ACV celebrates Canadas 150th anniversary with new airinclusive collection

first_img Share Tags: Air Canada Vacations << Previous PostNext Post >> Monday, January 16, 2017 Travelweek Group center_img ACV celebrates Canada’s 150th anniversary with new air-inclusive collection Posted by TORONTO — To tap into what will surely be a greater demand for Canada in its 150th anniversary year, Air Canada Vacations has launched its ‘Go Canada Collection’, featuring a full range of air-inclusive vacation packages from coast to coast.The collection is comprised of over 150 “close to home but far from ordinary” packages, which are divided into seven categories that include: Urban Getaways, Guided Tours, the newly curated Wildlife Adventures, Fly & Drive Vacations, Fly & Rail Vacations, Ski Vacations, and Golf Vacations.Go Canada will expand each year to include more accommodations, tours and attractions.“The new Go Canada collection is vital to Air Canada Vacations’ growth strategy and long-term plan. It will enable us to further align and utilize Air Canada’s extensive flight network and further contribute to the airline’s expansion,” said Craig Landry, President, Air Canada Leisure Group.Landry went on to note that Canada welcomed a record number of visitors last summer, the most in a decade.Urban Getaways include flights, hotels and a free excursion to Canada’s top cities, such as Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax and as far north as Whitehorse.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTGuided Tours include flights, meals, activities, accommodations and tours through Banff and Jasper, the Canadian Rockies, cities in Eastern Canada and Bay of Fundy, to name a few.Wildlife Adventures allow clients to get up close and personal with Canada’s magnificent wildlife, like belugas, grizzly and polar bears, orca whales and harp seal pups.Ideal for the free-spirited traveller, Fly & Drive Vacations offer flights, car rentals and suggested itineraries with hotel bookings. Itineraries include ‘Hiking Escapes of the West’, ‘Mountains to Oceans’, ‘Yukon Alaska Golden Circle’ and ‘P.E.I. and Anne of Green Gables’.Fly & Rail itineraries include Rocky Mountaineer and Alaska Cruise in the West, Trans-Canada by Rail in the East, and From Lobster to Poutine in the Atlantic. All packages include flights, accommodations, train tickets, meals and cost of all activities.Ski Vacations include flights, hotels, lift tickets and access to the country’s best slopes, including Banff, Sun Peaks and Whistler in Western Canada, and Mont Ste-Anne and Tremblant in Eastern Canada.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesLastly, Golf Vacations include some of the best courses in Canada bundled with flights and accommodations. Featured golf courses include those on the grounds of Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, the Westin Bear Mountain Victoria Golf Resort, and Rodd Brudenell River Resort in P.E.I.For the launch, ACV is offering travel agents 3X ACV&ME loyalty points, plus 15% commission on packages booked by Feb. 28, 2017. And in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, clients that reserve these packages by the same date will save $150 per adult, $100 per child and receive 3,000 bonus Aeroplan Miles.Agents can book Urban Getaways, Ski and Golf Vacations on Sirev and call to book the other categories. The entire collection can be found on read more

Whoa the worlds biggest pool is really REALLY big

first_img Travelweek Group Whoa, the world’s biggest pool is really, REALLY big Share Tuesday, June 27, 2017 Posted by ALGARROBO, CHILE — How big does a swimming pool have to be to break a Guinness world record? Over 3,300 square feet, which makes it the biggest pool in the world.You may not have heard of San Alfonso del Mar resort in Algarrobo, Chile, but you’ll be sure to remember it forever after seeing these images of its record-breaking manmade lagoon. Located about 56 miles from Santiago, the resort debuted its 3,323-foot pool in December 2006 after nearly five years of construction.The result? An endless oasis that spans the length of 20 Olympic-size pools and holds 250 million litres of water.But that’s not the only incredible element about this pool. Thanks to advanced technology, its waters have the same transparency and turquoise colouring of the tropical seas located just beyond its reach. According to the Daily Mail, it uses a computer-controlled filtration system that sucks water in from the ocean at one end and pumping it out the other. Plus, the pool maintains a pleasant temperature in the summer that borders 26 degrees Celsius, about nine degrees warmer than the nearby sea temperature.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthJust to put its incredible size in perspective even further, the next largest pool in the world – the Orthlieb in Morocco – measures a mere 1,575 feet long, less than half the size of San Alfonso del Mar.But if you’re hoping to take a dip in this behemoth of a pool, you’re out of luck – it’s reserved strictly for water sports and activities like scuba diving, sailing and kayaking. For swimming, you’ll have to settle for the resort’s other numerous pools on site. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

New name reflects increased scope national role for ITAC

first_imgNew name reflects increased scope, national role for ITAC << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Share Travelweek Group CALGARY — The Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada is now the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.An Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) member survey from April 2017 indicated that 80% of those responding prefer the organization use ‘Indigenous’ instead of ‘Aboriginal’ in its name.“The name change reflects what our members want, and also responds well to the visitor research conducted with Destination Canada this fall on our largest visitor market, the U.S.,” says Keith Henry, President and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.Henry said research showed that the U.S. travel consumer’s understanding of ‘Aboriginal’ was low. The name change also responds to the growing international awareness of Indigenous tourism in Canada. It also differentiates Canada’s tourism product from competing destinations, such as Australia where the term Aboriginal has broader acknowledgement on an international scale.For more information see Monday, November 13, 2017 last_img read more

New names for three Azul Beach Resorts by Karisma

first_img Thursday, April 19, 2018 Tags: Karisma Hotels & Resorts Posted by New names for three Azul Beach Resorts by Karisma Travelweek Group center_img Share TORONTO — Three of the four Azul Beach Resorts by Karisma properties are getting new names.The company will be rolling out the name changes on its travel agent portal as well as its websites, and social media pages starting this month.Karisma assures agents that “each Azul Beach Resort will still carry the signature Karisma Gourmet Inclusive Experience”. The company says it appreciates any updates agents can give their clients to avoid confusion.Here’s a look at the changes. There’s no name change for the Azul Beach Resort Riviera Maya.Azul Beach Resort the Fives Playa Del CarmenNEW NAME: The Fives Azul Beach Resort Playa Del CarmenAzul Beach Resort Sensatori JamaicaNEW NAME: Azul Beach Resort NegrilAzul Beach Resort Sensatori MexicoNEW NAME: Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Experiences beyond expectation with Explorations by Collette

