassers, Director, Media Relations, for luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent, says A&K’s Cyber Monday promotions have been very successful at encouraging aspirational travellers to book a trip not typically within their budget, just because the deals are so good. That works in A&K’s favour.Says Lassers: “We typically sell out of the destinations featured. Last year the places that sold out first were Botswana, Egypt, Jordan and Russia.Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are compelling promotions for travel advisors to forward to prospective clients interested in one of the featured destinations, Lassers adds. Sometimes, timing is everything. “They have time to think about it … and then the deadline entices them to make a commitment before they get wrapped up with preparations for Christmas and New Year’s.”Do Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions attract new customers? Katie Marshall, spokesperson for Adventure Canada, says the sales both bring in new business, and reward returning passengers. “Our experience shows a 50/50 split,” she says. Adventure Canada started its Black Friday sale a few years ago, and last year’s sale was the best yet for bookings.No matter what Adventure Canada is offering for the annual November blow-out, “we make sure to release the information to our agent network up to two weeks prior to Black Friday,” says Marshall. “We suggest to our agents to share this information on social media, storefronts, website, etc. over that period of time, in order to provide time for the consumer to mull over the investment.”Thompson Seattle’s General Manager Amanda Parsons says agent bookings account for about 25% of the hotel’s business. For Parsons, taking part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday is about building guest loyalty: “We know that if they come once, our hope is that we will gain a fan for life. You can buy electronics and appliances on Black Friday / Cyber Monday. Why not add a really cool vacation to the mix?”More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTAttracting new guests also figures into the equation for The Hollywood Roosevelt, says Director of Sales, Kendall Viola, another newcomer to the Black Friday / Cyber Monday phenomenon. “The biggest shopping day of the year provides a platform for our iconic hotel to showcase its amenities and packages to a large audience, who may or may not be familiar with the urban resort.”Just how global Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become is evident from the November deals from The Peninsula Hotels, applicable not just at the company’s U.S. properties in New York, Chicago and Beverly Hills, but also its Paris hotel as well.Cruise lines are in on the game too. The deals time well as a lead-in to the cruise industry’s Wave season specials in the new year. “Travel agents have a unique opportunity to leverage these Black Friday promotions to kick-start interest and finalize bookings as they close out the year,” says Joe Jiffo, Senior Vice President of Sales for MSC Cruises North America. MSC Cruises’ deals include discounts worth more than 50% off select sailings and the cruise line is looking to ramp up its presence in the North American market.The days leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the time for agents to gather all of the key details and begin promoting savings on their websites, e-blasts and social media, says Jiffo. “Travel agents today have the added benefit of social media to directly reach consumers to keep pace with B2C deals. Consumers looking to travel rely heavily on online platforms like social media for advice, behind-the-scenes insight and fast correspondence. Agents should continue to take advantage of this public, wide-reaching platform to be the source of news when it comes to deals so travellers are encouraged to get in touch directly to learn more.”A list of all the travel industry’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals can be found here. The list will be updated daily leading up to Black Friday (Nov. 24) and through until Cyber Monday (Nov. 27).This is a feature story from the November 23rd, 2017 issue of Travelweek magazine. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here. An agent’s survival guide for Black Friday: sales strategies and opportunities Posted by About Latest Posts Kathryn FolliottEditor at TravelweekKathryn is Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 1995. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Hong Kong, Jerusalem, the Swiss Alps and the Galapagos Islands among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Kathryn Folliott (see all) “They need to go where the bucks are”: Agents on ACTA partnership – April 18, 2019 As the cost of doing business climbs, host agencies, retail groups say they have options – April 4, 2019 As of 2021 Europe-bound clients will need to apply online for a visa waiver and pay a fee – April 3, 2019last_img read more

Win up to 100000 Loyalty Rewards points with TravelBrands Booking Bingo

first_img Posted by Share Tags: TravelBrands Travelweek Group Tuesday, March 6, 2018 center_img Win up to 100,000 Loyalty Rewards points with TravelBrands’ Booking Bingo << Previous PostNext Post >> MISSISSAUGA — TravelBrands is inviting agents to play a game of Bingo for a chance to win Loyalty Rewards points.Beginning on March 5 and running until April 29, 2018, the promotional game includes ‘squares’ like air, car rentals, add-ons, cruise bookings, hotel bookings, TravelGenie bookings and more. When agents book a qualifying product on a square, they’ll receive a stamp and attempt to make a qualifying figure.“We launched Bingo as a way to connect with our trusted agents and have while doing so,” said Frank DeMarinis, President and CEO, TravelBrands. “Our Booking Bingo showcases the wide array of products and offerings TravelBrands has on its Access platform, while giving back to our agents as a gesture of gratitude for all of their hard work.”There are over 100 prizes to be claimed for agents who complete the qualifying figures. Prizing and figures are as follows:The first 100 participants to make and claim a vertical, horizontal or diagonal row will earn 5,000 Loyalty Rewards pointsThe first 30 participants to make and claim an ‘X’ will receive 10,000 Loyalty Rewards pointsThe first 30 participants to make and claim a ‘T’ will win 10,000 Loyalty Rewards pointsThe first 10 participants to make and claim all outside squares will earn 30,000 Loyalty Rewards pointsThe first 3 participants to make and claim a Full Card will win 100,000 Loyalty Rewards pointsMore news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaTravel agents can access their electronic Bingo card in their Loyalty Rewards points’ account. Agents are responsible for determining what they need to book, following their progress, and claiming their prize. Stamps are made automatically and will be shown one day after booking. If a booking is cancelled, the stamp will be removed from the card.Since the number of winners per figure is limited, each claim submitted will be time-stamped to ensure fairness.The deadline for claiming a prize is May 7, 2018. Points will be credited to the winners’ accounts at the end of the Bingo game and no later than May 11, 2018.To make qualifying bookings and participate in Bingo, visit read more

