Carnival Cruise Line to debut largest ever ships both powered by green

first_img MIAMI — Carnival Cruise Line is adding some major horsepower to its fleet with the announcement that it will take delivery of two new 180,000 gross-registered-tonne cruise ships in 2020 and 2022. These ships will be the largest in the company’s fleet, and will both be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas under Carnival Corp.’s exclusive ‘green cruising’ design, marking the first time an LNG-powered cruise ship is based in North America.“This new ship order signifies an extraordinarily exciting future for Carnival Cruise Line and the opportunities that lie ahead to introduce a variety of magnificent new features and innovations to further enhance our outstanding guest experience,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We are also thrilled to be introducing Carnival Corporation’s ‘green cruising’ design platform to North America. Both of these ships will be fully powered at sea and in port by Liquefied Natural Gas, which is the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel. These ships are being designed for maximum energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.”More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Design details and itineraries will be announced at a later time.Carnival Corporation has also announced another LNG-powered ship for its P&O Cruises UK line, which will be delivered in 2020. In total, the company now has agreements in place to build seven LNG-powered cruise ships across four of its 10 global cruise brands in coming years. It was previously announced that the first of these ships is expected to be in service for AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises in 2019.These new vessels will be part of the first generation of cruise ships to be fully powered by LNG, which is an industry first and an environmental breakthrough that will produce the most efficient ships in the company’s history. Pioneering a new era in the use of alternative fuels that reduce air emissions, these new ships will use LNG to generate 100% of the ship’s power both in port and on the open sea – an innovation that will significantly reduce exhaust emissions to help protect the environment and support the company’s aggressive sustainability goals. << Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, September 6, 2016 Carnival Cruise Line to debut largest ever ships, both powered by ‘green’ gas Travelweek Group center_img Share Posted by Tags: Carnival Cruise Linelast_img read more


CIT Tours launches Europe and Best of Italy 2017 brochure

first_img Wednesday, January 4, 2017 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group CIT Tours launches Europe and Best of Italy 2017 brochure Posted by TORONTO — CIT Tours’ new 2017 Europe brochure offers customizable tours and features everything from extended independent rail tours to new FIT packages, City Breaks and Wine & Gourmet itineraries.New rail tours include a seven-day Rome and Puglia tour including accommodation in a traditional trullo, a five-day Tale of Loreley Tour along Germany’s Rhine River and an exclusive seven-day Magical Ireland rail tour.With the new Wine & Gourmet trips comes the Splendorous Florence & Tuscany, a seven-day tour of Tuscany’s old cities with a focus on art and gourmet experiences, as well as an eight-day Flavours of Greece Tour. A five-day Malta Experience and a seven-day Athens & Islands Adventure to Mykonos and Santorini have also been added.To help navigate the brochure, a new ‘Make It Your Own’ logo has been created and placed next to available tour names to showcase all of CIT Tours’ flexible vacations.“Then it is up to us to fine-tune the selected tour,” said CIT’s Diane Pothan. “And when we say ‘Make It Your Own’ we really mean it. Our flexible vacation programs can be customized to include anything passengers wish to do and see, or even be redesigned to create that one-of-a-kind experience. Each passenger is unique and knows what he or she wants – and we can make it happen!”More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoThe brochure also includes a variety of CIT’s well-known escorted coach and small-group coach tours, including the Jolly Sicily Tour, Rome Tuscany & the Cinque Terre Tour and Devon & Cornwall.See cittours.ca.last_img read more


Jaguars play

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionThe subjects of Guanacaste artist Susan Adams range from topes, or horse parades, to people, places and all kinds of animals. Though portraiture is her primary means of expression, she finds nature exquisite and at all times perfect. Having been a schoolteacher and book illustrator, Adams hopes that future generations and technology will correct what past generations have done to destroy large parts of our planet. She strives to take you into her paintings to enjoy a moment in nature. Of her newest exhibit, “Costa Rica Mía,” Adams says, “How can one capture the essence of Costa Rica on canvas, from its magnificent nature to the people, their culture and traditional way of life? For this show I have selected subjects from my immediate world here in Guanacaste: the oxen, solid, loyal and patient, pulling stones out of the creek, uprooting trees and hauling carts off fence-posts at the edge of Playa Tamarindo.I am constantly amazed at nature’s complexity and brilliance, hoping to capture a moment that connects us to a jaguar lying unaware or playing.” Her techniques include stucco, gesso, acrylics, metallic paints and oils, and her images come to life on canvasses, banana papers, and even doors and windows.According to interior architect Xyanna Bateau, Adams brings the real and natural images of Costa Rica to life in her work. With her unique skillset and talent for color, shadow and natural nuance, Adams brings “the soft, the wild, and the real” to one’s interior. The translucent jungle leaf in a mist, the curious face of the monkey and the haunting gaze of the jaguar all emerge from her hand to create realistic images of Costa Rican culture.You can meet her in person at the opening of “Costa Rica Mía,” on Saturday, August 4 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The exhibit continues through September 14 at the Hidden Garden Art Gallery, located 5 kilometers west of the Daniel Oduber Liberia International Airport (towards the beach). For more info, visit http://hiddengarden.thevanstonegroup.com or call 8386-6872 or 8386-6968. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Football Colombia on brink after Ecuador win

first_imgColombia edged to the brink of their first World Cup since 1998 on Friday, securing a 1-0 win over Ecuador in a rain-delayed game disrupted by a half-time floodlight failure.A first-half goal by AS Monaco striker James Rodríguez secured all three points for the Colombians, who are now guaranteed at least a play-off spot from South America’s nine-team qualifying competition.The victory put Jose Pekerman’s team level with Argentina on 26 points at the top of the standings and both sides could even book their places at next year’s finals in Brazil later Friday if other results go their way.Ecuador however, who were reduced to 10 men early in the game when Gabriel Achilier was dismissed, could have snatched an unlikely draw if captain Walter Ayovi had not missed a second-half penalty.A pre-match deluge at Barranquilla’s Estadio Metropolitano had appeared to leave the game in jeopardy at one point, with parts of the field covered in large pools of water as the rain tumbled down.However, the stadium ground staff worked ferociously to clear the excess water and after a 90-minute delay, Brazilian referee Heber Lopes got proceedings under way.A lacklustre opening period saw neither side manage to gain control of the contest, and it was Ecuador who went closest to scoring when Jefferson Montero’s swerving shot effort was punched away by Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina in the 18th minute.But the complexion of the game changed decisively on the half-hour mark when Ecuador were reduced to 10 men, Achilier sent off for bringing down Colombia’s Teofilo Gutierrez as he sprinted clear on goal.The dismissal seemed to energise the Colombians and within a minute they had taken the lead through Monaco youngster Rodríguez.Monaco team-mate Radamel Falcao – named in the starting line-up after recovering from an ankle injury – unleashed a ferocious long-range effort which Ecuador’s stand-in keeper Maximo Banguera could only parry away.The rebound fell kindly to Rodríguez who rifled home an angled low shot to put Colombia 1-0 up heading into the half-time break.A floodlight blackout then delayed the start of the second half for 15 minutes, and there was a further interruption soon after the restart when Colombia keeper Ospina received medical attention for several minutes after a heavy blow to the head.Ecuador were then presented with a golden chance to get back on level terms when Colombia defender Carlos Sánchez hauled down Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia in the box on 61 minutes.But Ayovi miscued his spotkick horribly and Colombia escaped to claim a win which puts them within touching distance of a first World Cup since their appearance at the France finals 15 years ago.In other South American matches later Friday, Paraguay were playing Bolivia in Asuncion, fourth-placed Chile take on Venezuela in Santiago while fifth-placed Uruguay face a crucial trip to Lima to face Peru. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more