first_img Posted by Travelweek Group Friday, November 9, 2018 ‘Experiences beyond expectation’ with Explorations by Collette Tags: Collettecenter_img TORONTO — Collette’s Explorations was so popular as a travel style, it made perfect sense to spin it off into its own stand-alone brand. Now clients can reap the benefits of this immersive, authentic approach to vacations.Now known as Explorations by Collette, the brand was the focus of a special industry event last night, offering agents in attendance everything from henna applications, to a quick lesson in truffle rolling, to libations in the form of pisco sours, a drink clients can discover on the Explorations by Collette itinerary ‘Machu Picchu & the Galapagos Islands’.Explorations by Collette is “small group travel, reinvented” and is a dedicated program with maximum group sizes topping out at 19, down from 24. Most groups actually average 15 travellers, says Stephanie Mirando, Collette’s Senior Marketing Manager, North America Trade Partnerships. The brand was officially launched in August 2018, with more than 20 Explorations by Collette trips, each one focusing on “hyper-local” experiences. When Explorations by Collette was introduced, Collette CEO Dan Sullivan summed up the brand’s ethos this way: “Over the last 100 years, we’ve learned a lot about what works on tour and we’re excited to add this breadth of product to Collette’s offerings. Whether it’s hunting for truffles in southern France, a home-hosted meal in Morocco, or an overnight in a glass igloo in northern Finland, our guests can now connect to destinations in an entirely different way.”The list of Explorations by Collette tours runs the gamut from ‘Colors of Morocco’ to ‘Italy’s Bella Vita’, ‘Mysteries of India’, ‘The Plains of Africa’ and ‘Costa Rica: A World of Nature’.At last night’s event, Mirando says one particularly special Explorations by Collette itinerary is ‘Switzerland: Hidden Trails & Majestic Peaks’, notable for its method of transportation – not by motorcoach, but by Switzerland’s famous rail system. Explorations by Collette’s tour designers “have built Impact Moments into every trip, and in Swizterland, instead of travelling by coach, guests go by train. You’re giving travellers this cool experience, and you’re also lessening their carbon footprint.”More details about the program are available at Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Win a 9day trip to Europe for 2 with Trafalgar

first_imgWin a 9-day trip to Europe for 2 with Trafalgar Thursday, March 7, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO – In collaboration with Travelweek, Trafalgar has launched a new contest for travel agents that includes a nine-day ‘European Highlights’ tour for two.The nine-day tour will take the winning agent to six countries and 10 cities, from the White Cliffs of Dover to the lush Burgundy vineyards of France. Trip highlights will also include Amsterdam’s labyrinthine canals, Lucerne’s fresh Alpine air, and the many splendours of Paris.The winner will be able to experience ‘The Trafalgar Difference’ firsthand, which includes the following:BE MY GUEST: Enjoy a meal at a quintessentially Parisian Bistro where the locals frequent for rustic and soulful French cuisineCULTURAL INSIGHTS: Watch as skilled craftsmen capture the distinctive sound of the cuckoo while demonstrating the centuries-old craft of clock making in the Black ForestHIDDEN TREASURES: Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden TreasureLOCAL SPECIALISTS: Learn all the ins and outs of Paris with one of Trafalgar’s knowledgeable guidesMore news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaThe trip includes:8 nights’ hotel accommodation11 meals (8 hot buffet breakfasts, 1 dinner, 1 dinner including Be My Guest with local wineOn trip transport­­­Enter the contest now at: Tags: Contests, Trafalgar Posted bylast_img read more

