Social Security System acquires mobile mammography machine

first_imgHealth workers from the Social Security System, or Caja, will tour rural communities across the country to perform low-cost mammograms using a new mobile mammography machine the institution recently acquired.The Caja’s goal is to offer at least 6,000 tests a year, in order to expand coverage and increase patient survival. Recent studies show that the combination of early diagnosis and prompt treatment significantly reduces mortality rates.The new equipment was obtained thanks to a joint effort by private companies and foreign governments such as the German Embassy, Automercado, BCR, ​Aliarse ​Foundation, Channel 7 and Clínica Biblica Hospital, whose doctors will help with the screenings.Caja hospitals performed 80,000 mammograms last year, but current demand exceeds actual capacity, so the initiative is “an important contribution to address the growing impact of this disease,” Luis Saenz, executive director for the Caja’s Project for Cancer Care, said.Treatment at an early stage can help avoid breast removal in more than half of cases and leads to survival rates of 87 percent with no involved nodes, Caja authorities said. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Tobacco company wants overhaul of Costa Ricas smoking ban

first_imgThe British American Tobacco Company is taking advantage of a time frame for public consultation to ask for changes to an anti-smoking law adopted last March.Felicio Ferraz, the tobacco company’s regional manager, said that smoking areas should be created, and current legislation does not specify where people can smoke. The company also called for the creation of outdoor areas for smokers in public places, restaurants and other businesses.Ferraz added that advertising regulations should be more flexible, because “[lawmakers] are going too far in limiting the display of the product at retail points.”Tobacco companies had no opportunity to present their position to lawmakers who approved the smoking ban, Ferraz said, and should therefore be granted access in talks over future revisions.The public consultation on the new law runs through June 4, and approval of the final text is expected by June 26.President Laura Chinchilla signed the “Control of Tobacco and its Harmful Effects on Health Bill” on March 22. The law bans smoking in restaurants, bars, casinos and other businesses, as well as at airports, and taxi and bus stands, among other areas. Facebook Comments Related posts:Hotel owners to request changes in anti-smoking law President signs anti-smoking bill Costa Rica’s Supreme Court declares anti-smoking bill constitutional No smoking ban in Costa Rican bars, restaurants goes into effectlast_img read more

Carlos the Jackal back in court in France

first_imgNo related posts. PARIS – Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, the convicted killer known to the world as “Carlos the Jackal,” returns to court on Monday in a bid to overturn his conviction for masterminding a deadly series of bombings on French soil.Now 63, the Venezuelan was already serving a life sentence for murder when he was convicted two years ago of orchestrating the 1982 and 1983 attacks on two French passenger trains, a train station in Marseille and a Libyan magazine office in Paris.The attacks left 11 people dead and nearly 150 injured.They were widely believed to have been carried out in retaliation for France’s detention of two fellow members of a militant group Carlos ran with the support of East Germany’s notorious secret police, the Stasi.The investigation into the 1982-83 bombings had looked like it was heading towards a dead end until the release of secret Stasi files handed prosecutors sufficient evidence of his involvement to bring the case to court.The appeal that will begin here on Monday and is scheduled to run until June 26 is expected to focus on whether evidence garnered from these files can be regarded as reliable.The panel of judges that will hear the appeal will also review the acquittal of Christa Frohlich, a 70-year-old German, of charges of involvement in one of the attacks.Frohlich was tried in absentia in 2011 and is not expected to attend the appeal.At his first trial, Carlos denied any involvement in the 1982-83 bombings while issuing a series of ambiguous pronouncements about his role as a “professional revolutionary” waging a war for the liberation of Palestine and other causes.After years on the run from western security services, he was finally arrested in Sudan in 1994 and transferred to France, where he was convicted three years later of the 1975 murder in Paris of two members of the French security services and an alleged informer.He could yet face a third trial in France as an examining magistrate is still investigating the 1974 bombing of the Drugstore Saint-Germain in the centre of Paris, which left two people dead and 34 injured.Against that background, he is seen as unlikely to be released any time soon.He has not given up hope of securing a transfer to custody in his native Venezuela but it is hard to envisage France sanctioning such a move, given the outrage it would inevitably trigger.Venezuela’s late leader Hugo Chavez was a strong supporter of Carlos, describing him as a revolutionary who had been wrongly convicted.Carlos has spent several years in solitary confinement but his prison conditions in France have, of late, been much more comfortable.At the Centrale de Poissy in the western suburbs of Paris, he spends his time reading, taking philosophy and literature classes and talking with his many visitors, according to one of his lawyers, Francis Vuillemin.“It is similar to the life of a monk in an abbey,” Vuillemin said.According to Aude Simeon, a former teacher in the prison, the monk’s life also includes access to cigars and Venezuelan coffee served in his cell.In a memoir entitled “Teacher to the convicts” Simeon describes Carlos as a very polite and courteous man who could also appear as a “slightly childish, know it all.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Cuba sees major role for foreign investment

first_imgHAVANA, Cuba – Cuba plans to open its economy to greater foreign investment under a new law to be taken up soon by its legislature, a report in state-run media said Saturday.Outside investment no longer would be merely a “complement” to Cuba’s state-run economy but “would occupy a major role” under the proposed law, said Pedro San Jorge, a top official at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment.The national assembly is take up the bill in March as part of an ongoing overhaul of Cuba’s Soviet-style economy under President Raúl Castro.San Jorge, who heads the ministry’s economic policy office, said it envisions among other things a role for foreign investment in agriculture, which he said was unusual.His remarks were published in Cuba’s Opciones weekly newspaper.A 1995 law mandates that foreign capital should play only a complementary role in Cuba’s economy, including providing funds and technological know-how to enterprises run by the Cuban state.San Jorge said that the planned changes reflect the “current circumstances” faced by Cuba, which has been struggling to get out from under an inefficient, top heavy, state-run industrial apparatus.Castro last month called an extraordinary session of the assembly in March to approve the bill.He said that the measure opening up the economy to outside investment seeks to attract greater foreign capital, generate new jobs and bolster domestic industry.Castro said he also wants to increase Cuba’s exports and reduce its dependence on goods purchased from overseas.“You have to strengthen the country’s capacity to generate many of the products that we currently import,” the Cuban leader said.The island of some 11.1 million people has seen some significant changes since 2011.The reforms have covered everything from the currency system to the kinds of jobs Cubans are permitted to take on as self-employed workers.Castro also has created hundreds of cooperatives from former state enterprises, in a bid to reduce the legions of state workers who get a government paycheck. Facebook Comments Related posts:White House travel exemptions to Cuba do not cover tourism There’s a real estate boom in Cuba, but for now, only Cubans can buy US, Cuba agree to let airlines begin flights Smitten while in Cuba? Better call the love detective before you commitlast_img read more

