Surviving Costa Rican culture What students wish they had known

first_imgFrom sprinting ridiculously across the street to avoid becoming the nextpanqueque al Gringo, to getting served beer at a college function, there are many things that foreign students may find a bit shocking about living and studying in Costa Rica.One of the big differences students must adapt to is driving.“Beware of the traffic,” warns Winthrop University Spanish major Antonio Artis, currently studying at Universidad Veritas in Zapote, a southeastern district of San José.It is sound advice. Unlike in the United States, where pedestrians have the right-of-way, the laws in Costa Rica are a bit different. Drivers aren’t required to stop for pedestrians, and this can make for some very interesting experiences. While there are crosswalks, they are fewer in number. Be careful when crossing the street and make sure to look all around you.Another thing to be aware of is the pricing of goods and services. Costa Rica is one of the most expensive countries in Latin America, and prices truly add up. Many students don’t realize this and equate Costa Rican prices with those of poorer countries in the region.Lauren Gabauer, a student from Winthrop University majoring in Spanish and education, says, “I ran out of money at the end [of a Costa Rica trip], and if I would have known more about the actual prices of lunches and taxis and things like that, I could have planned better.”Students often end up phoning home to ask mom and dad for money. Make sure to budget well in advance. Jordan Lent | Special to The Tico Times No related posts. Watch out! Crossing the street in Chepe is a special art. Taxis in San José, unlike some cities in the U.S., are plentiful. As a tourist you never really have to worry about getting home if you’re lost, provided you have money for a cab.Upon entering your chosen taxi, make sure it has a meter, or “María” as it’s known in Costa Rica. Once you know your way around the city a bit more, be sure to pay attention to where the drivers take you. Not all of them are dishonest, but some will take you the long way to get as much money as possible. Just be aware.Sophomore biology major Colleen Keller from Western Michigan University advises, “Always make sure to take note of the company and number, in case you leave something, which I did.”Here is something teenagers will find particularly interesting: Costa Ricans have a hard time saying “No.” In the U.S., people tend to say what they mean and mean what they say. Such brusque talk is not as commonplace in Costa Rica. When Ticos want to say no to you, they often will seem to talk around the subject.“Oh you want to go out? Well how late do you think it will be? Are you sure it won’t be too cold? Do you think it’s a good idea?” etc.Of course, it varies with each individual. (Kids in the U.S. could learn from this, i.e., perhaps it’s time to talk your parents into making a move down south.)One final piece of advice about visiting Costa Rica: Embrace the Tico concept of time. It is very different than in the U.S. (the absence of clocks in many places is sure to be noticed), and it does take some getting used to for those from a culture obsessed with punctuality.In Costa Rica, being late is not a faux pas as it is in the U.S. Although a bit taxing and frustrating at first, once you learn to focus less on your watch and more on taking in the moments, it can help you lead a more relaxed lifestyle.So embrace “Tico time” and make the most of your trip to the country of “no artificial ingredients.”Jordan Lent is a senior at Winthrop University, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, United States. She studied Spanish in Costa Rica for three months and hopes to one day become a foreign correspondent. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rican soccer star Bryan Oviedo undergoes successful surgery recalls grisly leg

first_imgRelated posts:Signs point to a World Cup return for Costa Rican star Bryan Oviedo Tico star Bryan Oviedo says he won’t play in the World Cup unless he feels at full strength Costa Rica declares injured star Bryan Oviedo out for the World Cup Costa Rica unveils preliminary 30-man roster for the World Cup Costa Rican star midfielder Bryan Oviedo underwenta successful surgery on Monday night to repair a gruesome leg injury, according to his Premier League club Everton.Oviedo, 23, broke his leg in two places while making a play on the ball against Stevenage during a match Saturday. The fractures to his tibia and fibula put his chances of playing in the World Cup in doubt. Now Oviedo has a several weeks to rehab before the Costa Rica National Team will decide if one of their best players is able enough to make the World Cup roster.Everton’s head of medical services Danny Donachie told the team’s official site that Oviedo had a clean break in his leg. Doctors placed a rod through Oviedo’s tibia, and the Tico is “in comfortable and stable condition,” Donachie said.Oviedo described the immediate aftermath of the injury to He said he felt a shudder go through his body, and then saw his leg distorted. Once he noticed teammate Kevin Mirallas in tears, Oviedo said he knew “something was seriously wrong.”“All sorts of thoughts went through my head,” [Oviedo] added. “It wasn’t too uncomfortable at first, but I then felt very strong pain and tried to endure it.“I thought about everything, my father, the World Cup. The minutes felt like hours.“It is a real blow to my hopes, and it is painful for me just to look at the images.“I have tried to stay strong and positive but I don’t want to watch the video of the incident. I don’t think I will ever want to see it.”Medical experts say the broken leg will need four months to recover, giving Ovideo a chance to be healthy in time for the 2014 World Cup. It begins in Brazil on June 12. “”Ever since it happened, I’ve been thinking about the World Cup,” Oviedo told Everton’s site. “I have to remain calm, but in the hands of God, I will be ready for it. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