Sustainable coffee opens markets for small producers in Costa Ricas capital

first_imgA group of 14 families from the canton of Desamparados, south of San José, are producing coffee in a new processing center, orbeneficio, using sustainable procedures that have attracted them buyers from Japan, Taiwan, Switzerland, Australia and the United States.The group created the Farmers Association of La Violeta de Desamparados (AGRIVID), and their processing involves environmentally friendly practices that allow them, for example, to use only 8 liters of water to process a 46-kilogram coffee sack.“Traditional methods used by larger beneficios could take up to a thousand liters per sack,” AGRIVID member Gilbert Núñez said.The group is growing various coffee varieties at 1,400-1,600 meters above sea level.“Ours is not a large quantity operation, but very selective with lots of quality coffee, which allows us to place our coffee at very good prices both in domestic and international markets” Núñez added.AGRIVID members launched their business in 2002, when two of the biggest beneficios in the area closed due to a severe decrease in international coffee prices.Members then started an even smaller operation that involved taking coffee to beneficios in the area, which meant high production costs for transportation, extra staff, and time spent traveling.The new center was inaugurated last weekend and was built with a ₡10 million ($20,000) donation by the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry.In addition, members designed a water-disposal method that processes the liquid and makes it apt for irrigating coffee plantations.Coffee pulp also is being used as a natural fertilizer, and the beans’ skin is used as fuel for coffee-drying ovens. Some of the coffee also is sun-dried.Núñez said the new beneficio is a significant improvement for the operation, and in transportation and staff expenses alone, producers are saving some ₡6-7 million ($12,000-$14,000) on each lot. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more


Costa Ricans continue paying high gas prices but have the worst roads

first_imgThough the country’s gas pricescontinue to rise, Costa Rican roads are still ranked the worst in Central America according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund.The IMF’s 2014 Global Enabling Trade Report ranks Costa Rica’s roads 116th out of 138 countries, the worst in Central America and the fourth worst in all of Latin America – with only Colombia, Paraguay and Venezuela ranking lower. Costa Rica also ranked the third lowest in Latin America for port infrastructure, beating out only Venezuela and land-locked Bolivia. According to the report, the nation’s infrastructure is one of its largest competitive disadvantages.Since January, the price of “Plus” gasoline in Costa Rica has increased by $0.76 per gallon, according to data from the Costa Rican National Oil Refinery. In 2008, Plus gasoline replaced “Regular,”which had a lower octane rating. “Super” gasoline is higher octane and costs more. As of May 29, Costa Rica’s Plus gas prices were at approximately $5.13 a gallon. According to GlobalPetrolPrices.com, which compiles weekly gasoline data for most countries, this makes Costa Rican gas the second most expensive in Central America behind Belize at $5.32 per gallon. Panama has the cheapest gas in the region at $3.96 per gallon.The high fuel prices are due in part to Costa Rica’s 29 percent gas tax, which goes directly to the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) for roadwork, but the tax revenue hasn’t been able to improve the country’s roads. A 2013 study by engineers from the National Structural Materials and Models Laboratory found that between 15 and 20 percent of Costa Rica’s roads were paved with unsuitable materials. Construction of the deficient roads represented an investment of more than $23 million from CONAVI, 22 percent of the organization’s two-year budget. Facebook Comments Related posts:Gas prices go up again Why Waze is so incredibly popular in Costa Rica Regulator publishes ‘historic’ drop in gas prices amid global oil oversupply Costa Rica’s popular Highway 27 to Pacific at risk from rainslast_img read more


Costa Rica Special Olympics team visits the president

first_imgCosta Rica’s record-breaking Special Olympics team was honored with a visit to Casa Presidencial on Monday morning. Athletes won 207 medals — 76 of them gold — in a variety of sports at the2015 Special Olympics Games in Los Angeles, California.President Luis Guillermo Solís and Vice President Ana Helena Chacón hosted the decorated athletes in the gardens of Casa Presidencial, where the president said they’ve been an inspiration for the entire country.“You’re a great example for all of us,” Solís said to the more than 200 athletes in attendance. “With strength, discipline, and dedication, you remind us it’s possible to achieve great feats. Costa Rica thanks you, you’re an inspiration and a reminder that as a society we can accomplish great things.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more


Costa Rica poverty hits young people the hardest says new survey

first_imgRelated posts:More than 1.1 million Costa Ricans live in poverty Troubling statistics: Nearly a quarter of Costa Ricans live in poverty Costa Rica unveils partnership with Oxford University to tackle persistent poverty Costa Rica is 20 percent more expensive than other Latin American countries More than 65 percent of poor Costa Ricans are under 35 years old, according to a new multi-dimensional poverty index Casa Presidencial rolled out Thursday. Children under the age of 18 make up the largest single group of poor Ticos at 34.1 percent.The multidimensional poverty index, developed in coordination with Oxford University, tracks poverty across 19 different indicators, including education, housing, health care, employment and Internet access, among others. Proponents of the MPI say that poverty takes many forms and that income alone provides an incomplete picture. The MPI is used by several other Latin American countries, including Mexico, Colombia and Chile.“We need to liberate ourselves from the dictatorship of the average income,” said President Luis Guillermo Solís during the presentation of the results on Thursday. “We care about living breathing people, not statistics.”The MPI showed rates of multidimensional poverty in Costa Rica similar to those published on Oct. 22. The MPI reported that 21.8 percent of Costa Rican households were considered poor because they had hardships in at least five of the 19 categories, totaling 1.26 million Costa Ricans. The traditional household survey published last week found an overall poverty rate of 21.7 percent.The most common struggles for poor Costa Ricans were informal employment (88.1 percent), “low human capital” (74.2 percent), lack of health care insurance (63 percent) and not finishing high school (63.8 percent). Just under 50 percent lacked Internet access and 42.8 percent lived in a home where the roof or floor was in poor condition.The Central region of Costa Rica showed the lowest rate of MPI defined poverty at 15.6 percent. Huetar Caribe — the region that encompasses Limón and the northeastern part of the country — had the highest levels of multidimensional poverty at 38 percent.The National Statistics Institute will continue to carry out the MPI alongside its traditional household strategy, according to a statement from the institute. Vice President Ana Helena Chacón said the MPI — which was adopted by the United Nations to track post-2015 development goals — will help the government better focus resources to fight poverty. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Struggles loom as Venezuela opposition vows to fix crisis