Here are the 2018 dates for Goways popular Africa seminars

first_img Posted by Tags: Africa, Goway Share Friday, August 24, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img TORONTO — Save the dates, Goway’s popular Africa seminars are coming to Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.Now in its 9th year, ‘G’day Goway’s Africa’ takes place next month and will include 26 suppliers from 11 countries. Following feedback from last year’s event, this year’s seminar has been tweaked to be exclusive to agents only and will be held in the evening. General Manager Moira Smith also added, “What’s unique about it is the sheer diversity of products and destinations represented.The countries represented are: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Morocco, Israel, Dubai and Egypt.Each seminar will include registration at 5:00 p.m., official welcome at 5:30 p.m., a presentation at 6:00 p.m., a round robin agent’s session at 7:00 p.m., and a prize draw for trips to Africa at 9:00 p.m.Here are the dates:G’day to Goway’s Africa – Toronto 2018Sept. 18Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville HotelG’day to Goway’s Africa – Edmonton 2018Sept. 19Courtyard by Marriott Edmonton WestG’day to Goway’s Africa – Vancouver 2018Sept. 20Sheraton Vancouver Airport HotelMore news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksAgents must register for the event at more information email or call 1-800-245-0920. Here are the 2018 dates for Goway’s popular Africa seminars Travelweek Group last_img read more

Her boy was taken

first_imgRos Thackurdeen’s 19-year-old son Ravi, a pre-med student at Swarthmore College in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, was studying abroad last year in Costa Rica with 17 other students as part of the Organization for Tropical Studies/Duke University’s Global Health Program. On April 29, 2012, Ravi was taken to Playa Tortuga in the Osa Peninsula, where no lifeguards were on duty and no warning signs were displayed. A rip current dragged Ravi to sea, and his body was discovered by a fishing boat on May 1. Ros and her family still feel the loss every single day.A year has passed. But the raw pain, the intense personal horror, the chaos and confusion, the total shock and disbelief, the depression and the sadness that we feel remains incomprehensible. Our all-consuming pain and our deepest longing is for it to simply not be true. They say time heals. It doesn’t. The loss of a child is by far the greatest loss one can experience. Many books have been written on the subject, but none fully capture the pain. And somehow, the rest of the world seems to just move on. We will feel this loss and grief forever, our sense of purpose gone, our laughter gone, our joy gone.We will never forget seeing our beautiful boy as he was when we found him, and the pain we feel every minute of every day is killing us. We took care of him for so long, day and night, taking him to appointments and sporting events, snuggling and reading books to him, giving him goodnight kisses. Then we woke up one day and we were told he was never coming back. All his stuff is still here but he is gone. His bedroom is still here, full of memories. The empty chair at the dinner table is still here. His favorite spot on the sofa is still here. All these things stare empty at us. There is no getting away from it. Our beautiful Ravi was only 19, and he was an independent bright young man, with his future stretched before him like a carpet. Our hearts sank when we received the call. A hole opened up and closed over us. We live with the vivid memories of the details, of the horror of the search for our son, of the inconsolable crying, the trauma. His lips stilled forever. I would never again see him smile or hear his laugh. My life was over and I knew in that instant I was also dead inside. In the meantime, I just exist, going through the motions of living. To this day it feels so very surreal. We still feel he will simply come back into our lives.We feel so hurt in knowing that we were unable to protect him, knowing he was calling out for help. I cry, I hurt thinking about the immense fear he must have felt, thinking about the pain of having his breath shut off, how he fought for life. Rav treaded water for more than half an hour. He was brought on a celebratory trip by Duke University to Playa Tortuga. He was wading in hip-height water when he was pulled out by a rip current. The tourists on the beach said if they had a piece of rope, they could have saved my son. Those responsible for him on the trip watched him fight for him fight for his life and listened to his cries for help. With no safety gear or working communication devices, nobody could help. I didn’t get to say goodbye with bear hugs, kisses and me saying, “I love you more!” The pain of only knowing my son was in this wooden rectangular shaped box, unable to see him. The pain of seeing him there will be forever with me.Every day now, we see the pain in his siblings’ faces for not having their brother here. They don’t know what to think of the world now. Everything that we have taught them about goodness in the world, caring, justice and being fair, has been shattered. They do not look at the world with their same childlike eyes. They have lost their sense of security. The daily chores we do only places the grief on hold. Then it comes back.What a joy he was and such a clown, a self-taught pianist with an enormous smile, his warmth, his enthusiasm, his passion. Friends, he had so many and they all flocked to our home. We loved this. We were so close and we loved him so, we had such a bond. I just want to see my son’s beautiful face, and his cheeky smile and feel his gorgeous curls. Just one more time. He is gone from our daily lives but always in our hearts and thoughts. Normal is gone for us; we feel such an emptiness.In the year since we lost our son, we have looked into why it happened. We learned that drowning is the second leading cause of death in Costa Rica, which is notorious for rip currents, according to Francis James Smith, an oceanographer who earned his doctorate studying the deadly phenomenon. We learned that even an Olympic swimmer cannot resist the pull of a typical rip current. We learned that the following people, like our son, also lost their lives to rip currents. Curtis ChaseDr. Brian Sumner,Brian Anthony MaltezDr. Robert K. HerbertDylan SmithRhiannon Joy HullPenny ObeeAlfred Kobe StorayDorothy ParadisRichard A. and James M. CampbellMarcus Maurice MackGabriel Eric MooreMarshuan Braxton, MississippiGarapaty Sthitha PrajnaSteve HershbergerDanell ZimmermanJermaine ZimmermanMichael MckinsleySerge SeguinSkuglud Mauricio Alberto AcuñaScott W. SchneiderDean Hugh HeywoodMatt GarberSteve TanakaErik L. DownesKai LamarCity Noelle JonesJames Erik SmithJames CampbellAly Zain LakdawalaJay KennedyMatt McParlandJohn RutledgeJeremy Porfirio Garcia BarbozaTony LeechDanielle TongierAndrew HarpstriteJessica PierceBrett Carlson*Actor Danny DeVito nearly drowned in a rip current on a family vacation We learned recently that the U.S. Embassy in San José has strengthened a warning about rip currents on its website. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Liberation candidate Johnny Araya travels to Mexico for advice on politics