Robin Williams frenetic fearless actor and comedian dies at 63

first_imgRobin Williams, the Juilliard-trained actor and uncontainably exhibitionist comic who became one of the most dazzling all-around talents in show business, winning an Academy Award for a dramatic role in “Good Will Hunting” and an Emmy for his stand-up work, was found dead Monday at his home in Tiburon, Calif. He was 63.The Marin County Sheriff’s Office said a preliminary investigation indicates the cause of death was a suicide due to asphyxia but that an investigation is continuing. His media agent said he had been battling depression.Long fueled by an alcohol and cocaine addiction, Williams was a motormouthed and unpredictable entertainer in whatever medium he was working, whether movies, television, Broadway, or gala performances before Prince Charles of England. “In England, if you commit a crime, the police don’t own a gun and you don’t have a gun,” he told an audience, referring to the tactics of London police toward criminals. “So it’s stop … or I’ll say stop again.”He was a satirist, an Oscar-winning dramatic actor and mimic of everyone from Carol Channing to Jack Nicholson, from a British actor rendering “Hamlet” to a ghetto tough to Henry Kissinger channeling the morgue-voiced actor Peter Lorre. Williams once said he took a crash course in Russian and was so good that he fooled real Russians into thinking he was one of them, “or else Czech or Polish.”Audiences gravitated to his unprintably profane comic riffs on guns, drugs, God and politics. Of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former bodybuilder and Hollywood-action-star-turned-California-governor, Williams equated his branding as a moderate Republican to “a Volvo with a gun rack — you don’t see a lot of them.”Of the lackluster economy toward the end of President George W. Bush’s administration, Williams pointed out: “They say the economy is essentially sound because people are considering buying things. That’s like saying fat people are healthy because they might exercise.”Once, upon spotting a man carrying a poster from Alcatraz prison, he shouted, “A gift shop at Alcatraz!” and in a child’s voice pleaded, “Daddy, get me the electric chair.”It was nearly impossible to harness his style — although, when under skilled direction, he was able to offer restrained and surprisingly deft dramatic portraits. Robin Williams won an Oscar as best supporting actor as a therapist in “Good Will Hunting” (1997). He played a psychologist who helps gifted, troubled Will Hunting (Matt Damon, left) to wise up to his talents and torments in “Good Will Hunting.” Arthur Grace/MiramaxWilliams won an Oscar as best supporting actor as a therapist in “Good Will Hunting” (1997) after having been nominated for leading roles three times, for his roles as an irreverent disc jockey in “Good Morning, Vietnam” (1987), an inspirational boarding school teacher in “Dead Poets Society” (1989) and a distraught widower in “The Fisher King” (1991).As a Hollywood actor, he was almost always compelling but uneven in his choice of roles, which shifted dramatically between riveting (“Awakenings”) and maudlin (“Patch Adams”) and in the comic realm between the expertly served (“Mrs. Doubtfire,” “The Birdcage”) and thuddingly mediocre (“Night at the Museum”).He also became a sitcom star as an eccentric extraterrestrial in Boulder, Colorado, on ABC’s “Mork & Mindy” (1978 to 1982) and always brought an unpredictable presence to cameo roles on television series of interview programs. McLaurin Williams was born July 21, 1951, in Chicago and raised in a 30-room mansion in the affluent Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.His father, Robert, was a sales executive at Ford Motor, and his mother, Laurie, was a former model her son would later call a “Christian Dior scientist.” Each parent brought a much older child from a previous marriage into the family, leaving Robin to play by himself with 2,000 toy soldiers — giving each a different voice.As a child, Robin developed a sharp humor to attract attention from his parents. To his father, who liked to be called “sir,” he instead used the honorific “Lord Stokesbury, Viceroy of India.” He said his earliest comic influences were his mother, who enjoyed reciting funny poems, and Jonathan Winters, an absurdist improvisational comic of film and TV.In a remembrance of Winters after his death in 2013, Williams wrote in The New York Times that he was entranced by Winters’s effect on his normally staid father as the comedian played a series of more lunatic characters. And Winters’ tools were simple. By donning a pith helmet, he morphed into a “great white hunter” whose conception of wild game is squirrel.“I aim for their little nuts,” Winters said.Williams wrote:My dad and I lost it. Seeing my father laugh like that made me think, ‘Who is this guy and what’s he on?’ . . . Each transformation was a cameo with characters and sound effects. He was performing comedic alchemy. The world was his laboratory. I was hooked.Williams’s father retired and moved to the family to Marin County, just north of San Francisco, during Robin’s senior year of high school. There, classmates voted him the funniest and least likely to succeed. Veteran actor-comedian Robin Williams and Marsha Garces Williams arrive at the Kennedy Center in Washington in 1998 for a tribute to fellow comedian Richard Pryor. Williams had two children, Zelda and Cody, with Garces Williams, his second wife. Washington Post photo by Richard LipskiWhile studying political science at Claremont Men’s College, he took a class in improvisational comedy that changed the course of his life. He won admission to the Juilliard School in New York on a scholarship and trained under John Houseman, among other prominent stage actors and directors. His classmates included Christopher Reeve, William Hurt and Mandy Patinkin.He left in his third year to work in comedy clubs in San Francisco and, in 1978, married Valerie Velardi, a dancer. They had a son before divorcing. He married Marsha Garces in 1989 and had two children with her before they divorced. Survivors include his third wife, Susan Schneider. A complete list of survivors could not be immediately confirmed.“This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken,” Schneider said in a statement. “As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”It was his first wife who suggested Williams move to Los Angeles and direct his talents at television. His routines at prominent clubs — including a skit playing the chain-gang escapees portrayed by Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier in the 1958 drama “The Defiant Ones” — won him the attention of TV producers in the audience. This led to guest appearances on shows, including ABC’s sitcom “Happy Days” as the alien Mork.The show’s producers had turned down 50 performers for the role before Williams auditioned for Mork. “About five o’clock, in walked this boy with rainbow suspenders,” producer Jerry Paris told The New York Times. “When he sat down, I asked if he would sit a little differently, the way an alien might. Immediately, he sat on his head. We hired him.”Audience reaction was so swiftly positive that the network gave Williams his own show as Mork in 1978. “Mork & Mindy” was about an alien from planet Ork sent to Earth in a giant egg to learn the mystifying habits of its people. Besides sitting on his head, Mork’s quirky tendencies include getting drunk on soda and falling hopelessly enamored of mannequins. His catchphrase: “Nanu nanu.”The sitcom co-starred Pam Dawber as a human love interest and, eventually, Winters as Mork’s extraterrestrial baby, Mearth, who ages in reverse. Critics found the show tiresome in its formula, but they were near-unanimous in their praise of Williams, who was afforded the rare freedom on network television to improvise on the set.He continued to perform on the comedy circuit while starring on TV, and he created a menagerie of profane and ridiculous characters such as the French-born conservationist Jacques Cousteau shilling for an oil company and the classically trained actor Laurence Olivier filming a commercial for Ripple, the low-budget plonk.His success as a TV star helped make one of his first comedy albums, “Reality … What a Concept” (1979), a million-seller, and propelled his work in movies.Williams made his leading man debut as the title sailor in “Popeye” (1980), a part he took because the critically esteemed Robert Altman was the director. However, the live-action film, based on the cartoon character, was a debacle that sunk at the box office.For the remainder of his career, Williams selected a wide range of parts in the hope that audiences would not only forget “Popeye” but see the dramatic potential behind the comic. This led to starring roles in “The World According to Garp” (1982), an oddly meshed comedy drama based on the John Irving novel, and “Moscow on the Hudson,” director Paul Mazursky’s comedy about a Soviet musician who defects at Bloomingdale’s and makes an uneasy adjustment to American life. Robin Williams performs the title role in “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” in New York on March 16, 2011. Carol Rosegg/Sam Rudy Media RelationsWith the Harold Ramis comedy “Club Paradise” (1986), Williams said he made a stab at the blatantly commercial, much to his regret. “‘Club Paradise’ was a sheer effort of greed,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I just went for the cash and went, ‘Great, now make a commercial movie,’ and I got creamed.”He dove next into “Seize the Day,” a 1986 drama that aired on PBS and was based on a Saul Bellow novel about a man whose life is a series of work and family distresses. Williams told the Times he took actor’s scale wages and regarded the performance as one of his finest.The film that made Williams a bona fide star was “Good Morning, Vietnam” (1987), as the loose-lipped DJ Adrian Cronauer on Armed Forces Radio in Saigon. The film, which reportedly made more than $120 million domestically, was best remembered for Williams one-liners amid the raging Vietnam War.In one scene, he is teaching New York-style insults to an English class filled with Vietnamese. He says he is from Queens.“What are Queens?” one student asks.“Tall, thin men who like show tunes,” he replies.If “Good Morning, Vietnam” proved Williams’s commercial potential on-screen, it took “Dead Poets Society” (1989) to transform him into a believably dramatic performer in the minds of mass audiences. The film critic Pauline Kael praised his “astonishingly empathetic performance as an eager, dedicated prep-school teacher in the late ’50s” who tries to liberate the minds of his students by urging them to “seize the day.”From there, came a run of more serious-minded films such as “Awakenings” (1990), based on Oliver Sacks book about a doctor (played by Williams) who tries to use a new drug on seemingly catatonic patients at a Bronx psychiatric hospital (one is portrayed by Robert De Niro). In director Terry Gilliam’s “The Fisher King” (1991), Williams was a homeless schizophrenic and onetime medieval scholar — the sort of injured innocent he liked to play at that stage of his career.The next several years were a run of mass-appeal comedies: “Hook,” “Toys” “Jumanji” and “Aladdin,” the latter was the Disney comedy in which he voiced the role of the genie. Related posts:Robin Williams brought brutal honesty to his best roles Swedish ‘Sugar Man’ documentary filmmaker dies at 36 Robin Williams is Google’s top search trend; in Costa Rica, it’s Keylor Navas ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’: Baby, it was born to run Recommended: Robin William brought brutal honesty to his best roles© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Want to start a business in Costa Rica Lets look at the