first_imgAsí es el mapa de la nueva Venezuela: el chavismo ganó en sólo 4 estados https://t.co/oBKLY1G6rl pic.twitter.com/IpfsdBAuK8— Infobae América (@InfobaeAmerica) December 7, 2015 CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s jubilant opposition vowed Monday to drag the oil-rich country out of its economic crisis and free political prisoners after winning control of congress from socialist President Nicolás Maduro.But analysts warned political uncertainty and possible struggles lie ahead as the MUD coalition, with its moral figurehead Lilian Tintori, seeks to push its advantage against the mustachioed president whose side has been in power for 16 years.Despite his fiery campaign rhetoric, Maduro promptly conceded defeat in Sunday’s legislative election and called for “coexistence” between the opposition and his PSUV party, which lost control of the National Assembly for the first time since 1999.That seemed aimed at calming tensions after warnings of a repeat of last year’s deadly riots that left 43 people dead.The boiling tension of the past weeks of campaigning subsided into caution as Tintori and senior MUD leader Jesús Torrealba vowed their side did not want “revenge” or violence.“We have an immense responsibility,” Torrealba said in an interview broadcast online.His mostly center-right coalition won at least 99 of the 167 seats in the assembly, the state electoral authority said, with 46 for the PSUV.“What happened yesterday was an electoral tsunami, but a vote of confidence is one thing and a blank check is something else,” Torrealba added.He said the MUD now had to “reinvent” itself to “deal with the crisis.” Venezuela, seguimos con más esperanza y más compromiso “el que se cansa pierde” @leopoldolopez pic.twitter.com/iyit9MdRct— Lilian Tintori (@liliantintori) December 7, 2015 Related posts:Exiles in Costa Rica denounce alleged Venezuelan kidnapping plot Venezuela elections: Opposition declares victory, wins control of legislature Former Colombian, Bolivian leaders warn of looming humanitarian crisis in Venezuela Venezuela opposition controls legislature minus supermajority – for nowcenter_img Economic crisisHit by falling prices for the oil exports on which it relies, the country of 30 million is in an economic crisis, with shortages of basic foods and supplies.Analyst Luis Vicente León, president of pollster Datanálisis, called the vote result “a big punishment vote” for Maduro’s economic management.It was unclear, however, how far the MUD will be able to push its advantage in the National Assembly to force a change of course or even to get rid of Maduro, who vowed to push on with his socialist programs.With the vote count for 22 seats yet to be published, the opposition’s majority could grow. Two seats more would give it a three-fifths majority that would increase its constitutional powers to challenge Maduro, although as president he could still veto their bills.Analysts were cautious about the prospects for change, particularly since the MUD has so far not made any detailed economic reform proposals.“The MUD itself may struggle to put together a coherent policy agenda,” wrote Edward Glossop, a Latin America analyst with research group Capital Economics.Even if the MUD reached a two-thirds “super majority,” he said, “we suspect that the more immediate outcome …  would be a messy power struggle between the assembly and the president.” Facebook Comments Tintori, the activist and wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López, appeared smiling in world newspapers Monday as she celebrated with supporters.“I will not rest until all political prisoners are freed,” she said. “This is a historic day for Venezuela.”EU hails, Cuba consolesInternational powers who have lobbied for change in Venezuela hailed the result. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it showed an “overwhelming desire for a change” in Venezuela.EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini called it a “vote for change” and a call for “constructive political efforts to address together the challenges ahead.”Cuban President Raúl Castro consoled Maduro, the successor of Cuba’s old ally Hugo Chávez who launched Venezuela’s socialist “revolution” in 1998 in the spirit of independence hero Simón Bolívar.“I am certain that new victories will come to the Bolivarian Revolution,” Castro wrote in the Cuban state newspaper Granma.Some political analysts wonder whether Sunday’s result could be part of a broader rightward political shift in Latin America. Argentines last month voted out their leftist President Cristina Kirchner, and Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff’s leadership is in crisis.Reassured by Sunday’s peaceful election, Argentina’s conservative President-elect Mauricio Macri dropped his earlier threat to try to have Venezuela suspended from the Mercosur trade bloc.last_img read more


Correction War CrimesBosniaVegas story

first_img Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 5 ways to recognize low testosterone More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements LAS VEGAS (AP) – In a story May 25 about the deportation from the U.S. to Sarajevo of a man accused of commanding a Bosnian Serb police squad during mass killings in 1995 in Srebrenica, The Associated Press incorrectly characterized Yugoslavia during the Soviet era. Yugoslavia was not a Soviet republic.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debateslast_img read more