first_imgCosta Rican National Liberation Party (PLN) presidential candidate Johnny Araya has set off on a three-day visit to Mexico City to learn about the Pact for Mexico, a political agreement signed by the three largest parties in the country. Araya left Tuesday and will be back in Costa Rica on Friday.Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the agreement with his political opponents one day after his party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), returned to power on Dec. 1, 2012. The PRI ruled Mexico for 71 straight years, until it was ousted in the 2000 presidential elections.The Pact for Mexico committed leaders of the three main political parties to promoting economic and political reforms in the country. So far, lawmakers in the Mexican Congress have collaborated to pass a new telecommunications bill, an education bill and fiscal reform. Currently, the parties are discussing the details of a new energy law to allow private investment in the state-owned oil monopoly.While the Pact for Mexico was successful in breaking stalemate negotiations in Congress, it was challenged when leaders of the opposition accused the PRI of fraud in state-level elections last July. To preserve the pact, the PRI recognized the victory of the opposition candidate in the northern state of Baja California.Congress also approved education reform in Mexico that introduced performance-related tests for teachers. That move sparked clashes between teachers unions and police during a series of protests across the country last September. Front-running presidential candidate Araya will meet with PRI leader César Camacho and a leader of the right-wing National Action Party, Gustavo Madero. Araya also plans to promote his campaign among Tico voters in Mexico City. According to Costa Rica’s Supreme Elections Tribunal, 418 Ticos are registered to vote in Mexico, making it the third-largest population of Costa Rican voters living abroad.  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Our readers up north are suffering

first_imgRelated posts:Canadian entrepreneur gives water bottles new life as roof tiles Hurricane Arthur puts a damper on July 4 celebrations in US Ticos in a winter wonderland UK documentary series seeks British families going back to nature in Costa Rica OK, winter.That’ll do.It’s been real. It’s been lovely. It has been more than enough.But do you not take a hint?I’m serious now. Hit the road. Or, rather, get off the road so I can drive again. Here are your things. Here is your salt. Here are your scarf and your boots and your puddles and slush. I don’t care what the groundhog said. You need to leave.It was cute at first, but I am done with it. I’m over. I am through. My feet are cold. My shoes are soaked. Shoo. Scram.Every time I turn to the weather lately, a little something in me dies. This isn’t even perpetual winter, but I now understand why those people on “Game of Thrones” are in such foul moods all the time. How did Narnia survive this? If I wanted to live surrounded by ice and snow all the time, I would move to Hoth, where at least I could be eaten by a wampa and put out of my misery. How did our ancestors cope? I can barely deal with a few weeks of ice, let alone an age.Stop snowing.Snow is like a manic pixie dream girl: fun and whimsical when you encounter it only through the barrier of a movie screen — but absolute misery to have to put up with in real life.Even complaining about the weather loses its cachet after several months. “This is abominable snow, man.” “You say that every day.” “I mean it every day.” (A tense silence ensues.) “We need to get out of this house.” “I know.”How many stories do you know about people cooped up in places because of deep snowfall? How many stories where something good happens to those people? The first draft of this piece consisted entirely of the words “All work and snow play makes Jack a dull boy” typed over and over again.It used to be picturesque. When we started this thing together, all your little quirks seemed cute. The way you froze the puddles and prompted everyone to wear scarves and skip school. It was endearing. “I hate summer,” I agreed. “Summer is clearly inferior to winter. Winter is tights season. Winter is the season of lights and holidays, when Scandinavians feel most at home.” New York City in February. John Moore/Getty Images/AFPBut that initial infatuation phase is over. Everything about you bothers me. Your drizzles. How you go from tepid to ice-cold with a snap. How you promise me one thing and deliver another. How you keep shutting down my travel plans and freezing my appendages.At first I thought it was me. I thought I was a wimp and that I was inadequately prepared for Real Life and Real Weather. But no. It’s not me. Everything about you is terrible. All the tepid consolations you afford are overrated. Hot drinks? I have had enough hot drinks to last a lifetime. Snow? Snow is just glorified rain. Alpine sports? Don’t make me laugh. More snow? Days off school? I don’t want anything you can give me anymore.You are a vortex of cold and negativity, and I want you out of my life and out of my hemisphere.Take your drab long coats and your mittens and your gloves. Take your snowmen. Take your mufflers and your wool socks.People need to go to school. People need to get their lives together. People need to get on with it. You are holding us back.Even more so because this is the part of the East Coast where “winter” means “an inch of snow, tops — anything more and we’ll coin a new term that ends in — -mageddon or -pocalypse.” We get it. We are wimps. If we were on the paleo diet, it would consist of our starving to death because we were terrible hunters. We couldn’t spear a mammoth if we tried. You’ve made your point.Just make it stop.© 2014, The Washington Post Not to rub it in, but this is what Costa Rica looks like in February. A recent sunset at Playa Ballena National Park, on the south-central Pacific coast. David Boddiger/The Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Central American migrants overwhelm Border Patrol station in Texas