5 more green sea turtles rescued by Costa Rican police in Caribbean

first_imgCosta Rica’s National Police rescued five more green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) weighing up to 150 kilograms last week in Moín, Limón, on the northern Caribbean coast. The rescue was a success story for a more aggressive patrolling strategy on the coast that has seen some success in saving the endangered turtles and protecting their eggs.The five female sea turtles were found tied and on their backs near the mouth of the Moín River along the beach with the same name, according to a July 22 statement from the Public Security Ministry. Allan Obando, National Police chief for Limón, said that there were no arrests in connection with the poaching.Green sea turtles can weigh up to 320 kilograms (700 pounds). The creatures nest on Costa Rica’s Caribbean beaches from July to October and are often poached for their meat and eggs. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Green listed green sea turtles as endangered.The turtles, which weighed between 120 and 150 kilograms, were sent to the Jaguar Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo for care, where two others also recently have been taken. Police have rescued at least seven of the ancient reptiles so far this year from poachers who capture them for their meat as they come ashore to lay their eggs.One of the five was released on July 22, according to social media posts from the Jaguar Rescue Center and Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata. Encar García, the center’s biologist, told The Tico Times that two more were released in good condition Monday morning. The remaining two and a third, which arrived at the rescue center on July 3, remain in serious condition, she said. These three turtles suffered harpoon wounds that punctured their lungs, an injury that keeps the animals from regulating their buoyancy. Without the ability to dive and rise, the sea turtles cannot feed themselves in the wild. Obando told The Tico Times that the rescue of the turtles last week is a direct result of a two-pronged approach from the National Police, Coast Guard and volunteer groups that patrol the beaches. The first half of the strategy is improving prevention. Better coordination with volunteers, other law enforcement agencies, like the Coast Guard, and the community have given police the information they need to take action. Judicial Investigation Police rescued a 120-kilogram green sea turtle tied up in a private home in Limón thanks to a tip from a neighbor this month, for example.“If they see boats or cars in the area they let us know. They’re our eyes on the beach,” Obando said.The police chief said that the second half of the strategy was to increase their physical resources at the beach. Four full-time police officers now patrol the beaches in Moín, where conservationist Jairo Mora was killed in an altercation with poachers on May 31, 2013. With officers on the ground, law enforcement can act more quickly to save the turtles before they are sold for meat.Obando said that the strategy is responsible for the protection of an estimated 1,000 sea turtles this season, and a hatchery program in coordination with law enforcement has released 400 baby green sea turtles. Another group of hatchlings is expected to be released next week, he said. Five female green sea turtles weighing between 120 and 150 kilograms rescued by police on July 21, 2015 near Moín beach in Limón. (Courtesy Public Security Ministry) Facebook Comments Related posts:Following threats, poachers allegedly attack sea turtle conservationists in Costa Rica, Sea Shepherd says Police find 9,400 sea turtle eggs in car trunk outside Nicoya Costa Rican police rescue yet another sea turtle from poachers Police catch poachers with more than 300 sea turtle eggscenter_img Informo con beneplácito la liberación de 2 de las 5 tortugas rescatadas anoche en Moín. Las otras bajo cuidados.— Gustavo Mata Vega (@gustavomatacr) July 22, 2015last_img read more