US pledge to rebuild Haiti not being met

first_img 0 Comments   Share   The single largest recipient of funding is Washington, D.C.-area contractor Chemonics, which has received more than $58 million, including $6.8 million to remove rubble, $7.2 million to develop a market for environmentally friendly cook stoves, and money for youth soccer tournaments and “key cultural celebrations” including Flag Day, patron saints days and Mother’s Day. Chemonics spokeswoman Martha James says 67 percent of the federal money went to Haitians, including salary for 94 Haitian staff, and Haitian subcontractors, grantees and vendors.Meanwhile, 390,000 people are still homeless. The U.S. promised to rebuild or replace thousands of destroyed homes, but so far has not built even one new permanent house. Auditors say land disputes, lack of USAID oversight and no clear plan have hampered the housing effort. USAID contested that critique.The State Department says 29,100 transitional shelters have been built, to which residents are adding floors, walls or roofs to make permanent homes, although homes once again vulnerable to natural disasters. U.S. funds also supported 27,000 households as they moved in with friends or families, and repaired 5,800 of the 35,000 damaged homes they had planned to complete with partners by July 2012. Also by this month the U.S. had planned to help resolve 40,000 to 80,000 land disputes, but at latest count had helped 10,400. _ Of the $988 million spent so far, a quarter went toward debt relief to unburden the hemisphere’s poorest nation of repayments. But after Haiti’s loans were paid off, the government began borrowing again: $657 million so far, largely for oil imports rather than development projects._ Less than 12 percent of the reconstruction money sent to Haiti after the earthquake has gone toward energy, shelter, ports or other infrastructure. At least a third, $329 million, went to projects that were awarded before the 2010 catastrophe and had little to do with the recovery _ such as HIV/AIDS programs._ Half of the $1.8 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding is still in the Treasury, its disbursement stymied by an understaffed U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince in the months after the quake and by a Haitian government that was barely functional for more than a year._ Despite State Department promises to keep spending public, some members of Congress and watchdogs say they aren’t getting detailed information about how the millions are being spent, as dozens of contractors working for the U.S. government in Haiti leave a complex money trail.“The challenges were absolutely huge and although there was a huge amount of money pledged, the structures were not there for this to be done quickly,” said former U.S. Ambassador Brian Curran. “The concept of build back better is a good one, but we were way over-optimistic about the pace we could do it.” Quick workouts for men PROMISES UNMETWithin months of the quake, Congress approved a 27-page plan detailing a partnership with the Haitian government to “lay the foundation for long-term stability and economic growth.” USAID, an agency overseen by the State Department, was held responsible for getting the job done by choosing contractors, selecting projects and overseeing the work. But just as there’s little to show for the $2 billion the U.S. spent in Haiti in the two decades before the earthquake, it hasn’t built much that is permanent with the new influx of cash.The plan laid out broad categories: infrastructure, health care, education, economic development. It was followed by a strategy that included specific benchmarks. This month, as about 40 of those come due, some are met, like a new police hotline to report abuse. But others are not.For example, the U.S. had planned to improve the business environment by working with the local government to reduce regulations, pass national e-commerce laws, expand mortgage lending and update the tax code. The measurement of success, said U.S. planners, would be a better ranking by the World Bank’s “Doing Business” indicators. Critics say the U.S. effort to reconstruct Haiti was flawed from the start. While “build back better” was a comforting notion, there wasn’t much of a foundation to build upon. Haiti’s chronic political instability and lack of coordinated leadership between Haiti and the U.S. meant crucial decisions about construction projects were slow to be approved. Red tape stalled those that were.The international community’s $10 billion effort was also hindered by its pledge to get approval for projects from the Haitian government. For more than a year then-President Rene Preval was, as he later described it, “paralyzed,” while his government was mostly obliterated, with 16,000 civil servants killed and most ministries in ruins. It wasn’t until earlier this year that a fully operational government was in place to sign paperwork, adopt codes and write regulations. Other delays included challenges to contracts, underestimates of what needed to be done, and land disputes.Until now, comprehensive details about who is receiving U.S. funds and how they are spending them have not been released. Contracts, budgets and a 300-item spreadsheet obtained by The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information Act request show: Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home And to date, debt relief is the largest single item the U.S. has spent toward Haiti’s rebuilding: $245 million.But since taking office in May 2011, President Michel Martelly’s administration has borrowed $657 million, largely from Venezuela for basic fuel needs, but also from Taiwan, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the International Monetary Fund and OPEC. Next year Haiti is expected to spend close to $10 million servicing those debts, according to the IMF.“The U.S. government cannot dictate how the government of Haiti, as a sovereign country, chooses to address its financial situation,” said USAID’s Haiti task team leader in Washington D.C., Beth Hogan, whose office facilitated the payments. The U.S. is now only providing grants, not loans, to Haiti.Waters now says she’s disappointed, but not surprised, that Haiti has resumed its borrowing habits.More than half of Haiti’s annual $1 billion budget comes from foreign aid.“Haiti needs grants, gifts and loans,” said Haitian official Nau. “Every country in the world has debt and Haiti is no different.”OFF THE RECORDA major frustration for watchdogs of the U.S. effort is a lack of transparency over how the millions of dollars are being spent. “Then the earthquake happened and everything changed,” AIR vice president Jane Benbow said. “They said we need you to take the resources you have left and we need you to redirect them, we need you to start doing other things with that money.”In April 2011, USAID announced that a $12 million AIR project had “constructed or is in the process of constructing more than 600 semi-permanent classrooms serving over 60,000 students.”But when pressed for details, AIR spokesman Larry McQuillan said the number of classrooms actually was 322. They were serving at least 38,640 students each day, many in two shifts.The organization left Haiti last year after building 120 temporary schools. Today, about half of Haiti’s school age children attend school, about the same as before the catastrophe. The Haitian government says it wants to put another 1.5 million children into school _ by 2016.The education money has made no difference for Odette Leonard, 39, who lost her husband, and her home, to the quake. Like most Haitians, she cannot afford to pay even the modest school costs for uniforms and books.“People like me won’t be able to see any of that money,” Leonard said. She had to send her two children to her mother’s house in the countryside so they could attend an affordable school. Top Stories From interviews to records requests, efforts to track spending in Haiti by members of Congress, university researchers and news organizations have sometimes been met with resistance and even, in some cases, outright refusals.As a result, U.S. taxpayers are told they’ve agreed to spend $7.2 million for a project to design and distribute cleaner cooking stoves to 10,000 street vendors and 800 schools and orphanages, but there’s no public accounting for how that will break down: How much might each stove cost? What are the office expenses? What are workers’ salaries?“The lack of specific details in where the money has gone facilitates corruption and waste, creates a closed process that reduces competition and prevents us from assessing the efficacy of certain taxpayer-funded projects,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, a New York Democrat whose district includes the second largest population of Haitian immigrants in the country.Legislation introduced last year in Congress would direct the Obama administration to report on the status of post-earthquake humanitarian, reconstruction and development efforts in Haiti.The AP filed a Freedom of Information request to learn what was accomplished and how much was spent on a two-day retreat for 12 senior U.S. staffers in Miami in March 2011. USAID released the hotel sales agreement, the facilitator’s purchase order and an agenda. It did not release information about what was accomplished, and withheld another nine pages, citing concerns that it contained information that had not been finalized. Instead, this year Haiti sank eight points lower compared with the rest of the world as a place to do business in categories including securing construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, receiving credit, enforcing contracts and paying taxes.And so far, the U.S. has no public plans to build a clean water or sewer system in Port-au-Prince, even as the country grapples with the world’s biggest cholera outbreak that medical researchers say was likely introduced by a U.N. peacekeeping unit after the earthquake. The U.S.’s largest jobs program is a garment manufacturing plant being built in Caracol, 280 kilometers (175 miles) from the capital.Adams said some investments, like fixing the electricity system, are taking more time.A $137 million effort toward supplying reliable electricity in Haiti, including blackout-prone Port-au-Prince, stalled after a contract dispute led to a stop-work order _ leaving the capital with electricity only about 10 hours a day. Those who can afford it use private generators and those without use lanterns or candles. To date, just $18 million has been spent on electricity _ largely to build a power plant at the northern industrial park in Caracol. State Department officials say they are trying to be responsive, noting that in the past nine months, they have coordinated 51 briefings to members of Congress and their staff on Haiti and delivered five congressionally-mandated reports.One of the problems with following the money in Haiti is that the records are not up to date.A State Department inspector general report in June found the embassy’s political section retains about 10 linear feet of paper files dating back a decade in several safes, and the narcotics affairs team doesn’t have a coherent filing system.In its own effort to follow the money, this year the AP began contacting firms that have received U.S. funding since the earthquake. A memo went out two weeks later.“A series of requests from journalists may come your way,” cautioned Karine Roy, a spokeswoman for the USAID, in an email to about 50 humanitarian aid officials. “Wait for formal clearance from me before releasing any information.”U.S. contractors, from pollsters to private development firms, told the AP that USAID had asked them not to provide any information, and referred to publicly released descriptions of their projects. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements The U.S. Special Coordinator for Haiti Thomas C. Adams, who oversees USAID spending here, says the first priority in the critical days after the quake that killed more than 300,000 was crisis management, and the U.S. government spent $1.3 billion on critical rescue operations, saving untold lives.Three months later, the goals shifted from rescue to what would become a $1.8 billion reconstruction package aimed at building new foundations.“U.S. taxpayers, in the past, have spent billions of dollars in Haiti that haven’t resulted in sustainable improvement in the lives of Haitians,” said Adams. “The emphasis was never on `spend the money quickly.’ The emphasis was on spending the money so that in a year or two, we could look at these projects and see that we’ve helped create a real base to jump-start economic development and give Haitian families and businesses the kind of opportunities they deserve.”Haitian government officials are appreciative, and said the U.S. provides generous support for projects that impact long-term development. As for going back into debt, “Haiti needs all the assistance it can possibly get at this point,” said Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe’s deputy chief of staff Dimitri Nau. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family One of USAID’s most tangible post-earthquake accomplishments was the construction of a bridge across the muddy, winding Ennery River. The strong and well-engineered span eases a key route from the north to the south 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Port-au-Prince. The bridge had been down for more than a year before the earthquake, a casualty of the 2008 hurricane season. Plans had been sketched for a new bridge, but there wasn’t funding.Engineer Larry Wright, who temporarily moved to Haiti from Wyoming to lead the $4 million project, said he didn’t know the funding came from earthquake reconstruction funds.“This had nothing to do with the quake,” said Wright.AND YET MORE DEBTWhen the earthquake hit, world lenders were already several years into forgiving Haiti’s substantial debts, many of which dated back to millions in loans taken by the dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, who was overthrown in 1986 and suddenly returned last year. In June 2009, seven months before the earthquake, donors wiped out $1.2 billion of the Haitian government’s debt. In January 2010, as the capital lay in ruins, it still was $828 million in the red.In March 2010, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) said canceling the debt is “one of the simplest but most important things we can do to help Haiti.” The State Department acknowledges that efforts to build shelters has been slower than anticipated.While more than 1 million people have been moved out of the tent camps, most went to stay with family or friends, or moved into temporary shelters.“Having tent cities in the capital 2 1/2 years after the earthquake is horrendous,” said Raymond Joseph, a former Haiti ambassador to the U.S. “It’s a condemnation of those who had the money and dragged their feet.”`NOTHING TO DO WITH THE QUAKE’Making progress in Haiti has been easier with established programs that were under way before the earthquake. Contractors had already been chosen, and plans drawn up. As a result, much of the recovery and reconstruction funding was awarded to projects that were not damaged in the earthquake _ from medical clinics to rural farms. Of the $988 million spent to date, $1 out of every $5 went to HIV/AIDS programs, though $49 million went to farming projects and $16 million supported elections.Lack of education has long been a problem. Haiti has about 4.5 million school-age children, about half of whom were attending school before the earthquake. The largest U.S. education program after the quake was through the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research, which was a few years into a $25.6 million U.S.-funded project to train teachers. Sponsored Stories (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 The Durham, North Carolina-based group Family Health International 360, for example, received $32 million, including $10 million for what the State Department described as an “initiative designed to increase the flow of commercially viable financial products and services to productive enterprises, with a focus on semi-urban and rural areas.”When the AP asked for a budget breakdown, FHI 360 spokeswoman Liza Morris said, “We were pulling that for you but were told that it was proprietary by our funder.”Who is the funder?“Our funder,” she said, “is USAID.”___U.S. spending documents: https://www.documentcloud.org/search/project:%20%22Haiti%20-%20U.S.%20Spending%22___Follow Martha Mendoza on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mendozamarthaand Trenton Daniel at https:// http://www.twitter.com/trentondaniel Associated PressPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – The deadly earthquake that leveled Haiti’s capital more than two years ago brought a thread of hope: a promise of renewal. With the United States taking the lead, international donors pledged billions of dollars to help the country “build back better,” breaking its cycle of dependency.But after the rubble was cleared and the dead buried, what the quake laid bare was the depth of Haiti’s dysfunction. Today, the fruits of an ambitious, $1.8 billion U.S. reconstruction promise are hard to find. Immediate, basic needs for bottled water, temporary shelter and medicine were the obvious priorities. But projects fundamental to Haiti’s transformation out of poverty, such as permanent housing and electric plants in the heavily hit capital of Port-au-Prince have not taken off. 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img