first_imgMCALLEN, Texas – Behind the beige brick facade and the barbed wire of the Border Patrol station here, crowds of Central American women and children are sleeping on concrete floors in 90 degree heat.The sick are separated by flimsy strands of yellow police tape from the crying babies and expectant mothers. They subsist on bologna sandwiches and tacos, with portable toilets and no showers, and their wait can last for days.These are examples of the detention conditions, captured on a surreptitious video obtained by The Washington Post, that prompted U.S. President Barack Obama to declare a “humanitarian crisis” this week, as illegal migrants, including thousands of women and children, stream into south Texas. Every day, hundreds of Central American migrants, in groups as large as 250 people, are wading across the muddy Río Grande and turning themselves in to the Border Patrol as helicopters and machine gun-mounted speed boats patrol the river.Fleeing gang violence and poverty, and driven in part by the belief that Central American women and children will not be deported, many of the migrants are not trying to sneak into the country but crossing in plain sight.Recommended: For Salvadoran emigrant, a life split in twoThe sharp spike over the past three months, particularly of children traveling without their parents, has overwhelmed the Border Patrol’s detention centers in South Texas, prompting authorities to ship young children to converted warehouses and military bases as far away as California. Obama has pledged $2 billion to construct temporary housing and has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to take charge.In the past eight months, Customs and Border Protection has detained 47,000 unaccompanied minors, most of them in the Río Grande Valley area of south Texas, up 92 percent from last year.“We’re fighting a losing battle right now,” said Chris Cabrera, the Border Patrol’s union representative here. “We don’t have anywhere to hold them.” The McAllen Border Patrol at the muddy Rio Grande near McAllen, Texas. Washington Post photo by Nick PartlowAcross the river in the drug cartel-run Mexican border town of Reynosa, migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala sleep on bunk-beds in church-run shelters, as they prepare for the culmination of dangerous journeys by bus and train that have often taken them weeks to finish.Fany Yaneth, a 25-year-old single mother of four, hitchhiked for three weeks. On Tuesday, she waited under a sliver of shade in a shelter courtyard with dozens of others. In her violent home town of Choluteca, Honduras, where she milled flour and shared her mother’s apartment with three families, “you can’t walk in the streets,” she said. “They’ll kill anyone.”The next morning, she said, she would be taking her 7-year-old daughter and her 17-year-old brother and presenting herself to the Border Patrol.“What we’re hearing is that the Americans are helping Hondurans right now. And even more for women and children. I don’t know if it’s true,” she said. “This is what I want to do. I’m going to arrive at the bridge, to walk up to American immigration and hold out my hand.”Unlike illegal migrants from Mexico, who can be quickly processed and returned by bus to Mexican border cities, Central Americans cannot be easily shipped home. Airplanes must be chartered. Consular arrangements must be made. And if migrants request asylum in the United States, the U.S. government has the additional responsibility to determine whether their appeal is based on a legitimate need for protection and a “credible fear” of persecution in their home countries.More than 36,000 migrants, the majority from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, requested asylum along the southwest border during the government’s 2013 fiscal year, nearly triple the 2012 number. Ultimately, most of the applications were denied, but critics of the process say migrants are gaming the system to extend their stays in the United States. Others may simply go underground and ignore deportation orders if their petitions are rejected.“I guess when you advertise $2 billion of assistance to help out the cause, it’s an open invitation for anybody to come across,” said Lazaro “Larry” Gallardo, a constable in Hidalgo County, as he stood along the Río Grande riverbank.His deputies said they were picking up children as young as 4 without their parents and other kids with Hello Kitty backpacks, cellphones and the numbers of U.S. relatives on notecards.The cellphone video obtained by The Washington Post shows dozens of women and children sprawled out on concrete floors. According to a person with first-hand knowledge of the facility, who provided the video, the migrants wait for days, sometimes more than a week. A makeshift quarantine for detainees with scabies is cordoned off with strands of yellow tape. Another separates those with chicken pox.Asked about the living conditions for migrants in the Border Patrol stations, Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Friel said his agency is “ensuring nutritional and hygienic needs are met.” The children receive “meals regularly and have access to drinks and snacks throughout the day,” he said, adding that there is medical care and that “facilities include toilets.”In a statement, Friel said the Border Patrol does “everything within its power” to process the children within 72 hours and transfer them to the Department of Health and Human Services, as required by law.The video, whose contents were confirmed by Border Patrol agents, offers an up-close look at the daunting challenges facing FEMA, which has been tasked with coordinating a response to the crisis. The front of the McAllen Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas, where Central American migrants are overwhelming the facility after crossing the Río Grande. Washington Post photo by Nick PartlowThe McAllen Border Patrol station, where the video was recorded, has received as many as 1,300 migrants per day recently, far exceeding its capacity of fewer than 500. The crowding has forced Border Patrol officials to use the secure garage area, or sally port, where passenger buses are typically unloaded, as a detention area.In holding cells with one toilet, there are sometimes as many as 100 people, “covering every inch of floor-space,” said one agent. Border Patrol officials here declined to make the facility available to Post reporters.The flood of new arrivals has so overwhelmed border facilities that U.S. immigration officials have been flying families to cities in Arizona, where the illegal migrants are released and instructed to return for a court appearance. Hundreds of children are being held at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, as well as Naval Base Ventura County in California and Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They are also being sheltered in a converted warehouse in Nogales, Ariz. FEMA plans to repurpose another warehouse in McAllen to house the children, according to local agents.On Monday, Róger Omar García Chávez, a 29-year-old Honduran at a shelter in Reynosa, said he had sent his wife and 2-year-old daughter across the river four days earlier and planned to sneak across himself and meet up with them in Houston.“Women with children are going north,” he said. “What I’m sure of is that pregnant women and children are being allowed in.”At the shelter the next day, he was gone.© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Central American child migrant crisis ‘one of the greatest tragedies,’ says Costa Rica’s Solís US nation-building efforts should be in Central America, not Iraq and Afghanistan Fix the immigration crisis at its root Central American foreign ministers meet in Washington to lobby Obama on immigration crisislast_img read more

VIDEO Killer whales hunt tiger shark near Costa Ricas Cocos Island

first_imgDivers with the excursion company Undersea Hunter saw a rare site off the coast of Costa Rica’s remote Cocos Island National Park. During the first week of September, the company spotted a pod of orcas making its way past the island. But a whale’s got to eat, and Juan Manuel Camargo and Edwar Herreño caught the orcas on tape hunting a tiger shark near their boat. Orcas aren’t the only ones going after sharks in the protected waters around Cocos Island, 300 kilometers off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Shark finners regularly poach the animals from the world-famous waters for sale in Asia. Hollywood star and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio called attention to the plight of shark finning there in June. Recommended: Climate change could leave sharks unable to hunt Facebook Comments Related posts:Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson files human rights lawsuit against Costa Rica Actor Leonardo DiCaprio talks about illegal fishing in Costa Rica’s Cocos Island 4 things not to miss during bird migration season Drones could help spot illegal fishing around Costa Rica’s Cocos Islandlast_img read more