Pleased to meet you When the Beatles met the Stones

first_img AFP The Rolling Stones, Charlie Watts, left, Mick Jagger, center, and Keith Richards during a “12-12-12 Concert For Sandy Relief” at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Rolling Stones announced April 3 a highly anticipated nine-city North American tour ahead of their first gig in London’s Hyde Park in more than four decades. Don Emmert/AFP Everybody knows how adorably goofy and good-natured the Beatles could come across in their radio and television interviews, especially during the first flush of Beatlemania. In real life, however, they often struck people differently. Writer Barry Miles recalls that when the Beatles relocated to London from Liverpool in the spring of 1963, they seemed bent on projecting an “an intentionally intimidating image.” The teen-oriented Boyfriend magazine went so far as to describe the Beatles as “almost frightening looking young men.” When they weren’t smiling, the magazine said, “they looked wicked and dreadful and distinctly evil, in an eighteenth century sort of way.”It probably would not have been easy, in the spring of 1963, to impose upon the Beatles, or to ask them for a favor. Nevertheless, on the afternoon April 14, Giorgio Gomelsky – a Soviet-born, Swiss-educated rhythm and blues promoter – approached the Fab Four at a television studio where they were taping their third appearance on the pop music show “Thank Your Lucky Stars.”“Hey you guys, you’ve got to listen to this band on the way home tonight,” he pleaded. “You’ve got to come see this band when you finish recording the show, it’s on the way back, you’ve just got to come.”He was talking about the Rolling Stones. And his timing was propitious. Having recently arrived in London, the Beatles and their entourage were curious to find out what was happening in the city’s music scene.Sure enough, shortly after the Stones started their second set at the Crawdaddy Club, in Southwest London, bassist Bill Wyman was “staggered” to look up and see “four shadowy figures” standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the audience, all of them dressed in matching suede overcoats and leather caps. “S—, that’s the Beatles!” he recalls exclaiming to himself. Keith Richards tells the story similarly: “We’re playing a pub … and we’re whacking out our show and everybody’s having a good time, ya know? I suddenly turn around: there’s these four guys in black leather overcoats standing there. Oh f— me! Look who’s here!”The Beatles’ road manager, Neil Aspinall, thought the Stones were just “OK” that night – not particularly better or worse than a typical Liverpool band playing at the Cavern Club. But the Beatles were more effusive. “I remember standing in some sweaty room and watching them on the stage,” Ringo said years later. “Keith and Brian, wow! I knew then that the Stones were great.” George was struck by the tremendous enthusiasm of the Stones’ fans. “The audience screamed and shouted and danced on tables,” he recalled.No one lingered around or chatted with fans for very long after the gig, since Brian Jones had invited the Beatles and their crew over to the Stones’ slummy Edith Grove apartment. The richest first-hand account of what happened next comes from James Phelge, who was living with Mick, Keith and Brian at the time. When the Beatles arrived, Phelge recalls, “they carried themselves with the air of a professional outfit. … All the members of their entourage were smartly dressed in the same dark-colored overcoats as the band, giving the appearance of one big team.” A few in the Beatles’ camp may have been disgusted by the putrid condition of the Stones’ dimly lit flat – the piled-high dishes, overflowing ashtrays, and accumulated rubbish – but Phelge says that Paul, at least, “did not seem unduly perturbed by anything – the look on his face said, ‘I’ve been here before.’”All night long, records spun successively on the turntable, and the members of each group shared their musical likes and dislikes. The Stones played the Beatles five demo tracks they’d just recorded at IBC Studios, and they were eager to show off their treasured collection of American imports. They were caught off guard, however, when Lennon was sharply dismissive of one of their heroes, the blues legend Jimmy Reed.Another big topic was how to make money in the music business. Until that point, no British pop acts had been able to maintain their success over the long term, and everyone thought it was only a matter of time before the Beatles’ pubescent fans moved on in search of someone else to idolize. Even the Beatles believed that. At the time, they were chiefly concerned with parlaying their brief burst of popular success into the biggest possible financial windfall. The most the Stones could have hoped for is that they, too, would have a brief run at the top.Despite being the hottest group in England at the time, in some respects the Beatles may have felt apprehensive in the Stones’ company. Like many Merseysiders of Northern England, the Beatles were sensitive to any hint of condescension from their Southern neighbors. They dreaded being stereotyped as Scousers, hicks or provincials. That may well explain why they could seem so standoffish to outsiders; it was a defensive posture.Meanwhile, the Stones fancied themselves hip Londoners; they were obsessed with a particular style of cool – which they associated with reticence and self-possession – and so they were bemused by the Beatles’ amiable goofball shtick: their corny repartee and obvious eagerness to please. They were also proud to have built up a cult following with the “right” type of fans: discerning bohemians, as opposed to the hysterical teenyboppers the Beatles were winning over. They didn’t yet have a record contract, but they surely sensed that one was in the offing.John likely enjoyed talking with Brian, perhaps the most musically gifted and deeply knowledgeable member of the Stones. When the two fell into conversation they discovered that they both had infant sons named Julian. (Lennon’s son was only six days old.) But Jones’ musical knowledge could also be intimidating. Years later, Lennon recalled the moment that night when Brian asked him whether it was a harmonica or a harp that he’d played on “Love Me Do.”Oblivious to the subtle distinction between the two instruments, Lennon answered, “A harmonica with a button,” meaning a chromatic harmonica, of the type that was used by the jazz and big band acts of the ’40s and ’50s. (Lennon had shoplifted it from a music store in Arnhem, Holland, in 1960.) A “harp,” or diatonic harmonica, offers fewer notes, but allows players to get a wailing bluesy sound by bending pitches. All the classical bluesmen used harps, and an aficionado like Jones likely would have regarded chromatic harmonicas as passé.Lennon apparently came around to that view as well. Six weeks later, on June 1, 1963, the Beatles were getting ready to perform Chuck Berry’s “I Got To Find My Baby” for the BBC radio show “Pop Goes the Beatles.” When deejay Lee Peters tried to introduce the song by saying that it would feature Lennon on the harmonica, Lennon sharply cut him off.“Harp! It’s a harp,” Lennon said.“What’s a harp?” Peters asked, obviously taken aback.“The harp. I’m playing a harp on this one.” “You’re playing a harp?”“Harmonica I play on ‘Love Me Do.’ Harp on this one.”There wasn’t any “rivalry” yet between the Beatles and the Stones, of course. But for all they had in common, the members of the two bands must have recognized they had some opposing qualities as well. It wasn’t for nothing that in January 1988, when Mick Jagger inducted the Beatles into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, he dwelled at some length about the very first time he met the Beatles. He didn’t regard them as the least bit cuddly or lovable. Instead, he said, they struck him as a “four-headed monster.”© 2013,Slate Facebook Commentscenter_img No related posts.last_img read more

Koreanowned factory in Honduras under investigation for alleged labor abuse

first_imgA Korean-owned factory in Honduras is being investigated for allegedly violating labor rights after local media reported that employees had to wear diapers to work because they were not given sufficient bathroom breaks.Kyungshin-Lear Electrical Distribution Systems, which supplies auto parts that are exported to the United States, could now face sanctions under the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) as a result of its alleged unwillingness to comply with fundamental workers’ rights.“The company never forced us to use Pampers,” said María Consuelo Aguiriano, a former Kyungshin-Lear employee. “What it has done is restrict us from going to the bathroom. We only have permission to go to the bathroom twice a day during our shift – twice a day in nine hours. That forces us, especially women at certain times of the month, to use [diapers]. To keep yourself clean during your whole shift, it’s necessary to use them.”According to a report by the Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights (GLHR), a U.S.-based human rights organization, temperatures inside the factory in San Pedro Sula, an industrial hub of 1.2 million in northwestern Honduras, regularly exceed 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 C). However, due to limited toilet breaks, employees refrain from drinking water.Barbara Briggs, assistant director of GLHR, travelled to San Pedro Sula in December 2012 to meet with Kyungshin-Lear workers. She says both their working and living conditions are appalling.“These workers, working long, high-stress, grueling shifts for a huge, well known company, exporting car parts to Hyundai and Kia car factories in the U.S., are not earning enough to live decently. When we were in Honduras, we visited some of the workers in their homes and several of them were as miserable as any home we had seen in Bangladesh – patched together from scrap wood, cardboard and bits of corrugated metal, with dirt floors and leaky roofs, latrines and no access to safe potable water. It was really shocking.”In the past year, inspectors from the Honduran Labor Ministry have attempted to visit the maquiladora five times, but were refused entrance. When the allegations broke last month, Honduran Labor Minister Jorge Bogran traveled to the factory to investigate. The ministry later released a statement denying that management forced its employees to wear diapers, but said inspectors would be carrying out further investigations into possible labor violations at the Korean-owned factory.In September 2011, with support from union representatives of the General Confederation of Workers, a group of Kyungshin-Lear workers attempted to establish a union. However, management ignored their efforts and blocked the necessary administrative steps for the union to be officially formed.“The underlying problem is that the company doesn’t want to recognize the union that has been legally constituted,” said José Luis Baquedano, general secretary of the Confederation of Honduran Workers. “They have fired four complete executive committees. For us as a trade union movement, there is a violation of human rights and labor rights because it violates national legislation and International Labor Organization agreements.”Aguiriano worked at the factory for almost seven years before she was fired in January 2012 for trying to start the union. She says that in the past couple of years, 130 workers have been sacked or forced to resign for expressing similar interests.  “They don’t want to recognize el sindicato [the union] by law because they don’t want to value our rights. When I worked there I felt completely exploited. They violated all of our rights, from not allowing us to use the bathroom, to not giving us permission to go to the doctor, to not having medicine at the factory, holidays, low pay. There are so many violations of rights inside the company,” Aguiriano said.A spokesperson for Lear Corporation in the U.S said the company had conducted its own investigation. “Lear Corporation takes any allegation of inappropriate and illegal practices very seriously. We believe employees must be treated with dignity and respect and are entitled to safe and appropriate work environments.”Kyungshin-Lear has been operating in Honduras for the past 10 years and employs more than 3,000 people. Workers say the conditions inside the factory are “exploitative,” but they stay because there are few other jobs in San Pedro Sula. Official statistics state that unemployment in Honduras rests at 6.8 percent, although that number is likely much higher, and it doesn’t take into consideration underemployment. Honduras is also one of the most impoverished and violent countries in Latin America.Although Bogran has met with the factory’s directors on several occasions since the allegations broke, due to weak law enforcement in Honduras, many global trade unions believe Kyungshin-Lear will only improve its working conditions if the U.S. Department of Labor intervenes and enforces the labor rights of the CAFTA agreement. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Solís seeks 1 million votes in runoff election to strengthen his mandate