Rise of evangelicals changes Brazilian fashion

first_img Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosterone “It’s so hard in regular stores to find clothes that aren’t too short or don’t show a lot of cleavage that women who aren’t comfortable with showing a lot of skin for whatever reason shop here too,” he said.Customer Ana Paula Fernandes agrees. As a nonpracticing Catholic, Fernandes converted to an evangelical church two years ago. Dressed in cutoff shorts and a white tank top with spaghetti straps permitted by her congregation for day-to-day wear, Fernandes said it took her a while to get used to the modest garments required for services.“Once when I first joined, I went to church in pants, and the pastor called me out on it,” said the 25-year-old manicurist and mother of a 7-year-old daughter. “It seemed strange at first, but now I see how what you wear affects other people, not to mention your own sense of self-worth.”Now, she says she wears only modest, loose-fitting dresses to church.“I feel dignified,” she said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Check your body, save your life Parents, stop beating yourself up Associated PressITABORAI, Brazil (AP) – Strolling down the main shopping drag in this working-class Rio de Janeiro suburb, it’s not the second-skin dresses in shocking pink spandex that catch the eye or even the strapless tops with strategically placed peekaboo paneling.The newest look can instead be found in stores like Silca Evangelical Fashion, where the hot items are the demure, long-sleeved frocks with how-low-can-you-go hemlines and the polyester putty-colored potato sack dresses. Top Stories Sao Paulo-based label Joyaly makes clothes aimed at moderate evangelicals, who generally cover shoulders and knees and shun women’s pants altogether.Launched in 1990, the label is among the oldest and priciest of the evangelical labels, its garments widely considered the creme de la creme of the sector. Its best-selling below-the-knee denim skirts, the staple piece in most evangelical women’s closets, retail for $60 to $75, while the dresses run for about $75 to $100. The label doesn’t make anything transparent, nor does it make pants.Commercial director Alison Flores said the brand was born of his mother’s constant struggle to find clothes that met the family church’s modesty guidelines.“Because she has a real entrepreneurial spirit, she decided to regard this problem as a business opportunity,” he said. “She started making things for the ladies at church and then through word of mouth, the ladies from other churches and so on. People would come from all over to the really out-of-the-way neighborhood we lived in then.“There was so much pent-up demand because until then, practically no one was attending to this public,” Flores said. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Still, Brazil’s evangelicals are far from a unified block. Today hosts of homegrown Pentecostal denominations have their own dress codes, which range from draconian to permissive. Evangelical men are also expected to dress modestly, in long-sleeved shirts and slacks that are more readily available in regular stores.Women in some congregations wear the archetypal Brazilian outfit, tank tops and short shorts, in their daily lives, donning demure skirts and shoulder-covering tops only for services. In others, women are expected to cover up at all times, except at home with their husbands, and don’t even remove their form-concealing robes at the beach.Pastor Marcos Pereira of the conservative Assembly of God of the Latter Days said his church’s strict dress code had its foundations in scripture. The church forbids women from wearing pants as well as red and black fabrics and encourages the use of robes.“The Bible orders women to wear this kind of clothing. It says women’s bodies are not meant to be on display for everyone, just for their husbands,” Pereira said, adding that adhering to the church’s dress code “is a way for women to be in communion with God.” Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Introduced in the mid-19th century by American missionaries, Brazil’s neo-Pentecostal churches were long regarded as fringe groups. Aggressive proselytizing, particularly among the poor and disenfranchised, has produced a dramatic spike in the community’s numbers in recent decades and eaten away at Brazil’s status as the world’s largest Catholic country.In 1980, evangelicals represented just over 6 percent of the population, according to the country’s IBGE statistics agency. In the 2010 census, more than 42 million people, or 22 percent of the country’s 190 million, identified themselves as evangelicals. Some statisticians predict that if current trends hold, evangelical Christians could become the majority here by 2030.With the spiraling numbers have come increased visibility and political and economic strength. Three senators and 63 congressional representatives belong to evangelical churches, and a candidate with links to the Universal Church has a considerable lead in polls ahead of next month’s mayoral race in Sao Paulo, South America’s biggest city. The Universal Church also owns one of Brazil’s main television networks, TV Record. In the birthplace of the “fio dental” or dental floss string bikini, so-called evangelical fashion has emerged as a growing segment of the country’s $52 billion-a-year textile industry, catering to the conservative sartorial needs of Brazil’s burgeoning numbers of born-again Pentecostals.Once so difficult to procure that evangelical women tended to make much of their own clothes themselves, the modest garb is now popping up all over Brazil.On the tiny high street of Rio suburb Itaborai, not one but two evangelical clothing stores compete to dress the faithful. M&A Fashion got its start two decades ago as a conventional clothing shop, selling the short, tight styles favored in this tropical country, but shifted to evangelical offerings five years ago. Silca Evangelical Clothing, two doors down, opened in March.“It used to be that the word `evangelical’ had a tacky connotation,” said M&A manager Marcelo Batista, who converted from Catholicism a decade ago. “But now, we’re not afraid to show who we are.“Evangelical women now wear this clothing proudly,” he said, gesturing at the racks of ample dresses, long A-line denim skirts and ribbed sweaters that in the 100-plus degree heat were enough to make you sweat just by looking at them. A decade later, the family-run company set up shop in Sao Paulo’s Bras garment district as the sole evangelical label.“It really shocked people. They’d walk by, do a double-take and say `What’s that all about?’” he said. Now Bras is chock-a-block with evangelical brands.One such newcomer is Kauly, a 10-year-old family-run label that was born again five years ago.“We sort of stumbled into it by accident after we made a few more sober, conservative pieces,” said director Fabricio Pais, a Catholic. “They sold so well we said, `Hold on, this is interesting.’ Six month later, we decided to radically change our product to cater to evangelical consumers.”Since then, the label has seen its profits climb by around 30 percent annually, said Pais.The association representing Brazil’s textile sector, ABIT, doesn’t keep statistics on growth in niche sectors, but one of the group’s recent publications emphasized that evangelical fashion was “in real expansion.”The tables have turned so completely that now evangelical specialty clothing lines attract scads of nonbelievers. Batista, the manager of M&A Fashion in Itaborai, estimates that about 40 percent of the store’s clients are not evangelicals.last_img