first_imgRelated posts:Want to start a business in Costa Rica? Getting it done Want to open a business in Costa Rica? Start with the basics Driving in Costa Rica: The rules of the road Nearly one-quarter of car owners fail to pay marchamo on time See also: Want to open a business in Costa Rica? Start with the basicsSecond in a series of columns by Steven Ferris, a Costa Rican attorney with extensive, direct experience in the Costa Rican judicial system, now in private practice.Following last week’s column about the basic requirements to start a company, where we focused on a sociedad anόnima as the most common and practical step, we now will look into the process in more detail. You’re probably used to seeing company names followed by the initials “S.A.” That’s because most companies end up going that route. The process to set one up requires a notary public of your choice, to whom you must provide the following information:1. Location and date whereupon the original documentation originates.2. Full names, nationalities, professions, marital status, and home address of those forming the company. Remember that if you are a Costa Rican, you have two surnames – one is your father’s and the second is your mother’s. However, if you are from a country where your legal name does not include a second surname, that fact must be explained. This is legally acceptable, and not a problem.Marital status is another issue that may not appear as simple as it sounds, and is scrutinized. Depending on your country of origin, nomenclature may differ. In Costa Rica you obviously must specify a status such as single, married or divorced, but further, you must specify the number of times you’ve been married or divorced. If your spouse is deceased, you also have to spell out how many times you’ve been widowed. It’s not allowed, for example, to simply state that you’re single if you’ve divorced a spouse or two. This is all related to the constitutional rights of families, which we’ll address in a future column.3. Legal name of any other company that will be a founding member of the company. In addition to, or instead of, individual owners (people), a sociedad anόnima can be owned by other sociedades anόnimas.4. Type of company to be formed. This refers to the four types of companies we discussed last week.5. Purpose of the enterprise. What will the new company do and be used for? Standard categories include things like manufacturing, service provider, etc. In practice, however, it’s fairly easy to cover a wide range. For example, it may be said that its principal purpose will be general commerce, as well as the import and export of goods, without limiting it to broader businesses, such as manufacturing, farming, tourism, and even allowing it to purchase, sell or mortgage a wide range of types of properties within the statutes of the corporation. It can form and own other companies and offer guarantees to others as long as it can be shown to have to its own economic advantage. It can open bank accounts locally or abroad, participate in court actions, obtain concessions, franchises, patents, and represent other firms. It can be a party to contracts and other types of legal associations and relationships. A sociedad anόnima can pretty much do anything that doesn’t directly conflict with its original charter, even if it was not originally envisioned by the founders.6. Company name. We discussed this topic last week in some detail. An important point to keep in mind is that really any name works, as long as it hasn’t already been used. It can be real words or a figment of your imagination. If in another language, a translation must be included. (Wikimedia Commons)7. Time frame. In most cases the original charter defines a duration of 99 years, so that renewals aren’t necessary. There is a prescribed procedure for reducing the time frame should that become necessary.8. Capitalization. This is how much money the founders are putting up and a time frame in which it will become available. This must be defined in legal currency, which in Costa Rica is colones. Typically, the minimum is 1,000 colones, which today is roughly $2. We should be clear that this amount is tied to its purpose, but obviously 1,000 colones isn’t going to go far if you’re really going to do business. The capital worth of the company is easily increased through contributions from the founders, which must be corroborated. Reducing the amount of capital is more complicated, and must be approved by a judge.9. A description of the nature of each partner’s contribution to the capital of the enterprise, be it in cash or some other item of value. Such items must have an assessed value. This is an important point. If the value is overestimated, the partners are responsible for making up the difference.10. Legal domicile or address. Of course a real address within Costa Rica is a requirement. This was also referred to in my previous column. A Costa Rican address in no way limits the company’s ability to do business elsewhere. All official and legal communications will be tied to this address.11. Naming of individuals responsible for managing the enterprise. Individuals must be named and their responsibilities specified, as well as proof that they accept these responsibilities. Normally, this entails providing a list of the members of the board of directors – the minimum required members are president, secretary and treasurer. Additional management can also be defined at this time if desired.12. Legal representative (Agente Residente). If none of the named owners, partners or managers has legal Costa Rican residency status and address, an agente residente must be named. As we discussed last week, this person must be a licensed lawyer with a local place of business.13. Financial charter. The manner in which finances will be managed must be defined, including how profits and losses will be distributed.14. Dissolution. The charter must clearly define the conditions under which the company will be dissolved.15. Legal reserve fund. Five percent of the company’s financial resources must be reserved, and increased up to an amount that represents 10 percent of the company’s assets.16. Liquidation. The specific mechanism by which this will eventually occur must be defined.17. Selection/election of those responsible for liquidation. This process must also be clearly defined, if individuals were not previously identified, as well as the functions they will perform.18. Other instructions. Founding members have the ability to define any other specific instructions when defining their charter.As we discussed previously, all of this must be duly recorded and placed in the public record. This comprises both publication in the official government newspaper La Gaceta and inscription in the Registro Mercantil of Costa Rica.Steven Ferris is a member of the board of directors of The Tico Times’ parent company.Also recommended: It’s getting more expensive to give up your US citizenship Facebook Commentslast_img read more