Colombia and FARC rebels announce major breakthrough in peace talks

first_imgDuring his 2002 to 2010 presidency, Uribe rolled back FARC’s territorial gains and decimated its ranks, but he could not completely defeat the rebels.“Without jail time for the commanders, there will be a deal in Havana but also a recipe for more violence in Colombia,” Uribe warned.A smaller leftist group, the National Liberation Army, known by its Spanish initials ELN, is still at war with the Colombian government, but they are expected to also ask to negotiate a peace deal.“This is huge news,” said Adam Isacson, a Colombia expert at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a DC think tank. “Transitional justice was by far the hardest issue on the agenda.”“It might be an overstatement to say that they’re now on a glide-path toward a final peace accord,” said Isacson. “But what remains to be negotiated is easier than what has been agreed.”Isacson noted that a FARC cease-fire over the past two months has brought the country a preview of what a lasting peace deal would mean.“If this kind of tranquility persists, Colombians won’t want to go back to the way things were,” said Isacson. “They will swallow hard and support the accord as long as it includes some real accountability for human rights abusers.”© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Colombia suspends peace talks with FARC after general kidnapped Colombia’s ‘discriminatory’ military draft under discussion as peace deal comes closer Colombia government, rebels to set up truth commission An end to Colombia’s war seems close – except in rebel territory Santos no es la paz la que está cerca, es la entrega a Farc y a la tiranía de Venezuela— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) September 23, 2015center_img HAVANA, Cuba – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the FARC rebel group announced a major breakthrough Wednesday in their peace negotiations, bringing the country to the verge of ending one of the world’s longest-running wars.The dramatic announcement came Wednesday afternoon in Havana, where the two sides began formal negotiations in 2012 in ending the 50-year-old conflict. It was the first time Santos has appeared beside Timoleón Jiménez, alias “Timochenko,” the elusive FARC commander who had previously surfaced in videos recorded from his jungle hideouts.With Cuban President Raúl Castro seated between them, Santos said he and FARC’s Timochenko had told their negotiating teams to reach a final agreement within six months. The guerrilla commander remains an adversary, Santos said, but “today we are making progress in the same direction, toward the most noble goal a society can have: peace.”“We must break once and for all any link between politics and weapons,” he said.More than 220,000 people have been killed in the three-way violence between the guerrillas, the government and right-wing paramilitary groups. At least 6 million Colombians have been forced to flee their homes. Only Syria has more “internally displaced persons,” according to U.N. data.The agreement announced Wednesday breaks an impasse over the most sensitive element of the talks, namely whether guerrillas who lay down their weapons would be subject to criminal prosecution, prison terms and potential extradition to the United States.Leaders of the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, have insisted they would not submit to such terms. There are reams of criminal charges against them in Colombian, U.S. and international courts for murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking, terrorism and virtually every other serious offense imaginable.The deal would establish a truth-and-reconciliation process through which guerrillas and Colombian military commanders accused of rights abuses would be required to confess their crimes at special tribunals.Timochenko, who is rarely seen on television by Colombians and even less so without a combat uniform, read a brief statement after Santos’ remarks. His graying hair and beard appeared had been trimmed, and he wore a white guayabera shirt, as did the other members of the FARC delegation.The rebel commander praised the system of special tribunals as a mechanism “designed for all of those affected by the conflict, combatants and non-combatants … built on the basis of reparation and non-repetition” of conflict.“Now we must work to build consensus” toward a peace deal, he said, “and work to transform FARC into a legal political movement.”Under the terms of the agreement, combatants who provide truthful testimony and atone for their crimes would be eligible for a system of “alternative justice” that would limit their punishment to financial reparations to victims and five to eight years that could be served at low-security work camps or halfway houses.But the special tribunals would have the power to investigate and cross-examine those accused of war crimes. Combatants who failed to fully confess or withheld evidence would lose eligibility for a lighter sentence, and face full criminal prosecution.FARC commanders who have already been extradited to the United States would not be eligible, according to a source with knowledge of the deal. The Colombian government and FARC rebels announced a key breakthrough in their nearly three-year peace talks Wednesday with the signing of a deal on justice for crimes committed during the five-decade conflict. The deal includes the creation of special courts and a broad amnesty, though this will not cover “crimes against humanity, serious war crimes” and other offenses including kidnappings, extrajudicial executions and sexual abuse, said officials from Cuba and Norway. Luis Acosta/AFPAt war since 1964Nurtured by drug trafficking profits, illegal mining and revenue from kidnapping and extortion, the leftist insurgent group has been at war with the government since 1964.The announcement in Havana came three days after Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the city’s Plaza of the Revolution with a plea to Colombians to “achieve definitive reconciliation” in the peace talks to end “the long night of pain and violence.”“Please, we do not have the right to allow ourselves yet another failure on this path of peace and reconciliation,” Francis said.Wednesday’s agreement does not complete the peace process, but it resolves one of the thorniest and most controversial aspects of the talks. The two sides have deals in place on other elements: rural development, an end to drug trafficking and guarantees for the future participation of FARC members in the country’s political system.Still pending are the nuts-and-bolts issues of disarming and demobilizing the estimated 7,000 or so FARC combatants who remain on remote battlefields in Colombia’s jungles and mountains.Wednesday’s announcement was especially significant because it also sets the first timetables for ending the conflict. FARC combatants would have 60 days to lay down weapons once a deal is reached.“These are the most important breakthroughs since negotiations began more than three years ago,” said Bernard Aronson, U.S. special envoy to the Colombia peace talks. “Taken together this means the war in Colombia is coming to an end.”Under the terms of the peace process, the final agreement must be approved by Colombian voters. Though many Colombians say in surveys that they want peace, Santos’ popularity has slumped since his re-election last year, and the deal could collapse if voters reject it because they think it lets FARC off too easy.“Santos, it’s not peace that’s near, it’s the surrender to FARC and the tyranny of Venezuela,” wrote former president Álvaro Uribe, Santos’s political archrival, on Twitter, linking Wednesday’s announcement to Colombia’s ongoing tensions with the government in Caracas.last_img read more