first_imgCitizen Action Party (PAC) presidential candidate Luis Guillermo Solís announced an ambitious goal to capture 1 million votes in Costa Rica’s April 6 runoff election. Solís seeks a popular mandate to govern Costa Rica after National Liberation Party (PLN) candidate Johnny Arayaannounced his exit from the race this week.Solís said his campaign is active despite Araya’s stepping down, and that he is still focused on winning over voters.“I want to think, instead of saying a percentage, that we can mobilize a million votes,” Solís said, according to the daily La Nación.Solís expressed concern Wednesday night that the apparently empty field would discourage voters from coming out to the polls. The former diplomat worried that low turnout could weaken his mandate and give his presidency a shaky start.Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, said that the lack of a challenger could give Solís the chance to focus on building broader support and consensus.“If Solís wins this would allow him to have a healing message and in some ways a more traditional Costa Rican message of unity and strength of institutions,” the think-tank expert told The Tico Times.Rotsay Rosales, professor of political science at the University of Costa Rica, was dubious about how the election’s changing circumstances would benefit Solís. “He’ll have the symbolic support that democracy and his party requires but it won’t be enough” to stave off criticisms about his legitimacy, Rosales said.If PAC wins the election, Solís will face a weakened but still formidable PLN in the Legislative Assembly. The PLN still owns the majority of the seats in the Assembly.“Liberation might call themselves the opposition, but they’re the biggest opposition,” Rosales added, noting that during Feb. 2 elections PLN won 18 seats in the 57-seat legislature. PAC won the next largest block with 13 seats.More than 3 million Costa Ricans are registered to vote. Voter abstention in the first round exceeded 30 percent, according to the Supreme Elections Tribunal, and observers expect it to increase in the second round. With his opponent choosing to stop campaigning, Solís estimated that abstention would likely increase by 10 or 15 percent for the runoff, according to La Nación.“If 40 percent stay home that’s a short-term concern. But at the end of the day he’s still going to be president,” Farnsworth said. Facebook Comments Related posts:Solís wins big but bigger challenges may be ahead, say analysts What keeps Johnny Araya awake at night? Johnny Araya is down and out, but not his party, says analyst Non-career politician Luis Guillermo Solís wins Costa Rica presidential runoff in a landslidelast_img read more