France bans Paris climate rallies due to security concerns

first_imgFrance Wednesday banned two citizen rallies planned for a crunch climate conference due to open in Paris just two weeks after terror attacks killed 129 people in the French capital.Climate activists reacted with a mix of disappointment and understanding and vowed to find alternative ways to make their voice heard at the summit tasked with delivering a climate rescue pact.Rallies to beat the drum for concerted political action against global warming had been planned for Nov. 29, the day before some 120 heads of state and government are meant to open the summit, and Dec. 12, the day after it closes.“The situation created by the odious attacks of Nov. 13, and the investigations under way since then, require that security conditions be reinforced,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who will preside over the summit, said in a statement.“To avoid any additional risk, the government has decided not to authorize climate marches in public places in Paris and in other French cities on Nov. 29 and Dec. 12.”Green groups urged people around the world to join the other 2,173 events being planned worldwide as part of a Global Climate March on Nov. 28 and 29. A march is planned for San José on Nov. 29, leaving from Parque España at 9 a.m.“Now it’s even more important for people everywhere to march on the weekend of Nov. 29 on behalf of those who can’t, and show that we are more determined than ever to meet the challenges facing humanity with hope, not fear,” said Emma Ruby-Sachs of campaign group Avaaz.“The government can prohibit these demonstrations, but it cannot stop the mobilization and it won’t prevent us strengthening the climate movement,” added Nicolas Haeringer of Paris climate rallies was ‘difficult’ choiceFrench Foreign Minister Fabius said the decision had been “difficult” and was sure to disappoint many, “but in the current context, security requirements take priority.”Other climate gatherings in spaces that are “enclosed and easily secured” will go ahead, he added.The French government has said it will not “give in” to terrorism and insists the long anticipated conference will go ahead.The stakes are high: 195-nations gathered under the U.N. climate forum have set themselves the task of inking a pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions blamed for dangerous levels of climate change. About 40,000 delegates, journalists, observers, NGOs and other participants are accredited for the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 marathon negotiation.A security source told AFP that 5,000-odd police and military police would have been needed to secure the Nov. 29 rally — in the midst of a national state of emergency and massive anti-terror deployment.The march had been planned to start at Place de la Republique square, very close to the scene of Friday’s restaurant and bar shootings.Climate NGOs said they would discuss possibilities with the French authorities for an alternative, safe gathering on Nov. 29.“For those who were planning to travel to Paris, still come and join us, and together we’ll find a way to take action together,” said Haeringer.“We will find new, imaginative ways to ensure our voices are heard in the U.N. conference center and beyond,” said Jean Francois Julliard of Greenpeace France.Recommended: With COP21 talks in Paris moving forward after attacks, Latin America climate-change policies remain unclear Facebook Comments Related posts:A Paris climate change talks primer for Costa Rica PHOTOS: Costa Ricans march against climate change Latin America hands climate bill to rich world at summit Historic UN climate pact ‘extremely close’: French hostlast_img read more

Sean Penns charity begins demo of Haiti palace

first_img Top Stories Penn’s group volunteered to demolish the National Palace and the dollar amount hasn’t been released.The government of President Michel Martelly says it’s still trying to figure out who will rebuild the National Palace.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – The aid group led by Hollywood star Sean Penn has begun demolishing the National Palace that was destroyed in Haiti’s powerful 2010 earthquake.The Haitian government invited reporters Friday to see Penn’s humanitarian organization, J/P HRO, begin the three-month effort of tearing down the presidential home so it can be rebuilt from scratch.The earthquake damaged hundreds of buildings in the capital of Port-au-Prince and in other cities to the south. The National Palace was among them, and it came to symbolize the scale of devastation brought by the disaster along with government inertia. Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