Philippines confirms 58th victim in 2009 massacre

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Sponsored Stories Members of the Ampatuan clan and gunmen arrested with them have pleaded not guilty. They are accused of killing 32 journalists and many supporters of the clan’s political opponent who traveled in a convoy of vehicles.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona MANILA, Philippines (AP) – The Philippines has formally recognized a photojournalist as the 58th victim of a 2009 politically motivated massacre.The body of Reynaldo Momay has not been found. The Justice Department included him based on his dentures found at the scene of the killings blamed on a powerful southern clan.Quezon City Regional Trial Court clerk Jimmy Cardines said in Manila on Tuesday that the Justice Department has revised murder charges against nearly 200 suspects to include Momay as a victim. 0 Comments   Share   5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more


Thai trafficking crackdown targets corrupt police officials

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Rohingya have taken to the sea in greater numbers in recent years to escape violence and state-sanctioned discrimination in Myanmar. Mob attacks in the last three years have left hundreds dead and sparked one of the region’s biggest exoduses since the Vietnam War, which has fueled a thriving industry for traffickers.The head of Thailand’s military-controlled government, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, called Friday for a meeting with Malaysia and Myanmar, saying Thailand cannot solve the problem alone. He reiterated a pledge that any officials linked to the syndicates will be prosecuted.“We have to punish the human traffickers strictly, according to the law,” Prayuth said. “If any government officials or authorities are involved, they will face punishment.”In a country known for pervasive corruption, many in Thailand have reacted with horror but not surprise to the apparent failure of authorities to stop the trafficking.In an editorial Friday titled “Take Down the Traffickers,” the Bangkok Post said the arrests confirm “long-held public suspicions of government officials’ collusion with trafficking networks.”A swift crackdown has included the arrests of eight people — mostly local officials and police — for suspected involvement in the syndicates. Among them was the prominent local mayor of Padang Besar, the sub-district of southern Songkla province where most of the bodies were exhumed. BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s police chief announced the arrest of a powerful provincial mayor on Friday and said 50 police officers are being investigated in a widening human trafficking scandal spanning four Asian countries.At an urgently called meeting of senior police from around Thailand, police chief Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung delivered the strongest public admission yet of police involvement in trafficking syndicates that use Thailand as a regional transit hub. Human rights groups have long accused Thai authorities of collusion in the trafficking industry but police routinely denied the claims. Comments   Share   5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Somyot called Mayor Banjong Pongphon a “key suspect” in the investigation and said the politician, who has been in office over a decade, “wielded great influence” in the region. Banjong denied charges of committing human trafficking, providing assistance for illegal aliens entering the country, detention and ransom.The day before his arrest, Banjong joined a march in Padang Besar that drew hundreds of people and government officials in calls to oppose human trafficking.Additionally, more than 50 police have been transferred out of their posts pending an investigation, including officers in charge of anti-trafficking, immigration, marine surveillance and border units in the area of the camps.“To remove about 50 officers from their posts isn’t something I want to do, but it’s something I have already warned you about,” Somyot told the meeting of police officials. “I have warned but you didn’t listen. I have warned but you still did it.”Somyot acknowledged criticism that in the past police who have been investigated for trafficking and other crimes have gone unpunished but vowed “this time it will be different,” noting that the world was watching. “If you are still neglecting, or involved with, or supporting or benefiting from human-trafficking networks — your heads will roll,” Somyot told the meeting at Bangkok’s national police headquarters.Last Friday, police unearthed two dozen bodies from shallow graves in the mountains of southern Thailand, a grim discovery that has since exposed a network of jungle camps run by traffickers who allegedly held migrants captive while they extorted ransoms from their families. A total of 33 bodies, believed to be migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, have now been exhumed from various jungle camps.The discoveries have embarrassed Thailand, which is already under pressure from the United States and the European Union to crack down on human trafficking both on land and in its fishing fleets.Authorities say they have known for years that the area on the Thai-Malaysia border was used to smuggle Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted minority in neighboring Myanmar, as well as Bangladeshis and other migrants, to third countries including Malaysia, which is predominantly Muslim.Fearing the recent crackdown, trafficking gangs appear to be abandoning migrants in southern Thailand. Since Thursday, police patrolling the Khao Kaew mountain in Padang Besar found 96 migrants, all frail and hungry, who claimed to be Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, said police Col Palahon Gadekaew. They all said they were brought to Thai shores by boat and abandoned by a middleman while being told they were heading to Malaysia. Palahon said the migrants would be fed and sheltered before being turned over to authorities. Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “Overseas countries, especially the United States, are monitoring us,” Somyot told his officers.Last June, the U.S. downgraded Thailand and Malaysia to its lowest category — Tier 3 — in an annual assessment of how governments handle human trafficking. Thailand promised action to get off the blacklist, but its reputation suffered more following recent revelations by the AP that some Thai fishing vessels kept men from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos on board as forced labor or slaves.Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called the discovery of graves “shocking” and “a terrible tragedy” during an official visit Friday.“I acknowledge the fact that the Thai government has responded in a timely fashion,” Bishop told reporters. “That there is to be an investigation, we certainly welcome that.”___Associated Press writer Jocelyn Gecker contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more