Costa Ricas Environment Ministry to hire 150 new park rangers

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s famed Manuel Antonio National Park will close on Mondays starting this month Costa Rica expands Braulio Carrillo National Park  Costa Rica sets higher park entrance fees in bid for more revenue for protected areas Prison sentence for Costa Rica park ranger raises questions about on-the-job protections Environment Minister Édgar Gutiérrez Espeleta said Monday he will hire 150 new park rangers to strengthen surveillance at Costa Rica’s national parks and protected areas.Gutiérrez made the announcement during the celebration of National Parks Day and added that ministry officials also are working to improve recruitment in order to expedite the replacement of rangers who resign or retire.President Luis Guillermo Solís said he fully supports the measure and added “much remains to be done, but we are making every effort to preserve Costa Rica’s most valuable resource, our national parks.”Protected areas account for more than 25 percent of Costa Rica’s territory and most of the country’s main ecosystems are found within them. There are 28 national parks and 11 conservation areas, according to the Environment Ministry.The country’s protected areas also encompass some of the biggest fresh water sources, and their natural attractions such as beaches, volcanoes and forests are some of the most visited by both domestic and foreign tourists.August 24 was declared National Parks Day in 1984 when President Luis Alberto Monge Álvarez signed into law all decrees that created the country’s national parks. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Coffee fair gospel concert and other events around Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:San Ramón celebrates, International Guitar Festival, and other happenings around Costa Rica Patriotic tunes, Children’s Day theater, and more events around Costa Rica Cultural Center anniversary, vegan fair, and more events around Costa Rica Serrat concert, live karaoke, and other happenings around Costa Rica “The Government Inspector”Espressivo Theater kicks off its new season with an adaptation Nicolai Gogol’s satirical play, a black comedy criticizing the government and corruption. Liubov Otto directs.“El Inspector” will be performed Jan. 22 – March 20 at Espressivo Theater, Curridabat. Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sun. at 6 p.m. ₡7,500 – 10,000 ($15-20). More info: Teatro Espressivo Website.Coffee FairThis year’s edition of the Frailes Coffee Fair in Desamparados, south of San José, inaugurates the country’s very first Coffee Park, which will feature a coffee museum. The four-day fair will feature a bingo, activities for children and adults, and concerts with bands Los Alegrísimos, La Kuarta, and Pimienta Negra.“Feria del Café de Frailes” takes place Jan. 28-31 at Los Frailes, Desamparados. Adults ₡1,500 ($3), children ₡1,000 ($2). More info: Feria del Café Facebook page.Gospel ConcertThe concert in honor of the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. will feature gospel group MasterKey and the Louisiana State University Gospel Singers. T“Concierto Gospel” will be performed Jan. 28 at Teatro Eugene O’Neill, Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center (CCCN), Barrio Dent, 7 p.m. Tickets for sale at the CCCN. ₡5,000 ($10), students pay ₡4,000 ($8). More info: 2207-7500. (Courtesy of MasterKey)Moonlit NightThe Children’s Museum will keep its attractions open into the evening hours for a special celebration including traditional games and food, plus a concert and dance with band Chiqui Chiqui.“Lunada Museo de los Niños” takes place Jan. 23 at The Children Museum. 6 p.m. ₡2,200 ($5). More info: Museo de los Niños Facebook page.De La Mano Con La CalleThe non-governmental social aid organganizations Vaso Lleno and Friends of the World are organizing the third edition of the volunteer project “De la mano con la calle” to help the homeless in San José. Participants form teams to walk through the streets and offer support, from food and clothing to medical attention, haircuts and shaves. Most importantly, volunteers will spend time with the homeless and hear their stories. At this edition DEMASA will donate all the food, but you can help by donating clothes, other materials, or money (complete list at the Event page below), or going as a volunteer.“De la mano con la calle” takes place Jan. 30 starting at 9 a.m. at the Parque España, east-central San José. Everybody is welcome, but those wishing to volunteer need to fill out a form. For that form, as well as a complete list of donations needed and how to contribute, visit the Event Facebook page.National Mule FestivalThe annual mule fest in the Central Pacific town of Parrita kicked off yesterday and continues through Feb. 1. There will be typical food, traditional games, dances, horse parades, contests, bullfights, bike and motorcycle competitions, and, of course, the national mule competition.“Festival Nacional de Mulas” takes place Jan. 21-Feb.21 at Campo Ferial de Asobipa, Parrita, Central Pacific. More info: or 8911-1280. (Courtesy of Festival Nacional de las Mulas)Palmares FestivalThis traditional Costa Rican festival features bullfights, horse parades and carnival rides, as well as bands Auténticos Decadentes and Los Pericos who will offer a concert at noon Jan. 24 (the concert is free, and only for people over 18). Many more activities are being held during the festival.“Fiestas de Palmares” takes place through Jan. 25 in the city of Palmares, northwest of San José. Most of the activities are free. More info: Fiestas Palmares Facebook page.Vacation WorkshopsNational Museum (San José): A total of 17 different workshops for children and adults are on offer during the ongoing school break, including notebook decoration, fossils of Costa Rica, secrets of antique photographs, traditional oxcart painting, pre-Columbian pottery making, origami, cardboard sculptures, Greek mask making, basic Tang Soo Do, indigenous spirituality, and more. Jan. 18 – 29. Free. More info: 2256-4139 or Santamaría Museum (Alajuela): Artistic drawing, engraving, traditional games, puppets and handicraft making. Jan. 19 – 29. From 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Free. More info: 2442–1838, ext. 119; or Ángel Calderón Guardia Museum (San José): Drawing, pottery, painting, and lithography. Jan. 25 – 29. Different schedule options. Free. More info: 2222-6392, ext. 105; or Nacional de Teatro (San José): Acting classes for adults, teenagers, children; public speaking and scriptwriting workshops. Jan. 11 – Feb. 2. ₡15,000 ($30). 4 classes, 3 hours each. More info: 2221-1273, or the Theater’s Facebook page.José Figueres Ferrer Cultural and Historical Center (San Ramón): Painting, violin, handicrafts, ballet, dance, origami, and kite making. Jan. 12 – Feb. 2. ₡5,000 – 20,000 ($10 – 40). Different schedule options. More info: 2447-2178.Upcoming Concerts:Reggae Nite: dj lion cub, dj knoxx, and dj vybz. Jan. 22 at Bar Amón. ₡2,000 ($4). 9 p.m. More info: Bar Amón Facebook page.Seedless Electro: Electro music night with special guest Luka Tacon from New York. Jan. 23 at Hoxton Pub. ₡4,000 ($8). 9 p.m. More info: Event’Facebook page. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Wish you were here Roger Waters in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Retransformed: A sophomore experience at the Envision Festival Pink Floyd to release 1st new album since 1994 Swiss musicians, YES homage, and other happenings in Costa Rica 6 things you need to know about Envision Festival 2015 Hearts raced around Costa Rica after a mysterious pink pig was spotted at the National Stadium in La Sabana, San José, on Monday. Pink pig images and cryptic messages from aFacebook page and Twitter account dubbed Stay Human CR renewed hopes that Roger Waters, who used a similar technique to build suspense before announcing a show in Uruguay, might soon announce a show in Costa Rica.“Are you ready for something really big, Costa Rica?” the accounts asked a suddenly breathless nation of fans.The legendary Pink Floyd singer, songwriter and bassist is scheduled to visit Latin America in October and November as part of his Us + Them Tour.Stay human, and stay tuned. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Central America US discuss strengthening borders to contain undocumented immigration