ICJ urges Sri Lanka to reinstate exchief justice

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Peiris was sworn in before President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday, two days after Shirani Bandaranayake was dismissed as chief justice after a parliamentary committee found her guilty of having unexplained wealth and misusing power.Bandaranayake denied the charges and accused the tribunal of not giving her a fair hearing. Courts have ruled in her favor, but the president and Parliament ignored the rulings.In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Sri Lanka has not given a satisfactory explanation for the impeachment “in terms of protecting democracy.” But she told a news briefing it was too soon to say what impact it would have on U.S. foreign assistance to Sri Lanka, budgeted to total $16.5 million in 2013.Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the impeachment “appeared to be highly politicized and lacking transparency,” adding that Canada would continue to raise its concerns directly with Sri Lanka and through resolutions at the United Nations and the Commonwealth.Media in Canada have raised the possibility of Canada boycotting this year’s Commonwealth leaders’ meeting to be held in Sri Lanka, citing concerns about Colombo’s commitment to human rights and democracy since the country’s long civil war ended in 2009. Top Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Many prominent lawyers in Sri Lanka have already said they still recognize Bandaranayake as the chief justice and have written to senior judges urging them not to recognize a new appointee.On Tuesday, a local political think tank, the Center for Policy Alternatives, and its executive director filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging Peiris’ appointment.Bandaranayake said in a statement Tuesday that she was still the legitimate chief justice of Sri Lanka, but that she decided to leave her official residence and office, fearing violence.____Associated Press writer Matthew Pennington in Washington contributed to this report.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Associated PressCOLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – The International Commission of Jurists has condemned the appointment of a trusted aide of Sri Lanka’s president as the country’s chief justice and urged the government to reinstate the former top judge who was fired after a highly criticized impeachment process.The group denounced the appointment of Mohan Peiris, a retired attorney general and a legal adviser to the Cabinet, as chief justice, saying it “raises serious concerns about the future of the rule of law and accountability” and is “a further assault on the independence of the judiciary.” Rajapaksa’s critics say appointing a confidant to the post of chief justice gives him control over the judiciary as well as Parliament, where more than two-thirds of the 225 members support him.Peiris has been prominent in defending Rajapaksa’s government from allegations of human rights violations and enforced disappearances.“Mohan Peiris’ appointment as the new chief justice, after a politically compromised and procedurally flawed impeachment, adds serious insult to the gross injury already inflicted on Sri Lanka’s long suffering judiciary,” Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia director, said in a statement on the group’s website.He said during Peiris’ tenure as attorney general and the government’s top legal adviser, he “consistently blocked efforts to hold the government responsible for serious human rights violations and disregarded international law and standards.”Critics say replacing the chief justice is part of an effort to consolidate the government’s power in the hands of the president’s family. Rajapaksa’s older brother is the parliamentary speaker, and two of his younger brothers hold the powerful positions of economic development minister and defense secretary. Rajapaksa’s eldest son is a lawmaker. Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories last_img read more

3 Venezuelan envoys expelled by US in retaliation

first_imgVenezuela’s economy is increasingly struggling ahead of the Dec. 8 elections. Annual inflation is at more than 45 percent and the government is running short of foreign currency.The oil-rich OPEC member country has been plagued by worsening power outages since 2010. The opposition blames neglect and poor maintenance, while alleging mismanagement and corruption at struggling state-owned aluminum, iron and bauxite foundries in Bolivar.Maduro has blamed sabotage by the “extreme right” for both the blackouts and for food shortages, but he has provided no evidence. Like Chavez, he has a history of making unsubstantiated accusations against the United States and his political opponents.___Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this report.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top holiday drink recipes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Three Venezuelan diplomats were ordered out of the United States on Tuesday in response to their government’s decision to boot three U.S. officials from Venezuela, including the highest-ranking U.S. envoy in the country.Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the expulsion of U.S. charge d’affaires Kelly Keiderling and two other diplomats Monday, accusing them of conspiring with “the extreme right” to sabotage the South American country’s economy and power grid. Sponsored Stories Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Expelled with Keiderling, the top embassy official in the absence of an ambassador, were consular officer David Moo and Elizabeth Hoffman, who works in the embassy’s political section.On Monday, Venezuelan state TV showed photographs and video of the three U.S. diplomats in Bolivar and the neighboring state of Amazonas, including making visits to offices of Sumate, which helped organize a failed 2004 recall vote against Chavez. Foreign Minister Elias Jaua accused them of working with Sumate on “the idea” of not recognizing the results of Dec. 8 elections for mayors and city councils.Dashiell Lopez, a board member of Sumate, denied that members of the group had met with the expelled diplomats. He said in a phone interview Tuesday that Sumate only lent its facilities for a meeting last week between the diplomats and religious groups. “There was no meeting with Sumate, and no people of Sumate were at the meeting,” he said.Maduro has said a group of embassy officials that his government had been following for months was “dedicated to meeting with the Venezuelan extreme right, to financing it and feeding its actions to sabotage the electrical system and the Venezuela economy.” U.S. officials vigorously denied the allegation and had hinted Tuesday afternoon there might be a retaliatory expulsion of Venezuelan envoys.Late Tuesday, the State Department said it was expelling Venezuelan charge d’affaires Calixto Ortega Rios and Second Secretary Monica Alejandra Sanchez Morales at the Washington embassy and Consul Marisol Gutierrez de Almeida at the Houston consulate. It gave them 48 hours to leave the U.S., the same time frame set by Venezuela for the U.S. envoys.“It is regrettable that the Venezuelan government has again decided to expel U.S. diplomatic officials based on groundless allegations, which require reciprocal action. It is counterproductive to the interests of both our countries,” the State Department said.Maduro said earlier Tuesday that socialist-led Venezuela will not have cordial relations with the United States as long as U.S. diplomats continue what he alleges are attempts to destabilize his country.Speaking from the government palace, Maduro said that “while the government of the United States does not understand that it has to respect our country’s sovereignty there will be simply be no cordial relations nor cordial communication.” 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 “The day that the government of President (Barack) Obama rectifies the situation we will establish new points of contact to discuss common issues,” said Maduro, the hand-picked successor to late President Hugo Chavez.State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the allegations were related to the U.S. Embassy workers’ travel to Bolivar state, which is home to troubled state-owned foundries and Venezuela’s main hydroelectric plant.“They were there conducting normal diplomatic engagement, as we’ve said in the past and should come as no surprise,” Psaki said.In a news conference in Caracas, Keiderling said she and the other diplomats would leave Venezuela on Wednesday before the 48-hour deadline expired. “The work of the embassy will continue. It doesn’t matter very much if it is one person or another” doing it, she said.She said that if the accusation against them was that they had met with Venezuelans then “it is true. We met with Venezuelans.”“These meetings with civil society can be with (the independent election monitoring group) Sumate, they can be with a group of women, with mothers who have lost children or with an environmental group that wants to lobby for cleaning a park,” she said. “If we aren’t talking with these people, we aren’t doing our jobs.” 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