US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Israel is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has never publicly declared what is widely considered to be an extensive nuclear weapons program. A conference might force Israel to acknowledge it.Since adopting a final document requires consensus, the rejection by the United States, backed by Britain and Canada, means the entire blueprint for global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation for the next five years has been blocked after four weeks of negotiations. The next treaty review conference is in 2020.That has alarmed countries without nuclear weapons, who are increasingly frustrated by what they see as the slow pace of nuclear-armed countries to disarm. The United States and Russia hold more than 90 percent of the estimated 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world today.Amid a growing movement that stresses the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, Austria announced that 107 states have now signed a pledge calling for legal measures to ban and eliminate them.The U.S. comments Friday came after a top State Department official was dispatched to Israel this week for intense talks, as Israel protested the idea of being forced into a conference with its Arab neighbors without prior agreement on an agenda. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories center_img Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Israel had been furious when the U.S. at the treaty review conference five years ago signed off on a document that called for talks on a Middle East nuclear-free zone by 2012. Those talks never took place.The language on the final document rejected Friday was “incompatible with our long-standing policies,” said Rose Gottemoeller, the U.S. under secretary of state for arms control and international security.She named Egypt as being one of the countries “not willing to let go of these unrealistic and unworkable conditions.”Egypt later said it was extremely disappointed and warned, “This will have consequences in front of the Arab world and public opinion.”Iran, speaking for a group of more than 100 mostly developing countries, said it was surprised to see the U.S., Britain and Canada willing to block the entire document in defense of a country that it said has endangered the region by not agreeing to safeguards for its nuclear program.Israel has been a fierce critic of the current efforts of world powers to negotiate an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes only.Gottemoeller also pointed out that the 2010 mandate to hold a conference on a Middle East nuclear-free zone has now effectively expired. The head of the Russian delegation, Mikhail Ulyanov, noted the setback, saying it was “a shame that an opportunity for dialogue has to be missed, perhaps for a long time to come.” Parents, stop beating yourself up Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to “cynically manipulate” the process by setting a deadline for Israel and its neighbors to meet within months on a Middle East zone free of such weapons.The now-failed final document of a landmark treaty review conference had called on the U.N. secretary-general to convene the Middle East conference no later than March 2016, regardless of whether Israel and its neighbors agree on an agenda.last_img read more


Police arrested in Mozambique for cashing in on poaching

first_img Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall With most of Mozambique’s rhinos extinct, police believe he poached the animal across the border in South Africa where 90 percent of the world’s rhinos reside.The officers and the poacher were arrested a day later, after a tipoff, said the press report. Police are still searching for the person who purchased the horn.In Namibia, the local press agency reported that a court has refused to grant bail to a Chinese national believed to be a central figure in the country’s largest rhino horn smuggling network.Wang Hui is believed to be linked to three other Chinese nationals who were arrested after they were caught with 14 rhino horns and a leopard skin hidden in their luggage as they tried to travel to Hong Kong, the Namibian Press Agency reported.The men will appear in court again later this month.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img The vital role family plays in society Quick workouts for men Comments   Share   MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Authorities in Mozambique arrested five police officers for colluding with a poacher in the illegal sale of a rhino horn, the state news agency reported Thursday.Rhino poaching is on the rise across southern Africa because the horn is much sought after for Asian traditional medicine. In South Africa alone, 1,200 rhinos were poached last year.Police came across the poacher at the Limpopo National Park, in the southern province of Gaza carrying the horn but instead of arresting him, they helped him sell it and pocketed half of the $24,500 he obtained. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technologylast_img read more