first_imgRelated posts:US top court splits on high-stakes immigration debate Migration issues dominate Tuxtla Summit speeches in Costa Rica VIDEO: New Costa Rican documentary explains forced Central American migration Smartphone app for migrants being piloted in Central America, Mexico Authorities from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador discussed this week with the interim Secretary of National Security of the United States, Kevin McAleenan, actions to contain the wave of Central American migrants, such as reinforcing the borders and carrying out DNA tests to regulate the departure of children.Guatemalan Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart said at a press conference that “concrete results” already exist to halt migration, although talks will continue to reach definitive next steps.He said that coordination between the four countries this year has allowed them to disrupt organized crime networks as well as improve border controls and migration regulations.Donald Trump’s administration is pressing hard to stop the flow of migrants to the United States. The migrants mainly comprise Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans fleeing the poverty and violence that prevails in the three countries.The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Security of Honduras, Julián Pacheco, and the Minister of Justice and Security of El Salvador, Rogelio Rivas.Degenhart explained that the plans include strengthening border security in Guatemala and Mexico with the assistance of US agents as well as carrying out DNA tests on migrant children to determine whether they travel with their parents or relatives.McAleenan indicated that the DNA analysis “is to protect children” from being exploited by adults who carry them thinking that being accompanied by a minor will facilitate their entry into the United States.Although Dagenhart indicated that they seek to improve immigration laws in the region, he ruled out reforms to the so-called CA-4, an agreement that allows free movement of Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans among those countries.“We are not criminalizing migrants but attacking the criminal structures that abuse them and that profit in a disproportionate way,” he said.The minister said that at the next meeting of the group, in July in Washington, they will invite Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama, three countries often used by Haitian, Cuban, African and Asian migrants on their way to the United States.“We are clear that to have an efficient process against the containment of irregular migration, we need the support of the countries that generate the migratory flow to the region, and these three countries are basically Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia,” Degenhart said.Asked about the situation in the migrant detention centers, after an NGO revealed the sordid conditions in which more than 250 children lived in the custody of US authorities in Texas, McAleenan said his government has invested $400 million this year for medical care, blankets and food for children in those shelters.“I can tell you that we are committed to caring for the children in our custody and the children in the region before they are put in the hands of traffickers for this perilous journey,” he said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Circassians flee Syria strife for Russia homeland

first_imgAl Sharkas, which means Circassian in Arabic, used a network of family connections, along with Facebook, to find relatives in Kabardino-Balkariya and other parts of Russia. He encourages his Syrian relatives to follow him to the Caucasus, although now, because of the fighting, it hardly seems possible. “They are trapped there as it is almost impossible to even leave their neighborhoods,” he said.Assmat Yahya, a retired electrician from a Circassian village in the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan Heights, also found relatives in the Caucasus and plans to stay in Russia with his wife.They left their seven-bedroom house in April after hearing that both opposition fighters and Syrian forces were approaching their town and now live in one of the cramped rooms in the hotel in Nalchik, the Kabardino-Balkariya capital. “I’m here not because of the war, although it triggered the return,” the gray-haired 63-year-old said. “We want to live here with our relatives.”But the newly arrived Syrian Circassians have run into bureaucratic hurdles in Russia.Because Russia allows foreigners to stay for only three months without a residence permit, al Sharkas and other Circassians from Syria recently had to travel to Abkhazia, a breakaway Georgian province that Russia recognizes as independent, to obtain entry stamps allowing them another three-months stay. Without residence and work permits, they will have to leave the country when their visas expire. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The carnage forced many _ like Al Sharkas’ ancestors _ to seek refuge in what is today Syria.Now carnage in Syria is driving many back to their homeland.This spring, Al Sharkas joined hundreds of Circassians fleeing war-torn Syria for this remote Russian region of soaring peaks and lush forests. In the coming months, thousands more are expected to arrive in Kabardino-Balkariya, a Caucasus province the size of Maryland with a population of less than 900,000, two-thirds of which is ethnic Circassian.“We are planning to stay here for good,” Al Sharkas, 35, said as he sat under fragrant fir trees at a Soviet-era resort hotel where many of the Circassian immigrants have sought shelter. “That’s the decision we made a long time ago and it’s been accelerated by the events in Syria.”Circassians were widely dispersed in the Russian expulsions. An estimated 2 million live in Turkey, another 100,000 in Syria and other sizable populations are in Jordan and the United States. But their sense of ethnic unity remains strong and the pull of their homeland compelling.Al Sharkas’s great-grandfather Koushoukou, his brother and two cousins were forcibly drafted and sent to the Russian-Turkish war of the late 1870s. They had to fight Ottoman Turks _ fellow Muslims whose sultans supported Circassian resistance and provided refuge for hundreds of thousands of them. After killing his officer in Bulgaria, Koushoukou joined the Turkish military and ended his life in Damascus _ part of Ottoman Turkey at the time. The vital role family plays in society Despite the violence, Circassians say they feel comfortable in their ancestral homeland.Hamzeh Labeeb, a native of the Syrian city of Homs, came to Nalchik in 2002 to study at a local university _ and decided to stay.“They’ve always treated me like their own,” said the bespectacled 29-year-old computer engineer.Meanwhile, locals think that their arrival benefits Russia.“They possess cultural values we lost in the Communist era,” said Vladimir Kaskulov, general director of the hotel chain in Nalchik that hosted more than 150 Syrians free of charge.______Laura Mills in Moscow and Irem Karakaya in Ankara, Turkey, contributed to this story(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories But the governor of the Russian province that will host the games has recently acknowledged the expulsions. “This land has not belonged to the Russian Empire, it belonged to Caucasus nations, to Circassians,” Alexander Tkachyov of Krasnodar province, which was once almost entirely Circassian, said in early August.Al Sharkas’ father, Shawkat Achemez, says that’s not good enough. He wants the Kremlin to admit to mass killings and ethnic cleansing.“Millions have been expelled from this territory,” he said. “That’s what they have to admit.”When the Soviet Union forced an alliance with Syria in the late 1960s, some Syrian Circassians came back to the Caucausus to visit or study.But genuine repatriation became possible only after the 1991 Soviet collapse because the Kremlin softened strict Soviet-era rules on obtaining Russian citizenship.Some 1,500 Circassians have returned to the Caucasus since then, according to Circassian community leaders in Russia. In 1998, the Kremlin facilitated the repatriation of some 200 Circassians from Kosovo after they were attacked by ethnic Albanians.The region they have come back to is afflicted by violence, too. The Caucasus republics are plagued by an Islamic insurgency that spread from Chechnya’s separatist wars. A brazen 2005 raid of Islamists on Nalchik left 130 people dead, and Kabardino-Balkariya still experiences occasional small clashes. Circassians’ historical grievances with Russia are strong.The arrival of thousands of refugees from Syria could add fuel to a growing movement to force Russia to recognize the 19th century killing and expulsions of Circassians as genocide. Circassians are pushing the issue ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where Circassian fighters surrendered to the czarist forces in 1864. Circassians say some of the Olympic facilities are being built over mass graves of their ancestors.“Sochi is our open wound,” said Vahit Kadioglu, head of the International Circassian Association in the Turkish capital, Ankara. “We expect recognition of the massacre from the Russian government.”In 2011, the pro-Western government of neighboring Georgia recognized the killings and deportation of Circassians as genocide and called on the West to boycott the Olympics. Russian officials say the decision was motivated by political tensions between Russia and Georgia, which fought a brief war in 2008, and dismissed the claims.“There was no genocide of the Circassians, it was a normal historical process,” said Valery Kuzmin, a Foreign Ministry ambassador-at-large responsible for the Sochi Games. Associated PressNALCHIK, Russia (AP) – Natai Al Sharkas’ great-grandfather killed his Russian commanding officer and defected to the enemy.The ethnic Circassian swells with pride at the thought of the century-old act.Natives of what is now Russia’s Caucasus region, Circassians fiercely resisted the Russian czarist conquest that ended in the 1860s after decades of scorched-earth warfare, mass killings or expulsions that some historians and politicians consider genocide.last_img read more