Drug traffickers who cooperate with the US government have it pretty good

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. — Drug traffickers who cooperate with U.S. federal investigators are poorly vetted, and the Drug Enforcement Administration did not properly monitor at least 240 informants — some of whom crossed the line into illegal activity and were under criminal investigation by other authorities.That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Justice Department watchdog, who found another weakness in the DEA’s oversight of its informants: Some of them get workers’ compensation benefits from the government despite questionable qualifications.Investigators from Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office found that the DEA paid more than $1 million in these benefits in 2014 to 17 informants or their dependents — without proper government controls, according to a report made public last week. The DEA used “over 240 confidential sources without rigorous review,” investigators found in the report, made public last week. “This created a significant risk that improper relationships between government handlers and sources could be allowed to continue over many years, potentially resulting in the divulging of sensitive information or other adverse consequences for the government.”In some cases, the agency continued for years — with no intervention from the Justice Department, its parent agency — to use informants involved in criminal activity, some of them considered high-risk.The criticism comes as the DEA has been under fire in recent months from Congress and Justice officials. Administrator Michele Leonhart was forced to step down in May following revelations about “sex parties” involving prostitutes overseas and other misconduct among agents.The DEA, created by the Nixon administration in 1973 during the war on drugs, enforces the country’s drug laws and bring violators to justice. A basic way agents do their jobs is by recruiting informants. The agency is supposed to monitor when they cross the line into illegal activity and keep tight tabs on them, according to guidelines set by the attorney general.Interesting read: The intellectual architect of the US’ modern war on drugs has diedBut investigators found that the agency hasn’t always followed those guidelines, instead setting up its own standards. So drug kingpins, as well as lawyers, doctors or journalists haven’t been vetted as they should be, even though they’re considered high-risk informants.Despite what the policies say, the DEA’s review of potential informants’ files has long been a quick rubber stamp, investigators found. In a video released with the report, Horowitz said his investigators uncovered evidence that he said “raises significant concerns for one of the DEA’s more significant and sensitive programs.”A committee charged with reviewing informants weighed each source for an average of a minute each from 2003 to 2012, Horowitz said. “And that’s when there was any review at all.”Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said Justice officials ordered a comprehensive review of the DEA’s confidential source policies late last year.“The review will address and revise policies related to high-level, privileged and media-related confidential sources and put in place more stringent requirements to better assess and mitigate risk when approving” illegal activity, Rodenbush said in a statement.The agency also has a put moratorium on seeking workers’ compensation for confidential sources and is reviewing its policies and procedures for handling current recipients, he said.Horowitz said said the report was delayed “for months at a time” because the DEA held back information from investigators. Even after a year of investigating, the inspector general’s office calls its review of the informant program “limited.”Despite a lack of documentation, claims submitted to the Labor Department by DEA officials seeking compensation for injuries or death of informants were routinely approved, investigators found. For example:A confidential source was presumably killed overseas in 1991, and the DEA got benefits for the source’s family. But according to the file, there were no witnesses to the informant’s death and the body had not been recovered.A source who was shot and injured at home in 2002 received benefits, even though the informant’s file indicates that there were no witnesses to the shooting and contains no evidence of a link between the shooting and the person’s status as a DEA source.The U.S. Labor Department apparently considered the applications for workers’ compensation to be accurate. Some “disabled” confidential sources drew paychecks from both the DEA and the Labor Department for years.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Military helicopter shot down as drug violence surges in western Mexico Global drug policy isn’t working. These 100-plus organizations want that to change. It’s time to end the war on drugs US seizes $12 million of drugs in Caribbeanlast_img read more

FIFA corruption probe Swiss to extradite exVP Figueredo to US

Related posts:FEDEFUTBOL official: FIFA scandal won’t affect Costa Rica’s upcoming matches FIFA reform taskforce meets for first time Blatter fights ban amid FIFA turmoil Honduras ex-President Rafael Callejas goes to US to face FIFA corruption charges Switzerland approved the extradition of formerFIFA Vice President Eugenio Figueredo to the United States on corruption charges as part of a sweeping investigation into accusations of decades-long criminal activity by senior football officials.Figueredo, who also briefly led South America’s football confederation, has been unable to leave Switzerland since May 27, when authorities carried out early morning raids on a luxury hotel on behalf of the U.S. He was one of seven football officials arrested. Also arrested that day was Eduardo Li, a FIFA executive committee member from Costa Rica. Li’s extradition request by the U.S. is still pending.Figueredo, an 83-year-old from Uruguay, has 30 days to appeal his extradition, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice said today on its website.“Figueredo is accused of receiving bribes worth millions of dollars from a Uruguayan sports marketing company in connection with the sale of marketing rights to the Copa America tournaments in 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2023,” the Federal Office of Justice said.FIFA corruption probe wideningThe case has created an unprecedented crisis at FIFA, forcing President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter to say he would step down just four days after being re-elected to a fifth term. His successor will be chosen on Feb. 26, when the organization’s 209 member nations will be asked to vote on new corporate governance reforms.Figueredo is the first official to have his extradition status decided. Jeffrey Webb, another former vice president and the ex-head of the north and central American football body, agreed to be transferred to the U.S. in July. Five others, including Li, are awaiting decisions.As well as the crimes related to his years as a football official, Figueredo is also accused of falsifying medical records in order to get U.S. citizenship. He’s alleged to have claimed to be suffering from severe dementia to avoid a citizenship test.On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said more individuals and entities may be charged as her department’s investigation into football corruption has widened. Nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives have been charged so far.Switzerland is conducting a separate investigation into alleged wrongdoing as part of the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar.© 2015, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments read more

Boehner recounts emotional holy hug with Pope Francis

first_imgRelated posts:Pope Francis in Cuba: Mass before a packed Revolution Square Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit Pope Francis tells bishops that clergy abuse must not be repeated Pope Francis meets the Castros after mass on iconic Havana square John Boehner has enjoyed highs and lows during his quarter-century in Congress, but an intimate moment with Pope Francis — one day before the Republicanresigned as U.S. House speaker — may be the one he treasures the most.Boehner is Catholic, the son of a tavern owner, and no one was more proud — and perhaps more teary-eyed — than the speaker himself as the pontiff made his historic visit to Congress Thursday, a dream Boehner described as 20 years in the making.“Was I emotional yesterday? I think I was,” Boehner admitted Friday.And while he insisted the pope had no bearing on his resignation announcement, the coincidence was noteworthy. The pope’s Capitol Hill stop received wall-to-wall television coverage, and Boehner featured prominently — seen over the pope’s shoulder as he addressed Congress, and at his side as Francis spoke to thousands on the west side of the Capitol building.But Boehner, one of 12 children from modest means, revealed a moment of intimacy between himself and the world’s most powerful Catholic.“As the pope and I were getting ready to exit the building, we found ourselves alone,” Boehner said during his resignation announcement.“The pope grabbed my left arm, and said some very kind words to me about my commitment to kids and education,” he added.“And the pope puts his arm around me, and kind of pulls me to him and says, ‘Please pray for me,’” Boehner said, his eyes moistening as he recalled the moment.“Well, who am I to pray for the pope? But I did.”One might assume Francis spared a thought for the House speaker as well, although Boehner did not say whether he discussed his potential departure with His Holiness.The pope waded into controversial political territory in his congressional speech, calling for an embrace of millions of undocumented immigrants, more action to fight climate change and abolition of the death penalty — positions more in line with progressive Democrats than rank-and-file Republicans.“I hope we will all heed his call to live by the golden rule,” Boehner said.The Ohioan said he once again started to think about his political future at the end of the momentous day with the pontiff. He huddled Thursday night with his chief of staff who urged him to sleep on it. Boehner talked it over with his wife, Debbie.It was a “bittersweet day” for Boehner, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said.“He lived that dream yesterday, but all the while he must have been thinking so much about the upcoming decision that he would announce to us today.”On Friday, with a government shutdown looming, far-right Republicans demanding more conservative action, and the need to raise the U.S. borrowing ceiling fast approaching, Boehner decided to call it quits.“This morning I woke up, and walked up to Starbucks as usual and got my coffee and came back and read, and walked up to Pete’s Diner (Boehner’s breakfast joint in Washington)… and got home and thought, ‘Yep, I think that today’s the day.’”Read more Pope Francis stories here Facebook Commentslast_img read more