Film sparks scandal for look at family of Israeli assassin

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 0 Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The late filmmaker Herz Frank, who died two years ago, spent about 10 years following Amir’s wife, Larisa Trembovler, receiving unprecedented access to her and their son, Yinon. The film paints a non-judgmental portrait of the family, never directly confronting Trembovler over what her husband did, even as she talks of him as a hero. It documents mesmerizing tape recordings of the bedtime stories Amir tells his young son in telephone conversations from his maximum security cell, stories that, critics say, seem to serve as a lesson that his actions were noble.Israeli filmmakers tend not to shy away from picking at their society’s most festering wounds, but painting an open-minded portrait of Amir’s family has long been a no-go zone.“I do think it really is one of the last remaining taboos,” said Shmulik Duvdevani, a scholar of Israeli documentary film at Tel Aviv University.Amir, an ultranationalist law student who objected to Rabin’s peace moves with the Palestinians, shot Rabin following a rally in Tel Aviv on Nov. 4, 1995. Now 45 years old, Amir is serving a life sentence in prison.The firestorm over the film’s compassionate look at his family broke out in the lead-up to its Israeli premiere at the prestigious Jerusalem Film Festival. The film’s title references the fears of Amir’s family as well as the fears of the filmmakers in telling their story, Kravchenko said.Amir’s bedtime stories to his young son over the telephone, heard in the film, are biblical tales of heroes who persevered with God’s help despite the odds. The toddler tells his father that he prayed at the Western Wall, a key Jewish holy site, for the Messiah to come and free Amir from prison. In the film’s final scene, the boy covers his eyes and walks backward from the Western Wall, a Jewish tradition.Meir Schnitzer, an Israeli film critic, called the portrayal of the son irresponsible. “The film follows him as if he is … a kind of future Messiah who soaks evil into his bloodstream from the day he was born, until the moment he must supposedly complete his father’s heinous mission,” Schnitzer wrote in the Maariv newspaper.The opening screening went smoothly, with one lone man holding a small sign in protest. Many in the audience were immigrants from the former Soviet Union. One, Nehama Peretz, said she has befriended Amir’s wife and now hosts her and her son at home from time to time.Sitting in the second to last row, Peretz sighed throughout the film. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like “It bothers me that there is silence on this subject. We can’t touch the topic,” Peretz said. “This film maybe takes us out of our comfortable area … to see Yigal Amir’s family, and to think.”___Follow Daniel Estrin at www.twitter.com/danielestrinCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Even before the documentary was complete, the filmmakers knew their footage was explosive. The producers kept the project a secret to protect Amir’s wife and make sure they would be able to finish. They did not apply to any of the Israeli film funds that finance documentaries, said producer Sergey Tsirkin. In one scene, filmmaker Frank struggles with the question of whether to complete the film at all.“The story attracted and frightened at the same time,” says co-director Maria Kravchenko at the start of the film. She completed the film after Frank’s death.In an interview with The Associated Press, Kravchenko said she did not expect the film to change viewers’ minds about Amir and his family. “I just want (viewers) to stop for a moment and think,” she said.The film shies away from interrogative questions for Amir’s wife’s — Kravchenko said she never discussed Amir’s actions with her. Instead, the camera follows Trembovler as she lugs groceries up a staircase alone, sends her son off to school, and drives to the desert prison where her husband is kept in a one-man cell.She talks about falling in love with Amir, calling him an “idealist” who “sacrificed himself” for the sake of others. She speaks of her concerns about the impact of her marriage on her children from her first husband and whether it was wise to bring into the world a son who must carry the burden of his imprisoned father. The son’s circumcision was held on the anniversary of Rabin’s assassination. Rabin’s granddaughter called the film a “cynical use of the freedom of expression.” Culture Minister Miri Regev threatened to pull funding from the film festival for screening it.“Can the state stay indifferent to the fact that its budget is funding the Jerusalem festival that will screen a film about the murderer of a prime minister?” Regev said in parliament. “The state does not need to fund a film or a festival that gives it a nice, comfortable platform and perhaps even gives it legitimacy.”The festival selection committee said the film “is not free of problematic moral choices” but that was important to screen since it “stirs sharp debate over the borders of representation in documentary cinema as it touches on one of Israeli society’s most painful taboos.”Festival directors refused to remove “Beyond the Fear” from the competition lineup for best documentary, but in a compromise, agreed to screen it at a private venue on the sidelines of the festival at a nearby conference center.That sparked accusations from Israel’s cinema community that the festival had succumbed to government censorship, and there were calls for directors to withdraw their films from the festival. Pressure from an Israeli organization for children’s welfare forced the filmmakers to blur Amir’s son’s face for the film’s Israeli screenings to protect him. In this photo taken, Wednesday, July 8, 2015, late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is seen during a screening of “Beyond the Fear” movie in Jerusalem. A new documentary has set off an uproar in Israel for its peek into the family life of the country’s most reviled prisoner, the man who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin nearly 20 years ago. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov) Men’s health affects baby’s health too Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home JERUSALEM (AP) — A new documentary has set off an uproar in Israel for its peek into the family life of the country’s most reviled prisoner — the man who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin nearly 20 years ago.Despite an effort by Israel’s culture minister to sideline the film, audiences packed a hall this week for back-to-back screenings of “Beyond the Fear.” The film explores the thorny drama of a Moscow-born intellectual who married assassin Yigal Amir after he was sentenced to life in prison and, following a court battle for a conjugal visit, gave birth to their son in 2007. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more


Republicans blast DHS head over San Francisco pier killing

first_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too 0 Comments   Share   WASHINGTON (AP) — Angry House Republicans accused Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Tuesday of promoting policies that led to the recent killing of a San Francisco woman at the hands of an immigrant in this country illegally.Johnson disputed the criticism but said he plans to evaluate whether a new approach is needed to avoid what happened in San Francisco, where an immigrant with a long criminal record and no legal status was released onto the streets and committed a murder. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. And he agreed with Republican critics who said it didn’t make sense for the alleged killer to have been handed over to a jurisdiction like San Francisco, which was unlikely to try to send him home.“I want to evaluate whether some discretion can be built into the process so when we’re faced with a choice like that, we can make the best decision for the purposes of public safety,” Johnson told the House Judiciary Committee in his first appearance on Capitol Hill since the July 1 murder of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle sparked national controversy.Steinle’s alleged killer, Mexican national Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, had been in federal detention but ended up being handed over to San Francisco authorities on a decades-old drug charge. They released him despite a request from federal authorities to keep him detained, and he went on to allegedly shoot Steinle as she walked along a popular pier with her father in broad daylight. Sanchez, who has pleaded not guilty, claims he found the gun on the pier and it accidentally went off.San Francisco is among some 300 communities nationwide that refuse to abide by federal immigration detention requests, or “detainers,” which have been successfully challenged in court by critics who say they indiscriminately target immigrants including many innocent of criminal wrongdoing. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Four benefits of having a wireless security system In the wake of Steinle’s death, Republicans have called for making such detainers mandatory.“A convicted criminal alien who had been deported numerous times killed an innocent American woman,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. He said the crime exposed “the tragic impact of DHS’s reckless policies on the safety of Americans.”Johnson said the killing underscores the need for local authorities to cooperate with the federal government and its detention requests, but he said making such cooperation mandatory would be counterproductive.He also said that only five of the 49 largest jurisdictions have refused to participate with a new federal program aimed at limiting the scope of the detainers program and making it easier for local governments to honor them. He did not say if San Francisco was among them.But Johnson also said that the circumstances of the San Francisco case suggest the need for a different process.Sanchez had been handed over to San Francisco authorities on the drug charge after serving a federal prison stint for illegal re-entry. Under questioning from Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, Johnson agreed that it didn’t make sense to hand a hardened criminal like Sanchez over to a jurisdiction that was not likely to work to deport him. Instead, “there should be some discretion,” Johnson said. Top Stories FILE – In this Thursday, July 2, 2015 file photo, Liz Sullivan, left, and Jim Steinle, right, parents of Kathryn Steinle, talk to members of the media outside their home in Pleasanton, Calif. Steinle’s parents will be interviewed by Bill O’Reilly Monday, July 13, 2015, for a segment on his Fox News show. Steinle was walking along a San Francisco pier July 1 when she was killed by a gun allegedly fired by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who is in the country illegally. (Lea Suzuki/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)n Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more


Wotflightcom now takes customers across the ditch

first_imgIt’s now ‘plane easy’ to book flights between Australia and New Zealand with the recent expansion of the Wotflight airfare search and ticketing website. The launch of trans-Tasman carriers on Wotflight.com, including Qantas, Air New Zealand, Pacific Blue, Jetstar, LAN Chile, Emirates and Aerolineas, signals the growing popularity and growth of the website since its launch in February this year. To celebrate the expansion of Wotflight.com, the website is offering flights on Air New Zealand from only $190 one way including taxes and booking fee. In addition any flights booked before this Sunday (10 October) will receive a $50 Wotif.com Gift Voucher to spend on a wide variety of accommodation options in Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea or Vanuatu.* “There are flight sales from Australia to New Zealand coming through every day and customers are now able to use our user friendly site to compare all available options,” said, Wotif Brands spokesperson, Prue McMillan.“We know that 35% of Wotif.com customers get to their accommodation by air travel,” McMillan said. “Our Customer Surveys found that Wotif.com’s ease of use, its leading product range, and the time effectiveness of comparing the best travel options on the one page rate highly with our customers and we want to give them more of this great service.”For more information or to make a booking on Wotflight visit www.wotflight.com. *This offer is subject to availability and conditions apply. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more