Storm prompts US to delay 911 hearings at Gitmo

first_img Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix How men can have a healthy 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) – An approaching storm prompted the U.S. military to place its base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, under an alert Wednesday and cancel several days of pretrial hearings in the case of five prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks.The military planned to evacuate about 200 people, including legal teams and relatives of Sept. 11 victims, who traveled to the remote base in southeast Cuba to attend hearings that had been scheduled to start Thursday, said Army Lt. Col. Joseph Todd Breasseale, a Pentagon spokesman. Comments   Share   The judge in the case, Army Col. James Pohl, issued an order postponing the hearings until further notice due to a “concern for the safety and welfare of all personnel.”The Navy placed the base, which has about 6,000 personnel in all, on an alert Wednesday due to the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac, which was expected to bring winds of nearly 60 mph (100 kph) within 72 hours. Officials warned military and civilian personnel to prepare emergency shelters and secure loose objects that could become projectiles in heavy wind.A prison spokesman, Navy Capt. Robert Durand, says all 168 prisoners will be in buildings that can sustain hurricane-force winds and that the military has plans in place to provide shelter for all troops and civilians.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The vital role family plays in society Parents, stop beating yourself uplast_img read more

Carmaker Peugeot pushed off Frances CAC40 index

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   PARIS (AP) – The Paris bourse will drop PSA Peugeot Citroen from its CAC-40 index of leading French companies after a dismal year for the carmaker, the exchange operator said.It’s a major blow for the company, which has been a part of the index since it was created in 1987, and is an iconic brand in France. Peugeot is considered one of the country’s “national champions” _ the global companies based in France that help make the country an economic force _ but it has faltered in recent years under the weight of plummeting demand in Europe and increasing competition from Asia. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The loss-making company is been under intense pressure in France as it struggles to turn around its business. Its plan to cut 8,000 jobs and close a major factory drew stiff criticism from President Francois Hollande’s new Socialist administration and is under negotiation. Unions have also called for protests.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 ways to recognize low testosterone In the past year, as its troubles have piled up, Peugeot’s stock has fallen more than 60 percent. Market value is an important factor in building the CAC index; the committee that decides its composition also looks at the volume of stock traded on the exchange.The index is supposed to include the 40 companies listed on the NYSE Euronext bourse in Paris that are most representative of the entire exchange. Its composition is evaluated at least four times a year, and major names have been dropped before. Air France-KLM, for instance, was removed in 2009.NYSE Euronext said Thursday night that Solvay, a Belgium-based chemical company, will replace Peugeot. The change takes effect Sept. 24.Peugeot said it would not comment. Solvay called the news an “important milestone” and said it reflected the company’s economic power and growth potential.Gareth Parker of Russell Indexes said that leaving an index has two effects on a stock. The first is reputational, since an index like the CAC-40 is considered a sort of premium listing.The other is that some funds, like pension funds, that track the index will automatically drop the stock, said Parker, who is the senior director of index research and design. Other investors may also pull out of Peugeot.last_img read more

Muhammad Yunus announces financing in Haiti

first_imgThe amount invested in each will range from $80,000 to $500,000, and feature loans with interest rates ranging from 6-10 percent.Such “social businesses” must each have a social mission like a non-governmental organization, but also generate revenues to cover costs like a profit-making business.Yunus, an international development expert, made the announcement on the first of a three-day trip to Haiti that includes field visits and a conference examining ways to use his development philosophy to ease poverty in Haiti.It was the second time Yunus had come to Haiti since visiting a year ago to introduce his “social business” philosophy to the impoverished Caribbean nation. The country is still recovering from a January 2010 earthquake that toppled thousands of buildings and displaced more than 1 million people.The Germany-based Yunus Social Business Fund, formerly the Grameen Creative Lab, opened an office in Haiti after the temblor.Yunus is a Bangladeshi banker known for developing a microcredit program for entrepreneurs who were too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.He sits on a board of more than 30 philanthropists, former government leaders and executives that advise Haitian President Michel Martelly on economic matters. Former President Clinton, also the United Nations special envoy to Haiti, is a co-chairman. Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Yunus also plans to launch a nationwide social business competition for university students before leaving Haiti on Monday.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Check your body, save your life Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Nobel peace laureate Mohammad Yunus announced Saturday that his pro-business development group is financing several endeavors through a mix of loans and equity.The projects that incorporate Yunus’ development philosophy of “social business” include two poultry farms, a bakery and a plantation of jatropha plants that can be used for biodiesel, offering an alternative energy source while creating jobs for 200 farmers. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

Bombings kill at least 14 in outside Baghdad

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies BAGHDAD (AP) — Separate bombings in and around the Iraqi capital on Sunday killed at least 14 people, officials said, as authorities tightened security measures in Baghdad ahead of a major Shiite religious event that draws thousands of vulnerable pilgrims.The deadliest attack took place in the town of Tarmiyah when a car bomber struck a police and army checkpoint, killing five security force members and wounding 10, a police officer said. The town is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Baghdad. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   In this Saturday, May 9, 2015 photo, smoke rises after an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition on Islamic State group positions in an eastern neighborhood of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi authorities on Friday signed up the first batch of 1,000 recruits for a new Sunni militia to help its security forces take back the western Anbar province from the Islamic State group, after years of reluctance to arm and train the tribal fighters. (AP Photo) 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Iraq is going through its worst crisis since the 2011 U.S. troop withdrawal as the government is struggling to recapture lost territory from the militants and to maintain security in other parts of the country.___Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Patients with chronic pain give advicecenter_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Sponsored Stories Another car bomb killed three civilians and wounded eight at an outdoor market in Taji, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Baghdad, the officer added.In the capital’s southern Abu Disher neighborhood, a bomb targeted Shiite pilgrims, killing two and wounding seven. Another civilian was killed and five wounded in a bomb attack in an outdoor market in the northern Baghdad district of Shaab, police added.The anniversary of the 8th-century Imam Mousa al-Kazim’s death draws tens of thousands of Shiites from all walks to converge on his golden-domed shrine in northern Baghdad. The pilgrims typically march to the shrine while hundreds of tents are erected to offer them free food, drinks and services.Also Sunday, a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden armored military vehicle into a group of government forces during clashes outside the Islamic State-held city of Fallujah. The attack killed at least three soldiers and wounded seven, an army officer said.The Islamic State group, which controls vast areas of northern and western Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attack In an online statement posted on a militant website.Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more