New government lionfish commission to take on invasive species

first_img Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Local efforts to curb the encroachment of invasive species in Costa Rica’s Caribbean got a big boost this week with the formation of a National Commission for the Management and Control of Lionfish. The new commission will provide government support for Caribbean fishing associations that are already actively combatting the proliferation of lionfish (Pterois).Introduced to the Atlantic Ocean from the Indo-Pacific sometime in the 1980s, the lionfish has been wreaking havoc on Caribbean fish populations. The fish can gobble up two smaller fish every minute and lay up to 30,000 eggs each year, depleting catches for fishermen and damaging the ecosystem. Though not the hardest hit country in the region, Costa Rica has approximately 90 lionfish per hectare and fishermen have reported an 80-87 percent decline in their catches since 2009 when the fish began to appear off the country’s coast.See also: The lionfish huntersSince 2012, the Southern Caribbean Traditional Fishermen’s Association (APACS) has worked to spear or trap as many lionfish as possible, but lack of funding has limited their efforts.Made up of ten government organizations, universities, NGOs and community leaders, the new commission will allocate public resources to combat the lionfish invasion. The commission will meet over the next several months to determine its first steps, which will include a publicity campaign to encourage the public to buy and eat lionfish, as well as better funding for the annual lionfish tournament in Manzanillo.“At the moment we are working with the commission to put on the best lionfish fishing tournament yet,” said José Ugalde a member of APACS. Facebook Comments Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Timescenter_img Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times Related posts:Costa Rica’s shark conservation record is a ‘mixed bag,’ observers say Costa Rica says it will support new shark protections despite agreements with fishermen US surfer loses leg in Tamarindo crocodile attack Costa Rica to host third International Sustainable Building Congresslast_img read more

Companies announce job openings in business engineering and interpretation services

first_imgRelated posts:700 bilingual jobs in Costa Rica Companies to offer 2,700 posts for bilingual staff at job fair Recruiters: Preparation is key to success at upcoming CINDE Job Fair  Microsoft to hire 280 new employees for its Costa Rican operation Companies in the services sector are starting the second half of the year with good hiring prospects. Three of them this week announced they are offering a total of 900 jobs for interpreters and professionals in business administration and information technology.Business services company Concentrix announced Monday that it is hiring 700 people to expand its operations in the capital San José. The company is looking for professionals in business administration with specializations in recruitment, financial analysis and quality management.Concentrix is also offering jobs for account supervisors, operations managers, customer service representatives and technical support agents fluent in English, French, German and Spanish.Job applications can be filed on the company’s website. You also can submit a printed resume at the company’s offices in Pavas near the U.S. Embassy or at the America Free Zone in Heredia, Building D-20. Resumes must include copies of all degrees or diplomas, two letters of recommendation and a photograph.IT professionalsU.S. software development company Gorilla Logic is also expanding its operations in Costa Rica and plans to hire 100 IT professionals. Recruiters are looking for engineers with experience in software development to work with U.S. companies.Candidates must have experience developing in Java, Javascript, QA Automation, native and hybrid mobile development on iOS and Android platforms, and also in DevOps.Recruiters will interview candidates next Wednesday, July 27 at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in La Sabana starting at 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required on the company’s website and resumes must be sent to jobs.costarica@gorillalogic.comInterpretersThe Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) announced that Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. is hiring 100 people for its interpretation services division.The hiring means the company will double its staff in Costa Rica, one of the 27 countries where it currently operates.Recruiters in the next two months will offer jobs for bilingual (English – Spanish) staff with a high command of both languages. Candidates with command of a third language and experience in interpretation will be given preference, CINDE reported.Job applicants must have access to a landline and will be evaluated for their interpretation skills. Those selected for a contract will be able to work remotely, and the company offers various schedule options.Those interested can apply online on the company’s website.CINDE General Director Jorge Sequeira said the number of international companies in the services sector here has grown dynamically in the past 15 years, to nearly 400 companies today. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

2nd Sumatran elephant found poisoned in Indonesia

first_imgAn 18-year-old female died in Aceh after being poisoned in late April.As forests disappear, elephants stray into inhabited areas in search of food.Fewer than 3,000 Sumatran elephants are left in the wild and environmentalists warn that they could be extinct within three decades unless steps are taken to protect them.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments   Share   Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) – An official says a second endangered Sumatran elephant has been poisoned in western Indonesia, apparently by villagers trying to protect their crops.Forestry Ministry official Harmidi says the carcass of the 20-year-old male elephant was discovered Wednesday near a plantation in Aceh province.Harmidi, who uses only one name, says a group of elephants had been wandering in the area in recent days, roaring and destroying crops. Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Fish pedicures Baghdads newest sign of progress