Capitol Police chief No excuse for leaving guns in bathroom

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — Capitol Police officers are getting more guidance on how to handle their firearms during bathroom visits after officers accidentally left their guns in the Capitol’s public restrooms three times this year.One gun was found by a child.“We are now providing additional training on what you have to do when you go to the bathroom,” Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine told Congress on Wednesday. Sponsored Stories He and others complained that Capitol Police have been slow to provide them with information about incidents in and around the complex.Lawmakers said they learned about the guns in the bathrooms by reading about them in the press.“We’re not here to criticize you. I can’t do your job,” Brady told Dine. “You could probably do mine.”But, Brady added: “This is the first time I’ve met you.”Dine, chief for 2 Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Dine said there is no excuse for officers accidentally leaving their guns in public bathrooms. He said the officers were being disciplined, but he did not name them. A first-time offender typically would be suspended for at least five days, he said.Dine said he is considering increasing the minimum penalty to a 30-day suspension for a first offense, and termination for a subsequent violation.“I would be remiss if I did not say that the officers involved in these recent weapons cases reported in the media in no way intended to leave their weapons unattended. But as noted, this is not acceptable and they will be held accountable,” Dine told the House Administration Committee. “They do take very seriously their life and safety responsibilities and they acknowledge that they made a mistake.”Dine testified before the committee following several embarrassing episodes at the Capitol, including a protester who flew a small gyrocopter onto the grounds of the Capitol in April.Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa., said the lost guns and other incidents have him questioning the leadership of the police force. Brady is the top Democrat on the committee, which oversees security at the Capitol.last_img read more

Chinas army plays down South China Sea islandbuilding

first_imgState Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters in Washington that the U.S. takes a different view. He said that China’s extensive land reclamation had contributed to rising tensions in the region. He reiterated the U.S. stance that under international law, creating artificial islands does not alter the sovereignty of the surrounding seas.Without directly mentioning the U.S., Yang said the issue had been brought to the fore by an increase in surveillance activities and an effort to “deliberately play up the issue in order to smear China’s military and raise tensions in the region.“I don’t rule out that certain countries are looking for excuses to take certain actions,” Yang said.He declined to say what additional measures China might take to enforce its claims and said overall relations between the U.S. and Chinese militaries are positive.China lays claim to virtually the entire South China Sea, while Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines say they own all or parts of it.In Taiwan on Tuesday, the island’s president, Ma Ying-jeou, issued a call for setting aside sovereignty disputes and jointly exploring for resources in the area. Taiwan occupies a number of islands, but doesn’t seek to enforce its overlapping claim with China. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Four benefits of having a wireless security system New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Sponsored Stories In one disputed area, the Spratly Islands, U.S. officials say China has created about 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of dry land since 2014 that could be used as airstrips. The U.S. argues that man-made constructions cannot be used to claim sovereignty and is closely watching for signs that China will seek to back up its claims by basing missile systems and fighter aircraft on the newly formed islands.However, Yang sought to minimize the military significance of the island developments and said the issue has been exaggerated by those seeking an excuse to take unspecified actions in response — a clear reference to the United States.“Every day all around China, there are all kinds of construction projects being started (such as) building homes, paving roads, building bridges, opening new farm land, etc.,” Yang said.“Looking from the angle of sovereignty, China’s development of construction on its islands is no different at all from all the other types of construction going on around the country that I just mentioned,” he said.Such construction is designed to satisfy both military and civilian purposes such as disaster mitigation, fisheries protection and weather monitoring, Yang said. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The document on China’s military strategy said the navy would be adding “open seas protection” to traditional remit of “offshore waters defense,” while boosting its ability to counterattack and conduct joint operations at sea.The air force, meanwhile, will “endeavor to shift its focus from territorial air defense to both defense and offense,” said the 25-page report, which was issued in English and Chinese at a rare news conference presided over by uniformed officers.The report’s issuance and comments from ministry spokesman Yang Yujun at the briefing followed a formal Chinese protest over an incident last week in which a Chinese navy dispatcher warned off a U.S. Navy P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft as it flew over Fiery Cross Reef, where China has conducted extensive reclamation work.The incident, documented by a CNN news crew on board the U.S. plane, prompted a testy editorial Monday in the official Communist Party newspaper Global Times that warned that Washington should not test Beijing’s restraint or China would have “no choice but to engage.”China has bristled at what it sees as U.S. interference in the region and says it is within its sovereign rights in developing islands made from sand piled on top of reefs and atolls. The U.S. and many of China’s neighbors see the island-building as an upending of the status quo by China to bolster its claims to the region and possibly pave the way for military installations far from its shores.center_img BEIJING (AP) — China’s military on Tuesday compared its controversial island-building in the South China Sea to ordinary construction such as road-building going on elsewhere in the country, trying to deflect criticism over an issue seen as inflaming tensions in the region.At the same venue, however, the Defense Ministry issued a report reaffirming China’s more assertive approach to national defense that has put its neighbors on guard. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches The desire to assert its territorial claims is at least partly behind an upgrading of the military to allow China to project power into the western Pacific, Indian Ocean and elsewhere.That includes the addition of an aircraft carrier, new submarines and surface ships, as well as a more ambitious training regimen such as air force drills in international airspace off the east coast.____Associated Press writer Matthew Pennington in Washington contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Comments   Share   In this Aug. 28, 2014 photo, people ride Jet Ski near a Chinese Guided Missile Frigate Hengshui docked at a port in Yalong Bay in Sanya, south China’s Hainan Province. China’s military on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 compared its controversial island reclamation project in the South China Sea to ordinary construction going on in other parts of the country, such as the building of roads and apartments. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)last_img read more