Yellen defends Fed policies from critical House lawmakers

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday she is encouraged by signs that the economy is reviving after a brutal winter. And if the improvements stay on track, the Fed will likely start raising interest rates later this year.Yellen, however, downplayed the importance of the timing of the first rate hike as she delivered the Fed’s mid-year economic outlook to Congress. Interest rates will remain at very low levels “for quite some time after the first increase,” she said. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories The moves triggered criticism that the Fed has become too powerful, and is too secretive and unaccountable. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate have introduced legislation to rein in the Fed’s independence. Such measures, the Fed says, could damage the independence it needs to maintain credibility with financial markets.Yellen faced a particularly sharp rebuke from a Republican lawmaker unhappy over the Fed’s refusal to hand over documents subpoenaed by the committee. The requested documents relate to an investigation of a possible Fed leak of market-sensitive information in October 2012.“If anyone is trying to sweep this under the rug, it is the Fed,” said Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin.Yellen said that she planned to turn over all the documents that have been requested once the investigations by the Department of Justice and the Fed’s inspector general are completed. She said she had been told that turning over all the information now could jeopardize those pending investigations.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. “There is not a central bank in the world that follows a rule that would rely on only two variables,” she said.The Fed’s benchmark rate has been at a record low near zero since December 2008. That has translated to historically low borrowing rates for consumers and businesses.Many economists peg September for a rate liftoff, but they see at most only two quarter-point moves this year.“If the economy evolves as we expect, economic conditions likely would make it appropriate at some point this year to raise the federal funds target,” Yellen said.Yellen stressed that her outlook is based on the expectation that the labor market will keep improving and inflation will begin moving closer to the Fed’s 2 percent target for annual price gains. Inflation is currently running lower than the pace the Fed believes is optimal for a healthy economy.A decision to raise rates, Yellen said, “will signal how much progress the economy has made in healing from the trauma of the financial crisis.”Yellen highlighted a number of areas that had improved.The unemployment rate in June dropped to a seven-year low of 5.3 percent. She also cited “noticeable declines” over the past year in the number of long-term unemployed — people who have been out of work six months or longer — and in the number of people working part-time because they can’t find full-time jobs. But she said problems with the labor market remained, including anemic wage growth. Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Yellen spent three hours Wednesday addressing the House Financial Services Committee in the first of two days of testimony. While the session began with her optimistic assessment of the economy, it turned contentious at times during the question-and-answer period as lawmakers criticized everything from the Fed’s stance on interest rates to its accountability and power.Anticipating tough questions from Republicans, Yellen outlined in her prepared remarks the steps the central bank has taken in recent years increase transparency. She said the Fed holds press conferences after four of its eight meetings each year and updates its economic forecasts more frequently.“The Federal Reserve ranks among the most transparent central banks,” Yellen said.But many GOP lawmakers were less than satisfied.They urged her to consider supporting changes in how the Fed operates, such as adopting a rule that would link rate hikes to changes in economic growth and inflation. Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said a simple rule would make the Fed more predictable and understandable and help an economy “mired in lackluster, halting economic growth.”Yellen strongly rejected the idea. She also noted solid gains in consumer spending, auto sales and home construction.At the same time, Yellen described business investment and export sales as weak. Investment has been hurt by spending cutbacks at energy, while exports have suffered from the rising value of the dollar, which makes U.S. goods less competitive in foreign markets.Overseas developments could also weigh on U.S. growth in coming months.“The situation in Greece remains difficult,” she said. “And China continues to grapple with the challenges posed by high debt, weak property markets and volatile financial conditions.”If either Greece or China created “substantial risks,” it could delay a Fed rate increase, she said. Any delay might mean that subsequent rate hikes might take place more rapidly than the gradual pace the Fed currently anticipates.Yellen’s appearance Wednesday will be followed by testimony Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee. Under law, she is required to provide Congress twice a year with updates on the Fed’s economic outlook and its handling of interest rates.The Fed, responding to the 2008 financial crisis and the worst economic downturn in seven decades, expanded its balance sheet by purchasing trillions of dollars in bonds and took other aggressive actions to lower interest rates and battle high unemployment. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

Tourism WA restructure sees Perth consolidation

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A All of Tourism Western Australia’s marketing and trade support will come out of the agency’s headquarters in Perth, effective 10 December 2010.The move comes as Tourism WA adopts a new business model which will see the freeing up of AUD31 million over the next four years.Tourism WA chief executive Stephanie Buckland assured that the repositioning is in no way a sign of the agency’s wavering dedication to domestic travel.“The only change is that we will be consolidating our marketing expertise in one location, that being Perth,” Ms Buckland said.“Tourism WA’s commitment to the domestic market remains strong, nothing has changed in that regard,” Ms Buckland said.“We are creating a more flexible organisation that is better positioned to respond to changing market conditions, and to optimise the expenditure of marketing funds.”The funds made available by the consolidation will allow Tourism WA to invest directly into promoting the new Experience Extraordinary brand on both a domestic and international level.“The restructure has seen Tourism WA refocus on three core functions; marketing the State and its extraordinary destinations and experiences; developing, attracting and promoting major events; and developing significant tourism infrastructure and projects,” Ms Buckland said.Ms Buckland also praised Tourism WA’s Sydney-based domestic marketing director Ross Gregory.“Ross has been a great representative for Tourism WA and we will miss his passion and enthusiasm for Western Australia,” Ms Buckland said.last_img read more