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Violence in Baghdad has dropped sharply in recent years, after a wave of sectarian attacks that pushed the country to the brink of civil war. However, bombings and shootings are still common.The wealthy Mansour neighborhood near Saleh’s spa saw some of the worst of the sectarian carnage. These days, the area is quieter, but the local market still has blast walls surrounding it.On Sunday, the fish were going hungry. There were no customers in the spa, just a lone man using the gym upstairs.Still, Saleh is relentlessly optimistic.Just down the street from Doctor’s Fish Spa, there is a police checkpoint _ one of dozens across Baghdad _ with concrete barriers, rolls of barbed wire and armed police. Far from scaring customers off, the checkpoint was part of the location’s appeal, Saleh says.“The main reason I chose this place is because of the security,” he says. “And the good parking.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Quick workouts for men Comments   Share   Patients with chronic pain give advice Doctor’s Fish Spa opened this year in western Baghdad’s upscale Mansour area. Owner Musbah Saleh, 37, was looking for a unique service to offer customers when he hit on trendy fish pedicures, in which small carp in a tank eat dead skin to make feet extra smooth.The practice of using the toothless garra rufa fish as a treatment for skin diseases became popular in Asia in 2006. But Saleh found in his research that it originated decades ago in Iraq’s neighbor, Turkey. He traveled there earlier this year and imported 600 of the fish at a cost of about $10,000.Now, dozens of his scaly, hungry employees dart around in a tank attached to a pedicure chair, waiting for a new pair of feet to munch on. The pink-walled reception area is decorated with floral stencils and an elaborate aquarium filled with plastic fish.Saleh says he’s confident of success for his piscine pampering project despite minor logistical hurdles, such as the city’s frequent power cuts that force him to run a noisy generator.“Chinese massage centers, beauty salons are all thriving. So this kind of business has a promising future,” Saleh said. “The Iraqi people need these things because they couldn’t have them before.” Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressBAGHDAD (AP) – The latest luxury spa in Iraq’s capital offers another small sign of life creeping closer to normalcy _ if your definition of “normal” includes having tiny fish nibble on your feet.Billed as Baghdad’s first fish pedicure salon, the enterprise aims to bring in Iraqi customers who have recently begun to venture out again as the violence that engulfed the country after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion ebbs. Bombings and shootings are still common, but daily life has improved for most people in recent years. Dozens of beauty salons, cosmetic surgery centers and other enterprises have sprung up to cash in on war-weary Iraqis looking for pampering. Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Mexico ruling party candidate on attack in debate

first_img“Mr. Pena Nieto, we don’t want someone who is going to hide in the bathroom of a university to solve the country’s problems,” said Vazquez Mota, candidate for the National Action Party of President Felipe Calderon.Pena Nieto denied he was hiding and said he applauded the awakening of student participation in the political process.“It’s a voice I respect,” he said.The more than two-hour debate mostly allowed the candidates to repeat their platforms and make a flood of promises to create jobs, increase salaries, improve education, lower violence and end hunger without real details.Leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would save millions by rooting out corruption and cutting politicians’ salaries, numbers that Vazquez Mota said didn’t add up. She in turn emphasized her role as a woman and caretaker of the family and mentioned several times her support for indigenous women. Pena Nieto repeated several times that Mexicans will be able to provide for their families in the manner they deserve under his administration.“The center of my proposal is that you earn more,” he said.Little seemed to change the dynamic of the race, which Pena Nieto leads by about 13 points in most polls. Associated PressMEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico’s ruling party candidate who is trailing in third by many polls bombarded her rivals Sunday in the second and final presidential debate with accusations that they represent a return to the country’s past of corruption and authoritarianism.Josefina Vazquez Mota accused front-runner Enrique Pena Nieto of using public funds to create a spying agency and of hiding in the bathroom from students who heckled him in a May campaign appearance that sparked a protest movement, including a demonstration that drew 90,000 people to the streets of Mexico City hours before the debate. Check your body, save your life Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments   Share   Now all the candidates are trying to paint rivals as the most corrupt.Pena Nieto’s foes have sought to link him to two former PRI governors in the border state of Tamaulipas, one whose properties were raided by Mexican officials and the other who U.S. prosecutors allege had ties to drug cartels.Rivals also accuse Pena Nieto of paying Mexico’s giant Televisa network for favorable coverage. Both the PRI and Televisa have vehemently denied this.Two weeks ago, a leaked audio tape was released in which a Lopez Obrador supporter is heard asking businessmen for $6 million in campaign donations, which would be a violation of electoral laws. But the leaked version did not include the full conversation, in which another supporter is heard telling the businessmen that the leftist was not aware of or involved in the request.___Adriana Gomez Licon on Twitter: Press writer Mark Stevenson contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Vazquez Mota, who is the first serious female candidate to run for Mexico’s presidency, has faltered throughout the campaign. Lopez Obrador, meanwhile, has seen a slight surge in recent weeks to second place as Mexicans contemplate the return to power by Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled for 71 years with a combination of iron fist and corruption before being voted out in 2000.Mexican voters appear ready to kick the PAN out of office after 12 years of Vicente Fox and Calderon, who launched an assault on drug cartels and whose term has seen more than 47,000 deaths from drug violence.Negative advertising has spiked the last two weeks among all three major parties _ the PRI, the PAN and Lopez Obrador’s Democratic Revolution Party. But Vazquez Mota was most aggressive Sunday, forcing her rivals to respond.She accused Lopez Obrador, a former member of the PRI, of supporting deadly government attacks on student protesters in 1968 and 1971. Some of the demonstrators on Sunday were commemorating June 10, 1971, when pro-government agents killed at least a dozen students at a leftist political demonstration in Mexico City.Lopez Obrador said he was still in high school when the attacks happened. The fourth candidate in the debate, Gabriel Quadri of the New Alliance party, has been drawing single digits in the polls. He asked and received commitments from his rivals not to criminalize women who seek abortions, which are illegal in the country except for Mexico City.Vazquez Mota accused Quadri of being a puppet of the head of the teachers’ union, Elba Esther Gordillo, a key Mexican power broker who can make or break politicians with her support and who is criticized for the sorry state of Mexico’s public schools. “He has to ask his mommy on every idea,” she said.Analysts believe protests by young people have caused the recent slight sag in Pena Nieto’s lead. PRI officials later questioned if the hecklers at the Iberoamerican University were students and accused them of being planted by rivals. They responded by showing their student ID card across social media venues.Protesters on Sunday shouted, “Not one vote for the PRI!” and “Out with Pena!”Candidates focused on Pena Nieto in the first debate in May, accusing him of lying about his record as governor of the state of Mexico and maintaining ties to unsavory elements of the PRI, which was known for buying votes and all-out coercion to stay in power for seven decades but is also credited with building many of Mexico’s institutions and its social security safety net. Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Islamic sect leader in Nigeria rejects sanctions