US religious groups offer sanctuary to immigrants targeted in new raids

first_imgRelated posts:Obama administration tightens border policy to stem immigrant flow from Mexico As budget battles loom, Biden asks US Congress to approve aid for Central America New immigration program seeks to reunite Central American families in US US to spend $750 million to attack Central America poverty woes Guatemaltecos deportados que arribaron hoy fueron detenidos durante el fin de semana en #EEUU. Fotos: Esbin García— Prensa Libre (@prensa_libre) January 6, 2016 At the start of the year, the Obama administration launched a large-scale effort targeting those who’ve already been ordered to leave the country. About 120 adults and children have been apprehended so far in raids conducted in several states.The effort, which is expected to include several hundred more apprehensions, has drawn sharp criticism from those who advocated for undocumented immigrants. They argue that Central Americans who are entering the country illegally should be offered the same protections extended to Syrian refugees.Instead, Central Americans are being processed for deportation rapidly, sometimes without legal representation, said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center.“There is basically a hemispheric bias in our refugee system,” Hincapié said. “These families that are also fleeing violence – the same way as other refugees coming from around the world – are not being welcomed to our country. Instead, we are at risk of deporting them back to their persecutors, deporting them back to their death, deporting them back to rape and sexual assault.”Related: Bernie Sanders: Central American refugees should not be ‘cast out’The advocates described cases during the past few days where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents entered the homes of terrified immigrant families, grabbing whichever people couldn’t prove they were in the United States legally.During one early morning raid in Georgia, ICE agents gained entry into a family’s house by saying they were looking for help identifying an African-American suspected of a crime, said Adelina Nicholls, director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights in Atlanta.The agents took a mother and her 9-year-old son into custody, transporting them to a federal detention center in Texas, Nicholls said.Noel Anderson, grass-roots coordinator with the Church World Service group for refugees, said his organization has been working to build a network of sanctuaries for the Central Americans being targeted by ICE.“Every day, we’re hearing more from congregations wanting to do something about this,” Anderson said.See also: US to spend $750 million to attack Central America poverty woes© 2016, The Washington Post Facebook Commentscenter_img Religious groups and activists vowed Wednesday to offer refuge to undocumented immigrants who are the targets ofongoing federal raids in the United States meant to combat a new wave of border-crossing from Central America.The announcement recalled the sanctuary movement of the 1980s that provided safe haven to several thousand people fleeing civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala, with churches in Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities sometimes filled with people seeking asylum in the United States.During a news conference via telephone, a national network of immigrant groups said they are prepared to defy federal authorities who are seeking to apprehend undocumented Central American immigrants. Advocates said those immigrants once again are fleeing violence in their homelands, this time perpetrated by gangs engaged in drug trafficking and other crimes.“We feel we are once again living through a nightmare,” said Alison Harrington, pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona. “Once again, human lives are at stake.”More than 100,000 Central American adults and children, including unaccompanied minors, have made the journey across the U.S.-Mexico border since 2014, federal authorities have said.See: El Salvador issues tips for migrants ahead of US crackdownlast_img read more