Biblical soap opera enjoying ungodly success in Brazil

first_imgIn this May 13, 2015 photo, Brazilian actresses perform on the set of the Brazilian prime-time soap opera, “The Ten Commandments” at a RecNov studio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Set in ancient Egypt and loosely based on the story of Moses, “The Ten Commandments” is billed as Brazil’s first Biblical soap opera. (AP Photo/Leo Correa) One day after the lesbian kiss on “Babilonia,” Brazil’s most influential Pentecostal pastor, Silas Malafaia of the Assemblies of God church, called the show “an instrument of moral rot” in a blog post he linked from his Twitter feed with nearly 900,000 followers. He blasted Globo as “the biggest sponsor of immorality and homosexuality in Brazil.”Malafaia and Record have denied involvement in an anonymous petition that later circulated on Facebook urging viewers to boycott “Babilonia.” But Record has nevertheless capitalized on the controversy.Network brass gives most of the credit for the success of “The Ten Commandments” to the quality of its production. Each of its 150 episodes costs around $230,000 to produce with extravagant sets, on-location shoots in Chile and Egypt and special effects.But Record officials also assert the family-friendly content has played a major role.“Whether you like it or not, the public is still very traditional,” said Anderson Souza, who oversees soaps at Record. “Families want to be able to peacefully sit down in the living room and not worry about … being embarrassed.” RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The actress agonizes on her deathbed, her hair and makeup impeccable, as the hunky male lead clutches her hand. Tears pour down his face while her eyelids flutter to a final close.The scene oozes with over-the-top drama that makes Brazil’s prime-time soap operas as much of a national institution as soccer or Carnival. However, in this case, the actors aren’t playing wealthy sophisticates with complicated sex lives, but rather characters out of the Old Testament. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk The network is now negotiating with Fox’s Spanish-language channel, MundoFox, to sell the U.S. rights, Souza said.On a recent balmy night at a tiny hair salon in Rio’s Dona Marta slum, all eyes were glued to the television screen showing “The Ten Commandments,” as were customers in the bar and cafe across the street.“In my opinion, there should only be soaps like this one — to teach about the Bible, about family and values,” hairdresser Cristiana da Silva said, dividing her attention between the evening’s last customer and the action on screen. “This is the best soap.”___AP video journalist Renata Brito contributed to this report.___Jenny Barchfield on Twitter: © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Patients with chronic pain give advice Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img “They now feel they have an alternative (to Globo) and they’re tuning in,” Dieguez said.Since its debut in March, “The Ten Commandments” has attracted about three times as many viewers as Record’s previous prime-time offerings, boosting the network from its typical third-place standing into second place, network officials said.In one recent episode, a male character based on the historic 13th century BC Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II held vigil over the deathbed of his fictitious wife, Maya, after she was poisoned by a jealous rival.An earlier time slot for the program, which begins at 8:30 p.m. six nights a week and competes with Globo’s national news program, also seems to have helped the show’s success.Globo’s “Babilonia,” a tale of female vengeance set in contemporary Rio de Janeiro, remains the most popular. It nevertheless has been panned by critics and subsequently had its run cut by three weeks.“Babilonia” especially offended conservatives with a kiss between two of Brazil’s most famous actresses playing an elderly lesbian couple in its first episode.Despite its international reputation as a sexually liberated, gay-friendly country, Brazil has many people who view homosexuality as immoral. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Set in ancient Egypt and loosely based on the story of Moses, “The Ten Commandments” is billed as Brazil’s first biblical soap opera. Swathed in Egyptian robes and sporting lapis lazuli jewelry and Cleopatra wigs, some of the characters are based on biblical or other historic figures, while others are invented.The soap is taking the country by storm. It’s helped propel the Rede Record television network, owned by the founder of Brazil’s main Pentecostal church, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, into a showdown with top broadcaster Globo, which for decades has had a lock on prime-time soaps, known as novelas.Some suggest that the surprise success of “The Ten Commandments” lies in the show’s family-oriented script.“There is a more conservative audience in Brazil that we’ve seen is quite strong,” said Bruno Dieguez, a communications professor at Rio’s Pontifical Catholic University.That audience includes a burgeoning evangelical community that now accounts for one-fifth of the population of around 200 million. In the world’s largest Catholic nation, members of that majority faith also tend to be social conservatives, especially in rural areas. Top Stories last_img read more

Despite healthy rivalry Aussies love Kiwis

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F New Zealand may be one of Australia’s biggest sporting rivals and the butt of the odd sheep joke or two, but it seems like us Aussies have nothing but love for our kiwi neighbours. When asked to rate their feelings towards other countries – with 100 being a very warm, favourable feeling and zero meaning very cold – in the annual Lowry Institute Poll, 1001 Australians responded with an average 84 for their feelings towards kiwis.This is the “warmest” result since the polls began in 2006, up a point from last year and three points since 2007. The poll also found that Aussies have “warm” feelings towards other countries including Canada (82), France (70) and Singapore (69).Not surprisingly, Australians have cool feelings towards North Korea and Iran, which consistently score at the bottom of the list Australians are also divided over where their country fits in the world, according to the poll. Thirty-two per cent thought it was more a part of Asia, 31 per cent the Pacific and 31 per cent said it was not really part of any region. Five per cent thought the country was part of Europe.However, respondents were increasingly worried about the growth of China, Australia’s biggest trading partner. Australians saw China’s growth as a good thing but they were apprehensive about China’s thirst for natural resources, which is central to the country’s prosperity. The respondents thought this dominance could be harmful to Australia’s interests and wants China’s might to be restrained. Almost half of the respondents admitted that they thought China would become a military threat to Australia in the medium term. Meanwhile, the rising number of asylum seekers to Australia is also causing a great deal of concern to almost 80 percent of the respondents. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