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Men’s health affects baby’s health too Sponsored Stories Top Stories He also says the U.S. cannot freeze his assets. In June, the State Department listed him and two others as global terrorists. Designating these men as global terrorists blocks any assets the men may have in the U.S. and bars Americans from doing business with them.Boko Haram is responsible for more than 650 killings this year, according to an Associated Press count.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homecenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy KANO, Nigeria (AP) – The leader of a radical Islamist sect in Nigeria has issued an online video dismissing recent U.S. sanctions placed against his group.The video posted to YouTube shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau seated, a Kalashnikov assault rifle behind him. In the video, posted late Saturday, he speaks in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s Muslim north and calls the United States “terrorists.” Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   last_img read more

Egypt police say 15 suspected militants arrested

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 treatments for adult scoliosis The statement said another suspected militant was arrested with his brother while trying to flee to Libya. All those arrested were in possession of explosives, it said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img CAIRO (AP) – Egypt’s Interior Ministry says it has detained 15 militants suspected of planning operations to destabilize the country in a series of raids.A ministry statement said most had large amounts of explosives.The statement Wednesday said the raids took place in different areas of Egypt over recent weeks. A Tunisian was among those arrested in a raid last week.He was detained with two Egyptians on the same day authorities killed a Libyan militant suspected of involvement in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last month. The authorities didn’t say whether the two raids were linked. Top Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   last_img read more

Dont delay Study confirms early treatment is best for HIV

first_img Top holiday drink recipes 0 Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober WASHINGTON (AP) — A major international study says don’t delay in seeking HIV treatment: Starting medication soon after diagnosis helps keep people healthy longer.People who started anti-AIDS drugs while their immune system was still strong were far less likely to develop AIDS or other serious illnesses than if they waited until blood tests showed their immune system was starting to weaken, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday. Sponsored Stories The findings are preliminary, but the NIH found them so compelling that it stopped the study a year early, so that all the participants could receive medication as researchers continue to track their health.How soon should treatment begin?“The sooner the better,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which funded the work.The findings support current U.S. guidelines that already recommend early treatment for HIV, but could alter care recommendations in other countries.HIV may not trigger symptoms for years, begging the question of how soon after diagnosis expensive medications that may cause side effects should be started. Previous studies have made clear that treatment dramatically lowers the chances that someone with HIV spreads the virus to a sexual partner. But there was less evidence that the HIV patient’s own health would benefit.The START trial — Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment — sought proof by randomly assigning still healthy patients either to receive early therapy or to delay therapy until their CD4 cells, a key sign of immune system health, dropped into a worry zone. Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Men’s health affects baby’s health too While the U.S. recommends treatment regardless of patients’ CD4 counts, the World Health Organization’s guidelines recommend that HIV-infected people begin treatment when their CD4 levels fall below normal, to 500 or below. But that doesn’t happen in many poor countries, where often people are sicker before they receive treatment and global funding to expand care is tight.Even in the U.S., many people don’t seek or stick with early care: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that only about 30 percent of Americans with HIV have their virus under control.The START trial enrolled 4,685 people in 35 countries, all of whom had CD4 counts in the healthy range — above 500 — and had never taken anti-HIV medication. Researchers tracked deaths, the development of AIDS-related illnesses and the development of serious non-AIDS events such as cancer, heart disease and kidney or liver disease.Over about three years, the risk of serious illness or death was reduced by 53 percent in the early treatment group, NIH said.The actual numbers of bad outcomes in both groups were very low, given that patients were so healthy when they enrolled in the study: 41 cases in the early-treatment group compared to 86 in the group that delayed treatment until their CD4 count dropped to near 350. Still, “this is another reason why we should be more aggressive in seeking out voluntary testing” and getting people care, Fauci said. “It tells you that you will benefit from therapy at whatever your CD4 count is.”The WHO is expected to reconsider its treatment guidelines soon.Fauci acknowledged that expanding early treatment would cost more up-front. But he contended that “at the end of the day, there’s no doubt that it’s going to be less expensive to treat people early,” and try to avoid the more expensive care of full-blown AIDS.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Honduran leader acknowledges campaign funds tied to scandal