Ted Cruz edges Trump in Iowa caucuses Rubio finishes strong third

first_img Facebook Comments DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas rallied a broad coalition of conservatives around his anti-Washington message to win Iowa’s presidential caucuses here Monday night, edging out Donald Trump in their battle to claim the Republican Party’s outsider mantle.Riding a late wave of momentum, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida finished a surprisingly strong third, just behind Trump, which positions him as the leading establishment choice when the campaign moves to friendlier terrain in New Hampshire.Trump – the brash billionaire mogul whose populist rage and unconventional campaign have upended U.S. politics – fell short in seeking a decisive victory that would have fully validated his unlikely place at the center of the battle for the Republican presidential nomination. He comes under new pressure to win next week’s primary in New Hampshire, where he has long enjoyed a double-digit polling lead.With nearly all precincts reporting, Cruz led with 28 percent, followed by Trump at 24 percent and Rubio at 23 percent. The remaining eight major candidates were far behind and in single digits. Edison Media Research estimated GOP turnout at 187,000 voters, about 50 percent higher than four years ago.Cruz was buoyant and overwhelmed as he claimed victory at a large rally of supporters.“To God be the glory,” he said. “Tonight is a victory for the grass roots. Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa and all across this great nation.”At a moment of intense voter anger and frustration with Washington’s gridlock, Cruz campaigned proudly as a Beltway lightning rod. He has been a divisive figure since the moment he was sworn into the Senate in 2013, making more enemies than friends, even among his own party’s leadership.“Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and the next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment, will not be chosen by the lobbyists, but will be chosen by the most incredible, powerful force where all sovereignty resides in our nation – by we the people, the American people,” Cruz said.For a Republican Party used to anointing the candidate next in line, all of them white men, the success of Cruz and Rubio was a historic departure. Cruz, 45, and Rubio, 44 – both sons of Cuban immigrants serving in their first terms in the Senate – cemented their roles Monday night as serious contenders for the nomination and offered their party hope of broadening its general-election appeal to Latino voters.Addressing supporters in Des Moines, Rubio sounded a triumphant and optimistic note, saying he could unite the divided Republican Party and lead the charge against the Democrats this fall.“They told me that we had no chance because my hair wasn’t gray enough and my boots were too high,” Rubio said late Monday. “They told me I needed to wait my turn, that I needed to wait in line. But tonight, tonight here in Iowa the people in this great state sent a very clear message: After seven years of Barack Obama, we are not waiting any longer to take our country back.” Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) addresses supporters at a caucus night party at the Marriott Hotel on Feb. 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Pete Marovich/Getty Images/AFP Pete Marovich/Getty Images/AFPCruz overcame a nasty barrage of attacks from Trump, Rubio and their allies – as well as steadfast opposition from Iowa’s political and business elite, including the longtime governor, Terry E. Branstad (R) – to unite evangelical Christians, tea party activists, libertarians and other conservatives.The first nominating contest answered one of the biggest questions looming over the presidential campaign: Would the throngs of Trump fans who have packed gymnasiums and cheered his incendiary commentary participate in the caucuses, Iowa’s time-honored act of democracy?Not enough did.Rubio won over many caucus-goers who waited until the final weeks to pick a candidate, according to preliminary network entrance polling. Evangelical voters, who turned out in record numbers, favored Cruz over Trump and Rubio by roughly 10 percentage points after splitting their loyalties in polls over the past month.It was disappointing showing for Trump, a celebrity who had never before faced the judgment of voters and could not overcome Cruz’s data-driven appeals. Winning the Iowa caucuses affirmed Cruz’s traditional approach to politicking in Iowa. He entered the race as an underdog, but methodically built a web of relationships in all 99 counties and invested early and heavily in a sophisticated organizing program.Trump, a New York real estate tycoon who became a reality-television star, had hoped that winning Iowa would force the political class to take seriously the prospect of him as the nominee. Though dismissed by some as merely an engaging entertainer, Trump has tried to prove he is the leader of an anti-establishment movement giving voice to the country’s angry and disaffected masses.Trump hopes to rebound in New Hampshire and then carry his campaign into the South, where he regularly packs arenas with thousands of people.Trump was atypically magnanimous as he spoke for just four minutes to supporters. He congratulated Cruz and thanked the people of Iowa – even joking that he would return to the Hawkeye State and buy a farm. He vowed to fight on in New Hampshire, predicting that he would be “proclaiming victory” there.“We will go on to get the Republican nomination,” Trump said, “and we will go on to easily beat Hillary or Bernie or whoever the hell they throw up there.”The Iowa results should help winnow what has been a sprawling and chaotic Republican field. Eleven major candidates competed in the caucuses, but low single-digit finishes are likely to force some to consider suspending their campaigns.Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee announced Monday night he was suspending his candidacy after finishing with 2 percent of the vote.Though the Iowa electorate is far from representative of the nation, the caucuses began to bring into focus the kind of candidate Republicans are yearning for as their nominee. Both Trump and Cruz campaigned as disruptive outsiders and vowed to shatter the status quo in Washington.Cruz rocketed to national prominence soon after his 2012 election to the Senate. In 2013, Cruz’s 21-hour speech on the Senate floor opposing President Obama’s health-care law forced a partial shutdown of the federal government. The move made him a hero to grass-roots conservative activists across the country and set him on a path toward the 2016 campaign.At boisterous rallies and intimate gatherings alike, Cruz promised to bring the same insurgent energy to the White House. He talked tough on national security and vowed to halt illegal immigration and reverse many of Obama’s achievements, from the health-care law to environmental regulations that he said were strangling small businesses.A third outsider, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, had a considerable following here among grass-roots conservative activists and briefly led the polls until he began to falter under scrutiny of his foreign policy knowledge. Carson finished in fourth place with 9 percent.At a moment when Republicans are captivated by new stars, two of the candidates who spent the most time campaigning in Iowa, former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Huckabee, were unable to replicate the success they had when they won the caucuses in 2012 and 2008, respectively.Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky finished a disappointing fifth place with just 5 percent. He failed to fully inherit and expand upon the libertarian base his father, former congressman Ron Paul of Texas, built in his 2008 and 2012 presidential runs. And former technology executive Carly Fiorina could not reignite the promise she showed last fall, ending up with 2 percent.The results also dealt damaging blows to the White House aspirations of the candidates with the most government experience. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran on their executive records and policy know-how, each finished with 2 percent.Meanwhile, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, a son and brother of past presidents, entered the race as the establishment favorite but saw his support dwindle despite extraordinary spending by his campaign and super PAC. He ended in sixth place with 3 percent.While the top three Iowa finishers move on with fresh momentum, the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary provides an opening for a fourth candidate to join them as a leading contender.Bush, Christie and Kasich all hope to do so. Each was in New Hampshire by Monday night to get a head start on campaigning as they search for a jolt to keep their candidacies alive. The establishment candidates are positioned to garner more support from the Granite State’s decidedly more moderate electorate than in Iowa. But the allegiances of mainstream Republicans are divided among the three governors and Rubio.The Iowa caucuses kicked off what is on track to be the costliest Republican presidential nominating contest ever. Already, at least $325 million has been spent by the GOP candidates and their allied super PACs, according to Federal Election Commission filings and data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.The negativity concerned some Republican leaders here and was a marked contrast from the Democratic race, where Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders traded softer barbs, mostly on policy differences.In the final week in Iowa, the race took a decidedly negative turn as the leading candidates and their super PAC allies formed a circular firing squad to discredit one another in the minds of conservative voters.It sometimes became difficult to sort out who was attacking whom and over what. Trump badgered Cruz with doubts about whether his Canadian birth disqualified him to be president, as well as Cruz’s opposition to federal renewable fuel standards, a top priority for Iowa’s powerful ethanol industry.Cruz used Trump’s past liberal positions on abortion and gay marriage to portray him as an unprincipled and untrustworthy conservative. He also went after Rubio, using the Floridian’s 2013 role crafting the Senate’s bipartisan immigration reform bill to cast him as a shape-shifter.Bush’s allied super PAC, Right to Rise, invested heavily in similar attacks on Rubio, while other outside groups aired television ads slamming Cruz and Trump.It was all punctuated by Trump’s name-calling, as he sought to brand Cruz as a “nasty” person and Bush as “low-energy.”Jose DelReal in Des Moines and Scott Clement in Washington contributed to this report.© 2016, The Washington Post Related posts:Donald Trump under fire yet again, this time for sexist and vulgar Clinton gibes Obama’s skin looks different in GOP ads Obama’s brutal assessment of the rise of Donald Trump Bernie Sanders’ CAFTA reversal pledge worries Costa Rica businesseslast_img read more