IATA announces pleasing 2011 results

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced traffic results for April 2011 indicating a rebound in International markets with 16.5 percent growth compared to last year.A pleasing 16.5 percent growth in international passenger demand was met by a 16.8 percent increase in capacity. International freight also grew by 5.4 percent against a capacity increase of 12.3 percent pushing the freight load factor down from 55.3 percent in April 2010 to 51.9 percent in April this year.On the domestic side, passenger traffic was up 4.7 percent over the previous year, outpacing a capacity increase of 3.1 percent, pushing the passenger load factor to 78.8 percent.“Demand improved significantly in April, eliminating all distortions, we are growing at 3-4 percent International traffic is now seven percent above the early 2008 pre-recession levels, load factors are hovering around 77 percent and business confidence is high,” IATA’s chief executive Giovanni Bisignani said.“Unfortunately two things are spoiling the party, demand shocks and high jet fuel prices.” Asia-Pacific carriers saw 5.1 percent growth in international markets, reversing the 0.6 percent drop in March. Strength in Chinese and Indian markets helped offset the weakness in routes associated with Japan.  Japan’s international traffic is down 20 percent.Interestingly, over the last five years, the Indian domestic expansion has been the strongest with a tripling in size also China and Brazil have doubled in size over the same period. IATA will be holding their Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Singapore this week to discuss the many issues facing the global air transport industry.last_img read more

FCm Named Europes Best Travel Management Company Again

first_imgFCm Travel Solutions has been named Europe’s Leading Travel Management Company (TMC) in the 2011 World Travel Awards for the second year running and for the third time since 2008.After winning the same category for Europe in 2008 and 2010, FCm this year maintains its World Travel Awards’ status after being voted Europe’s best TMC by travel industry professionals across the globe.Described by The Wall Street Journal as the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry, the World Travel Awards aim to separate the good from the outstanding, and identify companies that consistently excel beyond expectation. This year around 213,000 industry professionals from the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors were eligible to take part in the voting process.FCm Travel Solutions Global Brand Leader Gregory Lording said the company was thrilled to be holding on to the title for the second year in a row.“We’re delighted to accept this World Travel Awards accolade and proud to win the award for yet another year,” Gregory said. ”This award is testament to the outstanding customer service and excellent results that FCm consistently delivers to our customers. It also recognises FCm’s solid reputation in Europe, which is upheld by the professionalism of our people, our regional focus and the strength of our geographical coverage. All of these attributes ensure FCm can provide an unrivalled level of service for business travellers.”General Manager for FCm in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Brian Donnelly, said FCm’s combination of global presence and regional structure was quite unique in the travel management sector.“Our strategic approach enables FCm to offer multinational clients a stronger focus on their regional requirements and greater knowledge of each local market. At this level, we can also be more flexible and more responsive to our clients’ needs,” Brian said. Source = FCm Travel Solutionslast_img read more

QF tops Virgin for customer satisfaction

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Travellers were still satisfied with Qantas service and flights during the three months to November 2011 despite the Australian flag carrier grounding the entire fleet for an entire weekend.According to a Roy Morgan Airlines Customer Satisfaction Report covering the three month period, the carrier received 84 percent in satisfaction, topping all other Australians airlines.Despite dropping from 87 percent in June last year, the carrier still beat out rising rival Virgin Australia, achieving 82 percent for the three month period a rise from 80 percent in June last year.“Qantas domestic customer satisfaction fell in October and has remained lower in November after grounding all its planes for days and causing major disruptions for 100,000 Australian air travellers — finishing the November quarter at 84% satisfaction,” Roy Morgan international director of tourism, travel and leisure Jane Ianniello said.“Although Qantas still has a small lead over Virgin Australia the gap is likely to close further in the coming months.“Qantas has a small lead over Virgin in the latest survey, but Virgin looks to be on a positive trajectory, and the challenge will be on for both airlines to understand and therefore, satisfy their customers better.”Tiger Airways and Jetstar also saw considerable growth for the period compared to June last year.last_img read more

A380 doors did not open midflight Emirates

first_imgEmirates has assured aircraft doors did not open during a recent flight between Bangkok and Hong Kong and no lives were at risk.The statement was released after a passenger on board the aircraft told media an explosion on board the carrier’s A380 caused a door to open mid-flight, The National reported.However, a spokesperson stressed that at no time did the doors to the upper deck open and assured there was also no loss of pressurisation in the cabin.The spokesperson said whistling heard by passengers was caused by a small gap between the inflated door and the lower frame plate.”This is currently under investigation in conjunction with Airbus,” the spokesperson said.  “Emirates have now fixed the problem.”Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Airline assures A380 doors remained closed during a recent        flight.last_img read more

LOT Polish Airlines enhances offering

first_imgLOT Polish Airlines has made improvements to its on-board services and also plans to update its web and mobile technology.The airline will enhance its on-board catering options and offer additional services such as Taxi&Fly, limousines, meet and greet, pre-orders and duty-free; all under the new Air Kiosk.LOT plans to launch a new mobile version of its website, partnered with a booking platform, with applications for android, iOS and various forms of tablets utilising ‘cloud computing’ technology.“Cloud computing is a model for IT environment management, with solutions borrowed from the ideology of functioning in Internet,” LOT Polish Airlines chief executive Sebastian Mikosz said.“It satisfies the needs of a new era of IT solutions, where responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency are the priority, while increasing data security.”From 10 August 2013 all long-haul flights will be operated solely by Boeing Dreamliner aircraft.Although the majority of economy class (78 percent) and business class (89 percent) passengers stated they did not perceive the need for quality or service improvements when surveyed, LOT Polish Airlines decided to go ahead with the upgrade.“We listen to our passengers and we create changes they really expect,” Mr Mikosz said.“I would like LOT to be perceived as a friendly, modern and open airline and that is why we introduce many additional services.”Source = ETB News: P.T. Improvements made to on-board services and mobile technology.last_img read more

Qantas passenger flock still shepherded successfully between Perth

first_img“We’ve similarly announced seasonal services between Perth and Singapore to cater for the July school holidays, and we’ll look at other opportunities down the track.” “This is part of our strategy to become more dynamic and flexible in response to market opportunities, The service will operate from Perth to Auckland on Friday and Saturday and on Saturday and Sunday from Auckland to Perth. “We’re pleased this service proved to be so popular for our Auckland customers. We’ve extended its run this year to meet demand with 84 flights and almost 20,000 seats over the five months,” Mr Hickey said. The seasonal route will run from 5 December 2014 to 26 April 2015, with its fares completely inclusive of baggage and all other flight costs. Qantas Airways will continue its direct flights from Auckland to Perth, after a positive customer uptake of the flight last summer. Qantas International chief executive officer Simon Hickey said that previous summer’s seasonal service beat Qantas’ expectations for customer response. The Qantas Group collectively runs 200 flights from Australia and New Zealand each week.  Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more