first_img Sponsored Stories He said the businesspeople who gave the checks to his party were to blame and urged that the funds be returned as soon as possible.“The investigations must continue no matter who may fall,” Hernandez said in a televised interview.Investigators allege that a network led by the then-director of the Social Security Institute fraudulently misspent millions of dollars on goods and services that were marked up more than 100 percent, with kickbacks paid by businesses that benefited. At least part of the money purportedly ended up in the hands of the National Party.On Sunday, the prosecutor heading the case, Roberto Ramirez Aldana, fled the country after receiving death threats that authorities considered credible.Thousands of people who organized through social media marched in cities around the country over the weekend to demonstrate against the scandal, with some calling for Hernandez to resign.The president, whose four-year term began in January 2014, waged an expensive campaign to narrowly defeat Xiomara Castro, the wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a 2009 coup backed by the National Party and the military.Hernandez said he has no intention of leaving office. He denied his party is responsible for the scandal, but notably mentioned his vice president and former National Party chief, Ricardo Alvarez. “I do not know at the moment if he has given a statement. Everyone must do so, and the court must issue its ruling,” Hernandez said.The former social security chief was captured after fleeing to Nicaragua and has since been imprisoned along with two former vice ministers of the Health and Labor ministries. They and the 18-member board of directors of the Social Security Institute are under investigation. All are members of the National Party.Protesters plan to march Friday to local offices of the United Nations to demand the creation of an international commission to investigate crime and impunity, similar to a body already operating in neighboring Guatemala.Copyright © 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 Top Stories TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Honduras’ president acknowledged Wednesday that his election campaign received financing from businesspeople linked to a social security embezzlement and graft scandal that has sparked large protests, but denied any personal involvement.President Juan Orlando Hernandez said his National Party informed him that the funds involved 10 checks totaling about $150,000 in donations during his race for the Central American nation’s top office two years ago. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Patients with chronic pain give advice New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Halfnaked Spartans attract attention of Beijing police

first_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too BEIJING (AP) — A salad store paraded dozens of half-naked Western men dressed as Spartans through China’s capital as a publicity stunt, causing a stir and drawing a crackdown by police who were photographed restraining some of them on the ground.About 40 mostly blond and brown-haired men wearing bronze shorts, arm and leg guards and capes styled after the attire of people in the ancient Greek city of Sparta marched in Beijing’s central business district and an upscale shopping area Wednesday. Bearing plastic tubs of salads, the bare-chested men attracted crowds of onlookers and posed for photos with women that circulated widely on social media. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology How men can have a healthy 2019 Sponsored Stories center_img Police were less amused. They dispersed the parade at the Sanlitun shopping area, and photos in state media showed police on top of two of the Spartans who apparently had been wrestled to the ground.Police said in a statement Thursday that they had to control some “foreigners in short pants” to restore public order. It said the matter was still under investigation.The store, Sweetie Salad, said the stunt to celebrate their 1-year anniversary generated far more interest than expected. It said in a statement posted online that store representatives spoke with police to clear up any “misunderstanding.”“We chose Spartans and invited foreign models who are physically fit simply because we wanted to encourage our customers to pursue the beauty of being healthy,” the store said.The incident follows on the heels of another that drew attention from social media users and police — a home-made sex video purportedly taken in a Uniqlo fitting room, also in Sanlitun.Copyright © 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 Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories last_img read more

Skål International Sustainable Development in Tourism awards 2011

first_imgEntries are open to all members of the tourism industry to submit for the 10th Annual Skål  “SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT in Tourism” Awards.Following the declaration by the United Nations of 2002 as the Year of Ecotourism and the Mountains, Skål International launched the Ecotourism Awards that same year to highlight and acknowledge best practices around the globe.These awards highlight best practices in tourism around the world and also serve the purpose of acquainting the world with this new concept that puts emphasis on the importance of the interaction of the physical, cultural and social environment the traveller’s responsibility and the need for active community participation for Sustainability.Eco and Responsible Tourism are only a small part of Sustainable Tourism. To have a greater impact and recognition in the Sustainable Development domain in tourism, we want to consider Eco and Responsible Tourism as part of the greater picture of Sustainable Tourism. Therefore, one of the main differences this year is that, from now on, the awards will be known as “SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT in Tourism” Awards.For nine consecutive years, these awards have been very successful and have been favourably received throughout the world.We strongly encourage all our members, Clubs and National Committees to look for prospective entries in your region that qualify under the criteria set out in the guidelines for ”SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT in Tourism” Awards on the website.This year, the deadline for receipt of entries in triplicate at the General Secretariat is 30 April 2011.The winners of the “SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT in Tourism” Awards will be announced by President, Tony Boyle, during the Opening Ceremony of the 72nd Skål World Congress to be held in Turku, Finland, on 19th September 2011. Source = Skallast_img read more

Business travel triggers rising air fares

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Air fares in the Asia Pacific region rose by up to three percent last year, as business travellers increased demand in China and Australia. According American Express Business Travel director of advisory services Carl Jones, the push in fares is a result of the stable economy and companies resuming their investment in business travel. “We’re beyond the post-GFC recovery, and have moved into a new environment,” Mr Jones said. “Companies resumed their investments in business travel in 2010. “That demand, coupled with slightly lagging airline capacity, pushed fares up across the Asia-Pacific region.” The region saw first and business class seats rise up to six percent in 2010, while discounted business class fares rose by four percent for the year. The US stood as the only country whose air fares stood still throughout 2010, however, Mr Jones added that he expects business travel to continue to thrive this year, as well as air fares in Australia and Asia to continue to rise as carriers reach “optimal capacity and volatility leaves the market”. “Economies such as Singapore are surging, and intra-regional partnerships are deepening; a good example of this is the resource relationship between Australia and China,” Mr Jones said “This contrasts sharply with Europe in particular, and Asia-Pacific will continue to widen the gap in growth for business travel this year.” last_img read more