10 reasons to check out the firstever Coca Cola Fest

first_imgUn Rojo Reggae BandUn Rojo Reggae Band, formed in Costa Rica in 2002, has released three different albums: “Jah is a Rasta” (2007), “En la Calle” (2012), and “Reborn” (2015). With lyrics focused on equality and unity, the band’s current lineup is composed by 11 different musicians. Santos&ZurdoSantos&Zurdo is a Costa Rican musical project that combines beats, blips, groove and the marvelous distinct sound of a sitar. Formed in 2003, the band they released their first album “Souvenir” in 2005, which won an ACAM award in 2006 for best electronic album. In 2013 they released their second album, “S&Z.” Ojo de BueyOjo de Buey is another Costa Rican band that experiments with reggae: formed in 2007, the band has created a sound that fuses various Latin genres. They have released two albums: “Sabor en un tiempo cruel” (2010) and “Repelente pal dolor” (2013). With “Sabor en un tiempo cruel”, Ojo de Buey won 2011’s ACAM award for best reggae album. GandhiGandhi is a renowned Costa Rican rock band formed in 1993. They released their debut album, “En el Jardín del Corazón” in 1997, followed by “Páginas Perdidas” (1999), “BIOS” (2002), “Ciclos” (2004), “Arigato No!” (2009), and “Universo Asimétrico” (2015). The National Stadium will fill with music on Aug. 27: t from 2:00 P.M. until 10:00 P.M., the first Coca-Cola Fest will offer a diverse musical lineup of both national and international artists. Besides the music, games and plenty of food will also be part of the festival, produced by the Flevent company. A bonus: Soccer players from Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, Club Sport Herediano, Club Sport Cartaginés and the Municipal Pérez Zeledón will be at the event signing autographs.Deciding whether to line up a ticket? Here is a glimpse of participating bands:Los Fabulosos CadillacsThe Argentinian band is the most hotly anticipated guest of the festival. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs began their musical journey in 1985 by exploring distinct genres such as ska, reggae, and rock. With more than 10 different albums, the band won a Grammy award in 1998 for the Best Latin Album, “Fabulosos Calavera.” For their show here in Costa Rica, the group will be playing songs from their newly released album “La Salvación de Solo y Juan” along with beloved earlier songs such as “El Matador” and “Mal Bicho.” Tickets to the Coca-Cola Fest are on sale online at If you purchase your tickets at any AMPM and present 5 Coca Cola or Fanta caps that are marked with a special offer, you’ll get a 50% discount on the purchase of your ticket. For more information visit Coca-Cola Fest’s event page. Facebook Comments Related posts:Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Arts, culture and Mother’s Day: the week ahead in Costa Rica The Black side of the story: Afro-Costa Rican MC Huba Watsoncenter_img MentadosMentados is a Costa Rican band created in 1998 that merges punk, ska and reggae. Their musical journey began in 1999 when they recorded their first demo and then in 2003 recorded their first album, “Ir caminando.” The group broke up 2009, but reunited in 2015 and are in the process of recording their second album. CocofunkaCocofunka’s sound is characterized by the exploration and combination of different genres such as roots, funk, electronica, and rock. The Costa Rican group has released three different albums: “Elevarse” (2013), “Hacer Eco” (2012), and “Chúcaro” (2016). Don’t miss out on a dosage of Cocofunka’s Latin musical fusion. La MilixiaLa Milixia is a Costa Rican band that was created in 2006; they mix ska, punk, and reggae, along with a mission to create social consciousness. In 2011 they released their first album, “Ska, calle y memoria,” which won the ACAM award for best musical composition and authorship. In 2014 they released their second album, “Rabia y sentimiento.” PatternsPatterns is another Costa Rican band created in 2013 by Estefani Brolo, Luigi Jiménez, and Mario Miranda. Patterns seeks to create a “tropical disco” by experimenting the synth pop along with groove, and dance disco. They have released two albums, “Dangerous Intentions” (2013) and “Shout” (2015). EntrelíneasEntrelíneas merges energetic pop melodies with a rock twist. The Costa Rican band was created in 2007, and in 2011 they recorded their first EP. Despite its name, their single “Nadie sabe bailar” (“No one knows how to dance”) will leave you dancing.last_img read more

Keylor Costa Rica is ready to classify

first_imgJust two game days away from the end of the Concacaf Hexagonal Round, which provides three direct spots for the World Cup (and a fourth through a playoff against an Asian team), Mexico is atop the rankings with 18 points, followed by Costa Rica with 15, Panama with 10, the United States and Honduras with 9 apiece, and Trinidad and Tobago with three.Costa Rica came up short in its quest to clinch its qualification at home against longtime rival Mexico on Sept. 5 – La Sele tied Mexico 1-1 in a thrilling contest – but has another chance on Friday’s match, also at home. A win against Honduras would guarantee the team’s ticket to Russia.Read more: Costa Rica ties Mexico 1-1 Facebook Comments Recommended: The 5 greatest moments in Costa Rican soccer historyCosta Rican goalie Keylor Navas, who tends the nets for Real Madrid as well as the Costa Rican Men’s National Team, says he’s convinced La Sele can gain a spot at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.“We know that if we win the match [against Honduras this Friday], we’ll classify, so we’re going in with a winning mindset as we always do,” Navas said after a Real Madrid game, which the Spanish club won 2-0 over Espanyol.center_img Related posts:Costa Rica hopes to clinch World Cup berth against a carefree Mexico The best photos from Costa Rica’s loss to Tunisia – and the afterparty Honduras prepares for Tuesday’s Costa Rica faceoff The 5 greatest moments in Costa Rican soccer historylast_img read more

Zimbabwe PM Mugabe will accept election result

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Tsvagirai said Mugabe “will accept the result,” noting he didn’t “see any reason why he should plunge the country again into another dispute.”He said Mugabe is “committed for his own legacy and for the legacy of the country to move forward in a stable way.”Tsvangirai competed against Mugabe in a disputed 2008 election that sparked violence before the pair agreed to a power-sharing arrangement.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories ErrorOK… ErrorOK Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says long-time ruler Robert Mugabe is ready to give up power if he loses the next election.Tsvangirai made the comments Wednesday in New Zealand, part of a tour to ask numerous countries to end limited sanctions against Zimbabwe. He said he’s confident free elections will be held within 12 months, after a new constitution was drafted Friday. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more