Iraq tourism lies in Google Earth

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Losing yourself in the ancient world of the Assyrians, Mesopotamia is now as easy as loading your internet browser after Google Earth launched a Street View Gallery tour of Iraq’s National Museum.While much of Iraq’s rich ancient heritage remains under threat from looting and illegal diggings, the museum located in Baghdad houses and protects some of the oldest existing artefacts that date back to 6000BC.Working on the online project, Google Earth’s technical program manager Alex Starns explained in his online blog that the two year move into the virtual world was undertaken to preserve history that often goes unnoticed.“The history of this area is often underrepresented, or otherwise inaccessible, in large part due to the political strife that has plagued Iraq,” Mr Starns stated. “For this reason, we considered it an important opportunity to showcase Iraq’s National Museum in our Street View Gallery.”The Street View allows online travellers to scroll through the museum as well as virtually walk 360 degrees around each artefact.Objects on display in the online collection includes back of throne figures from the Neo-Assyrian period, pottery dating back to the Hassuna culture and statues constructed by the Babylonians.“This was our first attempt to capture an indoor collection at a museum, and we met a host of logistical and technical challenges,” Mr Starns added.“Of course, Coalition forces and the Iraqi government have a lot more pressing problems than archaeological preservation, but they ignore it at their peril. “Preserving Iraq’s past will help secure Iraq’s future. “Once the country becomes stable (whenever that happens) places like Nineveh will be a huge tourist draw.”While Google aims to protect the region’s historical and tourism assets, the Iraqi Government is being urged to increase protection around the famous ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.The 2,700 year old biblical ruins located near the Tigris River in Iraq once populated by more than 100,000 Assyrians, has suffered at the hands of Iraqis and will cease to exist without pre-emptive restoration, according to Global Heritage Fund (GHF). “Nineveh has already been heavily attacked by looters, and now development pressures from nearby Mosul have begun to take their toll as well,” GHF explained.  “If this encroachment continues, Nineveh’s ancient remains could again be buried forever.”Click here to check out the virtual tourlast_img read more

Airbus steps towards A350 construction

first_imgMaking major steps towards the completion of the A350, Airbus has delivered the first major airframe section of the aircraft to the Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, France.Delivered from Airbus in Saint-Nazaire, the section of the aircraft was sent over during the holiday period.The 21 metre long ‘front fuselage’ section will become a part of the A350s test airframe with final assembly of the front fuselage expected to take place during the first quarter this year and a test aircraft predicted to be complete by the second quarter of this year. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Mobile phones just plane annoying

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P. A recent survey has revealed that 86 percent of people are against their fellow passengers being permitted to use their mobile phones whilst in flight.The survey, conducted by Skyscanner has found that the majority of people felt it was ‘annoying to have to listen to other people’s conversations’.This finding comes just as Virgin Atlantic announced it will permit mobile phone calls on its New York to London route, becoming one of the first international airlines to allow the usage of mobiles in-flight.Despite the majority of people welcoming advancements in internet connectivity it appears that the majority of people would prefer to not have the constant chatter of other people’s conversations when in confined spaces.The  survey also revealed that if the service was available 48 percent of people would send texts, 35 percent said they would surf the net, ten percent said they would send e-mails and only six percent said they would actually make and take a call.Additionally only one percent of those interviewed said they would pay more to fly with a carrier that offered mobile calls.Skyscanner marketing development manager for Australia Dave Boyte said flying was the only time we were allowed to truly switch off.“Now with Virgin’s move into on-board mobile and the introduction of Wi-Fi on flights in Australia it is only a matter of time before we are always on call,” Mr Boyte said.last_img read more

The most annoying inflight sound is…

first_imgA crying child or a loud child is still the number one most annoying inflight sound, according to a new study.Research conducted by Australia Travel Safe found that 67 percent of Australians think the sound of a crying or loud child is one is the most frustrating sounds to occur during a flight.Following close behind the young ones is surprisingly the sound of ears popping during take-off and touch down, with 49 percent of the votes.According to Australia Travel Safe representative Deborah Mills, ear popping sound occurs during changes in external air pressure by creating pressure in the middle ear space.“The eustacian tubes carry air from the back of your nose into your middle ear,” Ms Mills explained.Meanwhile, 45 percent of Australian travellers said people talking while they are trying to get some rest was annoying and 20 percent say it’s the noise of the engine that causes them most grief during a flight.   Also making the list of annoying inflight sounds is the opening and closing of overhead lockers, as well as the sound of people shuffling up and down the aisle.Source = ETB News: N.J.last_img read more